I sent a separate E-Newsletter about my recent trip to Texas where I witnessed first-hand the effects of the President’s policy of ‘Zero Tolerance’ and how it is being implemented. In my life and years of public service, I’ve never witnessed anything remotely close to what I saw.
Highlights of Legislation the House Took up This Week
H.R. 6136 Border Security and Immigration Reform Act
H.R. 6136 is an immigration bill authored by Speaker Ryan, and while it’s been described as a “compromise bill,” it is not bipartisan. It was an attempt to bring the various factors of the Republican Caucus together on the issue. The bill established a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children known as “Dreamers.” However, the bill allowed only a limited number of Dreamers to apply for green cards every year, which could take up to twenty years before every Dreamer could receive permanent legal status.
The bill also provided nearly $17 billion in funding for an unnecessary and ineffective border wall, and ended the diversity lottery and family-based immigration for unmarried adult children and siblings of U.S. citizens, including those who are already in the U.S. and in the process of applying for green cards. The bill also failed to address the separation of families at the border.
The bill failed by a vote of 121 to 301, with 112 Republicans voting against it. The House should pass the bipartisan Dream Act to ensure Dreamers can remain in the only country they’ve ever known. If Speaker Ryan would allow the House to vote on the Dream Act, it would pass the House on a bipartisan basis.
Filed a Discharge Petition on the Social Security 2100 Act - a procedural tool to force a vote on any bill if 218 Members sign on
Fifty-five of my colleagues and I filed a Discharge Petition to bring to the House floor H.R. 1901, the Social Security 2100 Act. For over eighty years Social Security has provided an unbroken promise of financial security to millions of Americans, including more than 100,000 beneficiaries in our Congressional District. But like a reliable pickup truck, the program requires maintenance. Changes are necessary to guarantee the solvency of the Trust Fund for our children and grandchildren.
The Social Security 2100 Act provides a benefit increase for beneficiaries by an equivalent of 2% of the average benefit. It also cuts taxes for over 10 million Social Security recipients by raising the threshold for taxation on their benefits to $50,000, up from $25,000. Most importantly this legislation ensures the solvency of the Trust Fund for the next 75 years and beyond. To read more about the Social Security 2100 Act, CLICK HERE.
Legislation Anna Introduced and Cosponsored this Week
Cosponsored H.R. 2358, the Chinese American World War II Veterans Congressional Gold Medal Act
This legislation recognizes the important role of Chinese Americans during World War II by awarding them the Congressional Gold Medal, one of the highest civilian honors in our country. Over 20,000 Chinese Americans served bravely in the military despite facing significant discrimination. Forty percent of those who served were not citizens due to the Chinese Exclusion Act which barred many from citizenship and which was not repealed until 1943. I will do everything I can to see that this important bill becomes law to honor the selfless service of these veterans.
Cosponsored an Amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act to Prohibit Immigration Detention Centers on Military Bases
In order to handle the massive increase in family detention due to the President’s zero tolerance policy, the Secretary of Defense has been ordered to make space and facilities available to build family detention camps on military bases.
I joined colleagues in offering an amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act to prohibit the use of any federal funding for detention centers on military property. I don’t believe American taxpayers should have to foot the bill to build internment camps across the country, using our nation’s military bases for non-defense purposes. Unfortunately, the Republicans blocked this amendment from coming to the House floor for a vote.
Cosponsored H.R. 6254, the Compassionate Calling and Immigrant Family Reunification Act of 2018
The parents of separated children are being held in detention centers, and during my visit to Texas I learned the parents cannot call their children, families or legal counsel because the cost of calling is so high—up to $8.00 per minute.
This legislation directs the Trump Administration and the FCC to ensure that detained parents can make calls free of charge.
Members of the Congressional Delgation that traveled to Texas to examine the detention centers and how the President’s policy of ‘Zero Tolerance’ is being implemented held a press conference to discuss their experience.
This week the Health Subcommittee held a ‘markup’ on the Pandemic All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act (PAHPA). The September 11th attacks on our country 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. This ‘reauthorization’ represents updating the legislation to meet the challenges of today, such as the increased demands placed on our heath care response systems by the increasing number and severity of natural disasters, the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance, and the continued need to develop medical countermeasure products for which there is no commercial market.
This markup was especially timely because the legislation authorizes the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), a part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that our committee has jurisdiction over. Last Friday HHS announced the creation of an unaccompanied children reunification task force to respond to the crisis the Trump Administration has created at our southern border to be run by the ASPR. During the markup the Committee debated multiple amendments to give essential Congressional oversight to these efforts since the ASPR does not specialize in meeting the needs of children. I reflected on my own mother’s journey to America and how she was separated from my grandmother. That traumatic experience stayed with her for her entire life.
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:
· 263 constituents wrote to me in opposition to the President’s policy of separating children from their families at the border.
· 122 constituents wrote to me in opposition to the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act which undermines environmental protections and would allow overfishing.
· 82 constituents wrote to me to in opposition to the construction of a border wall because of environmental concerns.
Anna in the News
Anna’s work is written about in the news.
Palo Alto Weekly (6/25/18) “Immigrant detention centers 'a stain on America'”
“U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, and more than 20 members of the U.S. Congress journeyed to Texas last Friday to visit immigration detention facilities where hundreds of adults and children are being held after they tried to enter the United States.
"The mothers were so distraught. We asked questions, and they were just continually weeping and sobbing. They were given some tear sheets that ICE had given to everyone that said to 'call this number so that you can be connected with your child.' I've been calling the number and no one answers," Eshoo said.”
USA Today (6/23/18) “Children sleep behind bars, on concrete floors at border 'prison', House Democrats say”
“More than two dozen Democratic members of Congress visited a holding facility in Texas for separated immigrant children Saturday and described conditions as "cruel and inhumane."
“The delegation visited a Customs and Border Protection processing facility in the U.S.-Mexico border city of McAllen, the epicenter of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy in which people entering the U.S. illegally face being prosecuted.
“Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif. said the current policy of separating kids from their parents has "brought great shame to a great country."
Anna’s Recommended Reading
I frequently read articles or see videos I think my constituents would benefit from.
STAT News Op-Ed (6/25/18) “A bygone pre-existing condition shouldn’t keep my son from getting health insurance”
The Trump Administration recently announced their refusal to defend the ACA’s protections in court for more than 130 million Americans, including 325,000 of my constituents who live with pre-existing conditions. This Op-Ed by the CEO of GoodRX explains how this sabotage of the ACA will make it all but impossible for people with pre-existing conditions to get health insurance, including his son.
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.