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Dear Friend,

I would like to share with you some highlights of my work in May.  I hope you find them informative.  You can also follow me on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and YouTube.

Constitutional Rights for Our Immigrant Families and Neighbors: Read this information about immigrants' rights under the law.  (Lea este información sobre los derechos de los inmigrantes bajo la ley.)

Blood Testing and Soil Sampling Near Exide: If you live, work, or go to school within three miles of the Exide plant, I encourage you to get a FREE blood lead test.  For details, visit bloodleadtesting.com or call (844) 888-2290.  If you live within 1.7 miles of Exide, you can also sign up for soil testing.  For more information, visit exidecleanup.org or call (844) 225-3887.  Please also feel free to share this general information Exide flyer in English and in Spanish with any friends and family living in the affected area. 


Celebrating and Standing Up For Our Youth:

With Paramount High senior Rebeka Martinez, this year's Lucille Roybal-Allard Student Art Competition winner. (Photo credit: Darrell Miho)

I'm so pleased to announce that Paramount High School senior Rebeka Martinez has won First Place in the 24th Annual Lucille Roybal-Allard Student Art Competition!  Rebeka's graphite, charcoal, and acrylic piece, titled "Light That Never Goes Out," will be on display in the US Capitol for one year, along with student art from across the country.  Later this month, Rebeka and a parent will fly to Washington, DC to attend the opening of this exhibit.  As First Place winner, Rebeka also gets a $1,000 scholarship, $200 for art supplies, and $500 to pay for expenses on her Washington trip.  Click here to read more about this year's winners.  I want to thank all the students who entered this year's competition!  This competition exists because of your willingness to share your art and your feelings with our community.  Thank you for making us so proud. 

As the school year comes to an end, I've been addressing awards ceremonies at local high schools, including May events for Paramount High School, Esteban E. Torres High School's East Los Angeles Renaissance Academy, and the Garfield High School JROTC!  I'm so pleased to congratulate our students on their achievements and to recognize the top 20 graduates with Certificates of Special Congressional Recognition.

At a Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations hearing, I questioned National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins about NIH’s Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) program, which should give new insights about how a child's environment impacts their health and development.  ECHO continues the work of the National Children’s Study, an effort I strongly supported.

It was a delight to tour the Coalition for Responsible Community Development's VCN YouthSource Center in South LA, and meet with some of the young people in the center’s programs!  I was inspired by the purpose and passion that these students showed for their futures, and I urged them to become leaders in the community.

I was privileged to host Tommy, a former foster youth from Downey, for Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Day!  Tommy was among the many current and former foster youth from across the country who came to Capitol Hill to shadow Members of Congress and discuss how to improve America's child welfare system.  It was a pleasure to meet this bright young man, and to hear about his experiences with the foster care system.


Read My Student Resource Guide:

If you are a high school or college student looking for help to pay for college, I encourage you to read information I have compiled in my Student Resource Guide, which lists scholarships, internships, fellowships, and websites to help you meet your college expenses.  Please feel free to circulate it!


Defending the Affordable Care Act:

Speaking about my vote to defend the Affordable Care Act with the LA Chamber of Commerce Health Care Council.

In the name of Americans’ health and financial security, I voted against the disastrous and destructive American Health Care Act (AHCA), also known as Trumpcare, when the House of Representatives voted on the bill on May 4th.  This bill would repeal the Affordable Care Act, rip away health coverage for 23 million Americans, and jeopardize our enormous progress in ensuring better access to quality health care for American families and communities.

Later in the month, I spoke with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Health Care Council about the AHCA.  Americans may have differing opinions about what our nation's health care should look like, but hopefully we can agree on the fact that we should not be stripping away health care from millions of Americans, as the Congressional Budget Office has said the AHCA would do.


Fighting for the Just Treatment of Immigrants and Refugees:

I re-introduced my Protect Family Values at the Border Act to ensure fair treatment of immigrants in the custody of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).  My bill establishes basic humane treatment standards for immigrants in CBP custody, and promotes the importance of keeping families together and away from increased risk of harm.  Immigrants, like all people, deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.  That is why we need to pass my bill.

America's immigration policies are having an indisputably harmful impact on the mental and social well-being of US children.  I joined with my friends Congresswomen Grace Napolitano and Pramila Jayapal to write an op-ed about this important issue in The Hill.

I was thrilled to visit Ms. Leslie Hiatt’s fifth grade class at Bell Gardens Elementary.  Last year, her civic-minded students inspired me to introduce a bill to investigate the 1930s Mexican Repatriation, in which men, women, and children of Mexican ancestry were forcibly removed from the United States, including as many as 1.2 million US citizens.  I’ve re-introduced the bill in this year’s new Congress, and will keep working to get it passed!


Advocating for the Humane Treatment of Animals:

Asking Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Zukunft about the Coast Guard's use of live tissue training.

Great animal rights news!  Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Paul Zukunft indicated to me at a Homeland Security Appropriations hearing that the U.S. Coast Guard will end its use of live tissue training, in which live animals are shot and stabbed for the sake of medical instruction.  I helped lead the fight to get the Coast Guard to suspend its use of live tissue training as it reviews training alternatives, such as interactive human simulators.  I was overjoyed to hear Admiral Zukunft tell me, in response to my inquiries and the support of others, that he intends for the Coast Guard to move to simulators.  He calls it the right thing to do, and I couldn't agree more.

Also, I enjoyed meeting with some fellow animal rights champions at the LA office of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).  I'm proud to work with PETA to protect our animal friends!


Supporting a Quality Education for Our Children:

Questioning Education Secretary DeVos at an Appropriations Subcommittee hearing.

I was appalled by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' false and evasive answers at our Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations hearing.  Under my questioning, she even claimed that high-poverty schools received more funding than other schools!  That's blatantly incorrect.  The hearing only hardened my resolve to fight to make sure that the Trump budget and its profoundly misguided funding decisions are never enacted.  The Washington Post covered Secretary DeVos' startlingly false claim to me that high-poverty schools get more funding.

Pell Grants are one of our government's greatest tools to help students complete their higher education quickly and affordably.  I helped lead the introduction of the Pell Grant Preservation & Expansion Act, so that more students can pursue the educational opportunities they will need to compete for the jobs of the 21st century!

A strong early childhood education system is critically important to our children's long-term success.  That is why I was so pleased to participate in the Los Angeles County Office of Education's opening of a new Head Start facility in Downey!  The site will expand services to more than 100 infants and toddlers.


Keeping Our Country and Communities Safe:

Leading the Democratic questioning of DHS Secretary Kelly in the DHS Appropriations Subcommittee.

As Ranking Member on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, I led the Democratic questioning of DHS Secretary John Kelly when he testified before our subcommittee.  I pressed him about the role of deterrence in detention decisions, and about the Trump budget's weakening of ICE detention standards.  I am committed to fighting for DHS policies that treat all people humanely while keeping our nation safe, and will oppose any efforts by DHS that depart from these important objectives.

I had a good conversation with Frank Líma, Vice President for the 10th District of the International Association of Fire Fighters, about the need to protect federal grants for first responders, such as the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants.  Before my meeting, I was also happy to run into Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas!  I appreciate all that our firefighters do to protect us.


Celebrating Local Businesses and Workers:

With Del Records Founder/CEO Angel Del Villar at his meeting with Leader Pelosi.

Leaders from Bell Gardens' Del Records visited the US Capitol!  During their visit, I presented company founder and CEO Angel Del Villar with a copy of my Congressional Record statement commending him for building a thriving Southeast business, and for using his success as a driving force to create positive change in the community.  I also organized a meeting between Mr. Del Villar and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.  I appreciated her taking the time to hear the story and dreams of a talented and visionary Bell Gardens entrepreneur.

It was an honor to serve as the Installing Officer at the Greater Huntington Park Area Chamber of Commerce Installation Dinner and Business Awards Banquet!  I appreciate all that the Chamber does to promote economic growth in the community, and am especially grateful to the Chamber's incoming and departing leaders for their willingness to serve.

During a meeting of the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council, I took part in a very productive and wide-ranging conversation.  We discussed the importance of investment in infrastructure projects, leveraging funding at all levels of government to maximize the impact of LA County Measure M funds for transportation, and protecting critical labor priorities, including project labor agreements, prevailing wages, and the Davis-Bacon Act.


Honoring Those Who Served:

Addressing the 58th Annual Memorial Day Event at Commerce's Park Lawn Cemetery.

At Memorial Day ceremonies in East LA, Commerce, and Huntington Park, I joined in paying tribute to America's fallen service members.  We must never forget the ultimate sacrifice they have made to defend our nation and our essential freedoms.

I also joined Joseph R. Vidaña for a visit to Garfield High School's Vietnam Era Monument, which honors the Garfield alumni who served in the US military during the Vietnam era.


Defending America's Tradition of Diversity:

I recorded a video celebrating May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the contributions and diversity of our AAPI community.  I am privileged to have represented a dynamic AAPI population throughout my career in public service, and to serve as an associate member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.  Please know that I will keep fighting to ensure that the US is a land of justice and opportunity for AAPIs and all Americans.

It was also with great pride that I cosponsored the Equality Act to fight LGBT discrimination!  I look forward to working to pass it into law.


Supporting Our Communities:

Presenting Angel Step Domestic Violence Services staff with a Certificate of Congressional Recognition.

I attended the open house for Angel Step Domestic Violence Services' new space in Downey!  I appreciated my conversations with the attendees about our shared commitment to help survivors of domestic violence, and I explained my advocacy for my Security and Financial Empowerment (SAFE) Act to ensure critical economic protections are available for domestic violence survivors.  I also presented Angel Step staff with a Certificate of Congressional Recognition to thank them for all they do to ensure our district's domestic violence survivors receive the care and support they need.

It was so much fun to catch up with old friends and meet new ones at the Downey Chamber of Commerce's 24th Annual Street Faire!  I was glad to see so many community members out and about.

I offered congratulations to the volunteers honored at the Downey Coordinating Council's 63rd Annual Community Service Awards Banquet!  I thank these volunteers, and all of the council's members, for everything they do to help make Downey a great city.


Advocating for Sensible Spending Bills:

On May 3rd, I voted for the omnibus appropriations bill that came before the House.  While it was not the bill Democrats would have written, I voted to support it because we won substantial victories in the bill in support of the American people.

Later in the month, President Trump released his budget.  It was a shameful document, stunningly out of touch with our nation’s priorities and needs.  Click here to read my views on the president's budget.


Paramount Conference Calls on Air Monitoring:

I want to remind members of the Paramount community about informational conference calls on the ongoing air monitoring.  The calls are being held on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 6:30 PM.  To listen to the call in English, call (866) 244-8528, using the passcode 4063768.  To listen to the call in Spanish, call (888) 394-8197, using the passcode 9891238.  The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) is conducting these calls.


Immigration Form Update:

If you are filing forms with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), keep in mind that USCIS is now only accepting the latest versions of its forms.  You can visit uscis.gov/forms to download these new forms for FREE.  You can also request paper forms from USCIS by calling (800) 870-3676.  To file these forms, you must pay the current fees.  New fees are listed at uscis.gov/forms/our-fees.  If you do not include the new fees, USCIS will reject and return your filings.


If You Visit Washington, DC:

If you are a resident of California's 40th District and planning a trip to Washington, DC, I may be able to provide you with tickets to tour the Capitol and the White House, and to give you information on many of the area's other distinguished landmarks.  You can submit your tour requests here.  Please contact my office with at least 8-12 weeks advance notice whenever possible.


Contacting You About the Issues That Matter to You:

If you live or work in the 40th Congressional District and you would like to specify the issues that particularly interest you, please fill out this form.
 

Sincerely,


Washington, DC Office
2083 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-1766
Fax: (202) 226-0350
District Office
500 Citadel Drive, Suite 320
Commerce, CA 90040
Phone: (323) 721-8790
Fax: (323) 721-8789
  

 
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