|Name||William M. Thomas|
Bakersfield, California , United States
|| December 06, 1941
May 05, 2016 03:25am
|Info||Bill Thomas, Republican of Bakersfield, California, represents California�s 22nd Congressional District which covers most of Kern and San Luis Obispo Counties and part of Los Angeles County, including the cities of Bakersfield, Taft, Tehachapi, Arroyo Grande, Paso Robles, Lancaster, and Ridgecrest. |
The largest economic interests in the district are agriculture, energy and defense. Agriculture in Kern and San Luis Obispo Counties is a multi-billion dollar industry. As one of the nation�s top agriculture regions, the counties produce over $2.5 billion in crops such as cotton, citrus, grapes, pistachios, almonds, carrots, and livestock. Kern County annually produces more oil than the state of Oklahoma. Eastern Kern County and northeastern Los Angeles County are home of Edwards Air Force Base and the Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division, at China Lake.
In Congress, Thomas was elected Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee in January 2001. Created in 1789, Ways and Means is the oldest standing committee in Congress and because of its legislative authority involving economic policy, international trade, welfare, and health care policy, the Committee occupies a pivotal place in the House committee system. The Committee�s jurisdiction includes measures relating to revenue � which under the Constitution originate in the House � trade agreements, Social Security, Medicare, and welfare. In addition to legislating, the Committee exercises broad oversight authority in all these areas.
In his first two years as Chairman, Thomas led the charge on several vital pieces of legislation to help improve the lives of all Americans. Thomas drafted the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act, which delivered much-needed tax relief to hard-working American families. Thomas also worked to create jobs and open trade channels through the Trade Act of 2002, while leading the charge to deliver affordable prescription drugs to all seniors by authoring the Medicare Modernization and Prescription Drug Act.
Prior to his election as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Thomas served as Chairman of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee where he was instrumental in the passage of the �Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996,� as well as the author of the �Medicare Preservation Act.� In 1998, Thomas was appointed Administrative Chairman of the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare. Thomas also served on the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee. He was Chairman of the House Administration Committee from 1995�2001.
Throughout his Congressional career, Thomas has been recognized for his fiscal conservatism. He is a multiple recipient of the Golden Bulldog Award for fiscal restraint and has been honored by the National Tax-Limitation Committee for his fight against waste in government spending. Thomas has been recognized by the National Federation of Independent Business as a �Guardian of Small Business,� and has received the �Spirit of Enterprise� award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The League of Private Property Voters has honored Thomas as a "Champion of Private Property."
He and his wife, Sharon, have two grown children, Christopher and Amelia. The Congressman graduated from Santa Ana Community College and obtained both his bachelor and master degrees from San Francisco State University.