What’s Happening in DC
While the nation is still working to defeat Coronavirus, Congress needs to get back to work! As the second round of relief is being disbursed to small businesses, many are still struggling to survive. Americans need their leaders to find the quickest path to fully reopening our economy.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced that this Friday, May 15, 2020, is the earliest possible date that the House can return to session to vote on additional relief legislation and rule changes to allow remote voting. However, Democrats are excluding Republicans from their negotiations behind closed doors. Using the pandemic as an opportunity to enact far-left policies, the Democrats have drafted "wishlist" legislation including around $3 trillion in additional spending. But Americans don’t need another debt time bomb, set to explode in their grandchildren’s lives. Americans need relief and stability, not an overhaul of our entire way of life.
In the meantime, I introduced forward-looking legislation last Friday to improve nuclear energy research.
The Nuclear Energy for the Future Act will help make nuclear energy even safer, more efficient, and more affordable through the development of advanced technologies. This legislation builds on my bill from last Congress, the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (NEICA), a bipartisan bill signed into law in 2018 to advance American leadership in nuclear technology.
Nuclear energy is clean, safe, and reliable. Going forward, it must be a significant component of America’s energy profile, and to make that happen, we need to stay ahead of the technological curve.
My bill provides the Department of Energy (DOE) with the resources and infrastructure it needs to improve performance, lower waste, and reduce reactor sizes, among other things. It provides necessary support for the delivery of the Versatile Reactor-Based Fast Neutron Source—also know as the Versatile Test Reactor, or VTR—which is crucial for advanced nuclear energy research. This initiative improves coordination of DOE’s high-performance computing capabilities to accelerate nuclear energy research. And, importantly, it builds on the success of public-private partnerships so that the most innovative minds have access to the best tools to drive nuclear energy breakthroughs.
In the District
Last week, Governor Abbott ended a stay-at-home order and allowed several businesses to re-open. We are monitoring the infection and hospitalization rates. The sooner Texas is able to fully re-open, the less time it will take us to recover.
Governor Abbott also issued a proclamation declaring June 29th as the new start of early voting for the July 14th primary runoff and special elections. You can find the latest updates on Texas operations here.
I am happy to report that our district has recently received multiple grants to assist in the fight against COVID-19.
While America is still working to slow the spread of COVID-19, medical workers are still experiencing a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, face shields, and gowns. To prevent the spread of the virus, medical personnel are instructed to discard used PPE. However, the shortage is forcing many to reuse PPE, increasing their risk of contracting COVID-19.
Fortunately, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has recognized the talents and expertise that we have at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston, awarding them $79,000 for COVID research on sterilization of PPE for safe reuse. The research project at UTMB will examine dry heat sterilization and will provide evidence-based guidelines for the time required to achieve sterilization at a given temperature. According to the NSF, “the project will also enable prediction of the lifetime of human coronaviruses across various climates, which will be of extreme importance to epidemiologists in predicting the spread of SARS-CoV-2 as well as the severity of a resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic that may accompany the return of colder weather this upcoming autumn and winter.”
There also remains a great need to expand capacity for Coronavirus testing. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded the following grants to help this initiative: Triangle Area Network, Inc. ($147,139); Costal Health & Wellness ($280,624); and Gulf Coast Health Center, Inc. ($392,044).
I am optimistic that these grant projects will lead to an unprecedented understanding of the thermal inactivation of viruses, provide the basis for modeling viruses that cause future outbreaks, and help expand much-needed testing.
Announcement – Annual Congressional Art Competition
The deadline to participate in the Congressional Art Competition is May 13, 2020. This year, our office is accepting submissions digitally. The deadline for entry is fast approaching: May 13, 2020. Please email submissions and Student Information Forms to Janet Brown at Janet.email@example.com.
- Submissions will be evaluated the week of May 18, 2020.
- Winner announcement will be no later than May 22, 2020.
- The winner reception in Washington, D.C. is tentatively set for July 22, 2020, with the location still to be determined.
Please note that it may not be possible to include the teacher’s signature on the student form; however, an email from the teacher is acceptable. Please see the Rules and Regulations for size and all other requirements. If teachers, parents, or students have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Janet Brown at the email address provided above.
I want to thank all of you for your strength and resilience during these trying times. Know that we are in this together, and we will persevere. Again, should you need any assistance with a federal agency or program, my offices are still operating and ready to serve you!
Stay safe and God bless Texas!
Randy K. Weber
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