Anna's Weekly Update
This was an important week in the House. We passed H.R. 1, the For the People Act, an historic reform package to restore the promise of our nation’s democracy, end the culture of corruption in Washington, and reduce the role of money in politics to return power back to the American people.
Highlights of What Congress Did This Week
Voted YES on H.R. 1, the For the People Act
In his Gettysburg Address, President Lincoln declared that “Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.” At a time when confidence and trust in our government has fallen, it’s critically important for Congress to do everything it can to restore this trust.
This week the House passed H.R. 1. It addresses corruption, strengthens our democracy, and returns power to the people of our country. I’m proud to have one of my bills included in H.R. 1, the For the People Act, that requires sitting presidents, vice presidents, and major party nominees for both offices to disclose their 10 most recent federal income tax returns to the public. Presidents and presidential candidates should be required by law to inform the American people of their finances so we can determine who will best make decisions in the interest of our country.
The three main goals of H.R. 1 are to ensure free and fair elections, reduce the influence of outside money in our elections, and enforce ethics and accountability in government. Highlights from the bill include:
- Instituting automatic voter registration; expanding online voter registration; and making same-day voter registration the standard across the country. It should be easier for Americans to vote in elections, not harder.
- Banning foreign money and foreign nationals in our elections; unmasking dark money groups that are not currently required to disclose the identity of their donors; and ending Citizens United to prevent groups and individuals from spending unlimited money to influence our elections. The American people have a right to know who is trying to influence their vote.
- Requiring all Presidential appointees to recuse themselves from any matter in which they have a clear conflict of interest; and expanding the lobbying ban for former federal officials to weaken the “revolving door” that exists between industry and government. Public service should not be a stepping stone to getting rich. It’s about serving the American people and making our country a better place.
A strong democracy is not a partisan issue. The For the People Act is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to restore the faith and function of American democracy.
Legislation Anna Introduced and Cosponsored this Week
Introduced H.R. 1644, the Save the Internet Act
I introduced the bicameral Save the Internet Act this week to restore net neutrality protections for consumers and small businesses. The legislation will reverse the Trump Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) disastrous repeal of critical net neutrality protections in late 2017. Since the FCC’s decision to end net neutrality, control of the Internet has been taken from the American people and handed over to Internet service providers (ISPs) that can now generate new profits by restricting access to what you can do on the Internet.
The Save the Internet Act is a simple, but powerful three-page bill that restores the internet as an open platform for content, speech, and information. The Internet is one of the greatest inventions in human history and it’s an American invention. It’s our responsibility to protect it as a force to drive innovation, expand our economy, and promote free speech in our democracy. No corporate entity should be able to manipulate it for their own advantage.
Cosponsored H.R. 1560, the Healthy Families Act
This week I cosponsored the Healthy Families Act which establishes a national standard for paid sick leave. It requires businesses with 15 or more employees to allow their workers to earn up to seven paid sick days per year to recover from short-term illness, care for a sick family member, seek routine medical care, or seek assistance related to domestic violence. The legislation also protects the public health by allowing those who are sick to stay home and recover, instead of reporting to work and possibly spreading their illness.
More than 40 million Americans have no access to paid sick days and risk losing their jobs due to short-term illness. Such policies force employees to choose between their jobs and their health, or the health of a family member. In fact, one in six workers reports having been fired, suspended, punished, or threatened with termination for taking time off due to a personal or family illness.
Cosponsored H.R. 1585, the Violence Against Women Act
This week I cosponsored the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), landmark legislation that has improved criminal justice and community-based responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking for the past 25 years. VAWA programs target domestic violence, strengthen services for victims and their dependents, and hold offenders accountable. From 2014 to 2016, VAWA funded programs provided legal assistance to an average of 28,553 victims every 6 months. It’s critical that Congress renew and expand the protections and programs that are necessary to address domestic violence.
Cosponsored H.R. 921, the No First Use Act
Nuclear warfare presents a grave, existential threat to all citizens of the world. U.S. policy today states that our armed forces will refrain from using nuclear weapons against most non-nuclear weapon states, but guidelines do not rule out their use in all cases. The justification for the use of nuclear weapons is not specified in U.S. policy and law.
To remedy this dangerous lack of guidance on nuclear weaponry, I’ve cosponsored the No First Use Act which establishes that the United States will not be the first to use nuclear weapons in an international conflict. Nuclear weaponry should only be used as a last resort.
Policy Letters Anna Wrote and Cosigned This Week
Letter to President Trump Urging him to Award Scientific Medals
Since taking office, President Trump has failed to award the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation to honor Americans whose discoveries, code, ideas, and inventions have driven our economy forward. Every previous president has awarded these medals since each was established by Congress. The awards have gone to some of the greatest scientists and innovators since the awards’ inception, including Sandra Faber, who helped design the Hubble and Keck telescopes, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and many more.
I wrote to President Trump this week urging him to begin awarding the medals. Seven Senators and 15 Representatives joined me in sending this letter to the President. The National Medals celebrate our leadership in the sciences and technology. President Trump should begin to recognize the outstanding contributions and discoveries of distinguished Americans. To read the full letter, click HERE.
As Chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, I held a hearing to consider legislation to expand the number of insured individuals in our country and bring down the health insurance costs in the market established by the Affordable Care Act. We considered three bills that will expand state-based health care markets to insure more people. California is the gold standard for state-based marketplaces, and it was an honor to welcome Peter Lee, the Executive Director for Covered California, our health benefit exchange, as a witness.
Over 125 Local Governments Support H.R. 530 to Empower Local 5G Deployment
I’m so proud to have attracted the support of over 125 local governments for H.R. 530, the Accelerating Wireless Broadband Development by Empowering Local Communities Act of 2019. This bill overturns FCC regulations limiting the ability of local governments to regulate the deployment of 5G infrastructure in their own communities. Mayors and City Council Members representing 42 million Americans from across the country have now endorsed my legislation to reinstate the voice of local governments in 5G deployment, ensuring the gains made through 5G are equitable.
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, 2,343 constituents contacted our office, including:
- 529 constituents writing in support of H.R. 1, the For the People Act.
- 235 constituents writing to me about the House Resolution condemning anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim bigotry with 154 opposing and 81 writing in support.
- 153 constituents supporting the Fairness for Farmworkers Act.
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 (3/7/2019) - “Zuckerberg’s So-Called Shift Toward Privacy”
This op-ed from Dr. Zeynep Tufekci addresses several important questions about Mark Zuckerberg’s new privacy-focused vision for Facebook. Let me know what you think.