Anna's Weekly Update

May 10, 2019

Highlights of What I Did in Congress This Week

Hearing on the Drug Supply Chain

As Chairwoman of the House Health Subcommittee, I led a hearing this week on the nation’s drug supply chain to examine the systemic issues that enable companies to earn billions on prescription drugs while the American people struggle to afford essential medications. Our current system rewards every stakeholder in the drug supply chain with profits from soaring drug prices, but patients are left with unaffordable bills for medications they need to survive. I convened witnesses from every part of the drug supply chain—drug manufacturers, pharmacy benefit managers, insurers, hospitals, physicians, pharmacies, and patients—to testify about the role they play, the impact they have on drug prices, and the value they bring to patients. Their testimonies will help Congress root out flawed and unnecessary practices in the drug supply chain to bring down the price of prescription drugs for the American people. You can watch my opening statement from the hearing HERE.

Voted YES on The Purple Book Continuity Act of 2019

I’m proud that the full House passed my bipartisan bill to bring down the cost of prescription drugs by establishing drug patent transparency and encouraging market competition. My legislation institutes user-friendly reforms to the Purple Book, a document created by the Food and Drug Administration that lists patents that are currently active and those that will be expiring soon for medicines, specifically biological products. Manufacturers use the Purple Book when considering where to invest their research and development dollars. Under my legislation, the Purple Book will be updated routinely and be made available more easily online, informing manufacturers of brand-name biological drug patents that are expiring. This will encourage manufacturers to develop more affordable generics, adding pricing pressure to the drug market and saving patients money.

Voted YES on The Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act of 2019

The Trump Administration issued a guidance last October which weakened protections for individuals with preexisting conditions. Under the guidance, states can apply for a waiver that allows them to circumvent essential health benefits, protections for Americans with preexisting conditions, and use federal funds to subsidize the purchase of junk health plans.

The House passed the Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act of 2019 to revoke the Trump Administration’s guidance that encourages states to approve health plans that do not cover preexisting conditions. The bill ensures the 130 million Americans with preexisting conditions keep essential benefits and access to health care.

Voted YES on The Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2019

From Hurricanes in Puerto Rico and Florida to the wildfires in California, natural disasters have devastated communities across the United States. The House voted this week for a $17.2 billion emergency funding bill to provide much needed relief. Among several other important programs, the bill provides: 

  • $1.5 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for repairs to Corps projects damaged by flooding and natural disasters;
  • $1 billion for the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program to help communities rebuild housing, businesses, and public infrastructure; and
  • $500 million for the Department of Agriculture’s Emergency Conservation Program for emergency funding and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland.

In our own community, Santa Cruz County will receive funds to repair infrastructure that was damaged by winter storms in 2017.

Legislation Anna Cosponsored this Week

Cosponsored The Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act

A uranium mine operated in the Grand Canyon in the 1950s and uranium mines continue to operate outside park boundaries today. This has created high radioactive levels in the park’s water, and in 2012 the Interior Secretary enacted a 20-year ban on any new mining claims to address the issue. However, the Trump Administration has tried to reverse this ban and allow new mining in the region.

To preserve and protect the Grand Canyon, the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act makes the 2012 temporary ban permanent, eliminating speculative mining claims that mining companies and individuals have staked on public lands. The legislation also prevents companies and individuals from staking new claims.

Cosponsored The BE HEARD in the Workplace Act

Despite the protections guaranteed by our Constitution and laws, workplace harassment and discrimination continue to be commonplace. Surveys indicate that at least 25 percent and as much as 80 percent of women experience sexual harassment in the workplace and over 40 percent of men experience sexual harassment in the workplace. Likewise, discrimination on the basis of race, gender, and age also remain far too common and victims of this harassment often find themselves without a means of reporting this abuse.

This week I cosponsored the BE HEARD in the Workplace Act which would implement policies  that give victims of sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace more opportunities to protect their rights, including prohibiting mandatory arbitration and pre-dispute nondisclosure agreements; extending statutes of limitations for workers to file harassment claims with the EEOC; and requiring workplace harassment prevention strategies.

Weekly Highlights

On Monday, I had the privilege of announcing Jenny Shi as the winner of the Congressional Art Competition. This year’s competition included 81 high school artists from 17 schools in our District, and Jenny’s artwork was awarded first place by an independent panel of art community members. Her artwork will be displayed in our nation's Capitol for a full year.

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. Year to date, over 41,000 constituents contacted me. I actually read every communication and every constituent receives a personal response to their specific questions and comments. This week, 2,718 constituents contacted our office, including:

  • 658 constituents wrote about the Mueller Report and impeachment 

  • 219 constituents wrote about climate change

  • 177 constituents wrote about the Equality Act

Anna’s Recommended Reading and Watching

Frequently, I read articles or see videos that I think my constituents would benefit from. 

New York Times Column – David Brooks (5/7/2019) – “The Difference Between Happiness and Joy

This is a beautiful read!