Weekly Newsletter 12.16.2019

Dear Friend,

We ended the year in Washington by passing some key legislation to fund the government, advance a new trade deal between Canada and Mexico, and remove the cap from state and local tax deductions. Here is the week in review:

Funding the government


The House passed two spending bills to fully fund the government through September 30, 2020. I advocated for funding for the following items that made it into the final spending package: 

  • $134 million for Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act storage projects
  • $20 million for Friant-Kern Canal repair
  • $27 million for children's advocacy programs through the Victims of Child Abuse Act (VOCAA)
  • $2.6 billion for Crime Victims Fund and Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Programs
  • $740 million for the Community Service Development Block Grant Program
  • $2.77 billion for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds
  • $5.553 billion for Wildfire Management 
  • $1 billion for BUILD Grants for projects like Veterans Boulevard
  • Providing a 3.1% raise to federal civilian employees and members of the military.
  • $23.16 billion for child nutrition programs
  • $49.3 for the Federal Highway Administration
  • $80 billion for VA medical care, including funding to provide for homelessness assistance, suicide prevention, and outreach
  • $15.5 billion for new transportation and housing infrastructure projects with an additional $116 million allocated for California
  • $360 million for medical research programs, including research on ALS, Alzheimer’s, Breast Cancer and Melanoma
  • $2.4 billion to combat human trafficking
  • $502.5 million for Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA), which funds progams like the Marjaree Mason Center and rape crisis centers.

Find an extended list of programs funded, here


Protecting Valley agriculture

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After spending the past year working behind the scenes with House leadership and Ambassador Robert Lighthizer to build bipartisan support, we finally passed the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) agreement. This will protect and expand our Canadian and Mexican market access. Trade is vital to American agriculture, especially for the specialty crop, tree nut, dairy and livestock producers in the San Joaquin Valley and across California. This deal also strengthens labor and environmental standards. I am proud to support approval of the USMCA because ultimately, good trade agreements mean good paying jobs.


Protecting our national security


Over the past two months, I’ve worked hard to examine the facts and make a fair determination as to whether there was wrongdoing by the President that constitutes impeachable offenses. According to the facts presented during the impeachment inquiry, and upon reflection of the true intention of our Founding Fathers, I decided to vote for both articles of impeachment. This decision was not taken lightly. Please read this column, which I wrote for in The Fresno Bee, for further explanation. This is a difficult time in our nation’s history. My hope is that we can move beyond this dark time and heal our divisions to come together as the great nation we are. 


Restoring middle class tax relief


In an important vote for California taxpayers, I voted to temporarily eliminate the State and Local Tax (SALT) Deduction Cap and restore tax relief to hardworking middle-class Americans. I am hopeful that by reversing this terrible tax policy, we can resume incentivizing middle-class home ownership and boost charitable donations to organizations like food banks that serve the most vulnerable populations in our district.


Valley lands big dollars


One of my highest priorities is to see that your taxpayer dollars come back to the district. I'm pleased to report that the Department of Health and Human Services awarded the Fresno County Economic Opportunities Commission $20 million for Head Start Projects and $1.8 million to Camarena Health to improve health services in our Valley. 


Honoring a Valley leader:

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Fresno State football Coach Jeff Tedford announced his retirement a few weeks ago. Coach Tedford has been an inspiring influence on Fresno State and the Central Valley and we thank him for his hard work and steadfast leadership. GO DOGS!


Other work on behalf of our Valley:

Upcoming Events Across the District:

Christmas Tree Lane

Fresno’s Christmas Tree Lane is an historic tradition going back 97 years. Each December, North Van Ness Boulevard in Fig Garden becomes a one-way street lined with hundreds of trees and homes all decked-out for the holidays. Visitors can drive the 2-mile stretch from Shields to Shaw all the way until Christmas Day. (Click for more info)

When:  Tuesday, December 3rd - Wednesday, December 25th   

Where: Shields Ave and N. Van Ness Fresno, CA


Zoo Lights

For this annual event, the entire Zoo is transformed into a magical winter wonderland, fully decorated and strung with miles of holiday lights. Enjoy live entertainment, festive treats and beverages for adults and children as well as free photos with Santa Claus (Click for more Info).

When: December 21st-23rd 5PM - 8PM

Where: Fresno Chaffee Zoo

 A Day On, Not A Day Off

The annual MLK Jr. Day of Service is just one month away. This year will mark the 25th celebration of MLK Day since Congress designated it as a day of service in 1994 and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to lead this effort. MLK Day is officially on January 20th but volunteer service activities occur throughout the prior weekend. (Click here for more info).

When: January 17th-19th

Current Legislation:


Recent News Coverage:


Jim Costa
Member of Congress

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