News from Representative Speier


February 8, 2019

This week, I was joined by Air Force Staff Sgt. Logan Ireland as my guest of honor for the 2019 State of the Union address. Staff Sgt. Ireland is a stellar example of the thousands of brave transgender military servicemembers who put their lives on the line in defense of our country every day. I invited Sgt. Ireland to send a clear message to the President that his blatantly discriminatory ban to keep transgender people from joining our armed forces and to bar currently serving transgender military service members from fulfilling their duty is not only hateful, it threatens military readiness and morale and puts our nation at unnecessary risk.

I introduced legislation to protect the rights of our transgender military servicemembers, close loopholes in our foreign weapons sales, and crack down on corruption and exploitation of our Executive Branch.

I also participated in numerous hearings with regard to my work on the House Oversight and Government Reform and Armed Services committees and joined my colleagues in the House Intelligence Committee in voting to send transcripts of testimony taken from witnesses in our investigation of Russia's malign influence operation targeting the 2016 U.S. elections to the Department of Justice and Special Counsel Robert Mueller.


Votes and Legislative Highlights

Introduced legislation to protect transgender servicemembers

On Thursday, I introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to allow transgender people to join and serve in the armed services openly. Our transgender servicemembers put their lives on the line every day despite the President’s blatantly discriminatory ban. They deserve our loyalty, respect, and support.

Introduced legislation to crack down on corruption and close loopholes in the Executive Branch

On Wednesday, I introduced the Restoring Integrity, Governance, Honesty, and Transparency (RIGHT) Act, which would update ethics laws to restore public trust in the conduct of executive branch officials. The RIGHT Act will increase transparency and prevent conflicts of interest by amending the Ethics in Government Act of 1978.

Specifically it will require candidates for the Office of the President and Vice President to disclose tax returns for the past 20 years, close a loophole that allows for donations by anonymous sources to legal defense funds for government officials, clarify that the anti-nepotism statute applies to appointed positions within the Executive Office of the President and White House, bar violators from holding office without pay, increase accountability and transparency for Hatch Act violations, and much more.

Voted Yes on the Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act

Today, I joined my colleagues in passing H.R. 840 to expand and make permanent a successful 2010 pilot program to provide free child care at Veterans Administration (VA) medical centers and clinics. This bill provides veterans who are primary caretakers and need to access mental health care services and other intensive health care services -- such as chemotherapy and treatment for PTSD -- with a safe, reliable, and cost-free option for child care when using VA health care services.

Reintroduced legislation to close loopholes in foreign weapons sales

On Thursday, I reintroduced the Return Expenses Paid and Yielded (REPAY) Act which will close a loophole in the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process that has allowed wealthy nations to avoid reimbursing American taxpayers for billions of dollars used to subsidize their purchases of American weapons. Specifically, the bill would require wealthy Gulf nations such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait to pay their fair share when they purchase U.S. arms.

Introduced resolution recognizing May 17th as National DIPG Awareness Day

On Friday, I introduced a bipartisan resolution to raise awareness of the urgent need for better treatments and research for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a terminal form of pediatric brain cancer. Each year 200 to 400 children, typically between the ages 5 to 9 years old, are diagnosed with DIPG and less than one percent will live more than five years after diagnosis. My resolution calls for increased awareness and expanded research so that we can provide hope for a treatment, and eventually a cure, for our youngest and most vulnerable patients and their families.

Where’s Jackie?

State of the Union

On Tuesday, I and my Democratic colleagues wore suffragist white and ERA YES pins to send a clear message to the President and the country that Democrats are fighting for the people, including advancing the rights of women, establishing economic security, and protecting voting rights for all Americans. My joint resolution to remove the deadline to finally ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as well as my bill to end gender-based pricing discrimination of consumer goods and services, or Pink Tax, are part of that effort.

Hearing on H.R. 1, strengthening ethics rules for the Executive Branch

On Wednesday, I joined my colleagues on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to hold a hearing on the urgent need to protect voting rights, clean up our elections, and shine a light on potential conflicts of interest in the Executive Branch. I engaged the witness panel on the impact of the Trump Administration’s abuse of the public's trust and taxpayer dollars are having on our federal government, the need for legislation to increase disclosure of foreign contributions to 501(c)4 organizations, and the need for stronger anti-nepotism laws.

DWWG Briefing on roll back of Title IX

On Wednesday, I hosted a briefing with the leadership of the Democratic Women’s Working group on protecting survivors’ rights under Title IX. Our fantastic panel of leading advocates briefed Members on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ proposed regulation on Title IX, which will roll back survivors’ rights, prevent equal access to education as guaranteed by federal law, and take us back to the days when sexual assault was swept under the rug.

Voices of California’s 14th District

Each week, hundreds of my constituents call and write to express their concerns and support for issues and to ask questions regarding a wide range of legislation and policies. Every constituent who writes in receives a personal response from me.

Here are some issues constituents wrote and called about this week:

• 143 constituents called on Congress to further investigate President Trump’s finances, presidential campaign, and potential collusion with Russia.

• 121 constituents expressed their opposition to President Trump’s anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric and demanded that no further funding go towards building a border wall.
• 53 constituents urged Congress to come out in opposition to the United States’ withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia, and to take steps to reduce our nuclear weapon stockpiles.

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