Getting Things Done
Scott Peters has a proven track record in Congress as a problem solver who works across the aisle to get things done for San Diego.
Growing San Diego’s Innovation Economy
- Increasing Research Funding: Scott has been a consistent and vocal advocate for increasing funding for basic scientific research through the National Institutes of Health. As a freshman, he led his colleagues on a tour of the NIH so they could see the important work done there and around the country. He sent a number of letters to appropriators urging increases in the NIH budget, and last year helped pass the 21st Century Cures Act, which provides an unprecedented $1.75 billion in annual mandatory spending on NIH research. This is in addition to more than $8 billion in annual authorizations. San Diego’s labs and universities depend on federal investment through the NIH to support jobs in science.
- Standing Up for Innovators: In both terms, Scott led bipartisan opposition to the so-called “Innovation Act,” which would have threatened small innovators by making drastic, sweeping changes to the patent system. Universities, researchers, and inventors opposed the bill because it would have turned our innovation ecosystem inside out, chilled investment in new discoveries, and put small inventors at a disadvantage. Scott was credited with being instrumental in blocking the bill in part by leading a letter signed by a bipartisan group of 78 members of Congress.
- Delaying Medical Device Excise Tax: San Diego’s innovation ecosystem creates new, innovative devices that improve the lives of patients with difficult illnesses. The medical device tax has slowed growth in the industry, leading to fewer jobs and less investment. In both of his terms, Scott has helped introduce the Protect Medical Innovation Act, which would repeal the tax established by the Affordable Care Act. At the end of 2015, Scott was credited by industry leaders with forcing a two-year delay of the tax as part of the government funding bill.
- Supporting Small Businesses
- Scott offered and passed an amendment that reforms the Department of Defense’s acquisition processes to ensure that small businesses and large, more established businesses are on a level playing field when competing for contracts. San Diego is home to many small, innovative companies that stand ready to contribute to our national defense.
- When Congressional leadership failed to come to an agreement, Scott joined a bipartisan effort to break gridlock and force an ultimately successful vote to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, which helps small business owners sell their products to consumers outside the United States. In the last five years, the bank has supported nearly $2.5 billion in exports from Scott’s district alone.
- In 2013, Scott helped introduce The Make Every Small Business Count Act that encourages prime contractors to subcontract with small businesses. The bipartisan policy change was included in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 and became law that December.
- Promoting Job-Creating Trade: In 2015, Scott hosted both U.S. Trade Ambassador Froman and Secretary of Labor Tom Perez in San Diego to highlight the importance of trade to growing our region’s economy and to allow local labor leaders to voice their concerns with labor aspects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Scott was one of only 28 House Democrats to support passage of Trade Promotion Authority. Scott’s courageous vote, which crossed party lines, was critical to passage.
- Backing Nuclear Energy Research: In 2016, Scott offered and passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act ensuring that innovative companies in San Diego would receive support for doing nuclear fusion research for the Department of Defense.
Veterans and Military Families
- zero8hundred: San Diego has a strong veterans community prepared to offer services, but many veterans struggle to be connected with the help they need. Knowing this, Scott helped launch an organization called zero8hundred that works with service organizations and the military to get our veterans the services and support they need to make a successful transition to civilian life. In Congress, Scott has gotten legislation passed that supports public-private partnerships like zero8hundred that bring together military leaders and veterans organizations.
- Getting Veterans the Care they have Earned: In 2013, when partisan gridlock held up the VA Access, Accountability, and Choice Act, Scott offered a motion that was credited with breaking the gridlock and getting it passed. This bill makes it easier for the VA to fire bad employees, extends in-state tuition for veterans and their families, and allows veterans facing long wait times or who live far from a VA facility to receive private health care paid for by the VA.
- Protecting Servicemembers from Fraud: Scott offered and passed an amendment to the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvement Act that allowed the Department of Defense to issue rules to protect servicemembers and their families from abusive lending practices.
- Helping Veterans Get Good Jobs: Scott offered and passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act in 2016 that encourages the Department of Defense to prioritize the hiring of veterans for military construction projects like those at Coronado and Miramar.
- Improving Mental Health Care: Scott introduced a bill that would allow the VA to hire more marriage and family therapists to serve veterans. A similar provision was included and passed as part of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act. Scott also helped introduce and pass a bill that would ensure that veterans who have trouble doing therapy in a group setting because they took part in classified missions get the individual care they need. Coronado’s Dr. Howard and Jean Somers, who tragically lost their son to suicide after he left the military, brought this idea to Scott and he worked to make it law.
- Supporting Military Children: Scott offered and passed and amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that authorizes the Department of Defense to provide resources for grief camps like Camp Erin in San Diego that help children of military households that have been hurt by substance abuse or suicide.
San Diego Priorities
- Returning More Than $2 million to San Diegans: Since being elected, Scott and his staff have focused on providing the highest level of service to constituents who are having difficulty navigating the federal bureaucracy. As a result of their efforts, more than $2 million in benefits owed to them have been restored to San Diegans over the past three and a half years.
- Getting San Diego its Fair Share of Resources to Fight Homelessness: Since 2013, Scott has led the charge to change an outdated formula used to distribute federal homelessness resources that has disadvantaged San Diego. Scott urged the Department of Housing and Urban Development, brought federal officials to San Diego to see the need for resources, and even passed a bipartisan amendment forcing HUD to consider changes to the formula. In June HUD Secretary Castro called Scott to tell him that they were considering four options to replace the formula, all of which would bring more federal dollars to San Diego to help end homelessness.
- Modernizing and Naming Courthouse: Scott introduced a bill that was passed and signed into law that named the federal courthouse in downtown San Diego in honor of Judges James M. Carter and Judith N. Keep. Scott also successfully fought for federal funding to improve security and build a new childcare facility at the courthouse.
- Preserving Mt. Soledad: In 2014, Scott worked with a Republican Congressman from San Diego to pass legislation that transferred Mt. Soledad from the Department of Defense to a local non-profit to ensure that the cross will be maintained.
- Port of San Diego Land Exchange: Scott wrote a portion of the National Defense Authorization Act that passed the House and allows the Navy and the Port of San Diego to exchange land parcels in the Broadway complex to improve parking for parkgoers.
- Helping Non-profits that are Helping the Homeless: Scott introduced and passed a bipartisan law that allows non-profits to directly use homelessness assistance grants for those in need. This cuts bureaucratic red tape that had required non-profits to connect individuals with a government agency to receive aid rather than administer it directly. The bill was included in the 2015 Highway Trust Fund Reauthorization that passed Congress and was signed into law.
Investments in Infrastructure and Job Creation – More than $1 billion for San Diego
- Improving Border Infrastructure: Scott led Democrats and Republicans in securing almost $450 million for the San Ysidro Border Crossing that regional business leaders called San Diego's top priority for job creation. The improved crossing will strengthen border security and create thousands of jobs by improving the flow of trade and commerce.
- Funding San Diego Defense Priorities: In 2016, Scott fought successfully to include $280 million to complete construction projects on Coronado including new training facilities for Coronado’s Navy SEALs and $154 million in accelerated funds to build new hangars to house F-35 Lightning jets at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in the National Defense Authorization Act. This investment will give San Diego’s military community the resources it needs and create high-quality jobs.
- Boosting San Diego’s Defense Industry: Scott offered and passed a bipartisan amendment that transferred $120 million to purchase 8 additional MQ-9 Reaper drones for the Department of Defense in 2016. MQ-9 Reaper drones are manufactured in Poway, meaning that in addition to giving our soldiers the technology they need, this amendment helped support high-paying jobs.
- Creating Jobs at the Port of San Diego: Scott sent a letter of support and spoke personally with Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx to back the Unified Port District’s application for a federal TIGER infrastructure grant to upgrade the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal. The grant request was approved, giving the Port $10 million to complete the project and make its operations more efficient.
- Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant: Scott worked with the Department of Defense to support of San Diego’s application for an economic adjustment grant as a result of previously awarded defense contracts. In 2016, San Diego received a $1.8 million grant award.
Fixing a Broken Congress
- No Budget, No Pay: During his first year in Congress, Scott voted to pass no budget, no pay, which means that if Congress doesn’t do its job and pass a budget, it doesn’t get a paycheck. Now, Scott is working to make that law permanent because like hardworking Americans Congress doesn’t deserve a paycheck if it can’t do its job.
- Reducing Government Waste: Scott introduced legislation to reduce wasteful government printing of documents and reports that are available online, and the provision was included in the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act and passed.
National Security and the Military
- Providing for the National Defense: As a member of the Armed Services committee, Scott has worked in a bipartisan manner to help craft and pass the National Defense Authorization Act four years in a row. This bill lays out defense spending priorities for the fiscal year, and this year, for his leadership, Scott was selected to be part of the conference committee that negotiates the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.
- Supporting Servicemembers: In 2016, Scott offered and passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act encouraging the military to be more proactive in informing military families of the hardships servicemembers may be encountering during their service.
- Expanding Missile Defense: Scott offered and passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act supporting the expansion of missile defense cooperation we currently have with Israel to other allies in the Middle East.
- Increasing Military Energy Security: Scott has been a leader in supporting the military’s efforts to diversify its fuel supply and reduce its reliance on foreign oil. He was credited with the bipartisan defeat of three bad amendments to the national defense policy bill that would have undermined the military’s work to increase their energy security and invest in alternative fuel sources.
- Funding San Diego Military Priorities: As co-chair of the Special Operations Caucus, Scott has successfully fought for funding for a new training facility for Navy SEALs on Coronado and to accelerate funds to build new hangers to house F-35 jets at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
- Backing DoD Energy Goals: Scott offered and passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act asking the Department of Defense to report on the efficacy of its Energy Strategy and Sustainability office.
- Righting Wrongs: In 2016, Scott offered and passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act directing the Navy to investigate whether mutiny charges against a group of African-American sailors stations at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine in 1944 was racially motivated.
- Leading the Charge for Stronger Gun Safety Laws: In his time in Congress, Scott has become a nationally recognized leader in the fight to reduce gun violence. From reading names of gun violence victims in front of the House of Representatives, to live-streaming a protest sit-in by House Democrats to the world, Scott has fought to force a vote on laws to strengthen background checks to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and domestic abusers. Scott's livestreaming of the House sit in became a history-making event.
- Reducing the Cost of Prescription Drugs: In 2016, Scott lobbied the Food and Drug Administration to prioritize the approval of cheaper generic prescription drugs. Just months later, the FDA acted on the request, meaning that the generic drug approval process will be streamlined and give consumers more affordable options when they go to fill their prescriptions.
Energy and the Environment
- Encouraging Alternative Energy Savings: Scott offered and passed an amendment to the Energy Security Act requiring the Department of Energy to report on the energy savings and emissions reductions of facilities like the methane capture plant at the Miramar Landfill. This will encourage the development of more innovative carbon capture plants that reduce harmful emissions and create energy.
- Increasing Energy Security: Scott offered and passed an amendment to the Energy Security Act that would require the Department of Energy to ensure that we have sufficient energy storage capabilities in the event of natural disasters and wildfires.
- Funding Wildfire Prevention: Scott brought Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to San Diego to show her the importance of funding the 10-year average for wildfire costs and reforming wildfire funding. He’s led the fight to fix the way the federal government funds wildfire prevention and response, and led a discharge petition to force a vote on the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act that gained 196 bipartisan signatures. A portion of the bill was subsequently included in the 2015 government funding bill and became law
- Fighting Discrimination Against the LGBT Community: In 2015, Scott offered and passed a bipartisan amendment to the transportation and housing appropriations bill that prohibits HUD from spending money on contractors that do not have LGBT non-discrimination policies.