Happy March Madness! Yesterday marked the start of the celebrated NCAA basketball tournament. I had fun filling out my bracket -- I picked Michigan State to win the Big Dance.
Back in April, I co-sponsored my friend Representative Sam Farr's bill to reopen Clear Creek for recreational use. This week, the Natural Resources committee unanimously agreed to send that bill, H.R. 1838, to the House Floor for a vote. This legislation will benefit Californians by reinstating their access to the public lands of the Clear Creek Management Area for all activities, including off-road vehicles. I am proud of the bipartisan work and support we have received from everyone on the committee and look forward to the re-opening of this land as soon as possible.
On Tuesday, I joined all of my colleagues in the House to officially classify ISIS' attacks on Christians in the Middle East as genocide. For too long, this community as well as other religious and ethnic minorities in the region have suffered persecution, violent attacks, and been forced from their homes by a ruthless terrorist organization. This is an issue that affects many members of our own community and I was proud to stand united with members from across all corners of the country to condemn this senseless violence. I'm glad to see Secretary of State John Kerry and the Obama Administration finally recognize these attacks as genocide -- their declaration yesterday is an important step in defeating ISIS and restoring peace to the region.
I had a great time answering your questions during Monday's townhall meeting on Twitter. We talked about the importance of water infrastructure, Second Amendment rights, and energy solutions. Thank you to everyone who asked questions and followed the conversation. If you missed it, I look forward to holding more Twitter townhalls in the future and you can also see my previous answers by searching the hashtag #denhamtweets on Twitter. Twitter townhalls aren't a substitute for the live townhalls we do while I'm home in California -- but they give me a great opportunity to hear directly from you while I'm in D.C. working for you.
The Chamber of Commerce honored me this week with their "Spirit of Enterprise" award, which recognizes my work and the work of other legislators to promote business endeavors. As a business owner myself, encouraging economic progress and job growth in the Central Valley remains one of my top priorities while I am in Congress.
In case you missed it, Tuesday was National Ag Day! However, in the Valley, we celebrate our farmers and agriculture every day. The ag community in the Central Valley is an important stronghold for the state of California and the nation.
I met with the California League of Food Processers and was proud to learn that Stanislaus is the second-ranking county in food and beverage processing in the nation.
The President of CSU Stanislaus accompanied student representatives to my office to discuss updates at the school.
Yesterday, I voted with the majority of the House to enable House Speaker Paul Ryan to file an amicus brief on behalf of the House of Representatives in the matter of United States v. Texas, a Supreme Court filed in response to President Obama's executive action on immigration.
As I have shown for many years, I believe that our broken system of immigration laws is in desperate need of a top-to-bottom fix. Our deeply flawed system is damaging our economy, leaving our border open to criminal activity, costing us tax revenue and hurting families. I remain committed to having this conversation with the American people and bringing change to our laws. Such reform must begin with securing our border and end with a solution for the millions of undocumented immigrants living here today. Congress has a responsibility to act.
The U.S. Constitution established a system of checks and balances granting Congress, and only Congress, the power to make laws. The President's role is to enforce them. President Obama's attempt to go around Congress cannot stand. Not only does his action damage our ability to accomplish meaningful reform, but if left unchecked it allows future presidents to expand actions or reverse them altogether. This is why I supported the Speaker's decision to file an amicus brief and maintain the Constitutional role of Congress as our nation's legislative body.
I'm looking forward to being home in the Valley this weekend. Have a great one!