117th Congress Timeline
Senator Padilla is working hard for Californians. This timeline displays some of his key votes, legislative accomplishments, and events in California during the 117th Congress (2021 – 2022).
Alex Padilla Sworn-In
Padilla is sworn in as California's newest United States Senator. He is the first Latino to represent California in the United States Senate.
Citizenship for Essential Workers Act Introduced
Senator Padilla introduces his first bill--the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act. This bill would create an expedited pathway to citizenship for the over 5 million essential workers without permanent legal status who have kept Americans healthy, fed, and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Padilla Votes to Pass the American Rescue Plan, Secure COVID-19 Relief Funds for California
The comprehensive package delivers urgently needed COVID-19 relief to millions across California, including direct checks for struggling families, increased testing and vaccinations, support for small businesses, and resources for schools to reopen safely and quickly.
Padilla Delivers Maiden Speech
Senator Padilla delivers his first official speech on the floor of the United States Senate. Padilla stresses the urgency to act boldly to address the underlying inequities in California that have been exposed and worsened by the pandemic.
Padilla Leads Bipartisan Bill to Help Strengthen Electric Grid Infrastructure Against Extreme Weather
Senators Padilla and John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduce the POWER ON Act to assist electricity providers and suppliers with federal funding to protect their facilities and infrastructure against future extreme weather events, including heatwaves, droughts, and wildfires. The POWER On Act was eventually signed into law in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Padilla Introduces Legislation to Protect Over One Million Acres of CA Public Lands
The PUBLIC Lands Act would expand protections for over one million acres of California’s public lands throughout northwest California, the Central Coast, and Los Angeles. Guided by science and input from local communities, the bill will help fight the climate crisis, and will provide critical access to open space for communities.
Padilla Showcases Electric School Buses with LAUSD and Pushes Transition to Cleaner Technology
Following his introduction of the Clean Commute for Kids Act, Senator Padilla joins Los Angeles Unified School District to showcase the district’s first electrified school bus. Padilla later secures funding for thousands of new electric school buses nationwide in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that is signed by President Biden in November 2021.
Padilla Becomes First Latino to Chair Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee Meeting
Senator Padilla becomes the first Latino Senator to chair the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety. The hearing focuses on the need for Congress to pass legislation providing a pathway to citizenship for immigrant essential workers who served during the pandemic.
Padilla Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Health Care for Urban Indigenous Populations
Senators Padilla and James Lankford (R-Okla.) introduce the Urban Indian Health Providers Facilities Improvement Act to pave the way for increased investment in the renovation and construction of urban Indian health facilities. This bill is included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law signed into law by President Biden in November 2021.
Padilla Visits Cal ISO Facility as Part of Infrastructure Listening Tour
As Congress debates a historic investment in our nation’s infrastructure, Senator Padilla travels the state hosting a listening tour to discuss different communities’ needs. This tour includes a visit to the California Independent System Operator facility in Folsom, which maintains the state’s power grid. Padilla’s POWER On Act—which will modernize the nation’s electrical grid to help prevent blackouts, shutoffs and utility-caused wildfires—is included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that is eventually passed and signed by President Biden.
Padilla Introduces Bill to Clean Up Toxic PFAS Chemicals
Padilla and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduce the Clean Water for Military Families Act and the Filthy Fifty Act, directing the Department of Defense to identify and clean up per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at U.S. military installations with some of the highest detections across the country.
Padilla Bill to Address Veteran Homelessness in Los Angeles Signed by President Biden
President Biden signs a bill led by Senators Padilla and Dianne Feinstein that will allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to use funds generated by land-use agreements at the West LA VA campus to aid the development of supportive housing and services for homeless veterans.
Padilla Leads 25th Annual Lake Tahoe Summit
The Lake Tahoe Summit brings together public officials from California and Nevada, dozens of government agencies, and community and tribal partners, working together to support conservation efforts at Lake Tahoe. As the summit host, Senator Padilla calls for a bold renewal of environmental protection efforts at Tahoe as well as ambitious national action to combat the climate crisis.
Padilla Leads Colleagues in Calling on President Biden to Continue Safe Relocation of Afghan Refugees to the United States
Following the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, Senator Padilla leads 25 of his Senate colleagues in calling on President Biden to continue the safe relocation of Afghan refugees, parolees, evacuees, and Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants currently residing in third countries to the United States.
Padilla Co-Chairs First Ever Hispanic-Serving Institutions Senate Caucus
Senator Padilla co-founds the first-ever Senate Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Caucus. The HSI Caucus aims to educate Members of Congress about the contributions and importance of allocating adequate resources to the 569 Hispanic-Serving Institutions of higher education across the nation.
Federal Funding Package Includes Billions in Wildfire Disaster Aid
Padilla helps secure billions of dollars for wildfire prevention through vegetation management, firefighter pay, and rehabilitation of burned lands in funding package.
Padilla visits Orange County Oil Spill
Following a visit to the site of the massive oil spill off the Orange County Coast, Senator Padilla calls on federal officials to investigate the circumstances of the spill, make public the results of the investigation, and commit to clear timelines for safety regulations, such as inspections, shut-off valves, and leak detection systems in existing pipelines.
Administration Begins to Implement Padilla Plan to Protect Workers from Heat Hazards
The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announces plans to begin implementing Senator Padilla’s plan to protect workers from heat hazards. The new rulemaking comes as part of the administration’s newly coordinated, interagency effort to respond to extreme heat.
Padilla Bills Signed into Law in Historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Package
The bill includes Senator Padilla’s legislation to improve Tribal health infrastructure, strengthen our electrical grids, improve water resiliency, help ensure clean drinking water for all Californians, and electrify our school bus fleet.
Padilla Announces Legislation to Address Affordable Housing and Homelessness Crises
Senator Padilla announces the Housing for All Act of 2022 to invest nearly $532 billion over ten years in proven solutions to address critical affordable housing shortages and provide a surge of funding for strategic, existing programs to reduce homelessness as well as for innovative, locally-developed solutions to help those experiencing homelessness.
Padilla Calls on Biden Administration to Provide Protections for Ukrainians
Senator Alex Padilla and Representative Zoe Lofgren (both D-Calif) call on the Biden Administration to take immediate action to designate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to protect Ukrainian nationals in the US. On March 3, President Biden heeded these calls and designated TPS for Ukraine.
Padilla Secures Over $250 Million for 134 Projects Across California
President Biden signs the Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations Package including Padilla-led projects to improve water quality and reliability, upgrade transportation infrastructure, support health care services, and make communities safer.
Padilla Votes to Confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Supreme Court
Senator Padilla votes to confirm Justice Kentanji Brown Jackson to the United States Supreme Court as the sixth woman–and first Black woman–to serve. In response to Padilla’s question during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, Judge Jackson shared her advice to young Americans–in what became one of the signature moments of her confirmation process.
Padilla Joins Vice President Harris at Vandenberg Space Force Base
Padilla meets with senior Department of Defense officials and dedicated servicemembers working to protect U.S. interests in space and advance our national security. Padilla has advocated for the Base to be named the permanent location for the Space Training and Readiness Command (STARCOM).
Padilla Joins Farm Workers for a Workday as Part of the “Take our Jobs” Campaign
Padilla works alongside farm workers picking parsley and radishes as part of the national “Take Our Jobs” campaign led by the United Farm Workers (UFW) and UFW Foundation to press for action on immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship for immigrant farm workers. He subsequently introduces the Fairness for Farm Workers Act, legislation to update the nation’s labor laws to ensure farm workers receive fair wages and compensation.
President Biden Signs Ocean Shipping Bill Cosponsored by Padilla
President Joe Biden signs the Ocean Shipping Reform Act into law to lower costs for American retailers and consumers, as well as combat ocean carriers’ inflating prices and unreasonably refusing cargo space accommodations for U.S. exports at ports.
Padilla votes for Gun Violence Prevention Legislation
Senator Padilla votes to pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which becomes the first significant piece of gun control legislation in nearly 30 years signed into law. The bill will improve background checks, help states implement red flag laws, strengthen protections for victims of domestic violence, and make significant investments in community-based mental health services.
Padilla Delivers Keynote Address at Association of California Water Agencies Conference
As the West faces the worst drought in 1,200 years, Senator Padilla calls for new and innovative strategies for water conservation and drought resilience to better meet the realities of our climate and water needs. Padilla highlights legislation he introduced to support large-scale water recycling and water efficiency, as well as the historic investments he helped secure in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support water recycling, stormwater reuse, groundwater recharge, and desalination.
Padilla votes for CHIPS Act to Maintain American Competitiveness in Semiconductor Industry
Senator Padilla votes to pass the bipartisan Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act, which is eventually signed into law to boost domestic semiconductor manufacturing. It includes a provision Padilla and Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA.) championed to ensure jobs created through the legislation serve disadvantaged groups and bolster diversity and inclusion in the semiconductor industry.
Padilla Votes to Pass Inflation Reduction Act
By investing approximately $369 billion over the next ten years in energy security, environmental justice, and climate change programs, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 will lower carbon emissions by roughly 40 percent by 2030. addition, this legislation will reduce prescription drug costs and health care premiums, ensuring American families maintain accessible and affordable health care. The Inflation Reduction Act will be funded by requiring large, profitable corporations to finally pay their fair share in taxes.
Padilla Votes for Marriage Equality Legislation
The Senate passes the Respect for Marriage Act, which is later signed into law. The bill requires the federal government to recognize a marriage between two individuals if the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed, and given full faith and credit regardless of the couple’s sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin.
Senate Votes to Confirm 97 Judges
During the 117th Congress, the Senate confirmed a total of 97 federal judges, including 15 based in California. As part of Senator Padilla’s commitment to rebuilding a federal judiciary that better reflects the communities it serves, he established a diverse Judicial Evaluation Commission to review candidates for nomination to the federal bench. Historic confirmations include the first Black woman to serve on the US Supreme Court; the first Native American federal judge in California; the first Latina judge to serve in California’s Eastern District encompassing the Central Valley; and the first AAPI woman to serve in the Southern District serving San Diego and the Imperial Valley.
President Biden Signs Padilla’s FIRE Act into Law
President Biden signs into law Senator Padilla’s bill, his first as a United States Senator, to strengthen the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) wildfire preparedness and response efforts. The FIRE Act will update the Stafford Act, which was written when FEMA primarily focused on hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods—to help ensure their efforts also address the unique nature of wildfires.
Padilla Legislation to Increase Aircraft for Fighting Wildfires Signed into Law
The Emergency Aircraft Act, led by Senators Padilla and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) is included in the National Defense Authorization Act signed into law by President Biden. This legislation will increase the number of planes available to federal agencies and states for emergency response and wildfire suppression.