Another week has passed, and I hope you are safe and healthy. With everything that is going on in our community and across the country, I am committed to continuing my work on behalf of our district. I am glad to share this week’s update week you.
Many of our neighbors have called my office this week concerned about what is happening with the U.S. Postal Service—concerns that I share as well. We rely on the Postal Service deliver our mail—our medicines, our paychecks, our social security checks, our ballots, and so much more. I am committed to ensuring the successful operation of the Postal Service, especially during this pandemic, and to fighting the efforts to undermine it. This week, I joined 174 of my House colleagues in a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy asking questions about the operational and organizational changes implemented by the Postal Service that impact the ability to deliver mail in a timely and effective manner. The House Committee on Oversight and Reform has invited the Postmaster General to testify at a hearing next week on the changes. The House will reconvene this week and I will return to Washington to consider and vote on a bill relating to these matters.
In addition to the Postal Service letter, I sent a letter with my Science, Space, and Technology Committee colleagues Subcommittee on Environment Chairwoman Mikie Sherrill and Subcommittee on Research and Technology Chairwoman Haley Stevens to the U.S. Government Accountability Office asking it to examine how the Federal Government has coordinated research and development activities on Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) across different agencies. A thorough examination of the current state of PFAS science is critical to understanding the extent of the problem, cleaning up contaminated sites, addressing health effects, and setting future policy. You can read our letter here.
Yesterday marked three months since the House of Representatives passed The Heroes Act, legislation to continue funding the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I have heard from many of you, and I share your frustration and disappointment that, despite the offer from House leadership to meet halfway in negotiations in order to pass a bill, the Senate adjourned without passing any bill or presenting a plan to combat the virus. The Heroes Act proposed a multi-faceted approach to combatting the effects of virus: supporting our front-line health care workers and hospitals, funding state and local governments to provide essential services and avoid layoffs, and implementing a national testing and treatment strategy. Many people across our community and the country cannot afford to wait for the kind of relief this legislation can bring. I am committed to advocating on our community’s behalf through this process, and hope to have a better update for you soon.
Our community is still working to contain the spread of the coronavirus. On Friday, Texas surpassed 10,000 COVID-19 deaths, marking the sixth-highest day for newly reported deaths since the pandemic began, according to a Houston Chronicle analysis. There is positive news, however: the number of TMC hospitalizations has fallen by half since the peak in July, and the positivity rate in our community has gone down.
These improvements show that our efforts can work to slow the spread. Health experts and community leaders remind us, however, that we are not yet where we need to be in order to contain the virus. It is critical to remain vigilant: wear a mask and keep your distance to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your neighbors.
This week, I got to connect with many people across our district on the phone and on Zoom. Among them, I was glad to speak Easter Seals Houston for “Start Up Day 2020
,” highlighting innovation and entrepreneurship in our district. I appreciated the chance to visit with the Green family to hear about the care they received at the Texas Children’s Hospital. I also got an update from the Baker Institute team on the soil carbon storage standard that they are developing and related legislation. This year, I met over Zoom with TX07 residents during the Recording Academy District Advocate Day where we discussed the impact of the pandemic on musicians and artists.
This is what our meetings look like these days:
Meeting with Recording Academy
I also appreciated the chance to speak to the inaugural South Main Alliance Community Connect about issues impacting our region.
And I was glad to get to announce this week that METRO received a 14.7 million grant from the Department of Transportation. METRO will use the funding to replace fare payment systems. At a time when METRO works to prioritize the health and safety of Houstonians who depend on transit, I am glad to announce this new funding that will help make payment more efficient and modernize our region’s transit systems.
At the end of this eventful week, I was sad to learn of the passing of Rabbi Samuel Karff. A pillar of our community, he demonstrated true commitment and collaboration throughout his life through his works at Congregation Beth Israel and throughout our community as a leader, a guide, and a friend. May his memory be a blessing to his family and our entire community.
Our constituent services team is working around the clock to make sure our neighbors can get the help they need with federal agencies. When the pandemic began, we heard from many in our community who needed help navigating the SBA loan application process. Now that PPP loan forgiveness applications are open, we are also able to help. As we move forward through the loan forgiveness period, please don't hesitate to contact us at (713) 353-8680.
As we continue to face these challenging times together, please know that my team and I are here to help. You are always welcome to share your thoughts and concerns by email us here or calling us at (713) 353-8680 any time.
I am proud to represent you, and I am here to help you.