This article is over 3 years old

Houston Matters

Sylvia Garcia Discusses Priorities As New Member Of Congress

Protecting Houston from negative economic repercussions of a potential shutdown of the border and accelerating the use of federal funds for Harvey recovery are up on her list.

Sylvia Garcia has started her term as a member of Congress this week and told Houston Matters Friday that two of her priorities will be protecting Houston from the negative economic repercussions of a potential shutdown of the southern border by President Donald Trump and accelerating the use of federal funds for the Harvey recovery.

Garcia will represent the Texas 29th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives and, along with Representative Veronica Escobar, is the first Latina to represent the Lone Star State in Congress.

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., center, talks with Rep.-elect Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas., left, following a photo opportunity on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, with the freshman class.

Trump tweeted on December 28 it's possible he will order closing the southern border if the Democrats in Congress don't agree on funding the wall he wants for the border and also change immigration laws, which the President categorized as "ridiculous."

Garcia said closing the southern border would have “a huge negative impact on the Port (of Houston), it will have a huge negative impact on the (Texas) Medical Center.”

Garcia said the mood during the first day of the new Congress, which took place Thursday, was positive and collegial but underlined that the real test will come the next week and going forward in the sense of whether lawmakers will be able to work in a bipartisanship fashion. She added she thinks House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will “take bull by the horns.”

The Congresswoman also addressed the potential border wall and said she believes the price tag could be much higher than the $5 billion the Trump Administration is requesting.

Referencing her years as Harris County Commissioner, Garcia noted that “it takes a lot of money to build infrastructure of any kind and then you gotta factor, you know, the maintenance and repair and the other things that come with any infrastructure.” She said some studies indicate the cost of the wall could be up to $50 or $70 billion.

Subscribe to Today in Houston

Fill out the form below to subscribe our new daily editorial newsletter from the HPM Newsroom.

* required