Weekly Newsletter 6.03.2019

Dear Friend,

After the Memorial Day district work period, I'm back in Washington where we passed important pieces of legislation: protections for our DREAMers and a spending bill that help victims of natural disasters. Here are some highlights from the week of June 3rd and June 10th:


Funding the government

The House of Representatives considered H.R. 2740 - the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2020. This spending package will include several items I fought for:

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      Water: 
  • $400 million in additional funding for water resources projects through the Bureau of Reclamation, including those authorized under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, which I led. 
  • $ 3.92 billion in funding for Operation and Maintenance for programs like the Water Operations and Technical Support Program (WOTS) and the National Levee Safety Initiative.
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      Energy: 
  • $2.65 billion in funding for programs that support clean, affordable, and secure energy, like the State Energy Program (SEP), the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and the Water and Power Technologies Office.  
  • $425 million in funding for advanced research projects aimed at developing energy technologies that can address our current challenges.
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     Health and Human Services:
  • $796 million for Community Service Block Grant Programs, which help support economic development in low-income communities
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      Education: 
  • $1.16 billion in funding for Federal TRIO programs that assist disadvantaged students
  • $917.5 million for programs that serve minority students, including Hispanic-Serving Institutions

 

Securing markets for our farmers

As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture, we had a hearing to discuss the current trade wars, the potential U.S. Mexico Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA), and their effects on farmers. Under Secretary Ted Mckinney and Chief Agricultural Negotiator Gregg Doud testified on what the Administration's plan is to provide farmers with more certainty regarding markets for their goods. 

Watch my opening statement: 

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Watch my interview with Fox26.

 

Hosting constituents in Washington

Summer tour season is here in Washington, and this week I had the pleasure of greeting two school groups from the district. On their way to NYC to sing at Carnegie Hall, Fresno City College Choir came to grace us with a moving rendition of "America the Beautiful" on the Capitol Steps. 

Watch their performance: 

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In addition, migrant students from Stanislaus, Merced, and Madera Counties came to Washington through the "Close Up Washington for New Americans" program. They toured various sites around our nation's capital, including the Capitol building, where I was able to greet them and share a little bit of history. 

 

Protecting Dreamers

Last week, we voted to pass H.R. 6 - the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 to provide protected legal status to millions of young immigrants who came to this country as minors. It's unfair that these individuals  live in constant fear of being taken from the only home they've ever known. It's time we uphold our promise to protect this next generation of leaders and embrace the contributions they make to our society every day. Passing this bill is an important step toward achieving comprehensive reform of our broken immigration system.

Watch my speech:

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Fighting for Valley water

Securing water resources for the Valley continues to be one of my highest priorities. That's why I continue to advocate in the House Committee on Natural Resources to outline specific projects we can use to enhance our water infrastructure and improve the efficiency of our water resources in California.

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These upgrades are necessary to address issues like land subsidence, clean drinking water, climate change, and supporting California's growing population. Further investing in water infrastructure projects will help secure valuable water, drive our local economy, and protect our communities.

Watch my statement:

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Supporting dairy farmers

Dairy is one of the leading commodities produced in California, and our dairy men and women are vital to the economy in the Valley and across the state. I met with Dairy Farmers of America to talk about the work I'm doing as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture to support their dairy industry. We touched on topics like the impacts of the no-match letters sent by the Social Security Administration, how the current trade wars are affecting the dairy industry, as well as swapped stories with Christine (directly to my right) from Lemoore on what it was like to grow up on a dairy farm in the Valley. 

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Fighting for sustainability

Additionally, I joined a bipartisan coalition in sending a letter to EPA Administrator Wheeler, urging him to review pending petitions for renewable fuel pathways, such as renewable electricity. Approval of such pathways, allows the Central Valley to turn waste-to-energy, which moves us closer to sustainability and continues to diversify our energy portfolio. 

 

Building capacity for future disasters

As wildfires continue to threaten California, it is more important than ever to help victims recover from past disasters and prepare for future ones. That's why I voted with Congress to pass a bill that provides relief to Californians impacted by wildfires, including $720 million for wildland fire management, and $2 billion in HUD grants for disaster relief and housing.

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We need to get smarter about how we prepare, respond, and ultimately mitigate the devastating fires in California and their effects. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the House of Representatives to ensure that the people of the Valley are supported in the face of these threats.

 

75th anniversary of D-Day

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Last week I joined a Congressional Delegation to Normandy for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. People from all over Europe and America came to honor the fallen -- the veterans who bravely stormed the beaches -- and to remember the largest amphibious military operation in history, which was instrumental in winning World War II. I was honored to meet Ray Lambert, a combat medic who saved the lives of over a dozen men despite being wounded. In his book, when reflecting on this act of courage, he wrote "I did what I was called to do." 

 

Valley lands big dollars

The EPA announced recipients of their Brownsfield grants last week, which assist in improving public health and the environment by transforming contaminated sites around the country into community assets. The city of Fresno received $600,000 that will be put toward redevelopment projects in Downtown, Chinatown, and Southwest Fresno, helping create jobs and boosting the economy. I was happy to support the city's effort by urging the EPA to consider Fresno for this important grant. 

Additionally, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded UC Merced over $2 million for a program that trains the next-generation's workforce to be highly skilled in data sciences. Programs like this are vital to ensuring that our future Valley workforce remains competitive in the job market. I was happy to vote in favor of this section of H.J.Res.31 - the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019to continue funding for programs that can enhance the quality of life in our Valley.    


Upcoming events across the district:

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Dairy Margin Coverage Program:

Signups for the new Dairy Margin Coverage Program starts June 17th. To ensure the Farm Bill is properly implemented and that people are benefited by the programs it offers, I will be hosting workshops on how to make the Dairy Margin Coverage Program work for you. 

 

Merced College citizenship classes:

This summer, Merced College is hosting free citizenship classes at the following locations starting August 13, 2019:

Chowchilla Library
11 am - 12 pm Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday
300 W Kings Ave, Chowchilla

Delhi High School
6 pm - 8 pm Tuesday/Thursday 16881 Schendel Ave, Delhi

For more information call (209) 381-6540. 

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Chowchilla's "Movies in the Park":

“Movies in the Park” returns to Veterans Memorial Park on Robertson Boulevard at 6th Street starting Friday, June 21. Show times start at SUNSET. Bring your lawn chairs and favorite snack to watch an outdoor movie on the BIG screen. This summer enjoy the following movies:

JUNE 21 – How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
JUNE 28 – Holes (2003)
JULY 12 – Cool Runnings (1993)
JULY 19 – Monsters, Inc. (2001)

More information here. 

   

Recent News Coverage:

Sincerely,

 
Jim Costa
Member of Congress

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