Weekly Update from Rep. Denham - May 24, 2013
Creating employment opportunities for the Valley remains my top priority here in Congress. This week the House passed two measures to further these goals: expanding American energy by approving the Keystone XL pipeline; and secondly, strengthening our student loan system for students and their families.
|Click here to view Rep. Denham's Floor remarks|
The House of Representatives passed the Northern Route Approval Act, which represents a significant opportunity to create jobs and spur economic growth in our country. It’s not fair that Washington is standing in the way of jobs. The Northern Route Approval Act puts an end to years of bureaucratic delays to finally allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline project. When unemployment remains near 8 percent, and nearly double that in the Valley, putting Americans back to work is compelling enough, but the benefits of the pipeline will go beyond job creation. Tapping into North American energy would reduce gas prices, create American jobs and put us on a course to energy independence. I discussed the benefits of this project during remarks on the House Floor, which can be viewed online here: http://youtu.be/QR5Dbmv7mQ4.
|Click here to view 'Energia Norteamericana'|
I also talked about the importance of an all-American energy plan that would create jobs and unleash countless opportunities for the Hispanic community with a few of my fellow Spanish-speaking House colleagues. With more than 2 million Latinos looking for work, we need more jobs, we need more opportunities, and we need them now. We’re working every day to improve people's lives in our communities and create more jobs. An all-of-the-above energy plan would do just that. You can view the video here.
As chairman of the Transportation Subcommittee on Rail, I heard from Amtrak representatives and financial experts at a public hearing focused on “Understanding the Cost Drivers of Passenger Rail” on Wednesday. This hearing was another step towards our Committee’s efforts to complete a Rail Reauthorization bill this year. It is important for this committee to understand how Amtrak management and personnel decisions affect the full cost of rail service, and whether efficiencies can be found to reduce the overall cost for providing passenger rail service across the country. Visit my website here to read or view a video of my opening statement from Wednesday’s hearing.
This week I introduced bipartisan legislation – H.R. 2066, the Pets on Trains Act of 2013 – which would require Amtrak to implement a pet policy to allow passengers to travel with domesticated cats and dogs on certain Amtrak trains. My dog, Lily, is part of our family and travels with us to and from California from time to time. If I can take her on a plane, why can’t I travel with her on Amtrak, too? Allowing families to bring their animals with them will facilitate transportation and efficiency while also providing a much-needed source of revenue for Amtrak. The Pets on Trains Act is co-sponsored by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), and has been endorsed by the Humane Society of the United States.
I had a great time visiting with students from Hillmar Middle School before their tour of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. It's always an honor to welcome such hardworking young students to our nation's capital for the unique opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of the House, Senate and the legislative process, as well as the rich history and development of the U.S. Capitol.
As nearly 1.8 million students graduate from colleges and universities across the country this year, we want to make sure these young graduates are able to enter the workforce and build successful careers with the foundation they’ve been provided. I voted in support of H.R. 1911, the Smarter Solutions for Students Act, to strengthen our federal student loan programs by providing certainty and simplifying the loan process for students, borrowers and taxpayers. Our students and their families deserve this kind of market-based, long-term solution as they pursue their careers.
The Western Growers also came to D.C. this week, and I spoke with the group about the 2013 Farm Bill and ways we’re working to provide certainty and stability for the Valley’s agriculture community. I also addressed some of their concerns regarding harvest labor and a reliable water source, issues that I also discussed with the California Farm Bureau later this week. Hearing from these groups allows me to gain important input into how I can best represent our region’s significant agriculture economy in the national policy discussion.
This weekend I hope to join many of you in the Valley, where I will commemorate Memorial Day by participating in several community events to honor those who have lost their lives in service to our country. Every year, our country comes together on Memorial Day to remember the brave men and women of our armed services who lost their lives defending our country. This Memorial Day weekend, I encourage all Americans across the nation and in the Central Valley to find a way to remember our fallen service members and join me in honoring the extraordinary sacrifice they have made for our great country. For a list of events I will be attending, visit my website here.
I’ll be traveling to Madera on Tuesday where my Subcommittee will hold a Congressional Field Hearing on California’s high-speed rail project. The costs, completion dates and goals of the California project have fluctuated significantly since 2008, and my subcommittee will hear testimony from state and local officials and other interested parties regarding the status of the project and ongoing concerns. READ MORE HERE
I’ll also spend Wednesday morning travelling on the ACE train, where I hope to meet with passengers to discuss local rail issues. Please join us on the train or on one of the stops along the route. For more information, call my office at (209) 579-5458, or view the event agenda here.
I hope to see you at one of the many events, meetings and forums I will be participating in the coming weeks. This district work period is a perfect time for you to voice your concerns and needs to me and my staff as we gear up for our next legislative period in Washington. Listening to what citizens have to say, and sharing with them what I’m doing both in Washington and in the district is an honor and a privilege.
Please continue to let me know your thoughts and concerns about issues facing our community, and also feel free to forward my weekly newsletter to your friends, family and neighbors. You may also visit my website, Facebook, and Twitter, where you can find regular updates about my work at home in the Valley and in Washington.
Have a safe Memorial Day weekend.