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tv   Treasury Secretary Yellen Senate Majority Leader Schumer Public Health...  CSPAN  March 16, 2021 12:53pm-1:39pm EDT

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cable television companies in 1979. today, we are brought to you by these television companies who provide c-span to viewers as a public service. >> the u.s. house returns at 2 p.m. eastern. this afternoon members will debate an extension to the paycheck protection program. also legislation awarding three congressional gold medals to members of the united states capitol police. follow live house coverage here on c-span. >> thursday, national institutes of allergy and infectious diseases director dr. fauci and c.d.c. director testify with other federal officials on the covid-19 response. watch live at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span3, online at, or listen live with the free c-span radio app. >> next, senate majority leader chuck schumer and treasury
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secretary janet yellin talk about the economy and coronavirus at a conference hosted by the national league of cities. senator schumer: thank you so much for inviting me for sharing a president. to the victoria woodward of tacoma, washington. and to c.e.o. and executive director clarence anthony. thanks to all of you for the incredible leadership you have shown during these 12 months. to all of my public servants from the great state of new york, thank you so much for all you have been doing this winter. keeping people safe. making sure the vaccine gets out as quickly as possible.
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and as this new administration begins and my time as the new senate majority leader, we are going to do everything we can to give you-all of the help you need to get through these hard times. that's why the work we are doing now through the american rescue plan is so important. it's a $1.9 trillion life line that will lay the foundation for bringing our economy back to life and it will no doubt leave americans, including families, businesses, and workers, with what they need to get through the next two months. you got a lot of things done two months ago, a lot of good things when we passed the $1 trillion covid relief bill at the end of 2020. including aid for working families, funding for small businesses, and we laid the
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groundwork for the largest vaccine campaign in american history. but our work is far from done. in this next covid bill, we are providing more assistance for working families. we'll give schools the tools they need to open safely. and we will work with the biden administration to speed up vaccine distribution and we'll need your leadership to get it done. and let me be very clear about one thing that i always stood for. the senate democratic majority will make sure that this covid bill will also include direct aid, direct aid for state, local, and municipal governments. money going directly to our municipal governments. you who made tough budgetary choices in the face of an unprecedented crisis. direct allocation of federal relief go to all our cities and communities, not through the states, but to you. this is a top priority for me.
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you have all done tremendous work advocating for this much needed assistance. and then when we put this pandemic in the rear-view mirror, there is more work to be done to put our country back on track. we are going to work with the biden administration to -- on climate proposals that will reduce greenhouse emission, create green jorks and make our communities more energy efficient. we also must invest in our nation's infrastructure, something i always fought for, including roads and bridges, also broadband capability, not only to rural areas but to the inner city. we got to work on our energy grid and improve public transportation. all of which will create millions of new, good-paying jobs across america. and it means fighting income equality and disparities in wealth and income that pervades society is a month. also the economic justice act which would invest $435 billion in communities of color to improve infrastructure,
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childcare, health care, job training, and more. and i promise will i work with each of you every step of the way to get these things done. the time has come to turn the page and begin a new chapter of leadership in our nation. and we will need american's cities to lead wait. thank you very much for all you do. my very best and stay healthy and safe wherever you may be. >> now speaker currently serves as the secretary for the u.s. department of the treasury. please join us in welcoming secretary janet yellin. secretary yellen: thank you, everyone. this is my first time attending a national league of cities conference via zoom. and i hope it might be everybody's last time attending the national league of cities
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conference via zoom. i find these virtual get togethers they are not quite as good as the real thing, but still i'm so glad to be here because i know they can be useful. i have been in office a little over a month. and every week or so i have been holding virtual round table with a different group. two weeks ago, for instance, i met with a group of mayors from small cities. one was mayor nick hunter of lake charles, louisiana. when someone inevitably writes a book of what it was like to live through the past year, they might want to begin the story in lake charles. it's a port town of about 80,000 on the gulf of mexico. there is a lumber mill outside the city limits. and three casinos line the lake. the regional airport, which offers a few dozen flights a
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day to places like dallas and houston, employed hundreds of people until the pandemic. covid -- covid-19 hit lake charles like it hit so many other places, the lumber mill closed. the casinos laid off thousands of workers. .
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it entered the record books as the strongest storm to hit louisiana since the franklin pierce administration. it was essentially a 30 mile wide tornado. six weeks later, hurricane delta caused a similar path through the city with less wind, but more flooding. by the time the major winter storms hit, lake charles in mid february, the mayor said no one was asking what else could go wrong anymore. the city had endured four federally declared disasters in 12 months. he put the question to his local fema representatives. had the city ever seen so many disasters in such a short time? they didn't think so. it might be that lake charles
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has the unfortunate distinction of the most disaster stricken city in the most disastrous year in recent memory. the regions mortality rate shot up 25% in 2020, according to the mayor. if the federal government can do something to help my city return to a semblance of normalcy, he said, they should do it. i don't think mayor hunter is alone in feeling this way. not many cities suffered as ch as lake charles did during 2020, much as lake charles did during 2020, but all cities suffered. the pandemic infected their citizens and the adjacent economic crisis deflected their finances. nearly 2/3 of lake charles' tax revenue, for instance, came from sales tax. and with the casinos and other businesses closing, they had to scale back. the mayor hit pause on building new infrastructure. and i know many of your cities
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were forced to do the same. others had to lay off workers. compared to the start of 2020, there were 1.4 million fewer state and local government employees by years end. and these weren't dispensable employees. most of them were teachers. so my guess is that there are many, many city officials who agree, if the federal government can do something to help their cities operate normally, we should do it. my message to you is, that is not only a completely understandable request, after such a horrific year, it's also very good economic policy. there are no benefits to enduring two historic economic crises in a 13-year span except for one. our mistakes are fresh in our
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memories. we can learn from them. during the great recession, when cities and states were facing similar revenue shortfalls, the federal government did not do a lot to close the gap. it was a profound error. insufficient relief meant cities prosperity undermines the broader recovery. one study concludes that for every dollar local governments cut spending during a recession, there is a corresponding drop in gdp of more than a dollar and possibly as much as $3. history does not need to repeat itself and now i don't think it will. over the weekend, the senate passed the american rescue plan, and soon the bill could be out of congress and on its way to the president's desk.
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to the many mayors and city officials who advocated for this bill, thank you. i know your voice has made a difference. they made a difference in the bill's passage, and now they will make a difference out in the country. the rescue plan will fund a massive immunization campaign. it will ensure that people will be able to keep a roof over their heads and that unemployment insurance checks still come in the mail. of course, the plan also includes $350 billion to state and local governments so we don't make the mistakes of the past recession. in the coming days, our treasury team is going to work to get this aid out in the quickest way possible.
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and in the way to do that that produces the greatest impact. to do that, going to need your input and advice. if we do our job, i'm confident that americans will make it to the other side of this pandemic, and get there with a measure of prosperity. by the end of the year, i expect your city economies will resemble 2019 much more than 2020. that's going to be a part of this bill's legacy, helping americans endure the final months of this crisis. but there's also another piece of this. i think with the passage of the american rescue plan, it will finally allow us to do what most of us came to government for, not simply to fight fires and resolve crises, but to build a better country. after all, for so many people, simply returning to a 2019
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economy is not sufficient or even desirable. that year, despite strong labor markets, we had some deep structural problems in the economy. people worry about a k-shaped recovery to this pandemic but long before covid-19 infected a single american, we were living in a k-shaped economy. some people did very well. but many more did not. men without a college degree had not seen their real pay go up in half a century. and the same was true for black americans writ large. even before the pandemic closed daycare centers and moved school online, millions of women were being pushed out of the labor force, often due to lack of affordable childcare. and by the way, we should ask, was it a coincidence that lake
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charles was hit with three freak storms in just 12 months? if we do not address the threat of climate change i worry that many american cities will live the lake charles experience in the back half of this century with many federally declared disasters each year. indeed, if we want the united states to remain a leading force in the late 21st century, then we're going to have to attack these challenges. that's the opportunity we are given with the passage of the american rescue plan. this will see us through the immediate crisis, clear away the i could os in front of our eyes, and eventually let us lift our sights to the future. i've spent almost my entire life thinking about economics and how
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it can help people in hard times. my father was a doctor in brooklyn. he was also a child of the depression. he had a very visual reaction -- visceral reaction to economic hardship. when one of his patients lost a job or couldn't pay, it hurt him, and he'd tell us about it. those remain some of the clearest moments in my childhood. economics is sometimes considered a dry subject. but i've always tried to approach my science the same way my dad approached his. as a means to help people. i've always tried to see that humanity beneath the numbers. that is why, for as long as i'm in this office, you have an ally at the treasury. because your work, the work of the city, is often where those two things meet. economic policymaking finds its humanity in the city budget, in the hiring of teachers and the
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building of infrastructure. it's in the ribbon cuttings. when i spoke to nick hunter he said for obvious reasons there hadn't been many ribbon cuttings in lake charles recently. but the day after he had two. one for a chiropractor's office, another for a mortgage company. i know ribbon cuttings are usually ho-hum work, but when my team finally followed up with the mayor, he said the events were more emotional than he ever expected, and i think all of us are going to experience that feeling this year. how meaningful it feels to build something back. in 2020 was defined by surprise at what else could go wrong, i hope this year we're defined by surprise at what else feels so right. thank you very much.
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> hello. i'm the mayor from the town of twist located in washington state. here at n.l.c.'s 2021 congressional city conference, we're looking forward to addressing the urgent need for covid-19 relife for america's cities, towns, villages. as you know, local governments have been on the frontlines of this pandemic, protecting our residents and preparing our communities to rebuild. meanwhile, the pandemic has severely impacted our revenues at the local level.
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cities, towns, and villages across the country are anticipating $360 billion in revenue shortfalls through the end of 2022 with $90 billion in shortfalls just this year alone. already, we are seeing how these shortfalls are forcing local leaders to make cuts to essential services and personnel, including those that are vital to our pandemic response and recovery efforts. that's why we are urging congress to fulfill its responsibility to our local heroes and pass the american rescue plan, which will deliver $350 billion in direct flexible assistance to state and local governments. delivering this critical aid will help us fund municipal jobs, continue to provide essential services, and support the economic recovery that our communities need now and into the future. this week, we look forward to engaging with experts and policymakers from across the
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country to discuss how we can work together to ensure all of our residents and communities can recover from this pandemic. and so thank you for your work and for joining us here today. ♪ >> please welcome n.l.c.'s second vice president and mayor of tacoma, washington, victoria woodards. mayor woodards: thank you for joining us for this important conversation on the covid-19 vaccine. we're welcomed to the thought leaders on vaccine hesitancy and local leaders to help build back confidence among the hard hit and hard to reach communities. we know about the disproportionate impact of covid-19 infection, illness and
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deaths on communities. in mid-february, the federal government reported on increased mortality among americans in the first six months of 2020 with the start of the pandemic, a drop of life expectancy of nearly a year for whites, 2.3 years for hispanics, and 2.7 years for black americans. we also know that there are strong vaccine hesitancy in these communities. as local leaders, we need to use our voices and platforms to reach these residents in our community. i'm very pleased today to welcome back a renowned panel of experts to address this critical issue. joining me is dr. benjamin who currently serves as the executive director of the american public health association, the nation's oldest and largest organization of public health professionals.
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dr. victor dzau is the president of the national academy of medicine and served as vice chair of the national research council. derrick johnson serves as president and c.e.o. of the naacp. and dr. leana wen is the former health commissioner for the city of baltimore who serves as a public health professor at george washington university. including being a cnn analyst. thank you for being with us today. so the open question for all of you. throughout this past year, we looked forward to vaccines as the light at the end of the tunnel. as supply is ramping up to meet demand, we are now concerned with vaccine hesitancy that may prevent us from achieving herd immunity. are we making too much of the vaccine hesitancy, and are there
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other vaccines at play? dr. benjamin, we'll start with you. to lay the foundation, can you share from your perspective the importance of ensuring the public health community works together with local leaders to share science-based information on the vaccine with the public, especially groups with deeply planted seeds of distrust due to chronic structural racism? dr. benjamin: well, thank you very much. we know that hesitancy is an important concern. and what we mean by that, about 40% of the population broadly is not sure about the vaccine just because they don't know enough about the vaccine. and so there are lots of efforts that are being done right now to give people a lot more information so that they can become more vaccine confident and actually take the shot. i think while hesitancy is very important, and we need to pay attention to it, the issue is a lot of structural problems.
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you know, being able to actually get an appointment, being competent to use the computer, particularly for elderly individuals, having access to wi-fi or a computer, having the vaccine site in your community, all of those kind of structure things are probably bigger problems in the hesitancy. i think as people begin to see more and more people doing fine with the vaccinations, a lot of hesitancy will go away. but it is important that we not only get the message right but we also get the messengers right. and that means using people that people are trusted in the community, people that look like them, people that have the same life experiences, people that they know and trust like faith leaders and their doctors and nurses. mayor woodards: thank you, dr. benjamin. dr. dzau, the action network recently released guidance on
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building vaccine confidence through effective communication and engaging stakeholders in the community. in your view, what are the most important ways that mayors and local elected officials should be using their voices to reach hard-to-reach at-risk communities? dr. dzau: thank you for letting me comment on that. hesitant individuals are not a monolithic group. certainly, the public's opinion of vaccination will continue, those who are hesitant to those who are totally opposed to vaccination. and our research has shown that communication should be based on reaching those who are hesitant because that will be most effective at increasing uptake. focusing on those folks will only exanger bait and -- exaggerate and contribute to the
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problem. special efforts to reach those, as you said, bipop and most vulnerable. if you think about this, hesitancy is a complete social and behavior issue. how do people think? how do they decide? how do you influence them? because we're telling them the right thing to do doesn't mean it will happen. that's why i believe we have done well at the national academy because we put out a study called strategies for being confidence in the covid-19 vaccines. we brought together behavioral, social, economic scientists in addition to health scientists. and think about ways to engage the public and communicate strategies that has to be complemented -- implemented at the national, state, and local levels. i can tell you more about the details. suffice it to say, we say there are six overall strategies to engage the public and build community trust.
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community -- communication is really important. timely, credible, and clear and empathetic communications. ways by which you can reach the community by recognizing many are hesitant, many of them, in fact, have experienced inequity such as racism, being able to meet them where they are and get the message to meet the moment. we should respond to in a timely manner. don't spend time repeating false claims or debunking misinformation. as georges benjamin said, getting trust in the community, working closely with the community organizations, that's what our message is. thank you. mayor wood ars: thank you very much -- mayor woodards: thank you very much, dr. dzah.
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mr. johnson, there are those in communities of color who are hesitant to the vaccine due to mistrust rooted in systemic racism. in 16 states that released data by race, white residents are being vaccinated as much higher rates. in many cases, two or three times higher. what have you learned in your work with the naacp that would help our local leaders reach these communities to ensure higher rates of vaccination? mr. johnson: great question. thank you for the opportunity. you look at the hesitancy in the african-american community and i think it's true to all communities, really falls into five buckets. one, for the first time in over a hundred years we're seeing a global pandemic. this nation, we didn't have a true federal response. so the mismessaging that was coming from the federal government, state governments and local governments created a level of confusion that should never have been in place.
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secondly, the fact that this pandemic was politicized. the wearing of a mask was politicized. so you had people questioning whether or not the legitimacy of the pandemic with something she should be concerned with. and we would like the federal leadership to create space to take information and direction in which it's not healthy for our communities. thirdly, the question of the truth, we've seen over the last four years the movement away from what we can all agree on are a set of facts. when you don't have a baseline set of facts it leads to misinterpretation that took away from the reality that public health experts should be leading this conversation, not politicians who allowed it to be
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partisan, therefore, factual information was oftentimes dismissed with conspiracy theories. fourthly, history matters. history matters for the african-american communities and many communities that never had the most trusting relationships with medical health professionals, not the most trusted relationships with the delivery of quality health care to our communities or when we have these type of outbreaks. and then finally, relationships. in order for us to overcome all of these things, talk to individuals who have trusting relationships. neighbor talking to neighbor. talking to constituency groups. ministers talking to congregations. and that's how we overcome what we have witnessed over the last four years to get past the hesitancy. more important to your question, to allow individuals to penetrate where we are so we can get to a who are healthy place.
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mayor woodards: thank you, president johnson. dr. wen, we'll turn to you. you've been on the frontlines leading the city health department. you have firsthand experience what our members are up against in their communities across the country. with the new administration just starting and quicking off a -- kicking off a national strategy to end the pandemic, what do you want most to see happen? dr. wen: i very much appreciate the question. i want to say thank you to everyone on the call for the work that you're doing every single day. certainly to my fellow panelists and their important work. to all of you because you are -- we have all been running this -- what is now a marathon. we've been running at sprint speed. thank you for the great work you've already been doing. you know, i wanted to comment on the great question that was asked but also on the overall framing question you had at the very beginning, mayor, which was
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about this issue of vaccine hesitancy and is that -- is that to explain the disproportionate numbers we've been seeing when it comes to different communities getting vaccinated? and i actually have -- i certainly agree with my fellow panelists. i think the trusted messenger that president johnson and dr. benjamin talked about. i think the framework that dr. dzau laid out is exceptional and really important for us to talk about. i think there's something else, too. which is that so often vaccine hesitancy is being used as an excuse to explain why certain communities are not getting vaccinated when actually the issue is not hesitancy, it is assets. right now in so many part of the nation we have demand far outstripping supply. and many places as we know it's a really confusing array of how people can get information about vaccination. that in many places people have
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to enlist family and friends and text and call and figure out all these online mechanisms. people are setting up new platforms to figure out vaccinations. this is not an equitable way of distributing vaccines. we know when you have a first come first service system it's chaotic, that you'll leave behind those who already lack access and we know that covid has hit different populations unequally. that black americans, latino americans, indigenous people, native americans, for example, have been disproportionately affected and i fear we are now blaming individuals as opposed to blaming the system for why we are not having equal access to the vaccine. so in terms of what i would like to see happen, i want transparent reporting of data. it's really important for us to see in real time who is getting vaccinated and therefore we can see also who is not. and then identify the strategies
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about how to reach them. dr. dzau made a very good point that vooeb hes tans -- vaccine hesitancy is not even the same. whether it's hesitancy or access in order to know. and there is also an issue of counting. this is an issue, for example, in cities like mine in baltimore, in our city we have 11 acute care hospitals. so if you are counting the allocation to baltimore city, including all the allocations to the hospitals, but you're not counting the fact that many people who are patients at the hospitals or employees at the hospitals getting shots are not actually city residents, that's not counting fairly. so it looks like a lot of doses are going to cities when actually they're really not going to city residents. i think there's a question if mass vaccination sites are within cities, you may be setting aside those living in the city too. and i think we need to do a lot more scaling up programs.
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these mobile vaccinations. going door-to-door doing outreach. president johnson mentioned about faith-based communities. lifting up these success stories and scaling them up i think is going to be important. because if anything covid has taught us, it unmasked existing disparities which i fear will be amplified unless we take proactive action right now. mayor woodards: thank you so much, dr. wen. you all talked about hesitancy versus access. we talked a lot about access. i think what's so helpful in these conferences we get real-time information, real-time examples. so i'm going to ask each of you -- those of you who want to answer, do you all have examples where there's been successful collaboration in communities in getting people vaccinated? so maybe real-life examples we can point to and look into that can be helpful to us here on the ground as we're trying to do
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this, whether it's addressing hesitancy as in access? if you've seen something in the -- any examples you would like to share? >> sorry, georges. dr. dzau: if you talk vaccine hesitancy and isolation, you believe it is individual behavior. you obscure the broader structural factors such as access, housing, jobs, equity, other things. so i think much of our communication has to be acknowledging the shortcomings of health equity and to frame the covid-19 vaccine as one of the tools to advance equity. so georges, back to you.
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sorry to interrupt. dr. benjamin: no. that's perfect, victor. what i did with my tiny health department was we actually took the health department, we went into a community, which is disproportionately impacted by covid. we had a large pop-up clinic. we had lots of volunteers. maybe had 20 or 30 tables there with many, many volunteers and we basically went with a marathon vaccination effort. we had over 700 shots, i believe, done that day. but i think the novel part of this was they identified where the high-risk community was and we said, look, we're going to do people 75 years of age and older and we went there. by the way, there was no hesitancy. those people wanted to get vaccinated. they just needed to know. the community was reached out to by community messengers.
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we got the ministers involved. lots of publicity. of course, the media showed up. and it was a great event. i think we need to do more of these kinds of things, going into the communities, taking the shots to the people versus having the people come to the shots. mayor wood ared -- mayor woodards: go ahead. dr. dzau: they partnered with costco, labor unions, in order to have the washington vaccination center. a public-private partnership brought together labor unions, health groups, to create infrastructure, using computer simulation. what's the best place, what is
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the way to vaccinate? the other one was c.v.s. with lyft and ymca. lyft, they provide transportation to vaccination appointment and also provide social media, marketing resources connecting people together. these are really good public-private partnerships. mayor woodards: thank you. i did not know he would mention a partnership happening in my very own state. thank you for that, dr. zahu. dr. wen, president johnson, any additional ideas from the two of you? president johnson: sure. one of the partnerships i watch emerge was one with the federally qualified health clinics and african-american churches. it was one in which those health clinics are embedded in some of the communities, particularly in the south. they were able to call through
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the rolo decks to make -- rolodex to make sure they knew. and they set up sites in the church parking lot so people could drive through and get the shot and do whatever is necessary and get out of there. it was really helpful because both the clinic and the church -- the churches are embedded in the community where people are -- who are most at risk need to get access to the shot. the thing i appreciated the most, people had the option to get the moderna or the pfizer shot. they got a clear way to come back. we found that to be successful. we hope as they continue to roll that out we see more people having direct access to get shots. mayor woodards: thank you, president johnson. dr. wen. dr. wen: well, i have learned a
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lot in this session from the successful examples and lots of questions because i think it's nice to hear about the solutions and the innovative partnerships that work, also. i'll give two examples here. and they're both hyper, hyper local examples. one is the outreach work that's being done already by the baltimore health department and i'm sure by other health departments and local community partners around the country which is that they are going literally door-to-door. not just through mobile advance, which i think is already really important, because you're taking your -- you're breaking down the barrier of transportation by going -- by using mobile access. but people may not always know. we take it for granted. i know i'm a consumer of the news. i'm sure you are all consumer of the news. we take for granted people may be reading the paper, seeing where local vaccination sites
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are. that's not always the case. that door-to-door outreach is really important. i think in the future if we can marry the outreach with giving vaccinations door-to-door, i think it's really important. and back to dr. benjamin's earlier point, to get to people where they are. people who are homebound, who may not get to sites. again, that outreach is happening already and i think is so powerful. just one more example, too. in my work, and i'm sure in all the panelists' work too, i have heard of so many individuals trying their best. individuals who collected the names of people within their congregation or their neighbors or even gone to nextdoor about who they can help their elderly neighbors or those that don't have internet access or easy phone access and helping them. i think for us to be able to tell those stories and to think those individuals trying to make a difference is really powerful,
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too. mayor woodards: thank you, dr. wen. this time went back so quickly. it was so informative. i thank you all for sharing with us this afternoon. i'd like to ask everybody, please join me in thanking our panelists for sharing. ♪ >> please welcome back n.l.c. president. >> all right, my friends. my n.l.c. family, just like that, we're closing the book on c.c.c. 2021 programming. thank you so much for being here and learning with each other the last few days. if we've learned anything this year is that we partner with our federal leaders and with each other. none of this can do this alone. as i've said before, we know
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cities are stronger together. i hope to see you all tomorrow for virtual hill day. let's put politics aside and respond, recover, and rebuild for the future. and let congress learn from our example. i hope you all stay safe and healthy. i can't wait to see everyone in salt lake city in november. have a wonderful evening. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> you're watching c-span, your unfiltered view of government. c-span was created by america's cable television companies in 1979. today, we're brought to you by these television companies who provide c-span to viewers as a public service.
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>> the u.s. house returns at 2:00 p.m. eastern. this afternoon, members will debate an extension to the paycheck protection program, also legislation giving congressional gold medals to members of the house capitol police. >> witness morning -- wednesday morning, alejandro may yorkas will discuss the agency's mission and operations. watch live at 9:30 a.m. eerp on c-span3 -- eastern on c-span3, listen at or listen free on the c-span radio app. in. host: we welcome you back to our program. the president of the national border control council, in his group to serve as a union representing about 20,000 border patrol agent and staff. branded judd on the surge of legal -- brandon judd on the surge of illegal crossings. at


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