|I. Neighborhood Day in East County
I held a Neighborhood Day in East County in October, with more than 85 people filling the Griffin Center at Grossmont College for this town hall-style discussion. I was inspired to see so many people engaged in the democratic process. I spent about 90 minutes providing an update on what is happening in Congress while taking questions and listening to the thoughts and ideas of constituents. The issues discussed ranged from the recent government shutdown to student financial aid to the Affordable Care Act.
Like everyone in the room, I expressed my frustration with the gridlock that closed the government and agreed with many constituents that both sides of the aisle must work together to find long term solutions to the nation’s financial issues. I also noted how disruptive the shutdown was for county residents who depend on federal services and for the thousands of federal employees who were furloughed because of a lapse in federal appropriations.
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II. Honoring Our Veterans
Veterans Day is a time to honor those who have served and sacrificed on our behalf, which is why I was proud to participate in the 2013 Veterans Day event – “A Tribute to Vietnam Veterans.” It was both exciting and humbling to see all the people who came out to participate. Of course, our community is always remarkable in how we engage with veterans throughout the year. As I said on KPBS on Veterans Day, we need to continue to focus on issues important to veterans in San Diego County.
III. Moving Forward on the Budget
Last month’s government shutdown hurt San Diego’s economy, while significantly impacting our federal workforce and community members who rely on government services. I spoke out repeatedly on the House floor advocating for San Diego and calling for the government to immediately reopen. Finally, on October 17, Congress approved a measure to re-open the government, restore services to the American people, and put all federal employees back to work.
The short-term spending measure funds the federal government at FY2013 levels until January 15, 2014, while also allowing the nation to continue to pay our financial obligations. As a critic of the shutdown, I objected to the reckless way the House Majority managed this crisis, but believe it’s time to move on and seek bipartisan solutions to fix our problems. Click here to read my Op-Ed about lessons learned from government inaction.
IV. Remembering Gloria Johnson
It is with great sorrow that I mourn the passing of one of San Diego’s greatest advocates for women’s and LGBT equality, Gloria Johnson. For more than 50 years, Gloria worked closely with advocacy organizations and elected officials on behalf of social justice. She fought tirelessly for the progress she so deeply sought. Her smile and enthusiasm will be missed but her legacy will live on through her endless accomplishments.
V. Covered California is Open for Business
On October 1st, California’s new health insurance marketplace, Covered California, opened its doors to state residents. Individuals and families now have access to a marketplace where they can compare different insurance companies and plans. Covered California offers high quality health insurance that consumers have access to on the private market, but only with Covered California can consumers take advantage of the tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies that were made available under the Affordable Care Act. If you would like more information, please visit www.coveredca.com or call 1-800-300-1506. I will also be bringing Covered California assisters to the following events, so please come by and visit my booth. My office is also available to provide assistance, so do not hesitate to call us at 619-280-5353 if you need assistance.
|Season of Love Community Block Party
2300 Bancroft Drive
Spring Valley, CA 91977
Saturday, November 23
9:00am – 12:00pm
|Otay Ranch Town Center Farmers Market
2015 Birch Road
Chula Vista, CA 91915
Tuesday, December 10
4:00pm – 8:00pm
VI. Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project Tax Credit Act (H.R. 3473)
I heard from the San Diego biotech community about how much recent tax credits were helping to enhance their work on life-saving devices, that’s why I introduced the Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project Tax Credit Act to extend those credits for companies that are developing promising biotechnology and medical devices. It’s important that Congress do as much as possible to encourage innovation in these key areas and help maintain a competitive advantage for a sector of our economy that employs nearly 40,000 people in the region.
VII. Keeping the HUD Office Open in San Diego
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is planning to close the doors to its only field office in San Diego, despite the continuing need from the community. With many county residents just now seeing a light at the end of the tunnel following the real estate crash, the last thing we need is for the federal government to abandon its post here. This decision is going to impact the ability of people to get housing advice, to stabilize the wave of foreclosures, and address homelessness. As a result of HUD's decision, Congressman Scott Peters and Congressman Juan Vargas joined me in sending a letter to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan asking the department to reverse its recent decision and consider all possible alternatives that would maintain a field office in San Diego.
VIII. Supporting a Two-State Solution
Achieving a two-state solution in the Middle East continues to be in the interest of the United States and our allies in the region. That is why I reaffirmed my commitment to the peace process by cosponsoring H.Res. 365. This measure demonstrates the support of the U.S. House of Representatives to a negotiated settlement between Israelis and Palestinians and encourages the Obama Administration to continue to pursue peace in the region.
IX. Health Outcome, Planning, and Education for Alzheimer’s (HOPE) Act (H.R. 1507)
More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately, many do not get a diagnosis or learn about all of the available treatment options. I cosponsored the HOPE Act because it will help ensure that individuals can receive a diagnosis and obtain critical information about the disease and available care options. H.R. 1507 does this by combining the existing Medicare benefits of a diagnostic evaluation and care planning into a single package of services. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and I will continue working with my colleagues to ensure its passage.
X. Ending Workplace Discrimination
Most San Diegans probably find it hard to believe that there is no federal protection against workplace discrimination for members of the LGBT community. As a cosponsor of Employee Non-Discrimination Act, I was pleased to see the Senate pass this measure and urge the majority to bring up this bill for a vote in the House immediately. Discrimination has no place in America!
XI. Meeting with the United States Trade Representative
Last week, I sat down with the United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Michael Froman, to discuss recent developments in the ongoing Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. The TPP, a 12-party trade negotiation between various Asian, North, and South American nations, would create the largest free-trade zone in the world. I specifically asked Ambassador Froman, who is leading the negotiations for the United States, to come to my office in order to make sure that the trade agreement promotes not only our economic interests, but also American values on labor standards and environmental regulation.
XII. 2014 House Schedule
As the Second Session of the 113th Congress begins in January, I want to share with all of you the House schedule for the next year. To see the 2014 House Calendar, please click here.
XIII. Community Snapshots
USO at Lindbergh Field
As many of you know, the largest airport USO in the world recently opened its doors at Lindbergh Field. I toured the new facility earlier this month and had the opportunity to have lunch with Marines just out of Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.
High Tech High Chula Vista (HTHCV)
Upon my arrival at HTHCV I was whisked away by young intellectuals who were eager to tell me about their projects and experiences at HTHCV. I was impressed by the autonomy the staff gives to the students to take visitors around the school. This autonomy also extends to their class work, where the students exhibit executive functioning, team work, and social competency through their collaborative in-depth class projects.
Boys and Girls Club of East County
I was delighted to hear about the incredible work the Boys and Girls Club of East County is undertaking to enhance youth activities in East County. As a leading youth organization in our community, the Boys & Girls Club of East County recently completed a strategic plan to build new facilities and expand services to thousands of underserved East County children and youth by the year 2020.
XIV. Defense E-News
As Ranking Member of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, I spend a lot of time focused on the needs of our military, especially our men and women in uniform and their families. Since I frequently get questions about how defense and veterans policies coming out of Washington will impact San Diego County, I have started sending out a periodic E-News for anyone who is interested in defense and veterans issues. I will only be sending this information to people who sign up to receive these updates, so please click here to be added to the list.
XV. Interested in an Internship?
Interns gain valuable legislative and public service experience by assisting with constituent inquiries, public events, casework, and other special projects. Internships are a minimum of 10 hours per week and qualify for credit at some colleges. If you are interested in interning in the San Diego office, please submit a resume and cover letter to CA53DOInternapp@mail.house.gov. If you are interested in an internship in my Washington office please submit a resume and cover letter to CA53DCInternapp@mail.house.gov.