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Bill Flores Discusses the Latest from Washington

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Washington, D.C., August 7, 2020 | comments
U.S. Representative Bill Flores (R-Texas) issued the following statements regarding Texas and U.S. COVID-19 updates; July's improved jobs report; passage of H.R. 7617, an appropriations bill to fund some functions of the federal government; countering the continuing hostility of the Chinese Communist Party; and resources for Texans about the SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19.


Texas and US COVID-19 Updates

“Because of the extraordinary efforts of the federal government, the private sector, and American health care providers, the U.S. is conducting hundreds of thousands of SARS-COV-2 and COVID-19 tests each day.  As of today, we have conducted over 58 million tests, including over 3.8 million tests in Texas.  More importantly, the number of deaths per incidence of infection is dropping as the American health care system and pharmaceutical companies develop improved treatment modalities and therapeutics to address the virus.  Texas continues to be in much better shape than the rest of the nation with a fatality rate of 25 per 100,000 of population, compared to the nationwide rate of 48 deaths per 100,000 of population. 

“Looking forward, we should see further improvements in survival rates as better treatments and therapeutics come online over the coming weeks.  The ultimate solution to deal with the virus will be the administration of safe and effective vaccines.  The Trump Administration’s ‘Operation Warp Speed’ initiative is having significant early successes in this regard.  We will have more news on this subject in future releases and newsletters.

"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 the three 'W's' of basic health and safety procedures--
  • Wear a mask.
  • Watch your distance from others.
  • Wash your hands often.
"By following the three W’s, we are all helping to stop the spread and to protect our families, our neighbors, and our communities.  The better we do this together, the faster we will be able to rebuild our economy.”


July Jobs Report Shows Continued Economic Recovery

"This week, the Department of Labor announced that the United States added 1.8 million jobs in July, and saw the unemployment rate fall off of record highs down to 10.2 percent.  This latest report shows that our economy is continuing to recover from the height of the impact of COVID-19 on our economy.  The gain in jobs is particularly good news considering that several states have begun to implement additional lockdowns and restrictions on businesses which will further damage those states’ economies. This positive jobs report comes just a week after the number of Americans applying for unemployment fell to the lowest number since the pandemic started.  More than 9 million jobs have been added in the past three months, including in many of the hardest hit sectors like manufacturing and the restaurant and service industries.  As our economy continues to reopen and we continue to work together to combat this pandemic, I am hopeful that we will see even stronger numbers in the coming months."


House Appropriations Bill Provisions to Help Hardworking Texas Families

“Last week, the House passed H.R. 7617, the second package of FY2021 funding legislation, completing work on ten of the twelve annual appropriations bills for the fiscal year beginning October 1st.  I was disappointed that Speaker Pelosi and the House Democrats continued their partisan ways by loading this bill with poison pills that jeopardize our nation’s safety and security while violating last year’s bipartisan spending agreement by hundreds of billions of dollars.

“On the other hand, this legislation does include several important provisions I have worked hard to include to benefit Central Texas and hardworking Texas families throughout the state. Some of these provisions include:
  • Policy changes to ensure that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) increases its assistance to our rural water systems.

    Some of the counties in our Congressional District have rural water systems that face significant financial and regulatory challenges due to naturally occurring arsenic. This issue became problematic in 2001 when the EPA adopted a new 10 parts per billion (ppb) standard, replacing the old 50 ppb standard for water arsenic levels. When that revised standard took effect, many water systems were instantly out of compliance EPA guidelines through no fault of their own.  H.R. 7617 included changes I requested that will direct the EPA to help these water systems with the financial resources to address the new standards. In particular, this provision will help the rural water systems in eastern McClennan County to maintain a safe drinking water supply at a reasonable cost to consumers.
  • Funding for national security needs and maritime defense readiness in our Region.

    One of the key requirements to maintain our national security is a vibrant merchant marine capability, including highly trained personnel.  One of the key resources need to equip these specialized personnel is merchant marine training in our nation’s universities, including the United States Merchant Marine Academy and six State Maritime Academies.   These six academies, including The Texas A&M University at Galveston (TAMUG) maritime academy, receive funding and training vessels from the federal government while operating as colleges within state universities.  Recent studies indicated that the training vessels at these academies were antiquated, placing our maritime students and national security at risk.

    In response to these deficiencies, over the past three years, Congress has begun funding the acquisition of new training vessels.  In this regard, I worked with my Texas colleagues and House committee leaders to include $389 million in the Transportation Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations provisions for the Maritime Administration National Security Multi-Mission Vessel Program.  This funding will help TAMUG secure a new training vessel so that it can fulfill its essential responsibility to meet national security needs and maintain maritime defense readiness. The new ship will allow TAMUG cadets to have access to the best training facilities in the country and provide the only modern, full-time training ship based in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • $562 million for the Biomedical Advanced Research Development Authority (BARDA). 

    Since its founding in 2006, BARDA has played a critical role for the federal government, by procuring and developing vaccines to protect Americans against a range of biological threats. While BARDA focuses on biological threats and pandemic response, our current global Coronavirus pandemic highlights the vital nature of government programs like BARDA that provide a crucial interface between the U.S. federal government and the biomedical industry.

    With the outbreak of COVID-19, BARDA has been the primary agency in Operation Warp Speed, providing billions of dollars to vetted and proven biomedical industry partners to focus on creating a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. This funding will help BARDA not just with COVID-19, but also to remain a strong government interface to private sector innovation and expertise to prepare for all future outbreaks or biological attacks.
  • Protecting Israel, our strongest ally in the Middle East region.

    H.R. 7617 includes language I strongly supported to take a stand against the dangerous Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which attempt to delegitimize and isolate Israel through economic warfare. While an ever-increasing number of Speaker Pelosi’s Democrats support the BDS movement, a bipartisan majority supported legislative provisions to unapologetically support our staunchest ally in the Middle East by standing for Israel and pushing back against anti-Semitism.”

House Republicans Continue Effort to Mitigate Threats from the Chinese Communist Party

“Every day China is expanding their influence around the world as part of its attempts to weaken the United States and our allies.  From stealing corporate intellectual property to infiltrating our government and universities, they do everything they can to cause harm to the United States.  Recognizing this threat, House Republicans launched the China Task Force which focuses on meaningful solutions to address the aggressive actions of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

“This week, I cosponsored H.R. 7937, the Countering CCP Malign Influence Act.  This legislation fully funds the Countering Chinese Influence Fund to provide dedicated resources to counter malign CCP activities and ensures that the Fund is directed by an appropriate regional expert. 

“It is unfortunate that House Democrats do not seem to take the threat of the CCP seriously.  They have constantly ignored legislative proposals issued by the China Task Force and have not participated in any of the hearings to address this rising threat to our national security.  The CCP threat will continue to grow until Speaker Pelosi and her Democrat colleagues agree to act on important legislative solutions like H.R. 7937.”


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  mask if you are in areas where you cannot maintain social distancing.

Our Congressional Offices in Washington, DC and 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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He also very conveniently waited to announce this until after his boss at Google finished testifying before the Sen… https://t.co/ueqhF5KKFK