It has been great to spend time back at home after so many busy weeks in Washington D.C. I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know about the work I have been doing in the Valley to help improve the lives of the people that I have the privilege of representing.
Agriculture Roundtable in Salinas
We must reauthorize the Farm Bill to guide federal agriculture and food policy roughly every five years. The current Farm Bill is set to expire on September 30, 2018, and one of my highest priorities in Congress is passing a Farm Bill which serves our Valley, our state, and our nation. This cannot be done without the input of those that grow and manage our nation’s food supply. That is why I joined Congressman Jimmy Panetta and House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson in hosting an agriculture roundtable session at Hartnell College in Salinas. It was great to hear from the local agriculture leaders, farm workers, and nutrition organizations who attended, and I look forward to listening to additional local voices throughout the region in the roundtables and listening sessions we will be holding in the near future. The insights, input, and experiences of our local farmers, workers, and nutrition organizations will help craft our approach to the nation’s food and fiber policy in the next Farm Bill.
Representatives Panetta, Peterson, and Costa at Agriculture Roundtable
Water Managers Meeting
California experienced its wettest year in its historical record this year, on the heels of the worst drought in over 1,200 years. This is leading many people to wonder what plans are being made to prepare for the 2018 water year and whatever it may bring California. We’ll enter a new water year on October 1st, and you’ll be happy to hear that as of August 13, 2017, the major reservoirs up and down California are all at or above 80 percent of their total capacity. This level is significantly over their 15-year average for this time of year, which means that we will enter this water year in a much better place than we have the last few years.
Despite this reserve, we know that there is no promise to what next year will bring. This is why I brought together Valley water agencies and state and federal water and fisheries management agencies to discuss lessons learned during the last drought and how we can work together to prepare for the next one, which we know will come. It is crucial to continue investing in our water infrastructure and to modify currently flawed policies to move California’s water system into the 21st century and build a more resilient water system to meet the Valley’s needs. This meeting was a great opportunity to work together to increase water storage statewide as well as to remind officials that water allocations must be made in a timely manner in order for our Valley’s farmers to secure loans and keep the economy moving forward.
Protecting DACA Recipients
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has allowed young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children the opportunity to reach for the American dream by granting them a deferred action from deportation. Nearly 800,000 young people possess a DACA grant currently, all of whom have been thoroughly vetted by security agencies. Ending this program would be extremely expensive and disruptive to the economy, including companies losing nearly $3.4 billion due to unnecessary turnover costs. With the future of the program still uncertain, several members of Congress and I sent a letter to President Trump urging him to continue the DACA program and to fight for the program in the face of renewed litigation, specifically in the ongoing Texas v. United States case. I look forward to a response from the President, and I hope he will honor our request to direct Attorney General Sessions to use all legal options available to defend DACA.
Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter update. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me regarding any federal issues of your concern. To stay up-to-date on the work I am doing in Congress, please visit my website at costa.house.gov and sign up for my e-newsletter here. You can also follow my work and events in our Valley on my Facebook page and twitter account.
Member of Congress