Anna's Weekly Update
Highlights of What I Did in Congress This Week
On Wednesday, the House passed four public health bills I’m proud to have shepherded through the Health Subcommittee which I chair.
- Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act of 2019 – The bill renews critical screening for newborns across the country to prevent premature deaths and improve health outcomes for over 12,000 children a year;
- Emergency Medical Services for Children Program Reauthorization Act – This bill ensures every hospital has the tools and training it needs to treat children appropriately during an emergency;
- Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act – The bill expands respite care services for family caregivers who are mostly women. It funds grants to set up programs like day care and transportation so the 40 million Americans serving as family caregivers can take a break from their caregiving responsibilities; and
- Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support Act – The bill increases research to understand autism better. It will improve early detection and intervention programs for people living with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Stanford University receives funding from the Autism CARES Act to research how certain innovative treatments can improve social behavior. Between 2014 and 2017, California received $237 million from the NIH to study autism. You can watch my floor speech about the Autism CARES Act HERE.
Voted YES on The Stopping Bad Robocalls Act
This is great news! The House voted to pass the bipartisan Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, legislation I co-introduced to bring my constituents much needed relief from abusive robocalls. Over the last year, Americans received a whopping 48 billion robocalls. These calls are not only annoying, they’re dangerous because an estimated 43 million Americans were scammed out of $10.5 billion in 2018.
We passed the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act by a vote of 429-3. Here’s what’s in the bill:
- Requires phone carriers to implement call authentication technology so consumers can trust their caller ID again;
- Requires carriers to offer call blocking services to consumers at no additional charge, with important transparency safeguards to make sure important calls aren’t inadvertently blocked;
- Directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to issue rules protecting consumers from calls they didn’t agree to receive and to ensure consumers can withdraw consent;
- Requires the FCC to enact safeguards so companies can’t abuse robocall exemptions;
- Ensures the FCC has the authority and the tools to take swift action when it tracks down robocallers, including by extending the statute of limitations from one year to as many as four years for callers violating robocall prohibitions; and
- Requires the FCC to add an additional penalty of up to $10,000 for intentional robocall violations.
Voted YES on The Butch Lewis Act
Approximately 130 multiemployer pension plans are in severe financial distress which means the retirement benefits of over 1.3 million Americans are in danger of being wiped out. Some of these pension plans are projected to fail within the next twenty years, while others are facing insolvency much sooner.
The legislation puts multiemployer pension plans back on the road to financial stability and preserves benefits for retirees who worked hard for a secure retirement. It creates a new office within the Treasury Department to provide 30-year low interest rate loans to distressed pension plans, allowing them to remain solvent, grow their assets, and pay promised benefits.
Voted YES on a Bipartisan Agreement on Budget Caps and the Debt Limit
The House passed a bipartisan agreement on government spending to protect national security and invest in the health, financial security, and well-being of the American people. The legislation provides equivalent spending increases for defense and non-defense programs and ensures that the U.S. will not default on its financial obligations. It also avoids the harsh cuts in the President’s budget. I voted for the bill because it:
- Prevents devastating funding cuts of 14 percent to defense spending and 13 percent to non-defense spending;
- Provides an additional $2.5 billion for a fair, accurate, and timely Census;
- Protects funding for veterans, the Child Care Development Block Grant, and new resources to combat the opioid epidemic; and
- Increases the National Institutes of Health budget to accelerate life-saving cancer and health research.
Legislation Anna Introduced this Week
Resolution to Overturn the Trump Administration Rules Regarding SALT Deductions
I recently co-introduced a Congressional Review Act resolution to overturn the Trump Administration rules that block states from passing laws to treat the state and local taxes we pay as a charitable contribution. This would allow taxpayers in those states to deduct the full amount of state and local taxes paid.
The Republican tax law, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, took a sledgehammer to the SALT deduction by limiting it to $10,000 annually beginning in tax year 2018. Prior to this harmful cap, 183,246 of my constituents claimed an average annual SALT deduction of $52,752 in 2016. The middle class is the backbone of America and federal tax policy should not be raising taxes on these hardworking families.
House Democrats celebrated our 200th day in the majority this week. We’ve delivered transformative legislation, passing over 200 bills to lower health care costs, deliver fair wages to tens of millions of workers, and protect American democracy by strengthening election security and reducing the role of dark money in politics. To hear more about our legislation, you can watch our press conference HERE.
My thanks to every constituent who attended our Town Hall Meeting in Mountain View on Monday, July 22nd. Constituents asked excellent questions, and I learned a great deal from them. For those who could not attend, you can watch a recording HERE.
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 72,500 constituents have contacted me, and this month, 9,755 have. I actually read every communication and every constituent receives a personal response to their specific questions and comments. This week, 3,839 constituents contacted our office, including:
- 480 constituents wrote to me in support of beginning impeachment proceedings
- 243 constituents wrote to me with concerns about the humanitarian crisis at the border
- 122 constituents wrote to me with concerns about ending robocalls
Anna’s Recommended Reading and Watching
Frequently, I read articles or see videos that I think my constituents would benefit from.
The Atlantic (7/20/2019) – “FaceApp Makes Today’s Privacy Laws Look Antiquated”
Tiffany C. Li discusses the need to institute better privacy laws that address new harms and risks arising from facial recognition. She also draws attention to the need for safeguards against using facial-recognition algorithms for predictive policing.