Garamendi: Plenty of work to do in Washington, DC
House Armed Services Committee.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
*House Agriculture Committee.
*pending waiver to sit on three committees rather than the typical two
The new year could be one where important things get done in Washington, DC — if Republicans in the House of Representatives let it happen, according to Rep. John Garamendi.
When the new Congress convenes this week, Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, will represent Yuba-Sutter for the first time since redistricting moved the region into his district in 2011.
After November's elections, he said, House Republicans elected in the tea party revolt of 2010 have to decide whether they want to follow the will of the voters.
"The public clearly wants us to work together," he said. "There's a big, big middle we can move to, to get things done."
On Garamendi's list is finishing a farm bill and addressing sequestration, a federal plan for cutting spending, including defense.
Though there are places military spending could be cut, he said, it's critical not to make cuts to drastically affect the mission at Beale and Travis Air Force bases, both in his district.
A new farm bill is important for Yuba-Sutter agriculture because it will have components for rice, specialty crops, ongoing research and environmental protection, Garamendi said.
"Unfortunately, we'll have to start at the beginning," he said, because a new Congress is being seated. "We'll have to have committees and hearings again."
What kind of federal budget is adopted will also be important because it will show whether the mood is toward spending money and making infrastructure investments — such as levee improvements — or holding back federal dollars, Garamendi said.
If there's room for Republicans to work with him, he said, it could be on issues like the farm bill and perhaps making progress on the long-discussed Sites Reservoir near Colusa.
Garamendi said he is also hoping to get more support for his Make It In America bill, which would give priority to domestic manufacturers for domestic infrastructure projects like bridges and levees.
"Republicans have picked up pieces of it, but not all of it," he said. "There's potential there."
Whether there's potential for Democrats and Republicans to work together is uncertain, but Garamendi said he plans on being cooperative.
"You always have to talk to them," he said. "They're the majority party."
CONTACT Ben van der Meer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4786. Find him on Facebook at /ADbvandermeer or on Twitter at @ADbvandermeer.