|COVID-19 Update | December 6, 2020
||View Email in Browser|
While the news regarding the vaccines has been promising, we are still a ways away from it becoming available nationwide, so we must continue to work on limiting the number of new COVID cases. This has been a challenging year for everyone, but we cannot allow frustrations to cloud our judgment. The more guidelines we follow, the more we limit our chances of contracting the virus and spreading it to others.
Remember the “Three Ws”:
1. Wear a mask
2. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds
3. Watch your distance and remain at least six feet apart
During this holiday season, these tips are particularly important to offset the risks of transmission due to increased contact with family members, especially those visiting from other states. Additional guidance can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website.
On Friday, I voted with my Republican colleagues against the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act.
Over the last few weeks, Democratic leadership has shown where their true priorities lie.
Every day, I hear about the struggles from small business owners, who are worried that their business might fail in the midst of the economic crisis. Americans are in desperate need of critical COVID-19 relief in order to help their families and communities.
Instead of working this week to develop a COVID relief package, however, Speaker Nancy Pelosi called a vote on the MORE Act, which would decriminalize marijuana and eliminate criminal penalties for anyone who manufactures, distributes, or possesses marijuana.
It is ridiculous in the midst of a pandemic to prioritize legalizing marijuana over providing aid to Americans.
While House Republicans have worked hard to give states critical flexibility to spend unused funds from the Paycheck Protection Program, Speaker Pelosi has blocked extending this program 40 times.
I urge House Democrats to follow the lead of House Republicans to put America’s needs above their special interest friends and prioritize passing COVID-19 relief to continue fighting this pandemic.
Though we have made significant progress towards peace in the Middle East and defeated ISIS, we cannot forget about the American citizens currently being held as hostages in the region.
This week, I raised this issue on the House floor, specifically to bring attention to two Americans currently being held in Syria. Austin Bennett Tice is a Marine veteran and international correspondent who has been missing since 2012, and Dr. Majd Kamalmaz, a constituent and child therapist from Little Rock, who has been missing since travelling to Syria in 2017 for the funeral of a relative. Their families have called on both American and International leaders to assist in bringing their loved ones home safely.
As members of Congress, we have a duty to ensure that these men, and all other Americans hostages currently being held abroad, are returned home as soon as possible. I am grateful for the leadership of President Trump and now National Security Advisor and former Special Envoy Robert O’Brien for their commitment to bringing our citizens home. This work will continue until all Americans held captive overseas are released.
Thank you to our terrific judges for taking the time to interview central Arkansas students for service academy nominations. The nomination board, consisting of Mrs. Nicole Lashbrook, Mr. Arny Ferrando, Mr. John Wade, Mr. Ian Hadden, Mr. Greg Myers, and Mr. Robert Ator, exemplifies the dedication and service that define our proud service academies. We are thankful for their contribution to the nomination process.
It has been one of my greatest honors as a member of Congress to nominate students to the United States Service Academies. Over the last five years, I’ve had the privilege of nominating over 99 students who have applied to attend the U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. The honor of attending a service academy comes with the obligation and commitment to serve in the military for a minimum of five years as a commissioned officer upon graduation.
Our service academies are gateways for exceptional young people to pursue rewarding careers in service to their country. It is an honor, as a member of Congress, to be involved in the admissions process by nominating candidates for consideration. Each of these students has excelled academically and is the embodiment of leadership. I am inspired by their dedication to our country and look forward to their representing Arkansas well as they go on to bravely serve our nation.
Each year, students from all over the country are nominated by Members of Congress to attend five of the United States’ service academies.
Those accepted are awarded a full four-year scholarship, which includes tuition, housing, and books.
If you plan to enroll in 2021 Marketplace health insurance or wish to change your existing coverage, now is the time to do so. You currently have less than two weeks until the deadline on December 15th, 2020, to make these changes. Plans purchased during this period will take effect on January 1, 2021.
If you do not complete your enrollment by Tuesday, December 15th, you will be unable to get 2021 coverage, unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
There are only a few days left to sign up for Medicare, or change your current plan. The open enrollment period for Medicare will end Monday, December 7, 2020. Current beneficiaries can review their 2021 Medicare and prescription drug plan options and change plans if they choose. Any changes will take effect on January 1, 2021.
If you are currently covered by Medicare Advantage and/or Medicare Part D, please review the Annual Notice of Change and/or Evidence of Coverage forms from your plan.
To compare plans or to select a new one, please visit HERE, or call 1-800-MEDICARE.
For more information about your current plan’s costs, benefits, and rules for 2021, please visit HERE.
It is important to note that open enrollment is also available for private and employer-based insurance. It is important to note that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be more changes than usual this year when enrolling within these insurance plans.
I am proud to have a dedicated team in Arkansas who can assist you with matters involving the federal government. If you have any questions about Social Security benefits, the Internal Revenue Service, or federal healthcare programs, please contact my office at (501) 324-5941 or visit Hill.House.Gov
Representative French Hill