We’re back in Washington working on bipartisan compromise for the next COVID-19 relief package to support the American people who’ve been devastated by this recession. This includes ensuring USDA food assistance contains key crops in California agriculture, and continuing to monitor and provide support for the wildfires across the West. In addition, we must past a Continuing Resolution (CR) before we leave to avoid a government shutdown. Here are some highlights:
Urging negotiators back to the table
Unfortunately, after over a month of negotiations, we are in a stalemate over getting relief to the American people. Families, business owners, and local governments across the San Joaquin Valley continue to suffer and deserve help. The Problem Solvers Caucus (25 Democrats and 25 Republicans) and I released a framework, which represents the kind of bipartisan compromise the country needs. We believe Congress should not adjourn until we pass another COVID-19 relief package. The American people need us to come together to reach an agreement. Failure is not an option.
Protecting Valley agriculture
Click to hear an interview with Agri-pulse talking about about the impacts of COVID-19 on US Agriculture.
California is the largest agricultural state in the nation and the most diverse. It’s important the USDA understand this when developing the next Coronavirus food assistance program to help families in need and support commodities that have been severely impacted. Crops like pima cotton, raisins, and wine grapes, among others, were left out of the CARES Act despite being hard hit by the pandemic. Fruits and vegetables, of which California produces over half the nation’s supply, received a much smaller share of relief funds. I had a conversation with Under Secretary for Farm Programs and Conservation Bill Northey of USDA to stress the importance of developing an equitable program going forward. Agriculture is a national security issue, we need to treat it as such.
Fighting for resources to combat wildfire
Click to hear my floor speech about the devastating Creek Fire burning in the Sierra Nevada.
Our first responders and firefighters are working tirelessly to protect our communities and suppress these historic fires, but resources are running low. I visited the Creek Fire recently and saw the devastation first hand. That’s why I joined 42 other members from across the West in calling for new funds to fight these disasters.
Earlier this month, Tom Seaver, a member of the Miracle Mets championship team of 1969, passed away.
Nicknamed “Tom Terrific”, Seaver was a Fresno native and one of the greatest to ever play the game of baseball. Before becoming a first-round draft pick in 1966, he played baseball at Fresno High School and Fresno City College.
Tom, made an indelible mark on the game and made you’re his hometown proud!
Ensuring everyone counts
I recently released a report detailing how an undercount of just 1% in the 2020 Census could result in the loss of millions of dollars in federal funding that benefit students and job seekers in the Valley. Dr. Steve Tietjen, the Merced County Superintendent of Schools, Manuel Bonilla, the President of the Fresno Teachers Association, and Jeff Davis, the Fresno EOC Employment and Training Director, weighed in on the importance of this funding for key programs for educating our students and training our workers.
This year’s Census comes at an unprecedented time. As we face a public health crisis and global economic downturn, it’s crucial for our community to secure the funding we are entitled to for critical services like education, medical care, and job programs. For decades, California along with other large states, sends more taxpayer dollars than they receive. The last thing we want to do is reduce federal dollars because of an undercount.
To ensure we have the resources we need for the next decade, every person in our district must be counted.
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!
I’m pleased to announce that UC Merced has made the top 100 of U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of the top national universities, placing 97th overall and 40th in public institutions. Over the past three years, the institution has climbed 68 spots.
Fresno State also ranked among the top three of the nation’s best public universities for graduation-rate performance for the fifth year in a row. It was also ranked 26th in ability to advance social mobility and graduate large proportions of disadvantaged students.
I’m so proud of both these universities for providing significant opportunities for the next generation.
As wildfires continue to rage across our state, farmer’s fields are being affected. If you’ve been impacted by wildfires, there are federal resources that can help. The Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP) provides assistance to producers for losses due to disease, certain adverse weather events or loss conditions, including blizzards and wildfires.