Roll Call: House Foreign Affairs Chair Ed Royce Announces Retirement
Rep. Ed Royce announced Monday he will not be running for re-election. The California Republican is in his final term as chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“In this final year of my Foreign Affairs Committee chairmanship, I want to focus fully on the urgent threats facing our nation, including: the brutal, corrupt and dangerous regimes in Pyongyang and Tehran, Vladimir Putin’s continued efforts to weaponize information to fracture western democracies, and growing terrorist threats in Africa and Central Asia,” Royce said in a statement.
“With this in mind, and with the support of my wife Marie, I have decided not to seek re-election in November,” Royce said.
Royce becomes the fifth term-limited chairman to exit Congress this election cycle. House GOP rules state lawmakers can serve only three consecutive terms as chairman of a committee. Three other GOP chairmen have decided not to run for re-election, meaning eight of the 22 House committee chairmen will not be returning in 2019.
Royce, who was first elected to Congress in 1992, was a Democratic target in 2018 as one of the Orange County Republicans representing districts Hillary Clinton won in 2016. Clinton carried the 39th District by nearly 9 points, according to calculations by Daily Kos Elections. GOP presidential nominees Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain won the district in 2012 and 2008.
Royce’s retirement could lead to a crowded field on the Republican side.
OC Register: More GOP candidates rush into congressional race after Rep. Royce's announced retirement
Republicans are quickly launching campaigns in the wake of GOP Congressman Ed Royce’s unexpected retirement announcement Monday, with three relatively well-known politicians announcing bids Tuesday evening and joining two others who declared earlier that day.
Former Assemblywoman and longtime former Royce aide Young Kim is among the latest to declare, and carries Royce’s endorsement. Also jumping in Tuesday night were former state Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff and Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson. There are six Democrats and two independents running, none of whom has held elected office. The seat is targeted by national Democrats in their effort to flip the 24 seats needed to take control of the House.
Royce’s backing of Kim is also likely to come with financial assistance as the Yorba Linda congressman had $3.45 million in his campaign account, according to the most recent filings.
“Kim will clearly have the financial resources on the GOP side with Royce’s infrastructure and a fair amount of his $3.4 million likely to flow through party committees to support her,” said Sacramento-based political analyst Scott Lay. “I would say that she is the favorite on the GOP side.”
Sacramento Bee: California lawmakers kill rent control bill. The issue could be headed to voters
California lawmakers killed a bill Thursday that likely would have expanded rent control laws in cities and counties, setting the stage for a protracted statewide battle over how to rein in the state’s soaring housing costs.
Democratic Assemblyman Richard Bloom’s Assembly Bill 1506 died in the Assembly’s housing committee.
The 3-2 vote set off protests in the committee room, with angry tenants chanting, “Housing is a human right,” and “Repeal Costa-Hawkins.” The bill needed four votes to get out of committee.
Lawmakers on the housing committee “turned their backs on tenants,” said Dean Preston, executive director of Tenants Together, a statewide advocacy organization. “The bill died in committee, but the conversation about rent control...the only solution to this displacement crisis...is just getting started.”
Initiative backers promised a fight at the ballot box over rent control, a deeply polarizing issue that for years has split landlords and renters over how to address the statewide housing affordability crisis.
Los Angeles Times: California's governor's race is likely to be decided in Los Angeles County
For the hopefuls in California’s race for governor, the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles County is as mesmerizing as the blanket of lights that glistens every night from the San Gabriel Mountains to the Long Beach coast. The election will be decided here, where 1 in 4 of the state’s voters live. It’s diverse, sprawling, expensive to advertise in and voters often don’t show up, especially compared with the Bay Area. That’s why anyone hoping to topple Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has to win the county.
For two hometown Democratic candidates especially — former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and state Treasurer John Chiang of Torrance — doing well in L.A. County is essential. Yet this overwhelmingly Democratic stronghold continually bedevils even the most adept campaigns.
More than 180 languages are spoken here, where 5.2 million voters live, outnumbering the electorate in most states. A plurality of the county is Latino — 47.5 percent — and huge ethnic enclaves abound: Armenian Americans in Glendale, Chinese Americans in Monterey Park; and Filipino Americans in West Covina. The city of Los Angeles has the second largest population of Native Americans in the U.S.
Airing an effective television ad campaign — the only realistic way to reach voters from Palos Verdes to Palmdale and Pacific Palisades to Pomona — can cost $2 million a week.
Harnessing the county’s political power base is tricky, since it’s a mishmash of entrenched public employee unions, Westside wealth, Latino-led political bulwarks and grass-roots organizations, Hollywood glitterati and corporate titans.
“I don’t see a path to victory unless Villaraigosa or Chiang can dominate in Los Angeles,” said Democratic political consultant Rose Kapolczynski, who served as former Sen. Barbara Boxer’s chief campaign adviser.
Sacramento Bee: Gov. Jerry Brown releases 2018-19 budget, stashes billions in reserves
In his 16th and final year as governor, Jerry Brown is using a surplus to stash away billions of dollars in reserves that would help his successor weather a recession while boosting some of his signature programs.
He’s proposed a $190.3 billion spending plan on Wednesday that accelerates funding for his 2013 education law and uses new gas tax revenue to fund $4.6 billion in new transportation projects.
The centerpiece of his plan, though, is a $5 billion jolt to the state’s so-called rainy day fund, which he championed with a 2014 ballot initiative to steady California’s boom and bust finances.
For the first time, the rainy day fund would hold 10 percent of California’s general fund revenue. That would give the state $13.5 billion to use in a fiscal emergency by June 30, 2019.
“We have the piggy bank waiting for the next governor and when the recession happens, he or she will be able to spend that money … and get through the recession with a minimum amount of pain,” Brown said.
Brown characterized his budget as cautious, both because of the recession that he believes is looming and the prospect of the Republican Congress cutting social services in the wake of its vote for a tax cut last month that could swell the federal deficit by $1.4 trillion over a decade.
Whittier Daily News: Think gas is too expensive? Pump prices could get even higher in 2018, says GasBuddy
Get ready for sticker shock at the pump — gas prices this year are expected to be the highest since 2014.
Industry price tracker GasBuddy said much of the price hike will be tied to OPEC’s decision to cut oil production, a move that left oil inventories to begin 2018 nearly 50 million barrels lower than a year ago.
But a host of other factors, including both fuel taxes and the economy — and their impact on supply and demand — will figure into the mix, according to Patrick DeHaan, a petroleum analyst GasBuddy.
“Even one event can completely change the trajectory of fuel prices for months,” DeHaan said in a statement. “Look what impact Hurricane Harvey and Irma had on gas prices and availability.”
On Wednesday, the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in Los Angeles County was $3.26 a gallon, according to GasBuddy. That was up 10.3 cents from a month ago and up 38 cents from a year earlier.
Prices in San Bernardino County were lower, although the year-over-year difference was just as pronounced. The average there was $3.15 per gallon on Wednesday, up 7 cents from a month ago and up 33 cents from a year earlier.
Riverside County’s average was $3.17 a gallon. That was 8 cents more than a month ago and up 37 cents from a year earlier.
Those prices probably seem high to most motorists, but some stations in Southern California are charging considerably more. A Union 76 station at 2601 Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica posted regular for $4.25 a gallon on Wednesday, while a Mobil station at 9448 Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles was selling it for $4.13 a gallon.
On the flip-side, a Speedy Fuel outlet at 1234 W. Cowles St. in Long Beach listed regular for $2.75 a gallon and a 7-Eleven at 13019 Imperial Highway in Whittier posted regular for $2.87 a gallon.
GasBuddy’s “Fuel Price Outlook 2018” report predicts that the city of Los Angeles will see daily average prices ranging from $3.25 to $3.65 this year.
Sacramento Bee: Is Tony Mendoza really gone? Lawmaker works on bills at Capitol while on leave
Despite taking a leave of absence while under investigation for sexual harassment, Sen. Tony Mendoza returned this week to his Capitol office and attended a Sacramento event hosted by an interest group.
The Artesia Democrat said he was in town to “confer with legal counsel.” But he also met with his Capitol staff and a proponent of one his bills on Monday to review his legislative agenda. On Tuesday evening, he attended a reception at the Citizen Hotel for the California Contract Cities Association.
In a statement, spokesman Saeed Ali said Mendoza “is faithfully observing the previously agreed upon conditions regarding his work as a Senator on Leave.”
Under intense pressure from his colleagues, who met with him behind closed doors for more than four hours, Mendoza agreed last week to step down from his official duties with pay until February. The Senate is currently investigating allegations that he made inappropriate advances toward three female employees in his Capitol and district offices over the past decade.
Forbes: Downsizing Regulation
President Trump last week promised to cut regulations to below 1960 levels. Standing next to stacks of regulatory code—one 20,000 pages high representing 1960, and the other 185,000 pages high from 2017—he touted his administration’s deregulatory achievements, claiming “the never-ending growth of red tape in America has come to a sudden, screeching and beautiful halt.”
Looking beyond the hyperbole we’ve come to expect from the president (anyone who follows regulation knows that cutting the regulatory code back to 1960 levels is unrealistic), what has the administration achieved on the regulatory front in 2017? A review of the key events over the last tumultuous 11 months reveals some real changes.
Within his first two weeks in office, President Trump issued Executive Order 13771 directing federal agencies to remove two regulations for every new one they issued, and to cap the total cost of new regulations at zero. In February, he issued a second executive order establishing in each agency a “regulatory reform officer” responsible for overseeing implementation of regulatory reform initiatives and policies, and a task force to make reform recommendations.
These signaled a dramatic shift in regulatory practice, motivating agencies to focus more attention and resources on evaluating existing regulations, and less on initiating new regulatory actions. Last week he announced the initial results of those orders, and taken at face value, they are striking.
An Office of Management and Budget report released last Thursday finds that during the first eight months of the administration (through September 30th), executive agencies issued 67 deregulatory actions and only 3 significant regulatory actions. The president said, “we aimed for 2-for-1 and in 2017, we hit 22-for-1.” As impressive as that ratio sounds, these results must be taken with a grain of salt, because the report counts any deregulatory action as an “out” but only significant regulatory actions as “ins.” Nevertheless, by changing reporting frequency, removing obsolete rules, and especially working with Congress to disapprove some of President Obama’s last-minute regulations, the administration appears to be taking the president’s orders seriously.
More meaningful is the report’s estimate that these actions will save Americans more than $570 million per year on net. Most of these savings ($417 million) come from repeal of a Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) on “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces.” The swift repeal of this rule was possible both because President Trump rescinded President Obama’s Executive Order 13673, which had authorized it, and because Congress issued a joint resolution disapproving it under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Which brings us to another important series of events in 2017.