Working For You: July 7-13

July 13, 2014

This week, week 28, July 7 – July 13 started with a trip from Stockton with veteran Scott Halsey to his appointment at the VA medical center in Palo Alto. I took the round trip to put myself in the shoes of vets from San Joaquin County and elsewhere in the Valley who must endure that trip for any specialized medical care. The next day I introduced my bill, H.R.5042, the Jumpstart VA Construction Act, which will allow public-private partnerships to move forward with construction of VA health care facilities that have already been planned, authorized, and funded, (for example, the facility at French Camp) but for which construction has not yet begun.

The House this week considered H.R. 4923, the funding bill for energy and water projects. I introduced two amendments. First, a bipartisan amendment to increase funding for investments in our nation’s energy and electricity infrastructure. In our rapidly evolving electricity market, we need to incorporate the best technology, which will help reduce blackouts as well as save consumers money. The second amendment I offered would have prevented any federal money from this bill to be used for the BDCP. The BDCP is a bad idea, and I wanted to make sure my colleagues in the House know the truth about the tunnels and the damage they could do to our economy and environment in the Delta.

In my committee work, the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade considered three bills. The first was H.R. 4013, the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturing Act. I supported this bill. The second was H.R. 4450, the Travel Promotion and Modernization Act. I supported this bill. The third bill is a discussion draft aimed at curbing some abusive practices of aggressive Patent Assertion Entities, also known as Patent Trolls. There is a broad bipartisan agreement that action is needed to curb these practices, and as a patent holder, I understand the need to get this right. It is my opinion, regarding this legislation, that the draft is not sufficiently developed, and may do more harm than good, so I opposed the proposed legislation in its current form, but offered to work with the chairman to improve this legislation before it goes before the full committee.

On Saturday, back home, I attended the Brentwood Harvest Festival, the unveiling of the Veterans Memorial Eagle sculpture in Oakley, hosted some productive discussions with constituents at a “Congress at Your Corner” in Brentwood, and went for a ride along with the Antioch Police – a very productive day spending time with our community in East Contra Costa County.