Anna's Weekly Update
The House returned on Monday for votes after a week of In-District work. It was a busy week in Washington, with historic votes on gun safety and a resolution to overturn President Trump’s emergency declaration.
Highlights of What Congress Did This Week
Voted YES on H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act and H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act
This week the House voted on the first major pieces of legislation to address gun safety in more than a decade.
The Bipartisan Background Checks Act requires universal background checks for all firearm purchases. The bill closes loopholes that allow buyers to purchase firearms at gun shows and online. This is critically important because currently 40 percent of gun sales are made without any background check at all. The bill passed with bipartisan support 240 to 190.
The Enhanced Background Checks Act extends the initial background check review period from three days to ten. Currently, if the F.B.I. has not completed a background check within three business days, the sale of a firearm can proceed. This is known as the “Charleston Loophole,” named after the horrific shooting in Charleston in 2015. The shooter obtained a gun even though he admitted to drug possession which should have disqualified him from purchasing a firearm. This bill allows for more thorough vetting before guns are sold to help keep guns out of the wrong hands.
Voted YES on H.J. Res. 46, A Joint Resolution to Terminate the National Emergency
The joint resolution to terminate the President’s phony national emergency easily passed the House in a 245-182 vote with bipartisan support. The resolution is a clear condemnation of the President’s unconstitutional declaration. Article I of the United States Constitution is clear. Congress controls the power of the purse. The President’s attempt to take money appropriated by Congress is unlawful. The joint resolution is the first step in stopping the Administration from building a wall that the majority of Congress and the American people do not support. Because the resolution is privileged, the Senate must vote on it within 15 days.
Legislation Anna Introduced and Cosponsored this Week
Cosponsored H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act
In 2013, the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act by removing key protections to prevent voter suppression. Almost six years later the result has been greater discrimination and the denial of American citizens’ sacred right to vote. The Federal Commission on Civil Rights released a report in September 2018 finding that federal actions to enforce voting rights for minorities have declined sharply, and the head of the commission called the current state of discrimination at the polls “enduring and pernicious.”
Disenfranchisement is disgraceful and goes against America’s democratic ideals. I’m proud to cosponsor the Voting Rights Advancement Act which restores critical protections for voters. The bill reinstates federal oversight to ensure states do not discriminate against minorities at the ballot box. If the federal government monitors violations, unfair practices such as restricting early voting hours and introducing ID-card barriers can be stopped. This is a must-pass bill.
Introduced H.R. 1421, the HANGUP Act
Consumers are justifiably angered by the incessant harassment caused by robocalls and texts. Last year Americans received over 26 billion robocalls, which is up 46% from the year before! Too many of these were from debt collectors. Protections against unwanted robocalls and texts did exist, but the Budget Act of 2015 exempted debt collectors from a longstanding law. Since the protection was removed, robocalls and texts have increased dramatically.
My bipartisan legislation, introduced with Sens. Markey (D-MA) and Lee (R-UT), will restore critical protections for consumers by establishing a statutory roadblock to unwanted robocalls and texts from government contractors.
Introduced H.R. 1420, the Energy Efficient Government Technology Act
This week I reintroduced the Energy Efficient Government Technology Act to increase energy efficiency and reduce energy use within the federal government. My bipartisan legislation requires federal agencies to adopt efficient technology and best practices such as advanced metering infrastructure; efficient data center strategies; improve IT asset utilization levels; build energy management; and secure telework and travel substitution tools.
As the nation’s largest energy user, landowner, and employer, the federal government should lead by example to improve the energy efficiency of its technology equipment and data centers. This legislation will reduce the federal government’s energy use, save taxpayer dollars, and set the standard for the private sector.
Cosponsored H.R. 1004, the Prohibiting Unauthorized Military Action in Venezuela Act
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has been consolidating power in Venezuela for years. Under his regime, violent crime has increased and the Venezuelan economy has collapsed. Poor economic policies, mismanagement, and corruption have led to hyperinflation, leaving citizens starving and desperate for outside aid. Venezuela is also suffering from a dramatic increase in malaria due to a lack of medicine.
The U.S. has opposed Maduro’s oppressive regime by imposing strict sanctions and encouraging the international community to do the same. The Trump Administration has recognized National Assembly President Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s Interim President and has publicly said that "all options are on the table" to deal with Venezuela’s escalating political crisis.
This week I cosponsored H.R. 1004, which prevents the President from taking military action in Venezuela without an authorization from Congress. Using military force is a highly serious act with real consequences.
It was an honor to receive the Congressional Champion Award from Debbie’s Dream Foundation (DDF) in recognition of my legislative work championing cancer research, education, and survivorship. Debbie’s Dream Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness about stomach cancer, advancing funding for research, and providing education and support internationally to patients, families, and caregivers. DDF’s mission is to find a cure to stomach cancer.
This week I met with my good friend, Dr. Francis Collins, the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and his colleague, Dr. Bruce J. Tromberg. Dr. Tromberg is the new Director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, an institute which I helped create to advance biomedical technology for breakthroughs in research and medicine. We discussed federal funding for NIH and the importance of harnessing new technology to find cures for the American people.
It was an honor to welcome the Second Harvest Food Bank to my Washington office this week. Second Harvest is an organization of miracle workers. They work to end hunger in Silicon Valley by providing food to more than a quarter of a million children, families, and seniors every month through their programs and nonprofit partners. They recently kicked their efforts into high gear to assist federal workers affected by the shutdown and they have my unending thanks for being heroines of the Valley!
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. This week, 2,694 constituents contacted our office, including:
- 712 constituents wrote to me to oppose the President’s emergency declaration
- 302 constituents wrote to me to support increased gun control
- 213 constituents wrote to me to oppose uranium mining in the Grand Canyon
Anna’s Recommended Reading and Watching
Frequently, I read articles or see videos that I think my constituents would benefit from.
The New York Times Op-Ed (2/28/19) "We Need Better Answers on Nutrition"
This op-ed from Joon Yun, David A. Kessler, and Dan Glickman highlights the need for better research on nutrition and the causes of poor health. Federal funding to address health issues is essential, and the solution to solving our most pressing health issues starts by supporting research at the National Institutes of Health.
Now This Video (12/20/18) "Ronald Reagan's Final Speech as President Was a Love Letter to Immigrants"
I came across this video recently and was so moved by it. Take a few moments to listen to President Reagan. It is a love letter to immigrants.