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RISHI KUMAR FOR US CONGRESS

Rishi’s Plan to Tackle the Covid-19 Challenges

Washington, DC / USA - July 21, 2020: A nurses' union placed pairs of nurses' shoes at the Capitol in recognition of the 160 nurses who have died fighting COVID-19 in the United States. Photo by Erik Cox

Reeling with the Pandemic - What should America do?

With over 200,000 Coronavirus deaths and counting, America’s lack of preparedness to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic indicates a failure of American leadership at all levels. Millions are unemployed and millions do not have health insurance. In the past few months, the pandemic has exposed shortcomings in the United States government and healthcare system. As soon as U.S. coronavirus cases began to skyrocket in late March, it immediately became evident that many hospitals were vastly underprepared, lacking necessary protective equipment and ventilators. Thousands of Americans who did not have access to healthcare or testing faced uncertainty. The rapid transition to online-learning exposed the extreme disparities in terms of access to technology. Here is a plan that examines our systemic shortcomings and proposes a new way forward to strengthening American society for prosperity and success.



Pandemic Preparedness

A pandemic, bioterrorism, biowarfare have all become credible threats to our country. America is not battle-ready with a sound healthcare emergency preparedness plan for a crisis of any scale. We must develop a National Pandemic Preparedness Program, similar to the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), along with structured processes for communication and coordinating efforts between the government, private/public healthcare units and citizens in an emergency. We must restore the U.S. pandemic response team under the National Security Council and restore funding to the CDC and NIH. We should implement a robust National Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Plan - a button that would trigger pandemic-readiness in all aspects of American society, along with a plan to transition to an open economy in the most optimal manner. We saw Washington partisan politics, and negotiations playing while the American Banks became mediators in handing out Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans - the process too complicated - and they played favoritism, while American businesses and people suffered. We have to develop a flawless model to ensure that the financial, emotional and psychological toll of such a pandemic will be mitigated in a concerted “playbook” manner.

Bring Manufacturing Back with AI/ML automation

For every dollar invested in manufacturing, another $3.60 is generated in the economy. American supply chain has a problem - systemic reliance on China. It is now a national defense issue to reform the U.S.Supply Chain, develop self-reliance. Americans have an exposure with serious deficiencies in the health and safety standards of China's pharmaceutical sector, including inconsistent and ineffective regulation by the Chinese Government. We have to identify critical supplies and bring the manufacturing back to America. A data-driven trade agreement strategy has to be launched and we should renegotiate existing agreements, like we are doing with USMCA, ensuring that American economy is not compromised. Manufacturing will attain sophistication, with our investment in massive automation, including applying AI/ML in every aspect as the success here underpins future economic and national security or military power. The automation with Steam engines to computers to the internet, created a new economy. Keeping manufacturing local also protects American intellectual property theft. America needs to thrive in a human-machine collaboration system.

Massive Investment

Federal government’s research funding has dropped dramatically. We need to restore it to ensure that America continues our world domination with innovation. In the years leading to this historical pandemic existing healthcare, transportation, education, housing, and technological infrastructure have all been failing. We must invest in faster, cheaper mass transportation, zero greenhouse gas emission systems, as every urban economy has been impacted with traffic gridlocks that are impacting their long term sustainability. We must now prioritize Infrastructure Investment to drive Post-COVID-19 economic recovery. Broadband needs to become a utility to bridge the digital divide, as access to the Internet is often a key determinant of educational and economic opportunities. To speed up the economy reopening process, we must invest in a public, secure, Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system along with healthcare analytics.

A Neighborhood Pandemic Preparedness Team model

Our campaign has set an example for community outreach during the pandemic. In March, our campaign team launched the Neighborhood Pandemic Preparedness Team (NPPT) and the Pandemic Help Center. We called over 86,000 seniors in the district to check in on them and help them stay sheltered, and our team delivered prescription medications and groceries to them. In addition, we organized over 23 town hall meetings with healthcare professionals, stimulus package experts, and college admission counselors. We recruited a volunteer team to build and donate thousands of masks to the Valley Medical Foundation, provided career advice for those laid-off and grappling for answers, and supported local businesses by providing information regarding loan application and how to make use of stimulus packages. Furthermore, we provided college admission counseling to parents and students for a post-COVID-19 world, and offered Shelter-in-Place Coding classes in Java, Python, Javascript, and Entrepreneurship. America needs to roll out the framework of a similar NPPT program that would help neighbors help neighbors and combat a future pandemic.

Rep. Anna Eshoo Has Been Missing

My opponent in California’s 18th District, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, noted this February that she has “led the charge” on a plan for pandemic preparedness in Congress for the past 15 years. As we all know, that plan was a colossal failure. As the chairwoman of the House Health Subcommittee, Rep. Anna Eshoo rightfully takes credit for her failure in ensuring Congressional oversight. In addition, Rep. Eshoo is the number one recipient of pharmaceutical money in Congress. The millions of dollars Rep. Eshoo receives from Big Pharma present a tremendous conflict of interest. It comes as no surprise that she does not support progressive policies like Medicare for All — in fact, she has sponsored legislation to raise the cost of prescription drugs. As the co-chair of the Biodefense Caucus, Rep. Eshoo did not hold a single meeting, even though pandemics are a key objective of the Caucus. As several critical federal agencies (namely the CDC) failed, all of Congress, including Rep. Eshoo, bears the responsibility for failed Congressional oversight. If Rep. Eshoo had codified 15 years of her pandemic preparedness work, our American economy and the health of American people, our front-line healthcare workers, would not be in jeopardy as it is today. America was clearly exposed. Rep. Eshoo as the chair of the House Health Subcommittee could have ensured better preparedness.

I am ready to take charge

Covid-19 has turned our world upside down. Millions are unemployed and have no health insurance. And as career politicians capitulate to partisan politics, they’ve sold out to special interests, are technologically illiterate, and have no interest in addressing our challenges. America is at an inflection point. This election is about sending new energy and new leadership to Washington: someone ready to take on the tough post-COVID-19 challenges and deliver solutions for all Americans.

As your Congressman, I’ll prioritize America’s pandemic preparedness, growing our economy, and bringing manufacturing back for supply chain self-reliance. I will fight for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, and address racial inequality, all while refusing money from PACs and special interests. I don’t believe in LEFT or RIGHT, but a FORWARD path towards American prosperity.

Voters are tired of the same politicians and rhetoric without any meaningful progress. But with your trust, we can set America back on track. For our future, and for change, I humbly request your vote. -> My Priorities.