Tag Archives: Congress

Rep. Adam Schiff – “Long Nightmare is Coming to an End…”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), a member of the Appropriations Committee, released the following statement after he voted for legislation to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling:

“Now that this divisive and economically destructive ordeal is coming to an end, we need to change how Congress operates so we put an end to these recurrent man-made crises. We cannot allow a small group of members to hold the government and the nation’s credit hostage to an unrelated agenda.”

“It is my hope that the budget discussions which will take place under this agreement, will re-establish an orderly process for funding the government and put an end to the indiscriminate and hurtful cuts known as the sequester.  We should also establish a new rule that any unfunded expenditure or unpaid for tax cut be accompanied with the authorization to pay the bills thus incurred. There should never be a question about the United States’ willingness to honor its debts and obligations.

“It’s time to get back to the business of governing, and turn our attention to where it should have been all along — putting Americans back to work, reviving our economy and moving the nation forward.”

Congressman Schiff Tells Effects of Shutdown on California’s Citizens

If the government fails to pass a continuing resolution by midnight tonight (September 30th), the federal government must shut down.  In a shutdown, elements of the federal government that need to be funded by Congress each year in order to operate must close. Some government functions continue during a shutdown, such as active duty military, programs written into permanent law, postal service and air traffic control.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank):  “Congressional Republicans have once again created a crisis that has put America’s fiscal health in serious jeopardy – this time over their fervor to defund or delay Obamacare. A shutdown would be a self-inflicted wound on an economy still struggling to recover. If Congress can’t take measures to affirmatively create jobs and support the recovery, it should at least get out of the way. We must cease these political games over the nation’s budget and the endless rounds of legislative brinksmanship.  It’s time to end this destructive exercise that puts our nation’s economy, credit rating, and hard-working families in needless jeopardy.”

A shutdown – even a partial one – would have wide-ranging effects on California’s economy and a number of essential government functions that Southern Californians rely on. The following memo outlines just some of these negative impacts.

Economic Impacts of a Shutdown

Shutdown Would Slow Economic Growth –According to respected Moody’s Analytics, a partial shutdown would cut the economy’s annual growth rate in the fourth quarter by 0.2 percentage points, to 2.5%, even if it ended in three or four days.  As a result of half of civilian government workers not being able to go to work, their lost pay would represent about half of the short-term economic impact. [USA Today 9/27]

  • The 1995-1996 government shutdowns, a five-day hiatus in November 1995, followed by a 28-day gap in December and January 1996, did interrupt the strong expansion that was then developing.  The economy grew at an annual pace of 3.5% in the third quarter of 1995, but dropped to 2.9% in late 1995 and 2.6% in the first quarter of 1996. Once the shutdown ended, growth rebounded to 7.2% in the second quarter of 1996, and the economy grew at a 4% clip in the second half of the year. [USA Today 9/27]

Shutdown Will Cost Taxpayers Money –According to the Office of Management and Budget, the two shutdowns in 1995 and 1996 cost taxpayers $1.4 billion combined. Adjust for inflation and the cost estimate comes to $2 billion in today’s dollars.[NBC News 9/27]  Some estimates have a shutdown costing $150 million a day. [Fiscal Times 9/24]

 

California Tourism: Parks, Museums & Monuments

Shutdown would lead to furloughs and loss of economic activity. California has a large number of public spaces that are managed by the National Park Service and their employees – there are 26 in California statewide, including Joshua Tree National Park and Mojave National Preserve, and a number of other federal lands and recreation areas, including the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and Angeles National Forest.  In 2012, there were over 35 million visitors to California national parks generating $1,192,000,000 in economic benefits.  With visits by tourists disrupted, the economic impact of a shutdown could cost California millions of dollars in tourism.

  • Parks and Public Spaces will likely close under a shutdown.  Guidance similar to the 2011 Contingency Plan from the Department of Interior would close all parks and federal sites to the public.  As well, a majority of staff would be furloughed.  2011 guidance recommended furloughing 16,800 employees, and retaining 3,200, nationally.  [CRS, 9/24/2013]

 

Emergency Responders, Disaster Recovery and Safety

FEMA Employees could be furloughed.  Employees funded by annual appropriations must be furloughed during a funding lapse in such appropriations, with an exception for those employees needed to carry out functions that are necessary for the protection of life and property. Some FEMA employees are funded by annual appropriations. [FEMA, 9/23/13]

Shutdown Would Prevent Vehicle Safety Tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducts testing on vehicles to ensure they are safe on the road. Many of these tests find defected parts which lead to recalls. If the government shuts down, this testing will stop, potentially putting California drivers and passengers at greater risk. [CRS, 9/24/2013]

 

Benefits and Federal Agencies

New Social Security Beneficiaries Might Not Receive Payments - A government shutdown could prevent new Social Security beneficiaries from receiving social security payments. As Social Security offices furlough employees or reduce hours, new claims might not be processed. In 2011, the most recent year of data available, there were 347,798 new Social Security beneficiaries in California. [CRS, 9/24/13]

Housing Vouchers – The Department of Housing and Urban Development will not be able to provide local housing authorities with additional money for housing vouchers. The nation’s 3,300 public housing authorities will not receive payments, although most of these agencies, however, have funds to provide rental assistance through October. [Washington Post, 9/30] In Glendale, for example, processing of housing voucher payments to Glendale Housing Authority’s approximate1,500 housing vouchers may be delayed, a number already significantly reduced due to sequestration.

Issuance of Federal Housing Administration-backed mortgages in California could cease during a shutdown. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is self-financed, but authority to insure new home loans is authorized annually in appropriations acts. Therefore, in a shutdown, the FHA could be unable to insure new home loans. [CRS, 9/24/2013]

Shutdown could interrupt medical research – The National Institutes of Health (NIH) would not be able to take on any new patients, or begin any new clinical trials, thereby impeding progress on life-saving, cutting-edge medical research. [ABC, 9/21/13] Local institutions, such as Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, receive a particularly large amount NIH funding for programs and research.  Children’s Hospital’s Graduate Medical Program would also theoretically be effected if the shutdown lasted a long time, and payments could be delayed

Shutdown could delay approval of applications for Small Business Loans  – The Small Business Administration provides government-guaranteed loans to small businesses. These services could be suspended in a shutdown and depending on how long the last shutdown lasted, applications could get backlogged, meaning the impact could be felt even after the government reopens. [ABC, 9/21/13]

  • In 2011, the Los Angeles SBA District Office helped to provide loans and financial assistance to 2,477 businesses, amounting to $1.58 billion.  While exact numbers are not known, new business applications would be backlogged and would hurt current loans administered throughout Los Angeles.

 

California Workers and Economic Development

California Workers Impacted by Outsourcing Would Not Receive Assistance – A government shutdown would prevent the Department of Labor from issuing any new Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) determinations.  TAA is given to employees who have lost their job as a result of their job being moved to another country. [Department of Labor memo, 4/7/2011]

California economic development, housing, and city restoration projects would cease in a shutdown – All programs under the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) are expected to be impacted by a government shutdown. Program examples include:

  • Brownfields Economic Development Initiative (BEDI)
  • Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
  • Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) Program
  • Economic Development Initiative (“Competitive EDI”) Grants
  • Rural Housing Stability Assistance Program
  • Surplus Property for Use to Assist the Homeless (Title V)
  • Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
  • Mortgage Insurance for Disaster Victims (Section 203(h))
  • Supportive Housing for the Elderly (Section 202) & Persons with Disabilities (Section 811)
  • Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration Study

 

Veterans, Military Service Members and Military Base Employees

Military personnel must work without pay. This could have a devastating impact on military families, depending on the length of the shutdown.  According to Rep. C.W. Young, R-Fla., Chairman of the House defense appropriations subcommittee, “All military personnel will continue to serve and accrue pay, but will not actually be paid until appropriations are available.” [Military Times, 9/23/13]

Veterans could be denied education and vocational rehabilitation benefits. Under a shutdown plan drafted in 2011, the Veterans Administration will not be able to process new beneficiaries and administration of Education and Vocational Rehabilitation benefits. Also, Veterans Benefits Administration regional offices will have limited availability and no decisions on claims appeals or motions will be issued by the Board of Veterans appeals. [Dept. of Veterans Affairs, Contingency Plan, 4/8/11]

Multiple other Veterans’ services could be curtailed.  According to the Washington Post, the last time the government shut down in 1995, “multiple services were curtailed, ranging from health and welfare to finance and travel.”[Washington Post, 9/24/13] Furthermore, during the last threat of a shutdown, it was expected that Veterans Benefits Administration customer support services could be suspended. [OMB Public Memo, 2011]

California Guardsmen/women would not be paid. A number of California National Guard employees would be furloughed until the government is funded. Additionally, depending on how long the shutdown lasts, the Guard could have to cancel training and other duties, which could affect another thousands of Soldiers and Airmen. Any shutdown would also negatively impact the families of Soldiers, Airmen, and civilian employees. There would be additional issues concerning contracting and purchasing, dependent on the length of a shutdown.  [OMB Public Memo, 2011]

Rep. Adam Schiff to Host Town Hall on Gun Violence

On Wednesday, April 3rd at 6:30 pm, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) will convene and moderate a town hall to discuss the causes of gun violence such as the horrendous shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. The discussion will include federal legislation that has been proposed to put in place universal background checks for all gun sales, improve mental health treatment and the quality of records in the background check system, and other proposals being debated by Congress.

Congressman Schiff will be joined by Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, former State Senator Jack Scott, Dr. Anand Pandya, Loren Lieb, and an invited representative from the NRA.

“Since Newtown, Congress has been debating steps that we can take to prevent future gun violence and tragedies from occurring,” said Rep. Schiff. “It’s my hope that we can take steps to crack down on straw purchasers, ban assault weapons with extended ammunition clips, repeal the gun industry’s immunity from liability, and make background checks universal, among other steps. This town hall will serve as an opportunity for members of the public to weigh in, and hear directly from experts and those that have experience with gun violence and mental health. Together, we can explore steps to prevent horrendous tragedies like Newtown.”

 

WHO:             Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Burbank)

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca

Former State Senator Jack Scott (whose son died in a shooting accident)

Dr. Anand Pandya; Associate Professor of clinical psychiatry at USC Keck School of Medicine

Loren Lieb; Los Angeles resident and mother of a child injured in the Los Angeles Jewish Community Center mass shooting in 1999

Representative from the NRA (invited)

WHAT:          Congressman Schiff will convene and moderate a town hall to discuss the causes and solutions of gun violence such as the horrendous shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.

WHERE:       West Hollywood City Council Chambers

625 N. San Vicente Blvd.

West Hollywood, CA 90069

WHEN:          Wednesday, April 3rd; 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Schiff to Go After Super Pacs With Constitutional Amendment Permitting Regulation of Campaign Spending

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) today reintroduced a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s ill-considered opinion in Citizens United, and other Supreme Court precedent, which have made it impossible to regulate the billions in campaign spending unleashed over the last two decades. The amendment also overturns the Supreme Court decision Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett, which struck down an Arizona law that allowed public financing of a candidate if their opponent exceeded certain spending limits.

California Rep Adam Schiff

Congressman Adam Schiff

“With the growth of Super PACs this past cycle, it’s clear that now more than ever we need real campaign finance reform,” said Rep. Schiff. “As a result of the Supreme Court’s artificial distinction between contributions to a candidate and direct expenditures that have the same effect, Super PACs and anonymous donors are the norm rather than the exception.  My amendment is simple – it would allow Congress to set reasonable limits, and allow states to set up public financing for candidates, if they choose to do so.

“I have always been loathe to amend the constitution, but the tragic line of decisions by the Supreme Court has severely threatened the very health of our democracy.  Something must be done, and we must overturn Citizens United.”

Schiff drafted the legislation last year with Harvard Law Professor Laurence H. Tribe, and pushed to hold hearings on his amendment and others.  He was joined today by Michael Capuano, David Cicilline, Sam Farr, John Garamendi, Jim Himes, Barbara Lee, Betty McCollum, Michael Michaud, Jerry Moran, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Charles Rangel, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Chris Van Hollen, and Peter Welch.

The amendment provides simply: “Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to forbid Congress or the States from imposing reasonable content-neutral limitations on private campaign contributions or independent election expenditures, or from enacting systems of public campaign financing, including those designed to restrict the influence of private wealth by offsetting campaign spending or independent expenditures with increased public funding.”

Schiff is no stranger to campaign finance reform. Elected in 2000, after the most expensive race for the House in history at the time, he became a cosponsor of the bipartisan McCain-Feingold bipartisan campaign finance reform law on his first day in Congress.Citizens United helped overturn critical parts of that and other campaign finance laws.

Laurence H. Tribe is the Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School. Rep. Schiff served as one of his research assistants while a student at the law school in the mid-1980s.

Schiff Introduces Two New Bills Dealing With Gun Violence

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) introduced legislation, The Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act, to ensure that the victims of gun violence are allowed to have their day in court and that the gun industry – manufacturers, sellers and interest groups – is not shielded from liability when it acts with negligence and disregard for public safety.

“Good gun companies don’t need special protection from the law, and bad gun companies certainly don’t deserve it,” said Schiff. “Other industries across our country like automotive manufacturers, pharmaceutical firms and even cigarette companies don’t enjoy special protection under the law, and there is no reason to give the gun industry the right to act negligently.  As part of our larger effort to stop gun violence in the country, everyone – including gun companies – should be held accountable for their actions.”

In 2005, Congress passed legislation called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) which provides immunity in state and federal court from civil liability for licensed manufacturers, distributors, and dealers of firearms, as well as their trade associations, in most negligence and products liability actions. This immunity from liability under well-established common law principles that apply to everyone else in society is unique to the gun industry. As a result, gun makers and sellers have a lesser obligation to act with reasonable care for the safety of the public. It also means that gun sellers can turn a blind eye to straw purchasers or traffickers who may buy hundreds of weapons and traffick them to others with no background check whatsoever. A background check is only as effective as it is comprehensive and if gun dealers can sell to straw purchasers with impunity, it will allow large scale evasion of a universal background check system. As most gun companies are responsible businesses, this immunity only protects the worst actors in the industry.

Schiff has been working with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence to draft this legislation, which has already attracted a dozen cosponsors.

“We are better than a nation where businesses have a duty to act reasonably if they sell bb guns or beer, but the gun sellers who irresponsibly profit off criminals are above the law that applies to everyone else,” said Dan Gross, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “Most gun sellers are responsible business people who don’t supply criminals, but unless current law is changed, the few bad apples in the industry will be held unaccountable to victims of their irresponsible conduct.”

When Congress passed the PLCAA, its supporters argued that it was necessary to protect the gun industry from frivolous lawsuits, but that victims of gun violence would not be shut out of the courts. Senator Larry Craig, the sponsor of the legislation and at the time a member of the NRA’s board, stated during debate on the Senate floor, “This bill will not prevent a single victim from obtaining relief for wrongs done to them by anyone in the gun industry.” In reality, numerous cases around the nation have been dismissed on the basis of PLCAA even when the gun dealers acted in a fashion that would qualify as negligent if it involved any other product. Victims in these cases were denied the right to even discover or introduce evidence of negligence.

Schiff’s legislation allows civil cases to go forward against irresponsible bad actors. Letting courts hear these cases would provide justice to victims while creating incentives for responsible business practices that would reduce injuries and deaths.

Schiff also introduced the Straw Purchaser Penalty Enhancement Act, which would create a new two-year sentence for certain “straw purchasers” of firearms. Straw purchasers in the United States are responsible for many of the illegal firearm transfers to the Mexican drug cartels. Current federal penalties have provided prosecutors with little leverage in their efforts to tackle gang and cartel violence. Schiff’s legislation would provide prosecutors with a new tool to go after the gangs and drug cartels and the gun smugglers that arm them.

“During my time as a federal prosecutor, I learned that one of the most powerful tools in our arsenal was the ability to ‘roll’ lower-level offenders to get at those who were higher up and the most responsible for gun violence,” said Schiff. “The laws currently on the books targeting straw purchasers of firearms don’t treat it as anything other than a paperwork violation.  We need to crack down on those who are buying weapons with the express purpose of providing them to those who can’t pass a background check.  Straw purchasing is not a ‘paperwork’ violation – it’s a serious crime that has led to a horrendous increase in criminal access to firearms.”

During his press conference last week, President Obama called for stronger penalties for straw purchasers, remarking: “Congress needs to help, rather than hinder, law enforcement as it does its job.  We should get tougher on people who buy guns with the express purpose of turning around and selling them to criminals.  And we should severely punish anybody who helps them do this.”

Schiff’s legislation would create a new two year penalty for a straw purchaser who intentionally deceives a gun dealer about the true identity of the gun’s purchaser. The sentence would be in addition to the penalty under existing law. The bill also requires that gun purchasers be notified when they buy a gun that lying about the true purchaser of a gun is a serious offense. Schiff also made modifications to the version he introduced last Congress with the inclusion of a “Safe Harbor” provision that allows judges to reduce sentences for a narrow category of defendants.

Groups from across the ideological spectrum have called for enhanced laws to prosecute gun trafficking, including Mayors Against Illegal Guns and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Rep. Schiff Sworn Into Congress to Represent Newly Drawn 28th Congressional District

Representative Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) was sworn into Congress for his seventh term to serve California’s 28thCongressional District.  Schiff announced that he will continue to serve on the powerful House Appropriations Committee and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

“We have so much to accomplish over the next two years,” said Rep. Schiff.  ”It’s my hope that we can work together on both sides of the aisle to tackle some of our country’s most pressing challenges – restoring jobs and the economy, cutting our debt and deficit, finding commonsense solutions to gun violence, and continuing to bolster our national security. Congress must stop lurching from crisis to crisis and proactively address the challenges we face.”

Rep. Schiff will represent the 28th District in Congress, including all or parts of Atwater Village, Burbank, East Hollywood, Echo Park, Elysian Valley, Glendale, Griffith Park, Hollywood, Hollywood Hills, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Los Feliz, Montrose, Pasadena, Shadow Hills, Silver Lake, Sunland, Tujunga and West Hollywood.

Schiff continued, “While I’m sad that I will no longer represent many areas that I have represented for the past decade, I’ve enjoyed getting to know so many of my new constituents and getting reacquainted with those communities that I represented earlier in my career.”

Prior to the last redistricting ten years ago, Schiff represented Atwater Village, Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Sunland, Tujunga, La Crescenta, and La Cañada Flintridge – all parts of the new 28th District. He has always represented Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena, much of which are also included in the 28th.

Prior to serving in the House of Representatives, Schiff completed a four-year term as State Senator for California’s 21st State Senate District, chairing the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Senate Select Committee on Juvenile Justice and the Joint Committee on the Arts.  He led legislative efforts to guarantee up-to-date textbooks in the classroom, overhaul child support, and pass a patient’s bill of rights.  Before serving in the Legislature, Schiff served with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles for six years.

Schiff Honors Switzer Family in Washington DC Ceremony

Burbank residents Greg and Leah Switzer were honored this week in Washington D.C. as recipients of the 2012 Angels in Adoption Award for the 29th Congressional District, an annual award sponsored by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI). Greg and Leah Switzer were nominated by the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley, and selected by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) earlier this year.

During the award presentation ceremony, Schiff thanked Greg and Leah for their commitment towards foster care and adoption saying, “Greg and Leah have shown themselves to be true angels by adopting siblings Peter, Alex and Elizabeth. While too many families are separated by the foster care and adoption process, Greg and Leah’s commitment towards keeping this family together sets an incredible example. By opening their hearts and their home to these three amazing children, they have brought joy to themselves and the community.”

When Greg and Leah Switzer were married in 2000, they were both in their late forties. After about three years of marriage, they had the desire and compassion in their hearts to adopt and determined that their home and lifestyle would be perfect for only two children. On September 29, 2007, they attended an adoption fair in Altadena, California, met a young sibling trio of brothers, Peter and Alex, and sister, Elizabeth, and wanted to adopt them immediately. The children had been living in various foster homes for six years, but it was not until they joined the Switzer family that they found a stable, loving home and parents.

In addition to being a large sibling group, the children had special needs which the Switzer family worked together to overcome. Peter, now 15, is an honors student and active in the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley, and Elizabeth, 13 and Alex, 11 are involved in the youth group at Magnolia Park United Methodist Church in Burbank, California. All three children enjoy volunteering and giving back to the community.

Greg, a public school teacher, believes that “adoption is such a necessity and the facts and statistics of orphans are just staggering.” Leah, a public relations consultant, has also been a huge advocate of adoption and continues to encourage and educate about its importance through frequent public speaking appearances.

The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s (CCAI) Angels in Adoption Program is CCAI’s signature public awareness program that provides all Members of Congress with the opportunity to honor the good work of their constituents, who have enriched the lives of foster children and orphans. This week, each Angel attended various Angels in Adoption events in Washington, D.C., including the Pin Ceremony House and Reception and Gala, where all of the chosen Angels from across the country will be honored.

Rep. Schiff is a Member of the Congressional Adoption Caucus and welcomes nominations for next year’s “Angels in Adoption” award. For information on how to submit a nomination for next year’s award please contact Congressman Schiff’s district office at 626-304-2727.

Rep. Schiff Cheers Curiosity Landing at JPL

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) released the following statement after the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), known as Curiosity, successfully touched down on Mars and began its extraordinary mission:

“The landing of Curiosity is a remarkable engineering achievement and the culmination of nearly a decade of work by thousands of people here and around the world. In the coming weeks and months, Curiosity will answer many of the vital questions about Mars’ past and whether it ever had conditions suitable for life. But tonight we celebrate the genius of humankind.

“This success must reinvigorate our efforts to restore funding for planetary science and future Mars missions. While we have restored some of the funding –- almost $100 million so far –- much work remains to return the Mars Program to health. Without the certainty of future missions and support, we will find it impossible to maintain the most specialized workforce on earth –- the brilliant engineers and scientists who made this mission possible.”

Adam Schiff shared this image through his Twitter account Sunday night at JPL just before Curiosity landed on Mars

Congressman Schiff Calls for Ban of Assault Weapons After Colorado Murders

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), a former federal prosecutor, today released the following statement after the shooting in Aurora last week:

“I was deeply saddened by the tragic and senseless shooting at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater. Our priority must be aiding and comforting the victims and their families. I also believe we should take this moment to examine our laws and determine how we can prevent horrendous acts like this one in the future. We will never be able to stop all senseless acts of violence – there will always be those, who, for reasons unfathomable to us all, decide to take the lives of innocent people around them. But there are some common sense steps we can take to make these types of shootings more rare and less destructive.

“First, my colleague Senator Feinstein led the charge almost twenty years ago to pass the Assault Weapons Ban, but it has since been allowed to expire. It is past time to put that law, which would have outlawed the type of gun used by the shooter, back in place. Second, we should pass the Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act sponsored by Congresswoman McCarthy, which would prohibit the sale of ammunition magazines that can hold more than ten rounds at a time. The ability to fire 30 or even 100 shots without reloading increases the destructive capacity of shooters while serving no legitimate purpose. Third, we must also examine legislation to close the gun show loopholes and crack down on straw purchasing, both of which help divert guns out of legal channels and into black markets where they are easily obtained by criminals and the mentally ill.

“I realize, of course, these steps will not stop all mass killings, or even all mass shootings. As the Governor of Colorado pointed out, if this killer didn’t have access to the weapons and ammunition he used, he might have built a bomb instead. But it is also true that we do not need to make such killing easy, and I do not believe that anything in the Second Amendment, or any desire to hunt or for self-protection requires ready access to assault weapons with extended ammunition clips.”

Berman Announces Public Hearing with FAA on Helicopter Noise in L. A. County

U.S. Rep. Howard Berman today announced that the Federal Aviation Administration agreed to his request to participate in a community-wide public hearing on helicopter noise in Los Angeles County.

The public hearing will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on August 6th at Millikan Middle School Burrill Hall located at 5041 Sunnyslope Avenue in Sherman Oaks off Magnolia Boulevard. Residents are advised to arrive early to ensure as many members of the community as possible can offer comment to the FAA on this matter.

As the FAA determines what regulatory changes are needed to reduce helicopter noise, this public hearing will serve as the lone forum for community input into the FAA report, and Berman is encouraging a strong turnout from the community.

“Residents of the Valley and other parts of Los Angeles will finally have an opportunity to tell the FAA how helicopter noise negatively impacts our neighborhoods,” said U.S. Rep. Howard Berman (D-Valley Village). “Our views and input will play a significant role in determining how the FAA addresses this issue. We have shared our frustration about this problem with our friends, neighbors and local elected officials. Now the FAA must hear our voices and implement changes that place the well-being of Valley residents before the interests of a few helicopter operators. We are long overdue to find a commonsense solution to this constant problem.”

Last month, Berman, joined by Senators Feinstein and Boxer, and other Los Angeles-area Members of Congress, sent a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood requesting that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) formally solicit local stakeholder views on solutions to the helicopter noise problem in Los Angeles County. They wrote that a collaborative community effort is an important step in broader efforts to institute rules regarding the flight paths and altitudes of helicopters flying over residential neighborhoods.

The full text of the letter sent to Secretary LaHood is here.

Berman has further raised this issue in personal conversations with Secretary LaHood and the Acting Administrator of the FAA Michael Huerta.

Last year, Berman introduced H.R. 2677, the Los Angeles Helicopter Noise Relief Act, to address the growing safety and noise concerns among Valley residents caused by low-flying helicopters above residential neighborhoods.