Weekly Update from Rep. Denham - December 6, 2013

Dear Friend,

As you know, the world lost a true hero last night with the passing of Nelson Mandela. He spent his life fighting with courage and determination for the dignity of all, and he will be greatly missed. I offer my thoughts and prayers to his family and to the nation of South Africa.

I’ll be joining Fox’s Megyn Kelly this evening to discuss the effects of the Affordable Care Act on California doctors and patients. Please tune in during the 6 p.m. PT hour to watch.

On Tuesday, I wrote an op-ed in The Hill newspaper concerning the prospects for immigration reform this year and next. I see strong moral and economic reasons to pass reform that will add jobs, increase the number of individuals contributing to our tax rolls, strengthen our economy and unite families across the nation. Conservatives are right to recoil from any plan that grants amnesty. Luckily, there is no plan being seriously considered by either chamber that offers amnesty. Instead, doing nothing will allow our current situation — de facto amnesty — to continue. The op-ed is online here; I would be happy to hear your thoughts on our current immigration system and how it should be fixed.

In the latest blow in a series of setbacks to California’s High-Speed Rail (HSR) project, the Surface Transportation Board denied the HSR Authority’s request for a construction exemption to allow them to build prior to completing the environmental review process. Last week’s court ruling established that the Authority must complete the environmental review process and submit a legitimate funding plan before issuing any Prop 1A bonds. Without Prop 1A bonds, the Authority will not be able to fund the project.  For more information and to view the ruling itself, please click here.

I had the opportunity this week to record a holiday message to send to our troops through the efforts of the American Armed Forces Network. Our military members sacrifice so much to defend our freedoms, including time at home with their families during the Christmas season. I hope that you will join me during your holiday celebrations in taking time to remember the service being bravely performed on your behalf.

I visited Union Station on Tuesday to see one of Amtrak's ACS-64 locomotives. 

In September I had the opportunity to tour the Siemens plant in Sacramento and check out their new ACS-64 locomotives, which are in the final testing stages before full production begins. On Tuesday I visited Union Station to see one of the very same cars, all of which are made in their Central Valley plant.

Frank's service is an inspiration to me, and getting to tour the monuments paying tribute to the conflicts he served in with him was an experience I'll never forget. 

As you know, tomorrow is the 72nd anniversary of the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. I had the honor earlier this year of accompanying Frank Myers, a Navy vet and Pearl Harbor survivor, on a tour of the WWII, Vietnam and Korean War Memorials. On that day, we lost four battleships, 188 aircraft and 2,403 American lives. In his address following the surprise attack, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared December 7 “a day which will live in infamy.” He was right – it is imprinted on our minds as we remember the men and women who lost their lives and those who served bravely during our response.

The Capitol Christmas tree was lit in a ceremony at 5 p.m. ET on Tuesday evening. 

On Tuesday the Capitol Christmas tree was lit for the season. The 88-foot tall Engelmann spruce traveled all the way from Colville National Forest in Colville, Washington to grace the Capitol grounds through the holidays, and children between the ages of 5 and 19 are invited each year to submit ornaments to decorate the tree. To see the tree’s journey to our nation’s capital, please visit the official website here. If you and your family are planning a trip to Washington, please get in touch with my office to let us know you’re coming! We can arrange tours of the Capitol and many other D.C. landmarks on your behalf.

Please stay in touch with me on Twitter and Facebook to stay updated on my work in the 10th district and Washington, D.C. For more information, you may also visit my website.

JEFF DENHAM