Congressman Cook Newsletter: June 24, 2014
It’s Time To Close NSA Spying Loopholes
Last week, Congressman Cook voted to protect Americans’ privacy by voting for the Massie-Sensenbrenner Amendment, which closes two legal loopholes that allow the NSA to spy on Americans. This vital amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriation Bill passed on a bipartisan 293-123 vote.
This amendment would ban warrantless searches of government databases for information about American citizens. This information includes the content of emails and telephone calls. Additionally, this amendment would prohibit the NSA and CIA from placing “back doors” into commercial software. Not only do these backdoors allow spy agencies to listen in on Americans’ private communications, they can be exploited by criminals and hackers, putting the information security of people and businesses at risk.
Cook said, “I’m dedicated to protecting Americans’ privacy. Earlier this year, I supported the USA Freedom Act to protect our constitutional rights. It was a good first step, but this important amendment will help rein in our overreaching spy agencies. I’m proud to support this vital amendment.”
The North American Energy Infrastructure Act
Today, Congressman Cook voted for H.R. 3301, the North American Energy Infrastructure Act. This bill, which passed the House with bipartisan supports, creates a more modern and efficient cross–border approval process for oil pipelines, natural gas pipelines, and electric transmission lines crossing America’s borders.
Passing H.R. 3301 will help bring regulatory certainty, create good American jobs, and facilitate trade with our North American allies. H.R. 3301 says “yes” to American energy and brings us closer to raining in the skyrocketing energy costs.
Cook said, “The average cost for a gallon of gas is $4.20 cents in my district. Every family continues to be pounded by energy prices, be it at the gas pump, the supermarket, or at home. This bill removes the barriers to developing North American Energy by lowering energy prices, and creating good, American jobs. Energy bills like this must continue to be part of our ‘all the above’ approach.”
Congressman Cook’s Department of Veterans Affairs Update
It’s important that my constituents are up to date on the most current actions taken by Congress to fix the broken VA system.
Earlier this month, the House of Representatives voted in favor of H.R. 4810, the Veterans Access to Care Act. This bipartisan bill ensures veterans who’ve been forgotten by the VA are able to receive medical care from the private sector. The Senate passed S. 2450; the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014 as their response to fixing the critical problems at the VA. Both these bills are currently before a conference committee where they will work out some finals details and be merged as one bill. The final bill will emerge from this committee, be voted on by both chambers, and sent to the President for approval.
The conference committee held its first meeting last night to start work on the final version of the bill. It’s my hope that the committee acts quickly to ensure that our veterans are never subjected to the mistreatment they have seen by the VA again.
Yucaipa’s Dunlap Park Receives Grant
The City of Yucaipa will receive a $322,580 Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Grant Award that will create a new five-acre Dunlap Neighborhood Park.
Earlier this year, in a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, Cook and a bipartisan group of members urged “strong support for the LWCF,” calling it a “time-tested program for the next generation.”
Cook said, “I’m proud that I was able to play a role in securing this grant for the people of Yucaipa. My most important job in Congress is responding to the needs of my district, and this grant will go a long way toward ensuring that Yucaipa’s families have recreation opportunities for years to come.”
The LWCF was created in 1964 and established America’s most successful conservation program. LWCF uses no taxpayer dollars and ensures outdoor recreation activities in every state.
Concert for Heroes
On Thursday, July 3, 2014, Riverside County Philharmonic will pay tribute to veterans with a performance at the Riverside National Cemetery. The event, taking place at 7:30 PM, is free and open to the public.
Please come pay tribute to our nation’s heroes and enjoy a night of great music. For more information please see the flier below or visit their website by clicking here.