I hope this message finds you safe and well. Over the last few days, the East Bay has been under tremendous pressure from both the wildfires and COVID-19. I want to give a special thank you to our firefighters and first responders who are sacrificing their safety to help us get these simultaneous crises under control. I also want to thank all of you. My office has received several messages asking how you can support your neighbors in need and I am overwhelmed with gratitude for those of you who have stepped up to help out our community.
On Wednesday, I held a virtual town hall with Congressman Ro Khanna, Cal Fire SCU Chief Jake Hess, and Fremont Fire Chief Curtis Jacobson. The chiefs shared valuable information about the status of the wildfires, evacuation warnings, and what you and your loved ones can do to better prepare for emergencies. You can watch our conversation here.
Last week, I joined 31 of my colleagues from California in sending a letter to President Trump requesting that he immediately grant California’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration. This declaration would free up federal resources to help combat the wildfires and support our frontline workers. The request was granted on August 22.
I cosponsored the bipartisan Increase Federal Disaster Cost Share Act of 2020 which would increase the cost that the federal government is responsible for paying from 75 percent to 90 percent for any federal disaster declaration beginning at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic through the end of 2020. Natural disasters have placed additional strain on governments already stretched thin from battling the virus, and Northern California is no exception.
I remain committed to defending and protecting the United States Postal Service. I cosponsored and voted for H.R. 8015, the Delivering for America Act, which provides $25 billion to the USPS and prohibits the USPS from making changes to operations or levels of service from those that were in effect on January 1, 2020 until the last day of the COVID-19 pandemic or January 1, 2021, whichever is later. It passed the House on August 22 with a vote of 257 to 150 and now awaits action in the Senate.
I also joined my colleagues in signing two letters addressing USPS operations. Both were addressed to Postmaster General Dejoy; one requested that the USPS address the dangerous delays in mail-order prescriptions for veterans, and the other called for the reversal of policies that have worsened the crisis facing the Postal Service and exacerbated the dramatic increase in delayed and undelivered mail.
Last week I held a masked and socially distant news conference outside the U.S. Post Office in Dublin. They and so many other Americans depend on the mail for medications, commerce, and so much more. I told the story of Maria, a mom from San Ramon, whose symptoms are worsening as her thyroid medication is late to arrive for the first time. Real people, real lives, real problems. For our prescriptions, our businesses, our personal connections, and our votes, we’ll keep fighting to make sure that the U.S. Postal Service is fully funded and functional, and that our election is free and fair.
I also visited the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services to speak with Sheriff Ahern and others, and to drop off some cookies as a small token of appreciation for the work of our emergency managers. Alameda County is grappling with COVID-19, fires, a heat wave, power outages, and more, and we owe a debt of gratitude to our first responders for their tireless efforts.
And I visited Stanford Health Care – ValleyCare in Pleasanton to get an update on the COVID-19 crisis. Thanks to President & CEO Rick Shumway and his staff for the briefing and our tour of the ICU and Emergency Department.
All my #CA15 neighbors should know that it’s safe and smart to seek medical care when you’re truly sick; the hospital is taking all necessary precautions to maintain safety for patients and staff. Don’t wait until you’re in a health crisis – getting help sooner could make all the difference.
There are new Shelter in Place orders in place in both Alameda County and Contra Costa County. These updated orders permit limited outdoor activities and require schools to continue distance learning at this time. Click on the county specific links to learn more about the changes.
We’re stronger together. Let’s continue to support one another through these trying times. Please reach out if my office can be of service in any way. I’m reachable by DM on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, or through my website.
Member of Congress