Past News

Costa Strongly Condemns Hate Crime Against Fresno Sikh Man

Fresno, CA – Rep. Jim Costa released the following statement strongly condemning the hate crime against Amrik Singh Bal, a Sikh man from Fresno, California.

“The hate crime that took place in Fresno on Saturday is both inexcusable and intolerable. Sadly, since September 11, 2001, the Sikh community has endured discrimination because of the lack of understanding about Sikhism, which is based on equality and love.

Costa Says Congress Must Act to Avoid Costly Trade Retaliations

Washington, D.C. – Today, Representative Jim Costa (CA-16) released the following statement after the World Trade Organization (WTO) arbitration panel announced its final ruling that Canada and Mexico can impose retaliatory tariffs, totaling over $1 billion, on imported United States goods because of damages caused by the mandatory U.S. Country-of-Origin-Labeling (COOL) rule for beef and pork.

Costa Applauds Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Our Nation’s Schools

Washington, D.C. – Today, Representative Jim Costa (CA-16) released the following statement after the Conference Report on S. 1177, the Every Student Succeeds Act passed in the U.S. House of Representatives with strong bipartisan support.  S. 1177 would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and replace No Child Left Behind.

Costa Supports Legislation to Enhance Veterans’ Health Care Services

 

Fresno, CA – Representatives Jim Costa (CA-16) and Mike Bost (IL-12) introduced H.R. 3956, the VA Health Center Management Stability and Improvement Act. This bipartisan legislation would require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to develop and submit a plan to Congress to hire qualified permanent directors for the medical centers that currently do not have permanent leadership.

Costa Supports Bipartisan Budget Deal But Says Congress Must Focus On Long-term Debt Reduction

 

Washington, DC – Representative Jim Costa (CA-16) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2015. If signed into law, the legislation would raise sequester level caps by $80 billion over the next two years and is fully offset. Additionally, sequester caps for defense and non-defense discretionary spending will both be raised by $25 billion in Fiscal Year 2016 and $15 billion in Fiscal Year 2017. 

Blue Dog Coalition Supports Ending Ban on Crude Oil Exports

WASHINGTON – The Blue Dog Coalition announced their support today for H.R. 702, a bill to repeal the ban on crude oil exports in the United States. The Coalition backs the bill as changing market conditions have proven that the 1970’s-era ban on crude exports is hopelessly outdated. Among countries with the largest energy reserves, the United States is the sole nation that prohibits the export of its own domestically-produced oil.

Costa Announces $1.6 Million for Community Health Centers in Merced County

Merced, CA – Today, Rep. Jim Costa (CA-16) announced a combined total of $1,601,548 for community health centers in Merced County. Livingston Community Health received $1,118,215 and Golden Valley Health Centers received $483,333. These grants are made available through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration. The funding will go toward improving and establishing facilities to boost health services in rural areas.

Costa Announces Nearly $300,000 for Merced Irrigation District

Merced, CA – Rep. Jim Costa announced that $297,977 in federal funding from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is being awarded to the Merced Irrigation Direction (MID).  The funding will go toward developing a Drought Protection Water Management Model.  The model will help MID prepare for future droughts by enabling them to better predict and respond to drought conditions.

Costa Fights to Strengthen Western Water Bill for San Joaquin Valley

Washington, DC- Today, Rep. Costa offered three amendments before the Rules Committee, in a continued effort to improve H.R. 2898, the Western Water and American Food Security Act of 2015, of which he is an original co-sponsor.  The amendments offered would increase storage at Lake McClure by providing a process to raise the spillway gates of New Exchequer Dam, would utilize existing National Guard resources to assist communities impacted by the drought and would increase accountability for environmental water flows.

Costa Supports Administration’s Proposed Rule to Extend Overtime Pay to 420,000 Additional Hardworking Californians

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, President Obama announced that the Department of Labor will propose extending overtime pay protections to nearly 5 million salaried American workers, including 420,000 in California. This proposal would increase the current overtime protection threshold, guaranteeing overtime pay to most salaried workers earning less than an estimated $50,440 per year.

Dutra's The Paper: Soroptimist International Celebrates Women’s Award Night

On the evening of May 18th, the Los Banos Soroptimists held a very special evening to honor local women of all ages for their distinction.  The group was also honored to have in attendance representatives from the offices of Congressman Jim Costa, Senator Anthony Canella, Assembly Adam Gray, as well as County Supervisor Jerry O’Banion, and Mayor Mike Villalta. The Soroptimists work with, and award those women within our community who have shown achievement in many areas, as well as unselfish time in service to others in many ways.  

Costa Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Bring Water to the Valley

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Jim Costa joined Rep. David Valadao in introducing H.R. 2898, the Western Water and American Food Security Act of 2015. This legislation, which will make more water available to families, farmers, and communities, will modernize water policies in California and throughout the entire Western United States. Additionally, this bill legislation will provide direction to capture more water during the wet season and mechanisms to move forward with water storage projects that have been authorized for over a decade.

Fresno Bee: Central Valley Honor Flight gives Korean vets one more mission

 

The Korean War had been raging for two years when Riverdale native Bill Robinett spent his first night in a trench in Korea. He was 22 and scared.

“It was very scary, of course, especially the first week and first night,” says Robinett, now 85 and living in Fresno. “We were in our trench and they (North Koreans) were in their trench about a quarter-mile away and it was a case of who could shoot the most at each other.

 Bill Robinett of Fresno is a Korean War veteran who will be traveling to Washington, D.C. with the Central Valley Honor Flight.

Costa Statement on Trade Votes

“After months of careful consideration and meeting with opponents and proponents of the trade package, I voted to support Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).  While I agreed with a number of concerns presented by those opposing the trade package, what I found lacking were their solutions to addressing those challenges. In today’s global economy, standing by idly as trade agreements are made without us, or starting the current negotiations from the beginning, as the President explained, are not viable options.

Costa’s Legislation to Prevent Canadian and Mexican Trade Retaliations Passes House

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Rep. Costa and Conaway’s bill, H.R. 2393, the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) Amendments Act.  This legislation, which passed on a strong bipartisan vote of 300 to 131,  repeals mandatory COOL requirements for beef, pork, and chicken products, while leaving intact the requirement for all other covered commodities.  Additionally, the COOL Act does not alter, in any way, current food safety inspection requirements. 

Costa Brings More Accountability to Striped Bass (Predatory Fish)

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Jim Costa released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed  H.R. 2578, the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2016. The bill includes an amendment to ensure that all factors, including predation by non-native predators, are addressed in recovery plans for endangered species impacting California's water system.

Costa Supports Legislation to Strengthen Prevention and Enforcement Efforts to Combat Sexual Violence

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Costa joined Congresswoman Jackie Speier and Congressman Patrick Meehan in introducing the bipartisan “Hold Accountable and Lend Transparency (HALT) Campus Sexual Violence Act.” This bill would strengthen prevention and enforcement efforts to combat campus sexual violence by increasing transparency and accountability.

KSEE 24: Memorial Day Celebrated At Fresno's Memorial Gardens

At only seven years old, Brandon Colwell knows the importance of honoring his grandfather and great-grandfather.

"These people were fighting and because of the Civil War," Brandon said.

His grandfather Don Colwell says they attend the Memorial Day ceremony at Memorial Gardens every year, and they sit next to a veteran's grave that's very special, his father's.\

"It's the closest we can get to him on earth, and he's just very special," Colwell said.

Hundreds gathered Monday to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

The Modesto Bee: National cemetery service honors all vets

Though Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who have died in U.S. military service, chaplain Capt. Kenneth Cain stressed to a crowd here Sunday the importance of remembering and honoring all veterans who have died.

“Not all who sleep here died in combat or were even in a combat arena,” he told the roughly 600 people who attended a Memorial Day service at San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery.

Merced Sun-Star: Kathleen M. Crookham: UC Merced’s 2020 Project critical to our state’s success

Thanks to Rep. Jim Costa (“Building on UC Merced’s success is good for the Valley,” May 26) for highlighting UC Merced and why we should support the school’s 2020 Project. As a member of the UC Merced Board of Trustees, I have seen the significant economic boost UC Merced has brought to our community, creating thousands of construction jobs, nearly adding 800 permanent jobs on campus, with UC benefits and wages.

Costa Statement on Passage of Short-Term Transportation Funding Extension

Washington, DC - Rep. Costa released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2353, the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2015.

“While I am extremely disappointed that the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2015 only provided a two-month funding extension, I could not risk jeopardizing the safety and well-being of our nation’s traveling public. 

Costa Reintroduces Legislation to Honor Hmong Veterans

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA) was joined by Vietnam veteran Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA) in reintroducing the Hmong Veterans’ Service Recognition Act. The legislation would extend burial benefits in national cemeteries to Hmong and Lao Americans who served beside U.S. Armed Forces during the Vietnam War. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has introduced similar bipartisan legislation in the Senate.

Wadena Pioneer Journal: Truckers Against Trafficking receives public awareness award

New York Mills truck driver Bill Brady feels like he's making a difference through his work with the not-for-profit group Truckers Against Trafficking.

Brady, who drives for Lodestar and grew up in Wadena, has been working with the organization for roughly three years. Truckers Against Trafficking is a not-for-profit group that works to educate, raise awareness and combat trafficking in the trucking and travel plaza industries.

Associated Press: House passes $35B water bill

The House on Friday passed a big energy and water spending bill that showcases the continuing federal discord over how to handle California's drought.

The $35 billion bill includes money for the California status quo, ranging from Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta restoration to operations of the sprawling Central Valley Project. It also includes drought-related language, with directives to speed completion of water storage project studies.

Costa, LaMalfa Introduce Legislation to Protect Consumers from Increased Energy Fees

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Jim Costa joined Congressman Doug LaMalfa to introduce H.R. 2041, the “Public Power Risk Management Act (PPRMA),” bipartisan legislation would provide stability in energy prices for consumers. This bill would remove barriers placed on municipal utilities that prevent them from taking actions to hedge against price volatility in the energy market and to protect consumers from a spike in utility fees.

Edmond Sun: Inhofe, Donnelly Reintroduce Bill to Provide Permanent Regulatory Relief to Public Utilities

Today U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) reintroduced S. 1111, the Public Power Risk Management Act, bipartisan legislation that would clarify provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in order to provide permanent relief to public power utilities and keep energy affordable for Americans.

Parlier Post: Parlier leaders return from White House

Parlier government leaders returned from Washington, D.C. on April 16 after delivering a message to the White House: The California drought affects every resident in the state.

Mayor Alma Beltran, Mayor Pro Tem Raul Villanueva and City Manager Israel Lara joined Fresno Council of Governments (COG) members in asking federal legislators for support on regional priorities – especially water policy focused on drought relief. The event, called “One Voice,” lasted five days and included more than 20 Valley representatives.

Asbarez Armenian News: ANCA Central California and City of Fresno Mark Genocide Centennial

Again this April 24th the Armenian National Committee of America Central California with the support of the City of Fresno raised both the United States and Armenian flags in front of City Hall to commemorate the Armenian Genocide. This year, prompted by the Centennial, a march was organized that lead hundreds of demonstrators from the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic church, a distance of approximately 1.5 miles, to Fresno City Hall.

Los Angeles Times: Democrats, several of them Californians, were 'Party of No' in House budget fight

Democrats in competitive districts formed largest bloc of 'no' voters in last month's House budget debate

 

California's No. 1 — in House members who voted no on every budget bill

Most Congress members have little mandate to compromise, putting those from swing districts in a tough spot

As a parade of budget proposals whizzed through Congress this year, Rep. Ami Bera and 30 other lawmakers voted, at the very least, consistently.

Fresno Bee: Amid Armenia's troubled past, U.S. politicians tread carefully

Ghostly Armenian remembrances haunt the nation’s capital, heartbreaking, but often incomplete.

An abandoned bank building stands empty downtown, the site of a long-planned Armenian Genocide Museum and Memorial that’s buried beneath spectacularly acrimonious litigation. It’s near the White House, whose centennial commemorative statement Friday will omit the word “genocide.”

McClatchy Washington Bureau: Amid Armenia's troubled past, U.S. politicians tread carefully

Ghostly Armenian remembrances haunt the nation’s capital, heartbreaking, but often incomplete.

An abandoned bank building stands empty downtown, the site of a long-planned Armenian Genocide Museum and Memorial that’s buried beneath spectacularly acrimonious litigation. It’s near the White House, whose centennial commemorative statement Friday will omit the word “genocide.”

Orchard Park Bee: Former Supervisor to receive national award

Mary Travers Murphy, executive director of the Erie County Family Justice Center, will receive a national award from the U.S. Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus at a ceremony on Capitol Hill during National Crime Victim’s Rights Week, which runs from April 19-25.

Rep. Brian Higgins, who represents the 26th district, nominated Travers Murphy for the Ed Stout Memorial Award for Outstanding Victim Advocacy.

She will travel to Washington, D.C. to accept one of five awards presented nationwide

The Armenian Weekly: Armenian Genocide Centennial Marked on Capitol Hill

Members of Congress joined with Armenian Americans from throughout the U.S. at the Capitol Hill observance of the Armenian Genocide Centennial, an evening of moving tributes and equally powerful calls for President Barack Obama to reject Turkey’s gag-rule and press Ankara toward a truthful and just resolution of this crime against humanity, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

Merced Sun-Star: Tony Weber: Costa stood up for community health care

On behalf of our board of directors and employees, Golden Valley Health Centers thanks Rep. Jim Costa for supporting HR 2 last month.

This piece of legislation, more commonly known as the “Doc Fix,” will relieve the nation’s healthcare system of what would’ve been a drastic cut in Medicare reimbursement. And, while important, the bill also contained much needed Federal support for community health centers across the nation, which were also facing a funding cliff set to take effect in October.

McClatchy Washington Bureau: Amid Capital Hill Opposition, high-speed rail gets second wind

Is President Barack Obama’s vision for high-speed rail dead? If so, you couldn’t tell it from a group of rail supporters gathered in Washington this week.

And for the first time, they can point to tangible progress. California’s $68 billion system broke ground in January. Efforts are under way to bring high-speed rail projects to Texas, Florida, Minnesota and North Carolina.

Sierra Sun Times: Congressman Jeff Denham Joins With 33 California Colleagues Pushing for Bridge Funding in Highway Reauthorization

U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) today led a letter with 33 of his California colleagues to leaders of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee urging them to prioritize funding for crumbling locally owned bridges across the nation as Congress works to reauthorize MAP-21, the 2012 law which last reauthorized federal surface transportation programs.

Investor's Business Daily: Kudos To House GOP For Passing Bill To Kill Death Tax

Republican leaders have been scolded for not doing more in their first 100 days in charge of Congress, but one victory deserves applause: the House's 240-179 vote Thursday to kill the hated and unfair death tax.

We'll see if economic common sense prevails in the Senate to get the required 60 votes or if the redistributionists who run the Democratic Party in Washington derail this tax reform.

Gant Daily: U.S. Set to be Net Exporter of Natural Gas

Earlier this week, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its energy outlook, which predicts that the United States will be a net exporter of natural gas by 2017.

Leaders of the Congressional Natural Gas Caucus understand the magnitude of this geopolitical transition and the implications for ensuring American energy security through continued natural gas development and investment.

Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc: House votes to repeal estate tax

Brushing aside a veto threat, the Republican-controlled House voted 240-179 to repeal the federal estate tax.

The vote was largely symbolic, given the strong opposition from President Obama and congressional Democrats. Seven Democrats voted for repeal.

Republicans argued that the “death tax” still unfairly penalizes farms and small businesses despite significant increases in recent years to the tax exemption and cuts to the tax rate.

Costa Leads Bipartisan Group to Modernize Anti-Poverty Grants

Washington, D.C. –Congressman Jim Costa was joined by Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN), and 5 other Members of Congress in introducing the Community Economic Opportunity Act of 2015. The bipartisan legislation would reauthorize the Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) program which supports more than 1,000 non-profit Community Action Agencies tasked with serving economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. The CSBG was last reauthorized in 1998.

Costa Reacts to Proposed Budgets

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Jim Costa released the following statement in response to both the Republican and Democratic budgets proposed.

“At a time when our national economy is finally beginning to stabilize it is critical that Congress move forward with a budget that is fiscally responsible while investing in our nation’s future.  It is of no benefit to continue proposing budgets that are based solely on party lines and do not provide common sense, realistic  solutions for the issues facing our nation. 

Costa Statement at COOL Hearing

Washington, D.C.- Below is an excerpt of Congressman Jim Costa’s opening statement at the Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee’s hearing on County-of-Origin-Labeling (COOL) that was held earlier today.

“It does not surprise many in this room that I believe mandatory, government-run Country-of-Origin-Labeling (COOL) is a failed experiment. Unfortunately, this issue has persisted for several years with the same flawed arguments being used time and again. 

Burlington Free Press: Welch bill would end corn ethanol mandate-

ESSEX JUNCTION – U.S. Rep. Peter Welch visited a family owned motorcycle shop in Essex Junction on Monday and announced he has reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would abolish a federal mandate to add biofuels, such as corn ethanol, to gasoline.

"Current law requires that corn-based ethanol be a part of all of our fuel," Welch said. "The corn-based ethanol has been a well-intentioned flop. It just has not achieved the goals it was set out to do."

The Fresno Bee: Local legislators debate at Madera South High civic symposium

A who’s who of Madera County politicians debated in Madera South High School’s inaugural civic symposium on Friday.

Congressman Jim Costa, Sen. Anthony Cannella, Assembly Member Frank Bigelow, County Supervisor Brett Frazier and Madera Mayor Robert Poythress answered questions from students ranging from President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration to high speed rail.

The symposium was limited to students in the school’s senior class, who had to apply to attend the event. 

Costa Instrumental in Securing $12.3 Million for Fresno Bridge Academy

Fresno, CA – Congressman Costa, who was instrumental in both drafting the language for the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (SNAP) Employment and Training Pilot Projects and including it in the 2014 Farm Bill received good news for his district. As a result of his tireless efforts, Fresno County Department of Social Services will receive $12.3 million as part of the SNAP Employment and Training Pilot Projects to build on the existing efforts of Fresno Bridge Academy.

Costa Statement on California’s Bipartisan Emergency Drought Package

Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Jim Costa released the following statement after California Governor Edmund G.  Brown Jr., Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, and Republican Leaders Senator Bob Huff and Assemblymember Kristin Olsen announced legislation that would assist communities struggling to cope with the historic drought. The $1 billion package would expedite bond funding and help ensure that Californians have access to water.

The Fresno Bee Editorial: Thumbs up, thumbs down

Thumbs up to the California lawmakers for helping to relaunch a bid to put the House of Representatives on record as recognizing the Armenian genocide. The resolution was introduced this week with more than 40 co-sponsors. Noting the upcoming 100th anniversary, Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, said, “Our detractors will always say, ‘Now is not the right time.’ I say, The time is now.” A century is long enough to wait.

Fresno Bee: House takes up new Armenian genocide resolution

WASHINGTON — California lawmakers on Wednesday helped relaunch the latest, long-shot bid to put the House of Representatives on record as recognizing the Armenian genocide.

A perennial effort that always faces stiff political and diplomatic headwinds, the familiar resolution was introduced Wednesday with more than 40 co-sponsors, some of them House freshmen. The intention, though, remains the same as it has been for several decades.

Merced County Times: Top leaders meet to consider future of Castle

Some of this area’s top government leaders gathered recently to discuss the future of the Castle Aviation and Commerce Center.

If you are not aware of the issues in Castle’s decades-old redevelopment saga, here are some of the key topics discussed: the current infrastructure, the cost of doing business in the park that businesses must take on, needed demolitions of buildings on the property, the current lack of easy access to Highway 99, and the lack of skilled workers staying in the region.

Roll Call: Lessons for This Year in Voting Patterns of Last Year

Given that old adage, “You can’t tell where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been,” casting a close eye over last year’s congressional voting patterns is in order.

Sure, that was an election year for a divided Capitol, while Republicans now run the whole show and their performance isn’t subject to formal assessment by the voters until next year. But still, members behaved in the second half of the 113th Congress in ways distinctive enough to create several storylines to watch throughout the 114th.

World Poultry: Formation of Congressional Chicken Caucus in USA

The formation of a new, bipartisan Congressional Chicken Caucus in the United States House of Representatives has been announced.

The caucus will serve as a formal group of members whose mission is to educate members of Congress and others about the history, contributions and issues of importance to US chicken producers, pertaining to food safety, international trade, labor, animal welfare, immigration and environmental issues, among others.

Chicken industry vital to the economy

The Sacramento Bee: Hope on fallowed fields

MENDOTA, Calif. — In this region that calls itself "The Cantaloupe Center of the World," vast fields that once annually yielded millions of melons lie fallow. And, for some farmers, planting tomatoes and other traditional row crops may now constitute acts of courage.

America's largest agriculture economy is changing because of a lack of water. Amid a prolonged drought and an anticipated third straight year of cutbacks in federal water supplies, the one assured constant is stress.

Fresno Bee: Chicken? Yup, there’s now a congressional caucus for that

There’s the well-known Tea Party Caucus, the popular Congressional Wine Caucus and, with just seven members, the obscure Potato Caucus.

Don’t forget the Motorcycle Caucus, the Senate Diabetes Caucus or the Congressional Cement Caucus.

How about tennis? There’s a caucus for that. Soccer? That, too. Shellfish? Yup.

In fact, it seems there’s a caucus for just about everything. This Congress, there’s more than 250.

New York Times Opinion: End the Ethanol Rip-Off

With the collapse in global oil prices, members of Congress are once again pushing to raise the federal gasoline tax, with the proceeds going to new roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects. While some in Congress might be averse to a tax increase of any kind, they might find it more palatable if it came packaged with a tax cut.

Fortunately, there is a perfect option, a hidden levy that has benefited a small group of farmers and manufacturers in a handful of states: the corn ethanol tax.

Costa, Womack Announce Congressional Chicken Caucus

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA) and Congressman Steve Womack (R-Ark.) announced the formation of a new, bipartisan Congressional Chicken Caucus in the House of Representatives. 

The caucus will serve as a formal group of members whose mission is to educate members of Congress and others about the history, contributions and issues of importance to U.S. chicken producers, pertaining to food safety, international trade, labor, animal welfare, immigration and environmental issues, among others.  

Azbarez Armenian News: Senate and House members Condemn Sumgait, Baku massacres

WASHINGTON—Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) was joined by Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Robert Dold (R-IL) and Representatives Katherine Clark (D-MA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Brad Sherman (D-CA) in commemorating the brutal massacres of Armenians in the Azerbaijani cities of Baku, Sumgait and Kirovabad from 1988-1990 and condemning the ongoing violence and intimidation fostered by the government of President Ilham Aliyev, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA). They add their voices to Rep.

FarmPolicy.com: California Drought Issues Persist- Most difficult year facing the San Joaquin Valley in 50 years

Bettina Boxall and David Pierson reported on the front page of Saturday’s Los Angeles Times that, “In another blow to California's parched heartland, federal officials said Friday that for the second year in a row most Central Valley farmers are unlikely to receive water from the region’s major irrigation project this summer.

“The announcement, while expected, means growers will probably have to idle more land — and produce fewer crops — because there is simply not enough water for all of their fields.

FarmPolicy.com: California Drought Issues Persist- Most difficult year facing the San Joaquin Valley in 50 years

Bettina Boxall and David Pierson reported on the front page of Saturday’s Los Angeles Times that, “In another blow to California's parched heartland, federal officials said Friday that for the second year in a row most Central Valley farmers are unlikely to receive water from the region’s major irrigation project this summer.

“The announcement, while expected, means growers will probably have to idle more land — and produce fewer crops — because there is simply not enough water for all of their fields.

Costa Finds Zero Percent Allocation Inexcusable

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Jim Costa issued the following statement after the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced that agricultural service contractors in the San Joaquin Valley served through the Central Valley Project (CVP), such as San Luis Delta Mendota Water Authority and Friant Water Authority, will receive zero percent of their contracted federal water for the second consecutive year.

McClatchy Washington Bureau: New California water legislation might be on tap

California water legislation is starting to trickle across Capitol Hill.

One newly introduced bill would speed approval of Sites Reservoir in the Sacramento Valley. Another would help restore San Francisco Bay habitat. More targeted bills are coming.

So are some frustrations.

“I feel like that pop song, ‘Call Me Maybe,’” said Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael.

The Sacramento Bee: Vanishing water, fewer jobs, but still hope in the Central Valley

In this region that calls itself “The Cantaloupe Center of the World,” vast fields that once annually yielded millions of melons lie fallow. And, for some farmers, planting tomatoes and other traditional row crops may now constitute acts of courage.

America’s largest agriculture economy is changing because of a lack of water. Amid a prolonged drought and an anticipated third straight year of cutbacks in federal water supplies, the one assured constant is stress.

Ag Alert: Speakers tell of hardship caused by port dispute

California Farm Bureau Federation President Paul Wenger speaks at a state Capitol news conference, during which he and other speakers urged action to end a labor dispute at West Coast ports.

Emphasizing the hardship that the slowdown at West Coast ports is having on California agriculture, several members of the state Legislature called on President Obama to intervene in the ongoing labor dispute between dockworkers and shippers that has crippled the movement of goods.

The Fresno Bee: Congressional Republicans target six California Democrats — but not Costa

Fresno Democrat Jim Costa last November had his second close race in his past three congressional reelection bids, barely beating underfunded and unheralded Republican Johnny Tacherra.

Still, it appears national Republicans don’t think Costa is vulnerable in 2016.

On Wednesday, the National Republican Congressional Committee released a list of 19 Democrats it will target in next year’s elections. There are six Californians on the list, but Costa isn’t among them.

How did Costa — who beat Tacherra by just 1.4-percentage points — escape the NRCC’s 2016 crosshairs?

Textile World: U.S. Launches Challenge to Extensive Chinese Export Subsidy Program

United States Trade Representative Michael Froman announced today that the United States has pursued dispute settlement consultations with the Government of China at the World Trade Organization (WTO) concerning China’s “Demonstration Bases-Common Service Platform” export subsidy program.  Under this questionable program, China seems to provide prohibited export subsidies through “Common Service Platforms” to manufacturers and producers across seven economic sectors and dozens of sub-sectors located in more than one hundred and fifty industrial clusters throughout China known as “Demonstrat

The Fresno Bee: Valley Latinos watch with interest as Villaraigosa considers Senate run

By several accounts, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is considering a U.S. Senate run, taking his time and weighing whether he wants to jump into an election battle that already includes state Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Villaraigosa’s deliberations have not gone unnoticed in the central San Joaquin Valley, where Latinos — who are both allies and detractors — are eagerly awaiting a decision in the race to replace retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer.

The Hill: White House faces pressure to intervene in ports dispute

A labor standoff at ports along the West Coast is threatening the flow of cargo as docks are being closed to incoming ships.

 

Twenty-nine ports in states from Washington to California that normally process 340 million tons of cargo packages per year that are later shipped via truck and rail to cities across the country are shutting down for the weekend due to labor unrest.

 

Lawmakers are calling for the White House to intervene to prevent the shutdown from continuing past Monday. 

 

Reuters: US challenges sweeping Chinese export subsidies

The United States on Wednesday launched a legal challenge to Chinese export subsidies supporting billions of dollars of exports across a wide swathe of industries from steel to shrimp.

US trade representative Michael Froman said Chinese companies in designated export hubs benefited from free or subsidised services, cash grants and other incentives which gave their products an unfair advantage.

House gets bill to overhaul Renewable Fuel Standards, kill E-15 expansion

A bipartisan coalition of members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced legislation on Feb. 4 to overhaul the current Renewable Fuel Standard regulations and its outdated ethanol mandates. 

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and 40 co-sponsors introduced the Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act of 2015, which includes provisions to recognize that fuel usage has changed since the original legislation was passed in 2005 and the provisions in the bill, especially those requiring higher concentrations of ethanol, are outdated.

Agri-Pulse: Lawmakers step up to end port slowdown

WASHINGTON - A bipartisan group of lawmakers wants to put the House on record urging President Obama to step in and end a labor dispute snarling West Coast ports if there isn't an agreement soon.

"This is one of the gravest threats to our nation right now," said four House members who have drafted a bipartisan resolution. "We are seeing businesses, farmers,and manufacturers affected all across the country. The slowdown is not just a West Coast problem, but a national problem.”

McClatchy Washington Bureau: Congress pressures both sides in ports dispute

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans and Democrats are working together to reach a rapid resolution of a labor dispute that’s clogging West Coast ports.

With crop exports from regions like the Pacific Northwest and California’s Central Valley particularly at risk, more than a dozen lawmakers united Thursday in support of port peace. If nothing else, the rare show of bipartisanship underscored the enduring importance of maritime trade.

Costa Statement on Loss of Coach Jerry Tarkanian

Congressman Costa was saddened to learn about the passing of basketball Hall of Fame coach Jerry Tarkanian.  A graduate of Fresno State University, Coach Tarkanian never forgot his humble Armenian beginnings or the colleges and universities where he coached for 31 years.  His incredible success as a collegiate basketball coach, with 729 victories, was clearly demonstrated throughout his career, from taking UNLV to win the national championship in 1990, leading Long Beach State to four straight NCAA tournament appearances, including the 1971 West Regional Final, and then returning to his alm

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Launches New Trade Challenge Against China

WASHINGTON--The U.S. opened a new front in the long-running trade conflict with China, challenging a broad program Beijing uses to subsidize export businesses.

The new challenge at the World Trade Organization is part of the Obama administration's efforts to step up enforcement of trade rules to win support for its efforts to conclude a new trade agreement with Pacific countries.

CSP.net: Why Boaters Hope to Sink E15-Industry group one of many supporting bills to cap ethanol content, change RFS

As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to weigh changes to the various biofuel blending requirements in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2014, there are a few bills before Congress that aim to push its hand on ethanol.

The most recent--the Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act of 2015--would place a 10% blending cap on conventional gasoline, a move that has earned the endorsement of at least one major boating industry group.

Arkansas News: Womack seeks renewable fuel standard fix

WASHINGTON — Calling it an issue for the middle class, U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, said Wednesday that he is sponsoring legislation again to do away with a federal mandate on ethanol that has driven up the cost of food.

“With the start of Congress this year, both the President and Congress signaled an intent to do something for middle class Americans. I can’t think of a subject more geared to doing that,” he said at a press conference.

Farm Futures: Peterson names House Ag Committee democrats for new Congress-House Ag Committee democrats take seats for 114th Congress

House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson on Wednesday announced the 19 Democrats appointed to serve on the House Agriculture Committee for the 114th Congress.

"This is a great group of both new and returning members who care about the wide variety of issues overseen by the Agriculture Committee. I look forward to working with them, Chairman Conaway and members on the other side of the aisle this Congress," Peterson said.

Fresno Bee-Another View: Debate about high-speed rail should be based on facts

BY JIM COSTA, JANICE HAHN AND ZOE LOFGREN 

Each of us is entitled to our own opinion, but as Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, we are not entitled to our own facts. Unfortunately, after reading the opinion pieces by Reps. Jeff Denham, Kevin McCarthy and Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association President Jon Coupal (“California should halt high-speed rail,” Jan. 8; and “High-speed rail goes off the track without funding plan,” Jan. 18), we felt compelled to set the record straight about California high-speed rail.