This week's recap - 4/30/2021

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April 30, 2021

Dear friend,

We continue to make strides in the fight against COVID-19. This week, California registered the lowest positivity case rate in the country at 1.2%. This rate is the lowest positivity rate our state has experienced in a year. In addition, San Diego County COVID-19 clinics are now offering vaccines without appointments. To see a full list of sites and schedules, click here. 

There's more good news if you're one of the millions of Americans who has been fully vaccinated. You may reduce the usage of masks when outdoors according to updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Click here to learn more about what you can start doing and what you should keep doing to stay safe. 

This week, I continued my work here in San Diego. Below is another update on some of the work my staff and I have done this week to serve you.

Legislative work

House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing: “The Fiscal Year 2022 EPA Budget”

On Thursday during an Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing, I stressed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) critical role in cleaning up the environmental catastrophe in the Tijuana River Valley afflicting San Diego’s coastal communities.

This problem has worsened in recent years, as the river and the nearby canyons have experienced toxic, dangerous spills every single day. This occurrence forces local officials to close beaches and challenges our military training and readiness. During the hearing, I urged Administrator Michael S. Regan from the EPA to take the following actions:

  1. Implement urgent fixes to slow the flows;
  2. Rapidly build a diversion structure through an executive order or fast-tracked through a different process;
  3. Convey a sense of urgency to the Biden Administration about the need for the State Department to engage with Mexico to ensure officials south of the border build necessary infrastructure to stem this flow, and;
  4. To join me and Rep. Juan Vargas, who represents the border area, for a visit to see this crisis in person and witness how these spills hurt our region.

Towards the end of this hearing, I received Administrator Regan's commitment to join Rep. Vargas and me in San Diego to see this public health threat in person.

Click here to watch my full testimony during this hearing.

Introduction of the REPAIR Act

On Thursday, I also helped introduce the bicameral, bipartisan Reinventing Economic Partnerships and Infrastructure Redevelopment (REPAIR) Act to create jobs and build the new 21st century infrastructure America needs to remain competitive.

For years, the federal government has struggled to fund our country’s infrastructure needs. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, the U.S. lags behind twelve nations in overall infrastructure. The REPAIR Act would establish an Infrastructure Financing Authority to complement federal funds through loans and loan guarantees. Proposed projects would undergo rigorous analysis and must show clear public benefit, meet economic, technical and environmental standards and be backed by a dedicated revenue stream.

America’s crumbling roads, bridges, railway, transmission lines, water and broadband systems require significant, long-term investments that go beyond maintenance. To build a prosperous America, we must have functioning, up-to-date infrastructure that meets our 21st century needs. This bill will bring our infrastructure systems up to speed while keeping fiscal sustainability in mind.

Meeting with CEO of Zero8Hundred

On Monday, I met with Rich Wiley, interim CEO of zero8hundred. Zero8hundred is a military transition support project I helped launch in San Diego that works to ease veterans' transition to civilian life. To provide assistance, zero8hundred first matches transitioning personnel with a military-connected counselor to help identify their unique needs and then connects them to resources available to meet those needs in San Diego, Riverside, Imperial or Orange counties.

During this meeting, I reiterated my support for this organization and its mission to support those transitioning into civilian life. Zero8hundred's work continues to lead by example and serves as a national model for helping our veterans and their families.

Meeting with Feeding San Diego

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On Monday, I met with Dan Shea, CEO of Feeding San Diego, and organization staff to discuss continued food rescue operations throughout San Diego County. Thank you to the hard-working volunteers and staff who have supported those who face food insecurity in our region.

Covered California media event

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On Tuesday, I participated in a virtual event to discuss recent changes to the Affordable Care Act created through the passage of the American Rescue Plan. The plan passed by Congress and signed into law is providing $3B to California's economy to help around 2.5 million people including the uninsured and those enrolled directly through health insurance carriers. In San Diego, nearly 200,000 people stand to benefit from the new financial help that is now available.

Click here to sign up for lower-cost health insurance during Covered California's special enrollment period today for coverage starting tomorrow.

Meeting with Director General Louis M. Huang

Earlier today, I met with Director General Louis M. Huang from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles. We discussed the importance of U.S.-Taiwan relations and Taiwan's participation in the 74th World Health Assembly, the annual meeting of the World Health Organization. During my meeting with Director General Huang, I stated my support for Taiwan's participation in this event, given the country's effective COVID-19 response which has been recognized around the world.

Opening of the application portal for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund

Next Monday at 9 A.M., the application portal for the Small Business Administration's Restaurant Revitalization Fund will open for eligible businesses.  Restaurants, caterers, bars, bakeries, breweries, wineries and distilleries are some of the businesses that qualify to receive this emergency assistance which was made possible by the passage of the American Rescue Plan.

For more information and details on this funding, click here.

Participate in our weekly poll!

We've recently introduced a new section in our e-newsletter for readers to weigh in on a relevant topic. Thank you to everyone who has participated so far. Here's this week's question:

This week, President Biden delivered his Joint Address to Congress. Did you watch? If so, were you encouraged by the president's message?

Click here to submit your answer via Google Forms. We'll share the results in next week's e-newsletter. Last week's question was: Do you support the establishment of a national "vaccine passport" to be able to enter certain places and complete certain activities such as travel?

Here are the results:

418 Responses: 56.7% Yes, this would consolidate databases around the country and help keep track of our recovery. 29.2% No, I'm concerned about my medical privacy and/or my choice to get vaccinated or not. 14.1% Other

If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or need assistance with a federal agency, reach out to us through our website or by calling the district office at 858-455-5550.

To stay updated on my work throughout the week, you can also follow my social media accounts by clicking on the icons below.