Anna's Weekly Report
January 13, 2023
This week President Biden immediately approved California’s request for an emergency declaration for the severe winter storms hammering our communities. The declaration will help expedite federal resources to respond to the storm and aid in a speedy recovery by authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.
As we continue to face an onslaught of storms, our collective gratitude goes to the first responders who are stepping into danger to protect our communities. Each of us can make their jobs a little easier by keeping ourselves safe. Be aware of road closures and do not attempt to drive through flooded roads. You can check road closures and flooding in real-time here.
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.
Residents of San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties should sign up for emergency alerts to remain informed about evacuation warnings and safety precautions. Sign up below and stay safe!
San Mateo County: https://www.smart911.com/smart911/ref/reg.action?pa=smcgov
Santa Clara County: https://member.everbridge.net/453003085615038/new
The IRS announced an extended tax filing deadline for California storm victims. Residents of areas affected by the natural disaster will now have until May 15, 2023, to file tax returns and make tax payments.
If you need help, you can call our office at (650) 323-2984. The weather can always change, but being prepared and knowing what to do and what services are available remain important.
The New Congress
Last Friday night, many hours after my weekly e-Newsletter was sent out, the GOP elected Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House on the 15th ballot, the longest speakership election in 164 years. In order to secure votes from the far-right faction of his party, McCarthy made serious concessions that will make it difficult for him to govern over the next two years.
Before handing the Speaker’s gavel to McCarthy, Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, the first Black leader of a party in Congress, gave a rousing speech. He paid tribute to his predecessor, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and defended the values of democracy and compassion. He ended his speech with an inspiring recitation of Democratic values from A to Z, from “American values over autocracy” to “zealous representation over a zero-sum confrontation.” I think you will enjoy watching and listening to his powerful address HERE.
Major Votes in the House This Week
Legislation to Undermine Reproductive Care and Criminalize Doctors
The GOP passed legislation that attacks access to safe reproductive care by putting new criminal penalties and reporting requirements on doctors and nurses who provide abortions. The bill criminalizes providers who fail to give medical attention and care to infants who are born alive after a medical abortion which is an extremely unlikely scenario. In 2002, I voted for a bill that requires providers to care for infants born alive, and I voted against this redundant and misleading effort because it is already the law of the land. The only thing this bill does is peddle a false narrative about abortion later in pregnancy to malign providers and patients seeking abortions.
Resolution on Violence that Ignores Threats to Abortion Providers
The Republicans passed a Resolution to condemn attacks on anti-abortion fake clinics, while failing to acknowledge or condemn the very real threat that abortion providers are under every day. The Resolution is pure hypocrisy. It distracts from their extreme agenda to fully ban abortion, and for this reason I introduced a Resolution with colleagues that condemns all acts of political violence, including attacks from anti-abortion extremists on health care facilities, personnel, and patients. The Resolution calls on the Biden Administration to use all appropriate authorities to uphold public safety and prevent these attacks. I have always and will continue to condemn all hate-fueled violence, and my GOP colleagues should as well.
The very first bill House Republicans brought up for a vote guts the budget of the IRS. My office has been inundated with constituent complaints about how the IRS system is seriously broken, underfunded, and understaffed. Returns are processed on computers from the 1980s and my constituents can’t have their calls answered, or are put on hold for hours. We have struggled to get tax refunds due to my constituents, so many overdue, because of a lack of personnel. Revoking the funding will make it more difficult for the IRS to process refunds in a timely manner and answer calls from taxpayers.
Also, astonishingly, the legislation would add $114 billion to the federal deficit—tax revenue that is owed to the government but would go unpaid with the IRS unable to collect it. I voted NO because this legislation does nothing to help taxpayers who pay their taxes on time and in full every year.
On Sunday I participated in a panel at the UCSF-Stanford Center of Excellency in Regulatory Science and Innovation (CERSI) Summit to discuss my recently passed legislation to improve diversity in clinical trials. My DEPICT Act, which became law in December, requires drug makers to report to the FDA how they’ll include a representative patient group in their clinical trials. This is the first time that there’s ever been a standard for diversity in clinical trials in law. In the past, FDA has sought to improve clinical trial diversity through voluntary guidance. Fixing this inequity is not only fair and justice, it’s also good science.
The conversation was moderated by Laura Esserman, M.D., MBA, Professor of Surgery and Radiology at UCSF and Patrizia Cavazzoni, M.D., Director, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) at the FDA.
Letters Anna Sent This Week
Winter Storm Response
I joined colleagues in the California delegation in writing to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) requesting federal assistance to repair roads damaged by the ongoing storms across our state. Flooding, mudslides, erosion, sinkholes, and power outages have caused tens of millions of dollars in damage to our roads, including Highway 92 in our Congressional District. I’m committed to ensuring our state receives the resources it needs to fully recover from the atmospheric rivers we’ve experienced. You can read our letter HERE.
We also wrote to President Biden urging him to approve California’s request for FEMA to declare the storms a major disaster. This declaration will allow FEMA to provide additional resources to local governments for long-term recovery and importantly, will allow individual constituents to access relief services from FEMA. You can read our letter HERE.
Student Advisory Board Applications
This week I began accepting applications for the 16th Congressional District Student Advisory Board. The program is for high school students who are interested in public policy and learning about the legislative process. Students study a policy area of their choice and make recommendations to me, many of which I’ve introduced in Congress.
The application can be found here. Applications are due by Friday, January 20, 2023 at
5 p.m. PST to email@example.com or by mail to my Palo Alto District Office at
698 Emerson Street, Palo Alto, California 94301. Please email or call my District Office at 650-323-2984 for more information.
If You Ask Me
It’s not a coincidence that the GOP majority just gutted the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) when George Santos, a known fraudster who won his election on the basis of blatant lies, joined their ranks. The reckless act comes after then-Leader Kevin McCarthy and Reps. Scott Perry, Jim Jordan, and Andy Biggs were each referred to the House Ethics Committee for their refusal to comply with congressional subpoenas to testify before the House January 6th Select Committee.
The House established the OCE in 2008 with the power to investigate ethics violations in a timely and transparent manner and refer them to the House Ethics Committee if warranted. The OCE is an independent, non-partisan entity and is composed of an eight-person Board of Directors who are private citizens, not Members of Congress, or employees of the federal government.
The new House Rules block the OCE from hiring new staffers without the approval of at least four members of the Board and retroactively impose term limits on the Board which removes three of four Democratic members. The new House Rules are a clear effort to shield Republicans from scrutiny for their alleged ethical lapses. I voted against the new House Rules on January 9th but despite my vote, the House adopted the package by a vote of 220 to 213. Integrity is the currency of our public institutions. If it’s lost, so is public confidence.
Covid-19 and Flu Vaccines
A new variant of Covid-19 is quickly becoming the dominant strain in the U.S. and has been described by the World Health Organization as “the most transmissible” descendent yet of the omicron variant. Hospitalizations due to Covid across the country are at the highest rate since late February 2022, but only 15 percent of those eligible have received updated shots.
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.
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. In this new year, over 2,061 constituents have already contacted me. I actually read every communication and every constituent receives a personal response to their specific questions and comments from me. This week, 1,413 constituents contacted me about issues including:
- 155 messages in support of robust funding for SNAP in the Farm Bill reauthorization
- 132 messages against the new House Rules that weaken the Office of Congressional Ethics
- 67 messages regarding last week’s Speaker of the House election
- Election Deniers Are Also Economy Deniers—New York Times
- Kevin McCarthy and the Return of the Pre-Trump G.O.P.—New York Times
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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.
Anna G. Eshoo
Member of Congress