Anna’s Weekly Update
Weekly Report From Your Congresswoman
First, my apology for getting this to you on Monday, instead of last Friday. It was a tough week and I was jammed.
Highlights of What I Did in Congress Last Week
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced in a televised address that the House will take up articles of impeachment against President Trump. Quoting our Founding Fathers, she told the country that the President’s abuse of power leaves Congress no other choice because his actions violate our Constitution and threaten our democracy. Her announcement followed the House Intelligence Committee’s report with its findings from their impeachment inquiry. It concluded that President Trump used the power of his office to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 election, placing his own political interest above the national interest. The Judiciary Committee held a hearing this week to examine the constitutional grounds for presidential impeachment, with four Constitutional experts presenting their testimony. You can watch the hearing here. You can also view a complete timeline of the impeachment inquiry and read related documents here.
Hearing to Improve the Safety of Cosmetics
As Chairwoman of the Health Subcommittee, I held a hearing to reform the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) regulatory authority over cosmetics to improve consumer safety. Most Americans trust that their shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, and make-up are safe; however, the FDA reports that it has physically inspected only a tenth of one percent of the nearly three million imported cosmetics shipments into our country. In its limited inspections the FDA has found disturbing problems, including mold in Chinese eyeshadow and mercury in skin cream. Because the FDA lacks the necessary authorities and resources to ensure the safety of cosmetic and personal care products, my Subcommittee is considering two bills to improve oversight of cosmetic ingredients, manufacturing, and quality:
- Cosmetic Safety Enhancement Act of 2019 – The legislation empowers the FDA to conduct oversight by requiring foreign and domestic cosmetic manufacturers to register their facilities and product ingredient lists with the FDA; notify the FDA of adverse reactions from cosmetic products within 15 days of learning of such an event; and provide more detailed ingredient descriptions to users. It also allows the FDA to conduct safety reviews of ingredients, and mandates recalls of products that cause adverse reactions.
- Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act – The legislation requires foreign and domestic manufactures of personal care products to register with the FDA and disclose the ingredients in their products on labels. It also provides the FDA with mandatory recall authority for cosmetics and personal care products and bans toxic ingredients.
To read more about the legislation and to watch my opening statement, click here.
Hearing on Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission
The Communications and Technology Subcommittee conducts oversight of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which regulates our nation’s communications networks. At my Subcommittee’s oversight hearing, I challenged FCC Chairman Pai about his lack of a backup plan to bolster California’s wireless communications infrastructure in the face of wildfires. More than 870 cell towers went down leaving citizens and emergency service personnel without any communications whatsoever. I also challenged the Chairman on his failure to implement the Lifeline Program to help make communications services more affordable for low-income consumers. You can watch video of my questions here.
Voted YES on the TRACED Act
Americans received an unfathomable 48 billion robocalls last year and a near-record 5.5 billion calls in November of this year, but relief is on the way! The House passed the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act by a vote of 417 to 3. The bill will bring much needed relief to all of us who are subjected to abusive robocall practices. This is what the legislation does:
- Requires that phone carriers implement call authentication technology so consumers can trust their caller ID again;
- Requires carriers to offer call blocking services to consumers at no additional charge, with important transparency safeguards to make sure important calls are not inadvertently blocked;
- Directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to issue rules to protect consumers from calls they didn’t agree to receive and ensures consumers can withdraw consent;
- Requires the FCC to enact safeguards so companies cannot abuse robocall exemptions; and
- Ensures the FCC has the authority and the tools to take strong, quick action when it tracks down robocallers, including extending the statute of limitations from one year to as many as four years for callers violating robocall prohibitions.
I can hardly wait for the TRACED Act to pass in the Senate and be signed into law by the President.
Voted YES on the Voting Rights Advancement Act
In 2013, the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in Shelby v. Holder, emboldening at least 23 states to enact voter suppression laws, including voter purges, strict ID requirements, poll closures, and curtailing early voting hours. The Voting Rights Advancement Act reestablishes full protections for voters in states with a recent history of discrimination, and among its key provisions are:
- A new framework to determine which jurisdictions are subject to preclearance, which prohibits jurisdictions from implementing any change affecting voting without receiving preapproval from the U.S. Attorney General or the U.S. District Court for D.C.
- The establishment of a “practice-based preclearance,” focusing the Attorney General or District Court’s review narrowly on suspect practices that are most likely to be tainted by discriminatory intent or to have discriminatory effects.
Legislation Anna Introduced and Cosponsored this Week
California Central Coast Conservation Act
In October of this year, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) opened 700,000 acres of public land in California to oil and gas drilling. A site near Pescadero in our Congressional District is included as a potential site. The California Central Coast Conservation Act puts a moratorium on new oil and gas drilling leases in the Central Coast region until BLM has completed another environmental impact statement that properly considers the environmental effects of the new drilling. For over forty years I’ve opposed drilling in the coastal areas of California, understanding the risks of drilling and knowing we have to move to a new energy future for our country. We cannot drill our way to energy independence.
JROTC Cyber Training Act
The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) operates in more than 1,700 public and private secondary schools, training 500,000 students in a variety of courses across our country. However, JROTC does not offer curriculum to address the military’s need for computer science and cybersecurity experts. The JRTOC Cyber Training Act solves this problem by directing the Secretary of Defense to create a program to prepare JROTC students for careers in computer science and cybersecurity.
Letters Anna Wrote and Cosigned
Letter to FCC to include wildfire response in wireless resilience plans
Reps. Doris Matsui and Mike Thompson joined me in writing to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai urging him to provide wildfire resiliency guidance to wireless carriers. This year, the FCC announced it was seeking to update its guidance on protecting wireless infrastructure during natural disasters, but only in the limited context of hurricane-related disasters. We urged the FCC to address the threat of wildfires to wireless communications and produce targeted recommendations to strengthen communications infrastructure. To read the letter, click here.
Champion of Innovation Award
It was an honor to receive the Champion of Innovation Award from the Fiber Optic Sensing Association for my “Dig Once” legislation. My bill mandates that wherever federal roads are built, the fiber for broadband must be built in. This will help to close the digital divide and saves tax payer dollars by not tearing up roads later to build in the fiber. Thank you to the Fiber Optic Sensing Association for this magnificent award.
Met with Archbishop Bashar Warda
Archbishop Bashar Warda leads the Chaldean Archdiocese of Erbil, Iraq, and is a noted advocate for religious and ethnic minorities who have endured persecution in Iraq. It was an honor to welcome him to the Capitol to discuss how Congress can assist these vulnerable communities.
In the Words of My Constituents
Every week hundreds of my constituents call and write to me to express their concerns, share their passions, and ask questions regarding legislation and policies. So far this year, over 113,500 constituents have contacted me, and so far this month, 7,600 constituents have weighed in. I actually read every communication and every constituent receives a personal response to their specific questions and comments from me. Last week, 2,489 constituents contacted our office, including:
- 212 constituents wrote to me in support of impeachment (39 against)
- 191 constituents wrote to in support of firing White House Advisor Stephen Miller
- 149 constituents wrote to me in support of ending robocalls
Anna’s Recommended Reading and Watching
Frequently, I read articles or see videos that I think my constituents would benefit from.
Washington Post Editorial (12/1/2019) – “No one should want their children to live in this ‘bleak’ future”
The Washington Post Editorial Board discusses the U.N. Environment Program’s latest report on climate change. Decisive action is needed to protect our environment, our country, and the world.
Open Enrollment – Covered California – DEADLINE DECEMBER 15th for 2020 Coverage
Covered California’s open enrollment time has arrived! If you’re a Californian and do not receive health insurance through your employer, you should visit CoveredCA.com to sign up for health insurance by December 15th for coverage beginning January 1, 2020. This year almost a million people could receive additional financial help from Covered California which lowers the cost of health insurance premiums. To determine if you’re eligible and to learn more, click HERE.
U.S. Census Job Openings
The U.S. Census Bureau has kicked off its recruiting efforts for the 2020 Census and they are hiring census takers. They have temporary supervisory, outreach, and recruiting positions available, the pay is competitive, and the work is critical to obtaining an accurate count for next year’s census. You can find more information on available positions HERE.