September Congressional Update
Since my last newsletter, I spent August working on community issues throughout my district and meeting with constituents from San Rafael to Eureka and Petaluma to Trinity County. Since I returned to Washington, a lot has happened in Congress. Here are a few updates:
Last night I voted 'no' on the McKeon Amendment to arm and train so-called 'moderate' Syrian rebels as part of a broad new multi-year military intervention in Iraq and Syria outlined by President Obama last week. Read my full statement HERE.
Last night’s vote was not, as some have argued, a choice between supporting the President's plan and simply doing nothing about ISIL. To be clear, I share President Obama's assessment of ISIL as a brutal terrorist organization, I support the goal of destroying them, and I believe there should be an American role in a broad, multinational response to ISIL.
I voted 'no' because this plan for a new American-led war in Iraq and Syria is being advanced without proper congressional authorization as required by the Constitution, and because I believe the strategic assumptions underlying the plan are deeply flawed.
Keeping Americans safe and advancing our security interests in the Middle East requires we be smart, not just tough. We must learn from past mistakes.
I also wrote an op-ed in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat outlining my thoughts on the situation. Read it HERE.
We got some great news today: the House Natural Resources Committee voted to pass my bipartisan Trinity Land Exchange Act (H.R. 3326), which will help Trinity County’s economy. My bill allows the Trinity Public Utilities District to exchange county land along the Trinity River for land adjacent to the Weaverville Airport, currently held by federal agencies. Today’s vote was the last step before the full House of Representatives votes on the bill.
Trinity County has very little land suitable for economic development—approximately 80% of its land is held by the federal government—and much of it is difficult to access due to terrain or location. This land exchange would grant Trinity County a much-needed parcel accessible by highway and uniquely suited for economic development, allow improved public access to a Wild and Scenic River, and provide a fair return for federal taxpayers.
On August 19, I joined Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi for a forum on affordable education on the College of Marin campus. We had a great conversation with local education leaders, including College of Marin President David Wain Coon and San Rafael City School Superintendent Dr. Michael Watenpaugh, about college affordability and access to preschool—two issues critical to ensuring every American has access to a world-class education. Leader Pelosi outlined the “Middle Class Jumpstart,” the Democratic 100-day action plan to put the middle class first and ensure that Americans have access to affordable education.