Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Bonamici Bulletin

March 28, 2017

My office has been flooded with callsletters, and emails from thousands of engaged constituents. It gives me hope seeing Oregonians raise our voices and resist dangerous Trump Administration policies—and it makes a difference! Trump's first nominee for Labor Secretary withdrew from consideration, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigned within a month, andEducation Secretary DeVos barely gained enough votes for confirmation; Vice President Pence was forced to cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate. And Friday, after a chaotic week in Washington, House Leadership and President Trump had to cancel the vote on Trumpcare. I'm convinced this wouldn't have happened without you speaking up and making your voices heard.
Here are some of the ways I'm standing up for Oregon values in Washington DC:
Focusing on Improving Access to Health Care 
Access to health care is a right, not a privilege for only the wealthy. The TrumpCare bill would have been devastating. If it had passed, Oregonians and Americans would have paid more and received less. Millions would have faced a futurewithout health insurance, or with inadequate coverage. It would have been especially bad for seniors, who would see their rates increase significantly. This bill was a disaster both in policy and procedure (it had no hearings and was brought forward for a vote less than three weeks after it was introduced), and I'm glad it was pulled from consideration. As our economy continues to recover, working families need the stability of knowing they won't face economic ruin if someone in their family gets sick. I planned to vote against TrumpCare, but I stand ready to work with all of my colleagues on policies that improve access to affordable health care for all.
Sustainable Timber in the 21st Century Economy 
Rural communities, schools, and residents in the Northwest depend on a sustainable timber harvest. Oregon is showing leadership as innovation in the industry harnesses the potential of timber. I'm proud to support the Timber Innovation Act to encourage new and innovative uses for wood as a building material. With the potential of new timber technologies, rural communities will have the opportunity to generate more jobs and value from their natural resources. And Oregonians will benefit from more sustainable construction materials that create attractive buildings. I will continue to look for ways to support this exciting new way to grow rural economies.
Protecting Communities from Intimidation 
We all want our country to be safe, but tearing apart hard-working immigrant families betrays our values as Americans. For years, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have been directed to avoid immigration enforcement action at "sensitive locations," including schools, hospitals, and places of worship. This policy made our communities safer and healthier. I'm deeply concerned about reports of ICE agents roaming local courthouses and staking out places like domestic violence shelters, churches, and community clinics. These actions by ICE have created fear and intimidation in Oregon and around the country. Soon I'll be introducing legislation to make sure that immigrants and vulnerable communities can access services at courthouses and shelters, go to their places of worship and schools, and report crimes without fear of deportation or intimidation.
Putting Higher Education Within Reach 
I worked my way through community college, university, and law school, and graduated with a manageable amount of debt. My experience is less common today because the costs of higher education have skyrocketed and put an affordable education out of reach for too many students. We need to strengthen Pell Grants and financial aid programs like Federal Work Study, which offers students valuable work experience while still in school. I recently reintroduced bipartisan legislation to improve financial counseling to help student loan borrowers anticipate the complete costs of college and make informed decisions about their borrowing. Unfortunately, Secretary DeVos is shirking her responsibility to protect student loan borrowers, and the Education Department now permits exorbitant fees to be charged to struggling borrowers who are working to repay their defaulted loans. As a leader on theHouse Education and the Workforce Committee, I'm doing everything I can to make higher education more affordable and accessible, and to fight the administration's misguided attempts to target vulnerable students and student loan borrowers.
Hearing from You 
It's been incredible to see so many community members join my town hall meetings inMcMinnville and Hillsboro. Many of you have called, written, or stood up in my town hall meetings to voice your concerns about many issues, including the Administration's connections to Russia and Russian involvement in the November election. I've called for acomprehensive, transparent, and independent investigation into the Trump Administration's ties to Russia and Russian involvement in the election, and I will continue demanding an investigation until we get all of the facts. Since the introduction of President Trump's budget, I've also heard from many of you about protecting the promise of public education and investing in domestic priorities like transportation and infrastructure instead of needlessly boosting defense spending. Here's a link to the additional town hall meetings I'll be holding over the next several weeks. I hope to see you there!
You can find more updates about my work around the district and in Washington, DC on Facebook,TwitterInstagram, and YouTube. You can also contact my Oregon and Washington, DC offices with questions, comments, or for assistance with a federal agency. This mailbox is not monitored. To contact me via email, please use this secure web form.