Anna’s Weekly Update
July 19th, 2019
Trip to the Southern Border
On Saturday, July 13th, I travelled to McAllen and Brownsville, Texas as part of a Congressional Delegation of 20 Members of Congress to tour the McAllen Border Patrol Processing Center and the Brownsville Port of Entry. To learn more about my trip, please read my detailed special E-Newsletter HERE.
Highlights of What I Did in Congress This Week
Energy and Commerce Committee Passes 25 Bills
On Wednesday of this week my Committee debated and passed 25 bills, including eight bills I shepherded through the Health Subcommittee which I chair. The health bills address physician shortages and reauthorize important public health programs across the country, lower the price of prescription drugs by increasing transparency in the drug supply chain, and end the practice of surprise medical billing from out-of-network providers. The bills strengthen Disproportionate Share Hospitals, like Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in our District, that serve lower-income Americans and improve the Medicare program through stronger enrollment support. The bills also secure funding for Community Health Centers (CHCs) that serve over 50,000 patients in our District.
I’m thrilled we passed legislation to crack down on robocalls, protect infants from unsafe cribs, and improve energy efficiency through grid modernization. The bills will now be taken up by the full House. To watch my opening statement from the markup and learn more about the bills we passed, click HERE. A great day’s work!
Voted YES on The Raise the Wage Act
One in nine full-time workers lives in poverty in the U.S., and the federal minimum wage has been stagnant for more than a decade—the longest period in U.S. history.
To ensure Americans have a fair chance at a livable wage, I voted for the Raise the Wage Act. The bill gradually increases the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 over the next five years, giving 33 million Americans a raise, including 20 million working women. It also guarantees tipped workers are paid the full federal minimum wage by phasing out the subminimum wage for tipped workers to ensure they have a consistent, livable pay without eliminating tips.
Voted YES on a Resolution to Condemn the President’s Racist Comments
The President took to Twitter last Sunday to air ignorant and racist messages targeted at four Members of Congress. I voted to condemn the President’s odious statements and reaffirm that immigrants and their descendants make America stronger.
I prefer recalling the words of President John F. Kennedy who wrote, “Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life.”
Voted NO on a Resolution to Impeach the President
I voted against a Resolution sponsored by Congressman Al Green to begin impeachment proceedings against the President. The resolution enumerated the President’s racist and xenophobic statements that I certainly find deeply offensive, but they do not constitute “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” as required by the Constitution for impeachment. I encourage all my constituents to read the resolution, as I did, and you can do so HERE.
Many constituents ask me about my position on impeachment of the President. Here’s where I am. There is a strong case to be made that the President obstructed justice and I look forward to hearing Robert Mueller’s testimony in Congress next week. The American people deserve to know and hear everything and Members of Congress should be able to have all relevant materials from the Special Counsel’s investigation. I will act on the truths that emerge and I think all options are on the table. No one is above the law, not even a president of our country.
Legislation Anna Introduced and Cosponsored this Week
Introduced The WIRED Act
The FCC reported in 2018 that 81 percent of the 27 million 9-1-1 calls made in 2018 were on wireless devices. Yet, according to the California Office of Emergency Services, 341 cell sites were offline during the 2017 October Wildfires and 489 cell sites were offline during the Camp and Woolsey fires, preventing wireless users in those areas from being able to call 9-1-1, receive an emergency alert, or use their cell phones to find the safest evacuation route. This cannot continue. Too many lives are at stake.
The Wireless Infrastructure Resiliency during Emergencies and Disasters (WIRED) Act will allow states to require wireless companies to deploy infrastructure that will be resilient enough to support all cell phone networks during disasters. Currently, states do not have the explicit authority to require wireless companies to deploy resilient infrastructure for their wireless network. My bill clarifies that states have the authority to require this infrastructure as a condition of operating in the state. Resilient infrastructure, such as fiber cables with fire-resistant casing, will ensure lines of communication remain open between community members and emergency services.
Cosponsored a Resolution to Re-enter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
The President is playing with fire when it comes to Iran. At every turn, he has chosen to escalate tensions and his hawkish national security advisers are pushing for war. I cosponsored a resolution to re-enter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known as the Iran Deal. The JCPOA is an international agreement culminating years of negotiations between the United States, the U.K., Germany, France, Russia, China, and Iran. It prohibits Iran from ever seeking, developing, or acquiring nuclear weapons and provides rigorous oversight for potential violations of the agreement. The United States cannot afford another war in the Middle East, and the JCPOA is a sensible agreement that ensures diplomatic engagement with Iran.
Letters Anna Wrote and Cosigned
Letter to the CEOs of Nexstar and AT&T on Broadcast Blackouts
I wrote a letter with Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) to the CEOs of Nexstar and AT&T calling for an end to the ongoing broadcast blackout that has affected millions of Americans, including residents of our Congressional District. Broadcast blackouts are unfair to viewers. When broadcast companies and cable or satellite providers fight with each other, channels are blacked out and consumers are held hostage. Americans are paying more than ever for cable and satellite television, but every time there’s a blackout, viewers lose access to local programming. Rep. Scalise and I intend to reform the outdated laws regulating the television marketplace and to prevent future broadcast blackouts. You can read the letter HERE.
I spoke at a press conference this week about an amendment I authored in the National Defense Authorization Act. The amendment prevents federal funds from being used for military force against Iran without congressional authorization. You can watch my remarks HERE.
I joined religious leaders to speak about the state of persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Since 2003, the number of Christians in Iraq has dropped from 1.4 million to just 250,000. I passed a bill last year, the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act, to direct humanitarian aid to entities assisting displaced religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria targeted for genocide by ISIS.
Telephone Town Halls
During the last two weeks I’ve held three evening Tele-Town Hall Meetings with constituents from communities in San Mateo, Santa Cruz, and Santa Clara Counties.
Approximately 1,700 constituents participated in each meeting with wide-ranging questions on climate change, immigration, health care, government oversight, and more. Constituents consistently tell me how valuable they think these meetings are, and I draw so much from what my constituents say. My thanks to the over 5,000 people who participated in the calls. I will continue to call into every community in our Congressional District, so stay tuned for future Tele-Town Halls. You can sign up HERE to participate in upcoming Tele-Town Halls.
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 68,489 constituents have contacted me, and this month, 5,680 have. I actually read every communication and every constituent receives a personal response to their specific questions and comments. This week, 1,936 constituents contacted our office, including:
- 181 constituents wrote to me with concerns about detention centers on the border
- 153 constituents wrote to me in support of beginning impeachment proceedings
- 121 constituents wrote to me with concerns about ICE raids
Anna’s Recommended Reading and Watching
Frequently, I read articles or see videos that I think my constituents would benefit from.
Washington Post Editorial (7/16/2019) – “Millions have come out of poverty. It’s a reason to hope.”
The challenges of global poverty are immense, but this article cites progress being made. The Washington Post editorial team highlights that when the United Nations studied changes in a subset of 10 countries (total population: 2 billion), they discovered a total reduction of the number of people living in poverty from 1.1 billion to 782 million.