Anna’s Weekly Update
Weekly Report From Your Congresswoman
Highlights of What I Did in Congress This Week
On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee voted to recommend to the full House two Articles of Impeachment against the President. The first Article accuses the President of abusing his power to support his own political interests by withholding congressionally approved security assistance to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into his political rival in the 2020 election. In doing so, the President undermined our national security and the integrity of our elections. The second Article accuses the President of unprecedented obstruction of Congress by defying subpoenas and directing agencies not to cooperate with the investigation.
The full House will vote on the Articles of Impeachment next week. As I cast my vote, I will be guided by my oath of office to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” To review a timeline of the impeachment inquiry and related documents, visit my website.
Voted YES on H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act
The House of Representatives passed H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. This historic bill is the biggest change to Medicare since the program became law in 1965. It allows Medicare to directly negotiate the price of the most expensive drugs in our country, including insulin. The lower prices will not only apply to seniors… they include everyone who has private insurance. Manufacturers will no longer be allowed to hike prices faster than the rate of inflation, and very importantly, it caps the out-of-pocket costs of seniors for their prescription drugs at $2,000 annually.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that under H.R. 3, premiums will decrease and American taxpayers will save $456 billion over ten years. The legislation reinvests these jaw-dropping savings in new Medicare benefits to cover vision, dental, and hearing, as well as colonoscopies and lymphedema treatment. In our Congressional District, more than 100,000 constituents will receive these very important services. Very importantly, the legislation increases NIH funding to research and develop new cures; it provides $2.895 billion for the FDA to ensure the safety of our drugs; it invests in our community health centers; and it directs $10 billion to address the opioid crisis. H.R. 3 not only saves money for millions of Americans, it will finally bring peace of mind to patients because they will finally be able to afford their prescription drugs.
Hearing on Universal Health Care
As Chairwoman of the Health Subcommittee, I held a hearing to examine legislative proposals in the House that expand health insurance and help to move the U.S. to universal coverage. The hearing featured the legislation of nine House colleagues, five of whom testified on their respective proposals. The proposals were wide ranging, including a simple fix to encourage the 14 holdout states to accept expanded Medicaid coverage, to allowing individuals to buy into Medicare at age 50, to the sweeping Medicare for All Act, which would create a single-payer, government-funded national health care system.
We also heard from expert witnesses, including a patient advocate, an academician, and a nurse. The American people are anxious about the future of their health care coverage, especially under this Administration, and the bills presented were highly instructive to my Subcommittee’s work to expand and improve health care coverage for every American. To read testimony and to examine the legislation we discussed, click here.
Voted YES on the Television Viewer Protection Act
Cable companies pocket an estimated $28 billion a year from the American people by advertising one price to customers but adding other confusing charges and hidden fees to their bills. The House passed the Television View Protection Act, which included key consumer protections from my TRUE Fees Act and Modern Television Act. The legislation requires cable and satellite TV providers to disclose an ‘all-in’ price to consumers, including fees and taxes, before consumers sign up for a service; send consumers a formal notice of fees and ‘all-in’ prices within 24 hours of signing up for a service; and grant consumers 24 hours to cancel after receiving formal notice of fees, without penalty. It also allows small cable operators to band together in negotiations with large broadcasting companies for programming to lower costs for consumers.
Voted YES on the Coastal and Great Lakes Communities Enhancement Act
Climate change is causing sea levels to rise, and over the next century coastal land loss could climb 135 feet beyond existing shorelines. The House passed the Coastal and Great Lakes Communities Enhancement Act to protect vulnerable coastal and Great Lakes communities impacted by the climate crisis. The legislation creates and funds programs to support tribal, state, and local community projects that protect, restore, and preserve coastal zones and working waterfronts; helps communities prepare for and respond to climate change; and uses data to address coastal, ocean, and Great Lakes management.
Legislation Anna Introduced and Cosponsored this Week
Restoring Tax Fairness for States and Localities Act
The 2017 Republican Tax Bill took a sledgehammer to the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction by limiting it to $10,000 annually for both individuals and married couples beginning in tax year 2018. Prior to this harmful cap, 183,246 of my constituents claimed an average annual SALT deduction of $52,752 in 2016. I’ve stated consistently that capping the SALT deduction represents an assault on the middle class which is why I introduced the Restoring Tax Fairness for States and Localities Act which eliminates the marriage penalty this year and eliminates the SALT deduction cap altogether in 2020 and 2021. The legislation was marked up by the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday and I’m working with my colleagues to bring it to the full House before the end of 2019. We have to get this done!
Ukraine Religious Freedom Support Act
Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014 and gained control of Crimea and Donbas in the eastern part of the country. The State Department has reported that occupying Russians have violated religious freedoms in both regions, including abductions, torture, forced hospitalizations, and imprisonment of Christians and Muslims. The Ukraine Religious Freedom Act increases U.S. monitoring of Russian activities in Ukraine and requires the State Department to produce policy recommendations on how to protect the religious freedom of Ukrainians, including sanctioning offenders.
Letters Anna Wrote and Cosigned
Letter to the President opposing Robert Marbut as Head of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
More than forty Members of Congress joined me in writing to President Trump to vigorously oppose his choice of Robert Marbut to lead the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. Mr. Marbut is unqualified and openly disdainful of the Council’s mission to aid the homeless. As a consultant, he has encouraged local governments to warehouse individuals experiencing homelessness on campus-type facilities with a host of required “24/7 programming.” At one such campus that he created in St. Petersburg, the homeless were made to sleep on mats in a courtyard outside the facility; only with “good behavior” could people make their way indoors to the air conditioning and, after further proving their worthiness, bunk beds. The President’s poor choice had to be challenged and a suitable replacement should be made. To read our letter, click here.
Cities Champion Award
It’s a wonderful honor to be the first federal elected official chosen by the Cities Association of Santa Clara County for their Cities Champion Award. City leaders from throughout Santa Clara County are important partners with me and we collaborate to create federal partnerships to address the local needs of our mutual constituents. I’m so grateful!
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 115,000 constituents have contacted me, and so far this month, 3,893 constituents have weighed in. I actually read every communication and every constituent receives a personal response to their specific questions and comments from me. This week, 2,113 constituents contacted our office, including:
- 397 constituents wrote to me in support of impeachment (54 against)
- 139 constituents wrote to in support of protecting endangered species
- 138 constituents wrote to me opposed to censorship of science at the EPA
Anna’s Recommended Reading and Watching
Frequently, I read articles or see videos that I think my constituents would benefit from.
The Atlantic (12/4/2019) – “How to Revive Madison’s Constitution”
Professor Michael Gerhardt and Jeffrey Rosen, CEO of the National Constitution Center, write about the centrality of virtue in James Madison’s vision for the Constitution. Their assessment of our current state of affairs is enlightening.
Open Enrollment – Covered California – DEADLINE DECEMBER 15th for January 2020 Coverage
Covered California’s open enrollment for coverage beginning January 1st ends on December 15th! 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.