California Rep. Katie Porter is once again proving to be a hero without a cape, taking initiative to fight for the most vulnerable Americans in the wake of a global pandemic. And, this time, she's doing it from the comfort of her bedroom. The freshman congresswoman said Wednesday that she is self-quarantining as she awaits the results of a coronavirus test after experiencing cold-like symptoms, followed by fatigue and a fever of 100.4.
"I will remain in self-quarantine until I have the test results back and until directed by my doctor that it is safe for me to leave my home. I am participating by telephone in Congressional business and listening to the concerns of our Orange County community," Porter said on Twitter.
Despite the fact that she hasn't left her bedroom “in five days,” Porter is using her waiting period to explain an emergency $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package that just passed in the Senate. The congresswoman joined MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Wednesday night to hash out “the good and bad” of the bill, which includes cash payments to Americans who face unemployment, as it makes its way to the House.
Porter applauded Senators for including $100 billion for hospitals and health systems nationwide, as well as grants for small business owners facing financial hardship right now. She was also pleased to see free testing included in the bill, particularly after she pressured the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield to commit to it. "I already held the CDC director's feet to the fire to get free testing [which] was in our last bill," Porter told Hayes. What concerns her now is that the current package does not include free coronavirus treatment, which Porter says will make people hesitant to get tested in the first place.
The congresswoman also pointed to concerns about accountability measures around a $500 billion corporate bailout fund controlled by the Federal Reserve. "It's not good enough to have an inspector general or oversight panel on the back end," she said. "The money will be out the door and in the pockets of the largest corporations."
Also included in the package is a one-time payment of $1,200 to individuals who make less than $75,000 a year, and households will receive an additional $500 for each child. Lawmakers agreed to expand unemployment benefits — including for freelancers and gig workers — with a supplemental $600 a week for up to four months, in addition to what they might normally receive.
As for Porter, she is committed to continuing to fight for her constituents, even from home. "My constituents need my voice right now, they need me to be voting in their interests, and it's impossible for me to do that because of this public health crisis," she said, adding that Congress should not be an exception to the many individuals and businesses who have had to adapt in this moment.
Still, she assured Americans (with a mask on) that she will fight through any test results and continue to take care of her people and her family. "P.S. My children are so far healthy and handling things well, and I did make sure to wear a mask!" she emphasized.