Update on the 114th Congress
We are a month into the 114th Congress and I wanted to update you on what I've been working on:
New Environmental Leadership Role in 114th Congress
I was named Ranking Member of the newly-created House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Power, and Oceans. The Subcommittee oversees America's water resources (including federal reservoirs and local water recycling programs), commercial fisheries and coastal management, and tribal and interstate water rights.
I know we'll have our work cut out for us to restore fisheries, improve West-wide water supply reliability, and protect our coastline. I have been privileged to work on a number of statewide water successes in my career, and I look forward to tackling the complex natural resource issues that we face in a constructive, problem-solving manner.
Transportation & Infrastructure
I was also named a member of the powerful House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which oversees the nation's roads, bridges, highways, airports, ferries, pipelines, rivers, and harbors. I look forward to bringing fresh ideas to the table to ensure Congress invests in critically-needed updates to transportation infrastructure.
There's a lot we can do to meet California's North Coast transportation infrastructure needs: from congestion relief on Highway 101, dredging of harbors and waterways, funding for public transportation, smart flood management programs, and maintaining rural airport service.
The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure is also one of the most important committees in the fight against climate change. I will use the position on the committee to focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and investing in climate change mitigation.
I already introduced a bill to ensure that the Highway Trust Fund—which funds transportation projects across the United States—stays solvent, and fights climate change. Read more about it HERE.
The bad news:
As you can tell, I'm ready to get to work! Unfortunately, the 114th Congress is so far repeating the playbook of the 113th Congress: last week the House voted for the 56th time to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.
Instead of ceaselessly rehashing these stale ideas, we should be working together on things that we agree on— investing in infrastructure, education, and research —and securing the American dream for ALL Americans.
For example, I know many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle agree that Congress should do more for rural America. Fortunately, President Obama has proposed several ideas in his budget to help rural America:
- It would double federal investment in rural broadband. Right now, many people across the North Coast don't have access to reliable high-speed Internet. This is something we can work together to fix. We should work together to close the digital divide in rural America.
- It would invest $920 million to support rural business creation.
- It would establish a bold infrastructure program. The President's budget proposal fills the gap in the Highway Trust Fund, which funds transportation projects across the United States, and accounts for more than 48.1% of California's transportation budget. We need to work together to ensure that Americans can get where they're going efficiently and safely.
I hope to work with colleagues in both parties who represent rural areas to hopefully move some of these policies forward.
These are just some of the areas I'll be working on in the new Congress. In the weeks ahead, I will provide more information on my 2015 legislative package—an ambitious series of bills I am authoring on a wide range of priorities from environmental protection to education, water supply reliability, transportation infrastructure and more. I will also update you on the dozens of bills I'm co-sponsoring. Despite the gridlock and general lack of productivity in the last Congress, I was proud of what we were able to accomplish during my freshman term. The 114th Congress brings new opportunities to get things done for this great district that I am honored to represent.
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Congressman Jared Huffman