Weekly Update From Rep. Anna G. Eshoo
HERE’S WHAT CONGRESS DID THIS WEEK
Voted on H.R. 806, the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017
Republicans brought a bill to the floor this week that eviscerates the protections of the Clean Air Act and dismantles decades of public health and environmental progress. The so-called “Smoggy Skies Act” includes switching the Environmental Protection Agency’s mandated review of air quality standards from every five years to every 10 years. Delaying this review by 5 years chips away at the ability of the law to ensure clean air protections are up to date with the latest medical science. Ground-level ozone can cause breathing problems for those with asthma and respiratory disease, and can also cause thousands of premature deaths. This legislation is a direct assault on the right of every American to breathe clean air.
LEGISLATION ANNA CO-SPONSORED THIS WEEK
H.R. 1341, the Stop Foreign Donations Affecting our Elections Act
This legislation requires credit verification value (CVV) information and a billing address for all online credit card contributions to federal candidates in our U.S. elections. The billing address must be located in the U.S. or belong to a U.S. citizen who lives abroad and provides the address they use for voter registration. While it is already illegal for candidates to accept donations from foreign nationals, the source of online credit card donations is often difficult to track. This bill would help to prevent bad actors from gaming our political system.
H.R. 2876, the Automatic Voter Registration Act
This legislation would require states to automatically register all eligible citizens to vote, a system our home state of California has already implemented. Specifically, the bill would institute a system where eligible citizens, upon interacting with any government agency, would automatically be registered to vote unless they decline to register. It is estimated that nearly 50 million eligible Americans are not registered to vote for reasons including inaccurate voter rolls and the incorrect belief that voter registration automatically updates when an address is changed with the Postal Service.
LETTERS ANNA COSIGNED AND WROTE THIS WEEK
Letter to Trump Election Integrity Commission Vice Chairman to Withdraw Voter Data Request
This week, the Vice President convened the first meeting of the President’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. This Commission was created by Executive Order in May, after the President claimed without evidence that millions of people voted illegally for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
Last month the Commission’s Vice Chairman, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, sent letters to the Secretaries of State of all 50 States asking them to turn over all voter registration data—including names, addresses, birthdates, and the last four digits of Social Security numbers. This request for sensitive voter data represents an appalling threat to the privacy of hundreds of millions of Americans. According to the FBI, names, birthdates, and Social Security Numbers are among the critical pieces of information criminals need to commit identity theft. The Commission’s request proposes to collect and store all of this private information in a single, centralized location within the federal government. Housing all of our country’s voter registration information in one single place makes it vulnerable to identity thieves and foreign actors who are seeking to influence our elections.
This week, I led a letter with over 70 Members of Congress urging Mr. Kobach to withdraw this request. I also held a telephone press conference with California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to discuss our efforts to halt this request, citing in detail the serious privacy concerns. To date, 44 states have denied the request and only one has complied, and the Commission’s request is currently on hold pending litigation.
While the President is wasting time on a Commission based on false claims, he refuses to accept what the U.S. Intelligence Community concluded with high confidence and that is that during the 2016 election Russia actively attacked the U.S. in an effort to influence the outcome of the election and obtain voter registration information, targeting as many as 39 states. To read the full letter, CLICK HERE.
Letter to the Department of Commerce in Support of California’s National Marine Sanctuaries
As the Administration conducts a review of all Sanctuaries for possible rescission, I joined my colleagues in writing to the Department of Commerce in support of California’s four National Marine Sanctuaries. In April, the President issued an Executive Order which directs the Secretary of Commerce to review all Marine Sanctuary expansions since 2007 and assess new locations for offshore oil and gas leasing. The coast of our Congressional District is part of, and benefits from the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. This letter highlights the conservation, commercial and recreational benefits of California’s Marine Sanctuaries and urges the Secretary not to reduce or rescind these protections.
Letter to House Appropriations Committee Opposing the $3.3 billion cut to the Pell Grant Program
The FY18 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) funding bill includes a $3.3 billion cut to the Pell Grant Program. This week I joined more than 120 of my House Democratic colleagues in writing to the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee opposing these harmful cuts to the program. Every American should have access to an affordable education and this cut will increase the burden on students and families. The Pell Grant program should be increased because it remains one of the proven grant programs to advance economic opportunity in our country.
I had the privilege this week to participate in the historic groundbreaking to launch the electrification of Caltrain. In May, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao approved a $647 million federal grant for the Caltrain Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project (PCEP), paving the way for full electrification of Caltrain. This project will create thousands of jobs in our region and in other states in our country. I’ve fought very hard for years, including working with Secretary Chao this year to secure the funding needed to modernize what is the spine of the Silicon Valley transportation system. It was truly gratifying for me to see this project finally come to fruition. The old diesels will be replaced and the trains will be faster, more efficient, cleaner and carry more passengers.
This groundbreaking symbolizes the American spirit and the can-do spirit of our region and our state. We also celebrate a great American tradition: that each generation has the responsibility to build something that is worthy of the next.
ANNA IN THE NEWS
Los Angeles Times- “Rep. Anna Eshoo asks Trump's election commission to withdraw voter information request”
“Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Menlo Park) is asking the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to withdraw its request for voter information from all 50 states.
"At a time when the personally identifiable data of Americans is under constant attack from hackers and criminals seeking to engage in identity theft, the commission's request to collect and centrally store the personal data of hundreds of millions of Americans poses risks that cannot be fully mitigated," she states in a letter to Kris Kobach, the secretary of state of Kansas who serves as vice chairman of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.” To read the full article, CLICK HERE.
KQED- “Trump Election Commission Should Focus on Russian Attack on our Elections, California Democrats Say”
“Eshoo’s letter was signed by 72 other Democratic lawmakers — and Eshoo said Republicans have also, privately, expressed their concerns.
“Eshoo praised Padilla’s refusal to cooperate with the commission’s request for personal information. She thinks the commission will be used as a pretense to push laws that make it harder for Americans to vote, noting that its vice chair, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, is well known for his dubious claims of widespread illegal voting.” To read the full article, CLICK HERE.
You can find more press releases, commentary and information on issues at my website, eshoo.house.gov. And please visit YouTube, Facebook and Twitter for more ways to stay informed.
Anna G. Eshoo