Anna's Weekly Report
It’s September, which means the weather is finally cooling down, students are settling into their school routines, and Congress is officially back in session. I returned to Washington this week after a busy and productive August recess spent connecting with constituents and hearing about the issues they care most about.
Throughout the last month, I held three Telephone Town Halls with an attendance of over 2,000 constituents at each meeting, and participated in a special Telephone Town Hall Meeting with about 1,000 AARP members to discuss new Medicare provisions to lower prescription drug costs. We discussed updated Covid-19 protocols and the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act. You can listen to recordings of our meetings HERE.
I spent some time traveling across our beautiful District and met with local groups, including the Redwood City Catholic Worker House and St. Anthony’s Padua Dining Room in Menlo Park. They’re doing extraordinary work to feed, clothe, shelter, and educate community members in-need.
I also held two press conferences to discuss critical work happening in Congress. The first was at the Exploratorium with Speaker Pelosi, where we discussed the CHIPS and Science Act, the most substantial investment in American research and technology in generations. You can watch a recording HERE.
I also held a press conference in San Jose with Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Moms Demand Action, and Students Demand Action to discuss gun violence prevention and school safety. You can watch this press conference HERE.
I cherish the time I got to spend with my constituents during August, and it all reenergized me to return to Washington and fight for our community.
New Covid-19 Booster Shot
Beginning September 1st there’s a new Covid-19 bivalent vaccine available that targets the highly contagious Omicron variant of Covid-19, as well as the original strain of Covid-19. If you are 12 years or older and received your most recent Covid-19 booster at least two months ago, or if it has been at least three months since your last infection with Covid-19, you should get the new bivalent booster. If you or your children need a Covid-19 vaccination, you can sign up immediately for a free appointment at your county’s website below. It’s very easy to do.
Major Votes in the House This Week
Wildfire Recovery Act
It’s wildfire season with over 6,000 recorded fires in California. Currently, local governments in areas affected by wildfires have to pay at least 25 percent of the cost of disaster relief and the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) pays the rest. The bipartisan legislation that I voted for this week gives FEMA the flexibility to increase funding and resources for communities impacted by wildfires. This important legislation will help ensure local communities in California impacted by wildfires have the resources needed to recover as soon as possible.
Protecting the Government from Political Interference
This week I voted for and the House passed three bills to ensure that political interference cannot take place in the federal government.
America’s founders included the decennial Census in the Constitution because a representative democracy depends on an accurate count of its people. To protect this core institution of our democracy, the bill puts checks in place to guarantee the Census Bureau remains independent and free of political agendas. The bill requires the Secretary to submit biannual reports to Congress on the status of research and operations, limits political appointees in the Census Bureau, and creates Advisory Committees to provide independent, expert guidance to the Census Bureau.
Former-President Trump attempted to strip thousands of civil servants of their job protections and replace them with partisan loyalists. This bill stops that clear abuse of the Executive Branch.
Whistleblowers are heroes who come forward at great personal risk to ensure the government is operating with accountability and integrity. This legislation strengthens protections for federal employees who expose government misconduct, fraud, or corruption, so that they cannot be retaliated against.
Letters Anna Sent This Week
Called for FTC Investigation into Invasive Use of Location Data
I urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate Fog Reveal, a tool developed by Fog Data Science LLC (“Fog”). Fog Reveal collects location data from individual cell phones and sells that data to law enforcement, allowing them to track individuals and conduct mass surveillance without first seeking a warrant, as required under the 4th Amendment. Fog’s practices are unfair and deceptive and present a severe invasion of privacy. You can read my letter HERE.
Health Subcommittee Markup
This week the Health Subcommittee, which I chair, voted to move five bipartisan bills forward that squarely address persistent problems that keep Americans from getting the quality care they deserve. The Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care streamlines health plan bureaucracy to allow patients enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans to get the care they need when they need it. We also passed legislation to bring mobile health clinics to hard-to-reach populations; address a two-year backlog of vaccine injury cases; bring trauma centers to rural Americans; and help families living with the long-term health problems from the Flint water crisis.
Appreciation from Palo Alto City Council
This week I spoke at the Palo Alto City Council regarding my work to secure funding for community projects in the city. I’m so pleased to have secured $3 million to renovate the Roth Building to serve as the permanent location of the Palo Alto History Museum and $2 million for Palo Alto’s Psychiatric Emergency Response Team pilot program, an innovative approach to mental health care and police reform. I also spoke about the historic legislation Congress passed, including the most significant legislation to address climate change and the largest investment in our nation’s infrastructure in our history. You can watch the entire meeting and my remarks HERE.
This week I joined the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) for a press conference to speak out against antisemitism and raise awareness of the dramatic increase of antisemitic hate crimes in California. The Anti-Defamation League recorded over 2,700 antisemitic incidents in 2021 – a 34 percent increase over 2020 and the highest number ever recorded. This is taking place every day in California and across our country. JCRC launched their “Here I Am” initiative which tells the stories of Jews in the Bay Area who have experienced antisemitism. I encourage you to visit HereIAmStories.org to see powerful videos and other resources that illustrate how antisemitism harms so many of our friends and neighbors.
If You Ask Me…
This week, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham introduced extreme legislation to ban abortion after 15 weeks nationwide. Republicans have made it clear that their crusade to criminalize reproductive care was never about states’ rights. It’s about controlling women’s bodies. Should Republicans take control in Washington, they will do what they say…they will decimate reproductive freedom in all 50 states. We cannot let this stand. Democrats are working in Congress to codify the private right to choose an abortion and ensure no politician stands in the way of our health care.
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 239,105 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, 3,122 constituents contacted me about issues including:
Anna’s Work in the 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.