Anna's Weekly Update
Telephone Town Hall Meeting Invitation
On Tuesday, July 16th and Wednesday, July 17th I’ll be holding Community Telephone Town Hall Meetings for residents of the 18th Congressional District at 6:45 p.m. PDT. I’ll be calling constituents to join me to answer their questions, and they can offer their views. You can also tune in via live webstream to listen in and submit your questions. I look forward to talking to you!
Highlights of What I Did in Congress This Week
Trip to Texas to Assess Migrant Detention Centers
I’ll be in McAllen and Brownsville, Texas to tour the McAllen Border Patrol Processing Center and the Brownsville Port of Entry on Saturday, July 13th. I will assess firsthand the improvements or deterioration of care in Texas since my visit in June 2018, meet with families being held in detention centers, and hear from officials and volunteers at the border. I will write a special e-newsletter after the trip to share what I have learned with you.
Health Subcommittee Markups
As Chairwoman of the Health Subcommittee, I’m proud to report to you that we passed ten bills yesterday to address physician shortages and reauthorize important public health programs across the country, lower the price of prescription drugs by increasing transparency in the drug supply chain, and address ending the horrible practice of surprise medical billing from out-of-network providers. From strengthening the Disproportionate Share Hospitals that serve lower-income Americans and improving the Medicare program through stronger enrollment support, to reauthorizing health care workforce development grants, our Subcommittee shaped bipartisan solutions to address a variety of issues to help Americans.
One of the bills, the Community Health, Investment, Modernization, and Excellence Act of 2019, will secure funding for the Community Health Centers (CHCs) which care for over 50,000 patients in our District. The 14 CHCs service Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Campbell, and San Jose. To listen to my opening statement and learn more about the legislation we passed, click HERE.
Voted YES on The National Defense Authorization Act
The House passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) this week. I voted for it because it:
- Funds a 3.1 percent pay raise for our military;
- Cuts $17 billion in wasteful funding for projects not included in the Department of Defense’s (DoD) original planning but later requested in the President’s budget, such as $7.2 billion in border wall funding;
- Includes $11.5 billion for military construction and family housing;
- Prevents the President from diverting defense funding to pay for an unnecessary border wall;
- Includes numerous provisions requiring DOD to plan for and respond to the effects of climate change;
- Requires a diversity and inclusion strategy from DoD to ensure minorities are more fully represented in the officer corps and blocks the President’s harmful ban on transgender servicemembers;
- Provides for birth control parity for military families by eliminating all cost-sharing for any contraception services obtained through TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select.
I authored two amendments that became part of the bill. One prevents federal funds from being used for military force against Iran without congressional authorization. This amendment builds on legislation I introduced this year, the Prevention of Unconstitutional War with Iran Act, which prohibits the President from using any funding appropriated by Congress to take military action in or against Iran without authorization from Congress. Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the sole authority to declare war, not the President, and any decision to take military action against Iran must be debated and considered by Congress in full view of the American people. You can watch my floor speech HERE.
Voted YES on The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019
Our immigration system should reward individuals based on their merits, not their country of origin, creed, or the color of their skin. To retain the best and brightest in the American workforce, the House passed the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act with strong bipartisan support. The bill eliminates the per-country limits on employment-based visas and implements a fair and equitable first come/first served system. The bill also increases the per-country limit on family-based visas from 7 percent to 15 percent. It also ensures that immigrants who have an approved employment-based visa petition prior to the bill’s date of enactment will not lose their place in line.
Legislation Anna Introduced this Week
Introduced The Foreign Entities Reform Act
Last week, OpenSecrets.org reported that RM Broadcasting, a Russian government supported company has spent $1.4 million to air Kremlin propaganda in Washington, D.C. over the last two years. To increase transparency and hinder foreign-led misinformation campaigns, I’ve introduced the Foreign Entities Reform Act (FERA) which requires transparency of foreign government-backed propaganda distributed to American consumers. Specifically, the bill requires broadcast, cable, and satellite companies to publicly disclose when foreign agents distribute content to Americans.
Currently, broadcast, cable, and satellite companies are required to publish information regarding the source and funding of political advertisements to the FCC and the public. The FCC also requires broadcast companies to follow “sponsorship identification” rules, which requires them to announce on air and publicly disclose the source of any paid-for broadcasts (think of announcements at the end of political ads). My bill applies these same requirements to content paid for by foreign actors.
Letters Anna Wrote and Cosigned
Letter to the President Requesting the Resignation of Secretary of Labor Acosta
Together with 67 Members of Congress, I requested that the President immediately demand Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta’s resignation due to his involvement in allowing accused sex trafficker and pedophile Jeffrey Epstein to strike a sweetheart plea deal in Florida over a decade ago. Today Secretary Acosta announced he will step down as the Secretary of Labor. Amen. Read the letter HERE.
Meeting with Close Up Foundation Students
It was wonderful to meet with high school students from our Congressional District who are participating in the Close Up Foundation’s Student Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. The students are interning with nonprofits in D.C. for the summer, and their high schools include: Stanford Online High School, Castilleja, Saratoga High School, and Lynbrook High School in Saratoga.
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. So far this year, over 66,319 constituents have contacted me, and this month, 3,512 have. I actually read every communication and every constituent receives a personal response to their specific questions and comments. This week, 2,249 constituents contacted our office, including:
- 269 constituents wrote to me with concerns about robocalls
- 190 constituents wrote to me with concerns about the ongoing crisis at the border
- 154 constituents wrote to me in support of the RAWR Act to end wildlife poaching
Anna’s Recommended Reading and Watching
Frequently, I read articles or see videos that I think my constituents would benefit from.
NPR (7/9/2019) – “The Affordable Care Act Is Back In Court: 5 Facts You Need To Know”
Last December, a federal district judge in Texas ruled to invalidate the entire Affordable Care Act. This week the Trump Administration presented an oral argument before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to argue that the health insurance of 21 million Americans should be ended. If the Administration wins the case, the lives of 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions will be upended and the ban on lifetime and annual caps will be repealed. Young people would no longer be allowed to stay on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26 and health insurance plans would no longer be required to cover essential health benefits, leaving patients without guaranteed coverage for such basics as prescription drugs and hospital care. The House of Representatives sent the best lawyers to argue in favor of the Affordable Care Act and defend the millions of Americans who rely on this critical law. This NPR piece presents a concise summary of the case and what is at stake.