My Freshman Year in Congress
Dec. 30, 2013—As my freshman year in Congress draws to a close, I want to thank you for the incredible honor of representing the North Coast of California in the House of Representatives, and for the support and encouragement that sustained my work this year.
On one hand, it was a frustrating year. I knew partisan dysfunction was going to be a challenge, but I didn’t realize the degree to which Tea Party extremists and their politics of obstruction had taken control of the House. The results say it all: no votes on critical issues like comprehensive immigration reform and gun violence prevention, no Farm Bill, and no budget for most of the year. Nine pointless attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. And a 16-day government shutdown that cost our economy $24 billion. Over my objection, Speaker Boehner adjourned the House for the holidays two weeks ago declaring that “we’ve done our work,” even as he refused to allow a vote on extending unemployment benefits that are expiring for 1.3 million American job seekers. This shameful record makes the 113th Congress one of the least productive congresses in history.
On the other hand, I’m proud of what we did accomplish in this difficult political climate, starting with something freshman members of Congress rarely do: pass a bill! My H.R. 1411 to expand the California Coastal National Monument to include the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands in Mendocino County won bipartisan approval in the House and is awaiting action in the Senate. In addition, I worked with colleagues in both parties to overcome Tea Party opposition and: reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), reduce student loan interest rates, force a “clean” bipartisan vote to end the government shutdown without any concessions, and pass an 11th-hour bipartisan budget deal that reduces the impact of the “sequester” and helps avoid another government shutdown. And of course, I learned a lot this year and built working relationships that will be essential going forward.
Looking ahead to 2014, I’m going to work harder than ever to get Congress focused on solving problems and getting things done for the American people. Among the top priorities I’ll push for in the coming year:
- Honor our best traditions and values, help the economy, and reduce the deficit by enacting comprehensive immigration reform.
- Enact a Farm Bill that protects nutrition assistance, offers stability to farmers, and supports the conservation of our land.
- Immediately extend unemployment insurance for more than a million Americans who are struggling to find work in an economic recovery that is still lagging in job creation.
- Continue pushing to make climate change a national priority including promoting clean energy and ending special tax preferences for fossil fuel industries.
- Help prevent gun violence by passing the King-Thompson bipartisan background checks legislation, which I am cosponsoring.
- End discrimination in the workplace by passing ENDA.
Finally, the end of 2013 marks the final federal fundraising report deadline. With my primary election just six months away, this is the critical time when challengers will assess the strength of our fundraising and decide whether to run. Please help me end the year with a strong message! If you haven’t contributed yet, will you donate online today? If you’ve already contributed, will you help with another online contribution before the end of the year?
May you and your family have a healthy and wonderful New Year!
Congressman Jared Huffman
P.S. Remember, midnight December 31st – tomorrow night – is the last chance to contribute to my reelection campaign before the final 2013
deadline. Your online donation of anything from $5 to $500 would help us end the year in the strongest possible position to win re-election. Thank you!