A Look Back at 2016
2016 is coming to an end, and this will be the last Knight Vision of the year. On January 10, I will pick up where I left off, but until then I want to leave you with a quick recap of some of the accomplishments that I have worked on in my first term in Congress.

Defending Defense
One of my top priorities as your Representative in Congress is to maintain a strong national defense and to continue my work to ensure our military is ready to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. This means maintaining the proper amount of troops, and ensuring they are properly trained, equipped, and are ready to accomplish the missions they are called to perform for their country.  
Chatting with service members aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower

As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I spent much of the year working on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal years 2016 and 2017, which authorizes the programs and expenditures for all of Department of Defense’s operations in the upcoming year. This year’s NDAA contains measures that are critical to our national defense and will have a positive impact on our local economy. 
Talking to the Chief of Staff of the Army, General Milley

I worked on the most recent NDAA to make sure we continue the advanced aircraft programs like the F-35, Global Hawk, Triton, and the upcoming B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber, all of which will bring thousands of high-paying jobs to our region. The NDAA also makes foundational reforms to our acquisition process which will help get better technology into the hands of the warfighter faster and more efficiently. Last but not least, the bill halts and begins to reverse the drawdown of military end strength and gives our service men and women a well-deserved 2.1% pay increase. I am proud of this legislation and look forward to continuing to improve our nation’s security next Congress.

Delivering Drought Relief 
Our state’s drought is entering its seventh year, and my commitment to providing federal relief has been steadfast. This year my fellow California Representatives and I worked tirelessly to address our water crisis by reaching across the aisle, writing numerous letters, and advancing legislation. I am proud to say that last week we achieved a breakthrough when Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy successfully amended the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act to include a compromise measure that will directly help with the Golden State’s drought.
Touring a local water treatment plant
The amendment takes a bi-partisan and multi-faceted approach to drought relief that includes initiatives such as improving water infrastructure and granting the ability to increase Delta pumping, as well as priorities like increased spending on water recycling and desalinization projects. The package, which was signed into law this weekend, is deficit-neutral and is the single largest reform to California water policy in 25 years. I applaud Leader McCarthy’s leadership on this important issue and Senator Feinstein’s support of this compromise.

Serving Those Who Served
Since our country’s founding, men and women in uniform have loyally answered the call of duty to protect our nation and our values.  It is my responsibility as a Member of Congress to ensure our brave service members and their families are provided the necessary benefits for a decent quality of life while they are serving at home or abroad, and even for a post-military civilian career.
Thanking a member of our local veteran community for his service
That is why I introduced the No hero Left Untreated Act earlier this year, which would help veterans recover from post-traumatic stress (PTS), traumatic brain injury (TBI), military sexual trauma (MST), chronic pain, and opiate addiction. The bill would establish a pilot program with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) based on a promising new neurological treatment called Magnetic eResonance Therapy technology, or MeRT technology used to treat various forms of brain trauma. The legislation has broad support in the veteran community and in Congress; in September it passed the House of Representatives and last week a bipartisan companion measure was introduced in the Senate. This legislation would provide real solutions and hope for our men and women in uniform who are suffering, and has widespread support within the veteran community. I look forward to continuing our momentum and seeing this bill signed into law next Congress.

Advancing Aerospace
Our region’s historical and economic ties to aerospace are unmatched. Thousands of jobs in Simi Valley, Santa Clarita, and the Antelope Valley rely in some way on the aerospace economy. From the B-1 and B-2 to the Space shuttle orbiters to the legendary X-plane program, some of the most impressive feats in aviation’s history were designed, tested, and rolled out right here in our community. The legacy is crucial to our local economy as well as our national defense. 
Hosting the American Aeronautics Forum in the Antelope Valley

While we remain a powerhouse for manufacturing the world’s finest flying machines, we must not become complacent and allow other countries to surpass our superiority in flight. This year I introduced two bills that will lay the groundwork for the future of our American aeronautics. The first is the FAA Leadership In Groundbreaking High-Tech Research and Development Act (FLIGHT R&D Act,) which would authorize budget-neutral funding for the FAA to focus its research on improvements in aerospace technology that will advance aviation safety, security, and economic competitiveness. The second measure is the Aeronautics Innovation Act. This bill lays out a roadmap for a strengthened aeronautics research and development agenda that will secure our technological edge in commercial and military aviation. 

Both of these bipartisan measures would ensure America retains its dominance in air and space, and that government and industry work to continue ushering in new innovations that meet the challenges of 21st Century. 

Taking Care of Small Business
Small businesses are the heart of our community and of our national economy. As a member of the House Small Business Committee, I worked with my colleagues on numerous pieces of bipartisan legislation that would help small businesses thrive by reducing the amount federal regulations, easing capital access, and reducing costs of employment. I also hosted roundtables, conferences, and walking tours in our community to hear from our small business owners and employees about their concerns and needs.
Hosting the annual Small Business Expo & Workshop in Santa Clarita

One major concern we consistently heard about was the so-called Department of Labor Overtime Rule, a mandate that would radically alter existing regulations on what employees must be paid overtime wages and have severe negative impacts on small businesses and non-profits. I took the ideas I heard from our community back to Washington, DC and pushed back against the Rule by working with my colleagues to send letters, hold hearings, and advance legislation. In September a bill I cosponsored called the Regulatory Relief for Small Businesses, Schools and Nonprofits Act, which would buy small businesses time to comply with the regulation, passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support. 
Discussing upcoming legislation at a local business in Simi Valley

Next Congress I look forward to continuing my fight to expand opportunities for our small business community.

Caring About Health
Congress took major strides this year to address some of our nation’s toughest health issues. I am pleased in our accomplishments, which are the product of tireless effort and negotiation, and stand as great examples of Congress coming together to pass legislation that helps the American people.

One of our most urgent priorities was marshaling resources to fight our country’s opioid addiction epidemic. In my 18 years as a police officer I saw firsthand the damage that opiates and other drugs can inflict on families and communities, which is why I was one of the original members of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic. Together we proposed and advanced a number of bills – from new tools for law enforcement to fight trafficking and health reforms to improve treatment - that would take on all aspects of this terrible epidemic and help Americans suffering from addiction. The package also included a bill I cosponsored called the Prevent Drug Addiction Act of 2016, which boosts prevention efforts by putting in place new consumer and practitioner education programs.
A hearing for the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic

Another huge accomplishment for Congress was the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act. This legislative package will reform the Food and Drug Administration to encourage innovation and improve responsiveness. I’ve seen firsthand the suffering caused by mental health problems and fatal diseases like Valley Fever and pediatric cancer, but for decades federal bureaucrats failed to repair the processes and procedures that were slowing down efforts to meet these challenges. I am a proud cosponsor of this legislation because it will foster innovation, speed up procedures to get life-saving treatments to patients, and provide hope to the millions of Americans facing formidable health problems that lack cures.   
 
Getting some firsthand health care knowledge at a local hospital

Last but certainly not least was passing mental health care reform. I am a proud cosponsor of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2016, which will improve the oversight and effectiveness of federal mental health programs and authorize new grants for treatment. Many of the provisions from this bill were signed into law by the President last week, marking a historic step toward modernizing our mental health system.

Local Leadership
I am committed to preventing any mining operations by CEMEX within Soledad Canyon, and I am taking a comprehensive approach in this effort. Last year I worked with federal agencies to urge them to cancel the mining contracts, and in August of 2015 we were successful. We are currently awaiting the outcome of an appeal to the agency’s decision, but I will continue to apply pressure and ensure that we receive a timely and favorable outcome. 
 
Another local priority is creating a national memorial for the 1928 St. Francis Dam disaster in the Santa Clarita Valley, which will give our community the opportunity to properly honor the hundreds that died in the incident.  That is why I introduced the Saint Francis Dam Disaster National Memorial and Castaic Wilderness Act last year, and in 2016 we were successful in passing the bill out of the House. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to continue the bill’s forward momentum and make this memorial a reality. 
Touring the Aliso Canyon facility during the Porter Ranch gas leak

Finally this year we fought tirelessly to address the gas leak at Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility, which forced residents of Porter Ranch and surrounding neighborhoods to leave their homes and businesses for months. During the crisis my priorities were to ensure that the situation was resolved as quickly as possible, and to take steps to protect the residents there. After the leak was sealed, I introduced the Natural Gas Leak Prevention Act, which would prevent disasters like this one from occurring in the future by requiring federal safety standards for facilities like Aliso Canyon in Porter Ranch and Honor Rancho in Valencia. Many of the bill’s provisions were added to a larger bill, which was signed into law this summer.   We cannot undo the damage that was done in Porter Ranch, but I will continue to work to make sure we prevent another incident from ever happening in our communities again
 

 
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