HIGHLIGHTS OF WHAT CONGRESS DID THIS WEEK
On 9/28 we welcomed our colleague Rep. Steve Scalise back to the people’s House after his long recovery from the bullet injuries he sustained from the horrific attack by a lone gunman during a baseball practice in June. The entire House welcomed our colleague back with a standing ovation and thunderous applause.
Launched a Discharge Petition, a procedural tool allowing a majority of the House (218) to force a vote on any bill, on the DREAM Act
This week I joined a bipartisan effort in the House by signing a Discharge Petition to force a floor vote on the DREAM Act. This bill provides undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children the opportunity to earn legal status and eventual citizenship if they graduate from U.S. high schools, are of good moral character, and have no criminal record and have been in the country continuously for four years. During that time, the student must pursue higher education, serve in the military, or work lawfully for at least three years.
A Discharge Petition is an important procedural tool in the House which allows a majority of the entire House—218 Members—to force a floor vote on any bill.
It was heartbreaking when President Trump terminated DACA earlier this month, putting the status of 800,000 DREAMers in jeopardy. My hope is that the Speaker of the House will allow this legislation to be brought to the floor for a vote, which I believe would pass today on a bipartisan basis.
Defeat of Trumpcare in the Senate, Again
This week Republicans in the Senate tried and failed once again to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with their disastrous Trumpcare bill. This version of Trumpcare was the worst yet, leaving more Americans uninsured, and paying more for less coverage. The bill would have completely eviscerated the Medicaid expansion, stripped away protections for people with preexisting conditions, and destabilized the individual insurance market.
Every defeat of Trumpcare up to this point has been a direct result of the determination of the American people to organize, protest and make their voices heard. Now it’s time for Congress to work together to improve the Affordable Care Act with commonsense solutions so that all Americans can have the best quality of health care at affordable prices.
Republicans Introduce Long-Awaited Tax Framework
This week, Congressional Republicans unveiled their framework for overhauling our nation’s tax code.
It is still very early in the planning stages without specifics. However, the plan does target for elimination the state and local tax deduction for the middle class and I firmly oppose this.
Stay tuned for specifics which I will report to you as they become available.
LEGISLATION ANNA CO-SPONSORED THIS WEEK
H.R. 3314, the 100 by ’50 Act
This week I became a cosponsor of the 100 by ’50 Act, which would require 100 percent of U.S. electricity generation to be from renewable sources by 2050. This legislation places a moratorium on new fossil fuel power plants and pipelines after 2021 and eliminates fossil fuel subsidies from the tax code immediately. The bill provides significant funding for transitioning to clean electricity and transportation, and authorizes the sale of government-backed “Climate Bonds” to fund these investments. Importantly, the 100 by ’50 Act provides significant funding for unemployment compensation and retraining for workers displaced from the fossil fuel industry.
My constituent, Professor Mark Jacobson of Stanford, has written several papers about how the transition to 100% renewable energy, while costly, is possible from an engineering perspective and he assisted in the drafting of this important legislation.
H.R. 3174, the CHANCE in TECH Act
One of my top priorities in Congress is to ensure that the United States continues to lead the world in the fields of telecommunications and technology. One of the ways to ensure this is to prepare our current and future workforce for the growing number of unfilled tech jobs in our country.
This week I became a cosponsor of the CHANCE in TECH Act, which creates public-private partnerships to serve as intermediaries between employers participating in registered apprenticeship programs, industry and training partners, and government entities. The legislation aims to address the growing skills gap and train workers to fill the more than 500,000 current tech job openings in our country. That number is estimated to rise to 1.8 million unfilled jobs by 2024.
POLICY LETTERS ANNA WROTE AND COSIGNED THIS WEEK
Letter to Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai on Sputnik’s influence in the 2016 Presidential Election
Last week, I lead a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, urging him to investigate the Russian government-funded radio network Sputnik’s use of U.S. airwaves during the 2016 presidential election. Several reports allege that Sputnik used U.S. airwaves to influence the 2016 presidential election by spreading false news reports attempting to undermine U.S. democracy, including reports that imply the U.S. election results were hacked or rigged.
The Communications Act of 1934 gives the FCC power to take action to ensure broadcast licensees act in the public interest. In the letter, I ask Chairman Pai if the FCC will use this power to investigate whether broadcast licensees are contravening the public interest by retransmitting radio programing funded by the Russian government in an effort to influence U.S. polices and elections. The letter further inquires what steps the FCC will take if these allegations prove true. To read the full letter, CLICK HERE.
Letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price Regarding Maintenance of Healthcare.gov
Last week, an internal HHS presentation was leaked that announced that HealthCare.gov will be brought offline for maintenance every Sunday (except one) during open enrollment between 12:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. This is one of the most popular times for consumers to shop for health insurance plans on HealthCare.gov.
This week, I was a signator to a letter that expresses concern about the decision to take HealthCare.gov offline for 12 hours every week, and we asked Secretary Price to answer questions regarding HHS’s decision to do maintenance on the HealthCare.gov website during the peak web traffic hours. Interrupting health care outreach efforts will compound the damage from the Administration’s already devastating cuts, just two months before open enrollment begins.
Letter to President Trump Demanding Resources for Recovery Efforts in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are suffering from a total obliteration due to the devastating hurricanes of Irma and Maria. Its residents are our fellow U.S. citizens and to date our efforts to save lives has been slow and insufficient. The areas have massive power outages, no water, no food, no fuel and no communication systems.
I joined with over 144 of my colleagues in writing to President Trump imploring him to direct the Department of Defense (DOD) to deploy additional resources to aid the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. We specifically requested that the DOD appoint a senior general to oversee all recovery efforts, deploy the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier to deliver aid and to increase personnel to assist local law enforcement. Every minute counts for the millions of people who are desperate for the most basic needs to survive.
This week I had the opportunity to meet with the American College of Rheumatology, an organization committed to improving the care of patients with rheumatic diseases. I’m proud to have introduced a bipartisan resolution designating September as Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month with Rep. David McKinley (R-WV). It’s essential to increase national attention to a growing and costly healthcare issue and begin taking steps to ease the physical and financial burden for Americans suffering from rheumatic diseases.
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:
· 152 constituents contacted me in opposition to Graham-Cassidy, the latest version of Trumpcare that failed in the Senate this week
· 122 constituents expressed their opposition to the SHARE Act, a hunting bill that currently includes a controversial gun silencer provision
· 82 constituents wrote to me to express their support for providing disaster relief to our fellow American citizens in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
ANNA IN THE NEWS
Anna’s legislation is frequently written about in the news. Here are some excerpts from this week’s ‘Anna in the News’
Reuters- “Lawmakers want watchdog to probe Russian radio's 'propaganda' in U.S.”
Three Democratic lawmakers want the U.S. communications watchdog to investigate whether the Russian government-funded radio station and news site Sputnik violated government regulations by broadcasting programs aimed at influencing U.S. policies and elections.
Sputnik radio began airing in the Washington area in late June at a sensitive time for relations between the United States and Russia with a special counsel and Congress looking into U.S. intelligence agency allegations that Moscow tried to swing the 2016 presidential election in Republican Donald Trump’s favor. Russia has repeatedly denied meddling in the election.” To read the full article, CLICK HERE.
Hollywood Reporter- “We are Witnessing the Elimination of Christian Communities in Iraq and Syria”
“On Sept.19, three Democratic lawmakers urged the Federal Communications Commission to investigate if the Kremlin-funded news site and radio station Sputnik broke government regulations by broadcasting propaganda. The move came as more proof that diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and Russia have spilled over into the media industry.
"In Washington, D.C., listeners need only tune their radios to 105.5 FM to hear the Russian government’s effort to influence U.S. policy," reads a statement signed by Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Representatives Anna Eshoo (Dem-CA) and Mike Doyle (Dem-PA).” 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