WACO, TX — One of Texas' two United States Senators toured an important Waco-area facility on the front lines in the fight against the coronavirus. The aim? To see how local governments spent their stimulus money from back in the spring.
But many more of us want to know when the next round will take place.
Do you miss your $1,200 check most of us got from the government a few months ago? We keep hearing a new round of relief money will soon head our way, but still we wait.
So we asked United Sates Senator from Texas John Cornyn when we might see that money again. But his answer didn't come until he'd seen evidence of how well the last round of stimulus money was used.
”[Coronavirus is] the third most common cause of death in the United States,” stated Dr. Jackson Griggs of Waco's Family Health Center.
It's a big reason U.S. Senator John Cornyn came to Waco to see Central Texas' response to the virus that has killed so many.
He saw the Family Heath Center's outdoor COVID-19 testing site then moved indoors to see the lab set up to process the results.
Cornyn admits America's response hasn't proven perfect, but he says it has helped.
"We're managing our way through this. It's been hard on everybody, but I think we're in a much better place today than we had been," he said.
After the tour, Cornyn heard how McLennan County groups used the federal government's first round of stimulus money to keep vital operations going, even as a resurgence of the virus left many more dead.
”Texas, this week, passed a somber milestone of 10,000 deaths due to COVID-related illness,” said Dr. Griggs.
Government leaders spoke of their struggles to meet ever-shifting needs.
”This situation is incredibly nimble. What one's needs were yesterday may not be their needs today,” said Andrea Barefield of the Waco City Council and Mayor Pro Tempore.
Some let people themselves decide what help they needed.
”Over half the $10.8 million that we received in CARES funding when directly to our students,” said Dr. Linda Livingstone, President of Baylor University.
Schools used money to prepare for a new kind of classroom.
”Paid for some Chromebooks, some mobile hot spots.” said Kyle DeBeer, of Waco ISD.
McLennan County worked to support local jobs.
”Transportation for getting back and forth to work,” said McLennan County Judge Scott Felton.
All described how they put stimulus money to good use and now how many families need more.
Cornyn predicts the next round of stimulus will include at least three things.
”I think some of it will be more of the same. I think direct payments to individuals will be a part of it,” he stated.
He also says so-called payroll protection loans will get a share, and liability protection to prevent lawsuits over COVID.
How soon does he see Congress handing a bill to the president?
”If in fact people are serious about coming up with another package, we ought to be able to do that by next week sometime,” he said.
Senator Cornyn also believes the new CARES Act will include some money for the Post Office.
Can Congress get then job done by next week? We'll keep you posted on their progress right here.