Anna’s Weekly Update

November 22, 2019

Weekly Report From Your Congresswoman

Highlights of What I Did in Congress This Week

Public Hearings – Impeachment Inquiry

This week has been a very full one for the Intelligence Committee with five hearings and testimony from nine witnesses. You can find links to the witnesses’ opening statements and video from the hearings below:

Tuesday, November 19th

  • 9:00 a.m. ET – Witnesses: Ms. Jennifer Williams, Special Advisor for Europe and Russia, Office of the Vice President (Opening Statement); Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, Director for European Affairs, National Security Council (Opening Statement)
  • 2:30 p.m. ET – Witnesses: Ambassador Kurt Volker, former U.S. Special Envoy to Ukraine (Opening Statement); Mr. Timothy Morrison, Special Assistant and Senior Director for Europe and Russia, National Security Council (Opening Statement)

Wednesday, November 20th

  • 9:00 a.m. ET – Witness: Ambassador Gordon Sondland, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union (Opening Statement)
  • 2:30 p.m. ET – Witnesses: Ms. Laura Cooper, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russian, Ukrainian, and Eurasian Affairs, Department of Defense (Opening Statement); Mr. David Hale, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Department of State (did not deliver a prepared opening statement)

Thursday, November 21st

  • 9:00 a.m. ET – Witnesses: Dr. Fiona Hill, former Senior Director for Europe and Russia, National Security Council (Opening Statement); Mr. David A. Holmes, Political Counselor for the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine (Opening Statement)

Energy and Commerce Committee Passed 18 Bills

The full Energy and Commerce Committee passed 18 bills. Three of the bills originated in my Health Subcommittee and they address two critically important health challenges: the high maternal mortality rate in the U.S., which is the most dangerous place to give birth in the developed world. More than 700 American women die and 50,000 women are severely injured due to complications related to childbirth every year. The second health crisis is the use of e-cigarette vaping among young people. This is threatening to ensnare an entire generation of young Americans to nicotine addiction. The three bills my Subcommittee and the full Committee passed:

  • The Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act which extends tobacco marketing, sale, and flavor restrictions and fees to e-cigarettes, and also makes the landmark change of raising the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21 years.
  • The Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act which funds and authorizes data-driven approaches to inform health care professionals about the best practices and protocols to manage a mother’s care in an emergency and improves the quality of care that rural moms receive. The CDC estimates that as much as 60% of the deaths from childbirth could be prevented. Black women in the U.S. face even greater dangers because they are three times more likely to die from childbirth than white women.
  • The Helping Medicaid Offer Maternity Services (MOMS) Act gives states the option to extend postpartum Medicaid coverage from two months to one year. Today, new mothers are thrown off Medicaid two months postpartum.

The Committee also passed key consumer protections from my TRUE Fees Act and my amendment to protect consumer data privacy. Under my TRUE Fees provisions, cable and satellite TV providers will be required to disclose an all-in price to consumers, including fees and taxes, before consumers sign up for a service. It will help cut down on cable companies unfairly swindling billions of dollars from customers by charging hidden fees.

My amendment to the Broadband DATA Act ensures that any personal data collected by FCC contractors is protected. The FCC is currently building a map detailing broadband accessibility in the United States. Under my amendment, FCC contractors working on the project are prohibited from selling the data they collect that belongs to the American people.

The Committee also passed the SAFER Pipelines Act, which updates federal standards for natural gas pipelines to ensure they’re safe and secure. The bill builds on the progress we’ve made in the nine years since a PG&E pipeline exploded in San Bruno, killing eight people. I’m pleased the bill includes language I authored with Congresswoman Jackie Speier to allow cities and private citizens to sue the federal agency that regulates pipelines if it fails to enforce these safety standards.

I look forward to the legislation being passed by the full House. You can learn more about the legislation and watch my opening statement from the markup here.

Voted YES on a Continuing Resolution to Fund the Government

The House passed a month-long resolution on Tuesday to fund the government until December 20th. The resolution holds current funding levels in place and was passed to provide Congressional leadership more time to negotiate long-term funding. I’m committed to keeping the government open and passing a responsible funding plan that ensures a thorough Census and a 3.1% pay raise for our men and women in uniform.

Voted YES on The Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act of 2019

More than 20,000 youth in the United States age out of foster care each year. The Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act creates a pathway for kids aging out of the foster care system to transition successfully into independent living. The bill improves upon existing law by better aligning federal housing assistance resources to reach foster kids aging out of foster care.

Voted YES on The North American Wetlands Conservation Extension Act

Congress passed the North American Wetlands Conservation Act in 1989 to provide federal funding for projects that conserve North America’s waterfowl, fish, and wildlife resources. The Bay has benefited from this program by protecting the wildlife and wetlands in our District. Congress passed an extension to continue the funding of this vital program until 2024.

Legislation Anna Introduced and Cosponsored this Week

Resolution Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Internet

As Co-Chairs of the Congressional Internet Caucus, Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) and I introduced a resolution to recognize the 50th anniversary of the Internet and commemorate the first digital data transmission on the ARPANET from UCLA to the Stanford Research Institute. For the past 50 years the Internet has continually revolutionized how Americans live, learn, work, and connect with one another. American ingenuity led to the Internet and the federal government played a key role in its development. I’m especially proud of the pivotal role that the Stanford Research Institute in our District played in the Internet’s foundation, receiving the first digital data transmission on the ARPANET, a pioneering predecessor to the modern Internet. The resolution honors the contributions of researchers, universities, government agencies, nonprofits, and private companies in the development of the Internet. To read the resolution, click here, and to learn more about the Congressional Internet Caucus, click here.

Coastal Resilience Research and Education Act

I co-sponsored a bipartisan bill with Rep. Jimmy Panetta to allow the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to establish National Centers of Excellence at coastal universities and colleges. The designation of Centers of Excellence will be awarded to schools that exhibit national leadership in research and education focused on climate and coastal adaptation and mitigation. The legislation also formalizes collaboration and partnerships between Centers of Excellence and federal agencies, ensuring science-based research, information, and policy recommendations are effectively shared with the federal government.

Weekly Highlights

This week Stanford student-athletes came to Washington, D.C. It was a special privilege to welcome the Men’s Golf Team, the Men’s Gymnastic Team, the Women’s Volleyball Team, and the Women’s Water Polo Team—all collegiate national championship teams—and congratulate them on their extraordinary achievements.

Turn Cancer Upside Down Award

It was an honor to receive the Turn Cancer Upside Down Award from the Scott Hamilton Cancer Alliance for Research Education and Survivorship (CARES) Foundation for my work to increase funding and research towards cancer treatment. Thank you to everyone at CARES for this honor and for your advocacy on behalf of patients and their families.

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 110,000 constituents have contacted me, and this month, 6,542 constituents have weighed in. I actually read every communication and every constituent receives a personal response to their specific questions and comments. This week, 2,618 constituents contacted our office, including:

  • 128 constituents wrote to me in support of the TRUE Fees Act
  • 81 constituents wrote to me in support of legislation to lower the cost of prescription drugs
  • 68 constituents wrote to me in opposition of the President sending troops to Syria

Anna’s Recommended Reading and Watching

Frequently, I read articles or see videos that I think my constituents would benefit from. 

San Jose Mercury News Op-Ed (11/19/2019) – “Gettysburg Address’ stirring call still relevant, 156 years later

On the 156th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, Professor Hasan Zillur Rahim contrasts President Abraham Lincoln’s words with those of our current President. The stark contrast is illuminating.