U.S. Representative Veronica Escobar on the state of Congress at an event at the El Paso House
U.S. Representative Veronica Escobar addressed a long list of challenges facing the country in her speech at the El Paso Chamber of Commerce’s “State of Congress” this week.
Rising inflation, supply chain disruptions, climate change, mass shootings, global pandemics, women’s reproductive rights and migration, Escobar said Congress has faced one crisis after another, but that the summer had been productive for Democrats.
Escobar, D-El Paso, expressed unequivocal support for the Cut Inflation Act, which she said would invest billions in fighting climate change and tackling rising costs for families . Less than 24 hours later, she joined the Democrats to pass the law, the subject of intense negotiations with the House and the Senate.
“I know the state of the economy is what everyone is concerned about,” Escobar said. “There’s a real impact on people, and it’s especially impactful in a community like ours.”
The Cut Inflation Act — a slimmed down version of President Joe Biden’s original Build Back Better plan — will now go to the president’s desk for signing.
The event at the Hotel Paso del Norte provided an opportunity for frontier governance and business leaders to hear from Escobar about the work she has done in Washington.
Among those present were Texas Representatives Joe Moody and Claudia Ordaz Perez, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, Commissioners David Stout and Iliana Holguin, El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser and Councilman Henry Rivera.
Escobar said the Cut Inflation Act will cut carbon emissions by 40% by 2030, save the average family more than $1,000 a month on energy costs, expand affordable health insurance to 13 million Americans, cap drug costs for seniors at $2,000 a year, and reduce the national deficit by nearly $2 trillion.
Escobar’s party recently passed a gun control bill, the CHIPS Act to spur high-tech manufacturing and the PACT Act to help veterans exposed to toxic combustion fireplaces, as well as the approval of the entry of Finland and Sweden into NATO.
A “strategic approach”
When discussing immigration to his country, Escobar praised El Paso’s elected leaders for “protecting the dignity” of migrants entering the city and stepping in to help where the federal government has failed. failed to do so.
“I still have colleagues, and there are still people in the American public, who believe that we can fix this situation only at the border,” Escobar said. “We need to approach this in a more strategic approach.”
After speaking with President Biden about the financial strain faced by local governments and nonprofits in the absence of federal immigration reform, Escobar said a new program has been launched to reimburse these entities. for immigration-related expenses.
After:An iconic migrant shelter closes. What will El Paso do now?
She also chastised Republicans, particularly the Freedom Caucus, for torpedoing a 2013 immigration reform attempt. The lack of action caused the border issues that many congressmen now despise.
“Believe it or not, Congress hasn’t reformed immigration in three decades,” Escobar said.
Democrats in Congress have drafted a series of bills aimed at addressing this problem, Escobar said, including one aimed at civilizing the processing of migrants via the Asylum Processing Reinvention Act. Still, she fears Republican victories in November’s midterms could spell the end of those proposals.
“So we have big challenges ahead if we don’t pass immigration reform,” Escobar said. “It will take time.”
Escobar will face Republican Irene Armendariz-Jackson in November. In the 2020 election, Escobar defeated Armendariz-Jackson with over 64% of the vote.
Reduce gun violence
Escobar also discussed his work on gun violence prevention, noting that the issue has a unique prevalence for those in El Paso.
“All of us who lived through August 3…we were all touched…in a very heartbreaking and traumatic way,” Escobar said. “This whole community, we are survivors of gun violence.”
While Escobar called on lawmakers to “come together and find these solutions” to gun violence, she added that it is our responsibility to expose the root causes of the ongoing mass shootings seen in this country, which are “fueled by racism, by hate, by a very dangerous conspiracy theory.”
“We also need to call out the fact that our neighborhoods are being flooded with guns,” Escobar said. “There are more guns in our country than there are people.”
After:Canada’s bold actions after horrific mass shooting are eye-opening for Texas and the United States
The House passed several bills aimed at preventing gun violence, including an assault weapons ban, the Protecting Our Children Act, the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of gun violence, the bipartisan Safer Communities Act, and the STOP Violence Act, but the only one to clear the Senate did not address access to high-capacity assault rifles.
Protect fundamental human rights
Following the United States Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the monument Roe vs. Wade decision, Escobar said the basic human rights of Americans are more at risk than ever, noting that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has previously expressed his willingness to take on cases challenging same-sex marriages.
“I never thought that in 2022 any of these issues would be moot or that these rights would be eroded,” Escobar said. “But the fact is that our personal rights are in danger.”
On that front, Escobar and Democrats in Congress have proposed a slew of bills, including the Women’s Health Protection Act, the Women’s Right to Reproductive Freedom Act, the Right to contraception and the law on respect for marriage.
Invest in El Paso
Escobar criticized Texas leaders for not expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and noted that communities like El Paso, where poverty rates are high and many have no health coverage, suffer the most.
“That’s why I work so hard to bring federal resources to you,” Escobar said.
Along with her office’s work, completing more than 1,000 voter cases and recovering more than $2.1 million for area taxpayers over the past year, Escobar said she has secured 11, $5 million for a crisis response team for El Paso County, wastewater treatment projects in the Upper Valley, technology upgrades at Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe, as well as $25 million for projects this year.
“There’s so much at stake, more than ever before, really,” Escobar said. “These are serious times and they require serious policies and governance. There really is no easy solution and you shouldn’t believe a politician who tells you there is a quick and easy solution.”
After:New investment fund helps large El Paso landscaping company become employee-owned