Mark Tours Pleasant Hill Shelter Holding Separated Migrant Children
Dear Contra Costa County Residents:
As the House of Representatives prepares for another busy week, below is a snapshot of our recent work in Washington, DC and at home in Contra Costa County.
Special Update: Mark Visits Pleasant Hill Shelter Housing Separated Children
After learning two young girls who were separated from their families under the Trump Administration's zero tolerance policy are being held at a children's shelter in Pleasant Hill, Mark asked to visit the facility. The process for requesting this tour was disorganized and took multiple weeks. Below you will find coverage of Mark's visit to the facility and the Trump Administration's politically driven policy of separating children from their families.
The Mercury News
NBC Bay Area
RECENT KEY VOTES
Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act (H.R. 50)
The Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans have continuously attacked the ability of federal agencies to do their jobs effectively. This bill takes away the independence of federal agencies. It also follows along the Administration's trajectory of devaluing scientific input and giving more power to private industries. I opposed this bill because it puts big business over the American people. Unfortunately, it passed by a vote of 230-to-168.
So-Called "Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act" (H.R. 200)
The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act is an important policy first enacted in 1976 to develop U.S. fisheries, further promote sustainable management, and address overfishing. H.R. 200 was an attempt to reauthorize this benchmark policy. Unfortunately, Republican Leadership included harmful provisions including rollbacks of important protections to allow fish populations to rebuild. I opposed this bill, which passed by a vote of 222-to-193.
MARK AROUND TOWN
Oversight and Judiciary Hearing with Peter Strozk
This week the Oversight and Judiciary Committees held a 10 hour hearing with FBI Agent Peter Strzok, a former member of the Special Counsel's investigative team, who has been caught up in controversy over text messages he sent expressing his dislike of President Trump. The Strzok hearing is one of the most discouraging Congressional hearings that I have been a part of. Clearly Peter Strzok made mistakes, but he was critical of public figures on both sides of the aisle. This hearing was not about getting to the truth, but instead it was a political circus orchestrated by the Republican Majority to defend President Trump and discredit the FBI. The only way we can get to the truth is to allow Special Counsel Mueller's investigation to continue without interference.
Meeting with Girl Up Members
It was my pleasure to meet with Contra Costa members of Girl Up, a global leadership development initiative hosted by the United Nations Foundation and aimed at helping girls in developing countries eager for more opportunities and equality.
Saying Goodbye to Salute e Vita Ristorante
Our office paid tribute to a Richmond institution, Salute e Vita Ristorante. We thanked and gave our best wishes to owner Menbere Aklilu, a beloved community member, businesswoman, and philanthropist.
OPINIONS FROM THE DISTRICT
Below are some of the top issues you shared with me over the last week:
- 200 constituents expressed their support for the Endangered Species Act, which serves as a major safeguard for national wildlife conservation and habitat preservation.
- 195 constituents continue to write in opposing the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act (H.R. 200), which undermines the Magnuson-Stevens Act and threatens the progress to end overfishing. See more information about this bill above.
- 120 constituents called for maintaining protections for marine mammals and their conservation.
LEGISLATION MARK RECENTLY SUPPORTED
Resolution Protecting Survivors of Domestic Violence - condemns Attorney General Sessions' cruel decision to deny asylum to victims of domestic violence
Counting Our Unexpected Natural Tragedies' (COUNT) Victims Act (H.R. 6048) - following the reports of mass undercounting of victims from the recent hurricanes that devastated Puerto Rico, this bill requires a study of the approaches used to count victims affected by major disasters, and includes policy recommendations for the future
LETTERS MARK RECENTLY SENT
Letter to Oversight Committee Chairman Gowdy requesting an urgent hearing to examine the Trump Administration's policy of separating families at the border
Letter to the department of Health and Human Services expressing concerns about the use of DNA testing in the reunification of families who have been separated at the border
Letter to Oversight and Judiciary Committees demanding that they hold a hearing to require Steve Bannon to testify about his interactions with law enforcement surrounding the 2016 election
Letter to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Perdue urging him to issue guidance to schools to end the practice of lunch shaming, which are policies in schools that isolate or embarrass students who receive free or reduced-price lunch
Letter to Secretary of State Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton urging them to release all humanitarian aid to Gaza
Letter to the Acting Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency opposing the Administration's steps to weaken the 2015 rule on coal ash, which was put in place to protect water and public health from the harmful impacts of coal ash waste from power producers
MARK'S RECENT STATEMENTS
"Having called for the termination of the contract, I support the Board of Supervisors' decision and look forward to working with them on making sure the concerns of the community and clients are addressed."