Congressman Bob Filner's Congressional Update
In this Issue:
* Victory: Protecting Seniors from Identity Theft
* Support for the New "Strengthen Our Schools" Initiative
* Continuing the Fight for a Viable New Airport
* Hot Bill: The Pay Up Act
* Citizen of the Month
* Constituent Mailbag
* Cool Web Site: Travel Tips from the Transportation Security Administration
Protecting Seniors from Identity Theft
On a vote of 314-94, I successfully included my bi-partisan identity protection amendment in the annual legislation providing funds for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.
My measure requires the removal of social security numbers from Medicare Cards. By including the social security numbers on Medicare Cards, the federal government places millions of seniors at risk of becoming victims of identity theft. Removing social security numbers from Medicare Cards means that senior citizens are less vulnerable to identity theft.
Working with both Congressmen Ron Paul (R-TX) and Cliff Stearns (R-FL), I was able to persuade the Republican dominated House to accept this amendment. As a leader in combating identity theft for several years, I have previously forced the IRS to remove social security numbers from tax-related mailings.
With identity theft becoming one of the fastest growing crimes, it is now more important than ever that we do our part to protect personal privacy and put an end to this horrible crime.
Support for New "Strengthen Our Schools" Initiative
This month I announced support for a new agenda to strengthen America's schools, the Strengthen Our Schools (SOS) initiative, which is part of the House Democrats' New Partnership for America's Future. Democrats in the House of Representatives put forward specific, positive steps to promote opportunity by strengthening our schools, including boosting college opportunity and affordability, and improving teacher quality. Democrats are also in favor of fully funding key education laws such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Republicans in Congress have failed to live up to their promises and turned their backs on the needs of America's schools, students, parents and teachers. Not only will the Strengthen Our Schools initiative address the broken promises, but it will take our schools into the 21st century-- creating public-private partnerships, modernizing our schools, and expanding preschool opportunities.
As an educator and former President of the San Diego School Board, I am deeply committed to providing a quality education for each and every child in our nation.
Continuing the Fight for a Viable New Airport
In June, at the meeting of the San Diego Regional Airport Authority, I once again made an attempt to keep Imperial County as a site for San Diego's new airport .
The San Diego Regional Airport Authority has been tasked with planning for a larger airport facility. They have narrowed their choices to 5 sites. However, 3 of these sites are active military bases not ideally suited for a commercial airport. The California Congressional Delegation has opposed consideration of military installations as possible replacements for Lindbergh Field.
When it comes to selecting the site for the new airport, our community deserves an option that will work. Imperial Valley is the most viable site for our new airport. It offers an ideal solution to our current, and future airport problems.
The people of the Valley would welcome an airport, construction wouldn't cost anyone their homes, and with a high-speed rail connection, the airport would be accessible from San Diego in less than 30 minutes!
Hot Bill: The Pay UP Act
Along with Representatives Susan Davis (D-San Diego) and Jim Kolbe (R-Tuson) from Arizona, I recently offered the PAY UP Act, which reimburses hospitals and doctors for the cost of treating undocumented patients.
The Federal Government's continued failure to assume the responsibility for fixing our broken health care system has left the whole border region at a loss of funds. Providers in these areas and other parts of the country with large immigrant populations can no longer tolerate the unaccounted for expenses.
The growing burden on hospitals, physicians and ambulance providers threatens to cripple the health care services available to all the residents of these communities.
In San Diego, UCSD is planning to close down a hospital, partly because of the growing costs of treating undocumented immigrants. The solvency of other hospitals is increasingly endangered. Continued neglect threatens the very existence of many of these hospitals and the health of communities throughout the Nation.
It's hard to blame the hospitals for their growing financial woes. Turning away uninsured, undocumented patients with medical emergencies would not only violate their moral and legal duties; it would endanger everyone's health by sending sick people back out into the community.
Instead, it is the Federal Government who is to blame. The Federal Government is responsible for immigration and therefore must take responsibility for the costs imposed on hospitals by a broken immigration system. As Congress continues to debate the best approach to reforming our immigration programs, we must act now to shore up these hospitals and secure the health of communities throughout the country.
I am therefore pleased to announce the introduction of my Pay for All Your Undocumented Procedures (PAY UP) Act (H.R. 2934), which requires the Federal Government to reimburse health care providers for these costs. This legislation will bolster our hospitals and safeguard the health of both U.S. citizens and immigrants.
Citizen of the Month
I am pleased to have selected Abraham Alvarez as June "Citizen of the Month" for his outstanding athletic, scholastic, community service and leadership achievements.
Abraham is a senior at Bonita Vista High School. He holds a G.P.A. of 4.78. He is a cross country star who recently finished fourth at the Metro League cross country competition and helped his team place sixth in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) competition. Abraham is the founder and president of Kinetica, a science outreach program for elementary school students. He is a member of the teen council of the Chula Vista Public Library System. The CIF Council recently selected Abraham from dozens of athletes throughout the State of California for the Spirit of Sport Award. The Spirit of Sport Award recognizes outstanding athletic students who exhibit exemplary sportsmanship qualities.
Abraham is an incredible student. He has excelled in sports, helped his community and maintained exemplary grades. He is a great role model for his peers and someone our community can be proud of.
From San Ysidro:
Dear Congressman Filner,
I have serious concerns about the most pressing environmental problems of our time.
Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released by fossil fuel consumption, deforestation and other human activities can trap heat in our atmosphere for 100 years or longer--with devastating environmental consequences.
Current U.S. policy on climate change is one of indifference, out of step with world opinion. Therefore, I urge you to co-sponsor and support the Climate Stewardship Act, which tackles the problem of global warming by putting limits on dangerous greenhouse gas emissions.
Congressman Filner Replies:
Thank you for contacting me about global warming.
I wholeheartedly agree with you! The federal government must make a commitment to promoting a clean energy economy and limiting heat-trapping gases that contribute to global warming. As you requested, I have co-sponsored the Climate Stewardship Act. You can count on me to continue fighting for environmental protections and a 21st century energy policy!
I appreciate your advocacy on this most important issue.
Cool Web site: Travel Tips from the Transportation Security Administration
With the busy travel season upon us, the Transportation Security Administration has provided a Traveler and Consumer Center on its Web site. The Web site provides travel tips, passenger resources, and information about security conditions.