It's great to be back home. I have been all over the 19th district this week discussing rising gas prices, our country's debt, and the House Republican budget proposal. As your Representative, I have an obligation to ensure that we implement serious reforms to immediately reduce federal spending and eliminate the culture of spending in Washington.
California families, small businesses and employers were more frustrated than ever on Tax Day this past Monday as we all felt the money fly out of your wallets and go into an unaccountable Washington spending machine. House Republicans are committed to reducing our debt and getting our fiscal house in order. As I have told many of you this week, the House Republican budget plan includes common sense tax reforms to make our code simpler, flatter, fairer and less burdensome for American families and small businesses.
I spoke with American Government students at CSU Stanislaus on Monday about the budget and specific spending reforms being considered in Washington. We had a great conversation about the House Republican budget plan and the implications it has on them as they enter the workforce. You can see photos here.
I also stopped to help at the Fresno County Community Food Bank in Mendota on Monday. In my conversations with people I met, one common theme of all of the discussions was the need to bring water to the Valley and put people back to work. Too many residents of the 19th Congressional district are unemployed due to bureaucratic processes impeding the delivery of water to the Valley. Take a look at the pictures I posted on my facebook page.
On Tuesday I announced a bill, H.R. 1604, I recently introduced that would eliminate redundant bureaucratic red tape to speed the process for federally funded water projects within the Central Valley Project (CVP). The National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements currently in place are functionally equivalent to one another and implementing both environmental review processes has placed an undue burden on agencies and businesses that are working to make the CVP a success. This duplication of processes is unnecessary and should be eliminated to save time and taxpayer dollars. In fact, transportation projects using federal money are allowed this same exemption, so the next time someone tells you it will destroy the environment, you can remind them it already occurs to now.
As a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, and specifically the Health Subcommittee, I have been working hard in Washington to improve the quality of care our service men and women are receiving. Yesterday I toured the Department of Veteran Affairs Community Outpatient Clinic in Oakhurst and witnessed firsthand the value of VA outpatient clinics that make access to health care easier for Veterans of the Oakhurst and Mariposa communities.
Over 2 million members of the United States Armed Forces have deployed to theaters of war since the commencement of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn. Many have been deployed for multiple tours of duty.
You'll be happy to know I recently signed on as an original co-sponsor to a resolution in the House honoring the service and sacrifice of members of the United States Armed Forces who are deployed now or who have served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan or Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn in Iraq. An identical resolution was introduced in the Senate. Our service members and Veterans protect our country with pride and dignity and deserve the respect and honor of our nation every day.
I attended at the Oakhurst Chamber of Commerce's Economic Development Luncheon yesterday and had a great conversation with local residents and members of the Chamber about the $14 trillion debt facing our country. We all agreed that we must change the culture of spending in Washington in order to ensure a better future for our kids and grandkids.
As we begin the weekend, I ask that we all remember and pay respects to the memory of the 1.5 million men, women and children whose lives were taken 96 years ago in the Armenian Genocide. We must acknowledge the Armenian Genocide so that we can not only remember those who lost their lives, but so we can work together to ensure that such a horrible tragedy will never happen again. Tomorrow I will be attending the Armenian Genocide Commemoration at Fresno City Hall, I hope to see you there.
If I did not see you at one of the events around the district this week, please check my website for up to date information. Also, continue to tell your friends about my facebook and twitter pages where you can hear about my activities in the district and in Washington.
I wish you all a Happy Good Friday and an enjoyable Easter.
United States Representative