Mark Hosts Tax Town Hall and Discusses Improvements to Air Safety
Dear Contra Costa Residents:
We want to provide you with a snapshot of recent news and issues before Congress over the past week.
RECENT KEY VOTES
Resolution supporting the people of Iran (H.Res. 676)
One of the fundamental tenets of democracy is the freedom of expression. I am always strongly encouraged when citizens stand up for their rights and themselves, take to the streets, and participate in non-violent forms of expression. Rather than counter them, the Iranian government should start a peaceful dialogue with its citizens to make a shift toward a more democratic state. I voted in favor of a resolution supporting the rights of the people of Iran to free expression and condemning the Iranian regime for its crackdown on legitimate protests to send a signal that the United States is on the side of freedom and democracy.
As many of you may have seen on my Facebook page, due to my mother’s passing I did not have the opportunity to vote on several bills. Prior to this, I maintained an over 99% voting record. Below is an accounting of how I would have voted last week.
FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act (S. 139)
We can provide law enforcement officials with the resources and capabilities necessary to defend the nation while simultaneously upholding the hard-fought and hard-won individual rights enshrined in the Constitution. As we now know, the National Security Agency has collected vast swaths of telephone and internet data, using Section 702 as justification, some of which was on Americans for whom there was no suspicion of wrongdoing. Liberty and security do not need to be mutually exclusive. However, S. 139 did not do enough to protect Americans from the watchful eye of government surveillance. For that reason, I would have voted against this bill. There is still space to address these issues so that individual privacy rights will be upheld while our country is protected.
Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act (part of S. 140)
I strongly respect the sovereign rights of Native American Tribes. This bill, however, is nothing more than another attempt to undermine collective bargaining. In the process, it would strip hundreds of thousands of workers – the majority of whom are not tribe members – of their right to a voice in the workplace. I would have voted against this bill, which seeks to deprive workers of their right to advocate for themselves and ask for the wages they deserve.
MARK AROUND TOWN
El Cerrito Tax Town Hall
We want to thank the over 400 constituents from El Cerrito and throughout Contra Costa County who came out to our town hall on Saturday. The new Republican tax law will have a significant effect on California, so taking the time to discuss it and understand its impacts with our community is important. We hope to see you all at a future town hall!
Celebrating MLK Day
Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy is one of social justice, empowerment of the downtrodden, and a dream for a better tomorrow. People throughout the Bay Area came out to honor that legacy yesterday, and I was glad for the chance to share this important day with them. My staff and I participated in events in: Antioch, Pittsburg, Walnut Creek, Alamo, Richmond, El Cerrito, and Concord.
Honoring the Fallen with Blue Star Moms
The Contra Costa Blue Star Moms organized a poignant memorial service honoring Captain John L. Hallett III and Senior Airman Jonathan A. Vega Yelner, both of whom gave the last full measure of devotion serving in Operation Enduring Freedom. A special thanks to the Blue Star Moms for all they do.
OPINIONS FROM THE DISTRICT
- 794 constituents contacted me opposing the FCC’s decision to roll back Net Neutrality.
- 189 constituents wrote in to express their opposition to the Administration’s decision to open up oil drilling off the coast of California.
- 169 constituents shared their support for the Organic Certification Cost Share Program, which helps small- and mid-sized farmers get certified organic.
LEGISLATION MARK RECENTLY SUPPORTED
Special Counsel Independence Protection Act (H.R. 3654)
Recent comments by Republican lawmakers and the President himself demonstrate a clear narrative of trying to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The President’s personal lawyer made a further concerning statement that a President cannot commit the crime of obstruction of justice, a notion that has been discredited. H.R. 3654 would protect the integrity and independence of Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation by narrowing who can fire the Special Counsel. For this reason, I am proud to sponsor H.R. 3654.
LETTERS MARK RECENTLY SENT
Letter identifying climate change as a national security threat
Last week I joined more than 100 of my bipartisan colleagues in a letter urging the President to recognize climate change as a national security threat. In the President’s National Security Strategy released last month, he failed to recognize what scientists, military leaders, and other knowledgeable experts agree on: climate change is indeed a direct threat to America’s national security. As global temperatures become more volatile, sea levels rise, and landscapes change, our communities, military installations, and coastlines are all vulnerable to impacts. It is time that we correctly identify climate change for the threat it presents so that we can begin to take appropriate actions.
Letter to Department of Interior opposing the Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing Program
I joined more than 70 of my Democratic colleagues in Congress in a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke opposing the opening of vast new areas of the Outer Continental Shelf to oil and gas drilling, including off the coast of California. This letter urges Secretary Zinke to remove the Atlantic, Arctic, and Pacific Oceans, and the Eastern Gulf of Mexico from consideration for oil and gas lease sales. It is clear that our most promising future lies in renewable energy and energy efficiency, not in fossil fuel extraction that puts fisheries and tourism at risk and contributes to climate change.
Letter to the Department of Homeland Security opposing increased ICE enforcement in California
In retaliation for passing a “sanctuary state” law, the Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says he will increase the number of special agents and deportation officers in California. This will cause unnecessary stress in our immigrant populations and decrease public safety as many immigrants will choose not to report crimes out of fear of wrongful immigration detention. I joined other Members of Congress from California in a letter to the Acting Director requesting a meeting with him in light of his comments to work in the best interest of the safety of Californians.
MARK IN THE NEWS
Interviews with Local News on Trump and Air Safety
Mark spoke with KRON, KGO and KPIX as well as KQED radio this past week on a series of troubling incidents in air safety in light of yet another near miss at SFO. The Congressman reiterated his call for greater urgency, transparency, and consistency on the part of regulators to learn from these events to prevent future tragedies.
He also addressed Trump's continued assault on the office of the Presidency with his racist comments on immigrants. To view these videos, click on the links below.
Discussion on Toll Hikes for Bay Area Bridge
Mark’s opposition to proposed toll increases for Bay Area bridges was noted in a San Francisco Chronicle article on the subject. To find out more, read the article here.