SAN ANTONIO – Lawmakers in Washington have passed a series of relief bills to help American workers and business owners through the coronavirus pandemic.
“If you had told me a couple of months ago that I would end up voting on a $2.2 trillion package and it would pass unanimously in the Senate, I wouldn’t have believed it,” Sen. John Cornyn, of Texas, said. “But this is really a call to action.”
Cornyn said Congress has taken the unprecedented to try and address the crisis.
“We need to also make sure we get resources to our frontline public health providers or doctors and nurses and hospitals and get money to people who may not be receiving a paycheck and to help our small businesses survive this crisis and come back on the other side and still be able to operate,” Cornyn said.
Cornyn said we’ve seen viruses like this in the past, but it has never hit the U.S. like this before.
“I think obviously this coronavirus has exposed a vulnerability that most of us weren’t fully cognizant of,” Cornyn said.
In 2005, then-President George W. Bush warned about what a pandemic could do and allocated billions of dollars to establish a stockpile of items that are being used today.
“A pandemic is a lot like a forest fire," Bush said in a 2005 speech to the National Institutes of Health. “If caught early, it might be extinguished with limited damage; if allowed to smolder undetected, it can grow to an inferno that spreads quickly beyond our ability to control it.”
“This one has captured everybody’s imagination, I think, perhaps because of the fear of the unknown," Cornyn said. “It cost a lot of panic. But I think what we’ve all done has learned a lot about how to control our own environment.”
He said the recent unanimous vote on the $2.2 trillion relief package is sign that Congress is dealing with this head on.
“I think that vote sends a real message that we are united in our determination to defeat this virus and to help people who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in tough times.”
Cornyn added that Congress approved this recent bill to help keep small businesses afloat while waiting for the crisis to be over. He said the goal is to keep these businesses around so when things start to open up again, those businesses will be there.
"We’re doing everything we can think of that will help prepare us once we defeat this virus to recover as quickly as possible,” Cornyn said. “We’ll come out of this on the other side, stronger and smarter. And hopefully having learned the lessons that this virus is trying to teach us.”
COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.
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