Press Releases

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Farr statement on the Republicans’ vote to sue the President

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, released the following statement after the Republican controlled House of Representatives voted to sue the President of the United States over implementation of the Affordable Care Act:
 
“Rather than doing their job of passing legislation to help the American people, Republicans have decided to waste more taxpayer dollars on a frivolous lawsuit against the President – a lawsuit many of them hope will lead to impeachment. Talk about Nero fiddling while Rome burns.
 
“Where is the jobs bill? Where is the bill to address immigration reform? Where is the bill to jumpstart our middle class or provide a livable minimum wage? Where is the bill to guarantee women receive equal pay for equal work? 
 
“Those are the issues that Congress should be focused on. Instead, as House Republicans prepare to leave town for a month, their only priority is to satisfy the extreme Tea Party faction of their party.  For several years, they have been obsessed with repealing Obamacare. Now Republicans want to sue the President because they didn’t like the way he implemented a law they voted over 50 times to repeal. 
 
“This absurd lawsuit is nothing more than an election year stunt. The House Leadership needs to stop wasting our time on political games and let us get back to work on the real issues affecting the American people.”
 
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Statement on the House vote to limit military involvement in Iraq

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, released the following statement after the House or Representatives passed the bipartisan McGovern-Jones-Lee resolution today which requires the President to seek Congressional authorization before deploying armed services engaged in combat operations in Iraq:
 
“From day one, I have used my voice and my vote to promote peace in Iraq. Now, more than ever, that country and its citizens deserve peace. Any decision to escalate our military involvement in this war-torn country must be careful, deliberative, and include Congress.
            
“There is no question that sectarian violence in Iraq poses a grave danger to both the country and region’s stability. Before military options are put on the table, we must exhaust every possible diplomatic solution. Diplomacy and debate leads to lasting peace and stabilization. At this point, I do not believe that sending more of our brave women and men to Iraq will win the peace. 
 
“I know I am not alone in this call for peace. But while it is one thing to express the desire for peace, it is a perhaps more daunting task to do what it takes to achieve peace. Iraq’s leadership is changing and I am hopeful they can move swiftly towards a more inclusive government.  
            
“I will continue to watch this situation closely and insist that Congress be consulted for any matter involving US military involvement. The stakes are too high and the cost is too great.”
 
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House votes to boost tourism to the US

WASHINGTON, DC – The House of Representatives voted today to pass H.R. 4450, the Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act. The legislation authored by Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus co-chair Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., and co-sponsored by co-chair Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif., and caucus member Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt.,  reauthorizes Brand USA – a public-private partnership designed to encourage tourism to the United States. Travel and tourism is the United State’s top export industry and Brand USA’s efforts have already brought an additional 1.1 million visitors to the United States. The bipartisan legislation passed 347-57.
 
“Tourism is an integral part of our economy – especially in Florida. Increased tourism means more American and Floridian jobs. My legislation means job growth without utilizing a dime of taxpayer dollars. Millions of Americans across the country are still struggling, and H.R. 4450 will help them get back to work. Brand USA reauthorization is a jobs bill,” Bilirakis declared.
 
“I am proud that my colleagues have joined me in a bipartisan effort to pass H.R. 4450 in the House of Representatives. The Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act will increase Brand USA’s efficiency, effectiveness, transparency – it is a huge step forward for the accountability of the program,” Bilirakis continued. “It is my hope the Senate will pass the companion bill, S. 2250.”
 
“We have to compete globally if we want to create jobs locally,” said Farr. “That starts with marketing America to the world as a premier travel destination.  Brand USA brings in more global visitors to spend money at local shops, hotels and restaurants in communities throughout the United States. This legislation builds upon our success in the international travel and tourism market which strengthens our economy here at home.”
 
Brand USA, which is completely funded by international visitors and private industry contributions, is the country’s first national Destination Marketing Organization and markets the United States as a premier travel destination to world. The program’s efforts bring substantial benefits to our economy with a return on investment of more than 30 to 1. Brand USA’s activities brought in an additional 1.1 million visitors to the United States, resulting in a $7.4 billion impact on the economy and supported the creation of over 50,000 new jobs in fiscal year 2013. 
 
H.R. 4450 also enhances Brand USA by adding a number of accountability and transparency requirements. Companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Senators Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn, and Roy Blunt, R-Mo.   
 
The legislation has broad support by the travel and tourism industry. A complete list of groups that support H.R. 4450 can be found at http://1.usa.gov/1qoaC7s
 
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President signs Farr bill to name new joint VA-DOD clinic after General Gourley

WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama today signed Rep. Sam Farr’s, D-Carmel, bill to name the future joint Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense outpatient clinic at the former Fort Ord the "Major General William H. Gourley VA-DOD Outpatient Clinic.” The bill, H.R. 272, honors Gen. Gourley for his lifetime of service to his country, his fellow members of the military and Central Coast veterans. The new clinic is the second joint clinic in the nation and the first built specifically from the ground up to care for active duty service members, their families and veterans all under one roof. The bill received unanimous support in Congress.
 
“General Gourley inspired the creation of the joint clinic at Fort Ord,” said Farr. “To honor his commitment to the clinic’s construction, when the doors open to provide care for both active duty members of the military and veterans, it will bear the name of the man who dedicated his entire life to serving those who served our nation.” 
 
Gen. Gourley, who passed away in 2008, was instrumental in the clinic's development. During his career he championed his 10 Golden Rules. His 10th rule was “Make a better Army and Corps for your subordinates to inherit.” He carried that mantra into retirement by working tirelessly to improve the treatment and care of veterans in California. His interest in designating a section of Fort Ord as a joint clinic for both veterans and service members began when the base closed in 1994. Because of his efforts, the clinic will serve over 80,000 active duty service members, their families and veterans. 
 
Ground was broken last Veterans Day and the clinic is expected to open in the fall of 2016. The three-story building, 104,000-square-foot facility will provide primary care and specialty care including medical/surgical subspecialty clinics, mental health care, audiology, physical and occupation therapy, ancillary and diagnostic services. The clinic will replace the VA’s existing clinic which is too small to serve the current population and cannot be expanded.
 
“General Gourely championed bringing the two departments together under one roof as a way to provide better care for our service members throughout their career and on into retirement,” said Farr. “Thanks to his efforts, this design will not only improve the lives for those here on the Central Coast but hopefully it will become the model for future clinics throughout the country.”
 
Gen. Gourley's military service began in the late 1950s when he served in Germany, where he shared MREs (Meal, Ready-to-Eat) with Elvis Presley. He later served in Korea and Vietnam. After returning from his tour in Vietnam, he was assigned to the Pentagon and rose to work with then Gen. Colin Powell on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
 
In his retirement, Gen. Gourley worked to enhance life for active duty soldiers and veterans living in Central California by working to improve TRICARE service on the Monterey peninsula; establish a veterans cemetery on the old Fort Ord; make health care more affordable and accessible to military retirees; and providing the groundwork for the joint DOD-VA health care clinic.
 
Artistic rendering of the clinic:
 
 
 
 
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Travel and Tourism Caucus co-chairs statement on committee approval of travel bill

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus co-chairs Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif. and Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla. released the following joint statement in response to the House Energy & Commerce Committee approval of H.R. 4450, the Travel Promotion, Enhancement and Modernization Act of 2014:
 
"As co-chairs of the Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus, we are pleased to announce that the Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act of 2014 (HR 4450) was approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee today. This bill will enable our country to increase its success in the international traveler market by reauthorizing Brand USA. It’s our nation’s Destination Marketing Organization or DMO, and it will allow them to bring greater numbers of international travelers to our shores.
 
'These travelers provide a substantial boost to our economy and produce many U.S. jobs. We know that international visitors coming to the United States are measured as an export, and travel and tourism is the top export industry. Number One! Seventy million international visitors, spending over $180 billion dollars, have produced a trade surplus every year since 1989 – and Brand USA is a crucial part of this. A recent Brand USA report showed that FY13 saw an increase of 1.1 million visitors. That increase brings an additional $3.4 billion in spending to our economy and supports over 50,000 new jobs.
 
'These international visitors, and their economic benefits, travel throughout America to major destinations like New York, Los Angeles, Orlando, and Chicago. And yet, it is our “amber waves of grain” and “purple mountain majesties” that attract travelers to all corners of our country.
 
'The benefits from international visitors are substantial, and Brand USA is a real value that produces a considerable return on investment - more than 30 to 1. That’s an unbeatable deal that is done at no U.S. taxpayer expense. The funding for this program is provided by the international visitors that come to the United States.
 
'This bill has consistently had bipartisan support. It passed out of committee with bipartisan support and is cosponsored by over 140 Members, evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats.
 
"As co-chairs of the Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus, we like to say that travel and tourism is in every state, every territory, and congressional district across this country. We are excited to see this legislation move forward, and, if you haven’t done so already, we ask you to join us in our strong support of HR 4450."
 
The legislation also has broad support by the travel and tourism industry. A complete list of groups that support H.R. 4450 can be found here.
 
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