Rep. Katie Porter on economic relief and health care during COVID

“Just because somebody has insurance doesn't mean that they can afford to get the treatment under that insurance. And so we see lots of insurance policies that put a lot of limits on COVID testing and won't pay unless the COVID test occurs in a certain setting or is ordered by a certain provider. And that has discouraged a lot of people from getting tested. And I don't want to see a repeat of that with the vaccine,” says Congresswoman Katie Porter. Photo by United States Congress.

Many of the programs established by the first COVID relief package — the CARES Act — expire at the end of the year. On Tuesday, House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected a new bipartisan stimulus package that calls for about $900 billion in new relief spending. People who lost their jobs due to COVID would also get $300/week extra in unemployment benefits, instead of the $600 they got in the early days of the pandemic.

Congresswoman Katie Porter, who represents parts of Orange County, tells KCRW that she will continue fighting to ensure that Congress passes another relief package.

“I will say straight up, ‘Congress is failing you right now.’ And as an institution, when you look at the Senate and the House put together and divided government, we are shortchanging the American people, we are not delivering what they need,” she says.

Porter also shares thoughts on the CDC’s coronavirus performance, what President-elect Biden must do about health care and insurance, and why many of her Democratic colleagues in Republican-majority districts failed to retain their seats.