It was a sad week in the Congress as we mourned the loss of our colleague and friend Representative John Lewis. I was honored to join Members of Congress and the Lewis family in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol as he arrived to lie in state and to be part of the Congressional delegation attending his funeral in Atlanta. Across the country and across the political spectrum, Americans including President Bush, President Clinton, and President Obama, each of whom spoke at his funeral, celebrated his life and honored his courage and his commitment to our country, his belief in the founding ideals of this country and in his fellow citizens.
This week, the House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (WRDA), critical legislation that oversees local water infrastructure needs and ensures Congressional oversight of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. I was proud to work in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to help develop this bill and to secure multiple priorities for the Houston region. Some of these priorities include:
Additionally, the House voted on and passed the Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act, legislation to establish a 19-member commission that will examine the social disparities that disproportionately affect black males in America, and the National Museum of the American Latino Act, legislation to establish a museum in the Smithsonian Institution to highlight Latino contributions to the story of the United States. Last, the House passed the Child Care is Essential Act and Child Care for Economic Recovery Act, bills to support child care providers and invest in our nation’s child care system.
Dallas Rep. Colin Allred and me on the House steps between votes this week.
I am hosting my fifth small business webinar Tuesday, August 4, from 3PM-4PM, focused on answering your questions about PPP loan forgiveness. I will be joined by two experts from the Houston Small Business Administration (SBA) office: Tim Jeffcoat, the District Director, and Winston Labbe, the Outreach and Marking Specialist.
Our district’s 2020 Census response rate is only 58.8 percent. Although we are doing slightly better than the Texas overall, which has a self-response rate of 57.8 percent, we are behind the national average. Texas is ranked 39th overall. Let’s make good on the promise that everything is bigger and better in Texas by making sure everyone is counted.
COVID-19 continues to spread in our community and across the country. The Houston Chronicle reports that Friday marked the third-highest day for new COVID-19 cases in Texas. Harris County is still under a COVID-19 Threat Level 1, meaning we must continue to take all precautions possible to control the spread. While there is positive news, as we saw a slight decrease in the Harris County hospitalization numbers this week, we must remain careful and vigilant. The case numbers are still high and continue to increase. You can find Harris County-specific information here.
As you have likely seen in the news, the House and the Senate are currently negotiating another coronavirus relief bill. The House of Representatives passed one in May—the Heroes Act—to provide for a strategic and well-funded, science-based testing plan, which experts say we need in order to live with the virus and re-engage our communities; funding for state and local governments to support our heroes, the health workers, first responders, teachers, food, transit and sanitation workers, and other frontline heroes risking their lives to save others; and lifelines that struggling families need, like continued unemployment assistance, food programs, and rent and mortgage assistance. The Senate proposed its own alternative bill this week, but it has not yet passed it. Representatives from the House, the Senate, and the White House are meeting currently to negotiate this additional relief legislation – and I am ready to vote again in support of legislation to protect Americans' lives and livelihoods.
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