District 1 Congressman Doug LaMalfa lays out his goals for his sixth term in office. Photo submitted

LaMalfa prioritizes rural America in the 118th Congress

District 1 Congressman Doug LaMalfa released this statement regarding his goals for the 118th Congress.

Early Saturday morning I was sworn into my sixth term as a Member of the United States House of Representatives for the 118th Congress. I am ready to get to work implementing policies that benefit rural California and stop the bureaucratic assault on our freedoms from derailing our nation’s prosperity. We don’t need excessive government spending that drives up inflation further, green new deal policies taking away our water and land rights, or increased government surveillance of citizens — but these have been the priorities of the Biden Administration for the past two years. We need a reduction of overbearing taxes and fees that that make everything from gas, food, housing and electricity too expensive. We need to fund more water storage in the west to overcome drought and roll back on regulations that hinder quick, efficient construction. We need proactive wildland management to remove overgrowth, minimize the risk of catastrophic wildfires, bring jobs to rural area and restore health to our forests. We need safer towns and cities, and the only way to achieve that is by overhauling our soft-on-crime laws and supporting law enforcement properly. These are the things we need, and the policies that I will continue championing for this session.

In the first few days of the new session, I will introduce critical pieces of legislation that will give certainty to farmers and irrigators and hold the Bureau of Reclamation accountable for proper water delivery. Additionally, I have reintroduced my bill from last Congress to exempt thousands of fire victims who are receiving compensation from the Fire Victim Trust from having to pay federal income tax on their settlement money or attorney fees that are included in the settlement. I introduced this bill with Congressman Mike Thompson from Napa last year, and we had it included in the end of the year government funding package before all tax and disaster relief provisions were removed. It is frustrating that Fire Victim Trust beneficiaries still have this needless tax headache and uncertainty. Fire victims need for this to get done immediately.

With this new Congress also comes new district lines, due to the 10-year Census and redistricting process as done by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. I still represent Lassen, Butte, Glenn, Modoc, Shasta, Tehama, and Siskiyou counties, and will now add the counties of Colusa, Sutter, and a portion of Yuba. As such, California’s First District loses Plumas, Sierra, Nevada, and Placer counties. As such, my staff is in the process of moving our Auburn office location to Yuba City. Look for our opening soon!

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2022 in review
Even though the House was in the minority for the last four years, we had some successes working on the needs of rural America and Northern California. The legislation that I introduced in this past session was focused on helping my constituents by repealing burdensome government regulations, combatting overreach from the Biden Administration, and helping California recover from wildfire damage while enacting common-sense measures to help prevent future wildfires.

Combatting overreaching COVID-19 policies and medical tyranny from the Biden Administration was a major focus. It is not the place of the government to mandate that Americans get vaccinated, especially against their will. To this end, I introduced several bills to keep the COVID-19 vaccine voluntary, and to forbid businesses, government agencies, Amtrak, and airlines from denying services to people based on their vaccination status.

After another deadly fire season in Northern California, reforming the federal government’s fire management systems and getting relief to victims of wildfires was as important to my staff and me as ever. I introduced several bills to motivate the Forest Service to fight fires before they become out of control, to increase vegetation management practices to reduce risk of fire and increase pay of wildland firefighters. I also focused on getting financial relief to wildfire survivors. In December, a bill I introduced to protect survivors of natural disasters by preventing FEMA from taking back their disaster relief funds for their bureaucratic mistakes was signed into law.

As always, my offices strive for excellent customer service and work to help our constituency. I’m pleased to report that my office directly helped 421 residents with individual casework involving federal agencies. My office recovered $5,198,516 in funds from the IRS, VA or Social Security Administration. Most of this money was already owed to them by these agencies, but they were either being slow in processing or refusing to pay their obligations. Additionally, my Washington, D.C. office managed to work around overbearing COVID restrictions, leading 62 Capitol tours to Northern California residents who came to visit our nation’s capital city.

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Over the past two years, I was able to obtain nearly $31 million through the new Community Project Funding process, bypassing lengthy and costly bureaucratic actions that only delay important community work and siphon away dollars that could be used in the projects. By working with county governments, local agencies, and special districts, a total of 21 projects were prioritized and had federal funding approved. These priority projects included $5 million for wildfire defense and evacuation routes, $4 million for broadband expansion, $3 million for veterans’ facilities and $7 million for various sheriffs offices and police departments to be used for body-worn cameras, new radios and communications infrastructure, drones for search and rescue, vests and other personal safety equipment. For transparency, information on each project I supported can be found on my website.

During the 117th Congress, I continued to lead calls to expedite and increase California water storage funding, and successfully obtained $160 million for Sites Reservoir — the largest federal appropriation in the project’s history. Further, I led a bipartisan push to the Biden Administration to allow Sites to be eligible to receive low cost, federal loan financing at no additional taxpayer risk.  Thanks to these efforts, in March of 2022 the Sites Joint Project Authority announced their project was eligible for up to $2.2 billion in low-cost, government-backed loans, which could reduce the cost of water from the reservoir by 10 percent.