Weekly Update from Rep. Denham - April 26, 2013
This week in Washington was filled with meetings with many different visitors from the Valley, including several San Joaquin and Stanislaus County leaders. I spent the first part of the week meeting with San Joaquin “One Voice” participants, which included City of Tracy Mayor Brent Ives, City of Manteca Councilmember Steve DeBrum, the San Joaquin Rail Commission and South San Joaquin Irrigation District and members of the San Joaquin Board of Supervisors. During our many meetings we discussed a number of federal issues such as much-needed improvements to our local transit and infrastructure system, water concerns, housing and foreclosures, education and the economic development of San Joaquin County.
I also met with several local leaders from Stanislaus County who were similarly in DC this week to discuss the county's federal priorities related to transportation, economic development, regional water projects and health care. This group included Stanislaus County Supervisors Vito Chiesa and Terry Withrow, Stanislaus County CEO Monica Nino and Stanislaus County head of legislative affairs David Jones.
From agriculture, to transportation, to innovative business ventures or natural resources, the Central Valley has much to offer not only to our nation, but to the global economy; it’s always a privilege to have the opportunity to discuss these important areas with our leaders and I look forward to working with each of them as we continue to advance the Valley’s priorities.
I also met with representatives from the California Mortgage Bankers Association to discuss residential and commercial real estate finance issues and federal involvement in the mortgage market. Owning a home is an important part of the American dream, and ensuring sound business practices in the lending and servicing of mortgage loans is a crucial element in providing Californians with the opportunity to achieve home ownership. It was especially great to meet Oakdale-native Susan DeMars Milazzo among the group!
It was a pleasure to meet with the Bruno family of Modesto, who stopped by my office for a tour of the U.S. Capitol during their visit to Washington, D.C. If you’re planning to visit our nation’s capital this summer, I encourage you to stop by my office at 1730 Longworth House Office Building. If you haven’t already made arrangements through my office for a Capitol tour, we’d love to help. You can find out more information about the things we can help with during your visit on my website here: http://denham.house.gov/serving-you/visit-washington-dc.
I took the opportunity during the House Agriculture Committee hearing Wednesday to raise important questions about specific issues relevant to California and the Central Valley’s agriculture industry, including food safety, access to crop protection products and specialty crop risk management. You can view the answers I received from the growers and representatives of the specialty crop community who testified before the Committee here: http://youtu.be/-ALuqIia8QI.
Last week Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta announced it would furloughing thousands of air traffic controllers and warned of flight delays across the country. It’s extremely disappointing the FAA has the flexibility to reduce costs elsewhere, and yet has chosen NOT to implement furloughs in a way that could protect the most critical air traffic control operations and facilities. The decision to actively make the flying experience for millions of Americans even more difficult rather than using the opportunity to look for real ways to eliminate waste and inefficiencies is a clear indication of the bad management and a lack of oversight that has plagued the FAA for more than a decade.
I joined my House colleagues to call on the FAA to responsibly implement furloughs and protect critical air traffic during a press conference on Thursday. Further, the House passed a bipartisan bill to transfer funds within the FAA budget to alleviate the need for furloughs of American air traffic controllers. This fix will prevent furloughs of air traffic controllers and do so without any new revenue and without adding to the debt. In the face of a $16 trillion debt, I’ve consistently worked with my colleagues in the House to root out waste in our federal government and agencies to increase efficiency and cut spending in the process. We need stop with the political games and come together on rational reforms which distinguish between services the public wants and needless waste in our federal government.
I was also proud to be a part of the launch of the American Sikh Congressional Caucus. The Sikh American community plays an influential role in the Central Valley region’s economy and culture. It’s always been a top priority of mine to ensure every voice of our rich and diverse community is heard, and I’m honored to join this bipartisan effort.
On Monday, the White House is hosting an event to discuss ideas on how to streamline credentialing and licensing opportunities for service members, veterans and their spouses. I personally have dealt with this problem as a crew chief in the Air Force, which is why I introduced H.R. 4155, the Veteran Skills to Jobs Act, signed into law last year. I am pleased to see the President joining me in tackling the issue of licensing and credentialing reform to put our veterans to work here at home. Helping our returning veterans find jobs is not the concern of one party or one body of Congress, and its great see the Administration working to carry out the important reforms included in the Veteran Skills to Jobs Act.
I look forward to meeting with many of you back home next week during the constituent work week. As always, I encourage you to stay up to date by visiting my website, facebook, and twitter pages and sharing our weekly newsletter with your family and friends. It’s truly an honor to represent you in Washington, D.C.
Have a great weekend!