Weekly Update from Rep. Denham - September 13, 2013

Dear Friend,

As you may know, the President withdrew his request that Congress vote to authorize the use of military force in Syria this week. I decided last week I would vote against any military action by the United States in Syria. I attended several briefings over the last few days and I continue to oppose the idea that a United States military strike is the appropriate response. I hope that a peaceful solution can be reached, but President Putin’s op-ed in the New York Times left me unsure that we can trust the Russian government to lead the way in forging such a solution. I will continue to monitor the ongoing events closely.

I voted this week for H.R. 2775, the No Subsidies Without Verification Act, which forces the government to verify eligibility before providing healthcare subsidies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This legislation could potentially save taxpayers billions of dollars in fraudulent and wasteful payments. I hope to see the Senate take up this important bill as we near the January 1 deadline for full implementation of the ACA.

The 12th anniversary of September 11, 2001, weighed heavy on my mind this week. I hope that each of you paused to remember and honor the men and women who lost their lives twelve years ago, and to also remember that since that day, the American people have shown that our strength cannot be diminished and that our spirit cannot be broken. As President George W. Bush said, 'Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.' I joined United Service Organizations on Wednesday to help put together care packages for our troops overseas – only a small way to show my appreciation for their service and the daily sacrifice they and their families make to defend our freedoms.

I put together care packages for our troops on Wednesday, Sept. 11 with USO. 

The San Joaquin Valley Policy Council traveled to Washington this week on their “Valley Voice” trip, and I met with Council members to discuss MAP-21 implementation, the federal transport reauthorization bill that I will be working on in the coming months and legislative methods to improve air quality. We also spoke about funding for Highway 99, a major trade corridor in the San Joaquin Valley.

It was great to greet all of the representatives of the San Joaquin Valley Policy Council during their "Valley Voice" trip to Washington. 

I had the honor of meeting Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Tuesday to discuss some of the major pieces of the legislative agenda for the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee over the next few months, including rail reauthorization, which is one of my top priorities as Rail Subcommittee Chairman. 

Secretary Foxx and I met on Tuesday, Sept. 10.

Also on Tuesday, I joined the Trump family as they unveiled the architectural and design plans for the Trump International Hotel, which will occupy the Old Post Office Building. The building has stood largely unused on Pennsylvanian Avenue in Washington for years now, costing taxpayers millions each year in maintenance costs. As the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management last Congress, I held two field hearings in the building’s vacant annex while working with the GSA to push them forward with the redevelopment of the Old Post Office. The new hotel, which will create 700 construction jobs and 300 permanent jobs, is a prime example of the positive economic effects that redevelopment of federal properties sitting vacant or underutilized all across the country can have.

My Civilian Property Realignment Act (CPRA), which passed the House last Congress with wide margins of support but stalled in the Senate, would improve the management of federal properties like this one, shrink the federal government’s footprint and save taxpayers billions of dollars. CPRA would establish a framework through which an independent commission would review federal properties and make recommendations for consolidations, co-locations, redevelopment, selling or other actions to minimize costs and produce savings for the taxpayer. I re-introduced the bill in February of this year and look forward to seeing it brought out of committee for a vote on the floor.

This week I also met with representatives from 5.11 Tactical to learn more about the jobs they provide in the Modesto area, and with Turlock Irrigation District managers who updated me on the process of their relicensing for FERC regulation.

Wishing each of you a wonderful weekend.
 


JEFF DENHAM