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 Sargent Daniel Somers Veterans Network of Support Act directs the Office of Veterans Affairs (VA) to create a network of support for families and loved ones of veterans, so they can be informed of the services the VA and other state and local government agencies offer veterans. It would allow them to better understand what mental health resources are available and see when a veteran is struggling, potentially provide lifesaving resources and help reduce the risk of suicide for veterans.
The Acting to Cancel Copays and Ensure Substantial Savings for Biosimilars (ACCESS) Act eliminates a patient’s copay for a biosimilar if they would normally would pay full cost of a biologic drug under Medicare Part B. The bill would drive down medical costs by increasing access to lower-cost biosimilar drugs, which are some of the most innovative physician-administered drugs known for treating complex diseases. This expands treatment options for Americans diagnosed with illnesses like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, while also providing more affordable prescription drug rates.
The Ocean Pollution Reduction Act II (OPRA II) simplifies the City of San Diego’s mandatory permitting process to operate the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant (PLWTP). Specifically, this legislation would require the City of San Diego to demonstrate that its Pure Water Program is able to produce an estimated one-third of the city’s water supply per day by 2036, reducing the amount of treated wastewater that flows into the ocean from PLWTP by over 65 percent. It will ensure that San Diego has a long-term solution for protecting and securing its water supply, while not weakening laws that are already in place or relaxing existing environmental standards for wastewater treatment.
The Build More Housing Near Transit Act encourages the development of housing near public-transit served locations by requiring housing feasibility assessments to determine how and where housing units could be built near new transit stops. The bill would require candidates for federal transportation grants to submit commitments to change local land use policies to accommodate affordable or market-rate housing near the transit projects. It aims to maximize federal investment in transit and increase housing options for families across the country.
The Super Pollutants Act of 2019 encourages the federal government to coordinate efforts to mitigate three of the most potent types of short-lived climate pollutants: methane, black carbon, and HFCs. The bill supports U.S-led efforts to deploy proven technologies, mitigation activities, and emission reduction strategies in the U.S. and abroad by curbing the release of methane from oil and gas sites, developing strategies to lead the International Maritime Organization’s efforts to reduce black carbon emissions from the world’s shipping industry, accelerating technological innovation away from HFCs, and expanding access to innovative climate-mitigating technologies.
The Renewable Electricity Tax Credit Equalization Act extends tax credits for investments in qualified energy production, including closed-loop biomass, open-loop biomass, geothermal, municipal solid waste, qualified hydropower, and marine and hydrokinetic. The bill aims to incentivize development of renewable energy technology, which plays an indispensable role in maintaining a reliable and functioning electrical grid system and would also support the integration of additional wind and solar electricity into the grid.
The Ending the Diagnostic Odyssey Act provides federal funding to states to support the use of whole genome sequencing to diagnose children who are ill. Whole genome sequencing is a cost-effective diagnostic tool that uses DNA to uncover thousands of conditions including neurologic, metabolic, and other inherited diseases. It can ensure children receive appropriate treatment as fast as possible and potentially save lives. This bill is supported by Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, one of the largest children’s hospitals in the United States and a leader in precision pediatric care at their Institute for Genomic Medicine.
H.R.3005 names the Poway Post Office on Midland Road in honor of World War II veteran, Raymond Barron Chavez and is backed by the entire California congressional delegation. Chavez was a U.S. Navy veteran who served aboard the USS Condor during World War II and died as the oldest surviving veteran of the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was a Poway resident, small business owner, and an active member of his local VFW chapter.
The North American Development Bank Pollution Solution Act looks to alleviate the existing financial burden preventing cleanup of sewage in San Diego’s Tijuana River Valley. The bill would provide the North American Development Bank with $1.5 billion to increase NADBank’s available capital. It would also establish a U.S.-Mexico Border Public Health Trust Fund within NADBank to fund environmental projects that specifically focus on improving wastewater treatment and reducing water pollution.
The Medicare Diagnostic Radiopharmaceutical Payment Equity Act expands patient access to highly-targeted, precision diagnostics that use radiopharmaceuticals for medical imaging. The bill would ensure adequate Medicare reimbursement to hospitals for procedures that use radiopharmaceuticals to diagnose, evaluate, and treat certain conditions and cancers. The result would be more accurate diagnoses and provide faster treatment, higher quality care, and lower costs for patients and taxpayers.
The Ensuring Conditions are Humane by Oversight (ECHO) Act ensures Office of Inspector General (OIG) personnel can perform surprise inspections of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) migrant facilities should they be located on military bases. It would require the Secretary of Defense to coordinate with the DHS and HHS Secretaries to create a suitable protocol to allow OIG access onto bases.
The Fair Housing Improvement Act protects veterans and low-income families form unfair housing prices. Under current law, landlords can discriminate against people who use vouchers to pay rent, which includes veterans and low-income families. The bill expands protections in the Fair Housing Act of 1968 to prohibit discrimination based on source of income or veteran status.
The Laboratory Access for Beneficiaries (LAB) Act directs the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to conduct a joint study that would make recommendations to improve how CMS collects data on lab reimbursements for life-saving lab services. In addition to the study, the LAB Sact would give both CMS and labs additional time to collect complete and accurate data. Without a broad and representative collection of data, CMS's current reimbursement methodology could underpay for lab services, causing small labs in rural locations to close.
The PTSI Awareness Resolution aims to reduce the stigma that prevents veterans and servicemembers from seeking mental health care by designating June as Nation-PostTraumatic Stress Injury (PTSI) Awareness month and June 27th as National PTSI Awareness Day, encouraging those suffering to feel confident in seeking mental health services just as they would seek care for a physical injury.
The Task Force on the Impact of the Affordable Housing Crisis Act creates a task force of housing experts to make recommendations to Congress about housing policy, evaluating and measuring the consequences of unstable, unaffordable housing on quality of life, in addition to its effects on federal, state and local budgets.
The Daniel Somers Network of Support Act creates a network of support for servicemembers to provide friends and family of servicemembers a better understanding of the rigors, challenges, and needs associated with military service, potentially preventing isolation and suicide. This bill is named after Army Veteran Sergeant Daniel Somers, who died by suicide in 2013 after two tours in Iraq that led to traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress. Sgt. Somers' parents, Howard and Jean Somers, live in Coronado and are advocates for reforming access to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) services and improving servicemembers' transition from the DOD to the VA.
The STANDUP Act expands evidence-based suicide prevention training to students in grades 6 through 12. It would also provide training to students and schools for threat identification, triage, and intervention, as well as guidance and protocol for coordinating with local law enforcement using established school threat assessment models.
The Veteran HOUSE Act makes chronically homeless veterans discharged under conditions other-than-honorable, but not dishonorable, eligible for HUD-VASH housing vouchers and supportive case management.
The Homes for Our Heroes Act requires HUD and the VA to report demographic information of those who use HUD-VASH vouchers; study barriers to using HUD-VASH vouchers in high-cost housing markets, like San Diego; and disclose how vouchers are allocated.
The Saving for the Future Act would establish a minimum employer contribution of 50 cents per hour worked to a savings plan for all American workers. This bill would provide employees and their families additional funds for retirement, which will help them build financial security while reducing wealth inequality across the country.
The bipartisan Disclosing Aid Spent to Ensure Relief (DISASTER) Act would require the federal government to produce a report on the amount of money spent on disaster relief each fiscal year. Taxpayers deserve to know how their money is being spent, and this bill would increase government transparency and accountability. It would also help us account for the spending in the federal budget and better prepare for natural disasters before they strike.
The State Health Care Premium Reduction Act would provide $10 billion in funding to establish reinsurance programs in all 50 states. Supporting more reinsurance programs would lower premiums for individuals by 10 percent, making health care more accessible and affordable for hardworking Americans.
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