Dear Friend,

Things in Washington have been very busy as we wrap up 2017. There is still much work to be done before we ring in the New Year, and I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know what I have been doing on behalf of our San Joaquin Valley.

Fighting for Commonsense Tax Reform

As Congress continues its push to pass a tax reform package, I wanted to highlight the New Market Tax Credit (NMTC), a specific tax provision that has had a tremendous impact on our Valley. This credit was established in 2000 as a bipartisan effort to stimulate business investment and economic growth in rural and low-income communities. Between 2003 and 2014, Fresno benefited from nearly $54.8 million in NMTC investment while Merced saw $14.7 million in NMTC investment. Overall, the tax credit has helped bring over $145 million in capital investment to the San Joaquin Valley, created well over 2,500 Valley jobs, and funded 14 separate projects, including the Fresno Rescue Mission, United Health Centers, First Five Fresno, Community Medical Center, and North Folk Bioenergy Plant. This program not only pays for itself, but it also generates income for our communities and other low-income areas of the country. That is why I wrote to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, calling on them to include a permanent extension of the NMTC in the final tax reform bill. The proven effectiveness of the NMTC and the miniscule savings its repeal would net more than merit its preservation as a tool for economic revitalization and job creation.

Supporting Firefighters and First Responders

The fires in California this year have been devastating! In Northern and Southern California in recent weeks it’s been horrific. For years I have pushed for policies that will assist our brave firefighters and first responders and help keep Americans safe, from increasing the removal of dead trees to fixing the process by which forestry maintenance and firefighting are funded. That is why I wrote to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to urge the swift passage of the AFG and SAFER Program Reauthorization Act. This bill would reauthorize the Assistance to Firefighters (AFG), the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER), and the Fire Prevention (FP&S) grant programs that expired this year on September 30th. These programs have saved countless lives by giving fire departments the resources they need to respond to over 30 million calls a year. Given the recent and continued destruction we have seen in California and other western states, it is critical that the House pass this bill so that it can be signed into law as soon as possible.

Getting Back to Responsible Governing

Only a few legislative days remain before the end of the year, and Congress has a number of pressing issues it must resolve, including passing a spending bill that funds the government and supports our members of the military, reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and finding a legislative fix to protect DREAMers. While I stand ready to work with my colleagues to address these pressing issues, I again want to state that government should not operate this way – on deadline-driven legislation. A rushed process leads to bad results for the American people. The bottom line is that, regardless of political affiliation, members of Congress were elected to work together to find solutions to the nation’s problems on behalf of the American people. That is why I joined a number of my colleagues in letting Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell know we are ready to work with them in good faith on a bipartisan basis to address these critical issues. This is how Congress should work, and I remain committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to engage in the careful and deliberative policy process required for the good governance Americans want and deserve.

Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter update. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me regarding any federal issues of your concern. To stay up-to-date on the work I am doing in Congress, please visit my website at costa.house.gov and sign up for my e-newsletter here. You can also follow my work and events in our Valley on my Facebook page and twitter account.

Sincerely,

Jim Costa
Member of Congress

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