Rep. Pete Aguilar Reflects on First 6 Months in Office
This month marks Rep. Aguilar’s first six months in office. Since his swearing-in this past January, Rep. Aguilar has focused on creating and supporting legislation that will grow the Inland Empire economy and help strengthen the middle class. From releasing his Jobs Plan, to introducing bipartisan legislation to provide tax relief to local businesses, to co-sponsoring a bipartisan measure with fellow Inland Empire Representative Colonel Paul Cook to put veterans back to work— Rep. Aguilar has fought tirelessly for families throughout San Bernardino County.
- Rep. Aguilar co-sponsored the Protect Medical Innovation Act, which repeals the medical device tax that was implemented as part of the Affordable Care Act. It will help Inland Empire medical device manufacturers by providing relief from a burdensome tax, which has forced business owners to slow investments in research and development and cut jobs.
- Rep. Aguilar co-sponsored the Small BREW Act, which helps the Inland Empire’s local brewers by lowering the federal excise tax on small brewers, leveling the playing field with large distributors.
- Rep. Aguilar co-sponsored the All-Year ACCESS Act, which restores access to full-year Pell Grants, and would help non-traditional and part time students take summer and winter break classes.
- Rep. Aguilar co-sponsored the Manufacturing Jobs for Veterans Act, which establishes a pilot State Manufacturing Employment Program to support training, apprenticeships, and certification classes for veterans.
February and March 2015:
- Rep. Aguilar fought to prevent the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from shutting down. He spoke on the House Floor multiple times, urging Speaker Boehner to bring a clean bill to a vote to ensure that DHS was fully funded through the end of the fiscal year. He co-authored a letter to the Speaker with Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-07) demanding a vote on DHS funding, and gained the support of 122 of his colleagues. After weeks of advocating, Speaker Boehner finally agreed and brought a clean bill up for a vote. It passed 257-167 and was signed into law by the President.
- During the month of February, Rep. Aguilar held Jobs Roundtable Discussions across San Bernardino County with local business owners, community leaders, labor representatives, and veterans to talk about job creation and economic growth in the district. The forums were held in San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, and Redlands.
- Rep. Aguilar co-sponsored and voted for legislation to cut taxes and help small businesses. He voted for the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act, which requires federal agencies to take into account the costs that small businesses may incur from new regulations. Rep. Aguilar also voted for America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act, which permanently extends three different tax provisions commonly used by many small businesses.
- Rep. Aguilar co-sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act. This will help end wage discrimination against women, who on average earn 78 cents to the dollar men make.
- Rep. Aguilar released his Jobs Plan, his strategy for kick-starting the Inland Empire’s regional economy and putting residents back to work. Read it here.
- Rep. Aguilar held a Veterans Roundtable with local veterans to discuss critical issues they face today, including health care, the VA backlog, housing, and unemployment.
- Rep. Aguilar met with Ernesto and Dina Gudiño of Redlands and their family to discuss immigration reform. The Gudiños would be eligible for Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) under the President’s executive orders issued last November. They have three American-born children and have lived in the United States for eighteen years, but due to their undocumented status, they are at risk of being deported and torn away from their children.
- Rep. Aguilar worked with fellow Inland Empire Representative Colonel Paul Cook (CA-08) to pass an amendment in the Armed Services Committee to help states create pilot programs to put veterans back to work.
- Rep. Aguilar fought to raise wages for Inland Empire residents by co-sponsoring a bill to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $12.00 an hour by 2020.
- Rep. Aguilar met with students at the San Bernardino Valley College Dreamers Resource Center workshop to discuss the immigration crisis and the plight of Dreamers.
- Rep. Aguilar took the SNAP challenge with his wife Alisha, where each lived on $4.73 a day for one week to raise awareness for hunger and food insecurity in the Inland Empire. The Redlands Daily Facts documented his experience. Read it here.
- Rep. Aguilar passed four amendments through the House of Representatives that were included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016, which sets the nation’s defense priorities. The amendments will help put veterans back to work, create a review process to encourage more minority students to pursue STEM careers, improve accessibility of Department of Defense (DOD) contracting opportunities for small businesses, and support the San Bernardino County International Airport.
- Rep. Aguilar fought to protect California transportation and infrastructure by supporting the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2015, which will allow authorized federal funding for transportation and infrastructure projects in California and throughout the nation to continue through the deadline of July 31st.
- Rep. Aguilar introduced his first bill, H.R. 2431, the On-the-Job Training Tax Credit Act of 2015, which will create a temporary tax credit to help small businesses pay for the cost of training new hires. This was a key initiative in his Jobs Plan that he released in April.
- Rep. Aguilar spearheaded the effort for Congressional support for a $5 million grant to help fund the Inland Empire Utilities Agency’s application to help support its sustainable water initiative.
- Rep. Aguilar’s amendment to curb the increasing suicide rate among female veterans passed the House of Representatives. The amendment was added to H.R. 2685, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2016, and requires the Department of Defense to study the causes and ways to address the higher rate of suicide in women veterans.
- Rep. Aguilar’s co-sponsored bill to repeal the medical device tax passed the House of Representatives.
“I’m proud of our work so far to support our veterans, lower the tax burden for small businesses, raise the minimum wage, and expand employment opportunities in San Bernardino County. We’re just getting started and I will continue working with my Democratic and Republican colleagues on behalf of Inland Empire residents,” said Rep. Pete Aguilar.
Rep. Aguilar has held over 130 constituent meetings. These include his reoccurring Coffee with Your Congressman get-togethers, local business site visits, roundtable events, tours of local industries and school programs, and more.