ICYMI — Hitting The Ground Running: In First 10 Days, Rep. Joe Neguse Holds Multiple Town Halls, Introduces Most Bills of Any Freshman Congressperson, and Works to Reopen the Government
Washington, D.C.— Following his swearing in on January 3rd, in Washington D.C., Congressman Joe Neguse went to work immediately to fix the ongoing government shutdown and has introduced several pieces of original legislation that will have a positive impact on the 2nd Congressional District and State of Colorado. Despite being a freshman, Rep. Neguse was the first member of the Colorado delegation to introduce legislation and has introduced the most bills of any freshman member of the 116th Congress. He also was the first member of the state’s delegation to host any town-halls, and hosted two this past week in Fort Collins and Estes Park. Rep Neguse has also been elected to serve as Freshman Co-Representative to House Leadership in the 116th Congress and is one of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Vice Chairs and Liaison to New Members.
Rep. Neguse’s first legislative package includes investment in solar energy and makes needed adjustments to the public lands near Rocky Mountain National Park and White River National Forest that will benefit the local community. The Solar EDGE Act incentivizes residential solar installation and long-term job growth in the solar industry with a 20% increase to the current Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for small solar systems. The package also includes the bipartisan Arapaho National Forest Boundary Adjustment (WEDGE) Act and the bipartisan Bolts Ditch Access and Use Act which authorizes special use of the Bolts Ditch head gate and segment of the Bolts Ditch, as well as a bill to install a statue from an artist from Loveland, CO in Washington D.C. as a national monument dedicated to women’s suffrage —Rep. Neguse successfully secured full bipartisan support of the state’s delegation in support of this bill.
In addition to these four bills, Rep. Neguse also signed on as an original cosponsor of a sweeping legislative package led by Senator Bernie Sanders (VT-I) and Representative’s Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD) to provide cost relief for American consumers who are struggling to afford prescription drugs. The package includes the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act which would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs under Medicare Part D; the Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act, which would allow patients and pharmacists to import safe, affordable medicine from Canada and other major countries and the Prescription Drug Price Relief Act which would peg the price of prescription drugs to median prices in five major country: Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan. Watch the press conference here.
Rep. Neguse is also the first member of the Colorado delegation to hold town halls in the district to confront the impacts of the government shutdown, holding two in Estes Park and Fort Collins his first week. See wrap-ups of the town halls in the Coloradoan and Loveland Reporter-Herald. In addition, he joined air traffic controllers and TSA agents at the Denver Airport earlier this week to discuss the impact the partial government shutdown is having on federal employees working without pay. Rep. Neguse delivered his first-floor speech to share some of the stories he is hearing from Colorado workers and again called on President Trump and Senate Republicans to end the shutdown.
Following Senate Republicans refusal to take up the spending bill they passed before Christmas, Congressman Neguse and House Democrats have passed individual appropriation bills to reopen the IRS, the Department of Interior, the Department of Agriculture, and the Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. As a co-representative to the House Leadership team, Rep. Neguse plays a large role in discussions about how to proceed and has been an outspoken voice against funding for the border wall and pushing Senate Republicans and the President to reopen the government.
Other bills the Congressman has signed onto as a cosponsor include H.R. 1, House Democrats bold democratic reform package aimed at increasing voters access to the ballot box and removing dark money from the political system, which Rep. Neguse discussed when delivering the final Democratic Weekly Address of 2018. He has also cosponsored legislation to provide backpay for federal employees during the shutdown, H.R. 8 the universal background check bill, the Raise the Wage Act, the Keep Families Together Act, the Social Security 2100 Act, the Vote By Mail Act and the DC Statehood bill.