CSAC Officials Travel to Washington, D.C.
CSAC leaders traveled to the nation’s capital late last week to promote the association’s federal policy priorities. Led by President and Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, CSAC’s Officers, along with association staff, met with members of Congress and Trump administration officials as part of a packed lobbying itinerary. The Officers subsequently attended the National Association of Counties’ (NACo) Legislative Conference, which brings together elected and appointed officials from all over the United States.
This year, CSAC’s leadership team focused its advocacy efforts on two of the association’s major legislative priorities – homelessness and resiliency. Among others, CSAC met with Representatives Juan Vargas (D-CA), Katie Porter (D-CA), and staff to Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA); all three of the aforementioned members serve on the committee with primary jurisdiction over homelessness and housing legislation. The group also met with Representative Jimmy Gomez, (D-CA), a key member of the Congressional Homelessness Caucus, as well as staff to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
Additionally, CSAC leaders discussed disaster preparedness legislation with Representatives John Garamendi (D-CA) and Jared Huffman (D-CA). Both members serve on the committee with jurisdiction over FEMA and are spearheading multiple bills that would help California’s local governments better prepare for and respond to natural disasters. Shortly after meeting with Representative Garamendi, the congressman announced the official introduction of the CSAC-endorsed FEMA Disaster Preparedness Improvement Act. A link to the congressman’s press release can be found here.
Across Capitol Hill, the CSAC contingent met with staff to Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Kamala Harris (D-CA). In close partnership with California’s counties, the senators are leading legislative efforts to combat homelessness and increase resiliency and disaster readiness.
At the executive branch level, CSAC met with a number of aides to President Donald Trump, including key domestic policy staff who advise the president on homelessness, housing, and resiliency. The group discussed a wide range of issues, including the administration’s ongoing efforts aimed at implementing key provisions of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (PL 115-254).
The group also sat down with Dr. Robert Marbut, the executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. As part of their discussion, CSAC leaders shared with Dr. Marbut their experiences in confronting homelessness in their respective local communities. As the administration’s leading voice on homelessness policy, Dr. Marbut is responsible for coordinating the federal response to the burgeoning crisis, including working in partnership with the Council’s 19 federal member agencies.
Lastly, CSAC representatives met with Calder Lynch, the deputy administrator and director of the Center for Medicaid & CHIP Services (CMCS) at the Department of Health and Human Services. The discussion centered on the Trump administration’s Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation, as well as several pending Medi-Cal waivers that would build upon previous waivers that have provided California with critical matching funds for public hospitals, Whole Person Care, and drug treatment.
With regard to this year’s NACo conference, attendees had the opportunity to hear presentations from a number of elected officials, including President Trump. As part of his remarks, the president touched on a wide range of topics, including jobs and the economy, regulatory reform, coronavirus response efforts, U.S. energy policy, Opportunity Zones, and agriculture. Also presenting at the conference was Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), and several House members.
Finally, at this year’s California Caucus event, county officials heard from the candidates running for the position of second vice president of NACo. The candidates are Denise Winfrey, County Board Speaker from Will County, Illinois; and Cindy Bobbitt, Commissioner from Grant County, Oklahoma. Caucus attendees also received a federal policy update from Paragon Government Relations, CSAC’s federal advocacy team.