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Dear Friends,

Members of the House of Representatives returned to Washington, DC last week after spending time in their home districts for the Fourth of July. I want to take this time to share with you what I have been doing to help improve the lives of the people of the Valley this past week.

GROW Act Passes in the House of Representatives

As we all know, the San Joaquin Valley is the bread basket of the world, and in order to maintain a successful Valley we must have a secure water supply. There is no silver bullet to solving this problem, and we must approach this issue from multiple angles. That is why I joined with my Valley Republican colleagues in supporting the Gaining Responsibility on Water (GROW) Act ­in the House of Representatives last Wednesday. This bill aims to increase the quantity, quality, and reliability of water available to communities in the San Joaquin Valley. It would do so by modifying operations of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project and by creating a process to put the implementation of the San Joaquin River Settlement back on track. While not perfect, the GROW Act is an important first step in addressing California’s broken water system. Some improvements need to be made if it is going to be able to be passed into law and provide the long-term solutions we so badly need in the San Joaquin Valley.

I introduced two amendments that were included in the final bill which helped strengthen the overall legislation. The first amendment authorizes a study for increasing the amount of mountain runoff water captured by Central Valley Project reservoirs, and the second authorizes a study to evaluate the natural groundwater system in California to identify areas with the greatest recharge potential. Even with these amendments, there is more work to be done. We must protect the Grasslands Water District, an area that contributes nearly $73,000,000 to Merced County’s economy. Additionally, we cannot allow drastic cuts to the Central Valley Project’s Restoration Fund as currently proposed in the bill. I stand ready to work with my fellow members of Congress in the House and Senate to improve this bill so we can get a bipartisan solution signed into law.

To view my speech on the GROW Act please on the link below.

Rep. Costa speaks on the GROW Act on the House floor

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Meeting with Homeland Security Secretary Kelly

Last Wednesday, I joined my fellow Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) members in meeting with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to discuss critical issues facing the Hispanic community. One particular area our conversation focused on was the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which grants deportation relief and access to work permits for certain undocumented young people who came to the United States as children. While the Administration did not provide details on the future of the program, I look forward to continued dialogue between Secretary Kelly and the CHC, especially on what this country needs most from the U.S. Congress – bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform.

Homeland Security Secretary Kelly meets with Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus

Improving our Nation’s Defense

This past week the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18 NDAA), which outlines the budget and expenditures of the U.S. Department of Defense for the upcoming fiscal year. While no bill is perfect, I was happy to see my colleagues come together on a bipartisan basis in support of a goal we all share and is our first and most important responsibility: keeping Americans safe.

Last year’s FY17 NDAA included an amendment I offered that directed the Secretary of Defense to provide congressional defense committees with an update on the well drilling capabilities of our active duty and reserve forces. The update asks for a briefing on the location and capabilities of well drilling training units, as well as the feasibility of rotating those training locations to areas in the U.S. that are affected by drought conditions, such as the San Joaquin Valley. While a full report has been delayed, I sent a letter to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis asking him for an update before the full report is available.

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 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.


Jim Costa
Member of Congress