All Americans adults across the country are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. For more information on sites and appointments in San Diego County, click here. While we still have work to do, I assure you that my colleagues and I in Congress are doing all that we can to deliver relief to support Americans and build a solid path to recovery.
This week, I continued my work from Washington, D.C. Below is another update on some of the work my staff and I have done this week to serve you.
This week's casework success story
Liam from La Jolla is a third-year medical student at UC San Diego who had applied to work at the VA. He hadn't heard back in a year due to COVID-related delays. As Liam approached the end of medical school, he was worried about missing out on the opportunity to help veterans in healthcare.
Liam contacted our office earlier this month and asked for assistance. My staff opened an inquiry on this issue and sent it to the San Diego VA Healthcare System. The VA responded to our inquiry ten days later and notified Liam that he had been accepted for employment.
“Thank you so much for all your help in this regard! I’m super happy with the result and looking forward to getting started working with the VA.”
- Liam from La Jolla
Visit to the White House
This week, I visited the White House with my fellow members of the New Democrat Coalition leadership team. As the coalition's Vice Chair of Policy, I discussed our top priorities with the Biden Administration and how our investments today in jobs and infrastructure will pave the way toward a better tomorrow.
Introduction of the Methane Emissions Technology to Help Achieve Net-Zero Emissions (METHANE) Act
This week on Earth Day, I introduced the Methane Emissions Technology to Help Achieve Net-Zero Emissions (METHANE) Act, a long-term, durable solution to curb dangerous methane emissions and put the United States on competitive footing with the rest of the world.
Methane, a super pollutant more potent and harmful than carbon dioxide, is responsible for about 25 percent of the human-made warming we experience today. The METHANE Act will improve our monitoring, reporting, and verification requirements for methane emissions. It would direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set methane intensity standards for oil and gas facilities with substantial emission levels, allowing each facility owner to determine how to meet the relevant standard.
We can't afford to wait any longer to address climate change. Our health, livelihoods and future depend on it. Click here to read more about the METHANE Act and my other 2021 climate priorities.
House Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing: "Generating Equity: Deploying a Just and Clean Energy Future"
On Tuesday, the Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing to discuss how we can improve clean energy access and equity. I asked Subin DeVar, director of the Initiative for Energy Justice, about policies needed to maintain and develop strong energy economies in diverse regions of the country, and about the specific data the federal government should be collecting to improve clean energy access and equity.
Meeting with the California Restaurant Association
On Thursday, I met with local members of the California Restaurant Association. The attendees own and operate restaurants in the 52nd district. We discussed pressing issues the restaurant industry faces today as well as how they have depended on COVID-19 relief, including the Paycheck Protection Program, as a lifeline. We also spoke about the Small Business Administration's Restaurant Revitalization Fund and what immigration reform can mean for the restaurant business.
Launch of the Construction Procurement Caucus
Also on Thursday, I helped launch the bipartisan Construction Procurement Caucus. I co-founded the Construction Procurement Caucus last Congress with Rep. Pete Stauber (MN-8) to provide support and information to Members of Congress and their staff about the significant role the federal government plays in construction and design projects.
The federal government is the largest customer in the world and relies heavily on private businesses of all sizes when procuring goods and services. Several major construction projects in my district have required support from the federal government. Construction on military campuses, like the modernization of Coronado’s Navy SEAL facilities and improvements to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, have been critical to our national security. Public transit projects in San Diego, such as the Mid Coast light rail extension, were made possible with a substantial federal construction investment.
As we emerge from the dual public health and economic crises of COVID, investing in our infrastructure will be key for job maintenance and creation. The past year has been difficult, but the opportunity for construction to continue amidst an onslaught of closures is a silver lining. I want to thank to all our essential construction and design workers who have kept building throughout the pandemic.
Update on the reopening of the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant application portal
After a temporary closure due to technological issues, the Small Business Administration's Shuttered Venue Operators Grant application portal will reopen tomorrow, April 24 at 12:30 p.m. EDT (9:30 a.m. PST) for operators of live venues and related businesses to apply for critical economic relief.
The SBA made several changes after the portal closed earlier this month, including clarifying requirements, making program documentation more user-friendly and improving application portal security mechanisms.
Click here to access the portal to apply.
NEXT WEEK: Virtual event on Covered California's extended enrollment period
Next week, I will participate in a special virtual event to drive awareness for Covered California's extended enrollment period. This extended period was made possible by the expanded subsidies of the American Rescue Plan Act and allows any eligible individual to sign up for health care coverage through the exchange without needing a qualifying life event. I'll discuss the continued importance of the Affordable Care Act and its impact on individuals in my district.
You can watch the event next Tuesday, April 27 at 10:00 a.m. here: http://hbex.coveredca.com/stakeholders/webinar/
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:
As the number of vaccinated Americans continues to grow, there are proposals for a "vaccine passport" for people prove they’re inoculated against COVID-19. Do you support the establishment of a national "vaccine passport" to be able to enter certain places and complete certain activities such as travel?
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 a carbon fee and dividend as part of a national strategy to curb carbon emissions?
Here are the results:
322 Responses: 21.7% Yes 30.4% No 36.6% I support this effort combined with other measures to tackle climate change. 11.3% 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.