Anna's Weekly Update
Highlights of What Congress Did This Week
Passage of the Senate GOP Tax Plan
On Friday in the dead of night the Senate passed its own destructive tax plan. Like the House bill, it showers large multinational corporations with tax breaks at the expense of middle class families. According to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, the proposal would increase taxes on millions of middle class families. It also repeals the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate which will cause 13 million Americans to lose health insurance and increase premiums by 10% for millions of other Americans. The Senate bill permanently cuts the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% adding $1 trillion to the national debt.
It bulldozes the state and local tax (SALT) deduction. In our Congressional District nearly 200,000 of my constituents claimed an average of $31,193 in 2015. It sunsets all cuts to personal income tax rates included in the bill in 2025, while keeping lucrative tax cuts in place for large multinational corporations at a time when they are seeing record profits..
The Senate tax bill also opens the Arctic Ocean and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska to destructive oil and gas drilling, threatening air and water quality across the 19 million acres of pristine protected lands.
Now that the Senate has passed its tax bill, the legislation will have to be ‘conferenced’ with the House version (H.R. 1). The differences must be then reconciled before a final version passes the House and the Senate and then signed into law by the President. Republicans want to see a bill on the President’s desk before Christmas. I will continue fighting with every fiber of my being to stop this, unfair, unbalanced, and fiscally irresponsible effort that dims the future of our country, robs the middle class and places debt on future generations.
Legislation Anna Co-Sponsored This Week
H.R. 4396, the Member and Employee Training and Oversight on Congress (ME TOO) Act
Our country has reached a watershed moment over the last few months regarding sexual harassment and assault, and it is critical to meet this moment by completely overhauling how the House of Representatives implements accountability and transparency. I’m proud to cosponsor the ME TOO Act, which reforms how harassment allegations and resolution are handled in the House. The bill requires annual anti-harassment training, discontinuation of the current requirement that a victim and the accused are required to participate in “mandatory mediation,” and gives Interns and Fellows the same workplace protections as full time staff.
Cosponsored and voted in favor of House Resolution 630
This week the House unanimously passed a resolution to mandate annual anti-harassment training for all Members of Congress and their staff in the House of Representatives. I’m proud to support this important resolution to reinforce that harassment of any kind has no place in Congress. The passage of this resolution is only the first step toward affirming a culture of zero tolerance for harassment.
Cosponsored H.R. 4444, Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act
All Americans should have the opportunity to retire with dignity and financial security, and multiemployer pension plans provide this security to millions of American workers. Multiemployer plans are collectively bargained pension plans covering employees of two or more employers. Although multiemployer pension plans have been successful historically, today a significant number of these plans have funding problems and many of them are almost certain to run out of money. If they do, retirees, workers, and their families who rely on these plans would lose benefits earned over a lifetime of work through no fault of their own.
The Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act would save these retirees and workers benefits through a private-public partnership. Under the proposal, private investors would be able to purchase highly attractive, long-term Treasury Bonds backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. The money from the sale of the bonds would then be lent at low interest rates to the financially troubled pension plans so that the plans will have time and assistance to grow their assets and pay promised benefits.
H.R. 2575, the Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification Act of 2017
This week, I cosponsored the BENES Act of 2017, which requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to notify seniors when they become eligible for Medicare Part B and simplifies the enrollment process. More Americans are delaying retirement and not automatically enrolling in Medicare Part B when becoming eligible, facing challenges, fines and penalties when they seek to enroll. This important bill requires the government to notify individuals of their potential eligibility for Medicare Part B and restructures the enrollment period to make it easier for seniors.
Policy Letters Anna Wrote and Cosigned This Week
Letter to House Leadership in Support of Firefighter Grants Programs
On September 30, 2017, the authorization for three critical firefighter grant programs which have expired. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG), Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Act (SAFER) and Fire Prevention and Safety grant programs (FP&S) all provide federal funding to local firefighting companies for equipment and staffing, including recent grants to the Ben Lomond Fire Protection District and San Jose Fire Department in our Congressional District. If Congress does not take action to reauthorize these programs, they will cease to exist by January 2, 2018.
I joined colleagues this week in writing a letter urging House Leadership to immediately take up and pass legislation from the Senate that maintains the current funding levels through for these programs through 2023.
Eshoo Statement on FCC Evisceration of Net Neutrality
“On November 21st FCC Chairman Pai confirmed his long-term goal to unravel net neutrality protections, demonstrating that he is on the wrong side of history, startups, consumers and the public interest. As millions of Americans have voiced their support for a free and open internet, Chairman Pai’s proposal hands the internet over to the largest Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who can throttle, assess a toll or block content.” To read the full press release, CLICK HERE.
This week I spoke on the House Floor about the importance of net neutrality and what the Internet will look like without these rules. We must hold Chairman Pai accountable for putting profits before people and continue fighting to keep the internet free and open for the American public, where it belongs.
This week I once again spoke on the House Floor demanding a vote on the Presidential Tax Transparency Act, my bipartisan legislation that would force President Trump to release his tax returns. As the Republicans are working in overdrive to pass a dishonest tax bill, we need to know how the bill will benefit one taxpayer in particular: the President of the United States.
ANNA IN THE NEWS
Frequently, Anna’s legislation is written about in the news. Here are some excerpts from this week’s ‘Anna in the News’
The Hill- “GOP rejects Dem effort to demand Trump’s tax returns ahead of Senate vote”
“House Republicans on Wednesday rebuffed a Democratic attempt to demand President Trump release his tax returns to show how he would be affected by the GOP’s tax overhaul.
“The latest effort from Democrats as part of a procedural vote failed along party lines ahead of an expected vote in the Senate this week to pass the Republican tax-reform plan.
“Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), the author of legislation to require presidents and major-party presidential candidates to disclose their three previous years of returns, said the public should know how and if Trump would benefit from the overhaul.” To read the full article, CLICK HERE.
Buzzfeed- “The Internet is Probably Going to Lose its Net Neutrality Rules in December”
“On 11/21 the FCC moved to repeal Net Neutrality rules that prohibit internet service providers from blocking or slowing websites, or charging a premium for "fast lanes" for specific services or higher-quality streaming.
“FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who Trump appointed this year, officially proposed the revocation of these rules, which treat internet service providers like Comcast and AT&T as public utilities. The rules could be scrapped as soon as this December when the FCC meets to vote on Pai's proposal. The vote is expected to go in favor of Pai's proposal.
“The net neutrality protections have advanced competition and innovation, created more startups and entrepreneurs, and have been judicially approved. Repealing these protections is an assault on what has made the internet what it is… an open and dynamic platform," California Rep. Anna Eshoo said in a statement.” To read the full article, CLICK HERE.
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:
- 709 constituents wrote to me to express their support for net neutrality.
- 203 constituents wrote to me in support of the Food and Farm Act, an alternative to the Farm Bill that resets spending priorities, promotes healthy food, and provides innovative, performance-based solutions to environmental challenges.
- 202 constituents wrote to me in opposition of the Senate GOP Tax Plan
Anna’s Recommended Reading
Frequently, I read articles or see videos that I think my constituents would benefit from.
The San Francisco Chronicle published an excellent editorial last week that breaks down FCC Chairman Pai’s argument against net neutrality and why his approach doesn’t give the full story. They claim that if the Republican majority of commission members goes along as expected in December, then major service providers who bring the Internet to your door will have enormous say over what’s available and at what price.
In this editorial, the Washington Post lays out all of the dangerous facts of the Senate’s version of the GOP tax plan. The editorial board calls on the Republican Party to call this piece of legislative malpractice out for what it is.
All my best,
Anna G. Eshoo