Congressman Al Green describes 'eerie' flight to D.C. to propose bills on coronavirus relief

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Congressman Al Green traveled to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday to introduce three bills for the next coronavirus response package.

The Democrat representative took the trip after the growing concern among the representatives about traveling back to Washington to vote on sweeping legislation to respond to the pandemic.

"If I told you the whole story, you wouldn't believe it," Green told ABC News as he explained the city's 'stay-home work-safe' order.

So, he decided to make the 24-hour trip to Washington to file his legislation personally, rather than send an aide to do it and risk exposing them to the virus.

"The risk I would take, I do not impose on my staff," he said. "I have staffers here, but I would not require them to come in. That's my responsibility."

Green described an "eerie" experience, detailing his trip from Hobby Airport to Washington-Reagan National Airport on Monday evening.

"I walked in and I was the only person that I saw that was going to go through security at that point," Green said, adding that he spotted "maybe five or six people," on the walk from security to Gate 25.

His flight on Southwest Airlines soon boarded, sending just nine passengers to Washington.

"I had eight other people on the flight," Green reported, insisting the passengers kept a safe distance from each other and they were able to spread out enough to comply with recommendations from the CDC on social distancing.

When Green arrived at the D.C. airport, he realized he had the wrong set of keys, so he could not drive his own car or immediately access his congressional office or condominium. Since he couldn't drive himself, he hailed a cab and worked the phones to gain access to his office so he could retrieve another set of keys.

As he arrived at the Capitol, Green said the scene was practically a ghost town, with janitorial staff scaled back by at least 75 percent with Congress out of session.

The lawmaker said he filed three measures, including a bill to address enforcement of fair housing laws to prevent and detect discrimination in mortgage lending. Another bill will lift the $250,000 cap of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's insurance of private bank accounts. A third bill would enable Minority Depository Institutions to borrow at zero percent interest rates.

"These three bills were just that important to me and my constituents," Green said. "In general, it was an experience unlike any I've had before in traveling from Houston to Washington."

It was after midnight when he was able to resolve his problems with the help of a couple of U.S. Capitol police officers and the superintendent's office. Across the Capitol at that hour, White House officials and Senate leaders wrapped up a long session of negotiations.

"The people who work at the Capitol never get enough credit for the duties that they perform. They do go above and beyond the call of duty," Green said of the unheralded employees who helped him through his quest. "I'm grateful."





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