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Bill Flores Discusses the Latest from Washington

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Washington, D.C., March 13, 2020 | comments

Bill Flores Discusses the Latest from Washington

U.S. Representative Bill Flores (R-Texas) issued the following statements – an update regarding Coronavirus; and comments regarding the reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and House passage of S.J.Res. 68, a War Powers Resolution concerning Iran.

House Passes Second Coronavirus Relief Legislation

“Today, the House took another step to address the crisis by passing a second major Coronavirus relief package. This is in addition to the legislation Congress passed last week to provide funding resources addressing the public health threat posed by the virus. This week’s legislation provides economic relief to small businesses and workers, as well as additional measures to help state and local health agencies deal with the ongoing spread of the disease. It is tragic that the package was unnecessarily delayed while Speaker Pelosi exploited this public health emergency by attempting to insert partisan, liberal provisions into the legislation. One of her most egregious actions was an attempt to reverse current law provisions that have prevented taxpayer funding of abortions for decades. It is hard to imagine that she was adding provisions to kill unborn children in a bill to help save families from the effects of the Coronavirus.  Ultimately, however, those partisan provisions were removed, and for the second week in a row, Coronavirus legislation passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support.

“The bill includes several policies designed to help hardworking Americans whose lives have been negatively affected by the Coronavirus. Some of the provisions that will immediately help ease the economic and health aspects of this battle are virus testing resources, sick leave provisions, and family leave.

“While I am disappointed that two significant policies proposed by President Trump, an immediate payroll tax cut and more than $50 billion for the Small Business Administration to offer loans, were not included, I am hopeful they will be included as Congress considers future legislation to defeat the Coronavirus. In addition, I applaud President Trump’s decision to declare a national state of emergency. This designation will allow him to direct $50 billion in federal assistance to state and local authorities to help combat the spread of the Coronavirus.  Also, the Trump Administration’s groundbreaking creation of robust partnerships with private industry and states will leverage 21st century technologies and numerous retail locations to implement an innovative and widely available virus testing program in the next few days.   

“Also, this week President Trump appointed Admiral Brett P. Giroir, the Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as the lead coordinator for Coronavirus testing among public health service agencies. Adm. Giroir spent eight years with Texas A&M University and is a constituent of the 17th Congressional district. I have known Brett for well over a decade and I have great confidence that his knowledge, experience, and leadership will be a great resource in the Coronavirus fight. Adm. Giroir has been serving admirably at HHS, and last year served as acting chief at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He has been tasked by HHS Secretary Alex Azar to improve coordination between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the FDA; private laboratories; public clinical laboratories; and state and local health authorities. 

“During the last 20 years, the United States has dealt with outbreaks of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, West Nile Virus, Zika, and Ebola. Each of these diseases originated internationally and spread to the United States. Each outbreak tested our pandemic defenses, and every time America rose to the challenge and eliminated the threat. These events helped us prepare better for the next, and today, the United States is better prepared than ever to handle health challenges like the Coronavirus.

“As Congress, the President, and the federal government continue to assess and respond, the best thing Texans and their families can do is use common-sense prevention methods recommended by the CDC. If you are feeling sick, stay home; cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough; and vigorously wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. If you are not able to wash your hands, use hand sanitizer. Taking these steps will make it much less likely that you get sick or that you spread illness to others.

“We need to remember that the facts demonstrate our nation is prepared and that there is no reason for panic. There is no better-equipped country to stop the Coronavirus than the United States.  Each of us, working together with our government agencies, will beat this disease, protect our citizens, and be an exemplary international example of how to deal with threats of this nature.”

Congress Misses Opportunity to Hold Lawbreakers Accountable

“On Wednesday, Congress considered legislation that would reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Current FISA law is the tool that rogue persons in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ) used to illegally spy on members of the Trump Campaign during the 2016 election. 

“The partisan wiretapping and surveillance by a small number of corrupt, politically motivated bureaucrats at the DOJ and FBI exposed parts of a legal community that was out of control.  In January of this year, FISA courts acknowledged that the FBI knowingly submitted false information when obtaining warrants to spy on members of the Trump campaign. Dozens of egregious mistakes were identified by DOJ Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz during the process of obtaining the FISA warrants.  According to the IG, the FBI committed ‘gross incompetence and negligence’ and failed to meet ‘basic obligations’ when agents applied for warrants. Earlier this month, James Boasberg, a new FISA Court judge stated, ‘There is thus little doubt that the government breached its duty of candor to the court with respect to those applications.’

“Despite these clear findings of unlawful behavior, none of the individuals at the FBI or the DOJ who were involved have been punished or even charged for these criminal activities.  If the FBI and DOJ will not hold these individuals accountable to our current laws, what reason do Americans have to believe that those agencies will hold anyone accountable for violating a new, ‘reformed’ FISA law?

“Without punishment, there is no reason for me to believe that any reforms passed by Congress will be taken seriously by career bureaucrats who choose to break the law.  Thus, I voted against this bill for the simple reason that I cannot vote for any law that gives any agency or wayward bureaucrat the potential to violate our Constitutional rights until I know that our federal government will enforce all laws equally, without regard to power or position.”

Democrats Continue Assault on President Trump’s Ability to Keep Americans Safe

“On Wednesday, I voted against S.J.Res. 68, another attempt by extremist Democrats to weaken President Trump’s ability to protect the lives of American soldiers and civilians and our allies. Within hours of passage of this shameful, and likely unconstitutional, resolution, Iranian-backed militias launched rockets at U.S. forces in Iraq, killing two U.S. servicemembers. Under the Democrats' view of the world, President Trump would not have the ability to defend our country against Iranian acts like this tragedy.   

“As evidenced by this week’s attack, the missile attack in December that killed an American contractor, the takeover of the American embassy in Baghdad, and the killing of hundreds of American military personnel in Iraq, Iran is not a nation we can trust. Ignoring these inconvenient facts, S.J. Res. 68 represents the third time in two months that House Democrats have staged a partisan debate on Iran, and the fifth time they have abused the War Powers Act to pass partisan messaging bills that only serve to weaken America and embolden our enemies.

“Instead of weakening President Trump’s ability to counter Iran, we should instead be debating ways to strengthen his hand. Since coming to Congress, I have cosponsored more than 20 bills that restrained Iran’s hostilities in the region and gave both President Obama and President Trump the tools needed to confront Iran. Holding Iran accountable for its human rights abuses, sponsorship of international terrorism, development of ballistic missiles, and pursuit of nuclear weapons is an American issue, not a partisan, political matter.”

National Day of Prayer

“President Trump has declared Sunday, March 15th as a National Day of Prayer.  Considering our current challenges, I hope that all Americans will join together to pray for a bright future for our country and our fellow citizens.”


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