Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 25th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Town Hall with Congressman Sam Farr

SamFarrNewWhat are the highest priorities, as well as the biggest obstacles, facing Congress when it returns to session in September?

When Congress reconvenes after the August recess, there are several issues we must address in a rather short window of time. This is a result of House Republicans refusing to work on any issue important to the American people. Their failure to lead has brought us to the point where every major bill is a priority in the final days of this Congress.  

From passing a meaningful jobs bill to outlining a long-term solution to address our nation’s debt, the Republican-controlled House has been unwilling to work with the president and Senate on anything of substance for the past two years. Instead, conservative members of Congress have engaged in election year posturing and political games while ignoring many of their Congressional obligations. 

How else can you explain more than 30 votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act but not one viable jobs bill?

The Republicans’ dereliction of duty has left us in a precarious position on several matters that must be addressed in the coming months, including many that will have a profound impact on the Central Coast.

One such issue is the Farm Bill, which expires at the end of September. This bill controls our nation’s food supply and must be reauthorized every five years. Failure to act would revert food policy back to laws written in the 1930s that are inconsistent with today’s modern needs. 

The Senate has already extended the Farm Bill another five years but the House has failed to even schedule a vote on the issue.

This bill is important to our local economy because it includes several provisions concerning the specialty crops and organic farming methods that create jobs here in California. The clock is ticking, but as the Ranking Member on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, I still remain hopeful that we will pass a comprehensive and meaningful Farm Bill before the Sept. 30 deadline.

Where I remain less hopeful is the fiscal cliff the Tea Party Republicans are pushing the country toward.

During the last debt debate, Congress passed a measure called sequestration that would trigger automatic spending cuts if Congress fails to eliminate a $1.2 trillion shortfall from our budget by January. The cuts would come from programs championed by both Democrats and Republicans.  Additionally, the Bush-era tax cuts would expire at that point.

The purpose of sequestration was to encourage both sides to negotiate and look for compromises to address our long-term fiscal problem. The Democrats’ plan calls for investment in the Middle Class through tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans and identifies spending cuts that would help achieve those budget goals.

But the Tea Party-led Republicans refuse to negotiate beyond the Paul Ryan budget plan. The plan doubles down on tax cuts for the wealthy paid for by enacting drastic spending cuts on social programs, ending Medicare as we know it and raising taxes on many in the Middle Class. This plan would hurt our economy and still leaves us with deficits for several decades to come. 

By refusing to ask the wealthiest to pay their fair share, Tea Party conservatives have shown their willingness to push our country over that fiscal cliff. According to a report last week by the Congressional Budget Office, failure to reach a compromise would throw our economy back into a recession. 

Sadly, this is just the latest example of the Tea Party Republicans’ lack of concern for Main Street America during their time in office. I have often said that leadership is about getting results. House Republicans’ refusal to work with the Democrats on any problem facing America has left us with few results.

And that failure in leadership by House Republicans will be the biggest hurdle to overcome as we try to tackle all of these priorities in the remaining days of Congress.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Santa Cruz Gives

A look at the organizations we’re asking you to support in our new holiday giving campaign


Gratitude—For Each New Morning With its Light

The full moon of Wednesday brings light to Thanksgiving (Thursday) under the Sagittarius Sun and Mercury. Mercury in Sag offers humanity the message (Mercury) of thankfulness and joy (Jupiter). No other sign represents food, music and joy better than Sagittarius (only Pisces, when not in despair). Beginning on Thanksgiving, we can list what we’re grateful for. Then we can continue the list, creating a daily Gratitude Journal. What we are grateful for always increases in our lives. On Thanksgiving Saturn/Neptune square (challenging) is in full effect. This can manifest as traditions not being honored, disappearing, falling away. It can also create a sense of sadness, confusion, of things not working out as planned. It’s best to be as simple as possible. And to focus on gratitude instead. Gratitude is a service to others. It is scientifically and occultly a releasing agent. Releasing us from the past, allowing our future—the new culture and civilization, the new Aquarian laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarius, the Age of Friendship and Equality—to come forth. Gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution for humanity and the world’s problems.” The hierarchy lays great emphasis upon expressing gratitude. Gratitude illuminates all that is in darkness. Let us be grateful during this season together. Being, for others, the light that illuminates the darkness. A Poem by R.W. Emerson: We are grateful … “For each new morning with its light/For rest and shelter of the night/For health and food/For love and friends/For everything thy goodness sends.” (poem by R.W. Emerson). I am grateful for my family of readers.


The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program


Pluck of the Irish

Mid-century immigrant tale engagingly told in ‘Brooklyn’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Second Street Café

Pies and tarts for all tastes—from traditional to adventurous


How are you preparing for El Niño?

Getting ready to buy some rain gear. Cory Pickering, Santa Cruz, Teaching Assistant


Fortino Winery

Cabernet and superb fruit wine from Fortino Winery


Tap Dance

West End Tap & Kitchen’s impressive menu to expand to Eastside location