Weekly Update From Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo
It was a very short week in Congress. The late Reverend Billy Graham, who passed away last week at the age of 99, is lying in honor in the Capitol for the remainder of the week, only the fourth American citizen to do so.
Highlights of What Anna Did This Week
Signed two Discharge Petitions, a procedural tool allowing a majority of the House (218) to force a vote on any bill—one on the Thompson-King Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act and one on the Background Check Completion Act of 2017
The two Discharge Petitions I signed are bills that I believe will help reduce gun violence in America. The Thompson-King bill provides resources to help states strengthen and expand the background checks system and closes a number of gun sale loopholes. The Background Check Completion Act of 2017 closes the “Charleston loophole” to prohibit a licensed gun dealer from selling a firearm to an unlicensed person until a background check is completed.
Congress has a moral responsibility to take action to prevent gun deaths. Thoughts and prayers are not enough, and the majority of Americans want to see action to prevent senseless gun violence like the latest tragedy that just unfolded in Parkland, Florida, leaving all of us in a state of shock and grief.
Legislation Anna Introduced and Cosponsored This Week
Cosponsored H.R. 5087, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2018
As part of the Congressional effort to curb gun violence in our country, I cosponsored the Assault Weapons Ban of 2018, which prohibits the sale, transfer, manufacture, and importation of assault weapons.
The federal ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines was in place from 1994 until Congress shamefully allowed it to expire in 2004 under a Republican-controlled Congress. Since the ban expired, assault weapons have been used in mass shootings in Newtown, San Bernardino, Orlando, Las Vegas, and Parkland.
When an assault weapon or a high-capacity magazine is used in a shooting, the number of victims who are killed increases by 63%. These weapons are meant for battlefields, not our streets and our schools.
Original Cosponsor of the Net Neutrality Congressional Review Act
Last week FCC Chairman Pai published his Order to completely repeal net neutrality protections, ultimately setting in stone the destruction of a free and open internet.
As a result, the fight to protect net neutrality has now moved to Congress. I’m proud to be an original cosponsor of the Congressional Review Act (CRA), legislation introduced this week that can overturn the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality. The CRA will fully restore the 2015 Open Internet Order, which prohibits internet service providers from blocking, slowing down, or discriminating against content online. The CRA needs the full support of 214 House members, and I’m working tirelessly to get us there. Pai’s repeal of net neutrality rules will lead to higher prices for consumers, slower internet traffic, and even blocked websites. The CRA is the next step in ensuring that doesn’t happen.
Cosponsored H.R. 4733 Opioids and STOP Pain Initiative Act
This week I cosponsored the Opioids and STOP Pain Initiative Act, legislation that establishes a new large-scale initiative at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to expand research on opioid misuse, the understanding of pain, and the discovery of non-addictive, non-opioid alternatives to prevent pain.
Our country is in the midst of an opioid crisis, yet we don’t have a solid understanding of how to treat pain without using addictive opioids. This legislation will help researchers to find alternative treatments for pain so we can stop an opioid addiction before it begins.
Policy Letters Anna Wrote and Cosigned This Week
Letter to Speaker Paul Ryan on the Use of Military Force in Syria
The Constitution states that Congress has a duty to debate and vote on the country’s ongoing military operations. Yet last month, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson voiced his intention to commit U.S. troops to an indefinite military presence in Syria without consulting Congress.
This week I joined colleagues in writing to Speaker Paul Ryan, demanding that Congress debate and vote on a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) for U.S. forces in Syria. I believe the President must present a strategy and seek the approval of Congress before any additional military action is taken against ISIS and al-Qaeda in Syria, other nations’ military forces, or other non-state actors. We owe it to our brave troops and the American people to have this debate.
I had the special opportunity this week to join the students and faculty at Monta Loma Elementary School to speak with astronauts at the International Space Station. The International Space Station shows us what human beings can achieve. It was made possible because students like the ones I was with today became scientists, mathematicians, engineers and mathematicians and figured out how to make it all happen.
I’m proud to have rallied with my House and Senate Colleagues this week to restore net neutrality protections.
Millions of Americans from across the political spectrum want to preserve net neutrality. They couldn’t convince the FCC Chairman to do the right thing last year, but I believe their elected Senators and Representatives will be responsive if those millions of voters make their voices heard. We are fighting hard to win because we believe we’re on the right side of history.
This week Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and I launched the bipartisan Congressional Biodefense Caucus which is dedicated to strengthening our nation’s biodefense preparedness and our national security. Biodefense spans the threats we know about such as preventing the weaponization of small pox or anthrax, and responding to threats we can only imagine. This Caucus will play a significant role in ensuring all Americans are protected against these threats by raising awareness of the importance of a strong biodefense enterprise.
I authored bipartisan legislation that became law with then-Representative Richard Burr that established the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness (ASPR) and Response and the Biomedical Advanced Research Development Authority (BARDA) in 2006, following the September 11th and the deadly anthrax attacks. The law coordinates our response to the evolving threats our nation faces, including chemical, biologic, nuclear, and radiological weapons and infectious diseases, as well as natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires. Before 2006, our government did not have an agency that acted to coordinate our preparedness and response activities. Through ASPR and BARDA, our government is investing in important research and preparedness so we are better equipped to face evolving threats.
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:
· 246 constitutions wrote to me in support of gun control measures.
· 223 constituents wrote to me in support of net neutrality.
· 165 constituents wrote to me in opposition to the President’s budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Anna’s Recommended Reading
Frequently, I read articles or see videos that I think my constituents would benefit from.
Newsweek- “Five Gun Control Bills Congress Could Pass Right now in the Wake of the Florida Shooting”
As Congress debates the best way to prevent another mass shooting, we have dozens of federal gun control bills that present potential solutions—but they’ve been stalled in Congress. This article from Newsweek outlines five pieces of legislation that Congress could vote on today.
Washington Post Op-Ed- “Shocker: Democrats’ predictions about the GOP tax cut are coming true”
When we debated the GOP tax bill last year, I argued that the effects from this bill will exacerbate the widening gap between the wealthiest in America and everyone else. This Op-Ed from the Washington Post explains how corporations are using the majority of their savings from the tax law for stock buybacks, which worsen economic inequality because the benefits of stocks purchases flow disproportionately to the richest Americans.
The Atlantic- “What I Saw Treating the Victims from Parkland Should Change the Debate About Guns”
This harrowing account from one of the emergency room surgeons during the Parkland, Florida shooting explains what happens to the human body when someone is shot by an AR-15, and why they have no place in our communities.
You can find more press releases, commentary and information on issues at my website, eshoo.house.gov. And please visit Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for more ways to stay informed.