Summer is one of my favorite times in our Valley. During this time of year, you can see everywhere the hard work of people serving our communities and feeding our nation. As we head into the summer, I would like to share some of the work I have been doing to serve the Valley.
Increasing Affordable Homeownership
Affordable housing is essential for hard working people. Last week, I hosted a housing roundtable in Merced with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Regional Administrator Jimmy Stracner, additional HUD officials, and nearly 20 housing leaders and local officials. Merced County’s homeownership statistics fall well below the national average, and the purpose of the meeting was to have local and federal leaders sit down together and consider ways to provide more opportunities for homeownership in Merced County.
As I have always said, homeownership is the foundation for a strong middle class. It’s part and parcel of the American Dream. The single largest investment that the average American family makes in a lifetime is the purchase of a home. The values of pride of property, understanding the complexity of financing a home, and living in a house where families can flourish are all made possible by homeownership. Both Regional Administrator Stracner and I are planning on continuing this collaboration so we can increase the opportunity for affordable homeownership for individuals and families across the San Joaquin Valley.
Congressman Costa at affordable housing roundtable
Improving Access to Health Care
On May 31st, I had the honor of joining the groundbreaking ceremony for Camarena Health’s new multi-facility health care campus in Chowchilla. The new campus will offer a full range of health care services, including medical, dental, behavioral health, optometry, and health education services.
Over the years, I have worked closely with health care providers and medical professionals to improve health care across the San Joaquin Valley. Increasing access to high-quality, affordable health care is vital for the well-being of our communities, both now and in the future. Camarena’s new health care campus is a sign that we are making progress, but we are not done yet. I will continue to both fight for Valley needs in Washington and work with health care leaders so we can improve health care. The people of our Valley need and deserve access to the best possible health care.
Congressman Costa at groundbreaking of Camarena Health’s new multi-facility health care campus in Chowchilla
Securing Water for the Valley
On Thursday, we passed a significant piece of water infrastructure legislation – H.R. 8, the Water Resources Development Act – by a vote of 408 to 2. I worked on a bipartisan basis to improve the legislation by including two provisions that would increase water supply reliability in California’s San Joaquin Valley and reduce permit compliance costs for utility ratepayers.
The first provision would have a real impact in the Valley, as it would allow Merced Irrigation District to move forward with a project to raise the spillway gates at New Exchequer Dam. When completed, this project will increase water supplies for eastern Merced County by 57,000 acre-feet during some years. The second provision I worked to include would make permanent a budget-neutral solution that has successfully helped the Army Corps of Engineers work through its backlog of project permitting. This amendment, which I cosponsored with fellow Valley Congressman Jeff Denham (CA-10), would allow the Corps to continue to accept support in its efforts to complete reviews of utility project permit applications. This will allow permit reviews to be completed more quickly, without reducing the quality or thoroughness of the review.
Both of these amendments are straightforward, commonsense solutions that address our daily water realities and infrastructure needs in the Valley and across California.
Click here for Rep. Costa’s speech on securing water for the Central Valley:
Rep. Costa speaking on securing water for the Central Valley
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.
Member of Congress
*** Alex Padilla has been endorsed for Secretary of State by the CDP ***
I have been talking about it for months and now we have the evidence: the Trump administration is politicizing the Census.
Even before they announced their decision to add a question about citizenship to the decennial Census, we warned that it was an effort by Trump to intimidate non citizens from participating in the census, jeopardizing California’s representation in Congress plus billions in federal funding for the next decade.
Several states, including California, sued and as a result, we now see emails documenting former Trump Senior Advisor Steve Bannon and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach directing the Department to add the question to the census.
Their goal is blatantly clear, keep immigrants from being counted and distort the reapportionment and redistricting processes for their political gain.
We’re fighting back.
The Constitution requires the census to count “the whole number of persons in each State.”
I took an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States and I will continue to do just that.
Thank you for standing with me,
California Secretary of State
“Got a preexisting condition? The Trump administration wants insurers to deny you coverage.” — Los Angeles Times
Here’s the deal: the Affordable Care Act ensures millions of Americans with a pre-existing condition can gain access to affordable health care.
It’s one of the most critical parts of Obamacare.
But the Trump Administration and Republicans in Congress are desperate to undo these protections and allow insurance companies to deny coverage for the roughly 130 million who have some form of a pre-existing condition.
They even argued in court last week AGAINST the ban on insurance companies discriminating against people based on pre-existing conditions. If they succeed, up to 130 million could be denied care.
That would be catastrophic for our country — add your name if you agree:
As Kamala has said, we must create a system where all people have access to affordable health care. It should not matter where you live, how much money you make, or whether you have a pre-existing condition.
Health care is a right — and all people deserve quality care.
Thanks for adding your voice to this fight.
*** TJ Cox has been endorsed for CD-21 by the CDP ***
We need to make sure you saw this:
That’s right: Valadao’s Washington allies aren’t wasting any time gearing up for the General Election in California’s 21st District.
Mike Pence is PERSONALLY headlining a fundraising dinner to benefit the campaigns of vulnerable Republicans — including David Valadao.
At $30,000 per plate, it’s anyone’s guess how massive Valadao’s haul will be. But we do know that we need a SURGE of grassroots support to counter this — otherwise, our chances of flipping this seat could disappear overnight. Can you chip in $10 or more to help us overcome Valadao’s special-interest cash grab?
|$10 >>||$35 >>||$50 >>|
|$100 >>||$250 >>||other >>|
TJ Cox is running a grassroots-funded campaign. He’s not taking a dollar from corporate PACs and we don’t have mega-donors we can call on like Valadao and Pence.
But if enough Democrats come together and chip in $5, $10, or even $25 at a time — we can stay in this fight. It all depends on your support!
Thanks for your support,
*** TJ Cox has been endorsed for CD-21 by the CDP ***
VOTE ALERT: David Valadao has officially voted to cut $800 million from Medicare. Sign on to condemn Valadao’s vote and demand Congress protect our health care >>
This is going to come off blunt:
As our Congressman, David Valadao has only proven one thing time and again: His loyalty is to party leaders in Washington, Big Pharma, and Wall Street.
Last week, we once again watched David Valadao vote the party line and against vulnerable Central Valley families by supporting the GOP’s “rescission” package which cut $800 million from Medicare and $7 billion from the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
This vote came just months after Valadao supported a massive handout to Wall Street and Big Pharma by supporting the GOP tax scam at the expense of California families. We’re seeing a pattern emerge, and we need to step up if we’re going to stop it.
We need new, independent leadership that’s going to protect and strengthen health care access in the Central Valley — not bow to corporate or party leaders in Washington. I need to know you’re with me in this fight.
Mr. Nunes, show some spine on trade. Valley nut growers depend on you.
By William Daniel Garst
Devin Nunes puts protecting President Trump above all else, including safeguarding the economic interests of his constituents. Central Valley tree nut growers will be among the big losers in the trade war Trump is intent of waging against China and the European Union. Yet Nunes has been AWOL on this issue, refusing to criticize Trump for misguided trade policies that will harm the local economy.
In the most recent shipping season, China and Hong Kong accounted for 55 percent of U.S. pistachio exports, whose farm gate value amounted to $339 million. Fresno County is the second-biggest producer of pistachio nuts in California. Higher Chinese duties on American pistachios would be boon to Iran, the world’s other major pistachio grower, enabling it to grab much of the rising Chinese demand for these nuts. In 2016, China took 12 percent of California’s almonds, which remain the top grossing crop for Fresno County. The total value of almonds and pistachios sent to China that year each amounted to over $500 million. According to the USDA Global Agricultural Information Network, the EU is the other big export market for California tree nuts, taking in $2.95 billion worth of U.S. exports of this largely California-grown commodity. That total included $1.6 billion worth of almonds, $420 million worth of walnuts and $380 million worth of pistachios.
China has already announced significant tariff increases on U.S. tree nuts in response to Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs. Unlike Kentucky bourbon and Harley-Davidson motorcycles, tree nuts have yet to be included in EU retaliatory tariffs. But that will change if the U.S.-EU trade dispute escalates, as it appears to be doing, and more tit-for-tat behavior occurs. Given the scale and value of California tree nut exports to Europe and China, reducing access to these markets will reduce the incomes of the state’s tree nut growers. Ancillary industries, like packing and shipping, will also suffer.
Nunes spent much of the interview talking about China as a national security threat and stressing the Chinese technology theft. The issue certainly matters, and China has not been a good global trade citizen. However, Trump is mistakenly addressing this problem through tariffs and trying to reduce China’s trade surplus with the U.S. — the latter is driven by the low American savings rate, not “bad” trade deals. The president should instead be forging alliances with U.S. allies in Asia and Europe to exert pressure against China to mend its bad ways. Unfortunately, he has made this difficult by withdrawing from the TPP shortly after becoming president and is now picking trade fights with Europe, Canada, and Mexico, all longstanding American allies.
President Trump is famous for demanding complete loyalty from those around him, while giving little back of it back himself. On an issue that is of vital importance to the economic well-being of the 22nd District, Nunes has gotten little payback from his effort to be a Trump über loyalist. The voters here deserve better and need a representative who will fight for them against Trump’s bad trade policies.
William Daniel Garst lives in Fresno and is a full-time lecturer in the political science department at California State University, Fresno. He focuses on international relations, especially trade.