On Monday, we awakened to the horrific news of the largest mass shooting in our country’s history. There are simply no words to describe the cowardly act of violence in Las Vegas. My prayers are with the families who lost their loved ones, for all those injured, and for the bravery of the first responders, law enforcement and so many others.
But we need more than thoughts and prayers. We need sensible national legislation to make our communities safer. Read more on what Congress can do to prevent another tragedy here.
HIGHLIGHTS OF WHAT CONGRESS DID THIS WEEK
Voted on Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Resolution
This week House Republicans brought a radical budget to the House Floor which makes drastic cuts including slashing $5.4 trillion from top priorities like education, infrastructure, research, veteran benefits and programs that expand opportunities for America’s families.
The budget includes a provision that repeals the Affordable Care Act, cutting $1.1 trillion from Medicaid and ending the Medicare Guarantee which ensures benefits for future retirees. Instead, vouchers would be issued toward the purchase of a private health plan or traditional Medicare, essentially privatizing Medicare.
The key reason House Republicans are passing this budget this week—six months after the statutory deadline—is to clear a path for their tax plan to pass the Senate with only 51 votes, rather than 60. According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, their tax plan would increase the deficit by $2.4 trillion over 10 years.
Voted on H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
This week Republicans decided to launch yet another attack on women’s health by passing the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This legislation prohibits the performance or attempted performance of an abortion after 20 weeks, and punishes physicians harshly who violate the law.
Over my entire service in Congress I’ve defended the reproductive rights of women. I’ve fought against the Trumpcare plans that would eliminate funding and access to the health care providers of a woman’s choosing. This bill is yet another attack on a woman’s right to decide what is best for her and her body. Women, not politicians, should be able to make health decisions that are best for their own circumstances.
LEGISLATION ANNA CO-SPONSORED THIS WEEK
The Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act
Once again I’m an original cosponsor of the Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act, legislation which would effectively ban online sales of ammunition by requiring the purchaser to present photo identification in person at the time of purchase. This is already the law for online firearm sales for licensed dealers, but the rules are not aligned for ammunition sales.
The shooter in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting in 2012 purchased over 6,000 rounds of ammunition online without oversight or detection by law enforcement. While it is still unknown how the killer in Las Vegas amassed his arsenal, it is known that he had over 40 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition. This bill would also require licensed sellers to report to the U.S. Attorney General any sales of more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition to a single buyer.
The Equal Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act
This week I cosponsored the Equal Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act, legislation that would give victims of law-breaking gun makers and dealers their day in court by repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).
PLCAA provides immunity in state and federal court from civil liability for manufacturers, distributors, and dealers of firearms, as well as their trade associations, in most negligence and product liability lawsuits. This immunity from liability under well-established common law principles that apply to everyone else in society is unique to the gun industry. As a result, gun makers and sellers have a lesser obligation to act with reasonable care for the safety of the public. It also means that gun sellers can turn a blind eye to straw purchasers or traffickers who may buy hundreds of weapons and traffic them to others with no background check whatsoever. As most gun companies are responsible businesses, this immunity only protects the worst actors in the industry.
H.R. 1094, Weekend Voting Act
I firmly believe that strong voter turnout is essential to a healthy democracy, yet, U.S. voter turnout is consistently among the lowest of all established democracies, in part because of when we hold our elections. Holding Election Day during the work week is an outdated requirement that makes it harder for Americans to vote.
To help increase voter turnout, I’m a cosponsor of the Weekend Voting Act which moves Election Day to the first Saturday and Sunday after the first Friday in November for all federal elections. As many foreign countries have shown, weekend voting improves turnout and makes it easier for hourly workers who cannot reach the polls on a Tuesday to cast their vote.
POLICY LETTERS ANNA WROTE AND COSIGNED THIS WEEK
Letter Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Requesting Hearings on Market Stabilization
This week, I joined all 24 Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats asking Committee Chairman Walden to hold immediate hearings to consider measures to stabilize the health insurance markets. With only a month to go before the open enrollment season, the window of opportunity to stabilize markets and bring down premiums for millions of Americans is quickly closing.
There have been several hearings in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee last month on proposals to stabilize the individual insurance markets and reduce costs for consumers. Our letter requests a similar opportunity to receive testimony from stakeholders and to evaluate bipartisan policy solutions in a public forum.
Letter to President Trump Opposing cuts to FY18 Refugee Admissions
The President recently announced that he was setting the Fiscal Year 2018 level for refugee admissions into the U.S. at 45,000. This number is the lowest level that has ever been set since the enactment of the Refugee Act in 1980 gave the President exclusive authority to set refugee admission levels.
In our letter to the President this week, we expressed disappointment in his decision to close our doors to refugees, despite the fact that there are currently over 22 million refugees in the world. Our letter calls on the President to set the refugee admission number for FY18 at 110,000, which is the level President Obama set for FY17.
Letter to President Trump Urging Him to Keep the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Iran Deal) in Place
Since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known as the Iran Deal, has been in place, U.S. military and intelligence officials have continued to verify that Iran has honored its obligations under the agreement regarding their nuclear weapons program, however, the President’s rhetoric implies that he is considering walking away from the deal and may withhold certification of Iran’s compliance under the JCPOA.
Together with many House colleagues, including some who voted against the JCPOA, I was a signator on a letter this week urging the President not to withhold certification on the JCPOA absent credible evidence of a material breach by Iran. My colleagues and I are united in the belief that enforcing this agreement to the fullest extent will provide the United States with more leverage to stop a potential Iranian nuclear weapons program and push back on Iran’s destabilizing activities.
This week Richard Smith, the ex-CEO of Equifax testified at a Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee on the massive data breach that has compromised the sensitive personal information of over 143 million Americans, the largest breach in American history. I questioned Mr. Smith as to what Equifax is doing to make consumers whole and what measures they are taking to ensure security breaches of this scale do not occur again.
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:
· 153 constituents wrote to me expressing their support for commonsense gun control measures that would help avoid another tragedy like the most recent one in Las Vegas massacre
· 401 constituents expressed their opposition to the SHARE Act, a hunting bill that currently includes a controversial gun silencer provision
· 419 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’
Buzzfeed- “‘Equifax Deserves To Be Shamed’: Former Credit Bureau CEO Faces Bipartisan Criticism”
“Over the course of about three hours, Richard Smith, who was until last week the chief executive officer of the credit reporting agency Equifax, repeatedly apologized to American consumers while Congress grilled him about how his company could have let sensitive personal information of up to 145.5 million Americans get hacked, exposing all of them to potential harm.
"It seem to me you’ve accomplished something no one else has been able to accomplish: you’ve brought Democrats and Republicans together in outrage and frustration over what’s happened," Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat, told Smith towards the end of his three-hour testimony, the first of four hearings he is scheduled to attend this week. To read the full article, CLICK HERE.
ANNA’S RECOMMENDED READING
Frequently, I read articles or see videos that I think my constituents would benefit from.
Remarks of Lt. General Jay Silveria on Combatting Racism
I was deeply moved by the powerful remarks given by Lieutenant General Jay Silveria, the Superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado. After five African-American cadet candidates found racial slurs written on the doors of their dorm rooms, Lt. Gen. Silveria gathered the cadets together and forcefully denounced the cowardly acts of racism in a speech that has gained national attention. I hope you will watch this. His remarks are a masterpiece of a patriot.
San Francisco Chronicle- “Huge Genetic Study to Search for Custom Treatments”
Researchers are getting ready to recruit more than one million people for an unprecedented study to learn how our genes, environments and lifestyles interact — and to finally develop custom ways to prevent and treat disease.
This article delves into a new project the National Institutes of Health is working on that will push what’s called ‘precision medicine,’ using traits that make us unique in learning to forecast health and treat disease.
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