Anna's Weekly Report
January 6, 2023
I work hard to keep my weekly newsletters to you as brief and informative as possible. This week’s report is longer, but contains a lot of wrap up information that I think you should be informed of.
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After days of torrential weather, rain and strong wind will continue throughout the weekend into Monday, per the National Weather Service forecast. Some areas remain flooded and many families are without power. If you see a downed power line, leave the area immediately and call 9-1-1. Then call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000. You can also check road closures and flooding in real-time at https://aware.zonehaven.com/search
If my office can be of help to you and your family during this time, you can call us at (650) 323-2984. The weather can always change, but being prepared and knowing what to do and what services are available remain important.
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As I write to you at 5:00 p.m. ET in Washington today, this is the current situation in Congress and subject to change when the House reconvenes at 10 p.m. ET this evening.
The beginning of a new Congress is always exciting. New Members arrive with their families to celebrate, as do returning Members. This week was very different because for the first time in 100 years, a Speaker of the House was not elected. The rules of the House place all the power of organizing in the Speakership, and a majority of votes is required to win a Speaker election, as opposed to a plurality, so the winner must earn more than half the votes. The very first responsibility of the majority is to organize the House and swear-in the Members of the 118th Congress. I think it’s shameful and embarrassing for our country that the new GOP majority has allowed their internal party infighting to become a public spectacle. As I write this to you, there is not a Congress in place.
Anniversary of January 6th Attack
Today we commemorated the two-year anniversary of the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, one of the darkest days in the history of our country which will remain with me all the days of my life. Two years later, we remember the officers who gave their lives to defend the Capitol, the Congress, and the Constitution, and the more 140 injured officers. Because of their heroism, the insurrection failed.
The Bipartisan January 6th Committee meticulously investigated and presented the brutal truth of who did what and when on that dark day. They have produced a report to the American people. They found that the former president plotted to subvert our democracy and halt the peaceful transfer of power. The former president and his associates bear responsibility for the deadly attack and have been referred to the Justice Department for possible criminal charges. Those who tried to take down our democracy must be held accountable.
Our 16th Congressional District
Due to redistricting, I now represent California’s 16th Congressional District which encompasses many of the communities in our previous district along with new communities in San Jose and the San Mateo County coast, including Pacifica, Half Moon Bay, and unincorporated areas. The district no longer includes any part of Santa Cruz County or Redwood City.
As we begin the new year with fresh goals and ambitions, I’m proud to highlight the accomplishments of the past Congress, which was one of the most productive in history.
We passed bipartisan gun safety legislation, lowered the price of prescription drugs, took unprecedented action to combat the climate crisis, made historic investments in American infrastructure, sent billions of dollars in aid and assistance to Ukraine to defend its democracy, and achieved so much more for the American people.
In Our Congressional District
California is known as a donor state, meaning we send more in federal tax dollars to Washington, D.C. than we receive back in the form of grants and other appropriations.
I’m very proud of the $1.85 billion in federal grants awarded to our district in 2022 to researchers and academicians, municipalities, libraries, museums, small businesses, public transit providers, airports, water districts, nonprofits, and other organizations. Over $800 million went to support the stellar research institutions that reside in our district, including research on cancer, Covid-19, space and technology, and other critically important discoveries. Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act that became law on November 15, 2021, our district also received $107 million in grants to improve local transportation systems and to fortify our infrastructure.
Telephone Town Hall Meetings
Hearing directly from those I represent is one of the most important aspects of my public service, and that’s why last year I held Telephone Town Hall Meetings in every community in our District, with an average of 2,300 constituents participating at each meeting. I answered over a hundred public policy questions. I was joined at each meeting by infectious disease physicians from Stanford who answered questions about Covid-19, monkeypox, and other public health issues. Thank you to every constituent who joined me and asked such thoughtful questions.
I also held Virtual Town Hall Meetings with special guests, including Dr. Anthony Fauci to discuss Covid-19; Professor Michael McFaul, Ph.D., Former Ambassador to Russia to discuss the war in Ukraine; Senator Alex Padilla to discuss voting rights and new infrastructure investments; Congressman Mike Thompson to discuss gun violence prevention; Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to discuss climate change; and with health care experts to discuss changes to Medicare. You can listen to the audio recordings of the Town Hall Meetings here.
Over 147,404 constituents contacted me in 2022, and I personally read and responded to every single message. My Palo Alto office also assisted over 7,747 constituents in navigating issues with federal agencies, including helping with Social Security benefits, the IRS, visas, passports, and assistance for veterans.
My office always stands ready to help you. You can find more information on my website or by calling my Palo Alto District Office at (650) 323-2984.
Major Bills Signed Into Law
Congress passed the following bipartisan bills and they were signed into law in 2022, investing in our country, our people, and our democracy…
- Inflation Reduction Act: Addresses inflation by lowering the cost of prescription drugs, health insurance, and energy bills while lowering the federal deficit. It is the most significant investment to address climate change in U.S. history. Learn more about how you can qualify for new tax credits and other benefits at my website here.
- CHIPS & Science Act: Invests in the domestic semiconductor industry, secures the U.S. supply chain, and boosts American R&D. The bill includes my provision to expand eligibility for CHIPS funding to U.S. suppliers of materials and equipment used to produce semiconductor chips, shoring up the supply chain.
- Safer Communities Act: Makes commonsense steps to combat gun violence and invests millions of dollars in mental health care.
- Honoring our PACT Act: Expands health care and benefits for more than five million servicemembers who were exposed to dangerous burn pit fumes, Agent Orange, and other toxins during their service.
- Respect for Marriage Act: Repeals the Defense of Marriage Act, which banned federal recognition of same-sex marriage. This bill protects marriage equality at the federal level, including LGBTQ+ and interracial marriages, and provides additional protections at the state level.
Anna’s Bills Signed Into Law
Nine of the bills I introduced last Congress were signed into law in 2022, including...
- ARPA-H Act: Authorizes the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, a new agency that will accelerate transformative breakthroughs to find cures and treat the world’s deadliest diseases.
- DEPICT Act: Boosts diversity in clinical trials by requiring enhanced data reporting on clinical trial demographics.
- Safe Connections Act: Helps survivors of domestic violence and other crimes cut ties with their abusers and separate from shared cell phone plans, which can be exploited to monitor, stalk, or control victims.
- Secure Equipment Act: Directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt rules clarifying that it will no longer review or issue new equipment licenses to companies that pose a national security threat.
- Investing in Domestic Semiconductor Manufacturing Act: Strengthens semiconductor supply chains by requiring federal and state government programs to develop strategies to attract investment in semiconductor manufacturing.
- Improved Transparency of Foreign Drug Manufacturing Act: Requires registration of foreign drug and device manufacturers.
- Foreign Drug Inspections Reform: Requires the Food and Drug Administration to conduct a pilot program to increase the number of unannounced inspections of foreign drug manufacturing facilities and evaluate the differences between inspections of domestic and foreign facilities.
- Pre-approval Information Exchange Act: Helps patients more quickly access new drugs and medical devices by allowing drug and device manufacturers to share more information with health insurance companies before the FDA approves a treatment.
- Maternal and Child Home Visiting Reauthorization Act: Increases funding for services that aid new parents and their children from before birth through kindergarten with in-home support proven to improve maternal and child health, family safety and stability, child development, and school readiness.
Funding for Community Projects in Our Congressional District
Last year I worked with the cities and the locally elected officials in our Congressional District, as well as community nonprofits, to secure funding for 15 projects to improve the lives of residents in our region. The funding will provide more affordable housing, fix roads, build Caltrain crossings, and improve our schools. The projects for our community include:
$3.25 million for housing
- $2.5 million 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 Joint School District and Loma Prieta Joint Union Elementary 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.
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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.
Anna G. Eshoo
Member of Congress