Category Archives: Rep. Mike Thompson

Benicia Crude By Rail remembered in today’s news

[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

Vallejo Times-Herald, by Nick Sestanovich, January 9, 2020
U.S. Rep. John Garamendi, CA 3rd District

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.

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    Here’s How Benicia, Nearby Lawmakers Voted On Impeaching Trump

    A bitterly divided House of Representatives voted Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump. Here’s what your representatives had to say.

    By Maggie Fusek, Benicia CA Patch,
    United States President Donald Trump Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019, became the third American president in history to be impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives.
    United States President Donald Trump Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019, became the third American president in history to be impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. (Shutterstock)

    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.”

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      U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson Reacts to Mueller Statement

      Press Release, U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, California’s Fifth District
      May 29, 2019 

      Thompson Reacts to Mueller Statement

      Calls for continued congressional investigations into report’s findings

      US Reprentative Mike Thompson, California’s Fifth District

      Washington – Today Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) released the following statement in reaction to a public comment by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the conclusion of his investigation.

      “Special Counsel Mueller outlined two very specific conclusions from his report with which everyone should be concerned. First, he said that if investigators had confidence that the President did not commit a crime, they would have explicitly said so. They could not conclude that the President did not commit a crime. Second, he said that investigators concluded that Russia and Russian intelligence agencies made ‘multiple and systematic efforts’ to interfere with the 2016 election and that these attacks were successful. These are grave conclusions we must all take seriously.

      Special Council Robert S. Mueller

      “The Special Counsel’s statement today is yet another indicator Congress must continue with its investigations where he left off. There are already six committees currently conducting this work, including the House Committee on Ways and Means on which I sit. It’s our Constitutional duty to conduct oversight into this grave issue and to reach the conclusions of these investigations that will help us address this problem. We must make every effort to ensure our election process and our democracy are protected.”

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