Anna's Weekly Update
Highlights of What I Did in Congress This Week
Voted YES on the Impeachment Inquiry Resolution
The Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight and Reform Committees have been thoroughly investigating the allegations that the President invited foreign interference into our elections and used his office for personal gain. Since September, the investigation has been conducted in a secure briefing room. This week, the House voted to formally establish rules and procedures for the public phase of the impeachment inquiry. This resolution allows for public hearings, the release of transcripts from closed-door hearings, and opportunities for the President’s lawyers to question witnesses. I urge you to stay updated on major developments and follow the inquiry. My website has a helpful timeline that includes unclassified materials.
I remain steadfast to my oath of office: To preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and I will continue to do everything I can to live up to this sacred pledge.
Voted YES on the Resolution to Formally Recognize the Armenian Genocide
After fighting for 27 years to have the U.S. formally recognize the Armenian Genocide, the House passed a resolution to do so. Between 1915 and 1923, 1.5 million Armenians, and hundreds of thousands of Assyrians, Greeks, Syriacs, Arameans, Maronites, and other Christians were systematically slaughtered at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. There is an historic parallel today as Turkey is once again engaging in ethnic cleansing, this time against the Kurds in Syria. The resolution we passed not only honors and commemorates my Armenian and Assyrian ancestors and all those who perished in the first genocide of the 20th century, but serves as a timely reminder that we must remain vigilant to prevent similar atrocities today. 100 years of official U.S. silence ended on October 29th with a vote of 405 to 11. The House joined the 49 U.S. states and over 2 dozen countries, including 14 NATO allies, that have passed Armenian Genocide resolutions.
Hearing to Address Broken Global Pharmaceutical Supply Chain
There is a hidden health care crisis in our country that will affect us all: the crippling inadequacy of the American drug supply. As Chairwoman of the Health Subcommittee, I held a hearing to address the inadequacies of the global pharmaceutical supply chain and the broken generic drug industry. Today, 90 percent of the medications that Americans take are generics because of affordability. But the generic industry faces serious threats affecting American public health and national security. The hearing addressed three major crises in the global pharmaceutical supply chain:
- Overreliance on foreign production – The U.S. is highly dependent on foreign production of critical medications. China globally dominates the manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), gaining a chokehold over the global supply of essential drugs, like penicillin. Beijing could use U.S. dependence for critical drugs as an economic weapon and exploit the health and safety of the American public and our Armed Forces.
- Subpar manufacturing – Contaminated drugs have contributed to drug shortages. This year, there have been recalls of common blood pressure medications because they contain carcinogens. One of the drugs affected, Losartan, is the ninth most commonly used drug in the U.S.
- Shortages of lifesaving medications – U.S. hospitals are rationing critical drugs. This month, children and their families discovered that they may not be able to get the pediatric cancer drug Vincristine due to a drug shortage.
The expert witnesses’ testimonies were highly instructive to my Subcommittee. Congress must use what we learned to resolve the crises facing our supply chain and the generic industry.
Voted YES on The Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act
The number of people with e-cigarette- and vaping-related lung injuries has jumped to 1,604 across 49 states, and 34 people have died. E-cigarette vaping among young people is threatening to ensnare an entire generation of young Americans in nicotine addiction. The Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act amends current law to curb online sales of e-cigarettes to minors by bringing such sales under federal regulation for the sale of tobacco products. The definition of a “cigarette” would be extended to include any “electronic nicotine delivery system,” such as an e-cigarette.
Legislation Anna Introduced and Cosponsored this Week
The Smoke Planning and Research Act
As fires rage across our state, wildfire smoke has become a significant public health risk for communities throughout Northern California and the West Coast. I partnered with Rep. Mike Thompson to introduce the Smoke Planning and Research Act to help state and local governments protect their communities from the public risks of wildfire smoke. Our legislation establishes four Centers of Excellence at colleges or universities to research the risks communities face due to wildfire smoke. It also directs the EPA to study this issue and provide grants to states, tribes, and local governments to plan and respond to wildfire smoke. These efforts can include creating shelters for at-risk populations and retrofitting schools with air filters so students can safely attend school. The Smoke Planning and Research Act is endorsed by: American Lung Society, American Thoracic Society, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and South Coast Air Quality Management District.
The United States Public Health Service Modernization Act of 2019
The U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Corps is an elite team of over 6,500 health professionals that provides essential health care services to underserved communities and deploys officers during public health emergencies. I partnered with Rep. Michael Burgess to introduce bipartisan legislation that creates a standing reserve of public health professionals, enabling USPHS to keep its current projects on track while deploying health professionals where they’re needed most during crises. As our nation faces an increasing number of natural and man-made disasters, it is critical that our public health infrastructure is equipped to meet emergent demands without jeopardizing the important, everyday work of USPHS in our communities.
The Keeping Girls in School Act
Today, approximately 130 million girls around the world are not in school. The Keeping Girls in School Act directs the U.S. Government to leverage its resources and partnerships with private institutions, NGOs, and federal agencies to create solutions that address the obstacles deterring adolescent girls from receiving an education. The bill also requires the development of a U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls to ensure that the United States remains committed to the education of adolescent girls around the world, especially in developing nations.
Letters Anna Wrote and Cosigned
Letter to Energy and Commerce Committee Requesting a Hearing
Joined by 18 Members of the California Delegation, Rep. Mike Thompson and I wrote a letter to our colleagues on the Energy and Commerce Committee requesting a hearing to examine the role of telecommunications in public safety. The wildfires in California have wreaked havoc on our state’s telecommunications infrastructure. As of October 28th, 874 cell towers are down in California, with 702 not functioning due to power issues. When wireless communications go down during a disaster, it cuts off communities from first responders and vital information, jeopardizing lives. Wireless carriers and others have made efforts to aid in response to emergencies, but the Communications and Technology Subcommittee should hear about how all stakeholders have responded and potential actions Congress can take to improve network resiliency during natural disasters. Read our letter HERE.
Letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Census Disinformation
Together with more than 50 Members of Congress, I requested that the CEO of Twitter lay out a plan to combat census disinformation and allocate staff and resources to carry it out. As social media platforms continue to face interference attempts in our elections, these platforms must also be prepared for efforts to undermine our upcoming 2020 Census. The U.S. Government uses the census to determine congressional districts and over $800 billion in annual federal spending. Misinformation campaigns to discourage any American, including targeted demographic groups, from participating in our national count would be an attack on our democracy with potentially far-reaching consequences for decades to come. Read our letter HERE.
Letter to Attorney General William Barr on Encryption
On October 4th Attorney General Barr requested Facebook not proceed with its plan to implement end-to-end encryption on its messaging services, a continuation of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) repeated demands for technological backdoors and weaker encryption. The DOJ asserts backdoors will aide investigations, but overlooks how weakened encryption fundamentally undermines the privacy of every American. Senator Wyden and I wrote to Attorney General Barr urging him to stop demanding that private companies purposefully weaken their encryption standards. Read our letter HERE.
I had a great time meeting with the 7th and 8th grade students from the Lutheran Redeemer School visiting Washington, D.C. These young leaders asked excellent questions about my work in Congress and many national issues.
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 103,878 constituents have contacted me, and this month, 8,563 constituents have weighed in. I actually read every communication and every constituent receives a personal response to their specific questions and comments. This week, 1,951 constituents contacted our office, including:
- 279 constituents wrote to me in support of impeachment (45 wrote in opposition)
- 144 constituents wrote to me in support of legislation to expand and strengthen California’s public lands
- 143 constituents wrote to me in support of legislation to protect endangered species
Anna’s Recommended Reading and Watching
Frequently, I read articles or see videos that I think my constituents would benefit from.
Santa Cruz Sentinel, (10/29/2019) – “Power shutdown: Do you have to pay PG&E, plus other questions answered”
This Q&A between the Sentinel and PG&E includes explanations for bad outage information, spotty cell coverage, and how water service has been affected.