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U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia talks about the federal response to the coronavirus outbreak

Sylvia Garcia
Sylvia Garcia (KPRC)

U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, participated in an interview that was conducted by the Tribune’s Washington bureau chief, Abby Livingston.

You can watch the interview below.

U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia discusses the federal COVID-19 response

The Texas Tribune is live with U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia, a Houston Democrat, to discuss the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic and what relief Texans can expect. Tune in here.

Posted by KPRC2 / Click2Houston on Friday, May 1, 2020

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Garcia will be answering questions about how the federal government is responding to the coronavirus outbreak across the nation. We’ll be discussing how Texans can expect to feel the effects of the U.S. government’s recently passed coronavirus package, what additional support the federal government is expecting to pass, how the pandemic is impacting the execution of the U.S. census and more.

As the threat of the new coronavirus spread from state to state, Congress passed into law a massive spending bill aimed at mitigating the health and economic impacts of the virus.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act is estimated to cost taxpayers over $2 trillion, with the goals of reinforcing the medical response to the pandemic, keeping businesses afloat and bolstering the U.S. economy. The bill will direct payments to individual Americans and will deliver loans to distressed businesses affected by the pandemic.

In an effort to combat the virus, state and local leaders have issued shelter-in-place orders to enforce social distancing practices to curb the spread of the virus, closing many local businesses and leaving many Texans unemployed.

In response, 10 Texas Democrats in Congress, including Garcia, have urged Gov. Greg Abbott to utilize the $88 million received by the Texas Workforce Commission as a result of the CARES Act to bolster the agency’s ability to respond to the record amount of unemployment claims filed in recent weeks.

“We urge you to accelerate these necessary actions and match the demand for services with an equal supply of resources,” they wrote.

Additionally, experts fear that the coronavirus and statewide efforts encouraging social distancing will impact efforts to count every Texan for the U.S. census, originally scheduled to wrap up by July, making what was already a hard-to-count state that much tougher to enumerate and further raising the stakes for the Texans — residents who don’t speak English, people living in poverty and immigrants, to name a few — who were already at the highest risk of being missed.

Earlier this year, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi chose Garcia to serve as an impeachment manager in the trial of President Donald Trump. She was the first Texan to serve in such a role. Garcia is serving her first term representing Texas’ 29th Congressional District. She sits on the House Judiciary and Financial Services committees. Garcia previously served in the Texas Senate. Before that, she also served as director and presiding judge of the Houston Municipal System and was later elected Houston city controller and a Harris County commissioner.

This event is presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, TEXAS 2036 and AT&T. Media support is provided by KXAN and KPRC2.

Tribune events are also supported through contributions from our founding investors and members. Though donors and corporate sponsors underwrite Texas Tribune events, they play no role in determining the content, panelists or line of questioning.