OCBC was honored to host Congresswoman Linda Sanchez at the monthly Government Affairs Committee meeting Friday. Rep. Sanchez is currently the ranking member of the House Ethics committee and is the first Latina to sit on the House Ways and Means Committee. As the Senior Whip for the Democratic Caucus, Rep. Sanchez discussed what she believed are the two most pressing issues addressed by the 103rd Congress: tax reform and the need for comprehensive immigration reform. She noted that the current system is so backlogged, that it can take 10, 15, and even 20 years for legal immigrants to bring their families to the U.S. However, despite the need for this type of immigration reform, Rep. Sanchez concluded that any immigration reform will probably come in piecemeal form with several single-issue immigration related bills being passed by House Republicans. She predicted that with other issues still to be tackled this year, including the economy and debt, immigration reform will likely be pushed to next year’s legislative session.
As a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Congresswoman Sanchez also addressed the issue of tax reform. The current taxation code is too complex and completely outdated. The last time the U.S. tax code was completely revamped was in 1986. Therefore, similar to immigration reform, the tax code will need to be completely revamped. Congresswoman Sanchez expressed her preference of starting with a clean slate, forcing advocates to justify inclusion of all exemptions and credits. She acknowledged that any tax reform will be highly controversial and a very heavy lift for Congress over the next couple of years. She encouraged OCBC to closely engage in these important issues and welcomed our counsel on policy going forward.
Last week, several OCBC leaders also met with Assembly Speaker John A. Perez and Assembly Member Tom Daly to discuss the key public policy issues that face California. At the meeting Speaker Perez spoke broadly about the balanced state budget, the need for housing development to support our growing population, energy reliability and education. While he did not address specific legislation, the Speaker did express his commitment to sustaining California’s positive economic recovery. Speaker Perez also added perspective on the unusually large freshman class in the Assembly. The Speaker noted that 38 of the 80 members in the Assembly were freshmen, and concluded that the large number of new members is demonstrating remarkable thoughtfulness in their approach to legislative matters. He also noted that new term limit rules will likely encourage members to stay longer and become issue experts rather than planning for the next election. OCBC is committed to working with Speaker Perez on mutual goals as the legislative session progresses. For more information, contact Bryan Starr, Sr. Vice President, Government Affairs.