September 2013 E-News Report
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Dear Friend,

Well, here we go again.  It is no secret that our nation faces tough choices on how to resolve our fiscal disagreements.  But a government shutdown or a default is exactly the wrong answer.  As I said on the House floor earlier today, shutdown or default is not governance, it is lunacy.

Compromise was the foundation of our constitution and the cornerstone of our system of government.  Yet for some reason people here in Washington seem to have forgotten this basic concept.  Now the lack of compromise threatens government institutions and services that our community relies on every day.  This game of brinksmanship being played also threatens the full faith and credit of the United States government at a crucial point in our economic recovery.

It is Congress’ job to fund the government so that vital services continue and bills are paid. Congress must work together to fund the government and honor our obligations so we can get back to work on solving our long term fiscal issues.  As Congress presses ahead on issues that are important to San Diego County, I would like to update you on what I have been working on in Washington and in the District. Please do not hesitate to contact me.

Warm Regards,


  1. Neighborhood Day at Grossmont College
  2. House Oversight on Syria
  3. Helping Military Children Succeed in School Act - H.R. 2933
  4. Supporting Nutrition Programs for Americans in Need
  5. Diabetes Congressional Leadership Award
  6. Post-DOMA Marriage Equality Town Hall
  7. Forum on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM)
  8. National Night Out in La Mesa and Rolando
  9. Visiting with Voices for Children at the Juvenile Court
  10. Community Snapshots
  11. Defense E-News
  12. Interested in an Internship?
I. Neighborhood Day at Grossmont College

Please come share your ideas, ask a question, and get an update about what’s happening in Congress at my Neighborhood Day on Monday, October 21. Detailed information for this town hall style event is below. Hope to see you there!

Click here to RSVP!

Date: Monday, October 21, 2013

Time: 6:30 P.M. to 7:30 P.M.

Location: Grossmont College, Griffin Center, 8800 Grossmont College Drive, El Cajon, CA 92020

Parking: Free parking is available on campus in Lots 5, 7, and the adjacent parking structure. Click here for a campus map.

II. House Oversight on Syria

Last Tuesday, I participated in the Armed Services Committee Hearing on the President’s Proposal to Authorize Military Force in Syria. The witnesses included Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey. It was an opportunity to ask tough questions about the need to maintain U.S. credibility versus committing our country to a situation with no clear way forward. I’ve appreciated hearing from so many of you on this issue. Although the recent diplomatic developments have put a vote in Congress on hold, I continue to remain actively engaged and am honored to represent my constituents on this very important matter.

III. Helping Military Children Succeed in School Act- H.R. 2933

Currently, schools and educators do not have the same access to reliable data on the academic performance of military-connected students that they do for other groups of students. Since military children face many special circumstances, I introduced H.R. 2933, legislation that would give educators new tools to help military children succeed academically. H.R. 2933 does this by creating a military student identifier to provide the data that would help educators identify areas of concern, develop best practices, and implement targeted solutions to help military-connected students succeed. For privacy concerns, personally identifiable information about individual students would be prohibited. My bill has been endorsed by the Military Child Education Coalition and the Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families.

IV. Supporting Nutrition Programs for Americans in Need

In August, I joined 204 of my colleagues to urge the House Majority to not abandon our nation’s poor and hungry. In a letter to the Speaker of the House, we laid out the consequences of not passing the nutritional portion of the Farm Bill to reauthorize the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In addition to providing critical nutrition and sustenance, programs like SNAP keep people from falling deeper into poverty and help them work their way into the middle class. Strengthening the middle class benefits all Americans because a strong middle class creates a strong economy. SNAP ensures that struggling families hit hardest by the economic downturn do not go hungry. Cutting SNAP would greatly endanger the well-being of many Americans – particularly millions of children and the elderly.

V. Diabetes Congressional Leadership Award

Diabetes remains a significant problem in San Diego County. That is why I have offered legislation (the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Act - H.R. 962) and supported efforts to cure diabetes in our community. I was very honored to receive the Diabetes Congressional Leadership Award from the American Diabetes Association. Working together, we can stop this dreadful disease.

Post-DOMA Marriage Equality Town Hall

Over 250 San Diegans attended a Marriage Equality Town Hall during the August District Work Period. With the demise of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), many people have questions regarding how federal benefits will apply to married same-sex couples. To help address these issues, I joined with the LGBT Center to put together a panel of experts to talk about federal benefits and answer questions.

The panel was moderated by Kevin Keenan of the ACLU and co-hosted by Assembly Leader Toni Atkins, Interim Mayor Todd Gloria, The LGBT Center, and the American Constitution Society. The panel fielded questions on social security benefits, federal taxes, immigration, and other issues.

VII. Forum on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM)

With students returning to school after summer break, I teamed up with STEAMConnect and the YMCA Youth & Community Center for an informative panel discussion with women leaders in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) about the future for girls in STEM careers and the impact of incorporating the arts into these fields.

The panel included moderator Kristie Grover from the BIOCOM Institute, artist Drue Katoka, Navrina Singh from QWISE (Qualcomm Women In Science and Engineering), Carmela Keeney from SPAWAR, and Carmen Diaz from the Stephen Hawking STEAM charter school. Each speaker and the moderator provided a multifaceted perspective on gender issues in STEAM.

The panelists offered solutions to this gender disparity, and also gave inspiration to the young women present by sharing their personal stories. After the panel discussion, the audience participated in a colorful exposition of robotics, science, and art.

VIII. National Night Out in La Mesa and Rolando

National Night Out is an opportunity for community members to turn off their TVs and go outside to reconnect with their neighbors. Last month, I joined both the Rolando and La Mesa communities to promote neighborhood watch programs that foster good neighbor relations and improve safety.

IX. Visiting with Voices for Children at the Juvenile Court

Voices for Children provides volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) to advocate for San Diego County’s foster children, offering a beacon of hope for young boys and girls in need. During my recent visit to their office I was impressed by their passion to help families and children transform their lives.

X. Community

Engaging with Federal Employees at SPAWAR

Our federal workforce in the region is made up of middle class San Diegans who help government work for all of us. Unfortunately, budget cuts have had a disproportionate impact on federal workers, leading to multi-year pay freezes and unpaid furloughs.  I met with civilian and military personnel at SPAWAR Headquarters to take questions on federal issues and listen to concerns about how budget uncertainty is impacting federal employees.

Meeting with Marines at Camp Pendleton

I was pleased to be in the hangar for President Obama's speech last month where I met with service members, including Captain Matthew Lampert (pictured here). I appreciated the president's words on ending sexual assault in the military, and joined him in thanking our troops for their sacrifices.

Arts Grant Workshop

Nearly 200 people attended an Arts Grant Workshop I co-hosted with Representative Scott Peters to help non-profit organizations find information regarding National Endowment for the Arts funding opportunities. It was an impressive turnout and I look forward to holding additional workshops in the future!

Southwest Fisheries Science Center Opening

Standing alongside Congressman Scott Peters, UCSD Chancellor Dr. Pradeep Khosla, and NOAA scientists, I helped cut the ribbon for the new Southwest Fisheries Science Center, which was funded by the Recovery Act. This facility will serve as a major research area for climate, fisheries monitoring, genetics, and countless other research areas.

XI. Defense E-News

As Ranking Member of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, I spend a lot of time focused on the needs of our military, especially our men and women in uniform and their families. Since I get questioned about how defense and veterans policies coming out of Washington will impact San Diego County, I have started sending out a periodic E-News for anyone who is interested in defense and veterans issues. I will only be sending this information to people who sign up to receive these updates, so please click here to be added to the list.

XII. Interested in an Internship?
Interns gain valuable legislative and public service experience by assisting with constituent inquiries, public events, casework, and other special projects. Internships are a minimum of 10 hours per week and qualify for credit at some colleges. If you are interested in interning in the San Diego office, please submit a resume and cover letter to If you are interested in an internship in my Washington office please submit a resume and cover letter to

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Phone: (619) 280-5353
Fax: (619) 280-5311