Skip To Content

October 07, 2020

Amidst COVID-19 Crisis, New Report Shows Trone Helped Record Number of Constituents in 2020, Secured Legislative Victories for Opioid Epidemic, Criminal Justice Reform, and Mental Health

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Trone.Press@mail.house.gov

Amidst COVID-19 Crisis, New Report Shows Trone Helped Record Number of Constituents in 2020, Secured Legislative Victories for Opioid Epidemic, Criminal Justice Reform, and Mental Health

“Trone Wants to Build on Progress He Has Made” [Herald Mail-Media, 3/1/20]

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman David Trone (MD-06) released a new report that highlights his legislative and district accomplishments this year. Ten months into his second year in office, Congressman Trone continues to deliver on the priorities for Maryland’s Sixth District while supporting thousands of constituents as the COVID-19 crisis rocks the health and economic security of Marylanders. Thus far, he and his team have helped answer more than 4300 constituent service requests, which resulted in more than $16,000,000 saved or recovered for constituents in Maryland’s Sixth District. Trone also secured significant victories for rural broadband and the mental health and addiction crisis, and he was able to introduce historic criminal justice reform legislation in the midst of nationwide protests over racial inequality in this country.

The report provides a comprehensive overview of Trone’s work in the district and in Washington over the past year. Above all else, Trone prioritized constituent services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Trone’s office made it a priority to respond to every person who needed assistance within 24 hours and delivered an unprecedented amount of support for constituents struggling to access the benefits they have earned. In order to provide his constituents with the latest information on COVID-19, Trone held a record number of virtual events that reached tens of thousands of residents through tele-town halls, webinars, Zoom meetings, and direct phone calls.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been working tirelessly to help folks in the Sixth District,” said Congressman David Trone. “I came to Congress to help make recovery a reality for more Americans, make our justice system more just, and prioritize mental health the same way we do physical health. I’m proud that I’ve been able to do just that. My team is working hard to improve the daily lives of people across our district, and I’m happy to share these accomplishments with them.”

You can access the entire report here.

2020 BY THE NUMBERS

TRONE PROVIDES TOP NOTCH CONSTITUENT SERVICES TO RECORD NUMBER OF MARYLANDERS

Starting in March, Trone worked tirelessly to assist his constituents during the initial shock of the COVID-19 pandemic. He created a COVID-19 Resource Guide with over 100-pages of federal, state, and local resources. He held five telephone town-halls and 18 virtual events where he reached over 58,000 people; among other topics, the events provided information about how to stay safe and healthy during the pandemic, federal support for small businesses, mental health during COVID-19, and volunteerism. Not only did he work with federal agencies to assist constituents, he opened a completely new set of casework to assist individuals having problems while filing for unemployment benefits. Congressman Trone personally spoke with the Maryland Secretary of Labor Tiffany Robinson multiple times to coordinate their efforts on behalf of Marylanders who were experiencing delays in receiving their benefits. To date, he has successfully recovered well over $14 million dollars in unemployment benefits for those he represents.

HELPING SMALL BUSINESS JOBS SURVIVE THE PANDEMIC

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Trone worked to save tens of thousands of small business jobs. Working with both sides of the aisle, Trone worked to pass the COVID-19 response legislation that created the Paycheck Protection Program, which helped save more than 56,000 jobs in Maryland’s 6th District.

While the PPP program was successful for thousands American small businesses, many underserved groups were excluded from the program. Trone pushed the Treasury Department to disclose information on the businesses that benefited from the program; he crunched the numbers himself and released a congressional report showing that Black, Hispanic, and Women-owned small businesses were disproportionately excluded from the program. Trone urged the Trump Administration to ensure that minority-owned small businesses could benefit from the PPP program, and he worked to pass legislation to reform the program.

He also fought to ensure that formerly incarcerated business owners could access PPP funding as well. The SBA had previously instituted a rule that would disqualify Altimont Mark Wilks and other formerly incarcerated individuals from applying for the PPP funds passed by Congress as a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March. After months of pressure including a lawsuit on Mr. Wilks’ behalf and outreach from Trone and a coalition of Members of Congress, the SBA announced that they would no longer restrict Wilks and other formerly-incarcerated individuals from accessing these crucial funds.

Trone’s experience in business allowed him to be a voice for small businesses struggling during the pandemic. He urged U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to issue guaranteed purchase orders for critical, American-made medical supplies, and introduced two pieces of legislation that would prioritize buying American-made goods to support our domestic medical supply chain.

His work on behalf of small businesses earned him the spot as the only member of the Maryland Delegation to receive the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Spirit of Enterprise Award. Trone also

received the Congressional Rising Star Award from the Small Business Council of America, and Friend

of Farm Bureau Award for the 116th Congress by the American Farm Bureau Federation. And, Trone was named one of the most bipartisan legislators from the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy and the Lugar Center.

SUPPORTING FAMILIES AND CHILDREN DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Throughout the pandemic, Trone fought to ensure workers, families, and children could weather the COVID-19 storm.

In May, he led a bipartisan effort that successfully urged the IRS to allow American families to save money on health care, medical expenses, and dependent care amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision allowed Americans to make mid-year changes for health flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) and dependent care assistance programs and authorized unused funds to be rolled over to the following year. This meant real money in the pockets of Marylanders when they needed it most.

After hearing from educators, parents, and students about the importance of school meals, he worked with Republican Don Young of Alaska to convince the Trump Administration to make the changes necessary to ensure students didn’t go hungry. Young and Trone led successful efforts to ensure children and families could continue accessing free school meals throughout the pandemic. Together they got results.

A leader on broadband before the pandemic, Trone heard from teachers, medical professionals, and parents about how important high-quality and affordable broadband is for all Marylanders. Without broadband, telehealth, tele-education, and telework simply are not possible. As a Member of the Rural Broadband Task Force, he helped pass a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill that would dedicate $100 billion to broadband deployment.

FIGHTING THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC DURING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC

In the beginning of 2020, Trone’s bipartisan Freshmen Working Group on Addiction, a group of 65 new Members of Congress from 32 states across the country, introduced over 50 bills to make progress on ending the addiction and mental health epidemic. Trone’s national leadership on this issue led to his appointment by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to the Commission to Combat Synthetic Opioid Trafficking to target and end the flow of synthetic opioids into the United States.

But the outbreak of COVID-19 and the CDC preliminary numbers released in June showed that the opioid crisis was getting worse, so Trone took action. Working with Democrats and Republicans in the House and the Senate, he introduced the FENTANYL Results Act in August, which would increase international cooperation to stop the flow of fentanyl into the United States.

Trone worked with legislators across the aisle to push bills through the Energy and Commerce Committee, where Trone’s two bills, the State Opioid Response Authorization Act and the Family Support Services for Addiction Act, passed through Committee. The Family Support Services for Addiction Act recently passed the House floor and now heads to the Senate. In September, Trone brought a historic group of legislators together to announce a bipartisan, bicameral effort to bring attention to National Recovery Month during the COVID-19 crisis. Despite the pandemic, Trone has made it a priority to meet with those in recovery in person to understand some of the challenges that COVID-19 is having on access to treatment and addiction.

ENSURING EVERY AMERICAN HAS ACCESS TO QUALITY, AFFORDABLE MENTAL HEALTH CARE

Trone has been a consistent voice to address the mental health crisis in this country. Following the suicide of Montgomery County Police Officer TJ Bomba, Trone held a roundtable where he heard from first responders about some of the stigma and barriers surrounding mental health for those on the front lines. Following this roundtable, Trone introduced two bipartisan pieces of legislation that would increase confidentiality for peer-support services for first responders, and ensure parity in benefits for officers with PTSD.

After the pandemic caused a severe spike in mental health challenges across the country, Trone was ready to act. He wrote in May about how the country already had a mental health crisis, and the pandemic only made it worse. To help bring attention to this issue, Trone hosted a panel of mental health experts to provide resources for Marylanders, passed a new law to address the negative health effects of social isolation for older Americans, and unveiled historic universal mental health care legislation with Congressman Joe Kennedy (D-MA) to better coordinate federal mental health efforts. He fought for funding within the COVID-19 stimulus packages to go directly to mental health, and he assembled a coalition of 57 Members of Congress to push Congressional leadership to provide the highest possible funding for mental and behavioral health care.

For his work on mental health care, the National Council for Behavioral Health named Trone the 2020 Legislator of the Year.

FIGHTING SYSTEMIC RACISM IN AMERICA

For over 25 years, Trone has worked in lock step with the ACLU to fight to reform our unjust criminal justice system. In Congress, he introduced legislation that would make significant reforms, including policies that would allow incarcerated students to access Pell grants and improve mental health services for individuals in correctional facilities and those released from prison. In June, Trone partnered with Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) to unveil the historic Workforce Justice Act, which would ban the box nationwide for public and private companies. Maryland passed similar legislation on the state level this year, which inspired Trone to bring it to the national stage.

During the nationwide protests following the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless other Black lives, Trone took time to listen to people in the community, learn about their experiences, and work to make change. He joined with House Democrats in passing four bills taking on racial injustice, including the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, and he hosted a telephone town hall with Executive Director of the ACLU Anthony Romero, where the duo talked to over 6,000 constituents about how to end systemic racism. Trone also used his platform to bring attention to racial injustices in our country’s past. Just recently, Trone hosted a social justice roundtable with community leaders to discuss how to lift up voices of color and continue the fight against systemic racism.

Trone worked throughout this year to root out other examples of systemic racism in our country. In February, he worked to organize more than 100 Members of Congress from both parties to urge the Baseball Hall of Fame to induct civil rights and baseball icon Curt Flood into their ranks. And in September, Trone introduced legislation and urged President Trump to award the Medal of Honor to WWII hero Cpl. Waverly Woodson of Clarksburg, Maryland, for his heroic efforts in the war. Both men did not receive proper recognition due solely to the color of their skin.

DELIVERING FOR MARYLAND

Even during a global pandemic, Trone worked to make sure he listened to the needs of the five counties in Maryland’s 6th District. In addition to his dedication to constituent service, he held hundreds of meetings and events with his constituents and regularly checked in with different groups and stakeholders to remain informed as to the needs of his constituents. He held multiple meetings with the business community, labor organizations, hospitals, colleges presidents, public school superintendents, emergency responders, the agriculture community, community health centers, addiction service providers, and more. These meetings helped better inform him as to his constituent needs; he listened and fought to include these priorities in the COVID-19 stimulus packages passed through Congress.

In total, five bills were passed in the House of Representatives directly related to COVID-19 relief, resulting in millions flowing to the people of Maryland’s 6th District.

Garrett County

Allegany County

Washington County

Frederick County

Montgomery County

FIGHTING FOR A BETTER FUTURE FOR OUR CHILDREN

During this global pandemic, Trone has demonstrated how a representative can be an effective advocate and voice for his constituents. He has used his positions on the Education and Labor, Foreign Affairs, and Joint Economic Committees to push for funding to help keep Maryland and American workers and families afloat. Through the rest of 2020, Trone will continue to advocate for those without a voice and make progress on the issues that matter most to Marylanders and Americans alike.

###