Weekly Update from Rep. Jeff Denham - May 10, 2013

 

Dear Friend,

I want to take a moment to recognize all of the teachers who are making a difference in the lives of our children every day and who instill in them the skills they need to create a bright and secure future for our country. This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week, and an important opportunity to thank our nation’s educators across the country.

This week the House passed two important pieces of legislation to help alleviate some of the struggles working families face and another measure to remove the threat of default on our debt.  On Wednesday, the House passed H.R. 1406, the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013, to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and allow private sector employers and employees to establish agreements that provide for compensatory time off in lieu of monetary overtime compensation – an option that is currently available for federal, state and local government employees.  As working parents of two children, my wife Sonia and I fully understand the delicate balancing act between meeting the needs of family and the workplace, and this common-sense legislation will help American workers better meet those needs.

 

As a small-business owner and farmer, I'm always faced with choices about how much money I spend, how much debt I have and how I will increase revenue. A responsible person considers all of these to avoid default and financial ruin.  A responsible Federal Government should also focus on balancing the budget, reducing waste and managing its debt obligations for these very reasons. On Thursday, I joined my colleagues in passing H.R. 807, the Full Faith and Credit Act, ensures the federal government will never default on its debt and guarantees the solvency of Social Security. Now we must remain focused on managing the national debt by reducing spending in order to grow the economy and expand opportunity for Valley residents.

 

Next week the House Agriculture Committee will begin its process of sending a long-term, five-year Farm Bill to the Floor for a vote.  As you know, the agriculture industry contributes significantly to the economy in the Central Valley and I want to enter next week’s Farm Bill discussion fully aware of the specialized needs of various sectors of our agriculture economy. That’s why I’ve continued to meet with several different agriculture industry representatives back home in California and here in Washington, D.C., to hear from all sides of this issue – our farmers, ranchers, consumers and producers, and our local small businesses – each of whom are greatly affected by federal and state agriculture policy and regulations.  Continuing these discussions, this week I met with the California Association of Winegrape Growers, the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement Executive Committee, as well as with representatives from California’s olive oil and sugar industries.

 
 

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to discuss our community listening sessions and the need to fix our broken immigration system once and for all with Brad Pomerance on California Channel’s California Edition, which will be available at www.youtube.com/charterlocaledition in the next few weeks.  We have a rare opportunity to work together in the House and Senate to enact comprehensive immigration reform this Congress.  A bipartisan solution must include a Valley perspective, which is why hearing from you is so important. I look forward to continuing our discussions and finding ways in which we can work together to improve the issues that matter most to the Valley.

Tomorrow, May 11th is National Train Day, where events are being held across the country to show that trains matter to you, your town and your community.  Railroads are an integral part of our country’s infrastructure network, and we must also continue to look for more cost-effective and innovative approaches to passenger and freight rail service.  As Chairman of the Rail Subcommittee, a big focus of mine will be on improving our rail systems, such as the ACE train, to increase frequency and offer quicker commutes so working families can spend less time traveling and more time together.

I want to create jobs and expand upon our transportation portfolio, but we must be also responsible for how we are spending taxpayer dollars.  Through my chairmanship of the House Rail Subcommittee, I will continue to address growing concerns regarding the viability of the proposed California high-speed rail project until I am presented with a viable business plan that is in line with the promise made to voters.  To this end, my Subcommittee will travel to Madera on May 28th for a field hearing to hear from the California High-Speed Rail Authority and other interested parties to address ongoing concerns of the proposed California project and receive an update on its status.

Next week in Washington the Transportation Committee will take up legislation which represents a significant opportunity to create jobs and spur economic growth in our country. The Northern Route Approval Act will put an end to years of bureaucratic delays and finally allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline project. View my remarks in support of this project here: http://youtu.be/w3rwl_GK-xA.

View remarks online here 

 

Thanks to everyone I met with while I was home last week and in Washington this week for sharing your views and priorities with me.  It is truly an honor to represent you in Congress, and I can’t do my job without hearing your feedback, concerns and priorities.  I encourage you to continue to spread the word about our weekly newsletter and stay up to date by visiting my websiteFacebook, and Twitter pages.

 

Have a great weekend!

JEFF DENHAM