We’re back in the district to touch base with community leaders and constituents on the work I’ve been doing during this pandemic affecting our entire country. I’ve been focused on providing support for our postal service operations, protect agriculture, improve water resources, and ensure we have the resources to get through this healthcare crisis. Here are some highlights:
Supporting Postal Service operations
The recent statements by the President and changes to postal operations are a real threat to our democracy. Due to the pandemic, the demand for absentee ballots is greater than ever before. In order for everyone’s voice to be heard at the ballot box this November, we depend on the postal service to deliver the ballots to County clerks offices to be counted.
Coronavirus has caused surging demand and increased reliance on the post office to deliver essentials like medicines, food, and protective equipment, and in November, votes. Meanwhile, the Administration has made sweeping structural changes that have resulted in serious delays and lowered service standards. We need to take action to ensure that every American’s vote counts.
I signed onto a letter urging Postmaster General DeJoy to reverse new policies that have delayed mail delivery and cosponsored the Delivering for America Act, which the House is planning to vote on this weekend,to prevent changes to operations or service standards until after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.
Protecting Valley agriculture
Farmers have been hit hard by this pandemic. The recent USDA announcement to expand producer’s eligibility for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) is a welcome step I’ve led multiple letters urging Secretary Perdue to include additional commodities like walnuts, apples and other specialty crops in CFAP, and I’m pleased eligibility for these producers has been expanded. I am concerned about the Administration’s decision to continue to exclude pima cotton, which is inexplicable. I’m hopeful that the USDA will explore ways to expand CFAP eligibility and help more of American agriculture through this crisis.
A complete list of eligible crops is available here.
Applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) can be submitted online or by calling 877-508-8364. The application window has been extended and will remain open until September 11, 2020. All Valley farmers are encouraged to visit www.farmers.gov/cfap to check eligibility and apply. The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program was created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture using funds approved by Congress through the CARES Act.
Fighting for water
Recently, the House passed legislation as part of the annual funding process that would provide over $390 million for water projects, including what would be the largest federal investment in water conveyance infrastructure in the San Joaquin Valley in 50 years. America’s food supply depends on hardworking farmworker communities throughout the Central Valley, yet many of these same communities don’t even have safe or reliable drinking water from their taps. Solving our water challenges requires utilizing every tool in our water toolbox – and we’ve been making real progress. As your representative in Washington, I stand ready to listen, work, and deliver for you.
Shout out to 12 year-old Devin Cornell for helping ensure kids have the supplies they need as they go back to school. Devin organized a back-to-school give away event in Central Fresno to provide backpacks and school supplies to over 150 students. This is the kind of hard work and dedication our communities need right now.
Organic producers and handlers can apply for federal funding to assist with keeping and receiving organic certification through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP), a farm bill program I advocated for.
Since we are in the middle of fire season, make sure PG&E has your updated contact information. PG&E strongly encourages everyone to do so by visiting their website or by calling the PG&E contact center at 1-866-743-6589.