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El Paso Times Op-Ed: 'We are strongest when we unite to face adversity'

By Congresswoman Veronica Escobar

El Pasoans aren’t strangers to great challenges, and our community has demonstrated time and again that we are strongest when we unite to face adversity.

Coronavirus, the pandemic that is sweeping the globe will prove to be one of the greatest challenges we will face. To adequately address it, we must each be armed with information driven by science, understand the gravity of the situation, and be motivated by prudent urgency.

Those are the guideposts that have helped the House of Representatives navigate this unprecedented health and economic crisis as we work to protect the American people, jobs and the economy.

Congress has passed two House Democrat-led bipartisan bills to help address the coronavirus crisis. While not an exhaustive list, these two laws:

·       Ensure free testing for everyone who needs it, including the uninsured

·       Provide two weeks of paid sick leave as well as up to three months of family and medical leave for eligible workers

·       Expand unemployment insurance access by easing state requirements

·       Provide emergency loans for small businesses

·       Fund local and state government health agencies

·       Ensure food security for vulnerable populations and funding for food banks

We will continue to deliver for the American people with as much as urgency as possible and work is underway on a third stimulus package that includes new, strong, and strict provisions that prioritize and protect workers.

We are all in this together – government, the private sector, family, friends, neighbors.

What has become painfully clear during this crisis is that deliberate erosion to our safety net – cuts to healthcare, food security, employment benefits, etc. – have exacerbated the crisis and created deeper insecurity in our communities.

With every new presumptive case of COVID-19 announced in El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, we must realize that these are announcements of the cases that are known to us. It is highly likely that the number of people carrying the virus is much greater, and we won’t know until there is adequate and ample testing.

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