Dear Neighbor,

I write to you this week with a heavy heart, as I think of the great loss in our community and our country at this moment.  With the continued spread of the coronavirus across Texas, many of our neighbors are grieving the loss of family and friends in our community.

And, I join Americans across the country in mourning the death and celebrating the life of my colleague and friend Congressman John Lewis, one of the most courageous and committed citizens our country has ever known.  Through his life, he gave us a gift – a chance to see the world as it should be and a way to make it so.  With unparalleled courage, deep faith, and profound hope, he personified a belief in the founding ideals of this country and a belief in his fellow citizens all the days of his life.

Rep. John Lewis as Grand Marshall of the MLK Parade in Houston, 2019 

I returned to Washington today with a renewed sense of purpose and commitment to the hope he brought to his work for constituents and country.  I will be here for a few weeks, working on critical legislation and will update you on the progress.  This past week, I was working from home in Houston, and I am glad to send you this update on my work.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread across our community and state.  Harris County is still under a COVID-19 Threat Level 1, and today, our state reported more than 10,000 new coronavirus infections for a fifth day in a row.  You can find the most up-to-date information for Houston & Harris County and Texas through these links.  Harris County continues to have the highest number of reported cases in our state.

I joined my colleagues in our Congressional delegation this week for an update on response to COVID-19 with FEMA, Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  I also spoke with health care providers at hospitals in our district, who emphasized the importance of our community response to the virus.  I urge you to remain careful and vigilant.  We all have a role to play in not just flattening the curve but bringing it down.

I will continue to work from D.C. to advocate for federal government support in our community, and also for the critical assistance provided in The Heroes Act, which the House passed two months ago and which is now being considered in the Senate.

With the impacts of coronavirus on all of our minds, I will host my next COVID-19 Telephone Town Hall next Sunday, July 26 at 3pm.  We will be joined by local public health leaders Dr. Umair Shah, Executive Director of Harris County Public Health, and Dr. Catherine Troisi, Infectious Disease Epidemiologist at UT Health School of Public Health.

I hope you will be able to join us.  You can RSVP by clicking here or the link below.  We will discuss the virus and answer your questions.

Congress continued to work in committees this week, preparing legislation that the full House of Representatives will vote on over the next few weeks.  On the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, we passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2020.  I am glad to report to you that, working with a bipartisan coalition, I was able to secure authorization for the Houston Ship Channel Expansion Project.  As many of you are aware, expanding the Houston Ship Channel is a smart and much-needed investment to our infrastructure that is critical to our region’s economy.  Since I arrived in Congress, I have been working with the Port of Houston, the Army Corps of Engineers, and with my colleagues on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on both sides of the aisle to move the project forward

I spoke during our markup about the importance of this project to our region and to our country’s economy, which you can watch here.

I was also glad to hold a hearing in the House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Energy on technology transfer activities at the Department of Energy (DOE) and their potential contributions to economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.  The hearing focused on activities for DOE to support and administer programs to accelerate the commercialization of clean energy and other technologies relevant to the mission of DOE and to authorize a non-profit foundation to work with the private sector to develop energy technology.  You can read my full remarks on this important topic here and watch our full subcommittee hearing here.

Our full House Science, Space, and Technology committee also held a hearing on the disproportionate impacts of extreme heat and COVID-19 on communities of color and low-income communities, and to understand the links between environmental and public health.

This week, I was glad to announce new bipartisan legislation to implement a federal PFAS study that will help protect our communities, our health, and our environment.  These chemicals have been detected across the country and linked to adverse health risks – but we still do not know how persistent they are and what the long-term effects are.  My bill requires federal agencies with PFAS expertise to work with the National Academies of Science to answer fundamental questions about PFAS – our level of exposure and the toxicity – as well as to develop a federal research and development plan to address these risks.  I am glad to work with Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin and Congressman Bill Posey on this bill.

I also worked with my colleagues on other important amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act, which the House of Representatives will consider this week.  This is the annual legislation that authorizes appropriations and sets forth policies for Department of Defense (DOD) programs and activities, including military personnel strengths.  I also co-sponsored the RISE Act to ensure federally supported university research can be completed despite COVID-19 disruptions.

As usual, I enjoyed the opportunity to visit this week with constituents across the district and to speak with several groups, including BBYO Texas and the West U Rotary Club.

In case you missed it last week, I was glad to share with you some of the highlights of the first six months of the year and of the 116th Congress to date in my mid-year report, which you can access here.

I am proud to represent you, and I am here to help you.  At this important and challenging time, I hope you will let me know how I can.  You can contact me and my team through my website, by email, or on the phone by calling (713) 353-8680 any time.

Best wishes, 

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1429 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2571
5599 San Felipe Road, Suite 950
Houston, TX 77056
Phone: (713) 353-8680