Weekly Update from Rep. Denham - September 16, 2011

Sep 16, 2011

September 16, 2011

Dear Friend,

Yesterday, USMC Cpl. Dakota Meyer, who risked his life to save 36 others, was presented the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in Afghanistan. As we honored USMC Cpl. Dakota Meyer for his bravery and service to our country, we also remembered the life of Naval Petty Officer James Ray Layton. The heroism of Cpl. Meyer ensured that Petty Officer Layton, from Riverbank, was able to receive a proper burial here at home.  At the request of Cpl. Dakota Meyer, my office held a ceremony yesterday to coincide with the Medal of Honor presentation in Washington D.C. Pictures from the ceremony in Escalon can be seen here

Cpl. Meyer ensured all of his fellow service members returned home that day in Afghanistan; unfortunately, this is not always the case. Today, on National POW/MIA Recognition Day, we pause to remember those who never returned; not just those who perished, but the thousands whose final fates are still unknown. Today is dedicated to these men and women who have gone missing in service to their nation, and their families who were not able to say goodbye. 

Brave men and women risk their lives every day for our great nation; and back at home, we must make sure that we give them a reason to fight.  We must put politics aside and focus on putting people back to work and making America's businesses competitive again. Here in the Valley, we all know someone who is out of work and our communities continue to struggle with some of the worst unemployment rates in the nation. 

Right here in our district, we have robust natural resources that we can use to create jobs.  Unfortunately, bureaucracies and environmental regulations have continually prevented us from doing so. In order to effectively utilize one of our most renewable resources—water—we must make an investment in the necessary infrastructure used to store and convey it.  Utilizing our natural resources will create jobs in our state and ensure that we maintain our farmland, which is some of the most productive in the country. 

Earlier this week, I introduced two bills to streamline emergency preparedness efforts.  Recent disasters in our district and across the country emphasize how important it is to have a fast and effective warning system in place to alert people of impending disasters.  Our country's emergency warning system is currently the same used in the 1950's.  One of my bills, the IPAWS Modernization Act of 2011, requires FEMA to modernize the system and take advantage of modern technologies in order to reach a much higher percentage of the population and target alerts to those in danger.  

The second bill, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Reauthorization Act of 2011, reauthorizes funding for FEMA at levels which were approved by the House of Representatives earlier this year.  In the coming months, I will be holding hearings in my Subcommittee to determine what we can do to improve disaster response. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate will testify at my hearing in October and I have invited California EMA Secretary Mike Dayton as well. You can watch my interview on "Great Day" in Fresno on these two bills and how we can bring jobs to the Valley here.

On the floor this week I voted to help pass the Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act, eliminating one more regulation blocking private-sector job growth. The bill blocks the federal government's National Labor Relations Board from telling businesses where they can and can't create new jobs.  I've talked with many small business owners at townhalls and roundtables at home about the regulations that they face, and how these obstacles have prevented them from growing or hiring.  With unemployment rates as high as 20% in parts of our district, we must do all we can to create jobs. This bill is one of many the House has passed in our effort to make America's businesses competitive again. 

The House is back in session next week; the following week, I will be home in the district.  I encourage you to stay up-to-date with my activities on my website, and follow me on facebook and twitter to see how you can get involved. 

Have a great weekend. 

Sincerely, 

JEFF DENHAM