Economy, Diversity, Immigration
In an effort to bring good-paying jobs to the San Fernando Valley, I focus on solutions that can build a healthy economy through reforming immigration, diversifying industries, enhancing innovation, expanding opportunities for small and medium sized businesses, and educating our workforce to know how to benefit from the U.S. economy.
Manufacturing and Innovation
To help create more manufacturing in the Valley, I introduced two laws in my first term in Congress. The Manufacturing Skills Act creates a $100 million competitive grant to promote reforms in workforce education and skills training for manufacturing jobs. The American Manufacturing Workforce Act, which I introduced with support from my Republican colleagues along with Democrats, would improve American manufacturing and support manufacturers in Los Angeles.
To protect our innovators and their companies from being extorted by "patent trolls", I also introduced the bipartisan Trade Protection Not Troll Protection Act to speed up the legal process surrounding patent assertion litigation, undertaken by patent assertion entities (PAE) or so-called “patent trolls.” PAEs abuse the International Trade Commission patent process by purchasing patents and suing for intellectual property similarity between their purchased patents and a product that has been created and is being manufactured.
Make It In America
I am also committed to joining Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland, supporting his Make it in America agenda. When more products are made in America, there will be greater opportunity for our people to Make It In America. The agenda focuses on creating the best conditions for American businesses to manufacture products, innovate, and create jobs right here in the U.S. President Obama has signed ten Make It In America bills into law, many of which had bipartisan support.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers will be the driving force behind the American economy for years to come. Everyone in our country must pull its own weight in moving Americans toward STEM education and training. To that end, I called for President Obama to commit our nation to creating 100,000 Latino engineers by 2020. Latinos are 19 percent of the United States, but only 8 percent of graduating engineering students in the U.S. are Latino. To adequately replace the hundreds of thousands of Baby Boomer-era engineers and scientists who are retiring, our entire nation must be ready to take up the slack.
Many of the jobs that will define our new American economy require skills that have been underemphasized for far too long in American schools. As an engineer, I understand the importance of a strong base of science, technology, engineering and mathmatics in education. I introduced three pieces of legislation during my freshman term in Congress, to encourage STEM learning. The Computer Science in STEM Act would prepare children for the computing jobs of today and tomorrow by adding Computer Science as one of the core “Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics” (STEM) classes. The Computer Science Career Education Act, which I introduced along with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, would award grants to a consortium between state or local educational agencies, institutions of higher education, non-profit organizations and employers with a documented need in the computer science sector. Finally, the 416d65726963612043616e20436f6465 Act was introduced (for those who are not yet fluent in hexadecimal, that's the "American Can Code" Act) to designate computer programming languages as “critical foreign languages” and provide incentives for state and local schools to teach more computer science beginning as early as Kindergarten.
Finally, I joined a Tea Party Republican from South Carolina to introduce a bipartisan bill in the 113th Congress called The American Worker Mobility Act. The American Worker Mobility Act would create a program within the Department of Labor to provide vouchers to the long-term unemployed to relocate for the purpose of attaining or accepting employment.
As a former small business owner, I understand the challenges in starting a new business. By creating a healthy business environment and finding different grants and organizations to help build small businesses, we will be able to grow valley owned businesses that employ workers that live in the San Fernando Valley.
I will focus on the entertainment industry as Los Angeles’ voice on the most important committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
One important step I took to help our studios was a letter I wrote in 2013, that more than 50 of my colleagues co-signed, calling on the Departments of Interior and Agriculture to not increase filming fees for public lands.
I was particularly happy to lead several of my colleagues in supporting the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership for Southern California (AMP SoCal). Thanks in part to our efforts, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that Southern California was one of the first twelve Manufacturing Communities designated as part of the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP). The IMCP designation allows AMP SoCal to utilize a pool of $1.3 billion in federal economic development assistance, along with receiving customized support from nearly a dozen federal government agencies.
To continue our efforts to build diversity in manufacturing and jobs, I sponsored the HUBZone Equity Act, to allow equal access to the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) HUBZone program. The HUBZone Equity Act would insure access for all American small business owners who pay taxes. While most SBA programs are accessible to business owners including permanent residents, HUBZones have been excluded.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the 113th Congress and looking forward
During the 113th Congress, pressure was placed on Washington to a greater extent than anytime in the past thirty years, to finally pass a comprehensive immigration reform package that would fix an immigration system that all Americans understand is broken. The U.S. Senate passed a bill, on a bipartisan basis. S. 744, the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act" [La Reforma migratoria bipartidista] was sent to the U.S. House. Unfortunately, despite dozens of members on both sides of the aisle calling for the debate, Republican leadership failed to allow a vote on the bill, or even a fair debate.
Time after time, research has shown that fixing the entire immigration system is the only way to truly grow our economy and secure our borders. Comprehensive immigration reform would supercharge our economy by creating more than 100,000 jobs a year over the next ten years and reducing our deficit by $900 billion.
Our country has always been a nation of immigrants and the current system is in desperate need of reform. Eleven million people currently work and raise families in our communities without the possibility of one day becoming citizens of the United States. We need comprehensive immigration reform to create a fair and practical path to citizenship.
These reforms will strengthen our economy and increase our competitiveness in the global marketplace. They will also protect our families who live in constant fear of being separated from their loved ones. Undocumented immigrants in our communities cannot achieve their full potential without having the opportunity to earn legal status.
Changing the way our nation deals with immigration is not just about fixing the broken immigration system we have been saddled with, it's also about making certain that those who immigrate to the United States, legally, are a ready, willing and able workforce. It was with that in mind that I joined my Republican colleague Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, from Florida, and introduced the New American Success (NAS) Act in 2014. The NAS Act would help speed the integration of new Americans into society, ensuring each immigrant has access to programs that will help them learn or improve their English skills, civics education and other initiatives to help assist them in quickly adapting to their new nation while they participate in naturalization.
Renewable and Clean Energy Efforts
We must encourage clean energy alternatives for powering our nation, moving away from dirty fossil fuels, particularly those from foreign sources. We must also better address the tremendous challenges of protecting our environment and addressing manmade global climate change. With these goals in mind, I chose to serve on the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy as a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, one of the most important committees in Congress.
Since my time on the Los Angeles City Council, I have been a champion of the environment and a proud advocate for renewable energy. In 2004, I joined my friend (now Secretary of State) Alex Padilla to ensure that the L.A. Department of Water and Power will obtain 20 percent of its energy portfolio from renewable energy sources by the year 2017. As I began my last term on the City Council, L.A. not only met the goal of 20 percent renewables but set a new goal, to move to 35 percent renewables by 2020.
My support for the environment is not just lip service. Thanks to my support for important environmental legislation, I have maintained a 92 percent lifetime score on the League of Conservation Voters legislative scorecard. I've also earned a 100 percent grade from the Defenders of Wildlife.
Environmental Justice refers to the efforts to prevent or mediate polluting industries in poor and underserved communities. In L.A., I created the Sun Valley Environmental Justice Improvement Zone. This Zone, the first of its kind in the country, was designed to help create a more focused effort toward bringing the people of Sun Valley have a brighter, healthier future. The Zone is designed to help improve air quality for the families who live in an area where far more middle school-aged children than average have asthma and related conditions. Finally, I pushed to close landfills, and turn former brownfields into open space or return them to good use for commercial development.
Californians are facing a record drought. This loss of water has been so extreme that statewide restrictions have now been issued to drastically reduce our water usage. While steps are being taken through government efforts, we all need to be a part of the solution.
We can’t create the rain, but we can take actions in our everyday lives to create a meaningful impact on reducing water usage. While we all must reduce our water usage at home to help the state survive the drought, we can also make small, but important lifestyle changes that will help.
More on Economy, Diversity, Immigration
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-San Fernando Valley), a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, released a statement regarding the committee’s mark-up of H.R. 4725, the Common Sense Savings Act of 2016.
“Today, the Energy and Commerce Committee is holding a mark-up of H.R. 4725, the so-called Common Sense Savings Act of 2016. I submitted an amendment because we must focus on aggressive ways to reduce the Federal deficit and the passage of comprehensive immigration reform is one of the most effective ways to do that.