Anna's Weekly Update

August 22, 2020
E-Newsletter

As I write this to you, Congress is in a rare session on a Saturday. We’re here to vote on legislation to protect the U.S. Postal Service. I never imagined that an institution so revered by the American people and placed in our Constitution by the framers would come under attack

from our own government. I’ll return immediately to California to continue confronting the high- level emergency currently facing our congressional district: wildfires.

The CZU Lighting Complex fire has raged across 67,000 acres in southern San Mateo County and northern Santa Cruz County in our Congressional District. Approximately 77,000 individuals have been forced to evacuate their homes, and the fire is only five percent contained. California’s resources are stretched thin due to the large number of fires burning throughout the state. In

response, I’ve spent every day working the phones to call for the deployment of federal resources from the National Guard Bureau, the Department of Defense, and the Bureau of Land Management to help state and local officials contain the fires. I’ve also:

  • Helped secure additional federal and state resources from Cal Guard to assist with firefighting efforts in Santa Cruz County and San Mateo County;
  • Urged the Trump Administration to approve California’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration and good news today, he approved the declaration; and
  • Requested the Federal Communications Commission to take all available steps to protect communications infrastructure and ensure Californians have wireless, wireline, and internet service during this emergency;

My entire District Office team and myself are doing everything we can to secure the support my constituents need during this crisis.

Letter Supporting Major Disaster Declaration in California

Together with House colleagues, I wrote to the President urging him to immediately grant California’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration for the destructive wildfires that have hit San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Lake, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo Counties over the last week. The letter notes that the massive explosion of fire activity has resulted in an

immense strain on California’s resources and firefighting capabilities, and it’s increasingly difficult for the State and local governments to obtain the necessary resources to respond to these fires.

Approving the state’s Major Disaster Declaration will unlock vital federal assistance to help the state and local governments respond to the fires and federal grants to help families and local communities rebuild after the fires are extinguished.

FEMA announced today that the President granted California’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration. Individuals impacted by the fires in San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties can register with FEMA:

  • Online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.
  • By calling the registration phone number at 1-800-621-3362; those who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.

Additional information about types of assistance available to individuals can be found by clicking

HERE.

To read a copy of the letter to the President, click HERE.

 

Only Vote in Congress This Week

The Delivering for America Act

I voted today for the Delivering for America Act to protect the Postal Service. The full details of the bill were included in my Special E-Newsletter of 8/19/20 to you, which can be found HERE.

Letters I Wrote and Cosigned this Week

Letter Calling on the FCC to Keep Californians Connected During Wildfires

The rolling blackouts and wildfires across California are a major threat to critical wireless and broadband internet service that connect millions across the state to vital emergency

services. Wireless and internet outages mean that people are unable to call 9-1-1, let their loved ones know that they’re safe, or receive lifesaving alerts, which may include information about evacuation routes or other information specific to evacuations during the pandemic.

This week I wrote to Chairman Ajit Pai of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which

is charged with overseeing our nation’s communications networks to promote public safety, to take all possible steps to monitor the situation and help ensure that Californians stay connected during this crisis. I requested an immediate briefing from the FCC about wildfire and rolling blackout-related communications outages in California since the blackouts began on August 14th and what the FCC is doing to ensure communications networks stay up and running.

To read a copy of the letter, click HERE.

Investigation of Postal Service Changes on Delivery of Prescription Drugs

This week the Energy and Commerce Committee launched an investigation into the impact of Postal Service changes on the delivery of prescription drugs. According the National Association of Letter Carriers, the Postal Services normally handles 1.2 billion prescription drug shipments a year. However, mail-order prescriptions delivery volume has expanded rapidly since the coronavirus outbreak. According to recent analysis, the number of mail-order prescriptions increased by 21 percent in March 2020 alone as a result of the pandemic.

The recent operational and organizational changes put in place by the Postmaster General are causing delivery delays of prescription medications and adversely affecting the health of my constituents and millions of Americans who depend on the Postal Service to receive their medications. This week I sent a series of letters to pharmacies, pharmacy benefit managers and the relevant trade associations requesting information to better understand how the changes within the Postal Service may have impacted delivery of prescription medications and the health and well-being of Americans.

To learn more about this investigation and to read the letters, click HERE.

Legislation I Introduced and Cosponsored This Week

The Health STATISTICS Act of 2020

The U.S. has yet to standardize national, state, county or city-level public reporting on COVID-19, providing experts only 40 percent of the data needed to fight the pandemic and

significantly slowing the government’s response to measure the true scope of the outbreak. As former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden has pointed out, without standardization across all 50 states, the assembly and utilization of data from sources such as public health departments, labs, clinics, and hospitals, is nearly impossible. It also means reporting important statistics like patient demographics or turnaround times for test results are not compulsory, leaving health professionals and policymakers ‘in the dark’ as they work to tackle the virus.

This week I introduced the Health STATISTICS Act of 2020 to streamline COVID-19 reporting requirements, enforce coordination between federal and state agencies and boost data

infrastructure in regions that need it. Specifically, the bill would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to share health data collected from reporting entities with the CDC, other public health agencies and the public while preserving individual privacy. It would require the CDC to establish data and technology standards and creates a grant program for state, local, tribal and territorial public health departments to expand and modernize public health data systems.

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. Over 103,589 constituents have contacted me in 2020. I actually read every communication and every constituent receives a personal response to their specific questions and comments from me. This week, 5,535 constituents contacted my office about issues including:

  • 3,609 messages opposed to the dismantling of the U.S. Postal Service
  • 129 messages in support of the Accelerating Access to Critical Therapies for ALS Act
  • 113 messages opposed to a new market fee on refinances mortgages

 Anna’s Work in the News

My work is often featured in local and national press outlets and I share them with you here for your perusal

San Jose Inside (8/18/20) – “Silicon Valley Rep Demands Criminal Probe into Alleged Election- Rigging at USPS"

Palo Alto Daily Post (8/18/20) – “Eshoo says removal of mail boxes isn’t just a local problem, it’s taking place nationwide"

The New York Times (8/18/20) – “House Democrats request a watchdog inquiry into the

 Trump administration’s process for collecting virus data."

Vice (8/18/20) – “California DMV Is Selling Drivers’ Data to Private Investigators"

Forbes (8/18/20) – “Exclusive: Eshoo On AI, Cybersecurity And Kicking America Off The China Drug Habit"

 

 Anna’s Recommended Reading and Watching

 

I frequently read articles or see videos that I think my constituents would benefit from

Jacob Stern, The Atlantic (8/21/20) – “Two Disasters Are Exponentially Worse Than One"

Greg Behrman, Mary Beth Bruggeman, Jake Wood and seven others, USA Today (8/20/20) – “Military veterans: Nation must act now to ensure fair elections in November"

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Let’s all pray for our neighbors who have been evacuated, for all the fire fighters and first responders, and for the thousands of acts of kindness by so many.