ICYMI: Rep. Hill: “Masks are critical between us and beating this virus”

Conway, Ark. — Yesterday, Rep. French Hill (AR-02) joined Governor Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) at the governor’s daily update about COVID-19. At the press conference, Rep. Hill urged central Arkansans to wear a mask and talked about his legislation, the SAVE Act, which ensures that the United States would have a reliable and necessary source of medical supplies during a future pandemic by amending the Defense Production Act to include U.S. medical supplies, vaccines, and primary ingredients for pharmaceuticals.

To watch to the Rep. Hill’s remarks at today’s press conference, click HERE or on the image below. 

Rep. Hill's remarks are included below: 

Thank you, Governor. It’s a pleasure to be with you Dr. Romero and Dr. Smith. Thanks for your steady leadership during these trying four months. You know these masks are an opportunity for a fashion statement, and Arkansas Economic Development Commission is my mask today, and I urge people that masks are critical between us and beating this virus and getting back to work. 

Governor, I talked to my dad the other day, 94 years old, and I said you suffered through pretty tough times and the depression and in World War II, and he said “I did and I hated gas rationing. It happened when I was 16 years old and I was a [high school] sophomore and I couldn’t drive because I couldn’t get gas. Because we said we were going to conserve gas in this country to beat the Nazis and beat the Japanese. Even though it was inconvenient.” So, some of you may think a mask is inconvenient but none the less it is a critical strategy for our public health’s victory over the virus. 

Our delegation did write the Vice President, we’re very sensitive to this issue of reagent supply for our testing facilities. Because the key in business and the key in our hospitalizations and moving this economy, is access to testing and in a timely way. We’re doing great testing thanks to your leadership, but it’s the timeliness, and so we’re committed to pressing the Vice President for answers there to be helpful to Arkansas and I think across the state. 

And this illustrates something I’ve talked about now for several months, which is we need to use the Defense Production Act where ever the case warrants it, and that’s why I proposed an amendment to the Defense Production Act called the SAVE Act which will take medical supplies, pharmaceutical ingredients, compounds, and all related medical devices, and put them under that strategy at the President’s discretion. So that we’re not caught should we use it or not use it. We actually have a written plan to use it where it fits, and I think Governor Hutchinson, has given a great example of again how it can be used in our country. 

Final comment, Governor, would be that we’re ready to partner with you here in the next few weeks as the Congress reassesses the gaps that’s in the CARES Act on how we can benefit Arkansas. And we want you to have more flexibility in the state and local funding that you’ve got the 1.25 billion on how you use that particularly as it relates to broadband and we’re working hard to make sure that we’ve got the flexibility and financial support for our schools, so that we are ready to learn. Thank you and I look forward to working with you.

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