WASHINGTON – Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-05) has released the results of a coronavirus relief survey that polled constituents about their experience during the coronavirus pandemic.
The survey was conducted from May 1 through May 8 and results include answers from 4,605 respondents. The survey was emailed out to constituents via Thompson’s mail records list as well as circulated via press reports and Thompson’s social media accounts. Respondents were chosen by self-selection.
Among other things, results suggest a majority of Thompson’s constituency is in support of “cautiously” reopening the economy to prioritize public health, while a significant minority is in support of opening up more quickly to benefit businesses.
“Despite social distancing guidelines that keep us apart, I want to ensure I am doing everything I can to connect with people in our community and ensure their needs are met during this crisis,” said Thompson in a statement. “That’s why I launched my Coronavirus Relief Survey and why I am glad to have input from more than 4,000 people in our district. The results are clear—people want more support from the Federal government. Nearly everyone polled supports expanding the programs started in the CARES Act, such as the Paycheck Protection Program and the expanded unemployment insurance program. The vast majority also favor a cautious approach to opening up our community to ensure the health and safety of our neighbors and friends. Know that these results will inform my continued work to bring Federal relief back to our district.”
Full results of Thompson’s Coronavirus Relief Survey are as follows:
Have you been hurt financially by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes, somewhat: 43.8%
No, not at all: 30.2%
Yes, very much: 26%
Have you received a stimulus payment?
No, but I’m expecting a payment: 30.5%
No, I’m not eligible: 21%
No, the IRS website is unable to find my information: 6.3%
If yes, have you experienced any issues receiving the amount for which you are eligible? If you answered no to the previous question, skip this question.
Which CARES Act programs (if any) have helped you or your family?
Stimulus payment: 35.1%
Expanded unemployment insurance: 10.7%
Small business assistance (PPP, EIDL, etc.): 7.1%
Student loan relief: 4.7%
Not sure: 3.9%
Mortgage forbearance: 3.2%
Which CARES Act programs (if any) do you think should be extended or increased?
Small business assistance (PPP, EIDL, etc.): 22%
Expanded unemployment insurance: 21%
Stimulus payment: 16.8%
Student loan relief: 15.6%
Mortgage forbearance: 15.6%
Not sure: 3.3%
Are you waiting to hear back on any CARES Act relief you have applied for?
Yes, waiting for information or a check from the IRS: 15.1%
Yes, waiting for information on unemployment benefits: 10.4%
Yes, waiting to hear back on a small business loan: 8.6%
How would you like to see the “re-opening” of our communities play out?
More cautiously to prioritize protecting public health: 69.3%
More quickly to prioritize getting people back to work: 23.9%
Not sure: 3.8%
Do you think Congress should provide more funds to help schools, hospitals, paramedics, police departments, and other services in future coronavirus legislation?
Congressman Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena announced this week that he has pushed back the deadline and changed the guidelines for high schoolers to submit artwork as part of his 2020 Fifth Congressional District Art Competition.
These changes reflect the shelter-at-home and social distancing guidance issued by local and state authorities, according to a news release from his office. Students will now have until May 28 to submit their work, which they can do electronically.
“Our incredible local artists continue to create despite the uncertain times we are now facing, which is why I’ve updated the deadline and guidelines for high schoolers to participate in my Congressional Art Competition this year,” Thompson said in a statement. “This will allow students for extra time to submit amid the many changes they are facing with this year’s school calendar and allow them to comply with important public health guidelines…I can’t wait to see our great local art again this year!”
[Today’s news is welcome. Rep. Garamendi doesn’t represent Benicia, but he does represent uprail cities that would have been affected by Valero’s dangerous and dirty proposal to bring oil trains across California. Garamendi’s bill, HR 5553, has 4 co-sponsors, but does not include Benicia’s representative Mike Thompson. Let’s hope Mike will get behind this effort! – R.S.]
John Garamendi introduces crude-by-rail safety bill
Rep. John Garamendi, D-Solano, introduced legislation Wednesday to ensure safer standards for the transport of crude oil and other hazardous materials by train.
House Resolution 5553, also known as the “Crude By Rail Volatility Standards Act,” aims to establish a safety standard for the maximum volatility for crude oils and similar materials transported by rail. It also requires that all crude by rail in America adhere to the New York Mercantile Exchange’s maximum Reid vapor pressure for crude-oil futures contracts of 9.5 pounds per square inch, Garamendi’s office wrote in a news release.
The current industry standard would remain in place until the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) completes the rule setting a maximum volatility standard that was first announced in 2017 after the attorneys general of six states, including California, petitioned the U.S. Department of Transportation and PHMSA to finalize the regulation nationwide.
“Every day we delay the implementation of a stronger safety standard for the transport of Bakken crude oil-by-rail, lives are at risk,” Garamendi said in a statement. “My bill simply requires oil companies to decrease the volatility to market levels, rather than carrying unstable products through communities. I am committed to enacting this legislation into law this year as part of the surface transportation reauthorization.”
Garamendi, who is a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, has been trying to get legislation passed since 2015 to prohibit crude oil from being transported by rail unless it adheres to the New York Mercantile Exchange’s maximum Reid vapor pressure. Garamendi’s office wrote that the actions were influenced by numerous crude-by-rail derailments in previous years, including an accident in Lac-Megantic, Quebec in 2013 which killed 47 people and led to changes in operations for Canadian railways.
The topic of crude by rail became a hot-button issue in Solano County in 2013 when the Valero Benicia Refinery announced plans to extend rail lines to have crude-oil delivered to its plant by train rather than by boat. The project — which would have passed through Dixon, Suisun City and Fairfield — was met with opposition and was subsequently voted down by the Benicia Planning Commission and then the City Council.
Garamendi’s co-sponsors on the bill are Reps. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland; Bill Foster, D-Ill.; Nita Lowey, D-N.Y.; and Jamie Raskin, D-Md.
BENICIA, CA — The congressional representative for Benicia, Democrat Mike Thompson, voted with his party on Wednesday’s U.S. House of Representatives’ vote to approve two articles of impeachment against U.S. President Donald Trump and charge him with abusing his office and obstructing Congress.
The nation’s 45th president became just the third person in the office to be impeached. He now faces trial in the Senate and the unlikely possibility of being removed from office for “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Last week, a bitterly divided House Judiciary Committee approved two articles of impeachment accusing Trump of abusing the power of his office and obstructing Congress. However, given the Senate is controlled by Republicans, it’s considered highly unlikely.
Impeachment is not a conviction, rather the rough equivalent of a grand jury issuing indictments. Senators act as judge and jury.
California has 55 members of Congress and 48 of those members belong to the Democratic Party.
Here’s how lawmakers for Benicia and nearby communities voted on both articles of impeachment, as well as what they had to say about it:
U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, Fifth District
Thompson, a Democrat who represents Napa County and parts of Solano County — including Benicia and Vallejo — along with parts of Lake, Sonoma and Contra Costa counties, said he voted in favor of both articles of impeachment in part because “Trump jeopardized our national security.”
Here is Thompson’s full statement:
“Impeachment is a solemn duty outlined in the Constitution and one that I do not take lightly. I did not run for Congress to impeach this President, but rather to help our community get ahead and to serve the country I love. Unfortunately, the President brought this on himself by putting his own personal and political interests above those of the people he serves. This jeopardized our national security.
“The two articles I voted to pass today outline serious breaches of the public trust committed by the President, rising to the bar of high crimes and misdemeanors spelled out in our Constitution. As a combat veteran and having served eight years on the Intelligence Committee, I understand the threat that foreign actors can play in our elections. Every elected official must dedicate themselves to protecting our democracy. No one should invite a foreign country to interfere with our most sacred act of voting. It was a severe abuse of power for the President to ask a foreign nation to interfere in our election to benefit his personal and political interest and to condition bipartisan and Congressionally-approved aid on that interference. And it was an unacceptable obstruction of Congress for the President to order his officials to defy legally-issued subpoenas.
“Unchecked, these actions could lead us down a path that will unravel the fabric of our nation. I am saddened to have had to vote in favor of these articles of impeachment. But, in the interest of defending our nation, I was compelled to vote to ensure our country holds the same values for our children and for generations to come. Ben Franklin, one of our most influential Founding Fathers, wrote that we have ‘a Republic, if you can keep it.’ I believe we must fight to keep it.”
U.S. Rep. John Garamendi, Third District
Garamendi, a Democrat whose district includes Yolo County and parts of Solano County including Dixon and Suisun City, said he voted in favor of both articles of impeachment to “preserve and protect our Constitution and my promise to my constituents to carefully analyze all issues before me.”
Here is Garamendi’s full statement:
“Impeaching a President is one of the most solemn and consequential decisions the United States Congress can make. It is not an action I, or my fellow House colleagues, take lightly. Impeachment exists to protect our democracy. As Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Papers, the impeachment clause in the Constitution exists to address ‘the misconduct of public men,’ which involves ‘the abuse or violation of some public trust.’
“The investigations and hearings conducted by the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees provide overwhelming evidence that President Trump abused his power of office and endangered our national security when he coerced the president of Ukraine into investigating his likely rival in the 2020 presidential election by withholding $391 million in critical military aid and a White House meeting from the Ukrainian government. Withholding this military assistance to Ukraine as it enters the fifth year of its deadly war against Russia endangers Ukraine’s sovereignty and safety as well as the United States’ national security interests.
“President Trump has also issued a blanket order prohibiting all executive office personnel from testifying in Congressional impeachment hearings, responding to subpoenas, and turning over documents. Therefore, he has obstructed the legitimate and Constitutional obligation Congress has to conduct an impeachment inquiry when there is evidence of wrongdoing by the President.
No one is above the law. The President’s actions leave me no choice. President Trump has violated his oath to ‘faithfully execute the Office of the President of the United States,’ and to, ‘preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.’ Now I will uphold my oath of office to preserve and protect our Constitution and my promise to my constituents to carefully analyze all issues before me. I will vote in favor of both articles of impeachment against President Donald John Trump.”
U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman, Second District
Huffman, a Democrat who represents Marin County, part of Petaluma and parts of Sonoma, Mendocino, Humboldt, Trinity and Del Norte counties, voted in favor of impeachment. Huffman said Trump “compromised national security to cheat his way to re-election.”
Here is Huffman’s full statement:
“Madam Speaker, as we take this solemn, necessary step of impeaching President Trump, my Republican colleagues have made up their minds; we can’t persuade them to do the right thing. So, I address my remarks to the future. Because today’s vote will be judged by future generations including my precious children Abby and Nathan. Maybe grandkids.
“Historians will study what members of this Congress did when our democracy was tested like never before by a President who put personal interests above country; who compromised national security to cheat his way to re-election; and when caught, not only lied and refused to admit wrongdoing, but flouted Congress’ authority. He even called the Constitutional impeachment mechanism ‘unconstitutional.’
“Historians will marvel how some members continued to stand by this man; how they put blind partisan loyalty – or fear of Donald Trump – above their duty to defend the Constitution; how they made absurd partisan arguments and tried to obstruct these proceedings; and how, instead of pushing back when their party fell under a dark spell of authoritarianism, they embraced it – as if the Constitution, the rule of law, and our Oath of Office mean nothing.
“So, Madam Speaker, for our future generations, our children, and the judgment of history, let me be clear: I stand with our Constitution, with the rule of law, and our democracy. I’ll be voting ‘yes’ to impeach Donald J. Trump.”
U.S. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, 11th District
DeSaulnier, a Democrat whose district encompasses Concord and Pleasant Hill and parts of Martinez and Contra Costa County, voted in favor of impeachment, saying in part that failing to hold Trump “accountable for his actions will lead to more violations.”
Here is DeSaulnier’s full statement:
“The reality and urgency of this moment could not be more consequential to American democracy. President Trump violated the law by soliciting foreign interference in our elections.
“With the President’s pattern of escalating behavior, failing to hold him accountable for his actions will lead to more violations. This President is a threat to our national security. That is why today I voted to defend our democracy, uphold our oath of office and the Constitution, and impeach President Trump.”