Press Releases

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June 11, 2015

WASHINGTON – Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif., announced today that he will vote for the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), often referred to as “fast-track,” to give President Obama the tools necessary to negotiate strong trade agreements on behalf of the American people. Rep. Farr released his decision in a post to his constituents.
 
TPA is not a trade deal. Instead it determines the process that Congress will use to vote on future trade agreements.  Under TPA, any trade agreement negotiated by the President must meet certain environmental, labor and human rights standards. When an agreement is finalized and presented to Congress, it is made public and open to review for 60 days. After 60 days, Congress will hold an up or down vote on the trade agreement.
 
“TPA sets the strongest human rights, environmental and labor standards for trade in the history of our country, said Rep. Farr. “These are not ceilings but instead are floors that have to be met, giving President Obama the leverage necessary to push for even stronger standards when negotiating with other countries.”
 
The United States is currently negotiating with 11 other countries the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). A TPP trade deal has not been finalized. Rep. Farr is waiting until an agreement has been reached before deciding if he will support it or not. 
 

 

June 10, 2015
 
WASHINGTON – Reps. Sam Farr (D-CA), Don Young (R-AK) and Lois Capps (D-CA) today introduced H.R. 2717, the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring (FOARAM) Act of 2015 to expand NOAA’s ocean acidification efforts to provide the tools necessary to develop solutions to the growing problem. Increased ocean acidification threatens an estimated $350 billion blue economy that employees over 2.9 million people in the United States alone. 
 
This bill addresses the need for a greater understanding of the economic, social and ecological impacts of ocean acidification. It will expand the current NOAA program by creating an advisory board to increase communication and coordination between the public and private sectors.
 
“The strength of our economy is directly tied to the health of our oceans,” said Rep. Farr. “Ocean acidification is not just a coastal problem; it threatens our entire national economy. We need to develop solutions to the problem of ocean acidification right now to protect our greatest natural resource and the industries it supports.”
 
Ocean acidification occurs when carbon dioxide dissolves in seawater, leading to the water becoming more acidic. The oceans and Great Lakes have been absorbing carbon dioxide at an alarming rate resulting in a more than 30 percent increase in ocean acidity in just the past few decades. It is estimated that acidity could rise to 125 percent of historic levels by the end of the century.
 
Rising ocean acidity has drastic consequences for marine organisms that are the basis for our blue economy. Marine organisms with a hard shell are particularly heavily impacted. Under increasingly acidic conditions, the shells become thinner and even begin to dissolve, threatening many lucrative fisheries such as crabs, lobsters, oysters, clams and mussels. 
 
"The FOARAM Act has provided crucial funding for NOAA’s ocean acidification research efforts, including those housed at the University of Alaska Fairbanks,” said Rep. Young. “This research has increased our understanding of where changes are occurring, how they vary by region and the ways they impact marine life, particularly shellfish. Alaska’s shellfish industry has significantly benefited from this important NOAA research, which has allowed the industry to mitigate and adapt to our changing oceans.”
 
Ocean acidification also threatens coral reefs which provide shoreline protection and habitat for many species of fish. The estimated impact on coastal communities – from decreased tourism revenue to declining fish populations – is over $1 trillion due to coral reef loss.
 
“Ocean acidification threatens not only the health of our oceans and the marine organisms in them, but our local economies and industries that depend on the oceans for their livelihoods,” Rep. Capps said. “Rising ocean acidity is already having a tremendous impact on our oceans, which is why we cannot wait any longer to address it. I am proud to have co-authored this bipartisan update to FOARAM with my colleagues Rep. Farr and Rep. Young to help our nation better understand and mitigate the impacts of ocean acidification as well as support our costal economies.”
 
Created in 2009, NOAA’s Ocean Acidification program laid the groundwork for researching into ocean acidification. This reauthorization will provide a needed update to the program to allow our nation to respond quickly to new research and move toward identifying solutions to mitigate the effects of ocean acidification. 
 

 

June 3, 2015

WASHINGTON –Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif., co-chair of the House Oceans Caucus, released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed an amendment offered by Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, to the FY 2016 CJS appropriations bill that strips funding for the National Ocean Policy:
 
“Would we allow the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force to carry out their mission without coordinating with each other? That wouldn’t make any sense; just like not letting the various ocean agencies coordinate with each other doesn’t make sense. But that is what the Republicans voted for. They voted for more red tape, more bureaucracy, more confusion and more waste. 

“National Ocean Policy improves federal coordination and effectiveness in managing our greatest natural resource. It is already helping coastal communities by creating a leaner, more responsive government. And it costs the taxpayer nothing! 

“In fact, National Ocean Policy saves taxpayer money by increasing government efficiency through smarter planning. Everyone stands to benefit from improved management of our oceans which support 3 million jobs and generate nearly $300 billion of our GDP.  The Flores Amendment doesn’t make sense for coastal economies like my district and it doesn’t make sense for our national economy.
 
 


June 3, 2015

WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives today voted 242-186 to approve a provision authored by Reps. Sam Farr, D-Calif., and Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., that protects medical marijuana patients and providers from federal prosecution. The amendment to the FY 2016 Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS) Appropriations bill prohibits the federal government from using any funds to arrest or prosecute medical marijuana patients or providers that are in a compliance with their state’s laws.

 
“The majority of the states have said they want medical marijuana patients to have access to the medicine they need without fear of prosecution,” said Rep. Farr. “For the second year in a row, the people’s house has listened to the will of the people and voted to give them that access.”
 
“This impressive vote,” said Rep. Rohrabacher, “is deeply gratifying. It shows the people’s representatives really can reflect the overwhelming sentiment of Americans to do the right thing.  Too many patients, for too long, have suffered under a regime that encourages doctors to prescribe opiates rather than the cannabinoids they deem much safer and more effective. It’s the federal government and out-of-control Justice Department enforcers who have acted as the real gateway drug. The good news is that the House of Representatives just took away that deadly connection.”
 
Last year, the House passed a similar measure authored by Reps. Farr and Rohrabacher in the FY 2015 CJS appropriations bill. The amendment was eventually included in the omnibus spending bill that passed the House and Senate and was signed into law.
 
Despite Congress’s clear intent in passing the amendment, the Department of Justice did not stop prosecuting medical marijuana patients and providers. In April, Reps. Farr and Rohrabacher sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder to inform him that using any funds to go after medical marijuana patients and providers is a violation of federal law. The Department of Justice has yet to respond to the letter.
 
“The House voted for the second year to end the federal prosecution of medical marijuana patients,” said Rep. Farr. “With a clear voice we have once again said to the DOJ:  Stop wasting our tax dollars attacking patients. Let’s spend those funds more wisely going after real criminals and not sick people.” 
 
 “With more support than ever before, today’s passage of the Rohrabacher-Farr medical marijuana amendment is a monumental victory in a revolution underway across America to reform and modernize our marijuana laws,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., an original cosponsor of the amendment. “Well over 200 million Americans have access to legal medical marijuana, and at least one million people use it in accordance with state laws. Removing the threat of interference from the lives of patients, businesses and doctors in the 41 jurisdictions that have approved medical marijuana is the right thing to do.”
 
The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment was cosponsored by Reps. Blumenauer, Reid Ribble, R-Wis., Barbara Lee, D-Calif., Thomas Massie, R-Ky., Joe Heck, R-Nev., Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., Don Young, R-Alaska, Jared Polis, D-Colo., Tom McClintock, R-Calif., Dina Titus, D-Nev.
 


June 3, 2015

WASHINGTON –Rep. Sam Farr, D- Calif., released the following statement after the House of Representatives voted to include a provision to the Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS) Appropriations bill that prohibits exports to certain segments of the Cuban population:
 
“This provision might seem narrow but its consequences will be very broad. It’s designed to roll our country’s Cuba policy back to the Cold War. The majority wants to make it almost impossible to export to a broad swath of society in Cuba. There is no way the Commerce Department can certify who is and is not related to members of the Cuban military or intelligence service. A great deal of potential trade between American and Cuban business will be caught up in bureaucratic red tape.
 
“I’ve been to Cuba and met with the smart, hard-working entrepreneurs there. They’re just trying to make ends meet in an incredibly tough economy. This provision is not narrow. It doesn’t hurt the Cuban military – it hurts the average Cuban and American business.