HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Senator Ted Cruz is on what he's calling a tele-town hall tour.
The Houston Republican is visiting with constituents from across the state from his Houston home. He told ABC13 in a Skype interview from his home, he knows the economic disaster is as big or bigger of a concern for most Texans than the virus.
So many are out of work. Oil prices are low. It is a mess. But he said help is coming from the $2.2 trillion stimulus package, a measure that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. The IRS should distribute funds this month.
"A couple earning a $150,000 a year or less with three kids is going to get a check for $3,900," he said. "That's designed to be real, immediate relief for families that may be scared, maybe lost their job, may not be sure how they're going to pay the rent next month. "
Cruz said he traveled to Washington last week, where he met at the White House with President Trump and with leaders from large energy companies. He said he's also spoken several times with Saudi leaders and has pushed OPEC to cut back production. He said he hopes they'll do the right thing to help the American energy industry and stop blaming Russia for the impasse.
"I said look, Russia is our enemy," said Senator Cruz of his conversation with the Saudis. "We know Russia is our enemy. They act like our enemy. We treat them like our enemy. You're supposed to be our friend, so damn well act like it. "
Above everything, though, the senator says none of the health or economic worries can be abated without a vaccine.
"I've introduced legislation to accelerate that process, to streamline that process, to use the incredible innovation of the United States of the American economy to defeat this crisis," he said. "We will get through this but we have to get rid of the bureaucracy."
Cruz was self-quarantined twice after contact with those exposed to the COVID-19 virus. He did not get sick and tells us he and his family are healthy.