Anna's Weekly Report
In an eloquent speech on the floor of the House of Representatives yesterday, Speaker Pelosi announced she will not run for a leadership position in the next Congress. She will continue to serve as the voice for the people of San Francisco. It was a great honor to be asked by the Speaker to preside over the House on this day of history.
During her historic tenure, she has produced an unmatched record of legislation, including more bipartisan bills to benefit the American people than any other Speaker in American history. This includes the generation-defining Affordable Care Act and countless bills that transformed our country by protecting the rights of LGBTQ Americans, reforming Wall Street, rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, protecting our planet from the existential threat of climate change, raising the minimum wage, keeping our children safe from gun violence, and so much more.
When Speaker Pelosi arrived in Congress in 1987, there were only 12 Democratic women in the House. It is because of her leadership and mentorship over the last 35 years and her tenacious recruiting and campaigning that there are 91 of us in the House today. And as she said in her speech, “we want more!”
Speaker Pelosi has never wavered in her commitment to do what is best for our country. She was leading when our nation was attacked on 9/11, when our economy collapsed in 2008, and when our Capitol was attacked on January 6th, and through it all she was the guiding light our nation needed.
With yesterday’s announcement, she welcomes the next generations of trailblazers to build on her progress.
Major Votes in the House This Week
Speak Out Act
I presided over the House floor this week as we passed legislation to ban employment contracts that silence survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment. The Speak Out Act prohibits the enforcement of non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreements in sexual harassment and sexual assault disputes, ensuring that survivors can seek justice and hold perpetrators accountable for their misconduct. Having passed in the Senate, this bill now heads to the President’s desk for his signature. This new law closes a terrible loophole that allowed those who assaulted and/or harassed to hide.
I voted for legislation that will improve wildfire preparedness and ensure FEMA can better serve survivors after a disaster. Specifically, the bill allows FEMA to proactively send resources to mitigate the impacts of wildfires during times of high-risk weather; report on how it can improve its response times; and more efficiently distribute resources for survivors of wildfires.
Disaster Survivors Fairness Act
I also voted for legislation that makes several improvements to FEMA’s disaster response, including making it easier to apply for assistance after a disaster and expanding access to pre-disaster mitigation grants. The bill also expedites short-term and long-term housing solutions available for survivors of disasters.
Legislation Anna Introduced This Week
Pre-approval Information Exchange (PIE) Act
This week I introduced legislation to help patients access new drugs and medical devices approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) more quickly. Patients often have to wait for their health insurer to cover a new FDA-approved treatment. The PIE Act will help shorten that wait by allowing drug and device manufacturers to share more information with health insurance companies before a treatment is approved by the FDA. By helping them get new treatments sooner, this bipartisan legislation will save patients money, time, and anxiety.
Communications, Video, and Technology Accessibility Act (CVTA)
As technology has rapidly evolved over the last two decades, much of our economy and our day-to-day lives have moved online. Unfortunately, accessibility standards have stayed largely the same, leaving people with disabilities behind. In 2020, 38% of people who were blind or had low vision reported issues with at least one of the technologies needed to do their jobs, and in 2021 as many as 70% of students who are deaf or hard of hearing reported technology challenges in the educational environment.
I introduced legislation to update current laws so people with disabilities have full access to modern technology that is necessary to participate equally in the 21st century.
INVITE: Telephone Town Hall Meeting
Now that the midterm elections are over, the Ethics Rules of the House allow me to host Telephone Town Hall Meetings once again. I’m pleased to hold a Telephone Town Hall Meeting on December 1st at 6:45 p.m. PT with Dr. David Relman, M.D., Chief of Infectious Diseases at the VA Palo Alto, to answer public health questions and other questions constituents have. You can register for the meeting HERE.
Speech at the BARDA Industry Day
The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) is the federal agency responsible for developing and procuring medical countermeasures to ensure our nation is ready to respond to public health emergencies, including pandemics, natural disasters, and man-made attacks. I’m very proud that my original legislation in 2006 created BARDA. Without BARDA employees’ around the clock work, we would not have been blessed with a safe and effective Covid vaccine as quickly as we were.
I had the honor this week to thank those workers at BARDA Industry Day, which included hundreds of BARDA federal employees and over 1,500 private sector partners who specialize in biodefense. I spoke about the need to pass new pandemic preparedness legislation in 2023 to address the shortcomings we experienced during the Covid pandemic and anticipate the challenges of the future.
Artemis I Launch
A new chapter of American space exploration was launched this week when NASA sent off the world’s most powerful rocket, Artemis I. The uncrewed spacecraft will travel around the Moon and provide critical data that will help NASA prepare for future missions to return American astronauts to the Moon for the first time in over 50 years. In 2025, the Artemis missions will land the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon to explore the lunar surface and establish a long-term human presence there.
Congratulations to NASA and the engineers and scientists at NASA Ames on a successful launch! Watch the video of the launch HERE.
Covid-19 and Flu Vaccines
The FDA authorized the bivalent Covid-19 booster for children ages 5 years and older. This booster targets the highly contagious Omicron variant of Covid-19, as well as the original strain of Covid-19.
Those 5 years and older who had a Covid booster at least two months ago are now eligible for this new booster. For those who experienced a Covid-19 infection at least three months ago, you are also eligible for the new bivalent booster. You can sign up immediately for a free appointment at your county’s website below, and it’s very easy to do.
Flu season is upon us! The flu and Covid-19 vaccines are safe to receive together, and most vaccination centers will have both available. Learn where you can get your flu vaccine here: www.vaccines.gov/find-vaccines
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 117,981 constituents have contacted me this year. I actually read every communication and every constituent receives a personal response to their specific questions and comments from me. This week, 2,164 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.