While our nation deals with the SARS-COV-2 virus, hardworking Texas families and our nation’s economy have been struggling. There are confirmed cases throughout the country, including in some of our counties in the 17th Congressional District. I know that many Texans are concerned about their families and loved ones, and I can assure you that both the health and economic well-being of all Texans are my top priorities. I am also working to ensure that our Brazos Valley and Central Texas Families have access to accurate, up-to-the-minute information regarding SARS-COV2, including information about what Congress is doing to address this challenge.
Congress Passes Phase 3 SARS-COV-2 Recovery Bill:
Today the House passed H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. I was committed to making sure that this important legislation passed; thus, I flew to Washington to make sure that we had a quorum and to stop potential attempts to interfere with its passage by the House of Representatives.
This bill is the third measure passed by Congress to address the Coronavirus challenge. This recovery package provides $2.2 trillion in resources to families, front line health care providers, small businesses, and state and local governments that have been adversely impacted by the SARS-COV-2 virus and its related COVID-19 illness.
This legislation includes the following provisions—
· Provides a one-time tax rebate check to most Americans. It provides $1,200 to individuals making less than $75,000 and $2,400 to couples making less than $150,000, with reduced amounts for higher incomes. It also provides families with an additional $500 per child.
· Expands unemployment insurance to cover gig workers, contractors, and self-employed and some non-profit entity employees;
· Provides $350 billion for a small business loan program to help employers to pay salaries, lease/loan payments, and other critical expenses, with provisions to forgive these loans for businesses who keep their employees on their payrolls;
· It gives $150 billion to states, cities, and localities to help fight the COV-SARS-2 virus at the local level; and
· It provides $100 billion for our heroes in the health care community—the doctors, nurses, and hospitals who are battling COVID-19 on the frontlines.
One of important issues that we have found during this challenge is that our healthcare supply chain relies far too much on foreign sources like Communist China. WE CAN NEVER ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN AGAIN! We must bring our supply chains back to America and to allies that we can trust during good times and bad!
To deal with this foreign source issue, the CARES Act contains provisions that I included to provide $3.5 billion to accelerate the research and development of new vaccines and therapeutics by U.S. public-private partnerships. These provisions will allow our nation’s three Centers for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing (CIADM’s), like the CIADM at Texas A&M University to work more efficiently to rapidly produce these products to defend against pandemics and biological threats emergencies. I want to publicly thank Senator John Cornyn (TX), Representative Kay Granger (TX–Lead Republican on the House Appropriations Committee), Representative Kevin McCarthy (CA—Republican Leader of the House), and Representative Greg Walden (OR—Lead Republican of the House Energy and Commerce Committee) for their assistance in incorporating my requested language into this legislation.
Watch me speak on the House floor on the need for this important provision by clicking below:
As a senior Member of the Energy & Commerce Committee, the primary committee that oversees healthcare in the United States, I am committed to working my Congressional colleagues, the Trump Administration, and state and local officials to do whatever is necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to help our economy recover quickly.
More Details on the Bill—
For the complete legislative text, please click here.
For a section-by-section overview of the legislation, please click here.
For a summary of the provisions that will provide tax rebate checks to American families, please click here.
For a summary of the provisions that support health care providers, please click here.
Dispelling Urban Legends about on the Bill—
While there were strong attempts by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to add harmful and extraneous provisions to the bill that had nothing to do with the SARS-COV-2 virus and COVID-19, Republicans stood together and kept the harmful provisions out of the bill. The legislation did unfortunately include about $200 million (less than 0.1% of total spending) of extraneous spending for some pet projects like the Kennedy Center in Washington, however, her other damaging and delaying provisions were rejected and the bill began to move again. Here are some interesting rumors about the bill and the truth about them-
· It includes a pay raise for Congress – FALSE; it does include $25 million to help Congress deal with workplace safety and work process issues that have arisen because of the virus. These are similar to the challenges that other businesses have faced across our nation.
· It funds Planned Parenthood – FALSE; Planned Parenthood is not eligible to receive resources from this bill and Hyde Amendment provisions apply to every expenditure in the bill to prevent taxpayer funds from being used for abortion.
Authoritative Sources of Information:
In this time of uncertainty, it can be difficult for many Texans to know where to turn. It is imperative to me that constituents have the most accurate, up-to-date information from both the federal and state governments. Please see below for a list of resources by topic.
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.
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.
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.
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—
In addition, our Congressional Offices in Washington DC and in Texas (Waco, Bryan/College Station, and Pflugerville/Austin) 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.
Our nation has been hurt by the impact of the SARS-COV-2 virus. It is important to remember that this virus is an act of God; and, as such, no government entity will have all of the answers and solutions to deal with every challenge that it poses to our families, our communities, and our economy. While the federal government and most state and local governments have risen to the challenge by acting quickly and decisively, it is up to us as individuals, families, community leaders, and business leaders to beat this and to restore our nation. We have seen numerous stories of individuals working together to meet the needs of neighbors in our communities; as well as businesses voluntarily retooling to manufacture critical products like hand sanitizers and medical equipment. These stories should inspire and remind us that we are Americans and we can beat this if we rise to the challenge, just as we have during every other challenge that has faced our nation. It is also important for us to remember during these difficult times to pray for our nation, its military, first responders, and front-line healthcare workers. Together, with God’s help, we will come back stronger and better than ever!