Separated Children Held in Pleasant Hill Reunited with Their Parents
Dear Contra Costa County Residents:
Below is a snapshot of our recent work in Washington, DC, our time in the community, and details for our upcoming special topic town halls on immigration and securing our elections during the August district work period. I hope you will join us at one of our upcoming events.
Immigration Town Hall
Saturday, August 4th
11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Meadow Homes Elementary
1371 Detroit Avenue
Concord, CA 94520
Doors Open at 10:30 a.m.
RSVP Here: https://bit.ly/1TBndUa
Securing Our Elections Town Hall
Monday, August 13th
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Shadelands Art Center
111 Wiget Lane
Walnut Creek, CA 94598
Doors Open at 6:00 p.m.
RSVP Here: https://bit.ly/1TBndUa
RECENT KEY VOTES
National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019 (H.R. 5515)
This year's NDAA gives an additional $717 billion to the Department of Defense. For context, that is almost four times the entire budget for the State of California. Instead of giving funding unchecked to the Pentagon, where $125 billion in bureaucratic waste has already been identified, we should be spending on only the essentials while demanding a completed audit. I opposed this bill, which passed by a vote of 359-to-54, and will continue to oppose the measure until the DoD has completed a full audit and I am confident taxpayers' hard earned money is spent in an open, transparent, and efficient manner that also ensures our troops' safety.
Bills to Undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
Republican Leadership continued its assault on affordable health care last week with a series of bills designed to weaken the public marketplace. H.R. 184, H.R. 6199, and H.R. 6311 would reduce taxes on an already highly profitable health insurance industry and promote the use of high deductible plans without making them affordable to the average American. I opposed these bills, which unfortunately all passed.
MARK'S LEGISLATIVE ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Authors Bill to Improve Performance and Accountability of Regional Planning Institutions
Mark introduced the Metropolitan Planning Enhancement Act (H.R. 6493) to help improve the performance and accountability of our metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), the main institutions in charge of regional planning. The bill would require regional transportation plans to include project descriptions and go through a transparent selection process that includes criteria, established by states, supporting regional, state, and national goals.
Requests Review of Practices Contributing to Property Neglect Impacting Communities of Color
A decade after the housing and financial crisis of 2008, foreclosure still affects one in every 96 households, and another three million loans are likely to reach the foreclosure pipeline this year—leaving millions of houses potentially vulnerable to neglect. This neglect creates a serious problem for the surrounding neighborhoods, both for the risks to health and safety as well as for the drag on local economic development, including the diminished attractiveness of the neighborhoods to new residents and homebuyers. Lawsuits against big banks, such as Deustche Bank, Wells Fargo, and most recently Bank of America, have highlighted that property neglect of foreclosed homes is disproportionately impacting communities of color like Richmond, Bay Point, and Pittsburg. Mark called on the Government Accountability Office to study the practices that are leading to this neglect in order to identify a way to put an end to this type of unfair treatment.
Introduces Bill to Hold Companies Accountable for their Public Health Impacts
Mark introduced the National Public Health Act (H.R. 6481) to hold corporations accountable for actions that hurt public health. The bill would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to work with the National Academy of Medicine to establish and continuously update a list of public health crises. In addition, the Secretary of HHS would be required to develop a list of products that contribute to these public health crises. Any company that manufactures these products would then be required to develop and implement a plan to mitigate any public health impacts of the covered product.
MARK AROUND TOWN
Holding the Trump Administration Accountable for Separating Families
Mark speaks at a press conference on Thursday with the Women's Working Group on Immigration Reform to call out the Administration for its heartless zero tolerance policy and to demand that the families separated under its watch are reunified.
Welcoming Lieutenant Colonel Michael Hudson Home
Since 1993, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Hudson has served our country in the US Marine Corps on tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, and more. We joined friends and family in Clayton to welcome this Contra Costa County hero home.
Commemorating the Port Chicago Disaster
We helped commemorate the 74th anniversary of the explosion at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine by reaffirming our commitment to removing the racially biased convictions from the records of the Port Chicago 50.
OPINIONS FROM THE DISTRICT
Below are some of the top issues you shared with me over the last week:
- 97 constituents expressed their support for the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act (H.R. 1456), which would prohibit the sale of shark fins in the United States to help protect shark population levels.
- 80 constituents called for the impeachment of President Trump because of his continued violations of the Constitution.
- 61 constituents wrote about their support of Net Neutrality to maintain equal access to the internet.
LEGISLATION MARK RECENTLY SUPPORTED
To improve the security and integrity of our elections, Mark supported the following bills:
- Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act (H.R. 5476) - establishes requirements and limitations for the removal of a special counsel appointed by the Attorney General
- Election Vendor Security Act (H.R. 6435) - requires election vendors to be owned and controlled by U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents
- Automatic Voter Registration Act (H.R. 2876) - institutes a system where all eligible voters, upon interacting with any government agency, would be automatically registered to vote unless the individual opts out
- Voting Rights Amendment Act (H.R. 3239) - fully restores and modernizes the original Voting Rights Act to reflect todays' societal needs and challenges
- Get Foreign Money Out of U.S. Elections Act (H.R. 1615) - bans contributions and expenditures by foreign nationals to foreign-controlled, foreign-influenced, and foreign-owned domestic corporations
- Voting Innovation Prize Act (H.R. 6564) - creates an annual prize competition for the next five years to engage the private, public, and nonprofit communities in addressing challenges in voting to promote the health of our democracy and protect our national security
Federal Jobs Guarantee Development Act (H.R. 6467) - creates a pilot program to develop guaranteed job opportunities for adults.
ANTIQUITIES Act (H.R. 6410) - protects some of America's greatest natural treasures for future generations, including by expanding protections for the Bears Ears National Monument to over 1.9 million acres
Chinese American World War II Veterans Congressional Gold Medal Act (H.R. 2358) - would award the Congressional Gold Medal to Chinese American World War II veterans
LETTERS MARK RECENTLY SENT
Letter to the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality urging him to reconsider the decision to shut down guideline.gov, which provides essential health care information to thousands of health care providers and patients
Letter to OMB Director Mulvaney raising concerns about the proposal to remove nutrition programs from the Department of Agriculture
Letter to Secretary of State Pompeo in support of programs allowing access to justice for women and girls around the world
MARK'S RECENT STATEMENTS
"I was informed by HHS that the two young girls who were separated from their parents and held at a children's shelter in Pleasant Hill were reunited with their families within the last five days. While today is the deadline for the federal government to reunify all remaining families, 900 more parents have been deemed ineligible—many with a chance of never seeing their children again.
After visiting the U.S.-Mexico border last week and witnessing mass deportations, I was saddened, shocked, and appalled. This is not the America I know that strives to live by the motto inscribed on the Statue of Liberty: 'give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.' Trump's vision of America disgraces our country and erodes our values with its unethical, immoral, and illegal policies."
MARK IN THE NEWS
The New York Times: Amazon's Facial Recognition Wrongly Identifies 28 Lawmakers, A.C.L.U. Says
On Thursday afternoon, three of the misidentified legislators — Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, Representative Luis V. Gutiérrez of Illinois and Representative Mark DeSaulnier of California, all Democrats — followed up with a letter to Jeff Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon, saying there are "serious questions regarding whether Amazon should be selling its technology to law enforcement at this time."
"I'm relieved," DeSaulnier said in an interview Thursday afternoon. "But it's hard not to be troubled after visiting with them and then going down to the border and seeing what can only be described as a politically created humanitarian crisis that is done in the name of Americans by this administration," DeSaulnier said.