Update on Government Shutdown
Dear Contra Costa Residents:
As you know, the federal government shutdown began at midnight last Friday. This is the first shutdown in the history of the United States when one party has control of the House, Senate, and White House. This evening, a bipartisan agreement was reached to continue funding the government for three weeks until February 8th. Below is my statement on the vote:
“This shutdown was completely unnecessary and avoidable. While I am pleased it is over, the three-week Continuing Resolution was not enough of a compromise for me to support it. Republican Leadership is continuing to deprive Members, on both sides of the aisle, of the opportunity to vote on must-address issues like permanent funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and community health centers, disaster relief, and a solution for the nearly 800,000 Dreamers. Trust remains the coin of the realm in politics, and it is now up to the Republican Leadership and the Trump Administration to keep their word and address these issues in a timely and efficient manner, so in three weeks we are not here again.”
OTHER RECENT STATEMENTS
Congressman DeSaulnier’s Statement on House Passage of the January 18th Continuing Resolution
“For months, Republican Leadership and the Trump Administration were singularly focused on passing a tax scam to benefit the ultra-wealthy and corporations. Instead of working with Democrats to develop a comprehensive budget, they have put our country on the brink of a government shutdown for the fourth time in as many months. This is no way for government to run. Without a budget deal, priorities important to our district including the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and community health centers will not receive the funding they need, and the 800,000 Dreamers will remain in limbo. It has been more than 20 years since Congress passed a budget through the normal process. I voted against H.R. 195, because it is long past time for government to work for the people, and I support a bill that puts first the health, wellbeing, and success of all Americans.”
RECENT KEY VOTES
Home Mortgage Disclosure Adjustment Act (H.R. 2954)
In an effort to increase transparency and accountability, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) collects data on mortgages—including age, nationality, race, of recipients. This data helps the CFPB determine if discrimination in lending exists. This bill would undermine this logical practice and decrease the number of lenders that have to comply with these standards. I voted against this bill, which prioritizes banks over everyday Americans. Unfortunately, the bill passed by a vote of 243-184.
Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (H.R. 4712)
I strongly respect and support a woman’s right to make choices about her own reproductive health. This bill would re-state current law saying that it is illegal to harm a child that is born as a result of an abortion, a policy I firmly believe in. It, however, goes a step too far and eliminates a doctor’s right to decide what is in the medical best interest of the child and instead puts that decision in the hands of bureaucrats. I opposed this bill, which is just an attempt to politicize the right to choose. Despite my opposition, this bill passed by a vote of 241-183.
World Bank Accountability Act (H.R. 3326)
The World Bank serves as a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. This bill would allow the Administration to withhold funding to the World Bank if they do not meet certain demands. We should not put the financial wellbeing of developing nations at risk for these vague improvements, especially at an international organization that is not exclusively at the beck and call of the United States. I voted against this bill, but it passed the House by a vote of 237-184.
MARK AROUND TOWN
Honored as one of DELTA Project’s "Men of Merit"
The Contra Costa County DELTA Project’s work to end domestic violence is truly commendable, and it was an honor to be recognized as one of their “Men of Merit,” along with the other recipients from our community.
Congratulations to Lou Paulson for receiving the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award
Congratulations to my friend and California Professional Firefighters President Lou Paulson for receiving the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award for his tireless commitment to mentoring hundreds of young people in the Bay Area and across the country.
OPINIONS FROM THE DISTRICT
Hearing directly from you not only informs my work in Congress, but also is my favorite part of being your Representative. To share your opinions with me you can either email me or take our su rvey.
Below are some of the top issues you shared with me over the last week:
- 789 constituents contacted me, on top of the thousands of others I have already heard from, with their discontent over the rollback of Net Neutrality rules.
- 379 constituents wrote in to support Dreamers and those who have Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Both of these groups were surprised by the Administration’s decision to end their programs.
- 130 constituents asked that we ensure the protection of the Special Counsel position to ensure the Russia investigation continues with full support.
LEGISLATION MARK RECENTLY SUPPORTED
President Donald J. Trump Wealth Tax Act (H.R. 2143)
Wealth inequality in the United States is at its highest levels since the years leading up to the Great Depression. While the vast majority of Americans have seen their wages and net worth remain stagnant or decrease, the wealthiest 1% have seen their wealth grow at a shockingly fast rate. At the same time, Republican Leadership continues to advocate for policies that serve only the most wealthy Americans. H.R. 2143 would impose a tax of 14.25% on any individual with a net worth that exceeds $10 million. This is a commonsense, responsible way to ensure that programs that support the most vulnerable Americans continue to get the funding they need and deserve.
College for All Act (H.R. 1880)
Community colleges are some of our country’s most democratic institutions. They are affordable, open-access options for all people who want to pursue the benefits of a college education, and they enroll nearly half of all undergraduates. Unfortunately, even with the lower tuition costs of community colleges, more and more students are unable to pay for what should be the most accessible form of higher education. I am proud to join in support of this legislation that would form a federal-state partnership to ensure that all students can attend community college free of tuition and fees.
LETTERS MARK RECENTLY SENT
DeSaulnier-Led Letter to FAA on air safety
Last week I sent a letter to Acting Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Daniel Elwell to raise my concerns about a series of airplane landing close calls over the past several months, three of which occurred at San Francisco International Airport. While I am glad that none of these incidents resulted in a catastrophic accident, and our aviation system remains exceptionally safe, we must ensure that we learn everything we can from these near misses. Rather than be complacent, we should actively study these incidents and continue to improve our safety systems. I am concerned that FAA is not taking these incidents seriously enough, and I called on Acting Administrator Elwell to give these incidents immediate attention.
Letter to Administration to include school funding in any infrastructure package
President Trump has promised the American people a “bold” plan on infrastructure investment in the coming weeks. We cannot lose this opportunity to address public schools. According to available data, public school infrastructure in this country is in dire need of federal support. Public education remains largely funded by local property taxes, which leaves low-income and rural communities without funding necessary to build state-of-the-art schools or even fix leaky roofs or broken air-conditioning and heating units. An infrastructure investment in public schools not only benefits our students and teachers, but will also create shovel-ready, high wage jobs in communities across the country. I joined more than 100 colleagues on this letter to President Trump to reiterate the importance of immediate and substantial infrastructure investment in public education.
Letter to Oversight Chairman Gowdy regarding the President’s Travel Ban
Several months ago, the Inspector General (IG) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) completed a report related to the President’s first attempt at banning Muslim immigrants and visitors from the United States. However, members of the Oversight Committee (OGR) have been unable to access a full, un-redacted version of the report. It is essential that members of OGR, whose responsibility it is to perform oversight of the entire federal government, have access to complete, un-redacted information regarding the President’s attempts to discriminate against Muslims. That is why I joined my colleagues to call on Chairman Gowdy to subpoena the full report so that we can perform our vital role.
California delegation letter to oppose offshore drilling proposal
This week, I joined 36 of my California colleagues in writing to Interior Secretary Zinke to voice our strong opposition to the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Draft Proposed Program that could potentially open new areas off the California coast to oil and gas extraction. In a seemingly arbitrary and haphazard fashion, Secretary Zinke exempted Florida’s coasts from this proposal, citing the importance of tourism. California’s coasts are a prized resource, and we should be be afforded the same consideration as Florida.
Letter to Oversight Chairman Gowdy requesting that he subpoena documents related to the Trump Organization
Since taking office a year ago, President Trump has broken the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution consistently. By refusing to divest himself of conflicts of interest arising from his business interests, President Trump has undermined the trust of the American people, and brought shame on the Office of the President. That is why I joined my Democratic colleagues on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee to request that Chairman Trey Gowdy finally begin a serious investigation of President Trump’s conflicts of interest and his refusal to put his assets in a blind trust.
Letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Verma requesting that she rescind Medicaid work requirement guidance
Last week, CMS released new guidance that would allow states to impose work requirements on individuals eligible for Medicaid. This new guidance clearly contradicts Congress’s intent to provide high-quality, low-cost health care to those who need it most. This new guidance is not only harmful, it is unnecessary. The majority of Medicaid beneficiaries who are able to work already do. However, many of these individuals work multiple low-paying jobs that make it impossible for them to get health care any other way.
Letter to President Trump requesting a renewal of the opioid national emergency declaration
On October 26, 2017, the Acting Administrator of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency. This was a welcome step that recognized the importance and the danger of the epidemic. Unfortunately, in the time since the emergency was declared the crisis has not ended or even been substantively curtailed. It is essential that the President instruct the Acting Director of HHS to renew the opioid national emergency declaration and continue the fight to end this epidemic.