Honoring Memorial Day 2018
Dear Contra Costa County Residents:
As we begin a new week home in California, below is a snapshot of our recent work in Washington, DC and in Contra Costa County.
RECENT KEY VOTES
National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 5515)
Every year, Congress considers a bill to set spending at the Department of Defense called the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This year's bill called for an enormous $716 billion budget for an agency that has never undergone a full audit and was found to have buried a report showing $125 billion in wasteful spending. I opposed this bill because American taxpayers deserve more accountability at the Department of Defense. H.R. 5515 passed by a vote of 351-to-66.
Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155)
In 2010, President Obama signed into law the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. This important legislation put in place measures to protect American consumers and taxpayers from the risks of reckless behavior by financial institutions. This bill goes too far in rolling back the Dodd-Frank reforms and, among other things, raises the limit on financial institutions considered "too big to fail" from $50 billion in assets to $250 billion. I opposed this bill because it puts Americans at risk of another financial crisis. S. 2155 passed by a vote of 258-to-159.
MARK'S LEGISLATIVE ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Fighting the Opioid Epidemic by Reducing Doctor Shopping, Promoting Evidence-Based Research, and Requiring Independent Audits
Our country is currently in the midst of the worst public health crisis in decades—whole communities and families have been devastated by the effects of opioids, and over two million Americans are in the grips of opioid addiction. Combatting the opioid epidemic begins with a strong and coordinated effort by the federal government. I am proud to announce that the Oversight and Government Reform Committee included my provisions to help combat the opioid epidemic by reducing doctor shopping, ensuring our national drug policies are rooted in fact, and requiring audits of the programs charged with setting and carrying out the federal response to the opioid crisis in the reauthorization of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Learn more about our efforts here.
Calling on Transportation Secretary Chao to Stop Penalizing Urban and Suburban Regions with Reduced Funding
At a time when so many workers in our metropolitan regions are suffering from intolerably long commutes, the Trump Administration has made an abrupt change to how it allocates federal transportation and infrastructure funds by shifting more resources to rural areas. This drastic change to cut off urban and suburban areas from federal investment seems to be especially punitive and politically-calculated. I called on the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Chao to explain the Administration's intentions behind this change. To read the letter, click here.
MARK AROUND TOWN
Memorial Day 2018
We spent Memorial Day at events throughout Contra Costa County paying tribute to those who laid down their lives to protect our freedom and our democracy.
Celebrating Our Heroes in Bay Point
Attending the Clayton and Concord Annual Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony
Meeting Veterans in Pleasant Hill
Memorial Day at the Crosses of Lafayette
Celebrating the Opening of the BART to Antioch Line
We celebrated the opening of the eBART extension, which will connect the Pittsburg/Bay Point BART station with the new Pittsburg Center and Antioch stations. BART transports thousands of people every day throughout the Bay Area, and I am happy to see them extend their services to East County with trains that are cutting-edge, clean, and comfortable.
OPINIONS FROM THE DISTRICT
Below are some of the top issues you shared with me over the last week:
- 538 constituents continued to write in with their support for robust funding for anti-hunger programs, such as SNAP, in the Farm Bill reauthorization.
- 127 constituents wrote in to support a House vote on a resolution to reinstate net neutrality protections.
- 58 constituents requested that marine mammals be protected in last week's National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
LEGISLATION MARK RECENTLY SUPPORTED
Transfer of Mare Island Naval Cemetery (H.R. 5588) - proposes to transfer ownership of the Mare Island Naval Cemetery to the National Cemetery Administration to ensure the grounds are maintained and honor the legacy of those buried there
Resolution of Inquiry on the 2020 Census (H.R. 877) - demands that the Trump Administration provide documents related to the decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census
Students Over Special Interests Act (H.R. 5928) - repeals the disastrous Republican tax bill and uses the savings to forgive all outstanding student loan debt
Public Financing Constitutional Amendment (H.J.Res. 126) - allows Congress to establish a public financing system for federal campaigns and make clear that money spent in support or opposition to a candidate for federal office is not protected speech under the First Amendment
Burma United through Rigorous Military Accountability (BURMA) Act (H.R. 4223) - enforces sanctions and accountability related to the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya and encourages further democratic transition
Arbitration Fairness Act (H.R. 1374) - prohibits a predispute arbitration agreement from being valid or enforceable if it requires arbitration of an employment, consumer, antitrust, or civil rights dispute
LETTERS MARK RECENTLY SENT
DeSaulnier-led letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting an investigation into any harm that may have resulted from the President neglecting to update the National Drug Control Strategy as required by law
Letter to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics asking them to investigate whether President Trump's decision to lift sanctions on ZTE was influenced by the Chinese government's $500 million loan to a development project linked to the Trump Organization
Letter to California State lawmakers supporting a bill requiring newly collected sexual assault kits to be submitted within 20 days and tested within 120 days
Letter to the Department of Justice opposing the removal of sexual orientation and gender identity questions for 16 and 17-year old respondents from the National Crime Victimization Survey, which would hurt data collection and evidence-based policymaking
MARK IN THE NEWS
I joined Phil Matier on CBS San Francisco to discuss the opioid epidemic, the worst American public health crisis in decades, and the bipartisan efforts I included in the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) reauthorization to help reduce doctor shopping, promote evidence-based research, and require independent audits.