Weekly Newsletter 10.30.2020
We’re in the district meeting with constituents and community leaders to share the important work I’m doing on their behalf in Washington, including highlighting the critical legislation we’ve passed over the last two years, de-escalating violence in Artsakh, and providing solutions to California’s housing crisis. Here are some highlights:
Legislating for the people
We’ve been working on important legislation for the people of our Valley and the country. Unfortunately, the Senate has been unwilling to act on any of the bipartisan legislation below to get the job done.
See a complete list of bills the House has passed in the 116th Congress.
From passing much-needed COVID-19 relief measures to legislation to protect people with preexisting conditions, lower prescription drug prices and help our Dreamers, we’ve made real progress over the past two years. I’ve fought for the people of California’s 16th District, introducing 12 pieces of legislation to benefit residents of the San Joaquin Valley, including building a medical school in the Valley, moving California High Speed Rail development forward, and creating a more sustainable water future for our communities and farmers.
Despite our hard work, the Senate is blocking progress -- refusing to act on more than 300 bipartisan bills. Frankly, this deadlock is irresponsible and a failure to fulfill its obligations to the American people.
Also, review this breakdown of how CARES Act dollars helped business in our district:
Calling for De-escalation of Violence in Artsakh
I brought together leaders of the Armenian community in the Valley and Washington, D.C. to discuss the conflict and explore ways we can restore peace and stability. Despite interim agreements on ceasefires between Azerbaijan and Armenia, violence continues to threaten Armenian communities in the region. Far too many lives have been lost. Azerbaijan’s ongoing aggression is unacceptable and should have consequences. We cannot abdicate our role as a world leader seeking peace -- we must continue to work towards solutions that ensure the sovereignty of the Republic of Artsakh.
Here’s a look at all the actions I’ve taken on behalf of our Armenian community and to hold Turkey and Azerbaijan accountable:
- Sent a letter to Secretary Pompeo calling for the implementation of sanctions against Azerbaijani officials responsible for ongoing human rights abuses taking place in the Republic of Artsakh
- Supported the Congressional Armenian Caucus’s Artsakh Right to Self-Determination Resolution
- Cosponsoring H.Res.1165 - Condemning Azerbaijan’s military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh and denouncing Turkish interference in the conflict.
- Cosponsoring and voting to pass H.Res.296 to ensure U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
- Cosponsoring H.Res.190 - Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives supporting visits and communication between the United States and the Republic of Artsakh at all levels of civil society and government.
- Voting to provide $40 million to fund Armenian democracy assistance.
- Supporting annual appropriations process for demining funding
- Sending a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging the State Department to employ all available diplomatic tools to calm tensions, stop the violence and prevent Azerbaijan from further escalating the conflict in the future In October 2019, Congressman Costa
- Cosponsoring and voting in favor of H.R.4695 – The Protect Against Conflict by Turkey Act in October 2019
- Supporting an amendment to restrict the transfer of military equipment to Azerbaijan if it could be used to threaten civilian aviation.
This week’s shoutout goes to Jose Alvarez, who was he 2020 CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement, which is CSU’s highest recognition of student achievement.
A nursing major at Fresno State, Alvarez has shown incredible dedication to his education and a longstanding commitment to serving his community. Graduating from Madera South High School magna cum laude and often volunteering with Fresno State’s Community Mobile Health Unit to bring medical services to underserved communities, he makes a difference every day.
After graduating in 2021, Alvarez aims to work at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno as a registered nurse, where he can continue to help people.
Congratulations Jose and keep up the good work!
As a part of my job, I’ve traveled to Washington to vote and work on key legislative issues. Unfortunately, such travel has increased my risk of exposure to the virus. Out of an abundance of caution, and because some members of my family are in a high risk category, I get tested after every trip. Thankfully, I have tested negative all six times.
Dr. Bahn and his team are making an incredible effort to make testing available in our neighborhoods in Fresno as a part of the University of California San Francisco-Fresno (UCSF-Fresno)
Testing is key to containing the spread of this virus. Madera, Merced and Fresno counties need us all to do our part to maintain and grow our COVID-19 testing numbers, which are key factors in determining state restrictions on businesses and gatherings. All three counties have free testing available for residents. Do not wait until you have symptoms – get tested anytime you think you’ve been exposed and help stop the spread. Find testing sites here:
Let me thank the hard-working medical staff at UCSF Fresno’s new clinic at Fresno and Weldon streets in Fresno. UCSF Fresno, in partnership with Fresno County using CARES Act funding, is doing about one-third of the testing for the county. This clinic helps test, trace and treat our most disadvantaged citizens. It is open to anyone in the county – just drive-up, answer a handful of simple questions and get tested. I was tested last week and received my negative test results quickly.
Providing housing solutions
Self-Help Enterprises in Madera recently broke ground on their Sugar Pine Village rental housing project. Creating greater access to housing is critical for our region, particularly among the most vulnerable who need a helping hand. Sugar Pine Village not only addresses a part of that need, but it invests in important supportive services, such as wellness counseling and childcare, that will help guide residents to a path of success.
Bringing taxpayer dollars back to the Valley
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 Transportation recently awarded BUILD grants that have benefited our district and the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission for ongoing infrastructure projects. $16 million will go to the Highway 99 (SR-99) and Commercial Avenue Interchange Project to help reduce travel times, alleviate congestion, and address safety hazards. $20 million will go to the Stockton Diamond Grade Separation Project to enhance efficiency of freight and passenger rail operations that benefits our Valley.
One the most important rights as an American citizens is to exercise our right to vote.
Given the late date, I encourage you to find an official drop box near you like I did!
Information for your County:
MAKE YOUR VOTE COUNT!
Local COVID-19 Cases
- State of California
- Roadmap for Individual CA Counties
- Fresno City
- Fresno County
- Madera County
- Merced County
Find a testing center near you:
- Fresno County Locations
- Madera County Locations
- Merced County Online Registration or Call 1 (888) 634-1123
We’ve compiled all the resources you need in one convenient location on our website.
If you need specific help from our district office, please submit a request and a member of our staff will contact you.
- COVID Resources Toolkit for Families (ENGLISH)
- Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act Summary
- Resources for Veterans
- Navigating Small Business Administration programs
- Food Assistance
- Ways to help your community
Recursos en Español
- COVID-19: Manual Digital de Recursos Para Constituyentes
- Informacion sobre el Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act
FREE MOBILE COVID-19 TESTING
UCSF-Fresno has launched the Fresno COVID-19 Equity Project to increase access to testing and health screenings in underserved areas. All testing is free, but registration is required.
MADERA PANDEMIC ASSISTANCE GRANTS AVAILABLE
Round 2 of the pandemic assistance grants funded by the CARES Act are now available for small businesses to apply. Grant amounts vary from $5,000 to $10,000 depending on the number of full-time employees.
MAKE SURE YOU GET YOUR REAL ID
Beginning October 1, 2021, the federal government will require your state-issued drivers license or ID card to be REAL ID compliant. Plan ahead and apply for your REAL ID soon!
TIME TO RENEW YOUR INDIVIDUAL TAXPAYER ID!
At the end of the year some individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITIN) will expire. Taxpayers with expiring ITINs must renew their ID number with the IRS before the end of the year.
Stay strong and we will get through this crisis. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you need assistance.
Member of Congress
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