Weekly Update From Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo
Highlights of What Congress Did This Week
French President Emmanuel Macron Addressed a Joint Session of Congress
It was exciting to welcome French President Emmanuel Macron to Congress this week in what is called a Joint Session of Congress. President Macron highlighted the long and resilient relationship between our two countries and stressed the importance of U.S. leadership in the world.
President Macron called on the United States to reclaim its role as a global leader in combatting climate change by rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, rightfully arguing that “there is no Planet B.” American leadership was surrendered when the new Administration withdrew the U.S. from the Agreement last year.
President Macron also discouraged the United States from abandoning the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran Nuclear Agreement, which has halted Iran’s pursuit to becoming a nuclear state. He spoke eloquently about how abandoning this agreement could lead to another war in the Middle East and would make the United States seem feckless, a nation whose word cannot be trusted.
It was inspiring to hear this young leader eloquently reaffirm the commitment of both our countries to freedom and respect for human rights throughout the world.
Voted NO on the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization
This week, the House passed legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the first long-term update to the law that governs this important agency since 2012. This bill includes provisions to improve airline safety, strengthen the rights of passengers, and promote controlled testing of commercial unmanned aerial vehicles.
While the underlying bill includes a pilot program to find innovative ways to reduce noise in our communities and a study of the health effects of aircraft noise on communities near large airports, including the Northern California Metroplex, my constituents do not need new studies to tell them that aircraft noise diminishes their quality of life because they experience it every day. What they need is for the FAA to take action to reduce the noise. The bill unfortunately fails to do that, and I voted against it.
I’m committed to continuing to work with the FAA and the hundreds of engaged constituents in my District until this issue is resolved, but I could not vote for hollow legislation that does nothing to address airplane noise due to the NextGen Program launched by the FAA.
Legislation Anna Cosponsored this Week
Introduced the Help Americans Never Get Unwanted Phone Calls (HANGUP) Act
No one should be subjected to harassing or unwanted robocalls, whether they come from a government contractor or anywhere else, and it’s why I introduced the HANGUP Act this week. The legislation protects anyone with a federal loan (student loans, mortgages, veterans’ loans, and farming loans) from unwanted robocalls and texts, specifically to their mobile phones.
The bill rescinds an enacted provision in the Budget Act of 2015 exempting debt collectors from a longstanding law prohibiting them from robocalling without consent to the mobile phones of those who have a debt owed or guaranteed by the federal government. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) has provided statutory protection to consumers until now.
Cosponsored Sexual Assault Awareness Month Resolution
This week I joined colleagues in cosponsoring a House Resolution recognizing April as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. Over the last year our country has reached a watershed moment regarding sexual harassment and assault that has resulted in countless brave survivors coming forward to tell their stories. This Resolution continues the effort to educate the American people about this issue and highlights the movement in the fight against sexual assault.
Cosponsored the Don’t Tax Higher Education Act
When the GOP tax bill passed last year, it created a 1.4% excise tax on net endowment income for educational institutions with large endowments. Because the legislation did not include threshold adjustments for inflation, it is likely that more and more institutions will be subject to the tax in the future. These endowments provide the scholarships for students who do not have the means to attend college, and Stanford University is an excellent example of a diverse student body that benefit enormously from these scholarships.
I’m a cosponsor of the Don’t Tax Higher Education Act that eliminates the excise tax on endowments. Colleges and universities rely on their endowments to provide essential funding for financial aid, important research initiatives and scholarships. We should be doing more, not less, to make higher education available in the U.S.
It was an honor to join Leader Pelosi this week to unveil a bold agenda of policies for our country’s future. I announced our commitment to establishing the most critical platforms to reestablish American leadership by investing in R&D, science, technology and national infrastructure. I also announced our commitment to a doubling of federal investments in scientific research, to the establishment of innovation hubs to better harness the ingenuity of our universities and national labs, and to large scale-investments in our nation’s infrastructure.
The proposed set of policies were a culmination of two years of forums in Congressional Districts across the country with thought leaders from the academic, technology, biotech, manufacturing and communications sectors to develop ideas that will make and keep America the world leader in innovation and economic growth. I led my House Democratic colleagues in creating the original Innovation Agenda in 2007 to identify the policies needed to keep our workforce and our economy the most competitive in the world. There were 22 goals in the Innovation Agenda unveiled during the 110th Congress. Of these, 21 provisions were signed into law, with comprehensive immigration reform the only goal not addresses by Congress. I look forward to replicating this success and adding comprehensive immigration reform to the list of accomplishments.
This week Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt testified before the Environment Subcommittee. I questioned him about his solid record of unethical undertakings and the numerous investigations he is currently under, including wasteful spending of taxpayer funds.
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:
· 152 constituents wrote to me expressing their concern about Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal and the privacy of users’ data.
· 131 constituents wrote to me in opposition to military action in Syria without Congressional authorization
· 89 constituents wrote to me in support of protecting Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation and preventing the President from firing him.
Anna in the News
Frequently, Anna’s work is written about in the news. Here are some excerpts:
New York Times (4/26/18) – “Scott Pruitt, on Capitol Hill, Deflects Blame for Ethical Lapses”
“Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency chief facing accusations of ethical infractions and lavish spending, vowed on Capitol Hill on Thursday that the charges against him were false and that decisions involving illegal actions had been made by his staff members without his knowledge.
“Representative Anna G. Eshoo, a California Democrat, used her turn at questioning to try to get Mr. Pruitt to accept culpability. “You have a solid record of violating ethics rules from the state level to the federal government,” she told Mr. Pruitt. “I think it’s an embarrassment.” And then she asked, “Do you have any remorse? Yes or no?”
“Mr. Pruitt responded: “I think there are changes I’ve made already. I’ve made a change from first class to coach travel.” Ms. Eshoo returned to her call for a yes-or-no answer, and asked Mr. Pruitt whether he would reimburse the government. He launched into a long response, but she cut him off.
“With all due respect, I may be elected, but I’m not a fool,” she said. “This is not ‘dodge-question’ day.”
Politico (4/26/18) - “‘I have nothing to hide’ Pruitt tells angry Congress”
“Scott Pruitt fought back on Thursday against charges he’s abused his position as EPA administrator, telling lawmakers he had “nothing to hide” about the scandals that have put his job in jeopardy.”
Under questioning from Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Pruitt declined multiple times to answer whether he felt any remorse for wasteful spending at the agency.
"I think there are changes I’ve made already,” he said. But he deflected several questions about his first-class flights, saying his security detail decide where he sits on airplanes, and he now plans to fly coach. Eshoo didn’t buy it.
"With all due respect, I may be elected, but I’m not a fool,” she said. "That’s really a lousy answer from someone that has a high position in the federal government."
MSNBC (4/26/18) – “EPA boss Pruitt dodges blame during heated Capitol Hill hearings”
“Facing allegations of multiple ethics violations, Trump’s EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt faced tough questions from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. But it remains unclear if it will be enough to stop speculation that he could be fired.”
Anna’s Recommended Reading
Frequently, I read articles or see videos that I think my constituents would benefit from.
Washington Post Editorial (4/23/18) - “The more we learn about Pruitt, the clearer it is he needs to go”
Administrator Pruitt has singlehandedly damaged any credibility he might have had and has lost the confidence of the American people. This Washington Post Editorial highlights why it’s time for him to go.
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.