Tag Archives: Rep. Adam Schiff

Schiff Applauds Inclusion of Unemployment Relief For Independent Workers With Mixed Income Types in Updated Heroes Act

Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) released the following statement after House Democrats unveiled an updated version of the Heroes Act, which for the first time provides assistance to “mixed earners” who were previously left out of relief legislation:

“The newly released relief package demonstrates House Democrats commitment to getting the American people and small businesses the help they need.

“I am pleased that as part of this package, we have included a provision to help ‘mixed earners,’ many of them my constituents, who have received significantly reduced unemployment assistance because of a small amount of W-2 income. This bill would provide desperately needed help to millions of families who are still struggling, particularly in combination with the restoration of the $600 weekly payment.

“I will continue to fight for people with mixed sources of income to make sure they aren’t left behind, particularly seeking to make sure assistance is provided retroactively to help those who missed out in thousands in benefits due to the mixed earner loophole.”

Background:

The new version of the Heroes Act would provide additional benefits to “mixed earners.” Under section 601, the legislation would provide a federally-funded $125 per week additional benefit to individuals who have at least $5,000 a year in self-employment income, but were disqualified from receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) because they were eligible for regular state unemployment benefits. For individuals who are currently receiving the state minimum benefit, the additional payment would provide a similar total unemployment benefit to the minimum benefit amount for PUA, which is what workers eligible for PUA are currently receiving in all states. This provision would be effective for future unemployment benefits after a state made an agreement with the Department of Labor.

Schiff introduced in July the Mixed Earner Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act to ensure that workers who earn a mix of traditional (W-2) and independent (e.g. 1099) employment income are able to fully access the unemployment assistance provided in the CARES Act.

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program created by the CARES Act provides unemployment compensation to independent contractors, freelancers, gig workers, and others not normally protected by state unemployment insurance benefits. However, workers who earn a living through a mix of independent and traditional W-2 jobs are currently excluded from PUA even if they have lost a substantial portion of their income due to coronavirus-related disruption of their independent work. Due to the sporadic and unpredictable nature of independent work, many freelancers and self-employed workers in a wide variety of industries—and especially in music and entertainment—cannot access this crucial relief.

The Mixed Earner Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act would ensure that mixed earners are able to access the same relief to make up for lost work that the CARES Act provided to those with more straightforward employment arrangements. Specifically, it would allow workers with substantial self-employment income to opt into the PUA program, which will enable mixed earners to receive unemployment benefits calculated based on their total earnings history from both wage and self-employment work.

 

Schiff Highlights Impact of Mail Delays at Bob Hope Post Office

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) and Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) hosted an event at the Bob Hope Post Office in Downtown Burbank to highlight how cuts in service instituted by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy are significantly delaying mail delivery and negatively impacting constituents, including veterans and local small business owners. Darcel Cole, a retired letter carrier, shared how real people are harmed by Trump’s sabotage of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).

“At this moment, we’re seeing a fierce and deliberate attack on the Postal Service from the President of the United States and his Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy. The Postmaster General has ordered sweeping new restrictions limiting overtime, removing sorting machines, and removing collection boxes that are resulting in far worse service for Americans, sometimes disastrously so,” Rep. Schiff said in his remarks. “Just this afternoon, DeJoy announced he is suspending these initiatives until after the election – a direct result of the public pressure. This is welcome news, and shows that public activism and Congressional oversight work, even when Trump and his lackeys are shameless. But we have a ways to go, because these policies need to be reversed, not just suspended.”

Schiff shared stories from constituents, including veterans and small business owners, who have been negatively impacted by mail delivery delays. Schiff’s office has recently received over 4,000 emails and calls about the USPS.

Schiff’s full remarks as prepared are below:

Good afternoon, thank you for joining us today, and for braving the heat to talk about an issue that’s of vital importance, protecting the United States Postal Service and protecting the right to vote.

The United States Postal Service is a public good, a public service. Every day, almost every household in America uses the mail. They send and receive packages. They get prescription drugs that they need for their health. And beginning in just a few weeks, more Americans than ever before are going to use the mail to vote safely and securely in the midst of the worst pandemic in more than 100 years.

Yet at this moment, we’re also seeing a fierce and deliberate attack on the Postal Service from the President of the United States and his Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy. The Postmaster General has ordered sweeping new restrictions limiting overtime, removing sorting machines, and removing collection boxes that are resulting in far worse service for Americans, sometimes disastrously so.

Just this afternoon, DeJoy announced he is suspending these initiatives until after the election – a direct result of the public pressure. This is welcome news, and shows that public activism and Congressional oversight work, even when Trump and his lackeys are shameless. But we have a ways to go, because these policies need to be reversed, not just suspended.

And there are still questions and concerns about the service and accessibility for residents and business owners. And millions of Americans – right here in Los Angeles and around the country –  are suffering as a result of the breakdown of the Post Office and as a direct result of the measures that Trump’s Postmaster General has deliberately put in place.

I don’t say this lightly. This looks like sabotage. This smells like sabotage. This is sabotage.

But let’s be clear, the attacks on the United States Postal Service are nothing new. For years, there have been those in the Republican Party who have called for the Postal Service to be run like a business, seemingly unaware or uncaring that running it like a business would mean higher prices for Americans and reduced or zero service for others, especially those in rural America.

We have a message for the Postmaster General, for Republicans in Congress, and for the President: Americans need the Postal Service to work. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve received more than 4,000 emails and calls about the USPS. I want to just share a couple of those.

One constituent, Tyler in Hollywood, wrote me:

My medications have been “stuck” in the USPS system for a month now. I’m not asking for your help, as claims have been filed with both Kaiser and the Postal Service. However if it wasn’t for my emergency stash of HIV meds and antidepressants I don’t know where I’d be. This slowdown of the postal service cannot continue…Please keep working as hard as you can to fix this and get the benefits we need to survive this pandemic.

One small business owner, Shannon, wrote:

I am a small business owner who relies 100% on USPS to deliver products to my customers. Utilizing a private carrier isn’t cost effective for my lightweight products. The delays started with COVID in April but in the last few weeks have noticeably and catastrophically slowed down. I personally have 7 incoming packages that are stuck “In Transit” for weeks.

My business packages going to customers are getting stuck as well, costing me more money out of pocket to replace or refund the items, resulting in profit loss.

And still another, a veteran named Andy, left me a message that said:

Last Thursday at the West LA VA, I spoke with veterans who had to drive miles to pick up meds at the pharmacy because they have been waiting up to 3 weeks getting medications by mail after they ordered them. It is usually set up to wait up to 10 days. But most times we would get them within 5 days.

I could go on and on. We have veterans and seniors who are waiting weeks for medications like insulin that they need to simply stay alive, and for Americans who live in rural areas or are homebound, they literally have no other options.

The House is not going to let this stand. We will act with the urgency this moment requires.

Back in May the House passed $25 billion for the Postal Service to offset the reductions in revenues from the Coronavirus pandemic and help allow millions to vote by mail. Mitch McConnell has left our bill in his legislative graveyard ever since.

On Saturday, we will be returning to Washington to pass the Deliver for America Act, legislation that will require that the services provided by the Postal Service be returned to what they were in January.

No more cuts to overtime that reduce the ability to deliver mail. No more removal of sorting machines. No more reduction in collection boxes. No more sabotage by Trump and his Postmaster General.

That’s what needs to happen in the midst of this pandemic, in the weeks before the election.

And we’re going to get answers as well. On Monday, the Postmaster General will testify before the Committee on Oversight and Reform. We are going to ensure we get the truth for the American people, and we’re going to demand accountability, and I think it should start with the resignation of the Posdtmaster General, Louis DeJoy, who is heavily conflicted by his ownership of private shipping stocks and who auditioned for the job as a mega-donor to Donald Trump.

And we are going to put pressure on McConnell and Republican Senators to finally act and pass the badly needed funding for the Postal Service. We’re willing to compromise within reason and what the USPS needs, but are Republicans willing to even come to the table?

For Americans worried about what the attack on the Postal Service means for their right to vote, you’re right to be concerned. The president has made explicit his intention to degrade the Post Office because he thinks it will help him get reelected. It’s outrageous, it’s sabotage, and it’s an attack on our democratic process.

But you should know that you can make sure it won’t work. You can defeat their plans by voting early in person, or if you’re voting by mail, make sure you request your ballot early and return it early. There’s no reason to wait.

I’m pleased to be joined this morning by several retired letter carriers who I know are eager to share the benefit of the years they spent delivering the mail. They know the ethos of the Post Office and its employees, 40 percent of whom are veterans, and the service they strive to provide. And they know just how wrong it is.

Rep. Schiff Floor Speech in Support of Relief Package for American Workers, Families and Small Businesses

Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) delivered a speech on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The speech, as delivered, is below:

“My fellow citizens, let no one doubt that this is a difficult and dangerous effort on which we have set out.  No one can foresee precisely what course it will take or what costs or casualties will be incurred. Many months of sacrifice and self-discipline lie ahead — months in which both our patience, and our will, will be tested, months in which many threats and denunciations will keep us aware of our dangers.”

These were the words of John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  They are equally true today.  We cannot see what course this virus will take, not precisely. Many months of sacrifice and self-discipline will lie ahead for the American people.

We will be tested.  And we will prevail.  America will rise to meet this challenge or any other. Our health care workers already are.  In this bill we give them the tools to do the job. And we give families the financial support they need to get by, until this time of trial and tribulation is over.

Let us support this bill, and help put our people and our country on the road to recovery.

Watch the full speech below:

 

Rep. Schiff Statement in Support of Relief Package for American Workers, Families and Small Businesses

Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) released the following statement in support of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 

“Our nation is facing a health and economic crisis unlike any we have faced in our history. We have the fastest growing rate of coronavirus cases in the world, affecting every state in the country, and a rapidly accelerating increase in fatalities. And today, we see clearly the full economic havoc wreaked by this virus, with new unemployment claims over 3 million in a single week nationwide and more than 1 million in California alone.

“As daunting as this pandemic is, I have full confidence that we will get through it, but doing so requires us to act boldly today to mitigate the economic damage, protect working families, massively invest in our public health infrastructure and much more. This bill is not perfect, but thanks to the advocacy of House and Senate Democrats, it is a bill that prioritizes American workers and families and is of the scale this crisis demands. We must pass it as soon as possible so we can begin to get Americans the help they need, while staying clear-eyed that more will be needed.

“This bill accomplishes a number of the goals we initially laid out: it provides direct relief for individuals and families hurting economically, help for healthcare workers and hospitals on the front lines, relief for small businesses, and assistance to the states most affected.

“This bill includes a dramatic expansion of unemployment insurance to cover more Americans, provides benefits that match the depth of the economic crisis, and will ensure that workers who have lost their jobs will receive critical income for at least the next four months. I’m particularly pleased that the bill covers the millions of Americans who work as contractors, freelancers, in the gig economy, and a variety of other employment structures. This concern acutely affects many of my constituents who, for example, work in the entertainment industry and have non-traditional employment. I was proud to play a leadership role with House and Senate negotiators on this issue and I’m grateful that this bill covers them, and many others.

“Additionally, millions of families and individuals hardest hit by this economic crisis will receive a direct cash payment to help them pay the bills and keep food on the table.

“This bill also puts relief and assistance to small businesses front and center. Millions of small businesses are struggling to stay afloat and pay their employees. The legislation provides $350 billion in no-interest loans, and forgives payroll and other costs if the business retains its employees and their salary levels. This will put us in a stronger position once the virus is controlled because small businesses are the engine of our economy.

“I’m also pleased at the level of support – over $150 billion – for healthcare workers on the front lines of this pandemic, hospitals, and the healthcare system to ensure that we can provide needed treatment to patients.

“This bill also includes an additional $7 billion for federal affordable housing and homelessness programs to provide rental assistance so affected low-income families can remain in their homes, and to prevent evictions, provide rapid-rehousing, and operate emergency shelters for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. It is likely more action on this front will be necessary.

“Finally, it’s important to note that implementation of this legislation is going to require constant oversight, from ensuring that Americans are receiving the relief they need to making sure these funds are appropriately allocated to pay workers. Democrats demanded that the $500 billion set aside to help big businesses mitigate the economic effects of this crisis have important oversight and transparency protections, and that workers are put first. We were also able to secure language preventing the President and his family from receiving a bailout, and making sure that corporations don’t use it for stock buybacks, executive compensation or other abuses of the past.

“Once this bill passes, I will prioritize efforts to make sure my constituents can access the relief it provides. As we begin to work on the next package, we will need to do even more to help renters and students, states and cities, and to make treatment for the virus free, along with additional support for individuals and families. These are uncertain times, but I am confident that America is up to the challenge. We will prevail over this disease and we will do it together as a community, state, and country.” 

Rep. Adam Schiff Sworn into 116th Congress for Tenth Term

Release from Rep. Adam Schiff’s office:

On Thursday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) was sworn into Congress for his tenth term, serving California’s 28th Congressional District.

Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) was sworn into Congress for his tenth term, serving California’s 28th Congressional District by new House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (Photo courtesy Adam Schiff)

“I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to continue to represent California’s 28th in Washington for the next two years. A great deal of work lies ahead of us, but I am motivated  by the trust my constituents have placed in me to advance their priorities in our nation’s capitol.” said Schiff. “Our first task is to re-open the government and bring an end to the President’s decision to shut it down. Last night, we passed legislation to do that as our first act of the Congress.”

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.

Schiff continued, “The American people entrusted a new Majority in the House with a great responsibility to put forward a positive agenda for the nation. Along with my colleagues, I intend to advocate for legislation that puts people first by increasing incomes, and expanding affordable healthcare. I also intend to push forward local initiatives that improve the quality of life in our region, including expanding open space through the creation of the Rim of the Valley National Recreation Area, building the Earthquake Early Warning System for the west coast, reducing helicopter and airplane noise, and much more.

“Finally, I will do my part to support and conduct vital oversight of the Trump Administration, and to restore Congress as a co-equal branch of government. Let’s get to work.”

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. Before serving in the State Legislature, Schiff served with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles for six years.

Adam Schiff Rips Trump at Democratic Convention

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-BURBANK) addressed the Democratic National Convention. His remarks, as delivered, are below:

As Ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware of the grave threats we face. From the murderous brutality of ISIS and al Qaeda to Iran’s sponsorship of terror; from the belligerence of Vladimir Putin to the madman in Pyongyang.

This November, America’s decision is about more than who confronts these threats. It’s also about how: Will we continue to be a beacon for freedom loving peoples around the world? Or will we hunker down, shelter in place, or worse, sow division and discord? Will we pick a man with no vision, who cowers behind angry rhetoric? Or will we pick a woman of courage, conviction and compassion?

In short, the stakes could not be higher.

When the rights of expression, religion and association are under growing assault around the globe, when the world needs a leader who can offer “blood, tears, toil and sweat,” Trump offers only bluster, tirade, swindle, and threat.

With malice towards all, and charity for none, Trump would separate us from the world, and divide us here at home. In Trump’s world, NATO is a relic, Putin an ally, Tiananmen an example, and torture our instrument.

This is not leadership; this is calamity.

It is not speaking hard truths or shunning political correctness—but, instead, failing to see America’s greatness, its essential goodness, its unending promise. Like an easy mark at one of his casinos, Trump would have us throw the dice with America’s future.

We will not do it.

But thank God, America has a choice.

Rather than a man of endless ego and obsession, we can choose a woman of purpose and determination. Instead of a man who sees little but danger and murder in the face of immigrants, we can choose a woman who understands how immigrants have strengthened this nation of immigrants. Instead of a man who would gamble on the greatness of America, we can choose a woman with a brilliant mind, a resolute heart, a steady hand, and a passion for the betterment of humankind.

Democrats, this fall, the choice for Commander-in-Chief is clear — Hillary Rodham Clinton!

Rep. Schiff Speech on House Floor During Sit In Demanding Vote

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) participated in the sit in on the House Floor demanding a vote on gun violence legislation.

Watch the video here (originally captured by Rep. Scott Peters on Periscope), or read below:

“Like all of you, and like all the American people, I awoke in horror on Sunday a week ago to the news that almost fifty of our fellow citizens and another fifty had been seriously injured.

“Now, I know that a lot of our fellow citizens will say – ‘well, this isn’t gun violence, this is different, this is terrorism’ – as if because this is terrorism, as if because this was motivated in part by an allegiance to ISIS, that somehow guns had nothing to do with this terrible loss of life.

“The fact that someone is motivated by terrorism doesn’t prevent us from taking action to make sure they don’t get on a plane, which would make it easy to murder lots of Americans.  So why should we preclude people from getting on a plane where it’s easy to kill a lot of Americans but do nothing about the fact they can get a powerful weapon with an extended ammunition clip and kill even more Americans.

“Why do we send troops into Iraq and Syria to take the fight to terrorists, why do we invest billions in our intelligence agencies, but say that dealing with the lethality, the horrible efficiency of shooting with an assault weapon with an extended ammunition clip – that we won’t touch, that we won’t consider!

“Nothing must be off limits in our efforts to deal with not only the scourge of terrorism, but the scourge of gun violence.  Nothing must be off limits!

“And I’m convinced that if we can take up this legislation, if we can enact things like ‘No Fly, No Buy,’ and universal background checks, if we can show the American people that the NRA can be defeated. Indeed, if we can show our colleagues that that you can defeat the NRA and still be elected, we can bring about a tipping point in this country where talking about guns is no longer off limits.

“I’m very proud to join you today. I’m very proud that we’re taking action.

“This is the House equivalent of a filibuster! Because enough is enough. The American people demand action, and we must demand it of ourselves!”

Schiff Responds to President’s State of the Union Address

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), the ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), released the following statement in reaction to the President’s State of the Union address this evening before Congress:

“Tonight, the President laid out his vision for an improved economy and help for the middle class.  While our economy is far better than it was in the midst of the Great Recession, we still have a long way to go – and by addressing wage stagnation, making education affordable to all and investing in our middle class, we can ensure that a strengthening economy brings prosperity to all families. By reforming our tax code and helping expand opportunity for the middle class, we can generate rising incomes and give everyone the chance to succeed.

“The President also addressed the complex national security challenges facing the country more than a decade after 9/11 and years after the death of Osama Bin Laden. The President appealed to Congress to authorize the use of force against ISIS and this is vital – but make no mistake, this is a debate and vote that should have taken place five months ago when we first began strikes against ISIS in Syria and began deploying troops to Iraq. The Administration must resist the impulse to seek an authorization that is overly broad, without geographic limitation, a prohibition on the use of American troops in a combat mission, or a meaningful sunset date not subject to unilateral administrative extension. In light of the longevity and extraordinarily broad interpretation given the two existing AUMF’s, the Congress should not grant this or any future administration authority carte blanch.

“By addressing cybersecurity legislation in his highest profile speech of the year, the President acknowledged what many of us already know – that the vulnerability of our nation’s businesses and critical infrastructure must be addressed, and addressed soon.  For too long, our companies, families and government have been vulnerable to criminals, hackers, and a broad range of state and non-state actors  – and there is much more we need to do. I’m looking forward to working with the Administration to craft cyber-threat information sharing legislation that addresses these risks, while maintaining our privacy and civil liberties.

“The President must also continue to press for important reforms of the metadata program and FISA Court, both of which are essential to maintaining a proper balance between privacy and security, and which he alluded to in tonight’s speech. In addition to working with Congress, the President should take steps within his own authority to reform our surveillance programs, including ending the bulk collection of domestic phone records in favor of phone companies retaining their own data which could be queried on a case by case basis.

“These economic and national security challenges are real and we can meet them, provided we are willing to work together in a bipartisan way. I am determined to do my part, and hope that this Congress can become one of the most productive in years.”

Schiff Hails FAA Decision to Institute Complaint System for Helicopter Noise

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) applauded the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) announcement that they would take an important role in helping to stem disruptive helicopter noise plaguing residents across Los Angeles County. The FAA indicated over the weekend that they would establish a comprehensive complaint system for helicopter noise operations – the first step necessary to gather data about the extent of the problem and remedies, identify problem helicopter operators, and give residents a systematic way to register their complaints.  According to the FAA, the agency will allocate $250,000 to set up the system and acquire a years’ worth of correlated noise complaint data for helicopters – and allow residents the real time capability to file complaints online or by phone and identify those helicopters responsible. The FAA will bid the project this year, with implementation slated for early next year.

Earlier this year, Schiff and other Los Angeles area lawmakers, including Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), sent a letter asking for a timeline on the FAA’s Los Angeles Helicopter Noise Initiative.  The agency finally responded to the Los Angeles lawmakers (letter can be found here), on the heels of legislation that Feinstein and Schiff passed requiring the FAA to act within the year to reduce helicopter noise through voluntary measures, or be forced to put in place regulations to reduce it. Pressure from homeowners and lawmakers finally compelled the FAA to act.

The Los Angeles Daily News reported that Glen Martin, the regional administrator for the FAA’s Western-Pacific region, said via email, “The FAA has approved funding and is moving forward to establish a noise complaint system for L.A. County regarding helicopter operations. We plan to take approximately three months to complete the contracting, and intend for the system to be up and running shortly after the first of the year.”

“While we are still waiting for final details — would this merely monitor noise levels or identify the helicopters causing the problem — the establishment of a countywide helicopter noise complaint system could be a significant development in our years-long fight to give L.A. residents the relief that they deserve,” said Rep. Schiff. “This move comes on the heels of legislation Senator Feinstein and I authored requiring the FAA to adopt new rules and regulations if they could not achieve meaningful relief through voluntary measures. Collecting this data may give us a benchmark to work from and identify those who lack regard for residents on the ground — and I’m looking forward to working with the operators, homeowners and the FAA to make sure that we meet the urgent need for noise relief.”

Bob Anderson, the president of the Los Angeles Area Helicopter Noise Coalition – comprising residents from across Los Angeles County who have been working with helicopter pilots and the FAA to reduce helicopter noise without compromising safety – stated that the LAAHNC has stressed the need for a countywide noise complaint system and is very excited that the FAA has stepped up to this challenge.

“The request we most often hear from residents impacted by helicopter noise it ‘where can I complain?’  The answer, sadly, was nowhere,” said Anderson. “This system will now give all residents countywide a place to lodge helicopter noise complaints and will provide irrefutable data identifying helicopter noise hot spots, so our organization can work with pilots and the FAA to stop the noise.  This system is the first step among many that we are working toward, including a Tri-Party Agreement between the LAAHNC, pilot organizations, and FAA on voluntary noise-reduction practices.”

In 2013, Schiff and other members of the Los Angeles delegation introduced legislation, the Los Angeles Residential Helicopter Noise Relief Act, and encouraged the FAA to act independently of legislation to reduce helicopter noise in Los Angeles.  Following a lengthy study, the FAA released their report on the Los Angeles airspace, urging voluntary measures over a regulatory approach, which many homeowners and lawmakers felt was an insufficient response.

Senator Feinstein and Rep. Schiff successfully included language in the omnibus spending bill, which was signed into law, that would require the FAA to develop regulations related to the impact of helicopter use on the quality of life of LA County residents within one year unless the FAA can demonstrate the effectiveness of the six voluntary action items in the helicopter noise report. Efforts to include language in the omnibus were supported by the LAHNC.

Rep. Schiff Updates Burbank on Aircraft Noise and Impacts of Sequestration

This is the second part of a two part interview with Representative Adam Schiff  from California’s 28th District.  In this part Rep. Schiff discuses two topics important to Burbank residents – aircraft noise and the continuing impact of “sequestration” of federal funds on local social programs.

myBurbank: The area between Interstate 5 and the Verdugo Mountain foothills is frequently overflown by aircraft from the media, law enforcement, military, and private aircraft. What news can you bring us on efforts to control or limit low-level flights and noise from aircraft, such as helicopters, in residential areas?

Rep. Schiff:  Quite a lot has been happening over the last year.  It began with several of us urging the FAA to reach out to stakeholders in Los Angeles and provide suggestions about mitigating helicopter noise.  It took about a year, and they issued their report just about a month or two ago.

Adam Schiff OfficeWe had a hearing at the Autry Center where they presented their findings.  They recommended a number of steps that could be taken to mitigate helicopter noise by changing minimum altitudes, or changing flight paths, best-practices, or pooling of press helicopters.

All of what they recommended were voluntary steps.  Voluntary steps in the past have not been sufficient, so I’ve introduced legislation to require FAA regulation in this area.

We’re going to let them see what they can accomplish on a voluntary basis.  I’m skeptical, but I think they are going to try.  The next steps are meeting with stakeholders again to prioritize.  Where are the hot spots?  Where can they provide individualized remedies?

The FAA has made the point that LA is one of the most complicated airspaces in the nation.  That is true, but that’s not a justification for doing nothing.  It simply means we have to tailor-make the solution for different areas.

It’s not that we can have a minimum altitude for all of Los Angeles.  That might be a problem over the Burbank Airport, and not a problem over the “Hollywood” sign.  There may be ways we can ensure helicopters observe flight paths over freeways rather than over residential areas.

I had a roundtable with law enforcement a couple months ago as well, and there are steps law enforcement can take to minimize their impact on the ground.  Not every flight by a law enforcement helicopter is an emergency situation.  Sometimes they are going for routine maintenance, sometimes they’ve finished patrol and they are heading back to station.

Rather than taking established flight paths that mitigate the noise they take the shortest route because (for example), it saves them fuel. So there are steps that even emergency providers can do to mitigate their impacts.

myBurbank: Sequestration is still in effect.  Where should we expect to have the most impact?  How will this continue to impact Burbank’s quality of life?

Rep. Schiff:  I think we can expect that cuts to the Safety Net programs will be the most devastating, and cause the most pain.  The most visible cuts, air traffic controllers for example, those problems will get fixed.  Because those are very public, very prominent, but it will be the people who are on “Meals on Wheels,” or folks trying to get a Section 8 Housing Voucher because they can’t the rent otherwise.

Those who are living at the edge of poverty are going to be most impacted.

So the needs of a place like the Burbank Temporary Aid are going to be more significant because there is going to be less government assistance available.

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Contact Rep. Schiff with your thoughts, ideas, concerns, or opinions at schiff.house.gov