Garamendi Outlines Major Accomplishments for 116th Congress
Davis, CA.—Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) announced his major accomplishments for the 116th Congress (2019-2020), including 3 bills signed into law, $2,300,000 in earned but previously unpaid federal benefits to his constituents and over $1,800,000 for 3rd District veterans. In Washington, he works on issues crucial to California and our country's economy and national security.
Congressman Garamendi is a senior member of two of the most productive committees in Congress: the House Armed Services Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Since January 2019, Garamendi has served as Chairman of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, which oversees over one-third of the Department of Defense's annual operating budget: the largest share of any Subcommittee in Congress. The Readiness Subcommittee has jurisdiction over 1,000 military installations and bases worldwide and oversees all U.S. military training, logistics, and equipment maintenance. As Chairman, Garamendi has enacted legislation into law to instruct the military to respond to the effects of climate change, improve military housing for our service members and their families, and remove toxic substances from drinking water in and around military installations.
On the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Garamendi has for the past 7 years been selected to serve as a conferee for the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which authorizes funding for the U.S. Department of Defense and all military service branches including the Air Force. These select Members of Congress from the House and Senate are charged each year with reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions of the annual defense authorization bill, and negotiating the final compromise to be passed into law. This has given Congressman Garamendi a significant voice in setting military policy, advocate for our service members, and protect the vital missions at Travis and Beale Air Force Bases.
On the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Congressman Garamendi has helped author a much-needed five-year bill to improve highways, a $1.5 trillion plan to rebuild American infrastructure, and four water resource development bills.
Garamendi 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.
A comprehensive review of Garamendi’s accomplishments in the 116th Congress is included below:
- $2,300,000 in earned but previously unpaid federal benefits to his constituents and over $1,800,000 for 3rd District veterans
- 31 Bills Introduced
- 3 Authored Bills Enacted Into Law
- 12 Cosponsored Bills Enacted Into Law
- 86 Cosponsored Bills Passed House
- 106 Cosponsored Bills with Committee Consideration
- 14 Authored Amendments Enacted Into Law
- 21 Amendments Adopted by House Committee or Full House
Garamendi Bills Enacted Into Law:
- H.R.357, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area Act: Enacted as part of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act (Public Law 116-9), this bill 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.
- H.R.5671, Merchant Mariners of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act”: 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. Garamendi’s bill was signed into law on March 12, 2020 (Public Law 116-125).
- H.R.2617, Service Member’s Occupational and Environmental Transparency Health (OATH) Act: 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. Most components of the legislation were enacted as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (Public Law 116-9). The remainder is on track to be included in the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Garamendi Bills Passed By House:
- H.R.4710, Pharmaceutical Independence Long-Term Readiness Reform Act: Requires the Department of Defense to identify the vulnerabilities faced by our country’s dependence on Chinese pharmaceuticals, and to only purchase American-made raw materials, medicines, and vaccines for the military. This bill was passed by the House on July 21, 2020 as part of the “William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021” (H.R.6395).
- H.R.3193, Transportation Emergency Relief Funds Availability Act: This bill would safeguard federal funding for disaster-recovery transportation projects statewide. On July 1, 2020 this bill passed the House as part of the “Moving Forward Act” (H.R.2).
Garamendi Bills with Committee Consideration:
- H.R.8217, WIFIA Improvement Act of 2020: Would amend the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) of 2014 to make public water projects like the off-stream Sites Reservoir Project eligible for low-interest, longer-term federal loans from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Specifically, the bill would allow water projects with longer useful lifecycles like Sites Reservoir to receive federal WIFIA financing for 55-year loan terms instead of the current 35-year loan terms, thereby lowering the capital costs for such projects. On May 11, 2020, a portion of this bill was included in the “America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2020” (S.3591) that was reported by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
- H.R.7523, TIFIA for Airports Act: Would make public airport projects eligible for low-interest federal loans and loan guarantees under the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) Program. Approximately $1.88 billion of federal financing is available, as of the end of Fiscal Year 2019. On January 8, 2020, Senator Duckworth’s (D-IL) bipartisan companion bill (S.563) was included in the “America's Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019” (S.2302) reported by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
- H.R.2838, Enhancing the Strength and Capacity of America's Primary Evacuation routes (ESCAPE) Act: Would authorize $1 billion to help communities improve evacuation routes in the wake of increased climate-related disasters across the country. On January 8, 2020, Senator Markey’s (D-MA) companion bill (S.1546) was included in the “America's Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019” (S.2302) reported by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
- H.R.4374, Aircraft Maintenance Outsourcing Disclosure Act: Would require 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. Airlines would also be required to submit an annual report to a new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) database that tracks the maintenance history of their aircraft fleets. The database will also indicate whether maintenance was conducted in the United States or abroad; by FAA-certified mechanics or not; or by airline employees or third-party contractors. On November 20, 2019, this bill passed by the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure 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: This bill 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).
- H.R.830, Flood Insurance for Farmers Act: Would provide 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, 2019, this bill passed by the Committee on Financial Services as part of the “National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2019” (H.R.3167).
- H.R.1435, Sites Reservoir Project Act: Would direct the Bureau of Reclamation to complete a necessary feasibility study for the Sites Reservoir Project and, if deemed feasible, authorize additional funding and technical support.
- H.R.1066, American Food for American Schools Act: Strengthens “Buy American” requirements under the National School Lunch Program to ensure our children are eating nutritious, locally grown produce in their school lunches.
- H.R.864, Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act: Would strengthen federal enforcement against poachers, traffickers, and the global trade in illegal wildlife and seafood products. The bill would also provide dedicated funding for conservation efforts, at no expense to American taxpayers.
- H.R.463, Military Retiree Survivor Comfort Act: This bill would repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) within one year of enactment and is named after Garamendi’s good friend and long-time ally on AUMF-related issues, the late Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC).
Garamendi Amendments Adopted Into Law (14 total):
S.1790, National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020
- Status: December 20, 2019, President signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (Public law 116-92), including Garamendi’s 11 amendments listed below:
- Garamendi #090: Requires the Department of Defense (DOD) to input any occupational/environmental health exposure into service members’ records while deployed, so it is tracked throughout their career and into veteran status. This is a key provision from Garamendi’s “Service Member’s Occupational and Environmental Transparency Health (OATH) Act” (H.R.2617)
- Garamendi #089: Requires a report that outlines near-term actions being taken to reduce DOD’s reliance on foreign-flagged vessels.
- Garamendi #182: Ensures departing service members and veterans can more easily credit their military service toward earning a Merchant Mariner Credential needed to sail US-flagged vessels.
- Garamendi #351: Requires the DOD to continue to recognize civilian-issued Transportation Worker Identification Cards (TWIC) for workplace access to military maritime terminals and allows the DOD’s discretion in recognizing these cards for other installations.
- Garamendi #184: Extends the authority to carry out the backup Global Positioning System (GPS) capability demonstration, which is a current expiring directive authority from the FY2018 NDAA, by an additional 18 months, and extends the report submission requirement by an additional 18 months. This will support the establishment of a reliable backup system if our nation’s GPS systems are disrupted or hacked.
- Garamendi #155: Makes technical corrections to the portion of the bill authorizing Military Construction (MilCon) projects.
- Garamendi #164: Requires a briefing on the DOD’s support to United States’ efforts to combat wildlife trafficking.
- Garamendi #166: Required a report on the requirements for, and policies and procedures governing the domestic use of DOD manned and unmanned aerial systems to support States, territories, and other Federal agencies for disaster-response and other civilian missions.
- Garamendi #156: Requires a report on the DOD’s efforts on corrosion prevention/control, and to determine whether a training center needs to be established.
- Kelly #217 (Garamendi cosponsored): Based off the “TRICARE Reserve Select Improvement Act” (H.R.613), introduced by Congressman Trent Kelly (R-MS) of which Garamendi is the original cosponsor. Ensures that those serving in the National Guard or Armed Forces Reserve can participate in the TRICARE Reserve Select health insurer program. Under current law, federal employees who also serve in the National Guard or Reserves are prohibited from participating in Tricare Reserve Select. To avoid the issue of mandatory spending increases in markup, this would take effect January 1, 2030.
- Bacon #52 (Garamendi cosponsored): Requires a report with additional information on the “Air Force We Need” proposal (increase to 386 operational squadrons) to include infrastructure requirements, maintenance, supporting personnel requirements, depot production, industrial base support, etc.
H.R.3409, Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2019
- Status: December 20, 2019, President signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (Public law 116-92), including Garamendi’s three amendments below from the “Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2019” (H.R.3409):
- Garamendi #65: Directs U.S. Department of Transportation and National Academy of Public Administration to complete an independent study on the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
- Garamendi #66: Requires U.S. Department of Transportation to designate each State maritime academy/college as “center of excellence” for domestic maritime workforce training and education.
- Garamendi #67: Implements any “Buy American” requirements for grant funds awarded under the Maritime Administration’s Small Shipyard Grant Program.
Garamendi Amendments Adopted by Committee or House (21 in total)
H.R.4447, Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act
- Status: September 24, 2020, passed by the House including Garamendi’s below amendment.
- Garamendi #30: Clarifies that offshore wind projects on the Outer Continental Shelf are indeed subject to jurisdiction of the U.S. Constitution and applicable federal labor and environmental laws, as offshore oil/gas rigs are currently. The House passed this language by voice vote in the 112th Congress as well (H.R. 2360).
H.R.7575, Water Resources Development Act of 2020
- Status: July 29, 2020, passed by the House, including Garamendi’s amendment below:
- Garamendi #164: States that the Army Corps should fully implement the Small Business Act across all the Corps’ missions (navigation, aquatic ecosystem restoration, flood risk management) and requires a report to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on the number of small business contracts awarded by each geographic Division of the Corps for each mission. Garamendi’s amendment, endorsed by the International Union of Operating Engineers.
H.R.2, Moving Forward Act
- Status: July 1, 2020, passed by the House including Garamendi’s three amendments below that were adopted during the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s markup of the legislation:
- Garamendi #124: Expands “Buy American” requirements for federally funded highway projects to also include US-made and sourced building "construction materials.” This amendment includes the text of Garamendi’s “Made in America Act” (H.R.3459).
- Garamendi #126: Lengthens the agreement terms allowing states selected by the U.S. Department of Transportation to complete required National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) work including for “categorical exclusions” for any federally funded projects, on behalf of the Federal Highway Administration. The agreement terms in this amendment, from 5 to 10 years, were specifically requested by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), which has a proven track record of completing this work.
- Garamendi #128: Directs the U.S. Department of Transportation to implement a pilot program allowing local transportation agencies to use completed documents under the California Environmental Quality Act to satisfy the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act: achieving so-called “CEQA-NEPA equivalency.” Congress authorized this pilot program in 2015 under the FAST Act (2015 Highway Bill), but it has never been implemented because USDOT has simply not finished the needed regulations.
H.R.6395, William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021
- Status: July 9, 2020, 12 Garamendi amendments were adopted by the Committee on Armed Services and reported to full House:
- Garamendi #466 (Seapower EB1): Requires certain auxiliary ship components be procured from a manufacturer in the National Technology and Industrial Base.
- Garamendi #415 (Readiness EB1): Initiates an easement sought by Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority from the Air Force.
- Garamendi #420 (Strategic Forces EB1): Requests a briefing on the implementation of an operational GPS backup system required per the National Timing Resilience and Security Act.
- Garamendi #315: Requires information from the Burn Pit Registry to be integrated into electronic health records, to better document and track exposures to occupational environmental health hazards. Last year’s conference report for the National Defense Authorization Act required the DOD to input occupational environmental health exposures into service members’ records while deployed, following them throughout their career and into veteran status. However, integrating the Burn Pit Registry information into the electronic health records fell out during conference negotiations, so Garamendi offered this amendment again this year since many veterans’ health records do not account for their exposures. This language will mandate that the DoD and VA retroactively update their records based on information contained in the Burn Pit Registry.
- Garamendi #413: Legislatively conveys the decommissioned Sharpe Army Depot to the Port of Stockton for continued public use.
- Garamendi #638: Gives excess U.S. Forest Service land to Modoc County. Garamendi offered this amendment on behalf of Rep. LaMalfa.
- Garamendi #469: Requires DOD to issue new guidance that provides streamlined approval process/expedited review of requests for the use of unmanned aerial surveillance by the National Guard for emergency operations, safety assessment reports, and other activities (i.e. wildfire detection).
- Garamendi #125: Requires that corrective and preventive maintenance for vessels already under contract be performed in the United States to the extent practicable, and defines corrective and preventive maintenance.
- Norcross #73 (Garamendi cosponsored): Restricts any FY2021 funds from being used to strip DOD employees of their collective bargaining rights.
- Norcross #63 (Garamendi cosponsored): Enhances Buy American law for major defense procurements.
- Slotkin #12 (Garamendi cosponsored): Requires the DOD to publish results of drinking and groundwater polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) testing conducted on military installations or former defense sites such that they are publicly available.
- Cheney #276 (Garamendi cosponsored): Expands a prohibition on acquiring certain sensitive materials from specific countries, effective three years after the date of enactment.
H.R.2500, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020
- Status: June 12, 2019, Two Garamendi amendments listed below were adopted at the Committee on Armed Service’s markup of this legislation:
- Garamendi #166: Requires DOD to issue new policy guidance for the domestic use of unmanned aerial systems to bring into parity their use by the National Guard for emergency, search and rescue, and defense support to civil authorities, as all other Guard aircraft perform these activities under existing law. This amendment aimed to expedite the approval process allowing the National Guard to use unmanned aircraft systems to help track wildfires, perform search and rescue efforts, and assist in other efforts to combat emergencies in California and throughout the nation.
- Garamendi #350: Directs the General Services Administration to establish a five-year program to test each of the three models of commercial e-commerce portals before awarding a final contract to a provider.
H.R.3409, Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2019
- Status: June 26, 2019, two Garamendi amendments were adopted by the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure:
- Garamendi #68: Authorizes the Coast Guard to extend the duration of Merchant Mariner credentials and licenses, certificates of registry, and other merchant mariners’ documents to: help reduce application backlog; align with expiration dates for transportation worker identification credential (TWIC card) issued by the Transportation Security Administration; and harmonize the expiration dates for Merchant Mariner credentials so that merchant Mariners get full 5-year term on their renewed credential.
- Garamendi #69: Directs the U.S. Coast Guard and Transportation Security Administration to establish a pilot program allowing individuals to apply jointly for both a Merchant Mariner credential and transportation worker identification credential (TWIC card) with a single application.
Chairman of Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness:
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:
- January 23, 2019: Selected as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Readiness.
- From 2013-2018, Congressman Garamendi previously served as the lead Democrat (Ranking Member) on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation from 2013-2018.
- June 5, 2019: Under Chairman Garamendi’s leadership, the Subcommittee on Readiness’ contribution to the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020” (H.R.2500) included several critical provisions to build better housing for service members, help the military grapple with the effects of climate change, and to support the missions at Travis and Beale Air Force Bases. His provisions empower the military to:
- Address problems with the management and oversight of military family housing
- Direct the Department of Defense to plan for installation resiliency in the face of the global climate crisis
- Respond to drinking water contamination on military installations
- Authorize Funding Military Construction Projects, including at $107.1 million at Travis and $74.2 million at Beale Air Force Bases
- Improve oversight, management, and accountability to improve military readiness
- June 13, 2019: Chairman Garamendi and other Democratic members of the Committee on Armed Services voted to report the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020” (H.R.2500).
- September 17, 2019: Chairman Garamendi appointed to bicameral conference committee for the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2020.
- June 23, 2020: Under Chairman Garamendi’s leadership, the Subcommittee on Readiness’ mark of the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021” (H.R.6395) enabled the military to:
- Make investments to support the training, sustainment, and quality of life for military personnel and their families
- Continue efforts to address contamination associated with per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) around military installations
- Continue efforts to address vulnerabilities that threaten the resiliency of military facilities and operations
- Build on the committee’s previous legislative and oversight activities to ensure that military personnel and their families live in quality housing and that the department and private housing partners are responsive to resident concerns
- Support DOD civilian workforce by strengthening the pay and benefits they receive for their service
- Require DOD to place an emphasis on the sustainment, logistics, and the infrastructure enterprise to enable military readiness and operations
- July 1, 2020: Chairman Garamendi and members of the Committee on Armed Services voted to report the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021” (H.R.26395), including:
- “Put Our Neighbors to Work Act” (H.R.6764), introduced with Readiness Vice-chairman Andy Kim (D-NJ)
- Initiating a “National Maritime Logistics Fleet” Strategy:
- Directs DoD to conduct a comprehensive assessment on the sustainment and logistics requirements to support the national military strategy (Section 351)
- Limits the Navy’s purchasing of foreign-built ships until a sealift acquisition strategy is finalized (Section 1022)
- Strengthens U.S. flagged vessel requirements for the movement of military cargo, bringing military’s cargo preference in line with existing cargo preference law for civilian agencies (Section 1024)
- Authorizes National Defense Sealift funding to accelerate development of an acquisition strategy for sealift recapitalization that maximizes commercial designs (Section 1406)
- Directs DoD to study the strategic and tactical maritime logistics force required to support maritime logistics and establish a bulk fuel distribution strategy that reduces DoD reliance on Foreign-flagged vessels (Section 2854)
- Authorizes the establishment of a Tanker Security Program to mitigate the fuel tanker gap in DoD fuel distribution Section 3511—
- November TBD, 2020: Chairman Garamendi was appointed to the bicameral, bipartisan conference committee for the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2021.
Other Legislative Accomplishments:
- October 22, 2020: Garamendi helped secure a $1.4 million grant from California’s Wildlife Conservation Board for the Camp-Pendola Fire and Habitat Restoration Project. The project will restore areas surrounding New Bullards Bar Reservoir. Congressman Garamendi submitted a letter of support for the project’s grant application to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
- August 14, 2020: Garamendi secured inclusion of almonds in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Section 32 purchase program to support farmers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Congressman Garamendi led a letter cosigned by Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), TJ Cox (D-CA), Josh Harder (D-CA), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Ami Bera (D-CA), Devin Nunes (R-CA).
- August 14, 2020: Garamendi helped secure the inclusion of walnuts in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Section 32 purchase program to support farmers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Congressman Garamendi co-signed a letter led by Congressman Josh Harder (D-CA).
- August 11, 2020: Garamendi secured the inclusion of walnuts in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to support farmers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Congressman Garamendi co-led a letter with Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) and Jim Costa (D-CA).
- October 4, 2019: Garamendi secured new, punitive tariffs on canned peaches and mixed fruits exported from the European Union. One June 4, 2019, 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.
- August 1, 2019: Garamendi secured inclusion of walnuts in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market Facilitation Program to assist farmers impacted by the President’s self-inflicted trade war. On June 21, 2019, Congressman Garamendi led a letter cosigned by Congressmen T.J. Cox (D-CA), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), and Jim Costa (D-CA) to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue calling for the inclusion of California-grown walnuts in the Trump Administration’s newest retaliatory tariff-relief package.
- June 6, 2019: Garamendi secured key provisions for California in $17.2 billion disaster-relief package (Public Law 116-20), including:
- Working with Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA), extended 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), ensuring 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.