This has been a difficult week. On Monday, we remembered and honored those who have given their lives for our country. Just two days later, as we anticipated, we reached a sad milestone: 100,000 Americans have now died from COVID-19, and families in our community and across the country continue to grieve the loss of their loved ones. Another 1.7 million Americans are infected with this novel coronavirus, and millions more impacted in ways too many to count.
And as we all learn to live with this new challenge, we have been tragically confronted with the tremendous pain of one with a long history in our country.
Like so many of you, my heart has been heavy all week since I learned of the death of George Floyd. And my mind has been haunted by the devastating video that captured the last moments of his life – seeing him begging for his life and seeing police officers ignore him while holding him down.
I released a statement earlier this week that you can read here. Over the last few days, as protests and demonstrations have taken place here in Houston and across the country, I have been grateful for the community leaders who have led peaceful marches, demonstrations, and memorials, as well as for our local government and law enforcement officials who have acknowledged the pain and the history in our own community, and have pledged to work together to address it, including Mayor Turner, Judge Hidalgo, Chief Acevedo, and Sheriff Gonzales.
We have much work to do. This kind of violence has a long history in our country. It is all of our responsibility to make sure it does not have a future. I am committed to doing my part, and I am proud to represent this community as we work together to do so.
I spent most of this week in Washington, where the House voted on several important bills, including legislation to provide more flexibility to small businesses with Paycheck Protection Program loans. The bill, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, would provide forgiveness for expenses beyond the eight-week covered period in PPP and eliminates restrictions that limit loan terms to two years, among other provisions. The bill is now headed to the Senate.
While we are still focused on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are continuing to work on other important legislation. This week, we voted to pass the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020, compelling the Trump Administration to impose sanctions on China for detaining more than a million Uygurs. I met with Houston Uygurs last year, who told me of the brutality their families in China face. I was glad to stand with them and vote for this bill.
The House also passed the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2020, directing the VA to provide a cost-of-living adjustment to veterans and the Major Medical Facility Authorization Act of 2020, directing the VA to start construction projects and upgrades at VA facilities across the country.
I was glad to participate in a virtual town hall this week with employees of a local manufacturer and a virtual visit with the Rotary Club of Memorial-Spring Branch, answering questions and hearing thoughts of district residents.
While the Capitol is closed, we have not had visits from constituents, but I was glad to announce a visit of another kind: Sharon Han is the winner of the Congressional Art Competition
for Texas’ Seventh Congressional District, and her painting will hang in the U.S. Capitol for the next year! Her painting will be featured along with the artwork from winners of other Congressional districts across the country. She beautifully captured our need to stay connected with one another in her painting, Reaching Out.
We had incredible submissions for the competition, and it was hard to choose just one! You can see the artwork from our finalists here.
Hurricane Season begins tomorrow. It is important that we all plan ahead and prepare. My team and I have assembled a Quick Reference Guide on the different resources available, which you can download here
During these difficult times, we are reminded of what we can do together. I am honored and proud to represent you, and I am here to help you. Please let me know what my team and I can do for you by emailing here or calling (713) 353-8680 any time.