Keeping Sacramento County Safe
As a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I had the incredible honor and privilege of meeting with our troops in Afghanistan during an official congressional visit. They were among the most dedicated and talented people I’ve ever met and we must do whatever we can to support them.
Keeping Americans safe is my greatest responsibility as your representative in Congress. I know that many folks are concerned about terrorist groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the threat that they pose to the United States. I take this threat seriously as a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and it’s why I’m working with people in both parties to make America safer.
This is a time when every American – regardless of political party, ethnic background, or religion – should stand together and united to strengthen our resolve. We have to be vigilant and relentless, but also strong and wise, as we move forward to defeat ISIL and other terrorist groups. We can’t let the terrorists threaten our families and the ideals that built our great country.
We also need to holistically address other serious threats to the safety of our families. Lately, we’ve seen far too much violence in our country – everything from criminal mass shootings to attacks on our law enforcement. We need to support our first responders and local police so they have all the tools they need to save lives as we work to strengthen the bonds of trust between them and the communities they serve. We need to do a better job of standing with women and families who have been torn apart by domestic and sexual violence. We also need to address the prescription drug and opioid abuse epidemic that has taken record numbers of American lives, including many in our own neighborhoods.
Here’s how I’m working to keep Sacramento County safe:
Defending Our Homeland Against Terrorism:
Supporting Our Local Police, Firefighters, and First Responders:
Standing Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault:
Addressing the Prescription Drug Abuse and Opioid Epidemic:
Protecting Our Communities and Families From Gun Violence:
Boosting Sacramento County’s Flood Protection:
Improving Our Response to Wildfires:
More on Keeping Sacramento County Safe:
Listening to Major General Baldwin of the California National Guard, which plays a crucial role in responding to disasters and protecting our homeland.
Keeping Americans safe is my greatest responsibility as your representative in Congress. I know that many people are concerned about terrorist groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the threat that they pose to the United States. We have to be vigilant and relentless, but also strong and wise, as we move forward to defeat ISIL and other terrorist groups. That means all Americans standing together – regardless of party, ethnic background, or religion – united in our efforts to defeat the terrorists.
- Protecting our Security on the Foreign Affairs Committee: In the Foreign Affairs Committee, I’m working with both Republicans and Democrats to strengthen our efforts to destroy ISIL. Our response must include airstrikes, choking off ISIL’s finances, and using our counterintelligence agencies to weaken them. We must also ensure our partners in the region do their part to fight ISIL and take away more of their territory. You may click below to see me discuss this threat and how we can defeat ISIL at a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing:
- Preventing Terrorists from Coming to the United States: It's clear that the threat of terrorism is not isolated to one country or region. We need to do a better job of protecting our homeland to make sure terrorists can’t come to American soil to threaten our families.
This is why I supported bipartisan legislation to help ensure terrorists can’t abuse our immigrant visa process, which is now law. I’ve also supported bipartisan legislation to ensure we’re doing enough to stop radicalized Americans from traveling to Iraq and Syria to join ISIL, to make sure our terrorist watch list is up-to-date, and to prevent terrorist suspects from flying on American airplanes.
I’ve stood with both Republicans and Democrats to push for a bipartisan bill to increase international border security and stop travel by terrorists and foreign fighters. Our bill, which passed with nearly unanimous support, would help prevent international travel by terrorists and foreign fighters by establishing enforceable, minimum border security standards and by helping to improve border screening systems for our allies. You can watch me urge my colleagues to support our bill below:
- Securing Support for Local Police to Prevent and Respond to Terrorism: We need to ensure that our police in Sacramento County receive their fair share of help to keep our communities safe. That’s why my office worked alongside the Sacramento Police Department to urge the Department of Homeland Security to include the Sacramento area in their Urban Area Security Initiative. This will mean nearly $3 million in additional funding to prevent and respond to a possible terrorist attack in our area.
- Supporting a Strong Defense and Homeland Security Budget: We need to make sure that our troops, intelligence, security agencies, and law enforcement have all the resources and tools they need. That’s why I’ve worked with both parties to fund the Defense Department and the Department of Homeland Security to help keep our communities and families safe.
I also strongly opposed a reckless and short-sighted effort in 2015 to shut down the Department of Homeland Security because of a needless partisan political dispute. Threatening to shut down the Department of Homeland Security is the height of irresponsibility. That’s why I introduced the No Homeland Security, No Pay Act, so Members of Congress wouldn't get paid if the department shut down. If Congress can’t do its job and put the security of the American people before politics, then they certainly shouldn’t get paid during a crisis that they’re causing.
- Preventing Terrorist Suspects From Buying Guns: Today, a suspect on the FBI’s terrorist watch list can legally buy a gun. This is absolutely inexcusable and this dangerous loophole poses a serious threat to our families and communities. In fact, an independent investigation found that hundreds of suspected terrorists on the FBI watch list bought guns over the years.
This is why I’m strongly supporting the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act to close this loophole. I’ve voted repeatedly to bring up the legislation for consideration and will keep fighting to keep our communities safe.
- Stopping Radicalization and ISIL’s Propaganda: We also need to do more to stop and counter ISIL's vicious propaganda campaign that urges attacks on innocent people. ISIL increasingly uses the internet and social media to recruit new fighters and to radicalize people to carry out attacks.
I strongly support the bipartisan Combat Terrorist Use of Social Media Act. This bill requires the President to form a comprehensive strategy to address how terrorists use social media for recruitment and planning.
Stopped by the Citrus Heights Police Department for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Thank you to Officer Oldwin for helping our community safely dispose of unused and expired medications.
Our police officers, fire fighters, and first responders do an incredible job serving Sacramento County. They have difficult jobs and put their lives on the line to keep others safe. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their service. We need to support our first responders and local police so they have all the tools they need to save lives as we work to strengthen the bonds of trust between them and the communities they serve.
- Investing in Local Police and Firefighters: We need to make sure that our police and firefighters get the funding, training, and equipment they need so they can do their jobs well and stay safe.
This is why I strongly support funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services program (or COPS for short). COPS supports local police departments throughout our country so they can hire, train, and support more police officers. Nationwide, COPS has led to the hiring of an additional 115,000 police officers to help stop criminals, prevent crime, and keep our families safe.
I also strongly support the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program and the Assistance to Firefighter grant program. Both of these initiatives ensure support for local Fire Departments that are on tight budgets. This support helps them hire, train, and recruit firefighters to respond to emergencies and to keep our families safe.
With Susan Oliver, the widow of Sacramento County Sheriff Deputy Daniel Oliver. Deputy Oliver tragically lost his life in the line of duty. I was privileged to have Susan join me as my special guest to the President’s 2015 State of the Union Address to help honor his memory and commitment to keeping our area safe. You may click to play an interview of us on Sacramento News10.
- Securing Support for Local Police to Prevent and Respond to Terrorism: The Department of Homeland Security provides crucial funding and training assistance to police departments around the country. We need to ensure that our local police and firefighters in Sacramento County receive their fair share of help to keep our communities safe.
That’s why my office worked alongside the Sacramento Police Department to urge the Department of Homeland Security to include the Sacramento area in their Urban Area Security Initiative. This will mean nearly $3 million in additional funding to help the Sacramento Police Department prevent and respond to a possible terrorist attack in our area.
Happy to help celebrate the reopening of Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District Station 68 in Anatolia. This will help provide a quicker response time and service for the neighborhood.
As a doctor, I’ve seen the physical and emotional trauma of domestic and sexual violence firsthand. This is completely unacceptable to me as a father of a daughter, as a husband, and as a son. No woman or family should ever have to live in the shadow of fear and abuse.
Unfortunately, there are still some who blame the victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, instead of offering support and hope to women and families who need it as we prosecute the abusers. As a community, we should stand with women and families who want to rebuild their lives.
I am committed to ensuring that all women have access to resources that empower them and protect them from violence. Domestic and sexual violence against women cannot be tolerated.
- Pushing for a Bipartisan Violence Against Women Act: One of my very first acts as your Congressman was to vote for the bipartisan reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which is now law. The Violence Against Women Act gives medical professionals and police sorely needed resources to prevent violence and to go after abusers. This includes addressing a backlog of untested DNA rape kits, improved evidence tracking for sexual assault cases, and emergency housing for victims.
Here you can watch me urge my congressional colleagues to support the Violence Against Women Act, which ensured greater protection for more women and families who needed help:
- Supporting Victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault: We need to make sure that women, children, and families who have experienced domestic violence or sexual assault have the support they need. They should know that they always have a safe place and caring community to help them in their hour of need. That’s why I’ve supported funding for Family Violence Prevention and Services. This federal initiative helps ensure safe havens are available for women and families at the local level if they have nowhere else to turn.
- How to Get Help: Anyone in an abusive situation should be able to get the help they need. This is why I’ve supported funding for the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you or someone you know needs help, contact 1-800-799-7233 for help.
We’ve seen a sharp spike in deaths from highly addictive painkillers known as opioids across the country. Thousands have lost their lives by abusing these drugs, which often require a prescription. As a doctor, I’ve seen firsthand how families have been torn apart by this epidemic.
Deborah, a mom from Sacramento County, is just one example. Deborah’s son became addicted to prescription pain medication he found in his family’s medicine cabinet. He began using prescription drugs and later escalated to heroin and methamphetamine. Deborah later shared: “I cannot tell you the suffering my family went through over five years because of prescription drug abuse.”
Thankfully, Deborah’s son is now recovering. But many families aren’t as lucky. According to the Centers for Disease for Control and Prevention, more people died in 2014 from drug overdoses than in any year before. We have to work together in a bipartisan way to address this serious public health crisis.
- Passing the bipartisan Disposing Responsibly of Pills Act (or the DROP Act): If you can find old or expired drugs in your medicine cabinet, chances are a child, friend, or family member can stumble onto them just as easily. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of people who abuse painkillers get them from a friend or family member. Safely disposing of any unused prescriptions in your medicine cabinet could help save a life.
That’s why I introduced and passed the bipartisan Disposing Responsibly of Pills Act (or the DROP Act), which is now law. Part of a comprehensive, bipartisan legislative response to combat opioid abuse and to prevent addiction, my bill will help local law enforcement, clinics, pharmacies, and other authorized collectors provide permanent drop off sites for people to safely get rid of their medications. This would help keep prescription drugs from falling into the wrong hands and prevent addiction.
- Do your part - Drop Off Unused or Expired Prescription Drugs: My staff and I have also worked to inform the local families about how they can dispose of their unused or expired prescriptions. We compiled a list of area locations where local families can drop off their unused or expired prescription drugs to help prevent these medications from falling into the wrong hands:
Please click here to learn more and see how you can dispose of any unused prescriptions in your medicine cabinet.
As a father, I don’t believe any family should have to fear dropping off their kids at school or at a movie theater. But sadly, after horrific tragedies like Sandy Hook where twenty young children lost their lives, I know many families are concerned.
Congress should support reasonable, common sense measures to prevent gun violence while at the same time respecting the second amendment rights of responsible and law abiding gun owners. Many Americans own guns to protect their families and homes, and I recognize the long history and family values associated with hunting and fishing. But responsibility also comes along with rights. Though we can’t stop every gun related death, that shouldn’t stop us from trying to make progress.
- Preventing Terrorist Suspects From Buying Guns: Today, a suspect on the FBI’s terrorist watch list can legally buy a gun. This is absolutely inexcusable and it's why I’m strongly supporting the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act to close this loophole. I’ve voted repeatedly to bring up the legislation for consideration and will keep fighting to keep our communities safe.
- Strengthening Gun Safety Background Checks to Keep Guns Away From Criminals: We know that reasonable safety measures to prevent gun violence can work. That’s because more than 2.4 million illegal gun purchases have been prevented since the current gun safety background check system was created. That’s why I’m supporting a bill to strengthen these gun safety background checks and to close loopholes so we can prevent even more criminals from buying guns in the first place.
- Public Health Research into Gun Violence: As a doctor and public health expert, I’d like to be able to address this the way we would any other public health emergency. To understand how to best approach the problem, we must first collect and study data on the risk factors of gun violence to see if there are any common root causes. Then we can propose and test interventions to keep our communities safe. Public health research helped lead to breakthroughs that have saved countless lives before – including seat belts.
Unfortunately, over the past twenty years, because of political interference from Congress, public health agencies have conducted hardly any research on gun violence. At a minimum, we should be able to agree on studying gun violence to learn how we can better keep our families safe. That’s why I’m supporting legislation to prevent this interference and save lives.
You may click here to learn more by reading my op-ed on this issue in the Sacramento Bee.
Though it may be hard to imagine now with our ongoing drought, our region is also extremely vulnerable to floods. In fact, our region - at the confluence of the American and Sacramento Rivers - has the second highest flood risk of any metro area in the United States. We need to complete badly needed flood safety projects to protect our communities, keep our families safe, and to create new infrastructure jobs.
- Upgrading the Folsom Dam for Flood Safety: I’ve strongly supported making upgrades to the Folsom Dam since I’ve had the privilege of serving you in Congress. These upgrades are now underway and will allow Folsom Dam to store more water and release water safely and strategically. This will help with our current drought and provide better flood protection during wetter years.
With Interior Department Secretary Sally Jewell and Congresswoman Doris Matsui to review new upgrades to the Folsom Dam.
Strengthening Our Levees: I voted for the bipartisan Water Reform, Resources, and Development Act, which is now law. This law includes authorizing federal support for the Natomas Levee Improvement Project, which will help fortify the Natomas levees to help keep our communities safe and create new jobs.
I’ve also urged my colleagues to support strong funding to upgrade our levees. You can click below to see me testify before the House Budget Committee to urge them to prioritize improvements to our levees:
Met with representatives from CAL FIRE in my local office earlier this year to hear how Congress can help our state’s firefighters.
Our state has seen record wildfire seasons in recent years. Dangerous fires have plagued Northern California and still threaten many areas. Our firefighters are doing a terrific job battling these fires. They put their own safety at risk to protect our communities, lives, and property. We owe them a great debt and I join with all Californians in thanking them for their incredible sacrifices. But Congress also has an obligation to better support our firefighters and their mission. We need to do a better job managing the risk of wildfires and the havoc they cause.
- Preventing Wildfires: We need to start treating wildfires like every other natural disaster. Just like earthquakes or hurricanes, wildfires threaten lives and property. We need to make sure we dedicate resources to fighting and preventing wildfires too. However, because of how the Forest Service is funded, today the Forest Service is routinely forced to take money away from other important programs just to keep up with fighting wildfires. That includes programs that can help prevent fires from happening in the first place, such as clearing away dead brush.
That’s why I’m leading a bipartisan effort to push for an immediate fix to this so-called "fire borrowing" to protect our communities. This new process would be similar to how we fund the Federal Emergency Management Agency when they respond to other disasters such as hurricanes. This would allow the Forest Service to fight fires more effectively and allow them to continue other vital work. I’m also supporting the bipartisan Wildfire Disaster Funding Act to fix how we fund the Forest Service.
An informative graphic from a Forest Service report, “The Rising Costs of Wildfire Operations: Effects on the Forest Service’s Non-Fire Work.” The Forest Service increasingly must dedicate more staff and resources towards firefighting, which takes away from conservation efforts that can prevent fires in the first place.
- Stopping Civilian Drones From Interfering with Firefighting Aircraft: In recent years civilian drones have interfered with firefighting aircraft, potentially endangering property and the lives of firefighters. This is why I urged the Federal Aviation Administration to take steps to stop these reckless flights so our firefighters can do their jobs.
- Ensuring an Adequate Local Water Supply for Drinking and Firefighting: We’ve thankfully seen some much needed rain this season, but our state is continuing to deal with a serious drought. As we move forward we must make sure that we have enough safe drinking water available for local families and to fight possible wildfires. That’s why I offered an amendment to a partisan water grab bill that would have sent more water out of our area.
More on Keeping Sacramento County Safe
In late February, public health officials made an announcement: they had confirmed the first known case of a person getting Covid-19 without having travelled abroad or coming into contact with someone who had had the virus. This first reported case of community transmission was detected at the University of California, Davis Medical Centre in Sacramento.
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA) today voted to provide urgent relief to small businesses and health care providers in Sacramento County and across the country impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
WASHINGTON, DC - Representative Ami Bera, M.D. (CA-07) yesterday sent a letter to House leadership outlining critical actions Congress and the Administration should take to halt the spread of and ultimately defeat COVID-19 in the United States and abroad.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA), Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL), and Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) today sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar urging the Trump Administration to prioritize the creation of a national testing strategy to address shortfalls in COVID-testing.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - This week, Congressman Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA), Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL), and Congressman Mo Brooks (R-AL) led a bipartisan letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) urging them to rapidly deploy COVID-19 antibody tests that have met accuracy and safety standards as rapidly and widely as possible.
WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Ami Bera, M.D. (CA-07) released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan emergency relief package for American families and small businesses impacted by the novel coronavirus.
WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Ami Bera, M.D. (CA-07) voted today for emergency funding to keep Sacramento County safe from the spread of coronavirus.
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Ami Bera, M.D. (CA-07), former Chief Medical Officer for Sacramento County, released the following statement after public health officials confirmed that an individual is being treated for COVID-19 at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento County. This is the first known case in the U.S. of a person getting the virus without foreign travel or close contact with a known infected individual.
California Congressman and former Chief Medical Officer for Sacramento County, Ami Bera chairs a House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific and will lead a Congressional hearing into the Coronavirus this afternoon. He joins Stephanie Ruhle to discuss the threat of Coronavirus.