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California's 40th District

Feb 6, 2023 | In The News

It’s been close to a month since the 118th Congress was finally sworn into office after being delayed by the 15 rounds of voting to elect Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House.

Since early January, the six members of Congress who each represent portions of Orange County have taken on a slew of responsibilities, ranging from introducing and sponsoring bills to serving on House committees.

Here’s a look at how OC’s representatives got the year started:

Katie Porter

In the current Congress, the Irvine Democrat has co-sponsored a number of legislation pieces, including bills that would require a background check for every firearm sale, ensure affordable abortion coverage and establish Lunar New Year Day as a federal holiday, as well as resolutions that include one condemning attacks on the health care workers and patients.

Just three days after she was sworn into office, Porter announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate in 2024. That resulted in a flurry of others declaring their Senate runs and more announcing their bids to fill Porter’s House seat.

Linda Sanchez

Sanchez, a former labor lawyer representing the 38th district anchored in Los Angeles County but including a small section of Orange County, said she will prioritize working families and small businesses in her district. She serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means, co-chairs the Labor Caucus, and sits on the Hispanic Caucus.

In the 118th Congress, Sanchez was named a chief deputy whip along with nine other House Democrats, among them fellow Californian Jimmy Panetta.

Sanchez, D-Whittier, has some bills and resolutions coming soon. Her office shared that she will be filing a resolution to designate Feb. 6-10 as “National School Counseling Week” – she has been filing it annually since 2008.

“School counselors not only provide guidance when it comes to college and career choices, but also critical support for students as they navigate the challenges of growing up,” she said.

Sanchez is also expected to introduce a bill called the Put School Counselors Where They’re Needed Act, which would place more counselors in high schools with graduation rates of 60% or lower.

Lou Correa

Correa was tapped to serve as a senior whip of the House Democratic Caucus for the current Congress. Whips “assist and support Democratic leadership in moving the Caucus’s priorities through the House, while serving as liaisons between the leadership team and its Caucus members,” according to Correa’s office.

He also serves on a number of bipartisan caucuses, and this year was tapped to co-chair the bipartisan Paper and Packaging Caucus and the Vietnam Caucus, which he is co-chairing with another Orange County House member, Rep. Michelle Steel. Correa, D-Anaheim, was also selected to serve on both the Judiciary Committee and the Committee on Homeland Security.

And along with Reps. Vicente Gonzalez and Brian Fitzpatrick, Correa reintroduced the Repatriate our Patriots Act, which would create a pathway to citizenship for deported U.S. veterans.

“As we work to reform our immigration system, it’s incumbent on us to deliver a pathway to citizenship for every American that’s offered to make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom,” Correa said.

Some of the legislation he has co-sponsored includes bills that would regulate assault weapons, ban the sale of oil to foreign adversaries, and recognize Lunar New Year Day as a federal holiday.

Michelle Steel

Steel, R-Seal Beach, who co-chairs the bipartisan Vietnam Caucus alongside Correa, was appointed to the Ways and Means Committee, the oldest House committee, as well as the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition between the U.S. and the Chinese Communist Party.

“I am honored to join the China Select Committee to continue my fight to hold the CCP accountable for their horrific violations of human rights, their theft of U.S. intellectual property, to secure U.S. supply chains, and strengthen U.S. trade competitiveness,” Steel said in a press release.

Steel, who has been an outspoken critic of the CCP, voted yes on a concurrent resolution that “denounces socialism in all its forms” and “opposes the implementation of socialist policies” in the U.S. She also voted to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee after House Republicans took issue with her past remarks on Israel.

Steel introduced a bill, dubbed the SNOOP Act, that would repeal the Internal Revenue Service’s 600 rule requiring transactions more than $600 to be reported as income on tax returns.

“We will not allow the Biden Administration to weaponize government to target hardworking American taxpayers,” Steel said in a statement.

Mike Levin

Levin, who represents a district largely centered in San Diego but includes the southernmost portion of Orange County, was selected to once again serve on the bipartisan Veterans’ Affairs Committee and Natural Resources Committee. He also serves as Democratic leader on the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity for the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

The first piece of legislation Levin, D-Dana Point, introduced in the current Congress is the bipartisan Nursing Home Disclosure Act, which would require transparency on nursing home personnel and provide families with information on nursing home medical directors.

“It’s unacceptable that some nursing homes do not provide a full public accounting of who their medical director is,” Levin said in a statement. “Our bipartisan bill will rectify that and require transparency that families need to have faith in their nursing homes.”

He also reintroduced a bill that “promotes the responsible development of wind, solar and geothermal energy on public lands,” and combat climate change, according to his office.

And with Valentine’s Day around the corner, Levin on Friday launched his annual “Valentines for Veterans” program, through which Valentine’s Day cards — written by constituents and dropped off or mailed to his Oceanside or Dana Point offices — are distributed to local veterans.

Young Kim

Kim, who shifted to a new district after the recent decennial redistricting process, recently opened two new district offices in Anaheim Hills and Mission Viejo.

Kim, a Republican, was appointed chair of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Indo-Pacific in the current Congress. She also serves on the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus.

Together with Steel, Rep. Marilyn Strickland of Washington and Rep. Andy Kim of New Jersey, Young Kim introduced a bipartisan bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal to Colonel Young Oak Kim. The colonel, unrelated, was a Korean American Army officer who served in World War II and the Korean War and became “one of the most decorated Asian Americans in U.S. military history,” according to the National Museum of the United States Army.

“I am humbled to use my voice to honor him, just as he told me to honor our shared name, our country and duty to public service,” Kim said in a press release. “I am glad that all Korean American members of Congress could come together to work to award him this belated and well-deserved Congressional Gold Medal.”

Kim has also introduced several bills, including one that would ensure Taiwan’s participation in the International Monetary Fund.

“As the 21st largest economy in the world and the 10th largest goods trading partner of the United States, Taiwan deserves a seat at the IMF,” Kim said. “For far too long, Taiwan’s freedoms have been suppressed and voice has been silenced by the Chinese Communist Party.”

The Orange County Register

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