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Bill Flores Discusses the Latest from Washington

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Washington, D.C., September 4, 2020 | comments
U.S. Representative Bill Flores (R-Texas) issued the following statements regarding job and economic growth; Texas and U.S. COVID-19 updates; meeting with constituents; President Trump’s historic Middle East agreement; the historic anniversaries of the Nineteenth Amendment, the Voting Rights Act, and V-J Day; countering the Chinese Communist Party; federal grants to improve local airports; and resources for Texans about the SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19.


Job and Economic Growth Show Strength and Top Expectations

“The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced today that payrolls increased by nearly 1.4 million workers and the unemployment rate plummeted to 8.4%.  With the record-breaking job gains in May (+2.7 million), June (+4.8 million), July (+1.7 million), and now August (+1.4 million), the economy has added 10.6 million jobs over the past 4 months.  These gains mean that roughly half of the jobs lost in March and April have been recovered.

“The August drop in the unemployment rate is the second largest decline since the series began in 1948. The largest decline on record of -2.2 percentage points (pp) was recorded in June.  Since the April peak, in just 4 months the unemployment rate has decreased 6.3 pp. In contrast, it took nearly 9 years following the Great Recession peak in October 2009 for the unemployment rate to fall 6.3 pp.  For the first time since the pandemic-peak in April, the unemployment rate has fallen below the peak in the Great Recession of 10.0%.

“The strong jobs report also reflects the following statistics:
  • African American employment has increased by 1.3 million (+7.9%) from the recent April low. In August, it increased 367,000 following strong gains in May (+283,000), June (+404,000), and July (+234,000).
  • The unemployment rate for African Americans decreased 1.6 pp, for Hispanics by -2.4 pp, for Asian Americans by -1.3 pp, and for those with less than a high school diploma by -2.8 pp.
  • The unemployment rate for adult women (age 20+) also fell by 2.1 pp, the second largest decline recorded since the series began following the June decline of -2.7 pp.
  • The labor force participation rate rose 0.3 pp to 61.7 percent, and the employment-to-population ratio increased 0.4 pp to 56.5 percent in August.
  • Reentrants to the labor force who were unemployed remained elevated at 2.1 million in August, 310,000 above their August 2019 level, showing workers’ confidence in their ability to find a job.

“Under the Trump Administration, America is witnessing the fastest labor market recovery from any economic crisis in history thus far.  Job creation in May, June, July, and August has met or exceeded expectations:
  • In those 4 months, job creation beat market expectations by a combined 12.2 million.
  • In just 4 months, the unemployment rate has plummeted to a rate below what most forecasters had recently projected the rate to be at the end of 2020.
  • The CBO projected in July that at the end of 2020 the unemployment rate would still be at 10.5 percent.
  • The Federal Open Market Committee in June projected the unemployment rate would be 9.3 percent at the end of 2020.
  • Similarly, the Blue-Chip consensus forecast in August projected an unemployment rate of 9.3 percent at the end of 2020.
“There is still work for Congress to do to address sectors of the economy that are still struggling due to the impacts of COVID-19, and it is my hope that Speaker Pelosi will cease her hyper-partisan behavior and work with the Trump Administration and others in Congress to pass targeted and meaningful legislation to address these issues.  In particular, it is urgent that Congress extend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) which successfully saved over 50 million American jobs during the early stages of the pandemic.  While some hardworking American families continue to struggle, she continues to exhibit hypocritical behavior by violating local rules to visit a hair salon.  She needs to pay attention to the ‘real world’ and allow Congress to work on bi-partisan solutions to address America’s current challenges.” 

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. continues to conduct hundreds of thousands of SARS-COV-2 and COVID-19 tests each day.  As of today, we have conducted almost 80 million tests, including over five million tests in Texas.  Texas continues to be in much better shape than the rest of the nation with a per-capita fatality rate over 20% lower than the U.S. as a whole and about 65% lower than failed policies of states like New York and New Jersey.

“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.”


Meetings with Texas-17 Constituents

“During August, I had the opportunity to meet with hundreds of constituents around the District 17; both in person by following social distancing protocols and using virtual resources.  Last week, I had the opportunity to address more than 50 early childhood educators from the Waco Independent School District to discuss their challenges and to thank them for all that they do for our children.  I deeply appreciate our teachers and the lifelong impacts that they can have on future generations of students.


“Last Wednesday, I had the opportunity to speak at the Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce luncheon.  It was a tremendous honor and privilege to address about two hundred local leaders in the community and give them an update on what is going on in Washington.


“Finally, I had the opportunity to tour iBio, a local business that uses a proprietary system to quickly produce protein vaccines and biotherapeutic candidates for unmet medical needs. iBio is on the front line combatting the COVID-19 pandemic and working to develop a plant-based vaccine that can help key vulnerable populations that may require alternative options to other vaccine types. They have the capacity to produce about 500 million doses of vaccine annually – capabilities that will be critically important as we start efforts to vaccinate hardworking American families to stop COVID-19.”



President Trump’s Executive Order to Protect American Families

“Earlier this month, President Trump took action to protect American families from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic after Democrats chose political gamesmanship over the American people. House and Senate Democrats’ refusal to work with President Trump and their Republican colleagues is putting the American people through added unnecessary hardship. As a result, President Trump moved to carry out four executive orders will delay payroll taxes, extend unemployment benefits, suspend housing evictions, and provide student loan relief.

“In the CARES Act, the Trump Administration worked with Congress to take care of businesses by deferring the employer portion of payroll taxes through the end of the year.  Through this executive order, President Trump extended that opportunity to hardworking Americans as well.  This short-term relief will be available to all Americans earning less than $100,000 a year.  By providing this tax relief, American families will have more resources for critical needs during the next few months.

“Many American workers have been forced out of their job due to the Coronavirus and want nothing more than to return to work.  Democrats have purposefully failed to come to the table to pass additional relief to help hurting American people. Instead, they are demanding a liberal wish list of excessive and unrelated spending and excessive and unrelated policies that serve only to win them electoral points in November.  The original CARES Act had $150 billion in additional unemployment benefits, which expired at the end of July.  The President is dedicating additional Federal dollars to continue to provide extended benefits for those still facing difficulty getting back to work because of the pandemic.

“Additionally, eviction moratoriums are lifting across the US, and student loan repayments are coming due each month. Millions of out-of-work Americans are susceptible to losing their housing and student borrowers who cannot find work still owe on their student loan payments. President Trump took action to address these vulnerable population groups while Congress and the administration continue to work toward a solution to help the American people continue to fight through the pandemic.”


President Trump Negotiates Historic Middle East Agreement

“Earlier this month, Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced that, as a result of the leadership of President Donald Trump, that they would begin the process of establishing diplomatic, economic, and cultural relations.  This is the first such agreement between Israel and a major Arab country in over 25 years.  This is an important achievement to create a long-lasting peace in the Middle East and helps improve the security of Israel, our most important ally in the region, and was made possible by President Trump’s leadership and expertise as a dealmaker.

“This agreement provides the foundation for further advances toward regional peace, and I hope that other countries in the Arab world will follow suit and seek peace with Israel.  The best way for other countries to improve the lives of their citizens is through peace and prosperity, not animosity and hostility.  This agreement will allow further advancement of the President’s vision for finding a comprehensive, fair, realistic, and lasting peace between Israel and Palestinians.”


Celebrating the Anniversaries of Three of Our Nation’s Most Historic Achievements

“On August 26th, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment was certified, ensuring that no one could be denied their right to vote based on gender.  This amendment was the culmination of decades of work by the women’s suffrage movement that had begun before the American Civil War.  Many of the most respected and admired women in American history, such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were on the front lines of the effort, and their example has proven to be an inspiration for millions of women since.

“August also marked the 55th Anniversary of passage of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on August 6, 1965. As citizens of a strong and enduring democracy, Americans are assured the right to vote; something that has not always existed for all Americans and something that we cannot take for granted. The Constitution of the United States does not explicitly grant the right to vote. Instead, different groups of citizens have had to fight for this right through the 15th, 19th, and 26th Amendments. 

“Building on these amendments, the VRA aimed to protect the voting rights of Black citizens from attempts by state and local governments at all levels to disenfranchise Black voters. This landmark legislation is widely considered one of the most influential civil rights bills ever passed and ensures that every American has an equal opportunity to exercise their right to vote.

“This legislation also represents a significant bipartisan accomplishment.  Although Democrats were the majority party in both the House and Senate, Republicans provided the necessary votes to secure passage of the VRA.  When Congress voted on final passage, 97 percent of Senate Republicans voted for it, representing a far higher level of support compared to Senate Democrats.  I firmly believe that this bipartisan effort to enact legislation that makes America a stronger and more united democracy. It is my hope that House and Senate leaders will look to these historical achievements as we work to help the American people through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Finally, September 2nd was the 75th anniversary of the Empire of Japan surrendering to the United States and its Allies, ending World War II.  We should never forget the hundreds of thousands of American and Allied lives lost to free the world of tyranny, oppression, discrimination, and terrorism.  We should also always remain cognizant of the risks of ignoring community violence by thugs which eventually precipitated into Axis aggression and the global outbreak of war.” 


Countering the Negative Influence of the Chinese Communist Party

“China continues its efforts to destabilize and malign the United States and its allies.  Republicans have taken the threat of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) seriously, creating the China Task Force to educate the American people and propose policy solutions to counter Chinese influence.  Recent polling indicates that these efforts by Republicans are working.  A new Pew Research study shows that 73 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view toward China today.  More than three-quarters of Americans also place a great deal or fair amount of blame for the global spread of the Coronavirus on the CCP’s initial handling of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Despite this, Democrats have refused to work with Republicans on the China Task Force to hold the CCP accountable for their COVID-19 coverup and other behavior, including human rights abuses towards their Uighur population.  The China Task Force was intended to be a bipartisan effort, but Democrats inexplicably backed out.  Republicans, however, will continue to offer solutions.  This includes H.R. 7938, the U.S. Information Abroad for Strategic Competition Act, which I have cosponsored.  This legislation revitalizes the historic U.S. focus on countering our the CCP’s Marxist ideology and establishes a reimagined Active Measures Working Group to push back on their destructive propaganda. This effort will direct, empower, and provide accountability and metrics for long-term messaging campaigns to advance US values and interests.”


Department of Transportation Announces Funding for Local Airports

“On Tuesday, Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine Chao announced that Texas airports will receive $78.6 million in grants funding to improve safety and modernize infrastructure.  Our office provided ongoing support for these grants and we are pleased that the DOT recognized the importance of this funding for Texas infrastructure.  Two local airports are among the recipients of the latest round of federal funding.  The Waco Regional Airport received $2.6 million for terminal building improvements and Easterwood Field in College Station received $1.1 million for airport improvements.  Additionally, the state of Texas received $16.6 million for non-primary airports, which is available for any eligible airport in the Seventeenth District.”


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