Anna's Weekly Update
Highlights of What I Did in Congress This Week
As Chairwoman of the House Health Subcommittee, I led the first legislative markup of 12 health care bills in the 116th Congress on Wednesday. My committee passed six bills, some with bipartisan support, to lower the price of prescription drugs, and six bills to reduce health insurance costs for families across America. Each represents a very important first step in our quest to address the high cost of prescription drugs, prevent drug manufacturers from gaming the system, and make affordable generic drugs available to patients more quickly. Six bills addressed the affordability of comprehensive health insurance; the protections of those with pre-existing conditions; and reversing the policies advanced by the Administration and its sabotage of the Affordable Care Act, endangering the lives of millions of Americans. The bills now advance to the full Committee for consideration, and then to the full House for passage.
Voted YES on The Paycheck Fairness Act
I’m so proud to be an original cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act which passed the House this week. The bill strengthens and closes loopholes in the 1963 Equal Pay Act and provides effective remedies for women who are not being paid equal pay for equal work. With a record number of women in the workforce, wage discrimination hurts the majority of American families, both in terms of their economic security today and their retirement security tomorrow.
Voted YES on a resolution opposing the President’s ban on openly transgender individuals serving in the Armed Forces
This week the House passed a resolution opposing the President’s ban on transgender individuals serving in the Armed Forces. President Trump introduced his policy banning transgender individuals from the military in 2017, citing medical costs and disruptive behavior as the basis for his decision. His claims completely contradict a rigorous study conducted by the RAND Corporation in 2016 that found that the costs of gender-related health care treatment would be relatively low, and that transgender troop integration presented a minimal likely impact on force readiness.
Transgender servicemembers have served openly and honorably since 2016 and stand in the defense of our nation at home and abroad. No one with the strength, determination, and patriotism to serve in the U.S. military should be turned away because of who they are.
Legislation Anna Introduced and Cosponsored this Week
Introduced The Ending Homelessness Act
Each night in America, over 550,000 people are homeless, including nearly 160,000 children and youth. The continued scourge of homelessness in our country is a violation of human dignity, yet the goal of ending homelessness in America is well within our reach.
This week I introduced the Ending Homelessness Act to provide $13.27 billion in targeted funding over 5 years to provide more affordable housing and end homelessness. The bill provides funding for homeless assistance grants, housing vouchers, the National Housing Trust Fund, and local case management for the homeless. If enacted, this bill is estimated to fund the creation of 410,000 new units of housing for people experiencing homelessness.
Cosponsored Legislation to Abolish the Electoral College
Drawbacks to the Electoral College system have become particularly acute in recent years, as two of the last three Presidents have taken office without winning the popular vote. In 2000, Vice President Al Gore won the popular vote, but lost the vote in the Electoral College to George W. Bush. In the most recent election, Donald Trump won 304 electoral votes to Hillary Clinton’s 227, but she won the popular vote by nearly three million votes. The Electoral College has become an anachronistic institution that stifles our democratic values.
This week I cosponsored a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College, requiring the president and vice president be elected directly by the people. The Electoral College is a dated system created during the 18th Century when travel was difficult and candidates could not campaign across the entire country. Today, candidates have the means to run national campaigns, and the Electoral College incentivises them to campaign in only a handful of swing states that effectively decide every election. It’s time to move on from our archaic system and embrace the will of the people in our presidential elections.
Cosponsored The U.S.-Israel Cooperation Enhancement and Regional Security Act
As the Middle East faces destabilizing threats from civil wars, terrorism, and autocratic governments, it’s important for the United States to strengthen our commitment to democratic allies in the region. The U.S.-Israel Cooperation Enhancement and Regional Security Act provides funding to programs that encourage resource sharing in science and technology, energy, water, agriculture, and cybersecurity between our two countries. The legislation also creates new joint programs through USAID for cooperation with regional partners to foster greater stability in the region, and it ensures Israel has resources to maintain their national defense at a time of heightened threats.
Cosponsored The Saving America’s Pollinators Act
Bee and pollinator populations have been on the decline for several years. Between April 2017 and April 2018, beekeepers in the U.S. lost an estimated 40 percent of their managed honey bee colonies, according to an annual survey conducted by the Bee Informed Partnership. This is especially alarming considering that one-third of food production depends on bees and other pollinators. In California, our farmers depend on bees and other pollinators to pollinate almonds, tomatoes, peppers, melons, squash, and cotton.
The Saving America’s Pollinators Act outlaws specific bee-toxic pesticides and establishes a review and cancellation process for all pesticides that are potentially harmful to pollinators. Researchers have shown direct over-exposure to pesticides can cause instant bee die-offs and that prolonged exposure causes slow colony deaths. By ending pesticide exposure, bee colonies and other pollinators will have a better chance to survive.
Introduced The Online Sales Simplicity and Small Business Relief Act
Last June, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling in South Dakota v. Wayfair that overturned decades of precedent regarding online and interstate sales tax collection requirements. Since then some states have begun requiring all remote sellers that continue to do out-of-state business to navigate the more than 10,000 different tax jurisdictions in our country every time they complete a transaction. While some retailers can absorb the costs of this additional regulatory burden, thousands of independent online entrepreneurs are harmed.
I introduced the Online Sales Simplicity and Small Business Relief Act to protect small businesses from the complicated and burdensome patchwork of state and local tax laws resulting from last year’s Wayfair Supreme Court decision. My bipartisan legislation ensures that states cannot require remote online sellers to collect sales tax retroactively on transactions made before April 1, 2019. This would also relieve small online businesses from sales tax collection obligations on transactions made in another state.
Telephone Town Halls
This week I held two evening Tele-Town Hall Meetings with constituents from communities in San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties, including Atherton, La Honda, Ladera, Loma Mar, Menlo Park, Pescadero, Portola Valley, Redwood City, Woodside, Saratoga, Scotts Valley, and Los Gatos and answered the excellent questions of constituents on a wide variety of issues.
Approximately 1,600 constituents participated in each meeting with questions ranging from climate change, to immigration, health care, and government oversight. My constituents consistently tell me how valuable they think these meetings are, and I consistently draw so much from what my constituents say. My thanks to the over 3,200 people who participated in the calls. I will continue to call into every community in our Congressional District, so stay tuned for future Tele-Town Halls. You can sign up HERE for future Tele-Town Halls.
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, 2264 constituents contacted our office, including:
- 273 constituents writing in support of the full Mueller report being released to the public
- 155 constituents writing in support of the EACH Woman Act
- 107 constituents writing in support of the Saving America's Pollinators 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 (3/27/2019) - "Trump Sided With Mulvaney in Push to Nullify Health Law"
This article from the New York Times explains Trump’s monstrous decision to pursue a court-ordered demolition of the entire Affordable Care Act. It contrasts his reckless attempts to ruin health care for millions with how my Subcommittee is passing bills that will improve health care coverage and bring down costs.
The Economist (3/14/2019) - “The benefits of America’s hot economy have been unevenly spread”
This article from The Economist addresses how the economically disadvantaged are tied to market fluctuations. A booming economy alone will not solve structural inequalities in our society.