PARSIPPANY, NJ - U.S. Representative Mikie Sherrill and U.S. Representative Pete King have begun the formation of the bipartisan COVID-19 Regional Recovery Task Force.

"In the military, I learned early on that you are either in a crisis or preparing for a crisis," said Sherrill. "As we continue to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, we must also consider the coming challenge of how we make sure we can get Americans back to work safely and how we prevent another significant COVID-19 outbreak. Representative King and I are forming this working group to look ahead and propose meaningful actions to chart a way forward in these uncertain times. Representative King has been a tireless fighter for priorities in our region and I look forward to working with him on this important initiative."

This task force will work with leading experts across key fields, put forth bipartisan recommendations and policy proposals for near- and medium-term efforts to get Americans back to work, and address critical questions facing the United States in the coming weeks and months, particularly in the Northeast.

The bipartisan task force will consist of Members of Congress from some of the Northeast states hit hardest by the crisis: Representatives Lisa Blunt Rochester, a Democrat from Delaware, Brian Fitzpatrick, a Republican from Pennsylvania, Jim Himes a Connecticut Democrat, Sean Patrick Maloney a Democrat from New York, Dan Meuser, a Pennsylvania Republican, Elise Stefanik, a New York Republican, and Bonnie Watson Coleman, a New Jersey Democrat.

The group will meet weekly and examine topics including:

- When and how we can get back to work safely;

- Replenishing our stockpiles of PPE and other critical equipment;

- Coordinating future stockpiling of ventilators, gowns, etc. among federal, state, and local governments and hospitals;

- Increasing access to reliable virus and antibody tests;

- Developing a plan for efficient contact tracing;

- Containing the pandemic and preventing subsequent waves of outbreak;

- Addressing societal fears around returning to public spaces;

- Voting safely;

- Preventing the next pandemic;

- Ensuring that production of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies is returned to the United States from China.

"The Coronavirus pandemic has revealed dangerous deficiencies in our health defense systems. We must find ways to significantly improve those defenses going forward while taking safe and effective measures to reopen our country," said King. "I commend Rep. Sherrill for her initiative."