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The Road to Recovery

Apr 17, 2020
Column

The impact of COVID-19 has now spread to nearly every community in the United States, whether the toll has been financial or health related, we have all witnessed how an invisible enemy can alter our lives. Small businesses remain in desperate need of cash flow to retain employees and cover expenses, while our first responders selflessly place themselves on the front lines of a war that has already claimed over 33,000 lives nationwide.

The recovery from this pandemic will go on for months and perhaps years to come, as we take steps to revive an American economy that has seemingly been shuttered for over four weeks. This dark period in our history has left many Texans wondering “what’s being done” and “what’s to come.”

Congress passed three phases of stimulus bills that directed funding specifically toward virus testing, families and small business relief. Most recently, President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act provided substantial relief to taxpayers and businesses devastated by the pandemic by authorizing direct economic payments for most Americans, the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses, funding for hospitals and health clinics, and increased assistance to the agriculture and aviation sectors of our economy. 

To date, the PPP has provided over $21.7 million in loans to small businesses in our district alone, helping them to maintain their current payroll and cover expenses like rent and utilities. Congress authorized the PPP not only to help businesses weather this crisis, but to increase their chances of re-opening their doors with the same workforce as before.

Texas hospitals have begun receiving $2.1 billion to address the immediate needs of healthcare providers fighting COVID-19. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recently directed over $360 million in grants to regional and international airports serving the 25th District to help pay staff, maintain operations and continue construction projects so they are prepared to serve customers when the time comes.

The bill also directed $9.3 billion from the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to farmers and ranchers, for whom I called upon Secretary Perdue to take swift action disbursing these critical funds. The CARES Act is working for Texas, but there is still much to be done to ensure money is spent effectively and efficiently where it is needed most.

A national shutdown is not a sustainable long-term solution – as a small business owner, I know there is no substitute for a business with an “open” sign hanging in the door. The CARES Act was just the start, and as we look toward the future and navigate what reopening our economy looks like, I will continue exhausting all measures to secure the resources needed for the world to know that Texas is once again wide open for business.

Governor Abbott and President Trump are paying careful attention to ways in which we can safely reopen the economy while still mitigating and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. There will be trying days ahead and the road to recovery may be rocky, but the American spirit will ultimately prevail. I have full faith that our best days lie ahead.