[StBernard] Washington Report from Rep. Richard H. Baker

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Fri May 18 21:49:14 EDT 2007

May 18, 2007

Thank you for signing up for Congressman Baker’s newsletter. Below are issue updates that you may find interesting. As always, please visit his website at http://www.baker.house.gov <http://www.baker.house.gov/> for the most up-to-date news and information on what Congressman Baker is working on in the Sixth Congressional District of Louisiana.

Rep. Baker Comments on Senate Immigration Legislation

The U.S. Senate has been working on legislation to address illegal immigration. Rep. Baker is not sitting on the fence when it comes to illegal immigration. Please click here <http://www.baker.house.gov/html/columns.cfm?id=268> to read Rep. Baker’s views on this important subject.

Water Resources Bill Important to Louisiana

A water resources development bill has passed the House and Senate. This bill is important to Louisiana because it authorizes significant hurricane and flood protections and coastal restoration. Cong. Baker is considered a leader in the U.S. Congress on this bill, and as a senior member of the House Transportation Committee, he is a co-author of the bill. Cong. Baker included in the House version important provisions to improve flood control, sewer system repair, and ecosystem restoration in the greater Baton Rouge area. Cong. Baker also wrote the provision that will establish the massive Louisiana coastal restoration project. Read a Baton Rouge Advocate article on the Senate’s slow progress <http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/7431476.html> and visit Cong. Baker’s web site to learn more about his efforts to improve flood control <http://www.baker.house.gov/html/content.cfm?id=351> and wetlands conservation <http://www.baker.house.gov/html/content.cfm?id=258> .

Rep. Baker Supports Stronger Regulation on Mexican Trucks Crossing into the U.S.

Congressman Baker voted in favor of legislation that would limit the number of Mexican commercial trucks that can enter the United States under a Department of Transportation pilot program. Authorized by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Mexican trucks were provided access to U.S. borders. H.R. 1773, the “Safe American Roads Act of 2007,” addresses safety and equity concerns by limiting the pilot program to 100 Mexican carriers, with a maximum of 1,000 trucks and requires the Mexican government to reciprocate by allowing an identical number of U.S. trucks across its border. Congressman Baker was pleased provisions were included to ensure Mexican truckers abide by strict U.S. safety laws and require drivers to be able to read English. Please click here <http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c110:3:./temp/~c110UeGEje::> for more information on this important legislation.

Rep. Baker Advocates Improvements to Federal Disaster Response

In the Advocate article "FEMA raps panel ‘bashing’" <http://www.2theadvocate.com/opinion/7487257.html> on May 14, 2007, FEMA objected to legitimate concerns raised by Congressman Baker and his Louisiana colleagues at a recent hearing. Congressman Baker, who is a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, was asked by the Committee to share state and local concerns that still have not been resolved since Hurricane Katrina made landfall over 19 months ago. This was a very important hearing for Louisiana , and Rep. Baker offered specific examples and solutions to FEMA and Congress to resolve lingering issues, as well as to prevent them from happening again in the future. There is no denying that the federal disaster response system must be improved, and Congressman Baker will continue to fight for every opportunity to voice the needs of Louisiana . Click here <http://baker.house.gov/html/content.cfm?id=652> to view his full testimony before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Rep. Baker Dedicates Albany Veterans Memorial

Congressman Baker was on hand recently to help dedicate the Albany Veterans Memorial in Livingston Parish for which Cong. Baker secured $99,000 to help construct the memorial. As a senior member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Cong. Baker was honored to play a role in the memorial project. See the Livingston Parish News article <http://www.livingstonparishnews.com/articles/2007/05/13/full_edition/news/05memorial.txt> that recently reported on the occasion.

Congressman Baker Helps Ascension Parish with Growing Pains

Ascension Parish officials are coping with the enormous pressures on their aging infrastructure imposed by the fast growing population. The Parish has a highway and wastewater system that is ill-equipped to handle daily demands. In 1999 Cong. Baker passed legislation authorizing $20 million in wastewater improvements for Ascension, East Baton Rouge , and Livingston Parishes. In addition, he secured annual federal funds to help Ascension Parish modernize its wastewater system. Read more about Ascension’s wastewater dilemma in this article <http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/7432201.html> .

Hurricane and Flood Insurance Information

As the 2007 Hurricane Season rapidly approaches it is important to check on your insurance coverage. As we know in South Louisiana , flooding can happen just about anywhere. In addition to large storms such as hurricanes, floods occur everyday resulting from smaller localized events such as thunderstorms. Click here <http://www.baker.house.gov/html/content.cfm?id=348> for more detailed hurricane preparation information. For more information on the National Flood Insurance Program, visit http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/index.jsp.

U.S. Chamber Honors Members of Congress

Rep. Baker was the recent recipient of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Spirit of Enterprise Award. This award is presented to Members of Congress who have supported a number of small business legislative initiatives. Rep. Baker was honored to accept the award given his strong belief that U.S. businesses must be able to operate in an environment that fosters investment, job creation, and economic growth. Baker has received this award each year during his service in the U.S. Congress.

Transportation Frustration

A recent article in the Baton Rouge Business Report documented the growing frustration among Baton Rouge area motorists with intense traffic congestion. As a senior member of the House Transportation Committee, Cong. Baker has devoted significant energy to addressing the problem, and has secured more than $150 million for Baton Rouge area transportation improvements – among them is the $26 million Perkins Road project for which Baker secured all funds. The comprehensive article describes the landmark action taken by the Louisiana State Legislature in 1984 to create a needs-based priority program for road construction. This landmark reform was conceived and passed by then-Chairman of the State House Transportation Committee State. Rep. Richard Baker. As a leader in transportation policy, Cong. Baker agrees with the frustrations characterized in this article and is committed to solving the problem. Learn more about Cong. Baker’s dedication to transportation and infrastructure <http://www.baker.house.gov/html/content.cfm?id=219> by visiting his web site. To read the Baton Rouge Business Report article, click here <http://www.businessreport.com/news/2007/may/08/exhausting/> .

Baker Backs I-12 Widening and Improvements

Drivers in Livingston Parish and East Baton Rouge fight the daily grind to and from work in some of the worst congestion in the area. I-12 is too narrow to accommodate the rapidly growing population of commuters who use the highway everyday. Cong. Baker is committed to widening the Interstate. View a recent Baton Rouge Advocate article on the subject <http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/7267356.html> and visit Cong. Baker’s transportation page <http://www.baker.house.gov/html/content.cfm?id=219> to learn about his other transportation and infrastructure initiatives.

“Baker wants to bust up rail monopoly”

Cong. Baker has led the fight for 5 years to put an end to the price-gouging on Louisiana employers by the Big Four rail road monopoly. Unfair rail road pricing has hurt the Louisiana economy, costing jobs, new business, and economic development. See a Baton Rouge Business Report piece, <> “Baker wants to bust up rail monopoly” and visit his Rail Competition <http://www.baker.house.gov/html/content.cfm?id=249> web page to learn more.

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