NORWALK - The 38th Congressional District got an update on affairs in Washington last week when Congresswoman Linda Sanchez gave her annual State of the Nation Address in Norwalk.
The event was held last Thursday Aug. 9 at the DoubleTree by Hilton, with Sanchez addressing a nearly full house of various council members, government representatives, chamber of commerce members and region residents.
“Every year I relish the opportunity to come back to the district during the month of August, get out among the community and talk about what we are working on in Washington DC and bring that information back to the district,” said Sanchez.
In addition to representing the 38th District of California – which includes the cities of Artesia, Bellflower, Cerritos, Hawaiian Gardens, La Mirada, La Palma, Lakewood, Montebello, Norwalk, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs, and South El Monte – Sanchez currently sits as the Vice-Chair of the Democratic Caucus.
During her address, covered topics ranging from infrastructure, immigration, and tax reform.
“No matter what party you affiliate with, we all can agree that when there is uncertainty in Washington, that halts progress on many of the issues that we care about and that we work on,” said Sanchez. “Uncertainty in terms on where we are going with policy is bad for businesses…which ultimately means its bad for our economy and bad for country and bad for the American people as a whole.”
Sanchez emphasized a need for federal money to be invested into infrastructure.
“There are over 100,000 bridges in our country that qualify for Medicare because they are that old,” joked Sanchez. “That’s a critical area in which Congress can really deliver positive results in every region. When we invest in our infrastructure, we are able to create paying jobs, give an economic injection into our businesses and our workers, and those are benefits that multiplier effects throughout our region.”
“A bold infrastructure plan that drives our country into the 21st century is a benefit to everyone…You can’t have a 21st century economy with a 19th century infrastructure.”
On immigration, Sanchez championed "Dreamers."
“For hundreds of years, our country has been built brick by brick by the contributions of successive waves of immigrants to this country. It takes a great and entrepreneurial spirit to leave everything that is familiar to you behind and to go to another country in search of a better life,” said Sanchez. “Dreamers are perhaps the best example of this; they are our neighbors, teachers, friends, loved ones, they’ve even served in our military and put their lives at risk for us. It’s painful, quite frankly, to see no legislative action on behalf of dreamers.”
“It’s very popular now to talk about changing our immigration system to a merit-based system, and I can’t think of a group that is more meritorious.
Sanchez also took time to expose the negative consequences of Congress’s recent tax reform legislation.
“This year Congress passed tax reform legislation…it was very rushed and there was no input from almost one half of Congress,” said Sanchez. “California, our state, gets hit pretty hard by that bill. With the new limit on state and local tax deduction, or SALT as it’s commonly referred to, working families are not going to get much of a tax cut and states like California that are high cost-of-living states are going to get strained. The average SALT deduction in my district is $18,000, but under the new tax law tax payers can only deduct up to $10,000 annually. That cap means the average person in my district has an additional $8,000 more of tax liability than they did prior to this legislation passing. That cap on the deduction of state and local taxes is going to impact home prices, spending, and economic growth.”
Sanchez went on to say that the recent tax reforms were not benefitting the middle class as promised.
“The beneficiaries of this tax cut by far and away were corporations; they got a 14 percent tax cut permanently. On the individual side, the highest tax cut was just over 2 percent, and that phases out in five years…My goal during the next congress is to work with my colleagues to find some ways that we can balance the tax code, so that the bulk of the benefits aren’t going to the folks who need it the least. We need a tax code that is truly fair and that truly helps the middle-class.”
Sanchez even took aim at the administration during her address, specifically on the issues of tariffs.
“Tariffs are a tool; they are not a weapon,” said Sanchez. “We need an administration that can articulate clearly its goal on trade policy. Right now, we don’t really have a clearly articulated position on trade policy other than when our executive feels angry at other countries and just imposes tariffs.”
“We can find balanced trade policies that promote fairness and protect the workers, but we can’t do that by just broadly slapping tariffs on products meant to punish the cheaters of trade, but we’re also punishing our friends who don’t cheat in trade. To just have these blanket tariffs imposed on aluminum and steel, when the European Union is not cheating on aluminum and steel, or Canada and Mexico isn’t cheating on aluminum and steel, doesn’t do us any favors in terms of our foreign policy and our partnerships with our historic allies.”
Sanchez closed speaking on local projects, including Norwalk’s Tank Farm project which will hand over part of the former Defense Fuel Support Point back to the city for future park expansion and development.
“Very rarely does an opportunity arise as a legislator where a single piece of legislation can dramatically impact a community. My legislation under the National Defense Authorization Act did that,” said Sanchez. “I’m pleased to say that we were able to provide the support necessary to transfer 15 acres of land from the U.S. Air Force over to the City of Norwalk to expand Holifield Park…It’s exciting to see the improvements.”