"Orange County residents aren’t just my constituents. They’re my friends and neighbors – a community of people that I’ve known and loved since my childhood. That’s why I’ve worked so hard to accomplish the things I set out to do when I first ran for Congress.”
– Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez
For more information on each issue, please select from below. For more information on Congresswoman Sanchez's accomplishments, please click here.
When Congresswoman Sanchez is at home in Orange County, some of the most important work she does is on behalf of our local schools. Since taking office, she has made multiple visits to each and every public school in the 46th Congressional District and has learned first-hand what Orange County's schools really need - more teachers, classrooms, and resources. Congresswoman Sanchez has worked to address these needs by providing students in her district with financial aid workshops, supporting vital after-school programs, developing strong relationships with school administrators, and helping local and state school officials navigate the federal government's education programs. Congresswoman Sanchez believes that early education is crucial to academic success. As a Head Start child herself, Congresswoman Sanchez has become a leading advocate for early education in Congress. Currently in her 9th term in office, Congresswoman Sanchez remains committed to the idea that education is the foundation of opportunity and the basis of our country's future success. A quality education system will not only enable America to compete in a global economy, but also propel the country's economic recovery. To that end, Congresswoman Sanchez has re-authored the Global Education Nexus In United States Act (GENIUS ACT) formerly known as the U.S. and World Education Act, which makes grants available to local school districts for professional development and supplemental education activities that will cultivate students' global perspectives. She will continue to work hard to ensure our students and teachers are equipped with the skills they need to be successful in tomorrow's workforce. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez also believes it is imperative that Congress continue to invest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and federal research in the physical sciences and engineering.
Rep. Sanchez is the second ranked Democrat and most senior female member of the House Homeland Security Committee, where she has served since the committee's inception. She frequently meets with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and other national security officials to provide guidance on critical issues, including combating human, weapons, and drug trafficking and ensuring interagency cooperation on national security issues. As a member of the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, Rep. Sanchez provides strict oversight on important security issues, including the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) card program and the Visa Waiver Program. ď»żIn 2013, Rep. Sanchez introduced the BEST (Border Enforcement, Security and Technology) Act, which strenghtens the nation's borders through holistic enforcement and the most up-to-date technologies, ensuring any additional taxpayer dollars be used responsibly. She has also pushed for completion of a biometric exit program to target visa overstays, a key recommendation of the 9/11 commission that would track if and when a foreign visitor exits the country. In 2013, she introduced the bipartisan Biometric Exit Improvement Act mandating the completion of the program. She is also a member of the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, where she has been a vocal advocate for NSA data collection reform. ď»ż
The key to a strong community is the rule of law, and for that we need strong law enforcement. Loretta firmly believes in this principle, which is why she has been a solid and consistent advocate for law enforcement in Congress. She understands that programs like Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and Byrne Grants have allowed law enforcement officials to innovate and do their jobs better, and focus local resources on essential needs — keeping the peace and prosecuting criminals.
During her tenure in Washington, Loretta has brought critical funding to local law enforcement, including funds for purchasing body armor, support ballistics identification technology, and start-up grants for the Orange County Counter-Human Trafficking Task Force. As a senior member of the Homeland Security Committee, Loretta is a strong voice for local first responders, ensuring that they receive the necessary funding to undertake federally required mandates, and preserving programs like the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI), which helps secure local communities against potential terrorist attacks. Loretta recognizes that our police and firefighters are not only first responders — they are the front line in our battle against terrorism.
Loretta is the ranking female member and a senior Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, and has been a vocal advocate for U.S. soldiers serving around the world, particularly those serving in combat zones. In an effort to address our nation's deficit, she provides oversight and accountability over defense spending, while ensuring our servicemembers are effectively equipped. She personally worked to change the law to ensure that active duty Reservists serving in Iraq had access to TRICARE, the military healthcare system. She has also been a strong ally for women in military, helping rewrite the U.S. Code of Military Justice to include a meaningful sexual assault statute that punishes offenders and empowers survivors of abuse. And Loretta has helped local businesses in Orange County in the defense industry by assisting them in bidding for defense subcontracts. During her time in Congress, Loretta has brought more than $80 million in defense spending back to Orange County.
Congresswoman Sanchez is a firm believer that every American, and particularly every child, should have access to quality medical care. She was a proud supporter the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) Reauthorization bill, which was signed into law by President Obama on February 4, 2009. The SCHIP law will preserve healthcare for the 7 million children who are currently covered by SCHIP and extend coverage to an additional 4 million uninsured children who have been eligible for, but not enrolled in, SCHIP and Medicaid. Congresswoman Sanchez is a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which was signed into law in 2010 by President Obama. In Orange County, health care reform will improve coverage for over 250,000 residents, improve Medicare for 51,000 beneficiaries, give tax credits to more than 17,000 small businesses to help them afford coverage and allow over 60,000 young adults to stay on their parent’s health insurance plans if they choose. Congresswoman Sanchez believes that the ACA delivers affordable and quality care to every American and she will continue to work to preserve health care reform. Congresswoman Sanchez is a strong supporter of adequate funding for the Medicaid program. Over 55 million Americans, predominantly those who are lower income or have disabilities, rely on Medicaid for their health care coverage. Congresswoman Sanchez supported the Protecting the Medicaid Safety Net Act of 2008 which became law nearly 3 years ago, and which supports the continuation of health care access for beneficiaries but also prevents a devastating loss of funding to states, public hospitals, and local schools. Millions of senior citizens depend on Medicare+Choice (M+C) plans for health care. Reducing payments to Medicare providers does not take into consideration a disproportionate increase in the cost of health care. Representative Sanchez opposes any further cuts in the payments to Medicare providers and supports restoring Medicare funding. She recognizes the importance of bipartisan support for efforts to recalibrate the payments for M+C plans.
In Support of Working Men and Women
Loretta has family roots in organized labor. She was a dues-paying member of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and joined her peers on the picket lines during a major strike in 2002. Her parents both worked at a manufacturing plant where her father was a machinist and her mother was a secretary who also helped organize the plant workers.
Loretta has spent her tenure in Congress working to ensure that American workers are treated justly and fairly, and are given the support and respect they deserve. Loretta has been on the front lines of labor disputes, standing beside United Workers in preserving their pensions, and pushing the Federal Aviation Administration to come back to the table to negotiate with the Air Traffic Controllers. More than anyone, Loretta understands the importance of the organized labor movement, to individual workers and their families, to local communities, to the nation.
Loretta’s number-one priority is rebuilding Orange County’s economy and helping out-of-work Americans find jobs. As a former financial analyst, she is uniquely situated to help local businesses as they struggle to grow and thrive in a recovering economy. She is a strong supporter of worker training and vocational education programs, like those provided by the Empowerment Zone of Santa Ana, which help equip local workers with the skills they need to get hired in an increasingly competitive job market. In the 111th Congress, she supported the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help put America’s economy back on its feet and create millions of new jobs in the process. Loretta is committed to helping local businesses in any way she can, and continues to work hard to ensure Orange County’s business community is receiving its fair share of federal dollars.
As a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, Loretta is working hard to ensure Congress keeps its promise to honor America’s veterans. She supports full funding for veterans' health care programs and is fighting to provide adequate disability compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities.
In addition to caring for today's retired military, Loretta is also concerned about future veterans, particularly those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. When the New York Times reported that Iraq and Afghanistan veterans were not receiving their GI Bill benefit checks in a timely manner, she led the entire California delegation in a letter to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, demanding that the delays be resolved. She is also fighting hard against proposed cuts to veterans’ healthcare benefits and strongly supports increased services for significantly wounded veterans, including enhanced mental health screening and psychiatric care. As active duty and reservists transfer from military to civilian life, Loretta will continue to ensure that the federal government is fulfilling its obligations to our men and women in uniform and honoring veterans of all ages for their service.
Democracy and Human Rights
Loretta firmly believes that American foreign policy should be based on our bedrock values of democracy and human rights, and has fought hard to make sure that Congress and the Administration stick with those values. â€¨â€¨Nowhere is this more evident than in Loretta’s work as a champion of religious freedom and free speech in Vietnam. In the face of strong opposition by those who want to trade and give aid to Vietnam, Loretta has spoken out against the persecution of Vietnamese leaders in religious freedom, such as Father Ly, Thich Huyen Do, and Pastor Quang, and democracy activists, Le quoc Quan, Dr. Nguyen Dan Que and Pham Ham Song. Loretta has called on Vietnam to release its prisoners of conscience. She has also introduced a resolution in Congress to safeguard and return religious property in Vietnam. For her work, Loretta has been criticized and discriminated against by the Vietnamese government – most recently they rejected her application for a visa because of her outspoken support for dissidents.â€¨â€¨
Loretta believes that the United States should champion the interests of the oppressed in every country that we have dealings with. She has opposed trade deals because they did not include sufficient protections for workers. She has insisted that women be adequately represented in Afghanistan and in Iraq. And she has supported democracy advocates wherever the face tyranny and oppressive rule. This is the American way, and Loretta believes strongly that it is the right way.