Weekly Update From Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo
HERE’S WHAT CONGRESS DID THIS WEEK
Voted on H.R. 3218 - Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act
This week the House voted unanimously to approve the largest update to the GI Bill since the passing of the Post-9/11 GI Bill in 2008. It significantly expands access to higher education for veterans, those wounded on the battlefield and the surviving family members of troops killed in combat. The bill also opens up qualifications for tuition assistance to more reservists who deploy on active duty and Purple Heart recipients, regardless of the time they served.
I think we have an abiding obligation to serve the brave men and women who served our country. President Lincoln outlined a simple but vitally important mandate when it comes to the care that is owed to our veterans:
“To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.”
Voted on H.R. 3219- Security Minibus Appropriations Bill
This week the Republican Majority brought forward a “Security Minibus” Appropriations bill. It contains four Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations bills to provide funds for the Departments of Defense, the Legislative Branch, Military Construction/VA and Energy and Water.
Ensuring our national security is my top responsibility, and our policies must be strong and smart. Yet this “security” bill contains poison pill riders, including $1.6 billion to begin construction of the President’s useless border wall.
The legislation also cuts critical investments in clean energy and advanced energy research, slashes funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by 48% and completely eliminates funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). ARPA-E continues to provide breakthrough energy research every day. As one of the original creators of ARPA-E, this program is vital to our nation’s leadership in energy innovation and maximizes our efforts to develop clean energy technologies.
LEGISLATION ANNA CO-SPONSORED THIS WEEK
The Free File Permanence Act of 2017
This week I cosponsored legislation to make the IRS Free File Program permanent.
Launched in 2003, the Free File Program is a partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance which includes 16 private sector companies, including Intuit in our Congressional District which offers some of the best-known and most trusted commercial tax preparation software on the market at no cost to eligible taxpayers.
The Free File Program provides approximately 98 million eligible taxpayers with free online individual tax preparation and electronic tax filing services each year and, to date, has saved taxpayers approximately $1.1 billion by making online and individual income tax preparation available to middle and lower income populations.
The Local and Independent Television Protection Act
An important safeguard in our democracy is ensuring the diversity of viewpoints in the media, and to help preserve that safeguard I’m an original cosponsor of the Local and Independent Television Protection Act. The bill essentially prevents consolidation in the broadcast television industry. In a democracy, there should be many voices to the many, not fewer. No company should be able to own all the newspapers, radio stations and TV stations in one region.
Earlier this year, FCC Chairman Pai reinstated the UHF discount, creating a loophole in the national broadcast ownership cap that prevents any single broadcast company from reaching more than 39 percent of households in the country. I wrote to Chairman Pai in April to express my serious concerns with the UHF discount, stating that this would lead to more media consolidation in our country. This means that the ownership of our various news sources would be concentrated in the hands of fewer corporations. The Local and Independent Television Protection Act would effectively end this outdated loophole in 90 days, ensuring that our news sources continue to include a healthy diversity of ownership among broadcasters.
LETTERS ANNA COSIGNED THIS WEEK
Letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Urging Her to Enforce Student Protections Against High-Debt Career Training Programs
This week I joined 59 of my colleagues in the House and the Senate in writing to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, urging her to reverse the U.S. Department of Education’s decision to delay critical disclosures to prospective students in career education and training programs. These provisions, known as Gainful Employment disclosures, require career training programs to be fully transparent to students about basic information like average student loan debt and job placement rates. These provisions are in place to protect students from shams like Corinthian Colleges, Inc. and ITT Educational Services, which left thousands of students in California in 2015 with unusable credits or worthless credentials.
For the first time in his 7-month tenure FCC Chairman Pai testified at a hearing with the Energy and Commerce Committee. I questioned him about his efforts to dismantle net neutrality and urged him to keep the protections in place. I also raised the issue of RT (formerly Russia Today) and its influence in the 2016 election. The FCC must use its power to ensure that the American public knows who is behind the programming on our public airwaves. RT is the propaganda arm of the Kremlin and they are currently broadcasting over American airwaves.
It was an honor to be invited by the National Council on Independent Living to speak at their rally in D.C. I thanked them for their courageous advocacy to protect health care. They are amongst the most vulnerable in our country if Medicaid were to be unraveled and they inspired me as they protested, wheelchairs and all.
One of my meetings this week was with constituents from Palo Alto, the Reller family, and advocates with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) to talk about the current health care debate in Congress and the need to fund juvenile diabetes research. Both Avery Reller and Carter Mosher, a 17 year old advocate with JDRF were diagnosed with diabetes at a very young age. If Republicans are successful in repealing the Affordable Care Act, Avery and Carter’s pre-existing condition could prevent them from receiving the critical health coverage they need to lead strong, healthy lives.
IN MY CONSTITUENTS’ WORDS
Every week hundreds of my constituents call and write to me to express their concerns, share their passions and ask questions regarding legislation and policies. I actually read every communication and every constituent receives a personal response to their specific questions and comments.
Here are some of the issues constituents wrote and called me about this week:
· 261 constituents are opposed to cuts at the DOE including ARPA-E and the office of the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
· 177 constituents are opposed to cuts at the Environmental Protection Agency
· 121 constituents support the USAID Biodiversity Conservation Program
ANNA IN THE NEWS
Palo Alto Weekly- “Elected leaders celebrate start of Caltrain electrification project”
“A packed house of other elected leaders were at the Millbrae Caltrain station Friday to celebrate the beginning of a project to electrify a large portion of Caltrain service within the next four years, a project they promise will lead to faster, quieter and more frequent trains in addition to being more environmentally sound.
“Pelosi called Eshoo "our leader in the fight."
"We were gum stuck to everyone's shoe, we were not going away," Eshoo said. "We did it."To read the full article, CLICK HERE.
San Mateo Daily Journal- “Ground Broken”
“U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, an ardent supporter who had chastised the Trump administration for delaying the grant, was thrilled to mark the day as deeply gratifying.
“We’re celebrating having made history,” said Eshoo, D-Palo Alto. “I think there’s something else we’re celebrating today too, and that is the American spirit. We have a tradition that we do something noble and good during our time and pass that achievement on to future generations. That’s what you have all done.” 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