In Response to Coronavirus Outbreak, Tester Pushes Administration to Inform Montanans on Test Kits, Proper Protections

Senator also urges IRS to extend tax-filing deadline for individual Montana taxpayers

U.S. Senator Jon Tester is pushing the Trump Administration to make sure that vulnerable Montanans—in particular, seniors, folks with disabilities, and direct care providers—have access to information about test kits, proper protection, and the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. He is also working to extend the IRS tax filing deadline, and pressing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Indian Health Service to ensure that veterans and Tribes have access to proper resources and information.

“This outbreak is serious, and Congress and the Administration need to treat it that way—that’s why I’ve been holding the Administration accountable to make sure that vulnerable Montanans like seniors, folks with disabilities, and health care workers have access to timely information about test kits and proper protection,” said Tester. “I’m also pushing the IRS to extend the tax-filing deadline because the last thing Montanans and their families should be worrying about during a public health emergency is filing forms with the IRS. I’m encouraged that Montana DPHHS and federal agencies are coordinating closely, and I will continue working to keep Montanans safe.”

Tester, along with 17 of his colleagues, today urged the IRS to extend the April 15, 2020 tax-filing deadline to provide taxpayers greater flexibility amid challenges caused by the pandemic. Currently, there are more than 1,000 cases of coronavirus in 38 states, with 35 deaths so far.

“In light of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we are writing to urge you to provide significant flexibility on the April 15 tax filing season deadline for individual taxpayers,” wrote Tester and his colleagues. “Families need to focus on making sure they are prepared for this public health threat rather than expending time and energy to comply with this deadline.”

In a letter to the Administration last week, Tester called on the Department of Health and Human Services to provide Tribes and urban Native communities with immediate access to COVID-19 resources and information. He will also be joining his colleagues in three letters to Vice President Mike Pence that request information on the Administration’s efforts to:

  • ensure that seniors, people with disabilities, and the home care workers that serve them are adequately equipped regarding the spread of COVID-19;
  • protect nursing home residents, families, and workers from the spread of COVID-19; and
  • provide seniors, people with disabilities and those with limited English proficiency timely and accessible information about COVID-19.

In order to ensure our nation’s veterans are properly cared for during this outbreak, Tester—the Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee—led the charge in pushing VA to prepare a comprehensive approach to protect veterans and the dedicated staff who provide their care.

A copy of Tester’s letter to the IRS can be found HERE.

A copy of Tester’s Tribal letter to the Administration can be found HERE.

A copy of Tester’s letter to VA can be found HERE.