NORWALK – Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-38) was in town on Tuesday to address members of the Norwalk, La Mirada, Pico Rivera and Santa Fe Spring Chambers of Commerce during her annual State of the Nation at the DoubleTree Hotel.
Introduced by Norwalk Mayor Luigi Vernola, Sanchez spoke to nearly 200 attendees about her three greatest concerns: tax reform, infrastructure and health care.
Her first comments seemed to give a preview of the forthcoming address to the crowd.
“Washington D.C. is a little challenging right now,” said Sanchez, a member of the House of Representatives since 2003. “Last year when I came here [Norwalk], I expected 2017 to be an entirely different year.”
The crowd responded with laughter.
Regarding the working environment in Congress, Sanchez stated, “the Republican Party in the House has taken a ‘go it alone approach.’”
She added, “They have not reached across the isle,” in an attempt to work together on legislation.
Her three concentrations include tax reform, which Sanchez acknowledged is “deeply needed.”
As a result of her party’s tumultuous relationship with the majority party, she said, “We’re not even being invited to the table to talk about our [tax reform] ideas.”
Explaining why it is important to work with all members of Congress, Sanchez went on to talk about infrastructure, how tax reform related to the maintaining of our roads, highways and all transportation avenues, and how they created economic opportunities for the U.S.
A continuously improving infrastructure according to Sanchez is needed “for efficient flow of goods and services.”
Addressing the municipal principles directly, she asked, “What do you guys (cities) need?”
As an example of her success in both working with her Republican partners in the House and how it benefitted local residents, she cited the “$15 million secured for the construction of the Rosecrans Avenue and Marquardt train (intersection) tracks.”
She also referenced the park land acquisition for Holyfield Park.
Her final subject she addressed was the Affordable Care Act and her goals, which were “better care, lower costs and easier access for all.”
Referencing the recent failed Republican attempts at repealing the act, she reminded the audience that, “if the Republican bill had passed, 20 million Americans would lose health care coverage.”
Rep. Sanchez did offer more examples of bi-partisan accomplishments including the return of summer Pell grants for college education.
She also reminded the audience that, “democracy is not a spectator event. Talk with other people.”
Finally, she said, “I’m hoping that 2018 will bring some good things.
When she opened the floor to questions, Norwalk Mayor Luigi Vernola asked, “Where does the money come from?”
Again, referencing her take on tax reform, Sanchez described the concept of a “tax holiday.” In theory, if Congress allows companies to bring back revenues from overseas or offshore accounts, it should be available for infrastructure improvement.
“It was tried before, but they [corporations] gave it to their share holders, and it was not used for infrastructure.”
Sanchez touched upon what the President Trump’s proposed budget, which she said would not provide funding for: Tiger grants, community development block grants, TSA programs, some public television and arts programs, climate change research, the Energy Star program, and urban employment programs.
Regarding what she felt was the number one current concern in Washington, Sanchez stated, “North Korea.”
However, she told those in attendance, “I don’t know what the solution is.”
By Raul Samaniego | Contributor