Anna's Weekly Update
On the eve of a possible shutdown of the federal government, I want my constituents to know that my offices in Palo Alto and Washington, D.C. will remain open. I will send a separate newsletter about what you should know if, in fact, there is a shutdown.
Highlights of What Congress Did This Week
Voted NO on a Continuing Resolution to Fund the Government
This week House Republicans brought their fourth consecutive short-term funding bill to the Floor for a vote. This Continuing Resolution ends on February 16th. Funding the government for only a few days or weeks at a time is a highly irresponsible way to govern. It is now four months into the new fiscal year and the Majority has failed to bring a budget forward, despite having control of the White House, the Senate and the House.
There are many critically important issues that have bipartisan support that need to be dealt with, including the funding of Community Health Centers across the country that serve 29 million Americans; the issue of nearly 800,000 young people facing deportation since the President ended the DACA program in September 2017; funding necessary for our national security-related agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department; and making sure that 9 million children in our country have health insurance (CHIP).
Senate Democrats have also voiced their opposition to any spending bill that does not address these important issues. If the Senate fails to pass a short-term spending bill, the government will shut down at midnight tonight, Friday, January 19th.
Legislation Anna Introduced and Co-Sponsored This Week
Introduced series of Bills to Expand Access to Broadband, Reduce Costs and Increase Choice
This week I introduced three bills relating to broadband with the goals of expanding access, reducing costs and increasing consumer choice. They are a set of commonsense, targeted proposals designed to empower states and local governments to bridge the digital divide.
The first one is the Broadband Conduit Deployment Act, commonly referred to as ‘Dig Once.’ This legislation mandates the inclusion of broadband conduit—plastic pipes which house fiber-optic communications cable—during the construction of any road receiving federal funding. This practice will eliminate the need to dig up paved roads to expand broadband infrastructure, significantly reducing the cost of increasing Internet access to underserved communities across the country.
The second bill is the Community Broadband Act, legislation that will empower local communities to ensure their residents have broadband access by preserving the right to provide community-owned service to consumers. The bill prohibits states from writing laws that disallow local governments from building their own broadband, providing localities with the protections they need from state preemption.
The third bill is the CLIMB ONCE Act. It will cut down on the time and cost of deploying new broadband equipment on poles by applying “one touch” make-ready policies. It allows for a list of pre-approved contractors that pole owners agree on to proceed with make-ready work, eliminating the need for multiple contractors. A more efficient make-ready process can attract more broadband providers to a community, leading to better service, lower prices, faster speeds and more choices for consumers.
Two of the three bills have bipartisan support and have attracted the support of public interest organizations who are committed to expanding broadband access across the country (Link to Public Knowledge press release). To read more about these bills, CLICK HERE.
Cosponsored Resolution Censuring President Donald Trump for Racist Remarks against Haiti and African Countries
This week I cosponsored a Resolution condemning President Trump’s profane, hateful, and racist comments during a meeting with Members of Congress to discuss a proposed bipartisan immigration compromise. The Resolution outlines the condemnation of many countries in the international community and states that the President’s statements cannot and should not be the basis of any American policy.
The Resolution also calls on President Trump to “retract and apologize for his hateful and racist remarks and the offense they have caused.” To read the Resolution, CLICK HERE.
Cosponsored H.R. 1409, the Cancer Drug Parity Act
This week I cosponsored the Cancer Drug Parity Act, legislation that brings employer-sponsored health insurance coverage in line with current cancer treatment technology. Historically, IV and injected treatments were the primary methods of chemotherapy delivery and are covered under a health plan’s medical benefit requiring the patient to only pay a small office visit co-pay. Oral chemotherapy has become more prevalent and is the standard of care for many types of cancer but these treatments are subject to much higher coinsurance payments. This bill requires certain health plans that offer coverage of cancer treatments to cover oral treatments at costs no higher than IV and injected treatments.
This week I spoke on the floor of the House to urge the Speaker to allow the bipartisan DREAM Act to be brought up for a vote. We owe it to the 800,000 DREAMers in our country who are terrified about what will become of them if Congress doesn’t live up to its promise to protect them.
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’s a snapshot of the issues constituents wrote and called me about this week:
- 969 constitutions wrote to me to express their support for net neutrality.
- 225 constituents wrote to me in support of the DREAM Act.
- 150 constituents wrote to me in support of the Temporary Protected Status designation.
Anna’s Recommended Reading
Frequently, I read articles or see videos that I think my constituents would benefit from.
Washington Post- “Ignore the President. Vote on the DACA Deal”
Last week a bipartisan group of Senators put forward a proposal to provide protection and legal status for DREAMers. This Washington Post editorial urges Congress to ignore the President and vote on a compromise as soon as possible.