WASHINGTON— On Tuesday night, Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) held a telephone town hall where he gave an update on the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was joined by David Ostrowe, Oklahoma Secretary of Digital Transformation and Administration, who answered questions about the issues the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) is facing in distributing unemployment payments.
Below are some highlights from the event:
Mullin on the HEROES Act:
“We have already spent trillions of dollars to try to help with this pandemic. We have pumped a lot of money into the economy and the dust hasn’t even settled yet. And to double down on that is a little premature, in my opinion. I think we need to see the taxpayer dollars being used appropriately before we start throwing more money at it.”
“The HEROES Act is far from being COVID-19 related. In fact, it has a tremendous amount of stuff that has nothing to do with COVID.”
Secretary Ostrowe on unemployment claims:
“Through yesterday [Monday] we have processed about $750 million in claims…Never in our lifetimes have we seen anything like that.”
“The work we are doing today based upon this crisis will make us stronger in the future and we will never have this issue again whatsoever.”
Secretary Ostrowe on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA):
“We started taking applications for PUA before anybody else. We started taking those claims before we could process those claims…There’s probably a seven-day delay from when we got the process started to when we started processing payments. But according to the Department of Labor, we led the nation.”
You can listen to the full event here.