Weekly Update From Rep. Anna G. Eshoo
HERE’S SOME OF WHAT CONGRESS DID THIS WEEK
H.R. 1215, Undermining Patients’ Access to Safe and Affordable Health Care
This legislation overrules state laws and denies victims of medical malpractice and defective medical products the ability to be made whole. H.R. 1215 is a one-size-fits-all bill that imposes federal rules on all 50 states for cases involving medical malpractice, product liability, and related topics. In opposing this legislation, the National Conference of State Legislatures noted that the bill removes the well-established and traditional sovereignty of states in the area of medical malpractice that has been in place for decades.
Senate Republicans Delay Trumpcare Vote
Senate Republicans delayed a vote on their version of Trumpcare to after the July 4th recess. While the fight to protect 22 million Americans from losing their health insurance is far from over, this delayed vote demonstrates that when the American people speak up, their voices make an enormous difference.
The Senate bill would provide less coverage to fewer Americans at higher costs and imposes a crushing age tax on people between the ages of 50-64…all of this without regard for the fact that health care represents 1/6th of our national economy. To read my full statement on Trumpcare and its latest CBO score, CLICK HERE.
LEGISLATION ANNA CO-SPONSORED THIS WEEK
H.R. 468, Foreign Spill Protection Act
This bipartisan bill will require those who spill oil in foreign waters to pay any cleanup costs if the oil reaches American shores. Under current law, parties responsible for oil spills in U.S. waters must pay all cleanup costs. However, for spills that occur outside of U.S. waters, the party is not liable to pay any cleanup costs to the U.S. even if the oil washes up on our shores. This is of particular concern now that Mexico, Cuba, and the Bahamas are pursuing deep-water wells in the Gulf of Mexico.
H.R. 931, Firefighter Cancer Registry Act
This legislation would create a national cancer registry specifically for firefighters, managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to improve data collection and research on cancer in firefighters. Fire fighters are exposed to a wide range of harmful toxins on a regular basis throughout their careers, and scientific studies have consistently demonstrated a strong link between fighting fires and cancer.
The registry created in this legislation will help strengthen our understanding of the link between firefighting and cancer and could potentially lead to better prevention and safety protocols.
H.R. 3084, Empowering Employees through Stock Ownership Act
This bipartisan bill would allow workers at privately-held firms and start-ups to defer the income taxes on their stock options for up to 7 years or until a “triggering event” occurs that allows the stock to be sold, whichever is sooner. Examples of triggering events include stock buy-backs, acquisitions, or the company going public. Employees of privately-held firms, who are provided the opportunity to become part owners of the company they helped build through the granting of stock options and shares, cannot exercise that stock without paying taxes on them as "income," even though the options cannot be readily sold.
LETTERS ANNA CO-SIGNED THIS WEEK
Letter to the Department of Education on Protecting Students from Sexual Assault, Harassment and Bullying
I cosigned a letter last week to Secretary Devos urging her to maintain Title IX guidance in K-12 schools. Title IX guidance protects young students from sexual assault, harassment and bullying. The letter also urges Secretary DeVos to continue training for Title IX coordinators and support other essential programs that combat sexual violence and bullying in schools.
I believe schools should be safe places of learning for all students. Bullying can lead to academic underachievement and have a profound impact on the well-being of students. It’s critical that K-12 schools have the resources, guidance and training to address the issue of sexual assault and bullying, support victims, raise awareness and educate young people. If we can address this behavior earlier, we may be able to prevent more devastating incidents in the future.
Letter to the President Urging Him to Support a Comprehensive Paid Leave Policy
I cosigned a letter this week to the President to support a comprehensive paid family leave policy. The letter urges the President to support legislation I’ve co-introduced in the House, the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which would allow employees to take up to 12 weeks away from their jobs to take care of themselves or a family member in a one-year period with partial wage replacement. Employees could take paid leave provided under this new law for the same reasons that they can take the unpaid leave provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave today. The program would be financed through small employer and employee contributions. The average worker would pay just $1.50 per week and the benefits would be completely portable and not tied to any one employer.
This week I videotaped the actual stories of constituents who could lose their lives if Trumpcare is signed into law. Every single American will be affected by this bill, which is why the strongest argument comes directly from you, my constituents. Hear their stories here.
At a Subcommittee hearing this week on Autonomous Vehicles (AVs), I spoke about the need for bipartisanship in Congress when it comes to regulating AVs. Our Congressional District is a critical hub in the development of AVs. Traditionally, the federal government has regulated vehicles through safety and design standards while the states have regulated drivers through licensing and insurance. However, in an autonomous vehicle, the vehicle is the driver, so the relationship between state and federal law becomes complicated.
AVs have the potential to revolutionize mobility, safety, urban planning, and transportation around the world. However, if consumers don’t have full confidence in the technology, the policies and the safety regulations that govern it, they’ll be hesitant to turn over the controls to a computer. A critical way to ensure this confidence is to pass fully bipartisan legislation that will lead to evidence-based regulations by expert federal agencies.
I had the privilege this week to be a guest speaker at the Internet Association’s Virtuous Circle Conference. Internet industry leaders, entrepreneurs and academic experts were in attendance. My remarks were directed to the importance of certainty in government policies to protect the Internet as the ultimate platform for leveling the playing field. One policy that is absolutely critical is net neutrality. It provides certainty to startups and their investors that they will have the same access as larger companies. It also protects the openness of the Internet that has made our country the number one destination for online entrepreneurs.
On Wednesday, I voted against H.R. 806, the Ozone Standards Implementation Act in the Energy& Commerce Committee. This bill attacks the core principle of the Clean Air Act that pollution limits should be set at a level that protects human health, ensuring that all Americans have the right to breathe clean air. Since President Nixon signed the Clean Air Act into law in 1970, the nationwide concentration of lead air pollution has been reduced by 98 percent, carbon monoxide has been cut by 85 percent, sulfur dioxide by 80 percent, and nitrogen dioxide by 60 percent, all while our national economy has tripled. Protection of our environment and public health are fully compatible with economic growth and that’s why I voted against this backward-looking legislation.
ANNA IN THE NEWS
San Jose Mercury News- “Members of Congress call on ICE to free detained Bay Area construction workers”
“Members of Congress this week gave their case new urgency with the issuance of a letter to San Francisco ICE Field Director David Jennings, calling on the agency to explore other avenues besides deportation.
“In March, the president told business leaders that his deportation plans were aimed at, ‘getting really bad dudes out of this country.’ ICE should act in accordance with these sentiments with regards to the Mejia and Nuñez families,” said the letter, which described both men as beloved members of their communities and devoted fathers. The letter, dated June 22, was signed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton; Ro Khanna, D-San Jose; Barbara Lee, D-Oakland; Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto and Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo among others.” To read the full article, CLICK HERE.
San Jose Mercury News- “Twitter signs on to net neutrality ‘Day of Action’”
“The Day of Action is scheduled for July 12 and participants include Netflix, Amazon, Mozilla, Y Combinator, Reddit and plenty of advocacy groups.
“The Silicon Valley congresswoman held a net neutrality roundtable this week at Mozilla. She talked with a handful of startup founders and others who said an open internet was important to the establishment of their companies, “and to the VCs who invested in them because there was certainty to the rules.”
“To a person, they applauded the rules that had been put into a place,” Eshoo said. “It’s essential that these businesses weigh in and tell their story. The story is that the [net neutrality] policy has been platform for their success.” To read the full article, CLICK HERE.
You can find more press releases, commentary and information on issues at my website, eshoo.house.gov. And please visit YouTube, Facebook and Twitter for more ways to stay informed.
Anna G. Eshoo