Weekly Update From Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo
Highlights of What Congress Did This Week
Passed RAY BAUM’S ACT
The floor activity in the House this week was very light, however, the House did pass the RAY BAUM’S Act to reauthorize the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The bill is named after former Energy and Commerce Committee Staff Director Ray Baum, a champion of telecommunications policy, who lost his battle with cancer in February 2018.
This legislation will make the FCC more transparent, efficient, and modern, while strengthening our nation’s critical telecommunications services. I’m especially proud to have two bills I wrote and have championed for many years included in this legislation: ‘Dig Once’ and the RESPONSE Act. Both bills are commonsense and won’t cost a dime.
My ‘Dig Once’ policy 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 recently-paved roads to expand broadband infrastructure, significantly reducing the cost of increasing Internet access to underserved communities across the country. It’s so commonsense I’ve always wondered why this policy wasn’t put into place years ago!
The RESPONSE Act will provide first responders with the precise location of a 9-1-1 caller, whether they’re on the 20th floor of a hotel or the 30th story of an office building. This is not available in our country today. Every second counts to save lives during emergencies, and location technology is essential for first responders to get to those in danger as quickly as possible.
Policy Letters Anna Wrote and Cosigned This Week
Letter to President Trump Urging him to Impose Bipartisan Sanctions on Russia
In July 2017, the House passed a bill with an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 419 to 3, requiring the Administration to impose defense and intelligence sanctions on entities purchasing Russian military equipment as punishment for Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. elections. The Senate also passed these sanctions by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 98 to 2, and the President signed the legislation into law.
In January 2018, the Administration announced that they would not implement the law.
This week I joined House colleagues in writing to President Trump, urging him to implement what he signed into law by imposing the sanctions on Russia to demonstrate that the security of our country and the integrity of our elections are sacrosanct. Over the last year the President has given his consistent support to President Putin and denied Russia’s serious and purposeful interference in our 2016 national election. With this latest inaction, he is ignoring the very law he signed, and signaling to Russia he will do nothing to stop their future interference in our elections.
It was a wonderful honor to receive the first ever Turn Cancer Upside Down Award from the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation in recognition of my legislative work championing cancer research, education and survivorship. Scott Hamilton, a former U.S. Olympic gold medal recipient, founder of the CARES Foundation and cancer survivor, has devoted himself to raising awareness about cutting-edge research for cancer treatments and is a tireless advocate for those who face this dreaded disease. What a privilege to meet Scott and thank him for his superb advocacy for so many in our country.
As a member of the Health Subcommittee, much of my legislative work has centered around advancing research for cancer patients. I draw great inspiration from the researchers at Stanford University who are developing treatments every day so cancer no longer is a death sentence.
When people ask me what business I’m in, I always respond by saying “I’m in the business of hope.” As long as this disease continues to walk into so many lives, I will continue to champion these causes in Congress.
I was very excited to welcome Natalie Coughlin to my office this week, a three-time U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist, to talk about the importance of improving personal health. We also discussed Natalie’s impressive record representing the United States as a swimmer at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
In the Words of My Constituents
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:
· 289 constitutions wrote to me in support of gun control measures.
· 190 constituents wrote to me in support of the reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund
· 97 constituents wrote to me in support of labor and environmental standards in the renegotiation of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
Anna’s Recommended Reading
Frequently, I read articles or see videos that I think my constituents would benefit from.
Wall Street Journal- “Test Your Smarts on… Student Debt”
Did you know that 44 million Americans carry student debt in our country? Did you also know that the average student debt at graduation for a bachelor’s degree recipient is an estimated $39,423?
Student-loan debt has been on an upward trajectory over the past two decades. This quiz from the Wall Street Journal is a good “explainer” on the vexing problem of rising student debt.
New York Times Op-Ed- “How a Bad Law and a Big Mistake Drove My Mentally Ill Son Away”
This heartbreaking account from Norm Ornstein, one of our nation’s foremost Congressional scholars, details his son’s struggle with mental illness and warns that until we devote the resources necessary to making the mental health system work, we will continue to have unnecessary tragedies in our country.
San Jose Mercury News- “Bay Area homeowners hit hardest in new federal tax law”
This article from the San Jose Mercury News reports how residents in the Bay Area, including our Congressional District (CA-18), will be hit hardest by the new tax law. Economists expect the tax changes to drive up overall home ownership costs in California and decrease the inventory of homes for sale.
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.