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Bill Flores Discusses the Latest from Washington

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Washington, D.C., May 29, 2020 | comments

U.S. Representative Bill Flores (R-Texas) issued the following statements regarding the passage of H.R. 7010, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act; Congressional action to address increasing aggression by Communist China; the passing of Texas Congressman Sam Johnson; introduction of H.R. 7021, the LAUNCHES Act; executive action by President Trump to lower the cost of insulin; and the decreases in Medicare Part D premiums during the Trump Administration.


House Passes Legislation to Help Small Businesses Stay Afloat

“This week, the House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 7010, the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act.  This legislation makes improvements to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that was created in March to help small businesses affected by COVID-19.  The PPP has loaned more than $500 billion to over four million small businesses and is a lifeline that has kept millions of Americans employed.  It became clear, though, that changes and adjustments would need to be made to the program, and this legislation does that.

“H.R. 7010 extends the timeframe for businesses to use their PPP money to 24 weeks, extends the repayment period for new loans from two years to five years, and allows businesses to use funds in a more flexible manner by adjusting the 75/25 ratio for payroll/expenses to 60/40.

“The PPP has saved millions of jobs and local businesses in every county and state around the country.  Both Congress and the Trump Administration have adjusted to program to make it work better.  Looking forward, I will continue to support necessary improvements based upon small business feedback, to help local businesses continue to reopen safely, protect jobs, and serve their communities.”


Congress Responds to Communist China’s Continuing Aggression Against Freedom and Human Rights

“On Wednesday, the House passed S. 3744, the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act.  The treatment of minority groups within China is reprehensible and should not be tolerated by any nation.  Leaked documents have exposed the extreme lengths that the Chinese Communist Party has gone to decimate the Uyghur population, including placing over one million Uyghurs in government run concentration camps.  The men women and children who are forced into these camps are often not heard from for years, and in some cases, they ‘disappear’.  It is crucial that America not turn a blind eye to the cultural genocide committed by the Chinese government, and this law is an important step to address their oppression and genocide.

“On Thursday, the Chinese government enacted a plan to pass national security laws for Hong Kong that will effectively put an end to the individual liberties, free press and rule of law freedoms that the people of Hong Kong enjoy as part of long-established ‘one country, two systems’ protocols. As part of the original agreement to transfer the Hong Kong Colony from England to China, the Chinese agreed to protect the systems, freedoms and basic rights of all Hong Kong citizens for at least an additional 50 years. This latest violation by the Chinese government proves that they are not interested in cooperating with other nations and international agreements if it puts the rule of the Chinese Communist Party at risk. I strongly support Secretary of State Pompeo’s announcement that the State Department no longer considers Hong Kong to have significant autonomy from China.”


Passing of Former Texas Congressman Sam Johnson

"On Wednesday the world lost a true American hero and selfless servant with the passing of Sam Johnson.  Sam was an inspiration to me and millions of others through his lifetime commitment to serving our country.  As an Air Force pilot, he flew nearly 100 combat missions in Korea and Vietnam.  While flying a mission in 1966, he was shot down and was a prisoner of war at the infamous ‘Hanoi Hilton’ in Vietnam for seven years, including spending 42 months in solitary confinement.  This experience strengthened his faith and resolve, and upon returning home, Sam continued his commitment to public service, serving in both the Texas state legislature and the United States House of Representatives for 27 years.

“While in Congress, he was a strong, conservative voice, respected by Members in both parties, and always willing to give guidance and support to anyone who needed it.  It was this respect that led to Congress renaming a hearing room in the Rayburn House Office Building the ‘Sam Johnson Room.’  On the wall behind where the Members sit is a quote written by Sam which was told to him by a fellow POW in Vietnam ‘Freedom has a taste to those who fight and almost die that the protected will never know’.  Sam was especially helpful to me when I ran for and was elected Chairman of the Republican Study Committee in 2014, 20 years after he helped re-establish the group.  Gina and I are saddened by the loss of a friend and mentor, and our prayers are with the entire Johnson family."


Congressman Flores Introduces Bipartisan LAUNCHES Act

“On Tuesday, Congressman Darren Soto (D-FL) and I introduced H.R. 7021, the bipartisan Leveraging American Understanding of Next-generation Challenges Exploring Space (LAUNCHES) Act.  This bill will eliminate unnecessary barriers that hamper the ability of private companies to launch rockets from U.S. soil into space.

“For the first time since 2011 we will be launching U.S. astronauts on U.S. spacecraft from American soil. We are in the midst of a new era in space flight history marked by unprecedented cooperation between the federal government and American private companies.

“Under current law, however, a commercial space company must obtain multiple radio-spectrum licenses to use government-owned airwaves from multiple agencies each time they want to communicate with spacecraft during a launch.  This is a time-consuming process that only serves to make it harder for private companies such as SpaceX, which employs nearly 1,000 Texans and has a testing facility in the 17th Congressional District of Texas.

“This legislation will dramatically modernize outdated regulatory barriers to efficiently and safely support space flight as we build a future of space travel and exploration that is not reliant on the technologies or manpower of foreign nations.”


President Trump Acts to Lower Insulin Prices

“On Tuesday, President Trump announced plans to lower the cost of insulin for seniors on Medicare.  As part of a deal negotiated with insulin manufacturers, there will be a limit of $35 for a months’ supply of insulin.  Insulin costs have been a concern for seniors for years, but this reduction will save Medicare users an average of nearly $500 per year.  Lowering the cost of insulin will provide critical relief for the millions of seniors on Medicare who deal from diabetes.  I applaud President Trump’s decisive action to reduce their out-of-pocket costs.”


Part D Premiums Continue to Fall Thanks to Congressional Republicans and President Trump

“The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that for the third year in a row, the average premium for a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan will go down.  CMS has projected premiums in 2020 to decline 13 percent from their 2017 levels, which will save beneficiaries $1.9 billion in premium costs.

“Republicans in Congress and President Trump have taken numerous, substantive steps to drive down the costs of Part D premiums, including allowing pharmacists to provide information to beneficiaries about lower-cost alternatives and by making more plans available for consumers.  This includes a provision in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, passed in a Republican Congress, that reduced the cost to the consumer by requiring pharmaceutical companies to increase the discount for seniors who buy prescription drugs through Part D plans.  This makes drugs that many seniors rely on cheaper to buy.”


Resources for Coronavirus

In this time of uncertainty, it can be difficult for hardworking Texans to know where to turn.  Team Flores works hard to make sure that constituents have the most accurate, up-to-date information from both the federal and state governments. Click here for helpful resources on our website.

Please see below for a list of resources by topic.


General Information—

For detailed information about the federal government’s efforts to fight SARS-COV-2 and COVID-19, please visit the CDC website at coronavirus.gov.

For detailed information at the state level, please visit the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Texas Division of Emergency Management.


Veterans—

Veterans can keep up to date with the latest information from the Veterans Administration by visiting va.gov/coronavirus.  Guidance from local VA medical facilities about their current operating status is available on each facility’s website, which can be found through VA’s facility locator tool: https://www.va.gov/find-locations.


Small Business Owners—

Small business owners are eligible to apply for low-interest loans to deal with the economic impact of SARS-COV-2. I would recommend that you begin working with your current bank as soon as possible to be ready to utilize these resources.  To apply for one of these loans through the Small Business Administration, click here.

 

Other Information Resources—

Those Traveling Abroad

Households

Pregnant Women & Children

People Who Are Sick

Schools

Local Businesses

Healthcare Professionals


If you believe that you have COVID-19, before visiting your local medical facility, community provider, urgent care center, or emergency department, I encourage you to call your local medical facility FIRST or by calling MyVA311, BEFORE heading to your healthcare facility.

Also, it is important to observe these important safeguards to stay healthy and to avoid spreading the virus – washing your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water, stay home if you are sick, maintain social distancing of at least six feet from other persons, and wear a face mask if you are in public places where you can not maintain social distancing.

Our Congressional Offices in Washington DC and in Texas (Waco and Bryan/College Station) are available to assist you.  For contact numbers please visit our website at https://Flores.House.gov, and sign up to receive our newsletters while you are there.  Please note that our offices are working on a telework protocol and in-person meetings are not available except for emergencies.

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Connect with Congressman Flores on Facebook

June 19, 2020 Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, and Liberation Day, is an unofficial American holiday and an official Texas state holiday, celebrated annually on the 19th of June in the United States to commemorate Union army general Gordon Granger's reading of federal orders in the city of Galveston, Texas, on 19 June 1865, proclaiming all slaves in Texas were now free. Slavery had legally ended in 1863 but wasn’t announced in Galveston until 1865. Background of African Americans and Texas Politics Did you Know? • The Republican Party was formed in 1854 after the Democrats voted to protect and to extend slavery. • The 1860 Democrat platform declared its support for the Supreme Court’s infamous Dred Scott decision. • The 13th Amendment passed without a single Democrat vote in Congress for civil rights for African Americans. • The Republican Party of Texas emerged in Houston on July 4, 1867 with 150 African Americans and 20 Anglos. The same year, the Ku Klux Klan actively began to attack African Americans and Republicans. • Two of the first three statewide leaders of the Republican Party of Texas were African Americans. • The first 42 African Americans elected to the Texas Legislature were all Republicans. • From 1865-1869, Texas Democrats passed “Black Codes” to prohibit African Americans from voting, holding office, and serving on juries. They also refused to acknowledge Juneteenth and even drafted a new State constitution requiring that State Representatives and Senators only be “of the white race.” • When the Republicans gained the Texas Legislature in 1869, they established a system of free public schools to educate all the children of the State (something Democrats had refused to do) and started a Texas State Militia and a Texas State police in which African Americans proudly served. • When Democrats recaptured Texas government in 1872, Democrat Governor Richard Coke’s election was described as “the restoration of white supremacy and Democratic rule.” • Texas Democrats engaged in bizarre gerrymandering specifically to prevent African American members from being re-elected to the Legislature. When African American Republican legislator Robert L. Smith departed in 1897, no African American was elected in Texas until 1966, when the U.S. Supreme Court ordered Texas Democrats to redraw districts. • Texas Democrats enacted a poll tax that reduced African American voter turnout in Texas from 100,000 to only 5,000 and passed white-only primary laws as well as Jim Crow segregation laws. • As victims of Democrat racism and segregation, African Americans were loyal to the Republican Party they started. In fact, Republican President Herbert Hoover received more than three-fourths of the African American vote over his Democratic challenger Franklin D. Roosevelt. • Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first president to appoint an African American to an executive position on the White House staff. • A higher percentage of Republican Members of Congress voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 than did Democrats. • African Americans made their most significant political and civil rights progress while affiliated with the Republican Party. Happy Juneteenth!

Connect with Congressman Flores on Twitter

Yesterday I testified before the @China_TaskForce about H.R. 6885, a bill I introduced to move our pharmaceutical s… https://t.co/wgUUimUOzg