Anna’s Weekly Update
September 20th, 2019
Weekly Report From Your Congresswoman
Telephone Town Hall Meeting Invitation
Next Tuesday evening, September 24th and Thursday evening, September 26th, I’ll be holding Telephone Town Hall Meetings at 6:45 p.m. PDT. I’ll take as many questions as possible from constituents. The communities I’m calling next week include: Campbell, Cambrian Park, Fruitdale, Lexington Hills, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose, Saratoga, Stanford, Ben Lomond, Bonny Doon, Boulder Creek, Brookdale, Davenport, Felton, Lompico, Scotts Valley, and Zayante. You can also tune in via live webstream to listen in and submit your questions. I look forward to your probing questions and hope you will participate.
Highlights of What I Did in Congress This Week
The Lower Drug Costs Now Act
So many constituents ask what’s being done about the outrageous costs of prescription drugs. I have good news! House Democrats are taking a major step to lower costs by moving the Lower Drug Costs Now Act which will bring much needed relief to patients. Here are the highlights of the legislation:
- Lowers drug prices and out-of-pocket costs for all Americans by allowing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate directly with drug companies. All reforms will apply to Medicare and all private insurance plans. The bill creates powerful new tools to make drug companies come to the table to negotiate.
- Stops drug companies from charging Americans more for the same drugs that sell for less abroad. The plan limits the maximum price for any negotiated drug by averaging the price paid in other developed countries. Companies will still be able to make a profit, but Americans will no longer pay an unfair portion of the bill.
- Creates a new out-of-pocket limit on prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries. Today, seniors pay up to $5,100 in out-of-pocket costs, with some paying more. Under this plan, every senior will have their out-of-pocket costs capped at $2,000.
- Reinvests in innovation and research for new cures and treatments. By using some of the savings from lower drug prices, billions of dollars will be invested in research for new breakthrough treatments and cures at NIH. If the savings are great enough, these improvements could include new Medicare coverage for vision, hearing, and dental, and improvements to benefits for low-income Medicare beneficiaries.
As Chairwoman of the Health Subcommittee, I will be holding a hearing on the legislation on Wednesday, September 25th at 10:30 a.m. ET.
Voted YES on The Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal (FAIR) Act
Many large companies require consumers to agree to terms hidden in fine print that prevent them from filing a lawsuit or joining a class action. Whether it’s signing up for a bank account or using a website, we often sign away our rights to press legal charges. Under such agreements, disputes are settled through arbitration which lacks many due process protections and typically favors corporations. Forced arbitration clauses also prevent employees from suing their employers in federal court for abuses such as harassment and discrimination. I voted for and the House passed the FAIR Act to eliminate forced arbitration clauses in employment, consumer, and civil rights cases, and allows consumers and workers to agree to arbitration after a dispute occurs. By eliminating forced arbitration clauses, Americans’ retain their rights to seek justice and accountability through the court system.
Voted YES on The Helen Keller National Center Reauthorization Act of 2019
The House reauthorized funding for the Helen Keller National Center (HKNC), an organization that provides training and resources exclusively to people age 16 and over who have combined vision and hearing loss. Through HKNC’s comprehensive rehabilitation training center and 10 regional field offices, they provide those who are deaf and blind the tools to live, work, and thrive in the communities of their choice.
Voted YES on The Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act
Many Americans recently learned of the great contributions made at NASA by four extraordinary women: Katherine Johnson, Christine Darden, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson. Their story was told in the 2016 movie Hidden Figures. The House voted to award them Congressional Gold Medals, one of our nation’s highest civilian honors for their service to the U.S. The Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act also awards a gold medal to recognize all women who served in computing, and as mathematicians and engineers at NASA between the 1930s and 1970s. To learn more about the women behind Hidden Figures and other women’s contributions to NASA, click HERE.
Legislation Anna Cosponsored this Week
The Prevent Crime and Terrorism Act of 2019
The Trump Administration has proposed transferring the firearms export regulation from the State Department to the Commerce Department. While on paper this sounds like a simple switch, it’s far from it. The move will make it easier for terrorists, tyrants, and criminal organizations to get access to U.S.-made firearms and end the practice of Congress being notified of major firearms exports. If Congress is no longer notified of firearms sales to foreign countries, important oversight will fall by the wayside, creating a more dangerous world filled with even more guns. The Prevent Crime and Terrorism Act blocks the President’s proposal, ensuring Congress maintains its ability to effectively conduct oversight of firearm sales abroad.
The PROTECT Hong Kong Act
For fifteen weeks protesters in Hong Kong have spoken out and protested bravely against mainland China’s disregard for their rights, and they continue to do so despite the threat of violence and incarceration by mainland Chinese authorities. The bipartisan PROTECT Hong Kong Act bars commercial exports of some crowd-control items to the Hong Kong police force. The legislation is a strong condemnation of mainland China’s abuse of human rights, and an important declaration of support for the people of Hong Kong who are fighting to protect their liberties.
Letters Anna Wrote and Cosigned
Letter to the FCC on Investigating Disclosure of Russian-Funded Radio Propaganda
Together with Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), I led a group of Members of Congress asking the Federal Communications Commission to investigate Russian government sponsored propaganda aired on a Washington, D.C. radio station. Under current FCC rules, radio stations must announce the true identity of sponsors to the public.
WZHF 1390 AM in Washington exclusively airs programming produced by a Russian state-sponsored propaganda outlet, Radio Sputnik. Despite the clear connection between WZHF and the Russian Federation, the station does not convey to audiences that the Russian government sponsors its programming. As a result, listeners of WZHF are unlikely to know they are listening to Russian government-funded propaganda. We urge the FCC to investigate and ensure WZHF complies with transparency rules established to protect the public. To read a copy of the letter, click HERE.
Letter to the President Trump to Prioritize Climate in Renegotiated NAFTA.
I joined 110 Members of Congress in writing to the President, urging him to include binding climate standards and a commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement in any renegotiated NAFTA deal. The current renegotiated NAFTA does not include the type of necessary binding climate standards that Members of Congress and environmental organizations have been asking for during the last two years of negotiations. To read a copy of the letter, click HERE.
On Monday, Assemblymember Evan Low and I hosted a Senior Scam Stopper Seminar in Saratoga, and we were joined by experts from the California Society of Certified Public Accountants, Contractors State License Board, Saratoga Area Senior Coordinating Council, and Social Security Administration. We focused on warning signs and strategies to avoid malicious scams and fraud. You can watch this video to learn more.
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 90,000 constituents have contacted me, and this month, 6,295 constituents have weighed in. I actually read every communication and every constituent receives a personal response to their specific questions and comments. This week, 1,873 constituents contacted our office, including:
- 126 constituents wrote to me in support of the Reducing Waste in National Parks Act
- 120 constituents wrote to me with concerns about refugees from the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian
- 108 constituents wrote to me in support of impeachment
Anna’s Recommended Reading and Watching
Frequently, I read articles or see videos that I think my constituents would benefit from.
New York Times Opinion (9/13/2019) – “Blessed Are the Refugees”
Brett Stephens’ column is a powerful read.
Washington Post Op-Ed (9/19/2019) – “Trump and McConnell, watch this ad. Then do something about gun violence.”
Jonathan Capehart brings attention to Sandy Hook Promise’s harrowing video that calls for action on gun reform as students return to school. This video is worth watching because we owe it to our children to deliver on background checks and gun safety.