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Congressman Bob Filner's Congressional Update


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Obama Signs Veteran Caregiver Bill

Last month, I joined the many proud veterans and their families in celebrating the enactment of a new law to provide much needed support for the care network of America's wounded warriors. Our Nation stands together to honor those who sacrifice by ensuring critical support as they recover from combat injuries. The new law creates an unprecedented support program for veteran caregivers that will provide training, financial assistance, and improved respite service. The new law also improves health care services for America's women veterans, expands the mental health services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and expands supportive services for homeless veterans.

President Obama promised a new direction for veterans -- and once again lived up to that promise by signing a significant bill into law today. Congress will continue to ensure that the cost of war includes the cost of the warrior by listening to veterans and better understanding the concerns of their families, communities, and advocates. Only together as a Nation are we able to show veterans that we appreciate their courageous sacrifice.

Ban Offshore Drilling on the West Coast

I recently signed onto legislation that would permanently prohibit oil and gas leasing and drilling off the coast of California, Oregon and Washington.

The Louisiana spill shows us the high cost of drilling off our coasts. Offshore drilling isn't worth risking the environmental and economic health of the West Coast. We must protect our coastal and marine environments from new drilling and instead invest in renewable energy alternatives and work to build a green economy.

The bill, the West Coast Ocean Protection Act of 2010, was authored by Congressman John Garamendi.

Honoring the 2nd Ranger Infantry Company

Last month, I co-sponsored H.Res.1211, a resolution honoring the service and sacrifice of the 2nd Ranger Infantry Company (Airborne) of the United States Army- the first, last, and only all-African American Ranger Company.

It is appropriate for Congress to honor the service and sacrifice of the members and families of the 2nd Ranger Infantry Company Airborne who fought for freedom abroad during a crucial turning point for American civil rights.

On July 26, 1948, President Harry Truman signed Executive Order 9981 which called for "equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed forces without regard to race, color, religion, or national origins." However, desegregation was a slow, multi-year process, and it was those who served during the Korean War, such as the 2nd Ranger Infantry Company, who made it possible for our armed services to move towards true racial equality.

The 2nd Ranger Infantry Company (Airborne) arrived at Taegu Air Force Base on December 30, 1950 where they saw their first combat action just 7 days later. In the following 8 months the members of the 2nd Ranger Infantry Company repeatedly demonstrated valor and endurance despite the brutal conditions of the Korean War, earning 9 Silver Hearts, 11 Bronze Stars, and 103 Purple Hearts before the members of the Company were gradually reassigned and integrated into the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 8th Ranger Companies.

Announcing $8.7 Million for Security Measures

I am happy to announce that San Diego and Imperial Counties will get more than $8.7million for security preparedness.

It takes constant vigilance to be prepared and keep our country safe. This money will go to keeping our critical infrastructure safe from terrorism, major disasters and other emergencies."

The funding comes from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Preparedness Grants. San Diego received $5.5 million for transit security and $2.7 million for port security. The City of Brawley received $500,000 for emergency operations.

DHS grant programs fund a wide range of preparedness activities including planning, organization, equipment purchase, training, exercises and administration costs.

Imperial Valley Health Clinics Receive $90,450

Last month, three Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo in the Imperial Valley received a total of $90,450 in grants for new electronic health records systems.

Health clinics are on the front lines of our health care system. Our health clinics shouldn't be left behind when it comes to having access to new technology.

The funds come from a Rural Development grant provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo's Niland, West Shores and Winterhaven clinics will each receive approximately $30,000.

Geothermal Project Gets Underway

Catalyst Renewables and their partners have completed financing and are ready to begin construction today on the Hudson Ranch 1 geothermal plant in Imperial County.

This project is critical to economic development in Imperial County and I'm glad I could help make sure they got the funds they needed to move forward. Not only will this bring jobs to the region, it will serve as an example of how we can create energy without sacrificing the environment.

I was successful in helping secure $105,000,000 in federal stimulus funds for the geothermal plant, which was essential to completing the financing for the project.

This project is a perfect example of the results we can generate as a part of Project SOL. Through Project SOL I am working to increase collaboration between various levels of government and private industry to make Imperial Valley the renewable energy capital of the world.

According to Catalyst Renewables, construction will last 21 months and create 125 full time equivalent jobs with an estimated payroll of $21,145,000. Power production operations are planned to begin by the end of 2011. To operate the plant, 40 new jobs will be created, with another 10 full time jobs in El Centro. The new entity will be named "EnergySource."

June 2nd Deadline to File for Earthquake Recovery Grants

I want to make sure all eligible Imperial County agencies, California agencies and nonprofit organizations know June 2 is the deadline for filing for federal and state disaster assistance related to the earthquake that shook the Imperial Valley on April 4.

Filing a request for public assistance is the first step to securing earthquake recovery fundsr. All agencies and nonprofits must get their requests for recovery assistance in before the June 2nd deadline.

The federal public assistance funds are available to eligible Imperial County applicants as part of the May 7, 2010 presidential disaster declaration following the 7.2 magnitude earthquake. State public assistance funds were authorized by Governor Schwarzenegger's State of Emergency Proclamation on April 5, 2010. It was initially estimated there were $91.3 million in damages in Imperial County.

Constituent Mail Bag

From Chula Vista:

Please do all you can to ensure the passage THIS YEAR of the DISCLOSE Act. DISCLOSE would help limit the overwhelming influence of corporate cash and mitigate the corrosive effects of that decision on our democracy.

I stronly urge you to make passage of the DISCLOSE Act an immediate and top priority.

Congressman Filner replies:

Thank you for contacting me about H.R. 5175, the Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act.

I wholeheartedly agree with you! Congress must pass this bill before the November elections. I have co-sponsored this bill as you have requested.

I appreciate your advocacy on this vital issue.

Useful Website: SBA Disaster Assistance

The United States Small Business Association is offering low-interest Federal disaster loans to residents and business owners affected by the recent earthquake.

Disaster loan information and application forms are available from the SBA's Customer Service Center at

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