From Congressman Mark DeSaulnier: President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2019 Budget

Congressman DeSaulnier - Trump 2019 budget

An emailed message from Congressman Mark DeSaulnier:

Earlier this month, President Trump released his Fiscal Year 2019 budget and unveiled his long-awaited infrastructure plan. Both of these proposals are shortsighted, fail to meet our country’s needs, and would increase the financial burden on working families. As part of our effort to provide you with the facts behind the issues facing Congress, below you will find details compiled by House committees and the White House.

President Trump’s 2019 Budget Proposal:

  • Slashes Medicare by nearly $500 billion over ten years and Medicaid by $1.4 trillion; 
  • Attacks our clean air, clean water, and public health by cutting funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by 30% and eliminates 30 environmental protection programs, including programs for climate change research, environmental education, protecting beaches, reducing lead risks, and protecting national estuaries;
  • Eliminates vital housing and community development programs, including capacity building for affordable housing, Community Development Block Grants, and the HOME Investment Partnerships program, all at a time when we urgently need to increase our supply of affordable housing. The HOME program alone has created 1.5 million jobs nationwide and generated $94 billion in local income while helping more than 270,000 families at risk of homelessness since its creation in 1992;
  • Cuts SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps, by nearly 30% over the next ten years;
  • Undermines the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) programs that help lift thousands out of poverty every year by requiring participants to have a Social Security Number;
  • Eliminates 17 K-12 programs, for a total of $4.4 billion in cuts, including complete elimination of funding for afterschool programs and teacher development programs;
  • Eliminates the following programs:
    • Chemical Safety Board – the only safety agency to be eliminated
    • Special Olympics
    • National Endowment of the Arts
    • National Endowment of the Humanities
    • Corporation for National and Community Service (AmeriCorps, SeniorCorps, etc.);
  • Abandons the President’s campaign promise to balance the budget and adds $7 trillion to the national debt.

President Trump’s Infrastructure Plan:

  • Increases spending by only $200 billion, which barely makes up for the cuts in other infrastructure programs proposed in his budget ($168 billion) and falls short of our infrastructure needs;
  • Shifts responsibility for infrastructure funding and maintenance to state and local governments and requires them to come up with 80% of funds, which likely will result in increased tolls on working families;
  • Privatizes the Air Traffic Control, which increases the national debt by $57 billion.

The complete budget proposal can be found here, and the full infrastructure proposal can be found here.

As always, we are committed to serving you and your family. Should you have questions or comments on the President’s Budget or infrastructure plan, please share them with us here or contact my office at 925-933-2660. To stay up-to-date on these and other issues before Congress, follow me on FacebookTwitter, and our new Instagram.


Mark DeSaulnier
Member of Congress


EL CERRITO PROGRESSIVES to Hold Community Discussion on Voting Rights and Election Integrity

Voting Rights and Election Integrity

From 7PM to 9PM on Wednesday, February 28th, El Cerrito Progressives (ECP) will hold a public session on voting rights and election integrity. Looking forward to the 2018 midterm elections, ECP sees bringing informative transparency to the voting and ballot process to be crucial for voters.

The location of the informative event will be:

Rialto Cinemas Cerrito
10070 San Pablo Ave
El Cerrito, CA 94530

The ACLU voting rights initiative states, “Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy and the fundamental right upon which all our civil liberties rest.”

In agreement with the above statement, El Cerrito Progressives will examine current issues affecting access to the ballot, knowing your voting rights, ways to exercise your voting rights, and what’s at stake for voting rights in the 2018 midterm elections.

Additionally, election integrity is a critical consideration for voters. Election integrity relates to allowing citizen access to the ballot and accuracy in the vote count, including preventing election fraud and voting machine manipulation.

El Cerrito Progressives recognizes the importance of full voter participation in the election process, and accordingly supports voters by addressing these concerns. Be present at 7PM this Wednesday, February 28th to learn and discuss your rights and protections as a voter.

Federal Obsession with Immigration Continues


The conflict on immigration continues.

The latest struggle pits the Trump administration against public benefits after drafting new rules that add difficulty to current non-U.S. citizens receiving tax-funded benefits.

The rule states that to receive tax-supported public benefits non-citizens must first establish permanent residency. This action would tactically blocks undocumented residents from receiving aid.

In addition, the proposed rules would be used by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “to determine if they [non-citizens] could become a public burden,” possibly obstructing their bid for citizenship.

Benefits applied to a person’s U.S. citizen children would still place the non-citizen parent in “public charge” status, counting against them in an application for citizenship. This policy is a direct departure from a long-standing policy that benefits to non-citizens not be used in determining their eligibility for U.S. citizenship.

The issue becomes more of a challenge, this time specifically aimed at — not just including — undocumented immigrants.

ICE US_Immigration_and_Customs_Enforcement_arrest

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) wants to become an Intelligence Agency under the Trump administration. This would allow the immigration enforcers access to information and investigatory powers afforded such authorities as the FBI and CIA. No longer would ICE depend on local law enforcement for knowledge on undocumented residents, disarming sanctuary.

An attorney for the ACLU’s National Security Project, Patrick Toomey, expressed concern for any attempt to make ICE an agency rather than law enforcement, stating, “The prospect of ICE joining the Intelligence Community, if true, should sound alarm bells.”

He went on to say, “Such a move threatens to give an agency responsible for domestic immigration enforcement access to a vast pool of sensitive information collected by our spy agencies for foreign intelligence purposes. Those spying tools do not belong in the hands of ICE agents.”

A spokesperson for ICE declined to comment on the ICE quest to become a federal agency. A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security did not respond to inquiries.

Congress finds itself in the midst of the immigration struggle.

Congress to vote on DACA

On Monday the Senate voted to formally debate on immigration legislation. Up to 800,000 DREAMers await their fate as the March 5 extension deadline on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive order (DACA) weighs over their heads.

To no avail, Senate bipartisan groups have for months tirelessly brainstormed on a proposal that could satisfy both the White House and the House of Representatives. After the projected February-long process of debate and amendments the Senate envisions putting together legislation that will garner the necessary 60 votes for passage.

Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) agreed to a free-for-all, open-ended debate process after Senate Democrats forced a government shutdown to elicit the concession from the Majority Leader.

House Speaker, Paul Ryan (R-1st District, WI) stated that the House will consider a bill that Donald Trump supports.

Find further information on the issues above-reviewed at DAILY BEAST: Trump DHS Rules May Target Immigrants on Gov’t BenefitsDAILY BEAST: ICE Wants to Be an Intelligence Agency Under Trump, and DAILY BEAST: Senate Officially Kicks Off Immigration Debate.

NOTE: While the source of this information is deemed by governmental reference to be fake news, this author has vetted the news content and finds it to be sound and reliable in fact.

Safety First: New Gun Laws in California

gun ownership

In the shadow of gun violence throughout the nation, and in an attempt to advance regulations supported by lawmakers and voters over the past two years, California has brought a new set of restrictions to the 6 million gun owners who reside in the state.

However pending challenges in court, unclear deadlines, and assumed contradictions have left many gun owners uncertain as to the 2018 specifics of gun ownership.

To relieve confusion, The Sacramento Bee has responded to some compelling inquiries from California gun owners, with information on:

  • Whether owning an assault rifle is still allowed
  • Detachable magazines holding more than 10 rounds
  • Buying ammunition from a catalog
  • Whether the ban on direct mail affects ‘reloading’ supplies
  • Whether background checks are required to buy ammunition
  • Whether a special ammunition permit is required in gun use
  • Whether its allowable to import ammunition from another state or location
  • Allowable quantities of ammunition
  • Open-carry on long guns
  • Exceptions to the 2018 California gun regulations

California gun owners and concerned residents can now conduct an online review of answers to these questions, bringing deeper clarity to California gun ownership.

Find further information on gun ownership in California at the CA Department of Justice firearms website.

Nancy Pelosi Goes To Bat For Dreamers


In an 8-hour marathon speech, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (DCA 12th District) addressed the floor of the House on behalf of Dreamers.

From 10AM to 6PM Eastern, Congresswoman Pelosi extended the House-termed “leadership minute” into multiple hours with personal accounts of Dreamers who entered this country as children of undocumented parents.

As Congress balks and stalls on a deal that would give legal status to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Representative Pelosi strongly maintains that a bill which securely keeps the Dreamers in the country be brought to the House floor.

The full matter at stake is Congress’ need to agree on a spending deal that will finance the national government. Many issues currently block a provision towards government funding. One of these issues is DACA. Minority Leader Pelosi says she will not support a spending deal without House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI 1st District) bringing DACA legislation to the House floor.

Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has already agreed to let DACA legislation come to the Senate upper chamber, leaving House Speaker Ryan as the primary resister to a vote that would possibly make DACA a law.

The current DACA program is set to end this year in March.

For more on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s speech supporting Dreamers, see MarketWatch: Pelosi stages marathon 8-hour protest on House floor for Dreamers, the source of this information.

California State Senate Passes Net Neutrality Bill


On Monday evening, January 29, the California State Senate approved SB-460, a bill requiring that an ISP operating in the State of California follow state net neutrality requirements. ISPs who do not follow state provisions will not be allowed to operate in California, thereby forfeiting billions in anticipated revenue.

With passage of SB-460 California joins Montana, New York, and over a dozen additional states in a push-back against the recent FCC rollback of net neutrality.

The California net neutrality bill firmly disallows paid or otherwise preferential treatment to any Internet traffic or Internet customer, while also making it illegal for ISPs to limit customer selection, access, broadband Internet access, or access to lawful Internet content, applications, services or devices.

In addition, the bill prohibits state agencies from acquiring internet services from ISPs who do not adhere to state net neutrality rules, while charging any ISP who misrepresents its adherence to state net neutrality laws with perjury.

Backing up SB-460 is SB-822, another net neutrality bill under consideration, introduced by Senator Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco).  Both bills are likely to be merged into one law once details are sorted out.

California’s SB-460 is the most expansive of any state net neutrality action so far, in that it calls for punitive action against ISPs who knowingly avoid or violate state net neutrality law.

In response to state push-backs, ISPs such as Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, and Cox Communications, who were initially looking towards FCC net neutrality rollbacks as allowing profits through high-priced fast lane charges extracted from companies like Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Spotify, must reformat their access rules. Many ISPs are now contemplating a checkered pattern of multiple access rules in respect to the state in which they operate.

Even if the federal government enforces the FCC ban on independent state net neutrality laws, ISPs see the ‘war’ that could ensue as being bad for business. The following video details the FCC ban on state laws concerning its net neutrality rollback.

California Net-Neutrality Law

YES: CA Senate Defies FCC, Approves Net Neutrality Law

In addition to numerous state net neutrality laws and executive orders, cost-effective high-speed and consumer-supported taxpayer-funded ISPs are on the rise, posing yet another challenge to FCC net neutrality rollbacks.

Once again the State of California places itself at the forefront of advocating for the public with the SB-460 dispensation of the FCC net neutrality rollback.

Source article: State of California Passes Its Own Net Neutrality Bill — In Direct Defiance of the FCC




Bipartisan Congressional Budget Agreement that Includes DACA

Defend DACA

A bipartisan group of lawmakers – 48 in total – known as the Problem Solvers Caucus has revealed a new plan aimed at resolving the government funding debate, including issues related to DACA.

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) is a caucus member who unveiled the full Problem Solvers Caucus Agreement, which among other issues details the following proposals for DACA:

DACA Solution

Pathway to Earned Citizenship:

  • 12 years, with up to 2 years of credit for time with DACA (10 years)
    • Dreamers with conditional permanent resident status would not be eligible for federal means-tested benefits in accordance with current federal law

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Must have entered the U.S. by June 15, 2012
  • Bar for convictions of specified crimes, which cannot be waived in any circumstances; INA criminal bars can only be waived on a case-by-case basis, for humanitarian purposes or when in the public interest; the Secretary must submit quarterly reports to Congress on the number of waiver requests and how many were granted.
  • Must have satisfied any Federal tax liability accrued since receiving work authorization under DACA, with an option to enroll in a payment plan.

DACA (Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals) has been a major issue in passing a 2018 federal budget. Congress has been unable to find a solution to DACA and other issues that block funding. The short-term government funding bill expires on February 8, deepening the importance of removing obstacles to passing a fiscal budget.

See more information on the proposed DACA solution, and proposals to other issues related to government funding, on Countable, the source of this information.