Weekly Update from Rep. Denham - September 5, 2013

Sep 5, 2013 Issues: Foreign Affairs, Transportation, Veterans

Dear Friend,

I hope you enjoyed a restful Labor Day weekend with your family and friends.

I have received many letters and phone calls from many of you regarding the situation in Syria. I appreciate hearing your feedback because my job as your representative is to listen to your views on this very serious matter.

The President has stated that Syrian forces have used chemical weapons attempting to clear neighborhoods around Damascus, causing the needless deaths of civilians. It is not clear to me that the appropriate reaction is a military strike led by the United States. The President must do a better job explaining to the American people and to Congress what our goals are in his proposal, what American interests we are defending and what our end game would be, among other things.

I joined KTXL Fox 40 yesterday to discuss the situation in Syria. Please click on the image below to view the video, which gives you a picture of my views on this situation.

As a combat veteran who has deployed twice overseas, I understand that the kind of authorization requested by the President should not be given lightly, without a clear understanding of our objectives as well as the resources and strategy necessary to achieve those ends. I would have to have a lot more information about what the American objective and strategy is before intervening in Syria.

With the House back in session next week, I look forward to working with my colleagues to make further decisions about what the United States' course of action should be.

This week the Veterans’ Affairs committee launched a Web campaign to help us hold the Department of Veterans Affairs accountable for the many problems we have seen in recent years, including a rash of preventable veteran deaths, an extensive backlog of veterans’ claims, infectious disease outbreaks and benefit and construction delays. In the midst of the many issues evident within the VA, the department has awarded its top executives cash bonuses of up to $63,000 and praised their performances. VA Accountability Watch is dedicated to showing America’s veterans and American taxpayers how the department’s widespread and systemic lack of accountability may actually be encouraging more veteran suffering instead of preventing it.

On Wednesday I toured the Siemens Rail Systems Division plant in Sacramento, which manufactures electric locomotives used by Amtrak and light rail cars used to transport people across our great nation. As chairman of the Transportation Subcommittee on Rail, one of the bills I will be focused on in coming weeks is a reauthorization of 2008’s Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, which will help us provide reliable passenger rail service and strengthen the rail network nationwide. Seeing the work Siemens is doing was a great experience.
 

Inside a new ACS-64 locomotive Siemens is manufacturing for Amtrak.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

JEFF DENHAM