Anna's Weekly Report

July 15, 2022
E-Newsletter

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Weekly Report
July 15, 2022
 

Dear Friends,

On the ‘good news’ front, last week I secured funding for 15 community projects to improve the lives of residents in our Congressional District and region.

Members are permitted to request up to 15 projects for funding.

The overall cost of community funded projects does not exceed 1% of the overall FY23 appropriations budget.

The projects must be sponsored by state and local governments or nonprofits and demonstrate community support through letters from elected officials, newspaper editorials, or city council resolutions.

All requests are posted online for transparency, and Members must certify that they have no financial interest in their project requests.

The funding will provide more affordable housing, fix roads, build Caltrain crossings, improve our schools, and address wildfires. The bills will soon be considered by the full House.

The projects for our community include:

$1.5 million for housing

  • $750,000 for the Sure Stay Hotel in San Jose to provide transitional housing for individuals experiencing homelessness.
     
  • $750,000 to acquire, rehabilitate, and convert the 67-unit Crestview Hotel in Mountain View into permanent supportive housing.

$8.5 million for Caltrain crossings

  • $4 million for the Middle Avenue Pedestrian/Bicycle Undercrossing project to build a tunnel under the Caltrain tracks to improve pedestrian safety in Menlo Park.
     
  • $2.5 million for a bicycle/pedestrian undercrossing at the Caltrain crossing at the intersection of Evelyn Avenue and Bernardo Avenue in Mountain View.
     
  • $2 million to support planning and design for eight Caltrain grade separation projects in Santa Clara County north of Diridon Station: four in Palo Alto, two in Mountain View, and two in Sunnyvale.

$6.62 million to improve transportation safety

  • $1.52 million for a pedestrian path to connect downtown Saratoga with Hakone Gardens for pedestrians to safely access the gardens without walking along a dangerous stretch of Highway 9.
     
  • $1.5 million to construct new sidewalks and improve pedestrian safety and accessibility in downtown Boulder Creek.
     
  • $2 million to extend an existing bike lane on Highway 1 near Frenchman’s Creek Road in Half Moon Bay.
     
  • $800,000 to resurface streets in the Sharp Park Priority Development Area in Pacifica, which has some of the worst pavement conditions in the entire Bay Area.
     
  • $800,000 to build safety fencing to prevent deaths by suicide along the Caltrain corridor.

$1.6 million for education

  • $1 million for a digital equity pilot program to provide broadband internet service to students and families in the Lakeside School District and Loma Prieta School District in Santa Clara County.
     
  • $644,000 to provide mental health screening for fifth and sixth graders at Campbell Union Elementary School District.

$2.75 million for Santa Cruz Mountain Communities

  • $2 million for design, planning, permitting, and site acquisition for a new wastewater system in Boulder Creek. The project will assist survivors of the CZU fire, protect the watershed, and improve water quality to enhance endangered species recovery.
     
  • $750,000 to replace the play structure at Skypark in Scotts Valley. The current play structure is worn and failing, and the funding will allow the City to build a new play structure to better serve children of differing abilities.

$400,000 for outdoor recreation

  • $400,000 to construct the Spooky Knoll Trail Project in El Sereno Open Space Preserve near Lexington Reservoir in Los Gatos. The project will connect existing trails in El Sereno with a planned Highway 17 overcrossing and trails on the other side of Highway 17.

Covid-19 Update

The FDA has authorized state-licensed pharmacists to prescribe Paxlovid, Pfizer’s antiviral treatment for Covid-19. Paxlovid must be taken within five days after Covid-19 symptoms begin.

Those who want to get this drug from a pharmacist are required to present either an electronic or printed health record that is less than 12 months old, includes blood work, and all medications being taken, both over-the-counter and prescription. The health records could also be obtained through a consult between the pharmacist and a person's health care provider.

If you or your children 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.

San Mateo County                Santa Cruz County                Santa Clara County

Major Votes in the House This Week

Legislation to Codify Roe

This week I voted for and the House passed two bills to protect and reaffirm women’s right to abortion: the Women’s Health Protection Act, which restores the right to an abortion nationwide by ensuring all Americans, regardless of where they live, can make their own decisions about their health care; and the Ensuring Women’s Right to Reproductive Freedom Act, which prevents states from stopping anyone from traveling across state lines to obtain a legal abortion.

Currently, thanks to the chaos caused by the Supreme Court, Americans risk prosecution if they choose to travel for a lawful abortion. This threatens the right to travel that is recognized and protected by our Constitution. Today, the House voted to make it crystal clear to states that they can’t take away this freedom.

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Play ButtonCongresswoman Eshoo speaks on the House floor in favor of legislation to codify Roe v. Wade.

National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)                                            

This week I voted for the NDAA, bipartisan legislation that strengthens America’s security and meets the needs of our servicemembers. While I oppose the high levels of spending on weapons systems and other military equipment included in the legislation, I ultimately voted for the NDAA because it provides a much-deserved 4.6% pay raise to all servicemembers, with an additional 2.4% raise for those making less than $45,000; codifies a $15 minimum wage for all federal contractors; significantly increases funding for groundbreaking science and technology research at the Defense Department; establishes a Commission on Civilian Harm to prevent civilian harm in military operations and increases access to contraception and fertility care for servicemembers.

Active Shooter Alert Act

I voted for legislation this week that creates an alert system to the public regarding an active shooter in the community. This program is similar to the AMBER Alert system in place today. This bipartisan legislation is in response to requests from law enforcement to improve emergency communications during shootings and would help prevent additional victims from unknowingly walking into the line of fire.

The Honoring Our PACT Act

The Honoring Our Pact Act is bipartisan legislation I voted for to expand access to care and benefits for veterans exposed to toxic substances during their service. For too long, countless veterans exposed to environmental hazards and toxic substances, including from burn pits, have been forced to deal with a disability claims process that is slow, cumbersome, and cruelly places the burden to prove toxic exposure on them. This bill changes that and will bring help to the more than 20,000 veterans in our District and veterans across the country.

Legislation Anna Cosponsored This Week

The Protecting Access to Contraception Act

This week I cosponsored H.R. 8318, the Protecting Access to Contraception Act of 2022. This bill codifies Americans’ right to access contraception by prohibiting state or local governments from restricting contraception access. In the wake of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, this legislation is essential to protecting bodily autonomy and the right to privacy.

Letters Anna Sent This Week

Addressing Deceptive Data Practices in VPN Industry

This week my colleague Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and I urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to address abusive and deceptive data practices by hundreds of companies providing Virtual Private Network (VPN) services for individuals. A VPN is an online service that purports to give users more security when connecting to the internet. However, the consumer VPN industry is rife with deceptive advertising and abusive data practices.

In our letter, we describe several abusive practices in the consumer VPN industry, including promoting false and misleading claims about their services, selling user data and providing user activity logs to law enforcement, despite promises of ‘total anonymity,’ and a lack of oversight of the industry in general. As states criminalize abortion and women are increasingly told that installing VPNs will protect them when seeking information on abortion, this breach of privacy poses a real and immediate risk to women seeking reproductive care.

You can read our letter here.

Addressing California’s Troublesome Identity Verification Procedure

A constituent recently contacted me about a problem they had correcting an error in their COVID vaccine record. When they attempted to access the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) website, they were directed to a joint website with ID.me to verify their identity. One of the security questions they were asked referred to the information of an ex-spouse they have not been married to since 1994. Their failure to answer that question resulted in them being locked out of their account and has prevented them from being able to correct the error in their COVID vaccine record.

I sent letters this week to Governor Newsom and the CEO of ID.me, Blake Hall, urging them to address this troublesome process.

Committee Work

This week the Energy and Commerce Committee passed 5 bipartisan bills, including two of my bills:

The Safe Connections Act

Survivors of domestic violence face overwhelming barriers when trying to leave their abusers, including being stuck in shared phone plans that abusers can use to monitor, harass, and control them. Phone companies can charge up to $350 to cancel a phone plan and tack on additional up-front fees. The Safe Connections Act ensures that survivors can remove themselves from shared phone plans without prohibitive costs and enroll in the Lifeline Program or the Affordable Connectivity Program to obtain new phones or phone services at discounted prices.

The Next Gen 911 Advancement Act

I began working on the Next Gen 911 Advancement Act after the 9/11 terrorist attacks when firefighters and police officers went into the twin towers but were unable to communicate with each other because their emergency communications services lacked all interoperability. Next Gen 911 addresses that problem and ensures first responders can communicate securely and reliably. This technology will bring our nation’s 9-1-1 services into the 21st Century by allowing emergency communication centers to receive real-time location information, text messages, photos, and video from individuals at the scene of an emergency, and be able to share that information with first responders in the field to help them better respond.

Executive Order to Protect Women’s Rights

President Biden signed an Executive Order to protect the health and safety of women last week. The order will:

  • protect access to FDA-approved medication for abortion;
     
  • strengthen enforcement of the Affordable Care Act’s protections for contraception;
     
  • defend the legal rights of patients to travel out of state for care;
     
  • protect patients’ data privacy; and
     
  • ensure access to accurate information about women’s health care.

This is welcome and needed news for women across the country who are struggling with the chaos caused by the Supreme Court.

For up-to-date information on access to reproductive health care, visit www.reproductiverights.gov.

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Congresswoman Eshoo pictured with her colleagues on the Capitol steps ahead of vote on legislation to codify Roe. 

January 6th Committee Public Hearings

This week the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol held their seventh hearing. We heard chilling testimony from Trump White House officials, as well as a convicted Capitol rioter, Stephen Ayres, and a former Oath Keeper, Jason Van Tatenhove. The testimony confirmed that the former president knew his claims of election fraud were baseless and that he knowingly sent an armed mob to the Capitol on January 6th to overturn the election.

The Committee emphasized the effect of the former president’s words on the crowd of rioters. Van Tatenhove and Ayres described how they were radicalized by right-wing groups and the former president himself, and how it destroyed their lives and continues to pose a threat to American society.

Former Trump White House Counsel Pat Cipollone also confirmed that 10 members of Congress were present at a Dec. 21, 2020, White House meeting where Trump allies discussed having Vice President Mike Pence overturn the election results, despite a vast understanding that there was no election fraud.

You can watch this week’s hearing here.

Telephone Town Hall Invite

Ethics rules restrict Members of Congress from holding Telephone Town Halls and other mass constituent outreach within 60 days of an election to ensure federal resources aren’t being used to campaign. Now that the primary election is behind us, I can resume Telephone Town Halls.  

My next Telephone Town Hall Meeting will be on Monday, July 18th at 6:45pm PT with
Dr. David Relman, Chief of Infectious Diseases at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System in Palo Alto. We will discuss the latest on the Covid-19 pandemic and the work I’m doing in Congress to address everything from the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade to the gun violence epidemic in our country.

You can sign up for the Telephone Town Hall Meeting HERE.

9-8-8 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

In 2020, Congress designated 9-8-8 as the new nationwide calling code for mental health emergencies. The new 9-8-8 Lifeline will go live TOMORROW, July 16th, and anyone will be able to reach out if they, or someone they know, is experiencing a mental health or substance-related crisis. People can call or text 9-8-8 or chat at 988lifeline.org 24/7 to be connected with a trained crisis counselor who will listen, offer support, and provide further resources if needed.

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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 193,638 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, 2,412 constituents contacted me about issues including:

  • 283 messages in support of codifying abortion protections in federal law
     
  • 178 messages against an Amendment in the NDAA for FY23 to transfer public lands in Nevada to military control
     
  • 152 messages in support of strong climate legislation

Anna’s Work in the News

Recommended Reading

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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.

Sincerely, 
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Anna G. Eshoo
Member of Congress