Anna's Weekly Update
Highlights of What I Did in Congress This Week
Remembering Chairman Elijah Cummings
We lost a great voice for justice when Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, passed away on October 17th. On Thursday, he laid in state in Statuary Hall of the Capitol on the same catafalque that Abraham Lincoln’s casket rested on. We will all miss his moral clarity and unwavering dedication to better our country “for the generations unborn.” You can read more about his life and accomplishments here.
Voted YES on The SHIELD Act
American elections must always be decided by the American people, free from foreign inference. The SHIELD Act strengthens protections to prevent foreign intervention in U.S. elections. These protections include:
- A new requirement for candidates and political committees to notify the FBI and the Federal Elections Commission if a foreign power contacts them to provide campaign assistance;
- Requirements for greater transparency for online political ads and their sponsors;
- Provisions to close loopholes that enable foreign governments to purchase political ads;
- A new prohibition banning spending by foreign nationals on state or local ballot initiatives and referenda;
- A new prohibition on providing false information about voting rules and qualifications for voting and new strong penalties for voter intimidation.
The evidence is clear – Russia interfered in our 2016 elections. Congress must bolster election security ahead of the 2020 elections.
Voted YES on The Women’s Business Centers Improvements Act
The Women’s Business Center Program (WBC) provides training, counseling, and technical assistance for women entrepreneurs. There are three WBCs in our region: San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose. The Women’s Business Centers Improvements Act provides increased funding to WBCs, enabling greater access to vital counseling and technical training services. The increase will help extend WBC services to the more than 12.3 million female small business owners across the country.
Voted YES on The Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture Act
In 2010, Congress passed legislation to outlaw “crush videos,” disturbing footage of individuals torturing, mutilating, and killing small animals. The legislation was an important step to protect animals, but it neglected to outlaw the underlying abuse depicted in crush videos. The Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture Act closes this important gap to ensure individuals that mistreat and abuse animals can be brought to justice.
Legislation Anna Introduced and Cosponsored this Week
The Freedom for Americans to Travel to Cuba Act
Cuba is the one of only two countries in the world that Americans aren’t allowed to travel to and within freely. The other is North Korea. The Obama Administration began the process of allowing greater travel to the Island, but the Trump Administration reversed these efforts. This shift in U.S.-Cuba relations has occurred despite the fact that 81 percent of Americans support a lift on the travel ban to Cuba. The Freedom for Americans to Travel to Cuba Act is bipartisan legislation that removes the vast majority of restrictions on the right of U.S. citizens and residents to visit the island.
The Protect Against Conflict by Turkey Act
After President Trump announced the United States would withdraw from northern Syria, the Turkish military invaded the country and attacked our Kurdish allies. Last week, the House overwhelmingly supported a bipartisan resolution to condemn the President’s actions (354-60). To ensure Turkey does not harm the Kurdish population in northern Syria, the Protect Against Conflict by Turkey (PACT) Act provides a targeted response to the Turkish invasion by penalizing Turkish financial institutions involved in perpetuating Turkish President Erdogan’s corrupt practices and those that deal with the Turkish defense industry. The legislation also prevents the sale of arms to Turkey for use in Syria.
Telephone Town Halls
This week I held two evening Tele-Town Hall Meetings with constituents from communities in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties.
Approximately 1,700 constituents participated in each meeting and they asked wide-ranging questions on climate change, impeachment, immigration, health care, secure elections, and more. Constituents consistently tell me how valuable they think these meetings are and I draw so much from what my constituents say to me. My thanks to the over 3,200 people who participated in the calls. I will continue to make these calls on a consistent basis so I can talk with my constituents in every community in our Congressional District. To listen to previous Telephone Town Halls, click here.
Lyme Disease Congressional Forum
It was an honor to address constituents, advocates, doctors, leading disease experts, and Members of Congress at the Lyme Action’s Congressional Forum in Washington this week. Lyme disease is a debilitating condition, and it’s one of the fastest growing infectious diseases in the United States with over 300,000 new cases diagnosed every year. I’ve fought for funding to expand research on Lyme disease and secured a provision in the 21st Century Cures Act to establish a tick-borne disease working group at the Department of Health and Human Services. All my thanks to the Bay Area Lyme Foundation for your outstanding work and advocacy on behalf of those affected by Lyme disease.
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 101,700 constituents have contacted me, and this month, 6,757 constituents have weighed in. I actually read every communication and every constituent receives a personal response to their specific questions and comments. This week, 1,262 constituents contacted our office, including:
- 131 constituents wrote to me concerned about the President’s withdraw of troops from Northern Syria
- 125 constituents wrote to me concerned about the President’s announcement that he would host the G7 summit at his resort in Florida
- 98 constituents wrote to me in support of the Better Energy Storage 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 (10/23/2019) – “Climate Change Will Cost Us Even More Than We Think”
Dr. Oreskes of Harvard University and Professor Stern of the Grantham Research Institute reveal the gross underestimation of the costs of climate change by economists. Their opinion piece details the key set of assumptions and practices in economics that have led to poor projections.