Tag Archives: Congressman Adam Schiff

Schiff Presses California Labor Agency to Open Application for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program

Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) sent a letter to California Labor Secretary Julie A. Su urging the Employment Development Department (EDD) to prioritize making the application for the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program publicly available as soon as possible. This federally funded program provides compensation to unemployed workers who are not eligible for regular state benefits—including self-employed, freelance, gig, and contract workers—but EDD has not begun accepting PUA claims.

“I represent thousands of independent, freelance, contract, and gig workers—including many in the entertainment industry—who often do not fully qualify for standard unemployment benefits,” Schiff wrote in the letter. “The CARES Act, which was signed into law two weeks ago, dramatically expands unemployment coverage, and I led an effort in the House to extend this coverage to nontraditional and independent workers. As states are now working to implement these expanded federal benefits, I am hearing from many of my newly eligible constituents who are concerned because they are not yet able to apply and who are increasingly worried as their financial responsibilities continue to mount without anticipated income.”

Governor Newsom recently announced that workers who qualify for regular state benefits will receive the $600 CARES Act Pandemic Additional Compensation (PAC) payments beginning this Sunday. However, because the application for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is not yet available, thousands of self-employed, freelance, gig, and contract workers newly eligible for federally funded PUA payments under the CARES Act have not yet been able to apply.

“I recognize the extraordinary volume of claims that the EDD is now facing, and I am confident that you and your staff are working with all possible speed to process claims quickly, including those who the CARES Act made newly eligible for benefits,” Schiff’s letter continued.

Schiff also requested that the EDD update its coronavirus webpage daily so that workers awaiting new benefits know they are accessing up-to-date information. In addition, Schiff asked EDD to consider letting these workers create accounts and indicate their intent to apply so they can be notified as soon as the application is available. In doing so, EDD could ensure workers are fully informed and understand that benefits are available retroactively to February 2, 2020 for work impacted by the pandemic, and they will not miss out on assistance due to delays in processing.

The State of California has processed 2.3 million unemployment insurance claims in the past four weeks. Applications for the most recent week were up 2400% over 2019.


Full text of the letter is below:


April 10, 2020

The Honorable Julie A. Su
California Labor and Workforce Development Agency
800 Capitol Mall, Suite 5000
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Secretary Su:

Thank you for your work on behalf of working Californians during the unprecedented health and economic crisis our state is facing. As you are well aware, the outbreak of coronavirus and the sweeping disruptions to public life that are crucial to slowing its spread have disrupted work for Californians at a scale unseen in our state’s history, placing new levels of strain on our Unemployment Insurance system with millions filing for assistance in the span of weeks.

I recognize the extraordinary volume of claims that the Employment Development Department (EDD) is now facing, and I am confident that you and your staff are working with all possible speed to process claims quickly, including those who the CARES Act made newly eligible for benefits. As you continue this work, I urge you to prioritize making the application for the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program publicly available as soon as possible.

I represent thousands of independent, freelance, contract, and gig workers—including many in the entertainment industry—who often do not fully qualify for standard unemployment benefits. The CARES Act, which was signed into law two weeks ago, dramatically expands unemployment coverage, and I led an effort in the House to extend this coverage to nontraditional and independent workers. As states are now working to implement these expanded federal benefits, I am hearing from many of my newly eligible constituents who are concerned because they are not yet able to apply and who are increasingly worried as their financial responsibilities continue to mount without anticipated income.

As you seek to do so, I also ask that the EDD update its coronavirus webpage daily, if possible, so that workers awaiting new benefits can know they are accessing up-to-date information. In addition, if you anticipate that the application for newly eligible workers will not be available by next week, EDD should also consider letting these workers create accounts and indicate their intent to apply so they can be notified as soon as the application is available. In doing so, you could also ensure they are fully informed and understand that benefits are available retroactively, and they will not miss out on assistance due to the delay in processing.

This is an unprecedented crisis, and I am grateful for your hard work to ensure every affected worker will have timely access to vital benefits. Thank you for your attention to my requests, and please let me know if there is any way I can be of assistance.


Adam B. Schiff

Member of Congress

Schiff Introduces Legislation to Address Shortage of Affordable Housing Options

Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) introduced the Affordable and Homeless Housing Incentives Act, which would create new tax incentives for property owners who sell to nonprofits and public agencies that develop affordable housing or homeless shelters. This new legislation expands on the affordable housing bill he introduced in September to incentivize sales to public housing authorities, and would address the severe shortage of affordable housing options by extending that same tax benefit to owners who sell to nonprofit housing developers. In communities with expensive real estate markets, like Los Angeles, this change will provide public agencies and nonprofits who develop affordable and homeless housing an added advantage as they compete with private developers to acquire property.

“Too many members of our community are struggling to keep a roof over their heads. While there is no silver bullet to end homelessness and make housing affordable, there are many ways Congress and the federal government can work with local communities to address these urgent challenges,” said Rep. Adam Schiff. “Los Angeles County needs to create at least 500,000 more affordable units to meet our current need, which is why I just introduced the Affordable and Homeless Housing Incentives Act. My bill will give organizations that develop affordable housing an advantage as they compete with private developers in bids to acquire property and develop affordable housing—a crucial leg up in places like Los Angeles with competitive real estate markets.”

The bill allows property owners to avoid capital gains tax liability by selling to public and nonprofit developers as long as they use the proceeds to purchase a replacement property within three years. In exchange, the purchasers must commit to operate the property as affordable or homeless housing for at least thirty years. To qualify, nonprofit developers must be designated to receive Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) housing funds or have a proven history of receiving other local, state, or federal grants for affordable housing.

Last week, Schiff held an event at a local affordable housing development to roll out his new Affordable and Homeless Housing Incentives Act. The event included a round table discussion on affordable housing with residents, public officials, developers, and other local stakeholders, and a walking tour of a recently-opened affordable housing development. 

“The Affordable and Homeless Housing Incentives Act of 2020 is a sensible and advantageous tax deferral strategy that will move the needle in favor of affordable housing development projects,” said Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian. “Sellers of land for affordable housing will have more time and flexibility to plan for the use of their capital gains resulting from a sale.  The more incentives we can provide market rate land sellers, the more appealing it becomes to produce affordable housing.”

“The City of Burbank supports Congressman Schiff’s Affordable and Homeless Housing Incentives Act, that provides opportunities for cities and non-profits to compete for potential affordable housing building sites,” said Sharon Springer, Mayor for the City of Burbank. “We applaud his effort to advocate at the federal level for innovative solutions that help address housing production, an issue of national, state and local concern.”

“At a time when California needs 1.4 million affordable homes, Congressman Schiff’s bill will make more affordable homes available by incentivizing apartment owners to sell to public and non-profit builders to house more low-income seniors, families and individuals,” said Matt Schwartz, President and CEO, California Housing Partnership. “This bill deserves our support.”

“The bill introduced by Congressman Schiff is important for affordable housing developers in strong real estate markets.  It is challenging for non-profits to compete with the for-profit sector who can pay cash and/or access capital more quickly,” said Sarah Letts, Executive Director of the Hollywood Community Housing Corporation. “This bill would give property owners an economic incentive to sell to eligible housing operators like Hollywood Community Housing, thus increasing the supply of critically needed affordable housing and permanent supportive housing for the homeless.”

“There’s a great demand for affordable housing. Before my 48 unit low-income senior building opened, there was a lottery to choose residents. 3,000 people applied, my number was drawn third,” said John C., Resident of West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation. “I am so grateful. I think of the 2,952 others and wonder where they’re now living.”

Learn more about the bill here and view photos from the affordable housing roundtable here.

Congressman Schiff Joins Burroughs High Students Against Gun Violence Rally

More than 200 students at John Burroughs High School left their fourth period class early and joined the Walkout Against Gun Violence today, Friday, April 19, to ask for gun legislation reform.  U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff and California State Assemblymember Laura Friedman spoke at the lunchtime rally held by the Burroughs High Students Against Gun Violence Club.

Several dozen members of the Burbank community also joined the students at the rally on Memorial Field.

John Burroughs High School members of the Students Against Gun Violence Club Arya Desai, Zachary Hagen-Smith, Ariana Kretz, Kalea Neiviller and Reese Coblentz join Congressman Adam Schiff at the Students Against Gun Violence rally at Burroughs’ Memorial Field on Friday, April 19, 2019. (Photo By Ross Benson)

“It was an honor to be with the students participating in the Walkout Against Gun Violence,” commented Schiff. “Across America, students and families have responded to the tragedy of gun violence with strength, resolve and a clear message to Congress – enough is enough.”

“They made it clear they want meaningful action from elected officials—across the country, at every level – in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and our entire society,” he said.

Students left class about nine minutes early in protest, according to JBHS Assistant Principal of Athletics and Activities, Robyn Anders. There were no repercussions handed out for leaving class early to join the Walkout Against Gun Violence.

(Photo By Ross Benson)

April 20 is the 20th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting, in which 13 people were killed and more than 20 others were wounded. Students at schools around the U.S. are holding walkouts and rallies on April 19 and 20 to call attention to the impact of gun violence and their desire for gun legislation reform.

The Burroughs Students Against Gun Violence Club has about 101 members, according to President Zachary Hagen-Smith, a senior, who welcomed students to today’s rally.

“This is about freedom. Freedom to go to school in safety,” commented Hagen-Smith. “For officers of the law to do their jobs in safety.”

“For all Americans to live their lives without the lingering threat of shootings,” he added. “Until we have legal preventatives against gun violence on a national level, we cannot be truly free.”

Senior Cheyenne Arroyo sang the National Anthem and Mahmoud El-Farra, Co-Political Director, March for Our Lives California, then talked to the assembled students and adults.

California State Assemblymember Laura Friedman speaks to Burroughs students. (Photo By Ross Benson)

Members of the Students Against Gun Violence Club, juniors Arya Desai, Babbette Wagner and Ariana Kretz, then spoke.

Assemblymember Laura Friedman talked to the students and community members, followed by senior SAGV member Louis Zekowski, who also spoke on behalf of SAGA, the Straight And Gay Alliance Club.

Sophomore SAGV member Reese Coblentz and senior Kalea Neiviller, who’s also Vice President of the Club, then said a few words.

Congressman Adam Schiff concluded the rally with his remarks.

Congressman Adam Schiff talks to students at the Students Against Gun Violence rally at John Burroughs High School. (Photo By Ross Benson)

“Gun violence is a public health crisis across our country and it’s preventable,” said Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale, CA District 43).  “Safe storage, universal background checks and other common sense measures can save lives and it’s time for our national leaders to stand up to the NRA and take action.”

“I’m grateful for the energy and commitment our youth have shown towards ending gun violence,” Friedman also said. “We need to learn from them and renew our commitment to ending the steady stream of senseless tragedies that have plagued our nation for far too long.”

Junior Ariana Kretz talks at the Students Against Gun Violence rally. (Photo By Ross Benson)

Burbank Unified Superintendent Dr. Matt Hill, Board of Education Clerk Steve Frintner and Burroughs Principal Deborah Madrigal were also in attendance.

“I was really impressed to see so many young people come out to demonstrate today,” Schiff said, noting he was pleased to see great leadership by the students in organizing and holding the event.

“Young people like the students at Burroughs are changing the conversation about gun violence,” added Schiff. “They have launched a movement to change minds, to change laws and to force adults to reckon with the effect that weak gun laws have had on our country. And I know they are just getting started.”


Congressman Schiff Announces 2016 Women of the Year

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) announced his selections for the 2016 Women of the Year. These inspiring women come from communities in the 28th Congressional District –West Hollywood, Burbank, Pasadena, Silver Lake, Echo Park, Elysian Valley, Los Feliz, Sunland/Tujunga, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge and La Crescenta. This recognition is made each year during Women’s History Month.

“This remarkable group of women demonstrate the truth of the maxim that if you need something done, ask a busy person,” Rep. Schiff said. “Each has worked tirelessly to support a myriad of charitable, business and community causes, and made an indelible mark on our region. I’m honored to recognize these women and show appreciation for their extraordinary work in our community.”

This year’s honorees:

Holly Hampton (Echo Park), Marlene Hitt (Sunland/Tujunga), Anne-Marie Johnson (Silver Lake), Phyllis Kim (Glendale), Lena Kortoshian (La Crescenta), Camille Lombardo (Pasadena), Betty Porto (La Cañada Flintridge), Christine Rodriguez (Elysian Valley), Noemi Torres (West Hollywood), Amanda Truelove Fairey (Franklin Hills/Los Feliz), Karen Volpei-Gussow (Burbank), and Amy Yanow (Hollywood Hills).

These honorees come from all backgrounds and professions and represent the thousands of women who make a positive impact in our communities. While there are no specific criteria for nomination, Rep. Schiff looks to recognize women who — through their work or volunteerism — have improved the quality of life for our community.

Rep. Schiff will present and enter a special tribute into the Congressional Record for Karen Volpei-Gussow (below). On Saturday, April 22, Rep. Schiff will honor these women at a luncheon in Echo Park.

A Tribute to Karen Volpei-Gussow – 28th Congressional District Woman of the Year

I rise today in honor of Women’s History Month.  Each year, we pay special tribute to the contributions and sacrifices made by our nation’s women.  It is an honor to pay homage to outstanding women who are making a difference in my Congressional District.  I would like to recognize a remarkable woman, Karen Volpei-Gussow of Burbank, California.

For over twenty years, Ms. Volpei-Gussow has symbolized the tireless and dedicated work of a true pillar of her community.  She has given of herself with joy, humility, and grace and, along the way, has changed so many lives for the better in Burbank.  Her kind and relaxed demeanor is not only evident in her treasured relationships with her husband Barry, her family and friends, but also in her charitable work in the community.

Ms. Volpei-Gussow has brought her incredible talent, insight, time, and energy to numerous boards and special committees over the years.  She currently sits on the Boards of the Burbank Chamber of Commerce, City of Burbank Heritage Commission, Burbank Arts for All, Burbank on Parade, Burbank Business Partners, and Keller Williams Agent Leadership Council.  She serves on committees for the Providence Saint Joseph Foundation Emergency Service Campaign, Boys and Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley, Burbank Temporary Aid Center, and Family Service Agency of Burbank.

Her past community involvement includes Ambassador Chair of the Burbank Chamber of Commerce, Docent at the Burbank Historical Society’s Gordon R. Howard Museum, and Board Member of both the Kids Community Dental Clinic and The Burbank Association of REALTORS, Community Service Foundation.

Ms. Volpei-Gussow’s charitable and professional work has not gone unnoticed as she was awarded 2012 “Realtor of the Year” by the Burbank Association of REALTORS and named “Community Leader of the Year” at the Boys and Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley 2013 Gala Dinner.

Ms. Volpei-Gussow rarely says no when asked to give a helping hand, and once given, her level of leadership, support, and generosity never waivers. She is a community leader who is unafraid of challenging the ways things were done in the past as she looks towards the future with a bold new plan to make the organizations she is involved with and the City of Burbank grow and thrive.

I ask all Members to join me in honoring an exceptional woman of California’s 28th Congressional District, Karen Volpei-Gussow.

Adam Schiff’s Statement on Russian Hacking Report

Today Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), the Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement:

“This morning, I was briefed by the leadership of the intelligence community and have reviewed their full report, which carefully documents the Russian hacking of democratic institutions and individuals, and their dumping of documents during the presidential  campaign.  The report makes it clear that the Russian intervention was directed by Putin himself, and was designed not only to sow discord in the United States, but was also motivated by the desire to help Donald Trump’s election chances by discrediting Secretary Hillary Clinton.  These conclusions are well-supported by the evidence and the report should put to rest any uncertainty as to Russian responsibility for this unprecedented interference in our internal affairs.   As a nation, we must resolve  to impose further consequences both public and private that will deter the Russians from seeking to undermine our democracy in the future and the report issued today will inform the thorough investigations that Congress must now undertake to ascertain the extent of what happened and how, and what steps we need to take to protect our government. “

“The President-Elect’s statement that the Russian hacking had ‘absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election’ is not supported by the briefing, report, or common sense.  It is one thing to say that there was no tampering with vote tallying – which is true – it is another  thing to say that the daily dumping of documents disparaging to Secretary Clinton that was made possible by Russian cyber operations had no effect on the campaigns.  The consequence of these disclosures was hugely beneficial to the President-Elect and damaging to the Clinton campaign, just as the Russians intended.  Whether they had a decisive impact on the outcome will never be known and was certainly not the subject of the intelligence community’s analysis, but that they were of great consequence is undeniable.”

“Today the Congress certified the election.  This report should not be taken to re-open the election, but to make sure this never happens again.  President-Elect Trump received the same briefing congressional leaders did this morning, and I hope that he acts appropriately in the face of this clear-cut, Russian malicious activity against America.  That starts by accepting the facts.  The President-Elect must not obfuscate or distract, but deal honestly with the truth of what happened, and will continue to happen in the U.S. and against our allies, unless we put an end to it.  Russian influence operations are not only a clear danger to the United States, but to liberal democracies around the world.”

Congressman Schiff Sworn in to Congress for 9th Term

On Tuesday, January 3, 2017, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) was sworn into Congress for his ninth term to serve California’s 28th Congressional District.  Schiff also announced that he will continue to serve as Ranking Member of the powerful House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and will be on leave from House Appropriations Committee this term.

Burbank Congressman Adam Schiff with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan in ceremonies held on Tuesday

“As we enter the 115th Congress, our nation remains deeply divided, but over the next two years we have the opportunity – not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans – to work to improve our economy, protect our country, and ensure that the middle class continues to grow and thrive,” said Schiff. “This coming term will present some very clear challenges, but I will work to further improve our economy, help small businesses, and ensure that all Americans have access to affordable healthcare. I will also continue my work to preserve and expand our public lands for future generations to enjoy.

“I will also continue to champion efforts to conduct a real investigation into Russia’s attack on our democratic institutions so that Americans are better informed about what took place, and so that Russia is deterred from future interference in our elections. And as the Ranking Member of the Intelligence Committee, I will work to keep our country safe while preserving the privacy and civil liberties of all Americans.”

“When new ideas are presented that move our country forward, I promise to support them — whether they come from Democrats or Republicans. But when proposals are introduced that would take our country back, or that would diminish the rights of any Americans, I will fight them in every way.”

Rep. Schiff will continue representing 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.

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.

2016 Student Art Competition Announced by Schiff

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) announced that he will host the annual Congressional Art Competition Forum & Exhibit for the 28th District, featuring students’ artwork from the 28th Congressional District, on Sunday, April 10, 2016. The Congressional Art Competition receives submissions from all across the country. The winner from each Congressional District has their work displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year. This year, 53 students from 22 schools located in the 28th District participated in the competition.

In addition, for the last several years, Rep. Schiff hosts a “People’s Choice” award, which will be decided through an online vote. To vote for the “People’s Choice,” constituents should go to Rep. Schiff’s website under Art Competition. Voting will be open Monday, March 28 through Wednesday, April 6, 2016.

“I am continually blown away by the talent and creativity displayed in the artwork that is submitted from students around the District each year, and this year is no exception,” said Schiff. “I look forward to seeing all of these incredible entries in person and welcoming artists and their families to celebrate their accomplishments. I am equally excited to see who our community members choose as their own ‘People’s Choice’ pick – so don’t forget to visit my website and vote!”

The Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 to provide the opportunity for Members of Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of their young constituents. Since then, hundreds of thousands of high school students have participated in the nationwide competition.

The first place winner’s artwork will hang in the U.S. Capitol for one year, the piece awarded second place will hang in the Congressman’s Washington, D.C. Office for one year, the piece awarded third place will hang in his Burbank District Office for one year and the “People’s Choice” winner’s artwork will be displayed in Rep. Schiff’s Hollywood District Office.

The winners of the contest will be announced at the 28th Congressional Art Competition Forum & Exhibit on Sunday, April 10, 2016. All student participants will receive a Congressional Certificate of Recognition. The exhibit will be held at Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge at Van de Kamp Hall located at 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011. Parking and admission to Van de Kamp Hall are free. Exhibit viewing will begin at 1:00 pm and the Forum and Awards Presentation will take place at 3:00 pm. Light refreshments will be served.

Schiff Announces 2016 Nominations to U.S. Service Academies

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) announced that he has nominated fourteen students from the 28th Congressional District to U.S. service academies for the class of 2020.  Four of the five United States service academies require a Congressional nomination in order to receive an appointment.

“It is a privilege every year to nominate some of the best and most talented students in the 28th Congressional District to our nation’s Service Academies,” said Schiff. “Every student nominated has an outstanding record of achievements – excelling both in academics as well as in extracurricular activities and sports. These students are deeply committed to serving  in our armed forces, and I am confident they will be future leaders of our country.”

Below is the list of the students Rep. Schiff has nominated from Burbank:

Minas Badikyan, Burbank High School, Burbank resident – nominated to the Air Force Academy

Franchette Brosoto, Burbank High School, Burbank resident – nominated to the Air Force Academy

Juliana Johana LaFrance, Burbank High School, Burbank resident – nominated to the Naval Academy

Michael Ospina, John Burroughs High School, Burbank resident – nominated to the Merchant Marine Academy

Michael John Simic, Loyola High School, Burbank resident – nominated to the Naval Academy

Thomas Allen Wilson, John Burroughs High School, Burbank resident – nominated to the Naval Academy

The four academies requiring a Congressional nomination are the Air Force Academy, the Merchant Marine Academy, the Military Academy at West Point, and the Naval Academy.  The fifth service academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, does not require a Congressional nomination. All five academies offer young men and women a free college education, at a highly-ranked, nationally-recognized academic institution, while preparing them for an officer’s commission in the armed forces.

Students interested in applying to a Service Academy for the Class of 2021, should call Congressman Schiff’s District Office at 818-450-2900 or 323-315-5555,  or visit http://schiff.house.gov/help/academy-nominations to submit an application form.  The application deadline for next year’s class is November 18, 2016.

Schiff Applauds Announcement of Support for Earthquake Early Warning System

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who helped last year to secure $8.2 million in the FY 2016 funding bill specifically designated for a West Coast Earthquake Early Warning System and $5 million the previous year, released the following statement before the start of the White House Earthquake Resilience Summit which he will participate in:

“The West Coast is due for another earthquake, and the question is not if, but when, the next big one will hit,” said Schiff. “When it does, it will undoubtedly cause significant damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure, cause injuries, and potentially result in fatalities. We have the real opportunity to mitigate that damage and save lives if we act now on an early warning system. We have had significant success over the past few years in Congress funding the effort to fully build out a West Coast Early Warning System, but the federal government cannot – and will not – fund the system in its entirety.  And so I am very pleased that the private sector is getting involved and lending their support, as many companies based on the West Coast will benefit tremendously by the implementation of an early warning system. We are also hearing encouraging words of support from the affected states which I hope will soon be followed by more concrete pledges of financial assistance.”

Last year, Rep. Schiff secured $8.2 million in the FY 2016 funding bill specifically designated for a West Coast Earthquake Early Warning System. The $8.2 million was a substantial increase over what the President requested in his budget. In 2015, Schiff also led a group of 35 Members of Congress – primarily from California, Washington, and Oregon – to request that the Appropriations Committee fund an Earthquake Early Warning System for the West Coast. The final FY16 budget funds the Early Warning System at a higher level than the $5 million originally included in the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill. The funding level in the FY16 budget also exceeded the President’s $5 million budget request earlier this year. Senator Feinstein, Rep. Schiff and 35 other Members of Congress sent a letter to the President in October 2014, asking him to include funding for the West Coast Early Warning System for FY2016. In December 2014, Congress passed a funding bill for FY2015 which included an additional $5 million specifically for the Earthquake Early Warning System, bringing the total funding for the system for FY2015 to $6.5 million.

Below is the White House fact sheet about the U.S. government’s executive action and increased state government and private sector support:

FACT SHEET: Obama Administration Announces Steps to Increase Nation’s Resilience to Earthquakes

The Obama Administration remains committed to improving the resilience of our communities, States, and the Nation to important hazards, such as earthquakes. A 2015 scientific assessment from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that more than 143 million Americans in the continental United States could experience potentially damaging earthquakes. This estimate is nearly double the previous 2006 estimate because populations have grown in earthquake-prone areas and there are now better methods for estimating earthquake risks. Improving warning systems, better building protections, and informed citizens can help mitigate losses, injuries, and deaths, and also can help communities recover faster.

Today, the White House is hosting an Earthquake Resilience Summit to highlight how a whole-community approach—including scientists, engineers, public officials, nonprofit entities, and private companies—is the best approach for improving resilience to earthquakes and other hazards; and to explore how science and technology can improve our ability to detect and respond to earthquakes in the future.

At the summit, the Administration and stakeholders will announce new commitments toward a future with greater earthquake safety based on next-generation approaches to earthquake-resilient building and warning technologies, including:

Executive Order for Enhanced Seismic Safety

President Obama today signed an Executive Order: Establishing a Federal Earthquake Risk Management Standard, which will improve the capability of federal buildings to function after an earthquake, reducing risks to people, lowering post-quake recovery costs, and making it easier for communities to recover swiftly. The Executive Order requires that Federal agencies responsible for the design and construction of a new building, or an alteration to an existing building, ensure that the building is constructed or altered using the earthquake-resistant design provisions in the most current building codes. The latest building codes, which encompass the current understanding of the earthquake hazard potential, are one of the best ways to achieve earthquake safety and preserve the lives of the people who live in a building. This Executive Order will also help ensure that federal assets are available to support recovery efforts.

Federal Actions to Advance Earthquake Early Warning

  • On February 1, 2016, the United States Geological Survey (USGS), along with partners from state government, universities, and private foundations deployed a beta operational phase of ShakeAlert, the West Coast earthquake early warning test system. This next-generation production prototype will allow beta users to develop and deploy pilot implementations that take protective actions based on the USGS ShakeAlert warnings in areas with sufficient station coverage.
  • USGS and the United States Forest Service are announcing that they have begun working together to explore streamlined and expedited permitting for siting of seismic monitoring stations with an initial emphasis on sites important for earthquake early warning and other locations supporting life and safety.
  • The independent Federal Communications Commission recently issued one set of new proposed rules, which is out for public comment, and another, released January 28, 2016, which is not yet out for comment, that pertain to earthquake early warning and other next-generation warning systems. The proposed rules would:
    • facilitate the delivery of narrowly geo-targeted alerts, such that warnings can be targeted to receivers’ locations and everyone in a location can receive a warning;
    • reduce alert delivery delays throughout the IPAWS (Integrated Public Alert and Warning System) and other alerting systems;
    • integrate Emergency Alert System tests, including actual alert signals and text, into community public safety exercises;
    • ensure that alerts will be consistent across different technology platforms, including those that use the internet; and
    • facilitate community feedback to alerts using 911 and social media so that alert initiators can know that the alerts are effective and allow them to efficiently direct resources to areas in need.

State and Local Commitments to Advance Earthquake Early Warning

  • State of Oregon: Governor Kate Brown is committed to increasing Oregon’s seismic readiness. Having just hired a State Resilience Officer, the Governor is directing the officer to prominently feature earthquake early warning in the state resilience planning efforts as the officer’s first order of business. Oregon also took a significant step in 2015 by acquiring 15 seismometers for nearly $700,000. The Governor wants the State to build on that investment in collaboration with universities and other stakeholders interested in saving lives and capacity through early warning. A crucial component of Oregon’s effort is the integration of a robust public-education program giving businesses, schools, critical facilities, and the public actionable information on how to respond to earthquake alerts.
  • The City of Eugene, Oregon: The City of Eugene, Oregon, will host public forums to further explain earthquake preparedness, answer questions the community may have, and empower the community with knowledge and resources.
  • The Eugene Water and Electric Board: Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) and the University of Oregon will place four earthquake early warning sensors on EWEB property, which will contribute to the Pacific Seismic Northwest Network, a USGS facility maintained by the University of Washington and the University of Oregon. The sensors will improve the coverage and reliability of the Pacific Seismic Northwest Network.
  • State of Washington: Today, Governor Jay Inslee is announcing commitments that the State of Washington is making in earthquake and tsunami preparedness and resilience, in order to protect lives and speed the recovery of communities in the aftermath of a large-scale seismic event. Washington has experienced approximately 15 major destructive earthquakes in the last 150 years, and its proximity to the Cascadia Subduction Zone—a major fault line off the Pacific Coast of North America—presents the dangers of significant earthquakes and tsunamis in the region. The new commitments include seismic improvements for state building standards; investing $4.6 million to map, identify, and better anticipate geologic hazards; and a tsunami safe haven project that will open in June 2016 at Ocosta Elementary School in Westport, Washington.

Additional Commitments to Advance Earthquake Early Warning

  • The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation is announcing $3.6 million in grants to advance the ShakeAlert system. The funding to California Institute of Technology; University of California, Berkeley; University of Washington; and the U.S. Geological Survey supports the research behind the technology to detect earthquakes, determine likely magnitude, and provide a warning before shaking begins, potentially saving thousands of lives and millions of dollars in damage. This new funding will take advantage of the particular strengths of each research group to advance three important areas of early warning:
    • UC Berkeley scientists will pursue a novel plan to detect the shaking caused by earthquakes, harnessing the same sensors used in smart phones to count your daily steps;
    • Caltech scientists will work to develop a humanlike decision-making process to gather information from seismic networks to issue prompt and reliable alerts; and
    • University of Washington scientists will study implementation of a network of sensors on the ocean floor to provide early warning for earthquakes from the Cascadia Subduction Zone, the largest threat for a catastrophic earthquake in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Puget Sound Energy is announcing a $100,000 grant to the University of Washington Pacific Northwest Seismic Network for the purchase of eight strong-motion seismometers that will be installed throughout Washington during the next four years. These modern, low-delay instruments will significantly improve earthquake early warning capability.
  • Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has recently agreed to join the ShakeAlert beta system and is beginning to work with UC Berkeley’s Seismological Laboratory to identify potential applications. This will allow both automated and human actions in the seconds before an earthquake, which will protect lives, lessen property damage and ensure rapid service restoration. PG&E values the potential for early earthquake warnings for their customers and employees. PG&E will continue its participation in the test phase and system build out for California and the West Coast.
  • Intel Corporation has committed to help lead an effort to ensure private sector businesses play an appropriate role in building and sustaining the ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning. Initial meetings are being held this week.

    As Oregon’s largest private sector employer and largest capital investor, Intel designs and builds its latest generations of microprocessors and other computing innovations at four major campuses in the Portland Metro area. Intel views ShakeAlert as a key part of its Crisis Management program, and has pledged to lead efforts to bring the high-technology community to the table to support it. The business impacts from a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake would be extreme. Having advance notice of an event will allow Intel and other private sector companies to safely react to an earthquake before it occurs, saving millions of dollars per hour in potential downtime. Businesses such as Intel will be able to advise staff to take protective actions, such as Drop, Cover and Hold, as well as automatically shut down elevators and production. Intel’s leadership role will catalyze their suppliers and customers, as well as other businesses, to support the ShakeAlert system.

  • Amazon Catalyst is announcing a research grant to the University of Washington to integrate GPS capabilities into the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network in order to better discriminate the size of large earthquakes, a problem that current earthquake warning systems cannot solve well

Schiff Seeks Nominations for 2016 Woman of the Year Award

Every March, in recognition of Women’s History Month, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) honors outstanding women from the communities of the 28th Congressional District.  Rep. Schiff invites nominations from anyone residing in the district, which includes the cities and communities 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.

“Each year I look forward to receiving nominations for the ‘Woman of the Year Award’ and learning more about what individuals are doing in the 28th District to improve our community. These women come from all walks of life and represent the thousands of women who make a positive impact in our region,” Rep. Schiff said. “I urge constituents to contact my office and help us recognize some of the admirable women in our communities by nominating them for this year’s award.”

Constituents are encouraged to nominate women in their community — while there are no specific criteria for nomination, Rep. Schiff looks for women who through their work or volunteerism have improved the quality of life in our community. Nominations should include a written description of your nominee’s accomplishments, the home address, phone number and e-mail of the nominee, and the nominator’s name and contact information. Please try to include specific examples of leadership and all of your nominee’s philanthropic efforts and service. Nominations can be sent to Mary Hovagimian at mary.hovagimian@mail.house.gov.

The deadline for nominations is February 15, 2016.