Anna's Weekly Report
May 20, 2022
Last weekend our country witnessed yet another horrendous mass shooting that claimed ten precious lives. As we grieve with the Buffalo community, we need to call this for what it is: a hate-fueled attack rooted in white supremacy.
To this end, we must put an end to the racist and dangerous misinformation spreading online and on television that motivates this type of violence. I’ve introduced legislation to combat online extremism and I’m working on getting it to the floor of the House for a vote. I’ve also voted for House-passed legislation to require universal background checks to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals.
I voted this week for the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, which provides the resources and tools law enforcement and our communities need to combat violent extremism. The bill will create federal offices to monitor, investigate, and prosecute cases of domestic terrorism.
This week the FDA and CDC approved the Pfizer booster shot for children ages 5 through 11 years old, giving more parents peace of mind that their children are protected. Children in this age group are eligible for a booster shot at least five months after they’ve received their primary two doses.
Meanwhile, we continue to wait for FDA approval of a Covid-19 vaccine for America’s youngest children. Last month, Moderna applied for FDA approval of its vaccine for children 6 months to 6 years old. The agency is currently reviewing the company’s data and is expected to make a decision in June.
The Administration also announced this week that every home in the U.S. is eligible to order a third round of free at-home Covid-19 tests. Each order includes eight rapid antigen tests. You can order yours today here: https://www.covid.gov/tests
If you or your child have not yet been vaccinated or received your booster, you can sign up immediately for a free appointment at your county’s website below. It’s very easy to do.
This week the Senate passed the $40 billion aid package for Ukraine following the recent passage by the House. This is singularly the most robust military aid, humanitarian assistance for displaced Ukrainians, and funding to address the worldwide hunger crisis stemming from Putin’s invasion. The total amount of Ukraine aid appropriated by Congress to date is $54 billion, and I’m proud to have voted for every package.
Major Votes in the House This Week
Addressing the Baby Formula Shortage
Product recalls, supply chain disruptions, and a slow FDA response have led to a national baby formula shortage that is hitting families hard. Abbott Nutrition, the nation’s largest manufacturer of baby formula, has been shut down since February after 2 babies died and several who had consumed their contaminated formula fell ill.
The shortage of Abbott’s infant formula is taking a particularly dangerous toll on WIC (Women, Infant and Children) recipients, who make up about half of all infants born in the U.S., because Abbott is the sole WIC contractor in 23 states and D.C. This week I voted to loosen the single contract so more of America’s babies can access other formulas. The FDA also reached an agreement with Abbott on steps to safely reopen the baby formula plant in the next two weeks.
The House just passed $28 million in emergency funding for the FDA to address the infant formula shortage and provide better oversight of the industry. The funding is aimed at increasing FDA inspections of the plants where formulas are manufactured to prevent future recalls, reducing fraudulent products, and researching the marketplace to avoid supply shortages.
Meanwhile, President Biden invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA) to ensure manufacturers have the necessary ingredients to make safe, healthy infant formula. The DPA requires suppliers to direct needed resources to infant formula manufacturers before any other customer who may have ordered that good.
He also directed that Department of Defense aircraft be used to pick up infant formula overseas and brought to the U.S. The Administration has provided resources to help families find formula, including manufacturer hotlines, community groups distributing formula, and general guidance to ensure babies receive the nutrients they need. These resources can be found here.
Greek Prime Minister Addresses Joint Session of Congress
This week the entire Congress met to hear the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis address Congress on the 201st anniversary of Greece’s independence. This is the first foreign leader to address a Joint Session of Congress in person since 2019. He spoke of the shared bond between our nations rooted in our democratic values and noted the “twist of historical fate” when 201 years ago, Greece, the birthplace of democracy, was inspired to declare their independence after the foundation of American democracy.
The Prime Minister’s remarks were extraordinary and I think you will be as moved as I was by them. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to view his full address here.
|Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis Addresses a Joint Session of Congress|
Energy and Commerce Markup
This week the Energy and Commerce Committee advanced six bipartisan bills, all of which passed last week through the Health Subcommittee I chair. I’m thrilled to report that my ARPA-H Act, the creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, was advanced by the Committee on an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 53 to 3. This new agency will serve as a beacon of hope to the many Americans with diseases that are currently a death sentence, such as pancreatic cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, and glioblastoma.
We also passed key portions of my DEPICT Act, which requires clinical trials to include diverse populations to make science fairer and more accurate.
Next stop…passage by the full House.
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Six-Month Anniversary
Six months ago, President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a historic investment in America’s crumbling infrastructure. Since then, over $110 billion has been distributed nationwide to rebuild roads and bridges, modernize ports and airports, replace lead pipes, and expand high-speed internet. California has already received $9.7 billion for infrastructure projects, 86.65% of which has been spent on transportation projects, and 13.3% spent on climate, energy, and environmental projects. You can see an interactive map of the over 4,300 infrastructure projects that have broken ground across the U.S. here. Thousands more projects are expected to be announced in the coming months.
In the Words of My Constituents
Every week hundreds of constituents call and write to me to express their concerns, share their passions, and ask questions regarding legislation and policies. Over 180,937 constituents have contacted me since the beginning of the 117th Congress in January, 2021. I actually read every communication and every constituent receives a personal response to their specific questions and comments from me. This week, 1,636 constituents contacted me about issues including:
137 messages in support of codifying Roe v. Wade in federal law
124 message in support of lowering reporting requirements for online sales
61 messages in support of increasing equitable access to green spaces, parks, and trails
Anna’s Work in the News
- Congress should apply a key lesson from the War on Cancer to address pediatric behavioral, mental health crisis—The Hill
- The Black victims of the Buffalo shooting were killed by white supremacy — Washington Post
- A lethal combination of guns and hateful ideology led to tragedy in Buffalo —Washington Post
- Doctor who rushed gunman in Calif. church shooting hailed as hero – NBC News
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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