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Eco Heroes and prescription drugs

By Congressman Donald McEachin

Here we are in September, where I must admit, I am ready for the cool days of fall, with leaves crunching under your feet and pumpkin spice everywhere. Schools are re-convening and, in my part of Virginia, some schools are virtual and some are in person. I am just praying for all students and teachers to be safe.

My staff and I continue to work remotely. I was back in Washington a couple of weeks ago to vote for emergency funding for the post office. Veterans need their prescriptions, seniors need their checks, farmers need their supplies, and letters and packages all need to move expeditiously and accurately.  For those people who want to vote by mail, they need to know their ballot will arrive in a timely manner.

Although we are working remotely, my staff is ready and available to help with concerns with federal agencies, issues such as passports, missing benefits, lost tax returns, etc. Please just fill out the form at mceachin.house.gov/services/help-with-a-federal-agency and you will hear back from us.

This month we will be launching the second year of our Eco Heroes program, an environmental education program for elementary school students. We did this last spring and it was very successful. This program invites elementary students to perform simple, easily accomplishable tasks to show their commitment to the environment. At the conclusion, they receive a certificate and are invited to a reception with me. Many students and parents contacted us to say how much they learned and how much they enjoyed it. To sign up, email VA04.Projects@mail.house.gov and we will send registration information to you.

Last month, I met with my Agricultural Advisory Task Force. I very much appreciate the opportunity to meet with local farmers. Agriculture is a significant driver of the economy in our district, and these farms are growing and raising foods for our dinner tables. I appreciate the opportunity to hear first-hand from them what is working and where I can be helpful.

I am also virtually meeting with local officials in all of my 16 localities. I want to know, in dialogue with them, what struggles they are having with the pandemic, what resources they need and how I can be helpful. In Congress, we get a lot of information, but it is important for me to chat personally with each locality.

Last month, with two of my colleagues, I introduced a bipartisan bill to protect patients from increased out-of-pocket prescription drug costs during COVID-19. We need to ensure access to life-saving drugs, especially during a pandemic. I am committed to ensuring all Virginians have access to affordable, quality health care, including prescriptions, and this is one step towards that goal.

I have also joined a letter, with more than 80 of my colleagues, to ask the Department of Energy to reconsider their decision to gut methane pollution regulation. Methane has a direct influence on climate, but also indirectly impacts human health, crop yields and the quality and productivity of vegetation. It also helps in the development of ozone, which is one of the causes of climate change. We need to monitor and reduce the amount of methane gas being emitted, not roll back these regulations.

I am eager to see us come together with the Senate on more COVID-19 relief. Families and businesses are struggling, and we need to provide assistance. I co-authored a letter with Congressman Cartwright of Pennsylvania urging Congressional leadership to reject proposals for comprehensive federal corporate immunity in any relief packages. Rather than providing corporations with blanket immunity, we need to adopt clear, science-based, enforceable federal health and safety standards. Such standards could ensure businesses reopen and operate, keeping workers and customers safe.

Congressman Donald McEachin represents Virginia’s 4th Congressional District.