A Week in Congress
It’s hard to believe that we are already nearing the end of August! Summer break is winding down, students are headed back to school and football season is right around the corner. While many young Texans across the state prepare for their return to school, my office has been busy both here at home and in Washington.
I signed onto a letter asking President Obama and Chinese President Xi for the release of Sandy Phan-Gillis a Houstonian detained in China for no legitimate reason. China has not released any information other than the fact that she is under investigation for spying and stealing state secrets. Over a year later, Phan-Gillis has yet to meet with her lawyers or see any details of an accusation. This atrocious violation of rights must be ended. We must demand the release of this Houstonian who has clearly done no wrong.
This week I also co-sponsored the The Visa Transparency Anti-Trafficking Act of 2016. This bill would create a standardized reporting system across nonimmigrant visa categories that authorize work, and require that this information be made public. Anti-human trafficking organizations can use the data to identify where traffickers are operating abroad, develop targeted trafficking prevention outreach campaigns, and warn vulnerable workers and U.S. embassies in source countries.
I joined in sending a letter to Paul Ryan and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, thanking them for their continued support of the Special Diabetes Program. Nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes and an additional 86 million have pre-diabetes. It is critical that we invest in the research necessary to develop a cure for diabetes and support the programs that help prevent and manage the symptoms of this disease.
Congratulations to the Economic Alliance Port Region for hosting another successful Gulf Coast Economic Forum this week. This forum not only highlights the impact of the Houston Port Region, but is a great way for attendees to gain insight on energy policy, the outlook for the petrochemical and shipping industries, and hear from leading Texas policymakers Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton and Land Commissioner George P. Bush.
Heather Ramsey Cook was in the Texas Medical Center this week for a briefing on legislative priorities for Methodist Hospital and The Methodist Hospital Research Institute. Houston Methodist comprises seven hospitals and other healthcare service locations throughout the Houston metro area. The Methodist Hospital Research Institute cultivates a global research collaboration that moves medical research from concept to cure, educates healthcare professionals, and helps patients around the world.
My office was honored to present World War II veteran Corporal William “Bill” Sherrill with remarks from the Congressional record and a challenge coin. This month William “Bill” Sherrill turns 90 years young. This energetic veteran still has the same passion for our country and our military that he had the day he enlisted into the Marines at 15 years of age in 1941. As a young teenager, Bill served during World War Two and participated in the island hopping campaign until he was wounded in Iwo Jima.