Weekly Update From Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo
There was not an E-Newsletter last week due to Congress adjourning for the Memorial Day Recess.
Highlights of Legislation the House Took up This Week
H.R. 5895, Fiscal Year 2019 Energy and Water Development/Leg Branch/Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, or the Minibus
This week the House voted on the so-called ‘Minibus’ legislation that included three appropriations bills: Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction& Veterans Affairs.
This legislation makes drastic cuts to renewable energy programs. The ‘Minibus’ slashes over 10% of funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), the office that is tasked with creating and sustaining American leadership in the transition to a clean energy economy. It also cuts $156 million for nuclear nonproliferation activities. The bill also contained many poison pill riders, including a provision that permitted deadly firearms to be carried on public lands, and another provision to repeal the Clean Water Rule.
I introduced an amendment to restore full funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The President’s budget eliminated ARPA-E and this bill reduces funding for the program by over $28 million. In its 10-year history the agency has funded over 660 projects that have helped create 71 new companies; attracted over $2.6 billion in private-sector funding; led to the creation of 245 new patents; and fostered over 1,700 peer-reviewed articles to further our understanding of the energy ecosystem. As one of the original creators of ARPA-E, the mission has been to keep the U.S. at the forefront of alternative energy solutions. Unfortunately, the amendment was defeated by a vote of 214 to 204.
I introduced a second amendment to this bill to provide funding for the development and deployment of high-efficiency linear generator technology. Linear generators convert fuel and air into electricity with the same efficiency and near-zero emissions as the highest performing fuel cells on the market. Instead of using an electrochemical process like fuel cells, linear generators use an electromechanical process that relies on only two moving parts and no oil, reducing capital and maintenance costs and resulting in a lifespan 3 to 4 times greater than a traditional fuel cell.
Linear generator technology was born in our Silicon Valley district by some of the best and brightest minds from Stanford University. Although this technology is substantially similar to fuel cells, it faces an uphill battle and an uneven playing field to bring these products to market, despite the many benefits of the technology. Good news -- my amendment was adopted by the full House.
H.R. 3, the President’s Rescission Bill
A rescission measure gives the President the power to eliminate or reduce funding for any individual programs as long as it has the approval of a simple majority of Congress. It cancels previous budget authority provided in law. On May 8th the President proposed a $15 billion rescission measure which was introduced in the House and the legislation passed this week by a vote of 210 to 206.
Nearly half of the rescissions in the President’s proposal ($7 billion) comes from the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) which helps states provide health insurance to families with children who struggle to afford health insurance but do not qualify for Medicaid. It cuts $5 billion from CHIP’s overall funding and nearly $2 billion from a contingency fund for CHIP that exists in case of a health emergency. In addition to weakening CHIP, the legislation also cuts $4.3 billion from advanced vehicle manufacturing loan guarantees; $800 million from the Centers for Medicare& Medicaid Innovation Center; and over $500 million from rural development programs. While it’s always important to address federal spending and be fiscally responsible, but harming the health of children is not the way to exercise fiscal restraint.
H.R. 3249, Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act
This week the House passed H.R. 3249, the Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act by a vote of 394 to 13.
This bill establishes the Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program to combat gang violence and other violent crimes. The Program encourages greater coordination between law enforcement officials at all levels of government and includes initiatives to prevent violent crime through community outreach and conflict resolution. It also funds the grant program at $50 million annually through Fiscal Year 2021, and requires that 30 percent of the funding be offered as grants to local gang prevention task forces.
Legislation Anna Introduced and Cosponsored this Week
Cosponsored H. Res. 927, Resolution Condemning Child-Family Separation at the Border
Last month the Trump Administration announced that it will prosecute all refugees who illegally cross the border, including those with children. Prior to this policy, families were kept together while the government processed their asylum claims. As a result of the Trump Administration’s new policy, over 600 children have been separated from their parents, including more than 100 children under the age of four.
Our laws provide a special status to refugees because they have fled violence and persecution in their home countries, and to separate them from their families is a cruel and misguided effort to dissuade them from seeking asylum in the U.S. This new policy also treats their children as unaccompanied minors, placing them in the care of the government while their parents are held in custody.
I joined colleagues this week on a resolution condemning the Trump Administration’s policy because I believe it is inhumane, immoral and against American values.
Cosponsored H.R. 2151, the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act
Numerous studies have shown that bullying and harassment are widespread on college and university campuses in our country.
To address the problem of harassment, I’m a cosponsor of the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2017. The legislation requires institutions of higher education to establish policies to prohibit harassment based on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion. The legislation also establishes a grant program to support campus anti-harassment activities and programs.
Policy Letters Anna Cosigned this Week
Letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Regarding ZTE
This week I strongly urged Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to reinstate the Department’s denial of export privileges against Chinese telecommunications manufacturer ZTE.
In my letter to the Secretary, I outlined the serious transgressions of ZTE. In April 2018, the U.S. blocked ZTE’s access to U.S. suppliers, saying the company violated a 2017 sanctions settlement related to trading with Iran and North Korea, and lied about the violations. The Commerce Department also found that ZTE paid full bonuses to employees who engaged in illegal conduct and lied about it to U.S. authorities.
We should not do business with foreign entities who compromise our telecommunications sector and directly challenge our national security. To read the full letter, CLICK HERE.
Letter to the Appropriations Committee Opposing Immigrant Family Separations Policy
This week I joined colleagues in writing to the Appropriations Committee, urging them to prohibit the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from using funds to separate parents from their children absent evidence that the parent poses an immediate threat to the child’s safety.
There are parents who arrive at our borders with their children seeking asylum. This is a special status granted to refugees who face violence or persecution in their home countries. In the last several years the numbers of families apprehended at our southern border has increased. This is needlessly cruel to refugees seeking freedom and safety in our country. DHS must act with humanity and fiscal responsibility. To read the full letter, CLICK HERE.
Letter to President Trump on Rising Health Insurance Premiums
The President has sabotaged the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by repealing the individual mandate, shortening the open enrollment period, cutting funding for outreach to the uninsured, and refusing to pay subsidies to insurance companies to reduce rates. As a result of these policies, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that in 2019, three million people will lose their health coverage, and the health premiums on the most popular plans will increase by 15 percent.
I joined colleagues in writing to the President expressing our concerns about the increases in health insurance premiums. The letter identifies the Administration’s actions that are responsible for the increases in premiums and the uninsured rate, and we call on the Administration to end their sabotage of the Affordable Care Act. To read the full letter, CLICK HERE.
This week the Health Subcommittee held a hearing on the Pandemic All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act (PAHPA). September 11th and the deadly anthrax attacks that followed in 2001 motivated me and former Rep. Richard Burr to create bipartisan legislation to coordinate responses to public health emergencies and develop necessary medical countermeasures. We now need to update the efforts and this hearing was part of that process.
Monday, June 11th is the day when the current Net Neutrality protections will cease to exist. I spoke on the floor of the House this week about the importance of a free and open Internet.
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 a wide range of legislation and policies. I actually read every communication and every constituent receives a personal response from me regarding their specific questions and comments.
Here’s a snapshot of the issues constituents wrote and called me about this week:
· 128 constituents wrote to me to express their concern about Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections.
· 94 constituents wrote to me in opposition to tCorker-Kaine Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) Bill.
· 240 constituents wrote to me to express their concern about the actions of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.
· 43 students from Scotts Valley Middle School, Henry Gunn High School and Palo Alto High School wrote to me about topics they care about, including gun violence, climate change, civil rights, and gender equality.
Anna in the News
Anna’s work is written about in the news. Here are some excerpts:
Politico (6/6/18) – “Trump official: Puerto Rico projected death toll ‘an estimate’”
“[During a hearing at the Health Subcommittee this week to reauthorize the Pandemics and All Hazards Preparedness Act,] the Trump administration's top health official for emergency response today wouldn't endorse a recent report that the death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria was 70 times higher than the government's original estimate.
"Do you accept that?" California Democrat Anna Eshoo asked Robert Kadlec, HHS' assistant secretary for preparedness and response.
"I accept that it's an estimate," Kadlec responded during a House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee hearing on legislation to reauthorize HHS' public health emergency response.
“Eshoo said she has a "lack of confidence" in how the matter is being handled.”
Anna’s Recommended Reading
I frequently read articles or see videos that I think my constituents would benefit from.
Washington Post Op-Ed (6/5/18) - “What made Bobby Kennedy so special”
50 years ago Robert Kennedy was taken by the “mindless menace of violence” that he spoke out against in his life of public service. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews wrote this beautiful tribute to RFK. It’s well worth the read.
New York Times (6/7/2018) - “‘It’s Horrendous’: The Heartache of a Migrant Boy Taken From His Father”
This heart-wrenching piece from the New York Times shows the cruel consequences of the Trump Administration’s policy that separates children and parents at the U.S. border.
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.