Working for you: July 14-18

July 18, 2014

This week I introduced three bills: two that would help us save water and energy, and one that would name a post office after a prominent member of our community.

H.R. 5149, The Smart Water Management Conservation and Efficiency Act, funds pilot “smart grid” programs for our water systems – these technologies can detect leaks as soon as they happen, or even before they happen. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports there are 880,000 miles of drinking water pipes in the U.S., many of which are decades old and prone to leaks. The U.S. loses an estimated 2.1 trillion gallons of treated clean drinking water to leaks annually.

H.R. 5150, The WaterSense Efficiency, Conservation, and Adaptation Act, permanently authorizes and enhances the EPA’s existing WaterSense program. WaterSense is an EPA-industry partnership effort to set voluntary technical standards for water appliances such as toilets, shower heads, and landscape irrigation systems that are at least 20 percent more efficient without sacrificing performance. It’s a water version of the successful “Energy Star” program for electric appliances.

H.R. 5109 names a Stockton post office after the late W. Ronald Coale, who passed away earlier this year. A Korean War veteran, Ron was a member of the Stockton City Council, the San Joaquin County Council of Governments, the Stockton Port District Board of Port Commissioners. He worked with young people through the YMCA, and was an advisor to me on service academy nominations. I believe Ron exemplifies what it means to be a public servant, which is why I believe we should help commemorate his life with this bill.

This week, the three most significant pieces of legislation on the House floor were: H.R. 5016, the “Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2015”, H.R. 5021, the “Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014,” and H.R. 4719, the “Fighting Hunger Incentive Act of 2014.”

I opposed H.R. 5016 because it slashes funding for enforcement of the financial oversight – put in place after the economic crash of 2008 – that aims to protect the American economy and American homeowners, families and small businesses.

I voted for H.R. 5021 because highway and transportation infrastructure projects across the nation will run out of federal money at the end of July. Failing to fund these projects endangers our nation’s crumbling infrastructure and would cost hundreds of thousands of construction jobs. I’m glad the House was able to pass a stop-gap measure, but we need a long-term vision that provides certainty for years to come.

I voted for H.R. 4719 because it allows Americans more opportunity to make charitable contributions.

I spoke on the House floor to promote a moral and humanitarian approach to the surge of children crossing our southern border, many or most fleeing violence back home or to be reunited with parents already here in the United States.

Tuesday night I attended an event held by the Union of Concerned Scientists to meet scientific experts and hear their views on public policy matters.

On Wednesday afternoon, I met with the British Ambassador to stress the importance of continuing to work within the framework of the Good Friday Agreement that put an end to the sectarian violence that had been plaguing Northern Ireland for decades. Later that afternoon, I attended a conference at the White House on domestic and foreign policy issues.