U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar (R-TX) introduced legislation designed to protect border communities against the COVID-19 pandemic by amending the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission Act.
This bill, the Binational Health Strategies Act of 2020, directs the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission to assemble a report on COVID-19 response along the border and create binational plans addressing COVID-19 and future infectious diseases.
“With over 219,000 American and 86,000 Mexican lives lost to coronavirus, Congress must urgently act to empower the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission to develop a robust border mitigation, testing, and contact tracing plan that protects border communities,” Escobar said. “The Binational Health Strategies Act would protect the lives, livelihoods, and economies of our border communities and prepare our region to confront future public health threats.”
Escobar said the binational strategic plan should address how the border region can bolster its response to COVID-19 and how the effect of COVID-19 on economic conditions in the border region may be mitigated. It also calls for plans on how health agencies on both sides of the border can effectively share relevant COVID-19 health data, including testing and positivity rates, and how a vaccine should be disbursed within the region.
The Binational Health Strategies Act of 2020 is co-sponsored by Reps. Lou Correa (D-CA), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), and Filemon Vela (D-TX).