One of the most important aspects of Congress is developing, making, and monitoring laws. I'm sponsoring and drafting legislation about issues that are important to San Diegans. If you have a question, concern, or idea for a bill, you can send me an email here.
Bills Introduced in the 116th Congress:
The Utilizing Significant Emissions through Innovative Technologies Act (USE IT Act) would incentivize and support carbon utilization and direct air capture research and development, technology that reduces the amount of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere. The bill would create competitive financial awards to innovative technologies that advance direct air capture, a step to fight the negative effects of climate change.
The Employer Participation in Repayment Act would help address rising student debt by encouraging private employers to offer repayment assistance as an employee benefit up to $5,250 per year, which would not be taxable income for the employee, similar to tuition assistance. The bill will help speed up the repayment process so graduates can begin to make investments in our economy such as buying a home, starting a family, or saving for retirement. Employers would also benefit by being able to retain and attract talent.
The Strengthening The Resiliency of Our Nation on the Ground Act (STRONG Act) would ensure communities across the country can better prepare for, withstand, and recover from natural disasters and extreme weather events. The bill establishes a central agency and information center to combine the expertise of local, state, and federal agencies to allow communities to quickly adapt planning and response techniques that have been successfully deployed in other parts of the country.
Bills Introduced in the 115th Congress:
The Stop Unfair Bid Shopping Act (SUBS Act) would require general or lead contractors on projects valued at $1.5 million or more to list those subcontractors proposed to perform work valued at more than $100,000 as part of their original bid. If modifications are made to that original list after the contract is awarded, the lead contractor must notify the federal government of the modifications and disclose whether the change results in a change in project cost. This bill does not impede businesses from changing subcontractors after they are awarded a federal construction contract, but if the cost decreases as a result of that change, it enables the federal government to collect the savings.
The Homes for our Heroes Act would require the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to be more transparent about the HUD-VASH voucher program, which helps connect homeless veterans to housing. It would require reports on who receives HUD-VASH vouchers, study barriers to using vouchers in high-cost housing markets like San Diego, and disclose how the vouchers are allocated. This will ensure that all of our brave veterans get the assistance and benefits they have earned.
Most interns in the House of Representatives work without pay. The Intern Opportunity Act would allow Members of the House of Representatives to employ up to four paid interns by lifting the cap on the number of paid staff members that can be on the payroll. This would expand internship opportunities to more young people and give them the skills they need to pursue their goals.
The Rent Relief Act of 2018 would provide a refundable tax credit to individuals whose rent currently exceeds 30% of their gross annual income. This would apply to people whose income is less than $100,000 and would also provide credit to individuals living in government-subsidized housing. As the cost of living is rising in San Diego and across the country, the Rent Relief Act would help everyday Americans struggling to afford housing each month.
The Carbon Utilization Act of 2018 would expand USDA research and loan guarantees to include carbon capture technologies that turn the carbon dioxide or methane produced by organic waste into electricity, heat, or fuel. . New energy sources, like biogas, can bring us closer to energy independence and reduce greenhouse gases.
The Keep Families Together Act would immediately halt the Trump Administration's horrific and cruel practice of separating families, who arrive at the United States border. The bill prohibits Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from separating children from their parents, except in extraordinary circumstances, like trafficking indicators or other concerns of risk to the child. It also requires DHS to develop policies and procedures allowing parents and children to locate each other and reunite if they have been separated.
The Postoperative Opioid Prevention Act (POP Act) would incentivize the development of non-opioid painkillers and give doctors and patients access to innovative drugs. It removes an incentive to prescribe opioids, which are relatively cheap and covered under current rate-setting policies at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The bill provides additional payments for non-opioid painkillers, which must demonstrate a substantial clinical improvement compared to the benefits of available drugs on the market to qualify for payment under this policy.
The bipartisan Veteran Partners' Efforts to Enhance Reintegration Act (PEER Act) would expand the Department of Veteran Affairs’ peer-to-peer counseling program to better address the complex mental health care needs of veterans. The existing peer counselor program required the VA to hire and train 800 peer specialists before 2014. The PEER Act embeds these peer counselors into patient-aligned care teams (PACT) at an additional 25 VA healthcare sites.
The Veteran Affairs Medical-Surgical Purchasing Stabilization Act requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to award contracts to multiple regional providers for medical supplies as a way to increase transparency and create competition to drive health care prices down. It ensures doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals advise which supplies and devices are needed so the VA can provide proper care.
The Reserve Component Vocational Rehabilitation Parity Act would extend Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Services provided by the Department of Veteran Affairs to reservists and guardsmen who are called to service during times of war or national emergency. The bill corrects an inconsistency in the Veterans' Benefits title of the United States code that currently keeps involuntarily mobilized reservists from accruing benefits including career and academic guidance.
The Algae Agriculture Act supports the development of algae innovation by updating U.S. agricultural policy to ensure algae is eligible for the same investment opportunities as other agricultural sectors. Algae is a diverse group of plant-like organisms that contain proteins and oils that can be used as biofuels and nutrition, which his being deployed thanks to research by UC San Diego. The bill encourages research on the potential of algae as a food source, energy source, and industrial source. It will also add provisions to the Rural Electrification Act that support carbon capture and use development in rural areas.
The Strengthening The Resiliency of Our Nation on the Ground Act (STRONG Act) would ensure communities across the country are prepared for extreme weather events in both the short and long-term. The bill creates an central agency to provide information on how to prepare, plan for, and recover from natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires. This would allow states and localities to quickly adapt planning and response techniques that have been successfully deployed in other parts of the country.
This bipartisan resolution designates the month of June as "National Post-Traumatic Stress Injury Awareness Month" and June 27th as "National Post-Traumatic Stress Injury Awareness Day" to help reduce the stigma around mental health injuries and encourage more servicemembers and veterans to pursue mental health treatment. Re-labelling post-traumatic stress as an illness rather than a disorder, drops the negative connotations that come with the word 'disorder' and identifies these injuries as treatable in the same way as other service-related wounds.
The Super Pollutant Emissions Reduction Act of 2017 aims to combat some of the most significant drivers of global climate change by optimizing government efforts to address super pollutants, also known as short-lived climate pollutants. The SUPER Act would establish a federal task force to coordinate and optimize existing efforts at various levels of government to reduce super pollutant emissions. The technologies to reduce super pollutant emissions already exist and, with the appropriate governing framework, could greatly reduce the impact on the environment.
The Federal Student Loan Refinancing Act would direct the Secretary of Education to lower interest rates on all federal student loans to 4%. It would allow Americans with multiple federal student loans to consolidate and refinance them to pay either the average of the loan interest rates or 4%--whichever is lower. By making college more affordable and more accessible, this bill would expand opportunities for the next generation and give college graduates more money to reinvest in the economy.
The Hydropower Permit Extension, or “HYPE” Act, would cut red tape in the construction permitting process for hydropower projects and incentivize greater investment in carbon-free hydropower. It would also already-approved hydropower projects an extra year on their initial permit to begin construction. This commonsense fix will improve flexibility to incentivize greater investment in hydropower as we move towards a clean energy future.
The Secure and Resilient Water Systems Act will help communities better protect their drinking water systems from drought, industrial pollution, and other potential attacks. The bill asks communities to assess these threats and then establishes a grant program through the EPA to provide them the necessary resources to make their water systems more resilient. The program would give priority to the water systems at the greatest risk, and would encourage communities to adopt innovative approaches including water efficiency and water recycling.
H.R. 1379, extends benefits under the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Post-9/11 Educational Assistance Program to all honorably discharged Purple Heart recipients, regardless of duration of service. Purple Heart recipients have made some of the most tremendous sacrifices in service to our nation. Whether veterans use these benefits to fund college classes, vocational school, or on-the-job training, this bill will make it easier for them to get the skills and training they need to transition to civilian life.
The Employer Participation in Student Loan Assistance Act would help address rising student debt by encouraging private employers to offer a tax-free benefit to put toward an employee’s student loan debt, similar to the existing tax benefit for tuition assistance. Access to affordable higher education has made the American dream attainable for millions of Americans, and is central to our nation’s competitiveness and success. The bill will help speed up the repayment process so graduates can begin to make investments such as buying a home, starting a family, or saving for retirement.
The 5 Day Work Week resolution would require the House of Representatives to meet 5 days per week for 39 weeks out of the year, for a minimum of 195 working days. In order for Congress to pass a budget to fund important priorities, advance policies that grow our economy and be a consitutional check on the Trump adminstration, it has to show up to work first.
The 60 Day Rule Act would require any bill approved by a House committee to be voted on by the entire House of Representatives within 60 days of it passing committee. It shouldn’t be up to just a handful of leaders to decide which bills are worthy of consideration. Any bill that is good enough to get passed by a bipartisan committee deserves to get a vote in the House. It's time to get government working for the people again.
Bills introduced in the 114th Congress:
- HR 385 - Diclosing Aid Spent to Ensure Relief (DISASTER) Act - Text HERE
- HR 508 - Super Pollutant Emissions Reduction (SUPER) Act - Text HERE
- HR 1047 - Housing Assistance Efficiency Act - Text HERE
- HR 1322 - Stop Hiding Congressional Farm Subisidies Act - Text HERE
- HR 1409 - Open Internet Act - Text HERE
- HR 1713 - Student Loan Repayment Assistance Act - Text HERE
- HR 2020 - Treason and Passport Revocation Act - Text HERE
- HR 2227 - Strengthening the Resiliency of Our Nation on the Ground - Text HERE
- HR 2639 - Marriage and Family Therapists for Veterans Act - Text HERE
- HR 2640 - Consumer Debt Forgiveness Tax Relief Act - Text HERE
- HR 2725 - 21st Century Care for Military and Veterans Act - Text HERE
- HR 2813 - Shelter Our Servicemembers (SOS) Act - Text HERE
- HR 2861 - Veteran Employment Transition (VETs) Act - Text HERE
- HR 3108 - Department of Defense Energy Security Act (DODESA) - Text HERE
- HR 3147 - Constituent Services Disclosure Act - Text HERE
- HR 3392 - Carbon Capture Research and Development Act - Text HERE
- HR 3577 - Unnecessary Government Printing Reform Act - Text HERE
- HR 3751 - Federal Student Loan Refinancing Act - Text HERE
- HR 3774 - Protect America's Credit Act - Text HERE
- HR 3775 - Pay Down the Debt Act - Text HERE
- HRes 161 - National Innovation in Education Day - Text HERE
- HRes 184 - 5 Day Congressional Work Week - Text HERE
- HRes 185 - 60 Day Committee to Floor Vote - Text HERE
- HRes 297 - National Mental Health No Stigma Week - Text HERE
- HRes 345 - National Post-Traumatic Stress Awareness Month - Text HERE
- HRes 441 - Increased Travel Disclosure - Text HERE