This week, upon completing my self-quarantine out of an abundance of caution, I returned to Washington, D.C.
While at home in Texas and this week in our nation’s capital, I have been actively working with the administration, my colleagues, state and local officials, and industry leaders to combat the spread of COVID-19 and protect human life.
We are facing a serious public health challenge, which is why I’ve called on federal officials to focus on four immediate priorities to detect, treat, and prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep Texans and all Americans healthy, all of which will help prevent further economic harm.
Those priorities include:
- Making testing more accurate and widely available.
- Ensuring we have enough of the essential medical supplies for first responders and healthcare professionals.
- Creating more capacity and providing critical resources for hospitals and medical facilities.
- Working quickly to develop and approve vaccines and cures.
This week, Congress passed and President Trump signed a second relief package. The legislation made progress toward addressing two of the four priorities I’ve laid out by ensuring greater access to COVID-19 testing and supporting our first responders and healthcare professionals. While Congress has passed two significant funding packages and is working on a third proposal, we still have much more work ahead of us.
To address the other critical priorities, I introduced three pieces of legislation this week:
- Creating Capacity for Communities in Need Act, which would allow physician-owned hospitals to expand their facilities, beds, and surgical rooms and provide much needed relief for the medical facilities overwhelmed by the surge in patients as a result of coronavirus.
- Pandemic Healthcare Access Act, which would expand access to Health Savings Accounts to anyone with a health plan for the duration of this public health crisis.
- RESULTs for Coronavirus Patients Act, which would fast-track approval for certain drugs and devices to combat COVID-19 pandemic.
I’ve also called on Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar to use the significant powers of the Defense Production Act to immediately order the production and distribution of ventilators, which are critical to treating individuals infected by COVID-19.
Going forward, we need to work quickly and be guided by the facts and medical science – not panic, hysteria, or partisan games. That’s what I am committed to doing each and every day.
Together, we can fight this pandemic, and we will ultimately defeat it.
Keep Texas Strong.