Weekly Update from Rep. Denham - February 15, 2013

Dear Friend,

Last Friday I was honored to join fellow veterans and the VA Palo Alto Health Care System at the ribbon cutting ceremony of their new Modesto VA Clinic.  VA Clinics provide critical care and support to veterans throughout the Valley and nationwide, and I’m pleased to see an improved location closer to home for our veterans to get the care they need.  

I was also honored to pin Hospital Corpsman Third Class Joseph D. Jackson, United States Navy, during the ceremony with the Purple Heart Medal for injuries he sustained in combat in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2006. One of my greatest honors is my ability to help those who served our nation receive the recognition they are owed for their distinguished service, and I’m pleased our office could help secure due acknowledgment for his heroism. Thanks to everyone who showed up to support Corpsman Jackson and participate in the Modesto VA Clinic ribbon cutting, and you can find more pictures from the ceremony on my Facebook page here.

This week, the nation turned its attention to Washington to hear the President’s plan for our country in his annual State of the Union Address.  The American people were left needing to hear more about how the President plans to lead us towards a more fiscally sound future.  I personally hoped to hear more on how Washington will reign in government spending, reduce our national debt and keep burdensome taxes low for hardworking families and small businesses.  Instead, I heard about many new government programs and a commitment to not increase the deficit, but no way to pay for them except raising taxes. Moving forward, I will continue to work with colleagues in the House and the Senate from both sides of the aisle to find not only common ground, but real solutions to the serious challenges that face our nation. 

I had the chance to share my take on the President’s speech with many of you earlier this week.  California and Central Valley have special needs as a world hub for agriculture and business, and I want to make sure Washington takes note of the critical issues affecting our state.  You can view my response online, or, you can view my interviews with ABC News10 or the Turlock Journal here.

Back in the office, I spent a great deal of time focusing on committee issues, and how I can best serve the interests of the Valley in Washington, D.C.  I met with representatives from the Agriculture Retailers Association to discuss, among other things, the need for a long-term, reliable Farm Bill.  In my new seat on the House Agriculture Committee, I plan to work with my colleagues in the House to pass this much-needed legislation.  As a farmer, I know first-hand the unique challenges that face the Valley Ag industry, and farmers all cross the nation need the certainty of a long-term bill to maintain a competitive edge in the global market and to create more job opportunities for our family and friends.

I also met with members from the Surface Transportation Board and the Rail Supply Institute to discuss California’s growing infrastructure needs.  The Valley is California’s premiere logistics hub, and I want to make sure we are addressing our transportation needs in the most responsible way.  My position on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee gives me the unique opportunity to work with members from all sectors of the transportation industries to ensure that we’re finding more cost-effective and innovative approaches to achieving our goals, while also investing in shovel-ready projects that will put more people back to work today.

I sat down with members of the National MPS Society on Tuesday.  It was a pleasure to meet Ripon native Kelly King and the other advocates from the MPS Society, and I appreciate the time they took to share the importance of their cause with their elected officials on Capitol Hill. I also met with the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Office, whose job is to ensure that every taxpayer is treated fairly, and that you know and understand your rights. They offer free help to guide you through the often-confusing process of resolving your tax problems.  Of course, you can and should contact my office for assistance as well if you need help with any federal issue, but the Taxpayer Advocate is a great resource for IRS problems.

Finally, I am happy to announce the re-introduction of my bill, the Civilian Property Realignment Act (CPRA), on Thursday.  Though I introduced this bill last Congress, and it passed the House will broad bipartisan support, I was disappointed to see this common-sense, cost-saving legislation stall in the Senate. This legislation would streamline the current process for disposing of unneeded and underutilized federal properties in order to shrink the government’s footprint and save taxpayers billions of dollars.  As our nation continues to amass a crippling national debt, which is now over $16.6 Trillion, I believe it is our duty to find efficient and responsible ways to provide essential services without the mismanagement and wasteful spending we’ve seen in the past.  During the last Congress, I held a series of hearings at various vacant and underutilized federal properties around the country to highlight the need to save billions of taxpayer dollars by improving management of federally owned assets and property.  I am hopeful this common-sense bill will gain more traction in the 113th Congress, and I look forward to seeing it signed into law this year.

I look forward to another week in the district meeting with constituents and businesses talking about significant issues such as water, housing, job creation and community service.  Please continue to stay up to date with the latest information affecting the Valley by sharing our weekly newsletter with your family and friends and visiting my website, facebook, and twitter pages.  I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Valentine’s Day with your loved ones, and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Have a great weekend!

Sincerely, 

JEFF DENHAM