Accomplishments in Congress
Congressman Garamendi is proud to represent the people of the Third District of California. His district team has helped deliver millions of dollars of earned benefits to his constituents, including $6.86 million dollars in earned benefits for 3rd District veterans. In Washington, he works on issues crucial to our local communities and to our country's economy and national security.
Congressman Garamendi sits on two of the most dynamic and productive committees in Congress: The House Armed Services Committee, which has the annual task of completing a massive authorization bill that sets policy for our armed forces; and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which sets policy and funding priorities for our nation's transportation systems.
As a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Garamendi has for the past six years been selected to reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions of the annual defense authorization bill during conference negotiations. This has given him a significant voice in helping to set military policy, advocate for our service members, and protect the vital missions at Travis and Beale Air Force Bases. He also serves as Chairman of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, which oversees over one-third of the Department of Defense's authorization--the largest of any Armed Services Subcommittee.
On the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Congressman Garamendi has helped author a long-awaited five-year highway bill, four water resource development bills, and a rail reauthorization. He is also a member of four Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittees: Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, Water Resources and Environment, Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials, Economic Development, and Public Buildings and Emergency Management. In these capacities, he advances his "Make It In America" agenda to create new middle-class jobs and rebuild our nation's crumbling infrastructure using American materials and workers.
Below is an overview of the work Garamendi accomplished in the 116th Congress alone:
• $1,084,145.30 in owed benefits returned to CA-03 constituents through casework requests. $988,897.51 of those benefits were for veterans.
• 22 Bills Introduced
• 1 Sponsored Bill signed into law, to date
• 4 Cosponsored Bills signed into law
• 51 Cosponsored Bills passed by the House
• 68 Cosponsored Bills Received Committee Consideration
• 17 Amendments Adopted by Committee or full House
GARAMENDI BILLS ENACTED INTO LAW:
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area Act (H.R.357): Designates the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta as the first National Heritage Area in California and provides $10 million for community-based efforts to conserve the Delta’s cultural heritage, historical landmarks, and natural beauty. On March 12, Garamendi’s bill was signed into law as part of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act (Public Law 116-9).
GARAMENDI BILLS PASSED BY HOUSE AND SENATE:
Merchant Mariners of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act (H.R.550): Awards the Congressional Gold Medal to American merchant mariners of World War II, in recognition of their service. The Merchant Marine suffered the highest per capita casualty rate in the U.S. military during World War II. An estimated 8,300 mariners lost their lives, and another 12,000 were wounded, while supplying the American military and allied war effort. On September 19, the House of Representatives and the Senate unanimously passed Garamendi’s bipartisan H.R.550, which has over 300 cosponsors.
GARAMENDI BILLS PASSED BY COMMTTEE:
Aircraft Maintenance Outsourcing Disclosure Act (H.R.4374): Requires airlines to disclose the maintenance history for their aircraft fleets, specifically the location and date an aircraft underwent heavy maintenance—the most comprehensive test for an aircraft. This legislation prioritizes transparency so that FAA regulators and the public know who services the planes they fly on and where the service takes place. On November 20, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure passed Garamendi’s bipartisan H.R.4374 as part of the “Safe Aircraft Maintenance Standards Act” (H.R.5119).
H.R.1764, To amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act with respect to permitting terms, and for other purposes: Cuts the national Clean Water Act permitting backlog in half and allows state regulators like California’s State Water Resources Control Board to focus on long-term water quality planning and updated standards. On October 29, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure passed Garamendi’s bipartisan H.R.1764 as part of the “Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2019” (H.R.1497).
Flood Insurance for Farmers Act (H.R.830): Provides farmers access to discounted rates under the National Flood Insurance Program. It would also lift the de facto federal prohibition on construction and repair of agricultural structures in high flood-risk areas designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). On June 14, the House Committee on Financial Services passed Garamendi’s bipartisan H.R.830 as part of the “National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2019” (H.R.3167).
Service Member’s Occupational and Environmental Transparency Health (OATH) Act (H.R.2617): Ensures active duty military personnel and veterans can accurately document any toxins they were exposed to while deployed, so they can receive VA treatment for any health issues stemming from that exposure. On June 19, the House Committee on Armed Services passed Garamendi’s bipartisan H.R.2617 as part of the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020” (H.R.2500).
READINESS SUBCOMMITTEE CHAIRMANSHIP:
On January 23, Garamendi was selected to serve as Chair of the Readiness Subcommittee on the House Armed Services Committee. The Readiness Subcommittee oversees one-third of the Department of Defense’s budget—the largest of any subcommittee in Congress. The Readiness Subcommittee has jurisdiction over programs related to training, logistics, equipment maintenance, the management of over 1,000 military installations and bases worldwide, and efforts to improve energy resiliency, including climate change adaptation, and environmental health issues.
As Chairman, Garamendi hosted numerous oversight hearings and was appointed to the bicameral conference committee responsible for negotiating the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)—the annual authorization for the U.S. military. An outline of his work as Chairman is as follows:
STRENGTHENING TRAVIS AND BEALE AIR FORCE BASES
Garamendi secured $181 million in new funding for construction projects at Travis and Beale Air Force Bases in the House’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
CONFRONTING THE CLIMATE CRISIS
Garamendi included language in the House-passed NDAA to ensure the U.S. military is prepared to respond to climate change and be an ally in the fight to end the global climate crisis. Garamendi’s legislation takes unprecedented steps to empower the military to respond to the effects of climate change.
FIXING THE PRIVATIZED MILITARY HOUSING CRISIS
Garamendi included an amendment in the House-passed NDAA to address unhygienic and dangerous living conditions thousands of service members and their families are subject to in privately constructed military housing. The legislation establishes a “tenants’ bill of rights” to hold private housing contractors accountable for developing safe on-base housing for service members and their families.
As Readiness Chairman, Garamendi led a Congressional Delegation in April to study the impact unsafe privatized military housing is having on service members and their families.
SUPPORTING VETERANS AND SERVICE MEMBERS SEEKING HEALTH CARE
The House-passed NDAA also includes the full text of Garamendi’s bipartisan OATH Act (H.R.261), which ensures active-duty military personnel and veterans can accurately document any toxins they were exposed to while deployed, so they can receive VA treatment for any health issues stemming from that exposure.
Garamendi also successfully added the Tricare Reserve Improvement Act (H.R.613), to the House-passed NDAA. This bipartisan bill extends eligibility to all National Guardsmen and Reservists, regardless of their civilian occupation, for TRICARE Reserve Select, a low-cost health insurance program for military service members and their families. The bipartisan legislation was introduced by Congressman Trent Kelly (R-MS) with Congressman Garamendi as an original cosponsor.
BRINGING NEW RESOURCES TO FIGHT WILDFIRES
Garamendi included language in the House-passed NDAA that will allow the National Guard to use unmanned aircraft systems like military drones to help detect wildfires, perform search and rescue efforts, and assist in other efforts to combat natural disasters and emergencies in California and throughout the nation.
HELPING LOCAL DISASTER VICTIMS
On June 6, Garamendi helped secure key provisions for California in a $17.2 billion disaster-recovery bill (Public Law 116-20), including:
• Working with Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA) to extend the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program (WHIP) to cover crop losses stemming from 2018 and 2019 natural disasters, including California wine-grape growers with ‘smoke-tainted’ grapes from nearby fires.
• Working with Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) to ensure that Paradise, CA and other communities impacted by wildfires qualify for grants, loans, and other assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program. The City of Paradise would otherwise exceed the population threshold for the USDA Rural Development Program and not qualify, despite many residents leaving following the 2018 Camp Fire.
The disaster-recovery law also includes a robust $1 billion funding level for the Army Corps of Engineers to address 2018 and 2019 floods—which could provide critical support in Lake, Glenn, Butte, and Colusa counties. The bill also includes $720 million for the U.S. Forest Service to strengthen forest management efforts, $3 billion to help local farmers recover from losses sustained by disasters, and $349.4 million to repair local drinking water systems—including the water system in Paradise, CA destroyed by the 2018 Camp Fire.
SERVING HOMELESS VETERANS
In 2019, Garamendi worked with Habitat for Humanity to establish a new financing mechanism that led to the construction of a new facility for homeless veterans in Dixon. The facility provides housing and essential services for homeless veterans looking to get back on their feet. Garamendi is continuing his work with Habitat for Humanity to open a similar facility in Rio Vista.
SUPPORTING LOCAL FARMERS
On June 28, Garamendi hosted U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in Sacramento County for a discussion with local farmers. At the event, Garamendi implored Secretary Perdue to approve his June 21 request to include California-grown walnuts in USDA’s Market Facilitation Program (MFP) and assist farmers impacted by the President’s self-inflicted trade war. Garamendi’s advocacy was successful, and Secretary Perdue approved Garamendi’s request with Congressmen T.J. Cox (D-CA), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), and Jim Costa (D-CA) to support California walnut farmers on August 1.
On October 4, Garamendi also helped secure new retaliatory tariffs on canned peaches and mixed fruits from the European Union. One June 4, Garamendi sent a letter with Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, calling for tariffs on European Union canned peaches and canned fruit mixtures. Mr. Lighthizer ultimately approved their request and imposed punitive tariffs on unfair EU subsidies to support U.S. growers.
HONORING THE 3RD DISTRICT’S ‘WOMEN OF THE YEAR’
In October, Garamendi hosted his 6th annual Women of the Year Awards. In 2019, Garamendi honored 50 women throughout the 3rd Congressional District who are leaders and visionaries in their communities. The women have all made significant contributions to society through public service, business, education, and local advocacy. 2019’s Women of the Year event included a posthumous tribute and recognition of Natalie Corona—the Davis police officer who was tragically killed during her service to the community in 2019.
In the 115th Congress, Congressman Garamendi:
• Introduced legislation to change the cost of living adjustments for federal government retirement accounts to better reflect costs seniors face such as drug pricing and housing. (H.R. 1251)
• With Republican Senator Roger Wicker, introduced a bill to rebuild America’s domestic shipbuilding and maritime industry by requiring a small percentage of exported crude oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) be transported on U.S.-built and U.S.-flagged vessels. (H.R. 5893)
• Continued to lead the fight against the disastrous twin tunnels, including fighting back against legislation that would prohibit any lawsuits against the project.
• Helped the City of Fairfield secure a $1.2 million federal grant to buy a modern, zero-emission bus fleet. This will improve air quality and allow for better bus routes throughout the city.
• Authored a bill to allow students to refinance their student loans at a lower rate, much like homeowners do with their mortgage. (H.R. 4001)
• Introduced legislation to award a Congressional Gold Medal, one of the highest honors in the U.S., to Merchant Mariners who sustained our armed forces during WWII. (H.R. 5879)
• Authored a provision in the annual National Defense Authorization Act to authorize $114.7 million to begin the most urgent construction projects necessary to ready Travis for the arrival of the KC-46 mission.
• Helped author a bipartisan provision in the FY18 appropriations bill that funds wildfire fighting like other natural disasters such as flood or tornados, allowing the Forest Service to do more preventative for management, like removing the millions of dead trees in California.
• Fought to ensure that a provision in the tax bill that would have significantly harmed agricultural exporters, including growers in his district, was removed from the final tax bill passed by Congress.
• Garamendi, along with Republican Doug LaMalfa, authored legislation to ensure that taxpayer dollars are used to provide our school children with American-grown food, rather than food from China. (H.R. 1241)
• Helped secure permits for critical emergency levee repairs in downtown Yuba City to keep local residents safe. Permits for this project would normally take years to acquire but were completed in mere months
• Authored legislation making technical corrections and clarifications to the laws that govern the Coast Guard, to ensure that the they are clear and that the Coast Guard’s roles and responsibilities are well-defined. (H.R. 5326)
• Successfully petitioned the IRS to grant tax relief for homeowners struggling to rebuild after recent wildfires in Lake and Yuba Counties.
• Fought successfully to remove provisions from the tax reform bill that would have incurred a massive tax hike on graduate students and those with student debt.
• With Republican Duncan Hunter, authored a Coast Guard re-authorization bill that passed the House as a part of a broader legislative package.
• Ensured his provision providing $10 million to the Departments of Defense, Transportation, and Homeland Security to jointly develop a GPS backup demonstration passed in the National Defense Authorization Act.
• In conference negotiations of the National Defense Authorization Act, fought successfully to authorize the procurement of a new heavy polar icebreaker for our Coast Guard, which is vital to protecting American interests in the Arctic.