Anna' Weekly Report
As we usher in a new year, we renew our hopes for our children and our families, and we look forward to better times for our communities and our country. I have to acknowledge that the ongoing Covid challenges tug at my optimism. Another variant, different masks, more protocols, and for many, confusion. Regardless of the bumps in the road, I know we are a resilient people. We will get through this and we will put the virus out of business. In the meantime, we have to do what protects us and others. I will do everything I can to make this journey easier and the protocols understandable. Here are a few new items to be aware of.
Since my last newsletter to you, the FDA and CDC have approved Pfizer booster shots for children as young as 12 years old. Guidelines were also updated to allow booster shots as soon as 5 months after the last vaccine dose, instead of 6 months.
Booster shots are the best protection we have against serious illness from Covid-19. If you haven’t received your booster and it’s been 5 months since your initial vaccination, you can sign up immediately for a free appointment at your County’s website below.
At-Home Testing & Mask Update
The Biden Administration is requiring insurance companies and group health plans to cover the cost of over-the-counter, at-home Covid-19 tests, so people with private health insurance or those covered by a group health plan can get them for free starting January 15th. The new coverage requirement means that individuals can go online, go to a pharmacy or a store to buy a test, and either have it paid for up front by their health plan, or be reimbursed for the cost by submitting a claim to their plan. Insurance companies and health plans are required to cover 8 free over-the-counter at-home tests for a covered individual per month.
The Biden administration announced today that starting next week, every household in America can request up to four at-home Covid tests be delivered to their home free of charge.
Beginning on Wednesday, January 19th you will be able to order tests online at COVIDTests.gov. Tests will typically ship within 7 to 12 days of ordering through the U.S. Postal Service.
The Administration also announced this week that the U.S. will provide high-quality N-95 masks to all Americans. President Biden plans to announce details next week on when and how the masks will be distributed. I will keep you updated as we learn more. N-95 and KN-95 masks offer the best protection against Omicron.
Major Votes in the House This Week
Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act
One year ago the citadel of our democracy, the U.S. Capitol, was attacked by a violent mob who sought to overturn the 2020 election. The attempted coup failed but over the past year our democracy has been repeatedly threatened, not by an armed mob but by state legislatures across the country. Nineteen states have enacted 34 laws to not only suppress the vote, but also shockingly, to be able to manipulate the votes that are cast.
Congress cannot allow these brazen attempts to upend the democratic process go unanswered. I’m proud to have voted for the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act to protect the most fundamental right in a democracy: the right to vote. This legislation combines two critical voting rights bills pending in the Senate: the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act.
The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act restores critical provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that were struck down by the Supreme Court. This legislation ensures that states with a history of voter suppression cannot change their election procedures without pre-clearing these changes with the Department of Justice to ensure they don’t disenfranchise voters of color.
The Freedom to Vote Act includes numerous reforms to protect our democracy by making voting easier with automatic voter registration and no-excuse voting by mail in every state; by prohibiting purging of voter rolls; banning partisan gerrymandering; and ensuring no one has to wait in line for more than 30 minutes to vote. I’m very proud that the legislation includes my bill to make Election Day a federal holiday.
Now it’s up to the Senate. The bill has the support of the majority of Senators, but to pass it, an exception to the filibuster must be put in place so that a simple majority can carry day. President Biden issued a clarion call on what must be done to protect our fragile democracy, and he was crystal clear that we must do what’s in our hands to achieve: protect our democracy by protecting the vote.
Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act
This week I voted to pass legislation to ensure the National Guard and Reserve Members have equal access to the GI Bill benefits they’ve earned by serving our country. The National Guard has been utilized at unprecedented levels to respond to: wildfires, Covid-19, social unrest, border missions, and Afghan refugee resettlement. It’s time they earn the same benefits as their active duty counterparts.
Legislation Anna Introduced
Investing in Domestic Semiconductor Manufacturing Act
I’ve introduced legislation to address the current semiconductor shortage which has been a major blow to our nation’s economy, devastating the production and supply of automobiles, televisions, smartphones, and other appliances. This bipartisan legislation ensures microchip manufacturing tools and materials can be made domestically by updating and expanding a Commerce Department program to shore up domestic semiconductor supply. Semiconductors are the foundation of Silicon Valley and are essential to countless aspects of our modern economy.
Redistricting in California
The Constitution requires congressional districts to be redrawn every decade following the decennial census. Each state determines their redistricting process and in 2008, Californians voted to create an independent citizens commission to draw congressional districts to end partisan gerrymandering. I supported this reform.
The California Citizens Redistricting Commission approved the final redrawn maps in December and our 18th Congressional District will undergo some changes next year. Communities in Santa Cruz County will no longer be part of the District, and the communities of Pacifica, Montara, Half Moon Bay, and El Granada in San Mateo County will be added.
It saddens me to lose constituents and communities I’ve worked so closely with for so many years. We’ve been through so much together. For the coastside communities added to the District, I look forward to working together for the good of all.
Please click here to view the new Congressional Districts.
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. Over 144,748 constituents have contacted me so far since the 117th Congress started in 2021. I actually read every communication and every constituent receives a personal response to their specific questions and comments from me. This week, 1,193 constituents contacted my office about issues including:
- 121 messages in support of the Sustainable International Financial Institutions Act
- 103 messages in support of establishing emergency protections for gray wolves under the Endangered Species Act
- 102 messages in support of the Climate Emergency Act
Anna’s in the News
- Bay Area Lawmakers at U.S. Capitol During Riot Reflect a Year Later – NBC Bay Area
- These Bay Area lawmakers were at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Today, they still are reeling: ‘The threat is not gone’ – SF Chronicle
Anna's Recommended Reading
- Steve Bannon Is On to Something – New York Times – Ezra Klein
- As an E.R. Doctor, I Fear Health Care Collapse More Than Omicron—New York Times
- On Jan. 6, the fight for democracy came home. There’s still so much we don’t know.—Washington Post
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I close with this thought. Always know how deeply grateful I am for the trust you’ve placed in me to represent you. I work daily to live up to it.
Anna G. Eshoo
Member of Congress