Anna's Weekly Report

December 16, 2022
E-Newsletter

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Weekly Report
December 16, 2022
 

Dear Friends,

Negotiations continued in Congress this week on legislation to fund the government for 2023. We took a significant step toward final legislation this week, and I expect a budget will become law before Christmas. I’m working to secure funding for important community projects in our district, policies to improve the quality of our health care, assistance to help Ukraine defend its democracy, and investments in clean energy.

Breakthrough in Nuclear Fusion

This week an incredible scientific breakthrough was accomplished that could one day produce a new source of limitless, carbon-free energy without any nuclear waste – the first nuclear fusion reaction that resulted in a net energy gain. Nuclear fusion is a man-made clean power source that replicates the energy of the sun. Having fought for the federal funding for this exact experiment at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory several times, I’m thrilled that this discovery could one day displace fossil fuels and other traditional energy sources, combatting climate change and achieving energy security. Innovation like this is the calling card of the future, and I will continue to fight for funding to support such groundbreaking and transformational science.

Covid-19 and Flu Vaccines

New research out this week confirmed that the Covid-19 vaccines have saved more than
3 million American lives and prevented more than 18.5 million hospitalizations over the last two years. Since the first Covid-19 vaccine was administered in December 2020, more than 655 million doses have been distributed to Americans, with 80% of the population having received at least one dose. The vaccine is a life-saving preventative measure, and I continue to urge my constituents to get your updated booster.  

Last week, the FDA authorized the bivalent Covid-19 vaccine for children as young as 6 months of age. Eligibility for the vaccine depends on when the child last received a
Covid-19 vaccine and whether they received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. Speak to your pediatrician about your child getting the updated bivalent vaccine. This vaccine targets the highly contagious Omicron variant of Covid-19, as well as the original strain of Covid-19.

As a reminder, all those 5 years and older who had a Covid booster at least two months ago are eligible for the bivalent vaccine. You can sign up immediately for a free appointment at your county’s website below, and it’s very easy to do.

San Mateo County                Santa Cruz County                Santa Clara County

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

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More good news! The President announced this week that Americans can order four more free Covid-19 tests through the mail. Tests will start to ship the week of December 19th. This is the fourth round of free rapid tests this year. You can order tests at  COVIDtests.gov.

Major Votes in the House This Week

Law Enforcement De-Escalation Training Act

This bipartisan legislation provides $70 million annually in grants to state and local law enforcement to train officers and mental health professionals to safely respond to people in crisis without resorting to force. I voted for the bill because it will support important alternatives to use of force, including nonviolent tactics to respond to mental, behavioral, and suicidal crises; crisis intervention teams; and referrals to community-based mental and behavioral health services.

Legislation Anna Introduced

Tech Safety for Victims of Domestic Violence

Tech-enabled domestic abuse, such as threatening phone calls or texts, stalking through spyware, or sharing intimate photos without consent, has escalated during the Covid-19 pandemic. According to a 2021 study by the National Network to End Domestic Violence, 97% of the programs providing support to survivors of intimate partner violence have indicated that abusers are using technology to stalk, harass, or be controlling.

Despite the scope of tech-enabled abuse, advocates who work with domestic violence survivors report low levels of confidence in recognizing and addressing tech-enabled abuse. I introduced the Tech Safety for Victims of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking Act, bipartisan legislation that hits at the cross-section of domestic violence and tech by establishing two grant programs to improve services and resources for survivors.

New Portrait in the Capitol

Fifteen years ago, Nancy Pelosi made history as the first woman in our country to be elected Speaker of the House, second in line to the presidency. This week her legacy was enshrined in the U.S. Capitol with the unveiling of her official portrait. The portrait now hangs in the Speakers’ Lobby, a room in the Capitol that until this week was only adorned with portraits of men.

During her tenure, Speaker Pelosi has produced an unmatched record of legislation, including more bipartisan bills to benefit the American people than any other Speaker in American history. As President Obama said at her portrait unveiling, she is “one of the most accomplished legislators in American history.”

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Speaker Pelosi’s portrait, painted by artist Ronald Sherr, was completed in 2014 and has been in storage ever since. The tradition of hanging portraits of Speakers of the House in the U.S. Capitol dates back to 1852 with the portrait of Henry Clay, who served as House speaker three times.

Following the portrait unveiling, I was honored to speak at the renaming ceremony of the new “Speaker Nancy Pelosi Caucus Room” in the Cannon House Office Building. The room is the oldest and among the largest rooms built for the House of Representatives to meet in outside the Capitol.

Among many historical events hosted in this room, the January 6th Committee has held all their public hearings there. The room is also where 350 women were sworn in as members of the Women’s Army Corps in 1943, the first women other than nurses to serve within the ranks of the United States Army.

Letters Anna Sent This Week

Medical Devices

Due to unnecessary delays in Medicare processes, many Medicare patients face challenges accessing medical devices and treatments they urgently need. I wrote a letter this week to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure urging the Administration to implement a rule that would give seniors and people with disabilities more consistent access to innovative and life-saving medical devices. You can read the letter HERE.

Congressional App Challenge

This week I announced the winner of this year’s Congressional App Challenge, Adrit Rao of Palo Alto High School. The Congressional App Challenge is a nationwide effort which I cofounded and helped launch in 2015 that allows students to compete against their peers by creating an app for desktop/PC, web, tablet, mobile, raspberry Pi or other devices. The challenge is designed to promote innovation and engagement in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education fields.

Adrit created an innovative app called Signer that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help people who are deaf and hard of hearing communicate with more ease and improve overall communications between the deaf and non-deaf communities. The app performs automatic and real-time conversion of ASL gestures to compose sentences. I’m so proud of Adrit and the 72 other students who entered this year’s Congressional App Challenge for thinking and dreaming big to enrich our communities for generations to come.

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 126,956 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, 2,305 constituents contacted me about issues including:

  • 140 messages opposed to reforming energy permitting in the year-end spending package
     
  • 135 messages in support of seating a Delegate from the Cherokee Nation in Congress
     
  • 117 messages in support of requiring states to extend Medicaid coverage to at least one year postpartum

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