Weekly Newsletter 5.20.2019

Dear Friend,

This week, I was in Washington, where the House worked on a range of issues from providing farmers with tariff relief to ensuring American consumers are protected. Here are some highlights from the week of May 20th: 


Providing tariff relief to farmers

In a letter submitted to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, I pushed him for more relief to specialty crop producers in any trade aid package that Congress and the Administration adopt.

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In addition, also advocated for greater relief for California farmers, when I spoke with Deputy Secretary Steve Censky, including increasing payments to dairy producers, purchasing specialty crops to improve prices, and protecting markets through export promotions and new market development programs. I hope we'll see these points included in the package due later this week. 

 

Improving animal pest and disease Prevention

I chaired my second hearing for the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture. The hearing was focused on preventing disease in the livestock and poultry industries. Under Secretary Greg Ibach and Dr. Burke Healy, from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), testified about the USDA's work to prevent potential outbreaks. With farmers already suffering from trade wars and challenging markets, it's important we institute the proper safeguards to prevent further hardship.

Watch my opening statement: 

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You can also watch my questioning here.


Ensuring equality

We voted to pass H.R.5 - the Equality Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in public spaces. Ensuring that every American can feel safe in the work place, at school, or in any other public setting is an important step as we continue to move forward as a nation. 

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Fighting for Valley water

My efforts to secure the Valley's water never stop. That's why I submitted a bipartisan letter to leadership of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on the need to modernize our water infrastructure. These provisions must be included in any package brought forth for consideration. This builds on another letter from San Joaquin Valley members about concrete ways we could address the water infrastructure needs of the Valley. 

Yesterday, the Bureau of Reclamation announced increased water allocations for Westside water users. The modest increase from 65% to 70%, while welcome, is nowhere near where we should be. In a water year like this one, with above average snow pack, the Bureau of Reclamation should be able to provide more water to Valley water users. I remain very disappointed and will continue to address this broken water system. 

Watch my statement:

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Protecting consumers

I voted to pass H.R.1500 - the Consumers First Act, which reverses the Administration's efforts to reorganize the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and weaken protections. Protecting consumers is vital to our economy. 

 

Addressing unfair housing policies 

The California Congressional Delegation wrote to Secretary Carson of the Department of Housing and Urban Development regarding its proposal to restrict households with immigrant family members from receiving federal assistance.

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The rule would threaten nearly five million Californians that belong to mixed-status families and aggravate the current homelessness problem across the state. In Fresno alone, this puts 1,300 children at risk. We need to do more to ensure access to affordable housing in California and the Central Valley, not less. 

 

Improving air quality

Last week,  Senators Harris, Feinstein, and Reps. Harder, Cox, and I, sent a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, about the importance of providing federal assistance to replace polluting vehicles under the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA).

Fresno, Kings, and Kern counties are ranked in the top 5 counties with the most air pollution in the nation. In the face of health risks of a polluted Valley, it's important to take steps to get high-polluting vehicles out of service. This is especially important in the agriculture community, where many farmers use and maintain old equipment. For this reason, I am supportive and got more funding in last year's Farm Bill for programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, which provides money for farmers to replace old equipment with new greener alternatives. 

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It's also exciting to see young people stepping up to address our Valley's pollution.  Kieshaun White, a student from Edison High, and his team released Cleaner Air Experiment, a mobile phone app that allows Fresnans to see air quality in real time. I was proud to recognize the effort with a certificate honoring the positive impact on our community. 

 


Upcoming Events in the district:

Welcoming the next Generation of Valley Leaders 

Congratulations to this year's 2019 Graduating Class! 

Madera Community College will hold commencement ceremonies May 23rd, and Fresno City College and Merced College will hold graduation May 24th. 

Come and recognize what these bright students have accomplished.

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Honoring the fallen

Join me at 9 a.m. on Sunday May 26th, at the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery for the 2019 Veterans Affairs Memorial Day ceremony with the theme: “Salute To The Services.”

More details here. 

Liberty Cemetery in Fresno will host its annual Memorial Day event at 10 a.m. Monday, May 29th at 1831 W. Belmont Avenue, Fresno CA 93728.

Did you know that disabled veterans are eligible for a free National Park Service Lifetime Access Pass?

More details here. 

 


Recent News Coverage:

 

Sincerely,

 
Jim Costa
Member of Congress

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