Dear Friends and Neighbors
I hope you all enjoyed this past week. It's been another busy week in Washington, with a variety of significant votes and important committee hearings. As always, I am committed to serving the constituents of the 37th Congressional District.
Significant Events This Week
On June 5th, I celebrated the United Nations Environment Programme's 40th Annual World Environment Day by releasing a statement. As a member of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, I have been working to ensure that the U.S. takes steps to become a "Green Economy". I am pleased to celebrate this special day with people around the world.
This week, I also released a statement condemning Senate Republicans for blocking equal pay for equal work. On June 5th, Senate Republicans voted to prevent a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act. This action comes on the heels of a refusal last week by the House Republicans to bring the Paycheck Fairness Act to the floor.I am saddened to see Republicans continue this pattern of blocking legislation critical to women in the workforce. Despite this setback, I will continue to fight against pay discrimination until we have truly achieved fairness throughout the American workforce.
On June 6th, the House Homeland Security Committee approved a bill that included two critical measures I sponsored to strengthen port security. My Port Security Equipment Improvement Act was accepted as an amendment to the SMART Port Security Act (H.R. 4251). By including this amendment Port Security Grant Program recipients will now be permitted the flexibility to determine whether it is more cost-effective to use Port Security Grant Program (PSGP) funds to replace or maintain security equipment. Previously, Port Security Grant Program funds were to be used solely for maintenance of security equipment, but not for equipment replacement. I also successfully worked to include my Port Security Boots on the Ground Act (H.R. 5803) in Section 107 of the SMART Port Security Act. Because of this amendment security personnel costs will be permitted to be covered through PSGP grant funding.
June 1st, I released a statement honoring the 2012 graduates of Charles Drew University in Los Angeles. As the Member of Congress for the 37th District of California in which the Charles Drew University (CDU) is located, I am personally familiar with CDU's accomplished record of service. Each member of the graduating class has chosen a career path that will not only be exciting and rewarding, but will make a true difference in the lives of so many people.
June 3rd, I was honored to attend the 100th birthday celebration of Esther Vera Battey, where I presented her with birthday greetings from the President and Mrs. Obama and a congratulatory Congressional 100th birthday certificate from my office. Ms. Battey has devoted her whole life to the growth and development of her local community and church and is a true pillar of our community.
On June 7th, I announced the upcoming application period for the Firefighters Grant Program grants. I encourage local fire departments in the 37th Congressional District to apply for this funding in order to most effectively protect the public and their emergency response personnel. As a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, I have tremendous admiration for firefighters and other first responders who risk their lives every day, and I hope to see them rewarded by this grant program. The application period opens on June 11, 2012 and closes on July 6, 2012 at 5:00 p.m. eastern time. Grant guidance for this program is available here.
As always, I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve you and California's 37th District. I commit to continue working to meet your needs and improve the lives of all of our families.
My warmest regards to you and your family,
Member of Congress (CA-37)
The Legislative Calendar This Week In D.C.
Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2011: H.R. 436. This act amends the Internal Revenue Code to repeal the excise tax on medical devices.
Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013: H.R. 5325 . I voted against this bill because it makes appropriations for Energy and Water Development and provides $32.1 billion, $965 million below the President's request. This legislation would dramatically cut funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy research programs by 39 percent and would reduce several other energy innovation programs.
Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2013: H.R. 5855. I opposed this act because it makes appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013. It provides $39.1 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Homeland Security, a decrease of $484 million below last year's level and a decrease of $393 million below the President's request.
On June 7th, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee met to mark up several measures, including a bill which would reauthorize a program to address marine debris that threatens marine shipping routes and the marine environment. Addressing marine debris is essential now more than ever as more debris arrives on our shores as a result of the Japanese tsunami.
On June 6th, Committee on Homeland Security met for a mark up session to consider H.R. 4251, to authorize, enhance and reform certain port security programs through increased efficiency and risk based coordination within the Department of Homeland Security.
On June 6th, the Homeland Security Subcomittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications, of which I am the Ranking Member, met to asses the state's preparedness and ability to respond to a crisis.
Congresswoman Laura Richardson hard at work during the Transportation and Infrastructure Mark-Up
Congresswoman Laura Richardson Answers Your Questions!
Last week, Katie Gillen asked: Congresswoman, how do you manage to get so much legislation passed in DC?
Answer: The key to getting legislation passed in DC is having the experience and the know how to navigate the committees and work effectively with other members of Congress in both parties. I have been in Congress for five years so I am an experienced legislator and know how to work with my colleagues across the aisle to get things done. I learned early on that it is not very effective to wait until the last moment to offer amendments to bills on the floor. Inexperienced members do that. Experienced and knowledgeable members work behind the scenes to shape legislation long before a bill comes to the floor. As a matter of fact, I did just that this past week and got important provisions to help secure our ports included in a homeland security bill. Thank you very much for your question.