Update on Mark’s Trip to the U.S.-Mexico Border
Dear Contra Costa County Residents:
As the U.S. House of Representatives enters its last week of voting before the district work period in August, below is a snapshot of our recent work in Washington, DC, at home in Contra Costa County, and a special update on my trip to the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas.
SPECIAL UPDATE: IMMIGRATION REFORM TRIP TO U.S.-MEXICO BORDER
On Friday, I joined several of my colleagues on a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas to see firsthand what is happening on the front lines as a result of the Trump Administration's zero tolerance policy. During the visit, we observed the court proceedings of those who crossed the border; visited the Ursula Border Control Processing Center, the Port Isabel Detention Center, and the Brownsville Port of Entry; witnessed the reunification of families; spoke with separated families, advocates, border patrol officials, and federal law enforcement officers; and saw first-hand the conditions of detained asylum seekers.
What we saw and heard was deeply disturbing—children were still being held in cages, pregnant mothers were sitting on concrete floors, and we heard stories of separated children being told that their parents had abandoned them. This truly is a humanitarian crisis, created by the Trump Administration and fostered by Republican Leadership in Congress, and it is occurring right here on American soil.
Below you will find images from our trip, our reaction after leaving the border control processing center, and news coverage of the trip. We will be discussing this and much more at our upcoming Immigration Town Hall on Satruday, August 4th in Concord. I hope you will join us!
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
Facebook Live Reaction After Touring Border Processing Center
Images from Trip
RECENT KEY VOTES
Interior and Environment Spending Bill
Last week, the House voted on federal spending for programs under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Interior. This legislation advances the partisan Republican agenda for attacking policies and programs that protect public health and natural resources. It cuts the budget of the EPA by $100 million and clean water grant programs by $300 million, weakens protections for endangered species, and blocks judicial review of the California WaterFix project. At a time when environmental policy is a pillar of our economic competitiveness, health, and future growth, this bill takes us in the wrong direction. I opposed this bill, but it passed by a vote of 217-to-199.
Anti-Carbon Tax Resolution
The House considered a resolution (H.Con.Res.119) expressing the unfounded view "that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the United States economy." Having served on the California Air Resources Board, I have seen firsthand the benefits of curbing our carbon emissions and I am proud California was successful in achieving its 2020 goal for emissions reductions ahead of schedule. A carbon tax has the potential to be an important tool for fighting climate change, and the Republican resolution is counterproductive. I opposed this bill, but despite my opposition, the resolution passed by a vote of 229-to-180.
MARK'S LEGISLATIVE ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Bill to Upgrade Contra Costa's Water Infrastructure Clears Next Hurdle
Our bill to help improve the Contra Costa Canal unanimously passed out of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee and could head to the House Floor for a vote in the coming months. The Contra Costa Canal Transfer Act (H.R. 6040) would transfer the title of the canal system from the Bureau of Reclamation to the Contra Costa Water District (CCWD) to allow for the CCWD to make necessary safety improvements to the canal.
Learn more about our bill in this article in the Mercury News:
Sale of Richmond Post Office Halted:
Since the proposal to sell the Nevin Avenue Post Office in Richmond was announced, I have been actively working to save it, including personally discussing the closure with the U.S. Postmaster General, urging USPS to reconsider, holding multiple meetings with federal postal administrators, and working with the Mayor and the City of Richmond. Last week, we learned that our efforts paid off and the Nevin Avenue Post Office will remain open and operational!
Learn more about our efforts in this Richmond Standard article:
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.
Below are some of the top issues you shared with me over the last week:
- 186 constituents expressed their support for Temporary Protected Status, a humanitarian program established to help protect victims of political instability or catastrophes abroad.
- 116 constituents called for the impeachment of President Trump.
- 61 constituents reaffirmed their opposition to using taxpayer funds to construct an ineffective U.S. border wall.
LEGISLATION MARK RECENTLY SUPPORTED
Special Counsel Transparency Act (H.R. 5533) - requires any Special Counsel removed from office to submit a report on the status and details of the investigation to prevent possible political repression of essential information
Prescription Drug Package (H.R. 6340, H.R. 4117, and H.R. 6144) - implements reforms that cap the cost of prescription drugs and prohibit pharmaceutical companies from participating in some predatory practices like not informing patients of less expensive alternatives
Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act (H.R. 1911) - requires the appointment of a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, a position that currently sits vacant, and is the only job in the federal government specifically aimed at advancing U.S. foreign policy on anti-Semitism
Resolution Opposing Privatization of the Postal Service (H.Res. 993) - expresses the sense of Congress that the United States Postal Service should not be privatized because of the important services it provides to the American public
National Estuaries and Acidification Research Act (H.R. 6270) - requires a study by the National Academies of Science on the problem of acidification in our estuaries. Because the San Francisco Bay is one of 28 nationally-significant estuaries, H.R. 6270 is especially relevant to our region
Anwar Sadat Centennial Celebration Act (H.R. 754) - would award the Congressional Gold Medal to the late President Anwar Sadat of Egypt, whose 11 year tenure as President revolutionized the country
LETTERS MARK RECENTLY SENT
Letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) urging them to change their policy to ensure that detained parents are not being charged exorbitant fees when talking to their children, who were forcibly separated from them by the Trump Administration
Letter to the Internal Revenue Service and Federal Election Commission urging them to conduct an investigation of President Trump and the Trump Foundation following the New York State Attorney General's referral last month identifying possible violations of federal law
Letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressing concern about Palestinian child detention by the Israeli Military and the need to support necessary security aid to Israel
Letter signed with members of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition urging House Leadership to maintain or increase funding for the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and the Advance Research Projects Agency - Energy program (ARPA-E), which supported the nearly 3.2 million Americans employed in clean energy jobs in 2018