We’re back in the district after an action-packed week Washington where we worked on legislation to invest in a modern infrastructure, enhance the Affordable Care Act, and provide emergency housing relief. We are also continuing to work with our Committees to provide oversight and produce legislation for when we return to session later this month. Here are some highlights from the past two weeks:
A modern infrastructure lays the foundation for a thriving economy. On July 1,I votedin support of a $1.5 trillion package to modernize our infrastructure. The reality is we are still living off the investments our parents made a generation ago. This legislation includes major wins for our Valley, which I advocated for. By repairing our aging water infrastructure, reimagining our transportation systems, and investing in our communities, we can create good-paying jobs and build a more sustainable future.
The bill would benefit the San Joaquin Valley by:
Providing $65 billion in fundingto repair water infrastructure, improve drought resiliency and provide clean drinking water
Nearly $500 billion investmentto rebuild and reimagine the nation’s transportation infrastructure, including:
$60 billion in Rail Investment Funding that would benefit California’s High Speed Rail project.
On June 29,I votedto passthe Patient Protection & Affordable Care Enhancement Act, which builds on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to lower health costs and prescription drug prices. With the COVID-19 pandemic threatening the lives of Americans across the country, we need to act to improve healthcare access and enhance coverage. The ACA has benefited thousands of people in my district, reducing the number of uninsured from 25% down to 10%. This legislation makes key changes to build on these successes and undo the Administration’s repeated attacks on Americans’ ability to receive quality healthcare.
Helping people stay in their homes
As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, people in our Valley and across the country are struggling to pay rent and make their mortgage payments. On June 29,I votedto pass the Emergency Housing Protections and Relief Act of 2020, which provides immediate relief for renters, landlords, and homeowners across the country experiencing hardship. We cannot afford to wait any longer. As we learned from the 2008 housing crisis, we need swift action to limit further shocks to our housing markets and keep families in their homes.
Hometown Hero – Robert Garcia
Hats off to Robert Garcia from the Rotary Community Corps in Merced County for his hard work to both support local businesses and provide people with face masks!
By using donations from local organizations, the Rotary Community Corps purchases gift cards from small businesses, trades those gift cards for face masks made by local volunteers, and then distributes those face masks to people in need. Through their multi-pronged approach they support small business, incentivize volunteer production, and help keep people safe and protected. We need more outside-of-the-box thinking like this!
Thank you Robert – keep up the good work!
Calling for a National Plan to defeat COVID-19
Governor Newsom’s recentdecision to ceaseoperations for certain businesses in California, including Fresno, Madera, and Merced counties, to slow down surging COVID-19 numbers is a bold and painful, but necessary move to protect and save lives. Everyone wants to open our economy. However, until we can get this pandemic under control and ensure we can keep Americans safe, we cannot fully restore our economy. Therefore, we need a National Plan — one that is well thought out, based on science, and focuses on long term solutions. It also must involve coordination between the federal, state, and local governments to put the necessary resources in place until a vaccine is developed.
This is a crisis unlike any we’ve seen in our lifetime, and with cases surging in California, especially here in the Valley, we need a solid plan to slow transmissions and prevent further infections. We can prevent this disease from spreading further but it will take unprecedented action and personal sacrifice.
Locally-sourced Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
As coronavirus continues to spike across the country, I remain concerned that we do not have an adequate amount of PPE to protect our essential workers. I’m working with local producers to maintain a long term supply.
Our local County Departments of Public Health can help source Personal Protective Equipment:
California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC) is also putting CARES Act funding to use to help Valley manufacturers create personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face shields, masks, gowns, plexiglass dividers and hand sanitizer.
Here is a list of local businesses where you can find these products. This is an opportunity to not only have good safety practices, but to support local businesses. Buy local!
Image Masters – Masks
Country Plastics – Ear Savers
Blue Dolphin – Pi Shop – Face Shields
Snowflake Designs – Masks
CTEC High School – Face Shields
Precision Plastics – Face Shields
Dumont Printing – Face Shields
First Fold Tie Dye – Cloth Masks
Uppitees Fashions and Designs – Cloth Masks
Total Concept Enterprises – Clear Plastic Space Dividers
NEW ONLINE PORTAL FOR CORONAVIRUS FOOD ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (CFAP)
I’m pleased to report that after continued pushing, I was successful in urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop an online portal for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) applications, expanding access to producers.
On July 9th, the USDA updated theirlist of commoditieseligible for CFAP. I am continuing to push the Administration to expand this list to ensure producers receive the assistance they require.
To better respond to the COVID-19 crisis, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) is hiring full-time temporary Program Technicians. These technicians will provide valuable support for FSA programs at the field level.
If you or someone you know is interested in applying, email your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
RESPOND TO CENSUS 2020
Thank you to those of you that have already responded to the 2020 Census.
If you haven’t had a chance yet, now is the perfect time! Make sure you count and help shape our future! IT’S VERY IMPORTANT!