Press Releases

Coalition of House Democrats from Three States Issue Statement on Garamendi Drought Companion Bill

Washington, D.C. (May 17, 2016) – House Democrats from California, Oregon, and Washington issued the following joint statement in response to Rep. John Garamendi (CA-03) introducing companion legislation to Senator Dianne Feinstein’s drought bill that was heard in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources, Water and Power Subcommittee today. The House members included in this joint statement are: Reps. Jerry McNerney (CA-09), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Doris Matsui (CA-06), Mike Thompson (CA-05), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Anna Eshoo (CA-18), Michael M. Honda (CA-17), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Jim McDermott (WA-07), and Kurt Schrader (OR-05).

“Members from the California, Oregon, and Washington delegations have concerns about any legislative proposals that would harm the water quality and supply of our states, disadvantage our local farmers and fishermen, or violate tribal trust responsibilities. While we are pleased that the Garamendi bill includes language from bills that we have offered, the price our states and ecosystems may pay in exchange for longer-term provisions within the proposed legislation is too high. This legislation’s modification of environmental laws not only sets a troubling precedent, but also pressures federal and state agencies to increase diversions from an increasingly damaged ecosystem that is close to a devastating collapse. 

“Furthermore, House Republicans have indicated that they are looking to conference the Senate version of this bill with Representative Valadao’s H.R. 2898 ­­­– a piece of legislation that we overwhelmingly oppose. Any legislation that emerges from a conference would not be acceptable to many of the diverse stakeholders in our home states.

“We understand the immense pressure that severe drought conditions place on water allocations. That is why we have put forth and advocated for policy alternatives that promote greater regional resiliency and more efficient management of our water supply. We remain committed to working together to advance policies that will move us toward a sustainable water future and build
the regional self-sufficiency this drought and future droughts require.”

The following are statements from individual
House Members and Delegations:

 California

“My district contains a majority of the
Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the heart of California’s water system. I
remain deeply concerned with any legislation, including H.R. 5247, that tries
to dictate California water policy, especially when it will have detrimental
effects on our environment by diverting more water away from the families,
farmers, and economies of the Delta. This could also set a dangerous precedent
for how we manage our water supply for years to come. I’m committed to working
with all stakeholders throughout the state and Congress to build drought
resiliency and self-sufficiency in regions across the Nation. This can be
achieved by making smart investments in innovative and efficient strategies
that will create more water and a sustainable water future for us all,” said
Congressman McNerney.

“While I appreciate the work of my colleague
Congressman John Garamendi, I remain concerned that this legislation continues
to micromanage operations in the Bay-Delta to the detriment of fisheries and
ecosystems. Sadly, based on the past actions of House Republicans to insert
their radical rider into last year’s appropriations bill, I fear this bill too
will be hijacked and used to push for more extreme water legislation that will
harm California communities and jobs that depend on healthy fisheries,” said
Congressman Huffman.
“I cannot in good faith cosponsor a bill that will be
twisted and distorted in this political process to harm my constituents. 
I will continue to work with Congressman Garamendi, Senators Feinstein and
Boxer, and the rest of my colleagues to promote new investments in water
infrastructure and modernize outdated systems, wherever possible, to find a
common ground and real solutions.”

“We cannot set the needs of one Californian
against another in our efforts to find a solution to the state’s drought
crisis,” said Congresswoman Matsui. “Sacramento sits at the confluence
of the American and Sacramento Rivers, which are directly impacted by Delta
operations.  I have concerns that the legislation as proposed will
negatively impact our region’s economy, drinking water supply, and
ecosystem.  As our discussions continue, I will do everything I can to
address California’s immediate and long term water infrastructure needs, while
balancing that goal against Northern California’s needs.”

“No part
of our state has been immune to the devastating impacts of the drought.
Communities have seen their resources stretched thin and ecosystems have been
pushed to the edge,” said Congressman Thompson. “This bill is not the
solution. Without appropriations from Congress, local communities will never
see the infrastructure investments promised in this proposal. In effect, we
will be left with a bill that is dangerous and shortsighted. It will undermine
water managers’ ability to balance needs across regions, and jeopardize the
long-term stability of the Delta. Now is not the time to bend the rules that
protect our state’s water system. Instead, Congress should get serious about
effective, long-term solutions to the ongoing drought.”

Oregon

“This bill will have serious implications for
the thousands of coastal families whose livelihoods depend on the ocean and
waterways of Oregon. We support commonsense solutions to deal with the effects
of California’s drought, but not if they come at the expense of Oregon’s
fishing industry. Our fisheries and coastal communities cannot afford another
setback,” said Oregon Representatives DeFazio, Blumenauer, Bonamici, and
Schrader
.

Rep. Thompson announces more than $4 million for santa rosa community health centers

Washington, D.C. (May 18, 2016) 
– U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) announced a $4,345,012 Department of Health and Human Services grant for Santa Rosa Community Health Centers (SRCHC). The funds made available by this grant will be used to support continued operations at SRCHC for the next year, through May 31, 2017. SRCHC reports that in 2013, the center saw over 41,000 people, over the course of more than 173,000 medical visits.

“Santa Rosa Community Health Centers does outstanding work to make sure everyone in our community has access to essential primary health care services, including dental and mental health care," said Thompson. “I’m proud to announce these important funds, which will allow our health center to continue providing quality, affordable care for those in need in our community in the year ahead."

“Federal funding helps keeps our doors open and supports programs that improve quality so we can deliver the best medical, dental and mental health care to the people in our community most in need," said Naomi Fuchs, Chief Executive Officer at Santa Rosa Community Health Centers. “Access to health care is essential for a full life, yet thousands of people in Sonoma County still can’t get the services they need. Funding for community health centers like ours is critical to a healthy community where everyone has the opportunity for a healthy and productive life.”

 Community Health Centers are locally-controlled, non-profit entities
that provide primary care, dental, behavioral health, and pharmacy services in underserved rural and urban areas. Health Centers serve America’s most vulnerable populations, including one in seven of America’s uninsured, one-third of those living in poverty, and one in seven Medicaid beneficiaries. More than 7 million children and over 300,000 veterans get their health care in community health centers. Health Centers specialize in providing cost-effective and high-quality primary and preventive health care that generates $24 billion annually in savings to the health system, due in large part to their success in reducing the need for patients to seek care in costlier settings like emergency departments.

Congressman Mike Thompson is proud to represent California’s 5th
Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa,
Solano and Sonoma Counties
.  He is a senior member of the House
Ways and Means Committee. Rep. Thompson is also a member of the fiscally
conservative Blue Dog Coalition and chairs the bipartisan, bicameral
Congressional Wine Caucus.

Small Business Council of America Presents Congressional Award to Congressman Mike Thompson

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 17, 2016) –  The Small Business Council of America (SBCA), a national nonprofit organization which represents the interests of more than 20,000 privately-held and family-owned organizations on Federal tax, employee benefit and health care matters, presented its 33rd
Annual Congressional awards on May 4, 2016.

Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA) received the 2016 SBCA Congressional Award in recognition of his dedication to small businesses across the country and in particular for the introduction and sponsorship of the Small Business Healthcare Relief Act.

 This bipartisan bill would allow small employers with fewer than 50 employees to offer Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs) to help employees purchase health insurance in the individual market- on and off of the exchange - as well as reimburse employees for qualified health expenses if the employee has qualified health coverage. In 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued guidance prohibiting the use of HRAs for the purchase of health insurance and related medical expenses because it was inconsistent with the requirements of group health plans. Employers who continue to offer HRAs would be subject to a $100 per day, per employee penalty, up to $36,500 per employee per year. The Small Business Healthcare Relief Act would allow small employers to offer HRAs to their employees so that they can choose a quality, affordable health insurance plan that fits their individual budget and healthcare needs.

“The SBCA applauds Congressman Thompson for reaching across the partisan divide to promote common-sense bi-partisan legislation that will greatly help small businesses and their employees,” said SBCA Chair, Paula Calimafde. “The Small Business Healthcare Relief Act, sponsored by Congressman Thompson and Congressman Boustany, will provide a solution to a very real problem and, once again, allow smal businesses to help their employees cover the cost of individual health insurance.”

 “I am honored to receive the 2016 Small Business Council of America Congressional Award,” said Thompson. “Small businesses drive job creation and grow our economy, which is why I was proud to introduce the Small Business Healthcare Relief Act, so that our small business owners can afford to provide
health care coverage to their employees and focus on what they do best, running their business.”

 The SBCA also recognized the efforts of Senator Jim Risch, Senator Heidi Heitkamp and Congressman Charles Boustany in promoting and supporting the small business community. The SBCA also honored members of the private sector, including:  Robert Kent, of Bethesda, Maryland, Humanitarian of the Year and Troy Guard, of Denver, Colorado, Mort Harris Small Business Person of the Year.  SBCA Director, Sandra Turner of Oviedo, Florida, was this year’s Connie Murdoch
award winner.

THOMPSON: USPS CALLS FOR BIDS FOR DOWNTOWN NAPA POST OFFICE

Apr 21, 2016 

Press Release

 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) today announced that the
United States Postal Service (USPS) is again calling for bids for the Franklin
Station Post Office in downtown Napa.

 

At Thompson’s urging, the USPS listed the Franklin Station Post
Office for sale in October 2015. Bids were submitted and the USPS entered into
negotiations with a prospective buyer. However, the prospective buyer is no
longer pursuing the sale, and the USPS is again calling for bids. According to
the USPS, the identity of the former bidder and reasons for the withdrawal of
the bid will not be made public. Previous bidders must resubmit their bids if
they would like their offer to be considered. The USPS will also be accepting
new bids.

 

Bids are due by May 3, 2016. Interested buyers should contact
Andrew Reeder, with the CBRE Brokerage at (415)772-0162/andrew.reeder@cbre.com. The official listing can be viewed here(link
is external)
.

 

“I’m determined to see the Franklin Station Post Office remain
standing for future generations,”
 said Thompson. “I recently met with USPS officials
to discuss the sale moving forward, and I’m pleased that the USPS will continue
to work with me and our state and local partners to pursue the sale of the post
office.” 

 

The USPS originally proposed to demolish the building due to the
cost of repairing damage caused by the August 2014 earthquake. In August, the
USPS agreed at Thompson’s urging to stop pursuing the demolition of the
Historic Franklin Station Post Office in downtown Napa and instead pursue the
sale of the earthquake-damaged building and property with the stipulation that
the buyer repair the building in accordance with all applicable laws and
protective covenants intended to preserve the architectural integrity of the
building. The Franklin Station Post Office is listed on the National Register
of Historic Places. 

 

The Franklin Station Post Office was commissioned in 1933 by
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA), a
federal agency tasked with carrying out public works projects which employed
millions of out-of-work Americans. The ornate post office was built in the art
deco architectural style.

 

Congressman Mike Thompson is proud to represent California’s 5th
Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa,
Solano and Sonoma Counties
 He is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Rep. Thompson is also a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition
and chairs the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Wine Caucus.

# # #

REPS. THOMPSON, ESTY, KING LEAD BIPARTISAN CALL TO END GUN RIDERS IN APPROPRIATIONS BILLS

 

Apr 21, 2016 

Press Release

 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Mike Thompson (CA-5), chair of the House Gun
Violence Prevention Task Force, Elizabeth Esty (D-CT), vice-chair of the Task
Force, and Peter King (R-NY) today led more than 110 of their bipartisan
colleagues in calling on Speaker Paul Ryan and House Democratic Leader Nancy
Pelosi to reject legislative language, or “riders”, that would block efforts to
reduce and prevent gun violence in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 appropriations bills.

 

“These riders are nothing more than legislative tactics designed
to circumvent an open debate on gun violence prevention in the House and sneak
provisions into must-pass spending bills that undermine efforts to help keep
guns out of dangerous hands,”
 said Thompson and Esty.  “There is no justification for
preventing scientific research into the causes of gun violence, or for
restricting our ability to track and combat the spread of illegal guns.
 We ask our colleagues to bring forward clean, responsible spending
bills, free from dangerous riders that handcuff law enforcement’s ability to
reduce gun violence.”

 

In previous appropriations bills, gun-related riders have been added
without open debate and have acted as roadblocks to reducing and preventing gun
violence.

 

These riders have prevented law enforcement from requiring
federally licensed firearm dealers to keep an inventory of their firearms,
prevented law enforcement and academic institutions from using gun trace data
to better understand the pattern of criminal gun transfers, and stifled
scientific research into the causes of gun violence.  

 

Thompson’s Task Force recommended that Congress should act to
repeal these riders and restore funding for public safety and law enforcement
initiatives aimed at reducing gun violence. The Task Force urged Congress to
fund law enforcement’s efforts to reduce gun violence, while supporting federal
research into the causes of gun violence.

 

The full text of the letter is below:

 

Dear Speaker Ryan and Leader Pelosi:

 

As the House Committee on Appropriations develops each of the
twelve Fiscal Year 2017 appropriations bills, we urge that you ensure the
Committee’s legislation not include harmful legislative language, or “riders,”
that impact the enforcement of gun laws, the operations of Federal Firearms
Licensees (FFL), or research into the causes of gun violence and how to prevent
it.  Gun violence reduction and prevention is an important and sensitive
issue.  Given the renewed national focus on gun violence prevention, now
is not the time to include controversial appropriations riders that negatively
impact gun laws.

Instead, such changes to gun policy must be seriously and properly
considered by Congress through the regular order.  This must be done in an
open and transparent process where a full range of options can be frankly
discussed and debated by the proper committees of authorizing jurisdiction and
the entire House of the Representatives.  Over the past several years,
various appropriations riders related to gun policy have had unintended
consequences that could have been prevented had these issues been properly and
more thoroughly debated in Congress.

For example, the Tiahrt and Rehberg amendments, among others, have
prevented law enforcement from requiring FFLs to keep an inventory of their
firearms, prevented law enforcement and academic institutions from using gun
trace data to better understand the pattern of crime gun transfers, and chilled
unbiased scientific research into the causes of gun violence and the means of
preventing it.

 

As the Fiscal Year 2017 appropriations process begins through the
respective subcommittees, we urge you to support the development of legislation
that is free of harmful gun-related riders.  Thank you for your
consideration of this matter.

 

Congressman Mike Thompson is proud to represent California’s 5th
Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa,
Solano and Sonoma Counties
 He is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Rep. Thompson is also a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition
and chairs the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Wine Caucus.

# # #

 

REP. MIKE THOMPSON INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO MODERNIZE EXCISE TAXES ON WINE

Apr 14, 2016 

Press Release

 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5), senior member of the House
Committee on Ways and Means and Co-Chair of the Congressional Wine Caucus,
introduced the Wine Excise Tax Modernization Act (H.R. 4934), bipartisan
legislation to modernize federal excise taxes on wine to allow winemakers of
all sizes and grape growers to create new, innovative products and keep pace
with advances in viticulture. U.S. Rep. David Reichert (R-WA) joined Rep.
Thompson in introducing this legislation.

 

“The tax code should not be an impediment to growth and
innovation,”
 said
Thompson. “That’s why I’m proud to introduce this
legislation, which modernizes an outdated tax structure to allow our wine
community – which produces the finest wines in the world – to keep pace with
changing consumer demands in the years ahead.”

 

“Napa Valley Vintners commends Congressman Thompson and
Congressman Reichert for introducing this important legislation and understanding
what it takes to keep our industry competitive in the global market.  The
updated provisions will lower tax rates and reduce some of the unnecessary
complication in the tax code, which will be especially helpful for hundreds of
our small, family-run wineries,”
said Linda Reiff, President and Chief Executive Officer, Napa
Valley Vintners.

 

“Winegrowers across the North Coast have been focused on quality
and innovation for decades,”
 said Debra Sommerfield, President of the Lake County
Winegrape Commission. “We are grateful for
Congressman Thompson’s in-depth understanding of the issues and appreciate him
taking steps to support this innovation.”

 

Maureen L. Cottingham, Executive Director of Sonoma Valley
Vintners said, “The Wine Excise Tax Modernization Act makes commonsense
changes to our outdated tax code that will help advance growth and innovation
in our wine community.  I applaud Rep. Mike Thompson for introducing this
bipartisan bill and look forward to working with him to enact this meaningful legislation.”

 

"Rep. Thompson's proposal for a tax credit is excellent for
small producers. This will really level the playing field for small producers
and boutique wineries such as ours, and enable us to compete with other big
producers,"
 said Frank Kennedy,
CEO of Vino Godfather Prohibition Wines.

 

Specifically, the Wine Excise Tax Modernization Act:

 

  • Simplifies the small producer tax credit and expands eligibility to all producers: This ensures a level playing field for
    wineries of all sizes, while also encouraging small- and mid-sized producers to
    grow without fear of facing the steep phase-out of the current small producer
    credit.

 

  • Increase the allowable carbonation limit for still wine to 6.4 grams/liter: The current limit is preventing wine producers from
    developing new products for consumers. The Tax Code should not be an impediment
    to innovation

 

  • Eliminates the luxury tax on sparkling wine: The current tax rate for sparkling wine, which is significantly
    higher than that of still wine, was established after World War II when
    champagne was viewed as a luxury from France and U.S. consumption was low. It
    is long past time for this rate to be reduced.

 

  • Raises the Alcohol-By-Volume (ABV) limit from 14 to 16 percent:  Changes in winemaking and vineyard
    practices have led to a steady increase in the ABV level of table wines, but
    the Tax Code hasn’t kept pace with these developments.

 

The Wine Excise Tax Modernization Act has been referred to the
House Committee on Ways and Means for further consideration.

 

Congressman Mike Thompson is proud to represent California’s 5th
Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa,
Solano and Sonoma Counties
 He is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Rep. Thompson is also a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition
and chairs the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Wine Caucus.

# # #

REPS. THOMPSON, HUFFMAN LOOK TO SPUR INNOVATION, HOST DISCUSSION WITH LOCAL INNOVATION LEADERS

Apr 8, 2016
Press Release
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Mike Thompson (CA-5) and Jared Huffman (CA-2),
along with U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo (CA-18), yesterday hosted a roundtable with
innovative local business leaders at Sonoma State University to discuss how
Congress can better support and spur innovation locally and across the country.
Yesterday’s discussion was one of many taking place around the country as House
Democrats work to craft an Innovation Agenda 2.0.

 The Innovation Agenda was first launched in 2007 by House
Democrats with the goal of ensuring that our country remained the world’s
leader of innovation. To develop that plan, Members of Congress held listening
sessions to solicit ideas from local leaders in innovation on what the emerging
areas in innovation are and how public-private partnerships and other
initiatives can stimulate innovation and increase America’s competitiveness.
Innovation Agenda 1.0 generated valuable policy ideas, 21 of which were
translated into legislative provisions that were signed into law. Now, House
Democrats have launched Innovation Agenda 2.0, to build on the progress made by
the first Innovation Agenda. 

“We must ensure that America continues to lead the world in
innovation”
, said Rep.
Thompson. “And to do that, we need to make sure we’re
fostering the right environment to allow for the next big breakthrough or
technological revolution.And that’s what the Innovation Agenda is all about.
Many thanks to my co-hosts and colleagues Jared Huffman and Anna Eshoo and all
of our innovative local business leaders for joining in this effort.”

 “In California, we’re fortunate to be surrounded by brilliant
innovators, but we can never take this entrepreneurial spirt for
granted,” 
said Rep. Huffman. “After seeing the many successes of Innovation Agenda 1.0, I
was thrilled to join my colleagues in hosting the Innovation Agenda 2.0 event
and hear ideas and suggestions from a diverse group of private sector leaders
who are on the front line of innovation in my district and beyond.  By
really putting our heads together and identifying how we can support sustained
success, we can help unleash the creativity, vision and innovation that has
always made America great and bring those forces to bear on many of today's
most pressing problems -- addressing climate change, revitalizing education,
expanding economic opportunities, ensuring clean, reliable water supplies, and
much more.”

"Big ideas combined with smart public policies are essential
for our economy and its workforce,"
 said Rep. Eshoo. “Yesterday’s event is about
thought leaders and innovators in California's 2nd and 5th Congressional
Districts contributing to the national effort of House Democrats to shape an
Innovation Agenda that will ensure our workforce is the most competitive and
innovative and keep America #1 in the 21st century.”

“Eliminating barriers to innovation in the electricity sector is
fundamental to our business and for making the grid more reliable, secure,
clean and cost effective for consumers.  Innovation Agenda 2.0 is an
excellent and necessary platform for discussing transformative ideas with the
nation’s decision makers which can result in having profound effects on our
economy, national and global well-being,”
said Jason Simon, Director of Policy Strategy at Enphase
Energy. “We are delighted Reps. Huffman, Thompson and Eshoo provided this
important opportunity to share big ideas in a venue that has already proven to
result in positive economic and societal change.”

“We must not forget agriculture and food production in the
“innovation” discussion.  Wastewater treatment, for instance, is an
exciting technology area for farmers and cheese makers because it can both
produce energy and reduce water use.  I thank Representatives Huffman,
Thompson, and Eshoo for holding this important discussion,”
 said Sue Conley, Co-founder of Cowgirl
Creamery.

“This roundtable was incredible and inspirational. The Bay Area
has so many innovative ideas--from large companies like Google to small businesses,
the success we are realizing here, can be successful anywhere in the world.”
 said Jim Happ, President of Labcon.

Aaron Newcomb, President of Benicia Makerspace said, “I was really impressed with the Representatives willingness to
host and event like this.  It is so crucial for our economy and our
educational system.  For them to take the time out of their day to come
and listen to some of these brilliant people on what can drive the economy
forward, it’s fantastic, it really is. This event should happen more often,
perhaps on an annual basis.”
 

Bill Kreysler, President of Kreysler & Associates said, “I think for a small company like mine to be invited to a meeting
with three Representatives of Congress and other innovation leaders in our
community is, to me,  innovation in itself, and an example of why I am so
optimistic about the future.  While everyone seems to be talking about
negative things, there are a lot of positive things that are happening that
don’t get the recognition they should – perhaps they aren’t newsworthy. But
they are important.  Yesterday’s meeting is an example of what I think is
an important and positive step in improving our country’s ability to compete
globally and to help the whole country grow together.”

Success Stories from Innovation Agenda 1.0:

  • 671,585 new broadband
    Internet users connected by the Department of Commerce’s Broadband Technology
    Opportunities Program. 
  • Dramatic increases in
    the usage of solar, wind, and renewable fuel technology
  • $850 million in private
    investment for 34 of ARPA-E’s clean energy and efficiency technologies,
    building off only $135 million in earlier-stage federal investments. 
  • Research and Development
    funding since 2006:
  • Spurred new
    manufacturing processes and technologies by putting America on a path to double
    funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), which leverages
    federal, state, and private dollars to help small and medium-sized
    manufacturers promote innovation.
  • Improved the small
    business loan program and revived the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC)
    program.  Modernized the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program
    by cutting red tape, reducing the lag time between the award phases, and
    providing additional funding for the commercialization phase.
    • More
      solar was installed in 1 week in 2014, than was installed in all of 2006.
    • More
      than a 300 percent increase in wind energy capacity since the beginning
      of 2007.
    • 18.1
      billion gallons of domestic renewable fuel will be used in 2016, an
      increase from 7 billion gallons produced in 2007
    • 49
      percent increase in funding for the Department of Energy’s Office of
      Science.
    • 42
      percent increase in funding for the National Institute of Standards and
      Technology.
    • 34
      percent increase in funding for the National Science Foundation. 

Read more about the Innovation Agenda here(link
is external)
.

REP. THOMPSON VISITS, PRAISES FREE TAX PREPARATION SERVICE PROVIDED BYUNITED WAY OF THE BAY AREA COMMUNITY SERVICES AT THE CONTR

Apr 5, 2016 

Press Release

 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) today visited Contra Costa
AFL-CIO Labor Council and the United Way of the Bay Area Community Service in
Martinez and met with staff and clients of the center’s Volunteer Income Tax
Assistance (VITA) program.

 

The VITA program offers assistance from volunteers certified by
the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to individuals who generally earn $54,000 a
year or less, or who have disabilities or limited English language abilities,
to prepare their income tax returns. VITA programs also help taxpayers claim
refundable tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child
Tax Credit (CTC). The VITA program is jointly sponsored by the IRS and the
American Bar Association and provides grants to non-profit organizations in the
community to make these free tax preparation clinics available.

 

“The free tax preparation services offered by the Contra
Costa AFL-CIO Labor Council and the United Way of the Bay Area Community
Service provide a truly vital service to our communities,”
 said Thompson. “Every taxpayer should receive the assistance he or she needs to
determine what tax benefits they are legally entitled to receive.
 Far too many hardworking low- to moderate-income workers don’t
know they can claim the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit and the refundable
Child Tax Credit, which can deliver larger tax refund checks. Thank you to all
the IRS-certified volunteers and staff at the Contra Costa AFL-CIO Labor
Council and the United Way of the Bay Area Community Service who work hard to
provide these invaluable services to taxpayers in our community.”

 

“The Contra Costa AFL-CIO Labor Council and the United Way of the
Bay Area Community Service welcome Congressman Thompson to our VITA tax site.
We’re proud to offer this vital service to all residents. This year our site is
one of 20 in Contra Costa that will serve over 12,000. This site alone has
saved over $45,000 for local families this year,”
 said Mary Harms, United Way of the Bay
Area Community Services Director at the Labor Council.

 

Rep. Thompson, a senior member of the House Committee on Ways and
Means which has jurisdiction over all tax policy, also encouraged taxpayers to
take advantage of the new myRA program.
Launched in November by President Obama and the Department of the Treasury,
the myRA is a new simple, safe, no-fee retirement account
for those looking for a way to get started saving for retirement. 
The myRA program provides Americans who don’t have access
to a retirement savings plan through work to have a new option of putting some
of their tax refund into a myRA account.

“Every hardworking American should have access to a reliable
option to save for retirement,” 
said Thompson. “The myRA program provides Americans who don’t have
access to a retirement savings plan through work to have a new option of
putting some of their tax refund into a myRA account, ensuring they
have access to a long-term, stable, safe account where they can build up their
savings.”
    

 

Congressman Mike Thompson is proud to represent California’s 5th
Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa,
Solano and Sonoma Counties
 He is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Rep. Thompson is also a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition
and chairs the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Wine Caucus.

# # #

REP. THOMPSON HOSTS DISCUSSION ON LEGISLATION TO IMPROVE AND PROTECT SOCIAL SECURITY WITH BENICIA SENIORS

Mar 30, 2016 

Press Release

 

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) hosted U.S.
Rep. John Larson (D-CT) for a town hall meeting in Benicia to discuss the
Social Security 2100 Act (H.R. 1391), legislation that if enacted would provide
a benefit bump for current and future beneficiaries, cut taxes for Social
Security recipients, and keep the system strong for generations to come.

 

“I’m committed to keeping Social Security strong for generations,” said Rep. Thompson. “That’s why I’m a proud coauthor of the Social Security 2100 Act,
which not only improves benefits for today’s seniors, but ensures that the
promise of Social Security will remain strong for our children and
grandchildren. Many thanks to my colleague John Larson from Connecticut for
flying out to Benicia to meet with our seniors and share more about
this important legislation.”

 

"Social Security is a lifeline for millions, with two-thirds
of retirees relying on their benefits for most of their income. That's why I
introduced the Social Security 2100 Act to increase benefits, cut taxes, and
keep Social Security solvent for generations. I commend Rep. Mike Thompson for
his commitment to ensuring that hard working Americans who pay into the system
get the benefits that they’ve earned,”
 said Rep. Larson.

 

Rep. Thompson is a coauthor of the Social Security 2100 Act, which
was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Larson.

 

The Social Security 2100 Act provides the following:

 

  • Tax cut for over 11
    million Social Security recipients by raising the threshold on taxation of
    benefits
  • Benefit bump beginning
    in 2016 for current and new beneficiaries
  • Protection for
    low-income workers by raising the minimum benefit
  • Long term protection
    against inflation for cost of living adjustments (COLA) by adopting the CPI-E
    formula
  • Extends the solvency of
    the program by extending the Social Security payroll tax to wages over
    $400,000. Currently, the Social Security payroll tax only applies to wages up
    to $118,500.

In Solano County alone, Social Security distributes benefits
amounting to about $765 million each year. With common sense steps like those
in the Social Security 2100 Act, Congress can boost this vital program now and
ensure Social Security remains strong well into the future. In fact, the
Social Security Administration’s Chief Actuary issued areport verifying that the Social Security 2100
Act would keep the program solvent beyond the next seventy-five years.

 

# # #

REP. MIKE THOMPSON SPEAKS ON RAIL SAFETY

Mar 24, 2016 

Press Release

 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) today spoke on the
importance of rail safety and observed a training demonstration during the
final day of the 3-day Railroad Hazardous Materials Awareness Training.

 

BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad hosted this disaster
response training in conjunction with Rep. Thompson, Contra Costa County Fire
Departments, the Contra Costa County Sherriff’s Office of Emergency Services
and the City of Hercules for local first responders to be better prepared in
the event of a train derailment or other accident that involves hazardous
materials.

 

“Public safety is priority number one when it comes to
transporting hazardous materials,” 
said Thompson. “I appreciate BNSF Railway and
Union Pacific Railroad for working with my office to provide this week’s
training to our local responders.  While we certainly hope our first
responders never have to use what they learned in this training in a real life
situation, we need to make sure our first responders have all the information
and training they need to quickly, safely and effectively address emergency
situations.”

 

This week’s training is the result of a series of local
stakeholder meetings held by Rep. Thompson regarding the safe transportation of
hazardous materials by rail.  During these meetings, it was identified
that our local first responders should have greater access to hazardous
materials training. Rep. Thompson then worked with BNSF Railway and Union
Pacific Railroads to bring the Railroad Hazardous Materials Awareness Training
to Hercules.

 

Rep. Thompson has co-authored and introduced the Crude-by-Rail
Safety Act, legislation which establishes comprehensive new safety and security
standards for the transport of crude oil by rail. The legislation is designed
to help protect communities along the nation’s railway networks. More
specifically, the Crude-by-Rail Safety Act would establish new, commonsense
federal safety standards for railcars transporting oil across the
country. This legislation:

 

• Establishes a maximum volatility standard for crude oil
(propane, butane, methane, and ethane) transported by rail

• Prohibits use of unsafe DOT-111 tank cars, including the removal
of 37,700 unsafe cars off the rail network

• Establishes the strongest tank car standards to-date

• Requires comprehensive oil spill response planning and studies

• Increases fines for violating volatility standards and hazmat
transport standards

• Requires disclosure of train movements through communities and
emergency response plans

• Requires railroads to implement a confidential close-call
reporting systems

 

Congressman Mike Thompson is proud to represent California’s 5th
Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa,
Solano and Sonoma Counties
 He is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Rep. Thompson is also a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition
and chairs the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Wine Caucus.

# # #





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