Anna's Weekly Report
I wish you and your families a beautiful Christmas, and to those who don’t celebrate this holiday, may the blessings of this season be yours. I’m leaving Washington after a busy final legislative week of the year and heading home to celebrate Christmas with my family. I’m proud to finish what has been one of the most productive Congresses in U.S. history, including yesterday’s passage of a bill that funds the government and will improve the lives of American communities coast to coast.
Funding the Government
The bipartisan Consolidated Appropriations Act is a package of 12 bills that fund every federal agency through the end of fiscal year 2023. I was able to secure $23.16 million in the legislation for 15 community projects in San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz Counties which will pay for more affordable housing, fix roads, build Caltrain crossings, and improve our schools. The projects for our community include:
$3.25 million for housing
$8.5 million for Caltrain crossings
$6.62 million to improve transportation safety
$1.6 million for education
$2.75 million for Santa Cruz Mountain Communities
$400,000 for outdoor trails
A Visit from War-Torn Ukraine
On December 26, 1941, amid the second World War, Winston Churchill stood before Congress and delivered a speech that would rally the nation behind the fight for democracy. This week, 81 years later, another wartime hero delivered a historic address to Congress with democracy on the line—Ukrainian President Zelenskyy.
Over the last ten months, President Zelenskyy’s brave, heroic leadership has rallied the Ukrainian people and the world to fight back against Russia’s brutal, unlawful invasion of Ukraine. President Zelenskyy reminded Congress and the American people that the fight for Ukraine is the fight for Democracy itself:
"Your money is not charity. It’s an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way."
Following his speech, Congress passed $44.9 billion in additional aid for Ukraine, including military, economic, and humanitarian aid. This aid will help Ukraine advance into the new year and bring victory to the Ukrainian people and a victory of democracy for the world. I’m proud to have voted for every effort in support of democracy and the Ukrainian people. We can never be exhausted of democracy.
PASSED: ARPA-H and Diversity in Clinical Trials
I’m very proud that the Consolidated Appropriations Act also included two major health bills I authored in this Congress, the ARPA-H Act and the DEPICT Act. The ARPA-H Act establishes the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, a groundbreaking new health agency with a mighty mission: curing and treating the world’s deadliest diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Modeled after DARPA which paved the way for technology that built the world we live in today (GPS and the internet), ARPA-H will lead to breakthroughs in health that many never imagined possible.
Modeled after DARPA which paved the way for technology that built the world we live in today (GPS and the internet), ARPA-H will lead to breakthroughs in health that many never imagined possible.
For the first time in U.S. history, the DEPICT Act will establish a statutory requirement for diversity in clinical trial participants. Diverse clinical trials are essential to ensure that biomedical research is robust and equitable so that all Americans can be confident that treatments work for them, regardless of their backgrounds. We’re finally making good science the rule, not the recommendation.
January 6th Committee Report
After a thorough investigation and nine riveting public hearings, the bipartisan Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol released its final report outlining the former President’s plot to subvert our democracy and halt the peaceful transfer of power. In an unprecedented decision, the Committee referred the former President to the Justice Department for possible criminal charges, including obstructing an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the government, and inciting or assisting an insurrection. Those who attacked our democracy and our system of constitutional government must be held accountable. No one is above the law.
You can read the Committee’s final report here.
Former President’s Tax Returns
After nearly four years of failed legal challenges from the former President, the Ways and Means Committee voted this week to release his tax returns. This effort would not have been necessary if the former President released his tax returns when he ran for office, just as every major candidate from both parties has for the past 40 years.
Trump’s refusal to follow this bipartisan tradition shows why Congress should pass my legislation, the Presidential Tax Transparency Act, requiring every presidential candidate to disclose their tax returns before they’re elected. The American people must be confident that their president works in the public interest, not for their own financial gain.
You can view the Ways and Means Committee’s report here.
In 2015, I led efforts in Congress to protect the Cotoni-Coast Dairies, home to picturesque coastal terraces, 500 acres of redwood forest, six watersheds, and four known Native American archeological sites on the Coast of our congressional district. Last week, the Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Stewardship released these stunning images of the new trails they’re building at the National Monument so it can be opened to hikers, cyclists, and on-leash dogs.
President Obama formally established the National Monument in January of 2017, and I’m thrilled that the public will be able to experience this great natural treasure. It is deeply gratifying for me to protect these lands forever and that future generations will benefit from what we pass on to them.
On Tuesday, a deadly 6.5 magnitude earthquake hit northern California in Humboldt County, killing two people and injuring eleven. My heart is with our fellow Californians as they recover from the losses and damage of the disaster.
This was a stark reminder that the best time to prepare for any disaster is before it happens. Visit ready.gov/earthquakes to learn how you can prepare and best tips to stay safe during an earthquake.
Letters Anna Sent This Week
Immigrant Workers Affected by Tech Layoffs
In 2022, more than 140,000 tech workers lost their jobs, with approximately 50,000 tech sector job losses in November alone. Foreign-born workers comprise nearly a quarter of the STEM workforce, and many of these newly unemployed workers are on H-1Bs or other employment-based visas. These individuals only have 60 days to find a new employer to sponsor their visa, and those who are unable to do so must leave the country.
I sent a letter this week asking the Biden Administration to extend the grace period to 120 days for laid-off foreign-born workers to find new jobs before losing their employment-based visas.
Throughout our country’s history, immigrants have been the driving force behind the innovation and entrepreneurship that has made the American economy the largest and most prosperous in the world. In fact, more than half of all billion-dollar technology companies were founded by immigrants. To ensure that the successful companies of the future are based in the U.S., we must prevent this brain drain from taking place.
Read my letter here.
Last Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released two new studies showing the bivalent Covid-19 vaccine reduces the risk of hospitalization. The first CDC study showed that people who received the bivalent vaccine had 57% less risk of hospitalization than unvaccinated people and 45% less risk of hospitalization than people who had received two to four doses of the original vaccine and received their last shot 11 or more months earlier.
The second study showed that older adults who received the updated booster had 84% less risk of hospitalization than unvaccinated people and 73% less risk than people who received at least two doses of the original vaccine.
Despite this strong protection, only 14% of people aged 5 and older have received the updated booster. You can sign up immediately for a free appointment to get your updated booster at your county’s website below, and it’s very easy to do.
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 148,045 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, 1,488 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.