The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) California State Committee recently announced the expansion of the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) to include Pistachio Bushy Top Syndrome (PBTS). FSA’s decision comes six months after several California Members of Congress sent USDA a letter questioning why PBTS was not TAP-eligible. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Congressman David Valadao, Congressman Doug LaMalfa, Congressman Jeff Denham, and Congressman Paul Cook issued the following statement on FSA’s action:
“We commend FSA California State Committee Chairman Greg Wegis and his fellow committee members for taking decisive action to help Central Valley and California pistachio growers who suffered losses over the past several years from Pistachio Bushy Top Syndrome. Making this disease eligible under the Tree Assistance Program will mitigate some of the losses our pistachio growers incurred and help ensure that California remains the leading pistachio producing state in the Union.”
Richard Matoian, Executive Director of American Pistachio Growers, issued the following statement in response to the FSA decision:
“The pistachio industry was able to achieve this critically needed assistance program through the diligent work of American Pistachio Growers and our California Congressional officials, who understood the devastating impacts Pistachio Bushy Top Syndrome had and is continuing to have on California’s pistachio growers. The FSA State Committee’s action will ensure that the Tree Assistance Program will be able to assist those growers who were hurt, through no fault of their own, by this devastating disease.”
Information on PBTS and TAP (Source: FSA – California)
This morning Congressman Kevin McCarthy hosted United States Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in Bakersfield with three dozen of our community’s growers and dairies. The meeting was an opportunity for them to speak directly to Secretary Perdue about challenges they are facing from unfair trade practices by other countries, as well as opportunities to expand into new markets for California growers. Congressman McCarthy released the following statement after the meeting:
“As Congressman and Majority Leader my responsibility is to not only have a seat at the table but to bring our community to that table as well. Today’s meeting was an opportunity for our growers to speak to and hear from Secretary Perdue directly on his agency’s priorities to ensure our growers are able to operate in the most competitive regulatory and trade environment possible. The conversation was honest, open, and productive. I am pleased Secretary Perdue made our community a priority and will continue to work with him and the Trump administration to ensure that our region continues to lead in agriculture production."
Farm Policy Background:
The House-passed 2018 Farm Bill included a number of positive provisions for our growing community, including:
Congressman Kevin McCarthy and Congressman Paul Cook were pleased to secure a provision in the Conference Report for the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act that would create a funding stream for Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake to address water and energy infrastructure priorities.
Congressman McCarthy released the following statement:
“China Lake is among the most important military installations in our nation. The men and women at China Lake push the envelope each day -- designing, testing, and improving the tools American service members need to defend our country and allies across the globe. This provision opens up a new, reliable funding source for China Lake to help meet its water and energy needs, which will directly benefit the base and those who work on it. I am confident that the money raised by this provision will make our installation stronger and will empower the base to focus on what it does best: keep America safe. I would like to thank Congressman Paul Cook for his support of this measure and commend David Janiec of the China Lake Alliance and Scott O’Neil with the Indian Wells Valley Economic Development Corporation for their hard work and steadfast dedication to our community.”
Congressman Paul Cook issued the following statement:
“I’m always looking to improve our national defense, so any time I can use locally generated money to improve conditions for the local base and the troops that serve there, it’s a win-win. I’m proud to work with Leader McCarthy and the local officials and alliances that do such a critical job in supporting the people, mission, and facility at China Lake.”
The following community leaders issued statements on this provision:
“We want to thank Congressman McCarthy and Congressman Cook for sponsoring this provision, and their staff members who worked it and shepherded it through the conference committee process. Once signed into law, this provision will provide access to critical resources needed to help ensure the continued water and energy security of China Lake and our Indian Wells Valley community that comprises the workforce. We look forward to working with China Lake and community leadership to help realize our long term water and energy security.”
“This provision is extremely important to the future viability of both the naval mission at China Lake and the Ridgecrest/IWV community. It provides the means to conduct water projects that support the IWV water basin sustainability effort and help China Lake towards its goal of energy security. It is a major step towards ensuring a healthy future of both China Lake and the Ridgecrest/IWV community.”
Congressman Kevin McCarthy released the following statement upon securing authorization for the Joint Simulation Environment (JSE) facility at Edwards Air Force Base in the Conference Report for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (NDAA):
“Technological advances have given our military and their civilian counterparts unprecedented new ways to support our warfighters. Resources like the Joint Simulation Environment facility ensure our Air Force remains on the cutting edge, allowing our test pilots and engineering professionals to safely evaluate the aircraft that keep our nation safe while also being good stewards of hard-earned taxpayer money.
“Supporting JSE is a win-win investment for our defense community, and I am thrilled that this important bill authorizes the Air Force to develop the tools it needs to efficiently test the equipment essential to keep our great country safe. I am routinely impressed by the work accomplished at Edwards Air Force Base, and I would like to thank General Schaefer for his leadership and vision. I would also like to thank General Harris for the important work that he has accomplished at the Air Force Test Center, and for his service to our country.”
Today, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, Co-Chairman of the Congressional Valley Fever Task Force, introduced H.R. 6562, the bipartisan FORWARD Act with fellow Co-Chairman Congressman David Schweikert (AZ-6) and Task Force Members Congresswoman Martha McSally (AZ-2), Congresswoman Karen Bass (CA-37), and Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-9). This legislation would strengthen research and help advance treatment and vaccine development for Coccidioidomycosis, commonly known as Valley Fever, as well as other orphan endemic fungal diseases.
Congressman Kevin McCarthy, the primary sponsor of the bipartisan FORWARD Act, released the following statement:
“Valley fever is an endemic fungal disease that impacts many of our Central Valley communities. In the first six months of 2018, there have been twice as many reported cases of Valley Fever in Kern County compared to last year during this same period. With cases on the rise, we must redouble our efforts to develop a vaccine for this disease, as well as improve the diagnostic tools and treatment options available to those who suffer from it. This legislation is designed to do just that.
"Since coming to Congress, stamping out Valley Fever has been a top priority of mine. From focusing Federal and local efforts on this disease at the 2013 Valley Fever Symposium in Bakersfield to working with the NIH and CDC leadership to prioritize research efforts to introducing the FORWARD Act, my hope is that one day, Valley Fever will join the ranks of polio or smallpox – a relic of the past that has been eradicated through the ingenuity and hard work of the men and women who are dedicated to finding better treatments and ultimately, a vaccine.”
Congressman David Schweikert released the following statement:
“Arizona has been home to 68.3% of diagnosed Valley Fever cases over the last ten years. This legislation represents a breakthrough for researchers of this orphan disease. Our design for collecting critical clinical data, while protecting patient privacy through the use of blockchain, should become the future of medical research.”
Congresswoman Martha McSally released the following statement:
“There are more Valley Fever infections in Arizona than anywhere else in the world. Last year, nearly 7,000 cases were reported to the Arizona Department of Health Services. Valley Fever is on the rise in Southern Arizona when it should be on the decline. I was pleased to work with Leader McCarthy and the Congressional Valley Fever Task Force on this legislation. The FORWARD Act will tackle Arizona’s public health crisis head on and focus on eradicating this infectious disease once and for all.”
Congresswoman Karen Bass released the following statement:
“I’m proud to join my colleagues on this bipartisan effort to combat Valley Fever. The impact this disease has had on communities in Southern California and the greater Southwest region of the country will be significantly mitigated by advancing treatment and vaccine development. As a former health professional, I’ve seen lives saved by scientific research, which is why I hope Congress can come together to pass this good piece of legislation.”
Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema released the following statement:
“Whether it’s a neighbor, family member, or coworker, most Arizonans know someone who’s been affected by Valley Fever. The illness can leave someone unable to work, care for their kids, attend school, or worse. Our bill helps Arizonans by advancing research and moving us closer to finding effective treatments.”
Valley Fever experts and advocates issued the following statements:
“Congressman Kevin McCarthy has been tireless in his efforts to increase awareness of Valley Fever and bring critical funding to Kern County - where it is needed the most. As Medical Director for the Valley Fever Institute at Kern Medical, I am proud to lead our clinical team as we continue our mission to increase education and awareness for the public, patients and health care providers; provide the best patient care available and promote research that includes epidemiology, clinical drug development, prevention, immunology and immunizations. I fully support the FORWARD Act and think this is a critical step forward in combatting this disease.”
-Royce Johnson, M.D., Medical Director of the Kern Medical Valley Fever Institute and Chief of Infectious Diseases at Kern Medical
“For decades, there has been an obvious public health need and an economic benefit for better treatments, better diagnostic tests, and vaccines to prevent Valley Fever. There are opportunities to advance solutions in all three of these areas. This new initiative is a big step in the right direction. I am very encouraged by the leadership that Congressmen McCarthy and Schweikert have taken to give Valley Fever the visibility and the resources that it needs for progress to be made. The University of Arizona’s Valley Fever Center for Excellence is ready to help in this effort.”
- Dr. John Galgiani, Director of the University of Arizona Valley Fever Center for Excellence
“The FORWARD Act is a tremendous milestone in the efforts to treat Valley Fever and I am excited to support this smart, focused legislation from Congressman McCarthy and the Congressional Valley Fever Task Force. Valley Fever touches the lives of all of us living in the endemic regions. The amount of hope this bill holds for patients like myself and the families of patients like mine is beyond expression. The Valley Fever Americas Foundation has been working to prevent and cure Valley Fever for nearly 20 years and the amount of promise this bill holds is immeasurable. We look forward to continuing to work with Congressman McCarthy and the Congressional Valley Fever Task force to cure and prevent Valley Fever.”
- Rob Purdie, Vice President, Valley Fever Americas Foundation and Patient, Valley Fever Institute at Kern Medical
· The full bill text of H.R. 6562 can be read here.
· Coccidioidomycosis, commonly referred to as Valley Fever, is a disease caused by fungal spores found in the soil in arid regions primarily in the American southwest. Symptoms can range from flu-like to being so severe that bones, skin, eyes, and even the brain can be affected. While most individuals infected with Valley Fever will never experience symptoms, for those who do, they are often serious and sometimes life-threatening. To learn more about Valley Fever, click here.
· According to Valley Fever experts, there currently is no vaccine or cure for this disease and existing treatments vary in efficacy.
· The Finding Orphan-disease Remedies With Antifungal Research and Development (FORWARD) Act is designed to advance sustained efforts to combat Valley Fever in the short, medium and long-term. Specifically, the FORWARD Act would in the:
o Short-Term: Immediately support and prioritize basic research for Valley Fever and other fungal diseases, establish a blockchain pilot program so that medical researchers can more easily access clinical data for research while preserving patient privacy, and create a Federal working group to coordinate research efforts on Valley Fever;
o Medium-Term: Streamline the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process to get new antifungal diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines approved for use in humans and add antifungal diagnostic tool and treatment development to the successful public-private partnership CARB-X program within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and,
o Long-Term: Encourage the development of a Valley Fever vaccine by extending Generating Antibiotic Incentives Now (GAIN) Act market incentives to antifungal vaccines and create a FDA priority review voucher program for endemic orphan fungal diseases, similar to the existing voucher program for rare pediatric and tropical diseases, to further incentivize the development of new treatments, cures, and vaccines for diseases, such as Valley Fever.Read More
Congressman Kevin McCarthy released the following statement on the appointment of Porterville native Tom Barcellos to the Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Committee for California:
“Tom is an outstanding choice for the Farm Service Agency State Committee, and his nomination cements the critical role the Central Valley plays in our nation’s agriculture industry. As a resident of one of the top two ranked agriculture-producing counties in the country, Tom appreciates the vital role of agriculture in the American economy and understands what is needed for our agricultural producers to continue to grow and succeed at home and abroad. Tom has been a consistent advocate for the Central Valley agricultural community, and will bring years of knowledge and experience, including as a former Chairman of Western United Dairymen, a former director with the California Farm Bureau Federation, and a director with the Lower Tule Irrigation District, to the FSA State Committee. I am confident that Tom will excel in his new position, and I am excited to work with him on policies that will help our Central Valley and state agriculture thrive for generations to come.”Read More
Today, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, Congressman Paul Cook, and House Natural Resources Committee Federal Lands Subcommittee Chairman Tom McClintock authored and signed onto a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Acting Director Brian Steed requesting new policy and guidelines for BLM state and field offices to implement Independent Monitoring Programs (IMP) at competitive off-highway vehicle (OHV) events on Federal land to avoid triggering Cost Recovery.
McCarthy released the following statement:
“In California, we are blessed to have access to some of the most awe-inspiring public lands on the planet and many communities, such as those in eastern Kern County, rely on access to public lands for OHV tourism and recreation.
“Americans should be free to utilize our public lands freely and fairly, while abiding with all regulations. Unfortunately, BLM’s current Cost Recovery policy denies many small and medium-sized OHV groups from being able to fully enjoy or to hold competitive events on BLM land because of exorbitant fees.
An IMP would allow outside groups to partner with state and local BLM offices to provide trained volunteers who would be responsible for certain BLM staff monitoring activities at OHV events, all with the goal of preventing Cost Recovery from triggering. Such a change would be a win-win for our community – it would expand access for OHV users while bringing more tourists to stimulate our local economy. It would also ensure that BLM regulations are met, all without increasing costs for OHV event sponsors or the BLM. I remain committed to ensuring access to our public lands, and it is my every hope that the Trump Administration and Acting Director Steed will heed the call to promote OHV recreation through innovative public-private partnerships by developing an IMP.”
Congressman Paul Cook released the following statement:
“Current policies are making it difficult, costly, and burdensome for OHV groups to hold popular competitive events on BLM land. Many of these groups simply can’t afford the costs associated with obtaining Special Recreation Permits, particularly smaller events that often benefit charity. In my district, we have a number of these events every year. It’s important that we ensure these events can continue without undue costs and with clear regulations that make it easy to comply. I hope the BLM will commit to developing an Independent Monitoring Program to ensure that constituents can continue to enjoy our public lands.”
Federal Lands Subcommittee Chairman Tom McClintock released the following statement:
“For many years, we have seen increasingly severe restrictions on the public’s use of the public land. One of the most galling aspects of this policy is the use of exorbitant fees to prevent many group events that are often the economic mainstay of small communities. These fees, along with complex planning requirements, have virtually shut down many legitimate traditional public events and uses, said Congressman McClintock. The implementation of uniform guidelines for this program will provide long-overdue relief.”
Community OHV leaders issues the following statements:
“I am grateful to see Congress address the need for an Independent Monitoring Program. Such policy would work to ensure that small, non-profit clubs such as the Off Road Business Association can continue to recreate on our public lands without being hindered by burdensome permitting costs. I am hopeful that the BLM will understand the importance of making this necessary change.”
- Fred Wiley, President/CEO of the Off Road Business Association
“For groups like the American Motorcycle Association to continue to thrive, it is absolutely critical that the BLM reduce the cost burden on non-profit clubs to host events on public lands. I am heartened to Congress take action on an issue that impacts so many of us in the OHV community, and will be looking forward to hearing the BLM’s response.”
- Jerry Grabow, American Motorcycle Association (AMA) District 37 Legislation Officer
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) spoke on the House floor today to express support for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and personnel and denounce calls for ICE's abolishment.
Full remarks are below, or watch online here.
“Mr. Speaker, last week Democrats introduced a bill to “abolish ICE”—that’s the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
“I think we should first review that agency’s record.
“As it turns out, ICE agents are on the frontlines in the battle against crime.
“In 2016, they arrested nearly 2,000 human traffickers—criminals who are involved in “modern-day slavery." Democrats wanted to abolish that.
“Last year ICE agents arrested more than 4,800 gang members—including almost 800 members of MS-13, one of the most vicious gangs operating today. But you wanted to abolish that and put it into our communities.
“And they intercepted more than one ton of fentanyl that was headed for our communities.
“We all should know what fentanyl will do, because we just debated a package of bills to deal with this problem.
“Fentanyl is so deadly that just a few grains of it can kill you.
“Still, the Democrats say they want to abolish this agency.
“But there’s a problem with that—two problems, actually.
“The first problem is that most Americans disagree with you—they want to support ICE. According to a recent poll, just 1-in-4 Americans think we should abolish it.
“The second problem is that Democrats don’t seem to agree about their bill! They lack the courage of their so-called convictions.
“Because when we offered to bring the “Abolish ICE” bill to the floor, Democrats said they would vote against it.
“The Democrats wanted the glory of introducing a far-left bill—but they didn’t have the guts to accept the consequences.
“That’s the kind of leadership the Democrats have to offer.
“And Mr. Speaker, I admit I’m confused listening to the Democratic leadership.
“I was here, I was on the floor, I listened, Mr. Speaker, to the leader on the Democratic side when she said “I recommend voting no, or maybe vote present, or vote however you want.” I’m not sure what position she was requesting when she said all three.
“And I’m not sure exactly what the author wanted to do when he asked his fellow Democrats to co-sponsor his bill, but then said he would vote against it.
“I’m just not sure.
“Today, we’re going to vote on a resolution that does the opposite.
“We are about to vote on a resolution to support the law-enforcement officers of ICE—and renounce the activist campaign against them.
“The danger these officers face is no joke. For those in the back who want to speak during this, I would ask that they get quiet for a moment.
“Because six ICE officers lost their lives defending us.
“They are Special Agent Brian Beliso, Special Agent Timothy Ensley, Special Agent Lorenzo Gomez, Special Agent Scott McGuire, Special Agent David Wilhelm, and Special Agent Jaime Zapata, who was killed by cartel hitmen in Mexico.
“These agents gave their lives in the line of duty. Thousands more of these agents risk their lives every day on your behalf.
“I want you to pause for one moment and think about those agents, think about those families, and think about those thousands of agents who are defending our border. What do they think when a bill comes across saying you want to abolish them?
“How much support do they feel when the leadership of the Democratic Party says “vote no, vote present, vote however you want.”
“Well you know what, when ICE agents risk their lives and stop another human trafficker, save another child—I’ll vote to support them.
“When they stop the amount of drugs coming across and save Americans’ lives—I’ll support them.
“And when they stop an MS-13 gang member from coming into our communities—I’ll support them.
“Mr. Speaker, I’m confused. I understand there’s this growing socialist movement in the Democratic Party. Do they believe we should have no borders? I guess they do today.
“Mr. Speaker, that’s not what Americans asked for. It’s not what Americans support.
“That is why I am happy to offer Congressman Higgins’ resolution—and to stand with the men and women of ICE. Because I want a safer America.
“And for those who gave their lives for us—I will stand with them. Even when it means standing against the new socialist Democratic Party.
“I hope every single one of my colleagues votes in favor."
Congressman Kevin McCarthy released the following statement on passage of the JOBS Act 3.0:
“Startups drive our nation’s economic growth by expanding the technology frontier and employing millions of workers in high-quality jobs. And Americans are inspired by stories of entrepreneurs who build an empire out of their garages. Yet too many small businesses fail to launch because of government restrictions on investment and growth.
“I co-authored the original JOBS Act in 2012 to address this problem. That bill, plus the second JOBS Act signed into law in 2015, helped thousands of small companies raise billions of dollars in funding. Together, they contributed to our economy’s extraordinary comeback over the past few years.
“Today the House took another step to encourage entrepreneurship by passing the JOBS Act 3.0. This bill stimulates investment by reducing regulatory burdens on angel investors. It also lowers the regulatory barriers on certain kinds of IPOs, which can cost startups millions of dollars. And this bill allows more Americans to invest in businesses and ideas they believe in by expanding the definition of ‘accredited investors.’ Right now only a wealthy few can qualify to be accredited investors. The new definition will include experienced investors, even if they do not meet financial thresholds.
“Chairman Jeb Hensarling (TX-5) has proven time and again that he cares about crafting bipartisan solutions for entrepreneurs. His approach to build on the success of the first and second JOBS Acts has been creative and inclusive. The JOBS Act 3.0 is the latest evidence of this House’s commitment to expanding opportunity for American workers and investors.”
Congressman Kevin McCarthy is pleased to announce that the Kern County Department of Airports will receive $500,000 in Small Community Air Service Development Program (SCASDP) grant funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to expand travel service at Bakersfield’s Meadows Field Airport with new non-stop flights to Dallas Fort Worth, Texas. McCarthy issued the following statement:
“Our community knows Meadows Field as the gateway that connects our economy and families with the rest of the world. As a growing region, it is absolutely fitting for our airport to increase flight options to airports in new markets. In Texas, Bakersfield has much in common and this new travel option is sure to stimulate the economy and provide additional travel and connecting options given DFW’s hub status. I would like to thank Secretary Chao for approving this investment in our community at Meadows Field, and the County of Kern for its persistence and leadership in pursuing these funds.”
DOT’s award announcement can be read here. Congressman McCarthy has long worked to strengthen Meadows Field, most recently sending a letter to Secretary Chao on December 19, 2017 in support of the Kern County Department of Airports’ SCASDP grant application to expand flight options. A copy of this letter can be read here.Read More
2421 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Kevin McCarthy represents the 23rd District of California, which spans Kern, Tulare, and Los Angeles counties. First elected in 2006, Kevin is a native of Bakersfield and a fourth-generation Kern County resident. He is committed to policies that give small businesses and entrepreneurs the confidence they need to hire, expand, invest and innovate. After the 2010 midterm elections, Kevin was elected by his colleagues to serve as Majority Whip of the United States House of Representatives.
Kevin started his own small business before the age of 21. He built Kevin O’s Deli from the ground up, even enlisting his father’s help in building the deli’s counter in their garage. He worked hard, hired employees and enjoyed success in his community. That’s also where he first encountered government overregulation. The countless frivolous and redundant rules, as well as the taxes small businesses like his were burdened with, spurred Kevin’s interest in public service. When Kevin sold his business, he used the profits to put himself through college and graduate school. He received both his undergraduate degree and his Masters in Business Administration from California State University, Bakersfield.
During college, Kevin accepted an internship with then-Congressman Bill Thomas, and soon became a member of Congressman Thomas’s staff. Kevin won his first election in 2000 as Trustee to the Kern Community College District. In 2002, McCarthy was elected to represent the 32nd Assembly District in the California State Assembly. As a freshman legislator, he was selected unanimously by his Republican colleagues to serve as the Assembly Republican Leader, becoming the first freshman legislator and the first legislator from Kern County to assume the top Republican post in the California State Assembly. Kevin worked with his colleagues in the Assembly and Senate and with the Governor to reduce California’s budget deficit, overhaul the state worker’s compensation system and enhance California’s business climate to create more opportunities for California workers and businesses until he ran for Congress in 2006.
Kevin brings his personal experience as a small business owner and as an effective leader in the statehouse to Washington D.C. In his role as Majority Whip, Kevin leads the effort in Congress to advance common sense policies that will put America back on the path to prosperity. Since gaining control of the House in November 2010, Kevin and his Republican colleagues have blocked the largest tax increase in American history, cut out-of-control government spending by historic levels and passed numerous pieces of legislation that will help create jobs in America. These bills reduce the burden on small businesses, increase our nation’s energy security by promoting domestic energy production, knock down barriers for small business owners to access capital and help increase certainty for the private sector.
Kevin will continue to fight to get Washington’s fiscal house in order while promoting policies that empower the private sector to invest and create jobs.
When Kevin is not in Washington fighting for the constituents of California’s 23rd District and for the future of America, he is home in Bakersfield with his wife Judy and two children Connor and Meghan.
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