December 20, 2015

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Congressional Report

Dear Friends,
As Congress breaks for its holiday recess, I wanted to share some final legislative updates of the year.

Late last week, Congress passed and President Obama signed a more-than-$1.1-trillion spending package for the federal government until the end of next September. It also sent to the president's desk a $622 billion tax extenders package. This package permanently renews a number of temporary tax provisions.

As a member of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, which oversees government spending, I was particularly interested in the language of the spending package. All of my appropriations priorities, with the exception of a few small changes, were preserved in the package, also known as the "omnibus." You can read more below about these priorities.

In addition, you will find below information on my district staff's outreach efforts last week.

Congress Passes Key Spending, Tax Measures
Late last week, Congress passed and sent to President Obama's desk for his signature two key measures. 

The first was a $622 billion tax extenders package to make permanent a number of temporary tax provisions that had previously been approved for only short periods of times.

The second, approved Friday, was a more-than-$1.1-trillion spending package that will last the federal government through the end of this fiscal year at the end of this September. As a member of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, I had previously worked with my colleagues to include language in all 12 appropriations bills to benefit the 28th District of Texas, so I was keen to see how the end-of-year spending package would shape.

Except for a few changes, all of my previous priorities were included in the spending package. These include funding to build a new federal courthouse in San Antonio; money to combat citrus greening disease, a problem that has plagued Rio Grande Valley farmers; inducements to encourage greater collaboration between federal agencies and Minority Serving Institutions; and research into international rail between the U.S. and Mexico.

In addition, I succeeded in inserting some new language. The most prominent example of this is a provision to end the United States' longstanding ban on the export of crude oil. This policy comes from an era of oil scarcity, when OPEC had just lifted its embargo and Americans were waiting in long gas lines to fill up their tanks. Lifting the ban will help our energy-producing district by enhancing national security, increasing the GDP and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.

To read more about my stance on the crude oil export ban, please read here.

Recognizing 12 Years of Public Service in Selma

Last week, my constituent services representative for Bexar County, Pete Arguello, presented a Congressional Certificate of Recognition to Ken Roberts, who is retiring as City Administrator for the City of Selma after 12 years of service. I thank Mr. Roberts for his years of public service and wish him well in his retirement.

Youth of the Month in Laredo

Congratulations to the 10 high school seniors in the Laredo and Webb County area who last week were recognized as Youth of the Month by the United States Border Patrol. The ceremony, held at St. Augustine High School, brings together the top 10 students each month from the area's high schools who demonstrate leadership and academic excellence both in and out of school. My outreach coordinator for Webb County, Alec Martinez, at left, presented each student with a Congressional Certificate of Recognition.

Encouraging Constituents to Sign Up for Health Care

My southern district outreach coordinator Narda Terrones, at right, participated last Wednesday in an Affordable Care Act enrollment event at the Ignite Community Service Center in Mission. With her is Mary Aguilar, a representative from Cognosante, a McAllen-based health care marketplace assistance group.

Recognizing a Retiring Field Office Director at HUD

Pete Arguello, left, my constituent services representative for Bexar County, recently presented a Congressional Certificate of Recognition to Richard Lopez, who is retiring as Field Office Director at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in San Antonio. Mr. Lopez was with HUD for 37 years and worked with my office on many projects and initiatives throughout the 28th District.

Henry Cuellar

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