We’re in Washington this week working on legislation to invest in our public lands and fund the government. Here are some highlights:
Securing Funding for the Valley
We recently passed the first of two annual appropriations bills that would bring a significant share of your taxpayer dollars back home. This would benefit the people of the San Joaquin Valley with programs that would make a difference:
For Valley farmers, ranchers, dairymen and women andto support food programs for disadvantaged communities:
$1.4 billion in funding for the Farm Service Agency to support the delivery of effective agricultural programs that aid farmers in the San Joaquin Valley.
$198 million to combat specialty crop pests, including the navel Orangeworm.
Blocks harmful Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) rules for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs) and Categorical Eligibility that would deny our most vulnerable communities with needed support.
For Valley conservation efforts, including supporting reliable access to clean drinking water for our communities, funding wildfire prevention, and improving Valley air quality:
$10.2 billion for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds
$950 million in funding for water infrastructure grants for small and disadvantaged communities to ensure access to a clean and reliable water supply.
$450 million for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act grants to improve Valley air quality.
$5.73 billion for Wildland Fire Management to maintain healthy forests and fight wildfires.
For preserving our public lands and supporting revitalization efforts in our communities:
$511 million for the National Wildlife Refuge System to support conservation areas like the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge.
$3.22 billion for the National Park Service to fund operations, hire increased staff, and enhance preservation efforts.
$350 million in funding for Brownsfield grants like those used to revitalize downtown Fresno.
I am proud of my efforts and continue to work on your behalf every day.
We also voted to pass the Great American Outdoors Act to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and allocate resources to address nearly $12 billion in deferred maintenance of our National Parks, including Yosemite and Sequoia & Kings Canyon.
These are the kinds investments we need to make for future generations to come. It will increase safety and enhance recreational opportunities in our National Parks, and more importantly, It’s part of America’s legacy.
Promoting Peace and Stability Abroad
The recent violence along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border has been a terrible reminder of the danger the nation of Armenia faces every day. I was proud to support an amendment providing $1.4 million to fund demining efforts in Nagorno-Karabakh and solidify U.S. global leadership in efforts to promote peace and stability in the region.
The Indian government also recently announced they were granting refuge to Afghan Sikhs andd Hindus fleeing persecution. This marks an important step toward protecting these communities from imminent destruction at the hands of terrorists. In April, I wrote to Secretary of State Pompeo urging him to provide help to these families and consideration for potential resettlement in the U.S. While I’m pleased that India has offered them refuge, more needs to be done to ensure their safety in the long term. I will continue to advocate for more permanent solutions that will provide these families with security, economic stability, and a brighter future.
Hometown Hero – Earl Leon Thomas
Shout out to this week’s Hometown Hero: Staff Sergeant Earl Leon Thomas!
A medic during the Korean War, Staff Sgt. Thomas earned the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and several other medals for his distinguished service. I had the privilege of honoring Staff Sgt. Thomas at a drive-by parade in Merced recently with local veterans. At the parade, he was presented with these medals that my office worked to secure.
Thank you for your service Staff Sgt. Thomas – I can think of no one more deserving!
Since we are in the middle of fire season, make sure PG&E has your updated contact information. PG&E strongly encourages everyone to do so by visiting their website or by calling the PG&E contact center at 1-866-743-6589.
The American Red Cross is experiencing a severe blood shortage due to the coronavirus outbreak. I ask you if you’re healthy to join me in giving blood to our local blood banks. It is a national emergency and a way we can all help out. Find out more on how to help.
Stay strong and we will get through this crisis. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you need assistance.