Dear Neighbor,

Once again, I write at the end of a historic week.  What I witnessed in the United States Capitol on January 6 and in the days since is vitally important for you to know. 

This Wednesday, I returned to the House Gallery, one week to the day that a violent mob surrounded it while I was inside for the certification of the electoral college result.  I was back in the House this week to debate the Article of Impeachment against President Trump for inciting the attack on the Capitol, your elected representatives, and our democratic system that would once have been unthinkable.  

I co-sponsored the article of impeachment against President Trump and voted in favor of this resolution.  It passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support, 232-197.

During the debate, many members of Congress used their time to explain their reasons for supporting or opposing impeachment of the President.  Sadly, many used their time to make false claims and comparisons, to continue to dispute the outcome of the presidential election, to blame others, and to continue with the dangerous narrative that what happened on January 6 was a peaceful protest.

It was not a peaceful protest.  It was an armed attack, an insurrection of people who sought to disrupt the work of the government through force.  The Washington Post has published a compelling video timeline of the events that took place inside the Capitol.  (I was a part of the group in the House Gallery discussed from around the 9:30- to 13-minute mark in the video.) 

While some present may have been caught up in something other than what they anticipated, make no mistake that organized, armed, and coordinated groups intended to stop the certification of the election results and were prepared to do so through violence.  They stormed the Capitol with tactical gear, weapons, and Confederate battle flags, one of which was paraded through the United States Capitol.  Five people were killed.  Many more injured, most of them brave U.S. Capitol Police officers who engaged in hand-to-hand combat to protect the Congress.

As we continue to learn more about that day, there are many questions to answer.  This week, my colleagues and I have worked to address the failures in intelligence, preparation, and planning that contributed to that tragic day.  We are calling for several investigations:

One thing we know now, however, is that this effort is not over.  You likely know from the news that those who attacked the Capitol on January 6 have vowed to return—perhaps today, perhaps inauguration day, perhaps another day.  This is domestic terrorism.

How we respond—as a Congress and as a people—matters.  And it has to start with telling the truth.  That is why I took to the House floor on Wednesday to condemn the specious and dangerous statements being made by colleagues who sought to diminish the seriousness of the attack on the Capitol or this moment in history.  You can watch my remarks here.

We have enormous and complex challenges before us.  We are dealing with the health and other impacts of a deadly pandemic that has taken the lives of nearly 400,000 Americans and the livelihoods of many more.  I know it is true.  Because I hear every day from people who need help with unemployment benefits, with economic impact payments, with housing assistance.  This pandemic is real.  Its impact on the health of all of us is real.  Its impact on our economy is real.

At the same time, we have been engaged in a vital national conversation about race in this country—our past, our present, and our future.  We have an opportunity to work to heal wounds that are as old as this country itself, and we must do so.  This work, too, takes seriousness and truth.  Seeing the Confederate battle flag flown inside the United States Capitol on January 6, after witnessing alarming increases in overt racism, anti-Semitism, and bigotry across the country in recent years, reinforces the urgency and depth of the work that must be done to root out hate in our country.

How we move forward—to protect and improve the lives and livelihoods of our neighbors, to ensure justice for all, to make our union more perfect—is a great challenge.  It requires serious people to address it.  We need a diversity of ideas and perspectives, but we must start from the same set of facts.  And it must be driven by a commitment to our country and to our Constitution, to the idea of government of, by, and for the people.  That commitment has guided me throughout my time as your representative, and it always will.

As we face these challenges to our democracy, we continue to face the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.  This week, Harris County Public Health launched a new website to view COVID case data, testing and vaccine information, and demographic data more easily.  It will be updated daily at 4pm and is downloadable.

On Friday, Houstonians filled up every one of the 2,600 new vaccination appointments offered by the Houston Health Department in 16 minutes.  It will take time before everyone can receive a COVID-19 vaccine, and until then we must continue our efforts to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.  The positivity rate in Harris County is at 20.3 percent, and we remain at a Severe Threat Level for community spread.

As you may have seen in the news, the incoming Biden Administration has announced a plan to accelerate vaccine distribution, and has appointed trusted leaders to lead the effort.  You can read more about it here.

Each of us must our part to slow the spread of this virus.  Wearing a mask, keeping physical distance, and washing our hands are the most effective methods to slow the spread.  Getting tested can also help contain the spread.  You can visit to find your nearest testing site. 

I am glad to report to the small businesses in our community that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications have reopened for first-time borrowers and certain businesses who have already received and used funds.

I will be hosting a webinar with SBA-Houston on Friday, January 29 at 11 AM.  We will help answer questions for this new round of PPP, provide information about the application process, and more. 

You can RSVP here or by clicking the link below to join.

With this reopening, there are some key changes and additions to the program:

  1. I ensured that my bill, H.R. 6754, the Protecting the Paycheck Protection Program Act, was included in the passage of the most recent coronavirus package.  It permits normal tax deductions for expenses paid with forgiven PPP loans.

  2. This round of funding sets aside $15 billion for first-time borrowers with 10 or fewer employees and for small loans in low-income areas.

  3. PPP funds may now be used and forgiven for the purchase of protective equipment, adaptive investments, and software and cloud computing, among other things. 

  4. 501(c)(6) organizations representing business associations may now receive PPP loans. Also, our local newspapers and broadcasters providing us with life-saving information are now eligible for assistance.

  5. Loan forgiveness applications have also been simplified for loans under $150,000.  I encourage you to call your lender to determine if this is available to you.

My team is also available to assist with any questions or concerns about the PPP. Call us at (713) 353-8680.

Tomorrow, we will celebrate the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a national day of service inspired by the courageous leader who saw what could be and worked to make it so, the man who reminded us: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’”  On Wednesday, we will inaugurate our 46th President.  It is a week of that reminds us all of who we are, who we can be, and what we can do when we work together.  I look forward to working with the Biden administration and with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address the urgent challenges and opportunities before us.  Despite the events of recent days, I remain hopeful that we can make real and meaningful progress.  

I am proud to represent you, and I am here to help you.  Please do not hesitate to call me to share your thoughts and concerns or to let me know how my team and I can help.  You can email here, or call my office at (713) 353-8680 any time.

Best wishes,

119 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2571
Fax: (202) 225-4381
5599 San Felipe Road, Suite 950
Houston, TX 77056
Phone: (713) 353-8680
Fax: (713) 353-8677