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Bill Flores Discusses the Latest from Washington

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Washington, D.C., July 24, 2020 | comments
U.S. Representative Bill Flores (R-Texas) issued the following statements regarding Texas COVID-19 metrics; introduction of H.R. 7676, the Health Care PRICE Transparency Act; Nancy Pelosi’s tacit endorsement of mob rule; China’s blatant disregard for its people and the international community; passage of a partisan government funding bill; the passage of H.R. 6395, the Mac Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act; talking with Texans on issues that affect our communities; recent legislative hearings; and resources for Texans about the SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19.


Texas COVID-19 Metrics

“In the past few months, we have seen an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States.  These increases have occurred in almost all states and territories, including states that had previously seen declines in daily cases.  We Texans must continue to be prudent and take steps to protect our families, friends, co-workers, and neighbors, but we should strive to avoid falling for the fearmongering efforts of some groups.  While the numbers show a rise in the overall number of cases and deaths in Texas, the state has effectively managed the increase and continues to perform far better than most states.  This is evidenced by metrics based upon population.  For example, the number of cases (including asymptomatic persons) per 1,000,000 people in Texas is 119.  This is far below states like New York, New Jersey, Maryland, which have averaged 227 cases per 1,000,000 people.  Similarly, when looking at fatalities, the data shows that Texas has suffered 1.4 deaths per 1,000,000 people, compared to New York and New Jersey, which have averaged over 22 deaths per 1,000,000, i.e., over 15 times worse than Texas.  The mainstream media will not share this news; apparently, because it shows that Republican-led states are managing COVID-19 challenges far better than Democrat-led states like New York where Governor Cuomo’s disastrously flawed nursing home regulations led to the deaths of thousands of senior adults.

“For Texas to continue to be successful, however, we must all work together to slow the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus and COVID-19 by following basic health and safety procedures.  One of the easiest, most effective steps we can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to wear a mask anytime you are in areas where social distancing is difficult.  By wearing a mask, we are all helping to stop the spread and to protect the most vulnerable in the community, including the elderly and people with underlying health conditions.”


Rep. Flores Introduces Legislation to Improve Health Care Pricing Transparency

“On Monday, I introduced, H.R. 7676, the ‘Health Care PRICE Transparency Act.’  This legislation will give patients and families a clearer picture of the costs of procedures at hospitals, allowing them to make better health care choices.

“Health care is almost the only sector where there is no price transparency for consumers.  We need to modernize this weakness to match the rest of our 21st-century economy.  While some hospitals assert that price lists can be confusing for patients, I believe that making this information accessible is a big step in the right direction. Health care price transparency will allow patients to have better information and it will help facilitate lower health care costs and better outcomes.

“The Trump Administration last year published regulations to increase price transparency, empower patients, and drive competition among hospitals and insurers.  This legislation, which is identical to legislation introduced in the Senate, would codify those regulations to ensure that they cannot be changed by future administrations.”

The Healthcare PRICE Transparency Act will:
  • Codify the Trump Administration’s Health Care Price Transparency Rule;
  • Make public all hospital prices, including list prices, prices for insured patients, and the amount the hospital will accept in cash from a patient;
  • Ensure the information provided to customers is in a usable, consumer-friendly, and up-to-date format; and
  • Make sure this information is published online and available to all beneficiaries.

Nancy Pelosi Endorses Mob Rule in Cities

“America is a nation of laws, yet Democrats have continued to give safe quarter to mobs who are creating lawlessness and chaos in our cities.  In the city of Portland, groups of Antifa and anarchists continue to cause millions of dollars in property damage and create dangerous conditions for police and ordinary citizens.  President Trump and Republicans have been calling on state and local officials to bring order back to the city, but city and state leaders have instead allowed the continuation of violent demonstrations.

“Instead of joining Republicans and demanding the restoration of law and order, Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats have shamefully chosen to stay silent and/or to support the violence.  Some Democrats have even endorsed the anarchy.  Last week, when she was asked about protesters tearing down a statue of Christopher Columbus in Baltimore, Pelosi callously replied ‘people will do what they do.’  Giving credibility to violent anarchists is yet another example of an utter failure of leadership from Nancy Pelosi and her party and should be condemned by every fair-minded leader.”


China Remains the Largest Threat to the United States

“On Tuesday, the United States Department of Justice charged Chinese hackers who allegedly targeted biotech companies to steal their research into the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.  This is nothing new. For decades hackers working directly and indirectly for the Chinese government have sought to steal trade secrets from U.S. companies.  The cybertheft is a concerted effort to steal American intellectual property and use it to beat the United States in the race for innovation in artificial intelligence, clean energy, and biotechnology. This espionage cannot go unpunished, and the Trump Administration is using every available tool to ensure that the Chinese government is held responsible for their actions.

“This week, the House had an opportunity to address these cybercrimes after Republicans offered an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would sanction foreign hackers attempting to steal U.S. coronavirus vaccine research.  House Democrats, however, killed the amendment, choosing to stand with China rather than American businesses.  China is unquestionably the biggest security threat to our nation and Congress should take every opportunity to deal with the devastation they are causing.  This failure of leadership is all too common under Nancy Pelosi’s leadership. Democrats’ myopic focus on attacking President Trump at every turn has rendered them incapable of confronting our nation’s real adversaries.”


House Passes Partisan Spending Bill

“This week, the House passed H.R. 7608, a bill that funds four of the twelve annual appropriations bills.  This partisan legislation represents a step backward compared to last year, when Congress reached a bipartisan agreement to fund the government and avoid a costly shutdown.  This bill ignores previously agreed spending levels and reverses previously negotiated bipartisan provisions. It also includes numerous poison pill policies that only appeal to anti-life, anti-energy, anti-law enforcement, socialist Democrats at the expense of the American people.

“H.R. 7608 rolls back important pro-life protections, handcuffs President Trump’s ability to stem the tide of illegal immigration to the United States and prohibits much needed regulatory reforms that President Trump has proposed.  The legislation also threatens our capacity to remain energy independent and loads onerous environmental burdens on the backs of America’s job creators.  It recklessly limits our ability to find new energy sources by declaring millions of acres of land off-limits and it underfunds the President’s request for ‘all-of-the-above’ energy initiatives.  Finally, it directs hundreds of millions of dollars to international climate funds that have a high risk for fraud, and it targets farmers and ranchers by directing the Environmental Protection Agency to add new regulations that will bankrupt them.”


House Passes National Defense Authorization Act

“On a more positive note, Tuesday, the House passed H.R. 6395, the ‘Mac Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act’ on a bipartisan basis.  The NDAA has passed every year for the last 60 years and is the main legislation that Congress passes to authorize our military and to ensure that our troops have the resources and support that they need to protect the homeland.

“This NDAA provides approximately $741 billion for national defense programs.  It includes a 3 percent pay raise for our troops, and supports the procurement of advanced weaponry and technology, as well as cutting-edge research and development.  It codifies President Trump’s Indo-Pacific Deterrence Initiative to deter China in light of their aggressive behavior in the region.  It also provides the Department of Defense with the resources necessary to address COVID-19, including personal protective equipment and testing capabilities.

“Finally, the bill also includes my amendment to ensure that the nation of Georgia takes meaningful action to strengthen its commitment to democratic values, combat corruption, and protect foreign investment.  The amendment helps our American companies compete there on a fair and transparent basis.  It also helps to ensure that Georgia does not fall under the influence of Russia.”


Conversations with Texans on Important Issues

“On Wednesday, I joined Scott DeLucia on WTAW to discuss issues impacting Central Texans.  These include the possibility of more COVID-19 aid, reducing unemployment benefits, Texas’ potential $11.6 billion state budget shortfall, reopening schools in the fall, and more.  To listen to the interview, please  click here.

“Also, on Wednesday, I joined Erika Fernandez with KBTX and Pete Sousa with KTWX to give an update on developments happening in Congress and how they impact Central Texans.  On KBTX, I discussed a potential new COVID-19 aid, passage of H.R. 6395, the National Defense Authorization Act, and the importance of liability protection for our schools and businesses.  To listen to the interview, please click here.  On KWTX, I discussed reopening our schools in the fall and the introduction of H.R. 7676, the Health Care PRICE Transparency Act."


Legislative Hearings

“On July 14th, I participated in an Energy & Commerce Committee hearing with Secretary of Energy, Dan Brouillette, that focused on the Department of Energy’s response to COVID-19, energy sector job losses, energy investment, and energy demand.  At the hearing, I took the opportunity to ask Secretary Brouillette about the development and use of advanced nuclear reactors, which are key to regaining U.S. energy dominance in the global nuclear energy sector.

To watch the hearing, please click here

“On July 15th, I participated in a markup by the Energy & Commerce Committee.  The markup was a collection of 30 bipartisan bills concerning energy, health care, and telecommunications issues.  The following bills which I cosponsored were among those that were considered:
  • H.R. 1426, the Timely Review of Infrastructure Act, which addresses compensation of employees and other personnel at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission;
  • H.R. 4194, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, which designates 9-8-8 as the universal dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline;
  • H.R. 5567, the Measuring the Economics Driving Investments and Access for Diversity Act, which requires the Federal Communications Commission to consider market entry barriers for socially disadvantaged individuals in the communications marketplace; and
  • H.R. 6624, the Utilizing Strategic Allied Telecommunications Act, which creates a new grant program to promote technology that will enhance competitiveness in the deployment of 5G networks.


Resources for the SARS-CoV-2 Virus and COVID-19

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

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 in-person meetings in my offices are not available except for emergencies.

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