Anna's Weekly Report
April 8, 2022
This week, 233 years in the making, the historic confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson took place. She is now the 116th Justice of the Supreme Court and the first Black woman to serve on the highest court of our nation. Judge Jackson demonstrated her brilliance and composure throughout her confirmation process. She is one of the most qualified judges to ever be confirmed to the Supreme Court, having served as a federal public defender; a federal appellate judge; a federal district court judge; a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission; and an attorney in private practice. Four words are engraved above the doors of the Supreme Court: Equal Justice Under Law. I am confident Judge Jackson will make these words walk into the lives of the American people.
As Russian forces vacated a suburb of Kyiv this week, they left behind ghastly evidence of the atrocities they committed against the Ukrainian people. The images of murdered civilians have shocked the conscience of people around the world and serve as proof that Vladimir Putin is a war criminal.
This week I voted for and Congress passed legislation to suspend normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus, increasing tariffs on both countries. I voted for and Congress passed legislation to codify President Biden’s Executive Order banning all Russian oil and gas imports. These bills will further isolate Russia from the global economy, depriving the Putin regime of the resources they need to continue their assault on Ukraine.
The Biden Administration announced this week that the U.S. will provide more than $400 million worth of additional weapons to Ukraine, bringing the total amount of American security assistance to Ukraine to more than $2.4 billion since Russia began amassing troops along the Ukrainian border last year. I fully support providing the Ukrainian military with the equipment they need to defend their democracy.
Individuals over the age of 50 are eligible to receive an additional booster four months after their prior dose. You can sign up immediately for a free appointment at your county’s website below. It’s very easy to do.
Major Votes in the House This Week
Ensuring Last Smiles Act
This week my bipartisan bicameral legislation, the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act (ELSA), passed the House by a vote of 310-110. The bill ensures health insurance coverage for needed treatment and procedures for individuals born with congenital anomalies or birth defects. I became the champion of this legislation after I heard from a family in our District who, despite having private health insurance, had to pay $4,000 in out-of-pocket expenses in just a few months for treatment for their infant daughter Rosie’s congenital cataracts. In a country as rich and great as America, we can’t allow insurance red tape to put medically necessary treatments out of reach for children and their families. You can learn more about the bill and watch my speech on the House floor in favor of the bill here.
|Eshoo gives speech on House floor defending the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act.|
Relief for Restaurants and Other Hard Hit Small Businesses Act
Local restaurants and small businesses are cultural touchstones and economic engines that define our communities which is why we established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund last Congress to help keep these businesses afloat during the pandemic. Unfortunately, several hard-hit businesses and restaurants were unable to access this critical aid before the funds were depleted and they continue to struggle to keep their doors open.
This week the House of Representatives passed, with my enthusiastic support, H.R. 3807, the Relief for Restaurants and Other Hard Hit Small Businesses Act. H.R. 3807 is bipartisan legislation that provides $42 billion to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, extends the deadline for small businesses to apply to the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program, and provides $13 billion to establish the Hard Hit Industries Award Program to provide financial support to small businesses within industries that were hardest hit by the pandemic but were not eligible for previous pandemic-aid programs.
This week, I held a hearing in my Health Subcommittee on 19 bills to support mental health. Last October, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association declared a state of national emergency in youth mental health. Our nation’s mental health system of care has been strained for far too long and it negatively affects both pediatric and adult populations. Emergency department visits for children’s mental health more than doubled between 2016 and 2020, and nearly half of all Americans with mental health conditions do not receive care.
The slate of bills we considered address a range of issues spanning pediatric mental health care, insufficient insurance coverage, poor provider reimbursement, and housing for individuals with substance use disorder. I’m proud that my bipartisan legislation to bolster our country’s infrastructure for pediatric mental health was included in the hearing. We heard from two panels of expert witnesses, including Administrators of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA), and Stanford Clinical Professor of Psychiatry Steven Adelsheim. I’m highly encouraged by the bipartisan support to address this mental health crisis, and I look forward to moving a comprehensive legislative package in the House to address these challenges.
Hearing on Gasoline Prices
This week the Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on soaring gas prices with the CEOs of six large oil companies as witnesses: bp America, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell USA, Devon Energy, and Pioneer Natural Resources. The average price in California is $5.84 per gallon. As we pay record prices at the pump, oil companies are earning record profits. In fact, the six companies at the hearing earned more than $76 billion in profits last year.
The industry has made clear that their priority is to protect their shareholders, and the seven largest oil companies, including those who testified, announced $41 billion in stock buybacks this year.
I asked the CEOs if Congress were to suspend the gas tax, would they guarantee that the savings would be passed on to consumers, or whether oil companies would pocket the savings. The CEOs gave no assurances that they would pass the savings on to their customers. You can watch the video of my questions here.
Gas Prices Survey
I sent a survey to constituents requesting feedback on how Congress should address increased gas prices. The survey was completed by 10,097 participants and the results are below:
- 3,435 voted to suspend the 18.4 cent per gallon federal gas tax
- 2,520 voted for ‘other’
- 2,165 voted in favor of rebates to consumers to offset higher gas prices
- 1,977 voted for no action
Telephone Town Hall Meeting
This week constituents in Menlo Park, Woodside, and Portola Valley participated in my weekly Telephone Town Hall meeting with special guest Dr. David A. Relman of Stanford University. My thanks to the 1,876 constituents who participated. If you missed the meeting you can listen to it here.
In the Words of My Constituents
Every week hundreds of constituents call and write to me to express their concerns, share their passions, and ask questions regarding legislation and policies. Over 173,638 constituents have contacted me since the beginning of the 117th Congress in January, 2021. I actually read every communication and every constituent receives a personal response to their specific questions and comments from me. This week, 3,534 constituents contacted me about issues including:
- 342 messages in support of defending Ukraine’s sovereignty
- 189 messages in support of federal funding for Covid-19 mitigation and prevention efforts
- 132 messages in support of electrifying the USPS fleet
Anna in the News
- House Bill Requires Coverage for Congenital Abnormalities — Bloomberg Government
- Top lawmakers demand investigation of corruption in Armenian genocide victim payments—Los Angeles Times
- The Bucha massacre marks grim turning point in Russia’s war—Washington Post
- Republican excuses for rejecting Ketanji Brown Jackson are absurd—Washington Post
- Finally, some relief for Americans with medical debts—Washington Post
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I close with this thought. Always know how deeply grateful I am for the trust you’ve placed in me to represent you. I work daily to live up to it.
Anna G. Eshoo
Member of Congress