Congressional delegation united in coronavirus fight

Jackson Lee, the chair of Congressional Coronavirus Task Force, speaks about the efforts on the federal level

HOUSTON – Bipartisan support: that was the phrase heard most often this past week as members of Congress work to provide relief for Americans impacted by COVID-19.

Houston Newsmakers sat down with lawmakers and business leaders about the efforts in place to fight the spread of coronavirus. Check out the show Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

Congresswoman Jackson Lee is leading the federal coronavirus relief efforts

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, the Chair of the House Coronavirus Task Force, said there are many goals but a priority is money for hospitals.

LOCAL: See all the latest local coronavirus updates in our blog

“Right now we’re securing support for 150 billion dollars for hospitals to expand capacity,” she said. "We believe that is something all of our members in the United States Congress, the House, in particular, would be very interested in as we work on this third appropriations bill that has to be very large in order to meet what we think is going to be a spike.”

Congressman Brady says White House response is aggressive

With companies forced to shut down across the country, the small businesses could be in for the hardest fall.

Congressman Kevin Brady, the ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said the plight of small business owners is why both parties in Congress are trying to do as much as possible for those in a tough spot.

TOTAL CASES: Keep track as new coronavirus cases are reported in counties the Houston area

“Clearly a lot of work has disappeared or fallen off," Brady said. "They want to keep their workers, but there’s no revenue coming in. They want to be able to ride it out and be ready to rebound but they’re going to need some help to do that.”

Brady said the government will be there for small business owners.

Congresswoman Fletcher gears up for coronavirus fight, GOP opponent

Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher said she had many concerns regarding the response of the coronavirus outbreak, including the health of her constituents.

However, she is also worried about the health of Houston’s energy sector.

”We know here in Houston, as a global city, that we are all inter-connected and our energy future is connected to the rest of the world and our health and safety is connected to what’s happening around the world,” Fletcher said.

TEXAS: Here’s everything you need to know about the coronavirus in Texas

Fletcher is being challenged by a well-funded challenger for her congressional seat in the fall. Republicans are funding the effort to take back the seat she won from former Congressman John Culberson. She said she’s not thinking about the elections. She hopes her work will prove she deserves another term.

Houston-based CEO says he has a coronavirus vaccine in the pipeline

Ron R. Price, the CEO and President of Greffex Inc., said his company has a coronavirus vaccine ready for the next phase of testing. Houston-based Greffex Inc. is a company that designs, develops and produces vaccines.

“Every time you go to another vaccine you do external testing and so that takes time and money,” Price said. “Roughly four weeks, but so we’re ready to go submit to testing now.”

Price said it will still most likely be a year before any vaccine will be ready for people.

MAPPED: See a Johns Hopkins interactive map that shows how coronavirus has spread through the world

U.S. Census Bureau urges people to participate in the census

Every ten years, the U.S. Government counts the heads of everyone living in the country. That time has arrived again.

Ted Olson, the Deputy Director of the U.S. Census Bureau, said in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, the census is an even more important task.

“This is the foundation of our nation’s democracy,” Olson said. “The counts that come out of 2020 determine how each state will be represented in Congress for the next decade.”

For the first time, people fill on the census online, over the phone or with a paper questionnaire, Olson said.

“In light of what’s happening in the nation’s health, we urging people starting now, once they receive their invitation from us, simply go online (or) call our phone number,” he said.

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