News from Representative Speier



April 12, 2019

This week in the House of Representatives my colleagues and I voted to pass legislation to reverse the Trump Administration's attack on net neutrality principles, which were put in place by the Obama Administration to prohibit internet companies from blocking, throttling, and prioritizing content, creating an unfair advantage for online giants at the expense consumers and smaller businesses and platforms.

Congresswoman Dina Titus and I also introduced our bill to protect seniors and Medicare by preventing physicians from referring patients to unnecessary and ancillary medical services in which the doctor has a financial stake.

And I reintroduced my bill to tackle the harm caused to millions of Americans every year by the multi-billion dollar robocall industry. There's no time of day, or night, that is safe from the auto service call industry, not to mention scam artists who use robocalls to bilk vulnerable Americans out of their hard-earned money. I urge my colleagues in the Senate and House to quickly take up and pass the ROBOCOP Act.

The House is out of session for the next two weeks, during which time I will be traveling to military bases across the country to talk to servicemembers and their spouses about what they need to ensure their families are happy, healthy, and successful. I will also hold a town hall in my district tomorrow, "A Conversation About America: Stop the Killing," to address the epidemic of mass shootings that has impacted students across America. Be sure to check your emails in two weeks for updates on those activities and more when Jackie's DC Dashboard resumes.

As a Member of Congress, it is my honor and privilege to share information with my constituents in California's 14th District.

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Votes and Legislative Highlights

House Democrats Pass the Save the Internet Act of 2019

On Wednesday, I proudly voted for H.R. 1644, the Save the Internet Act of 2019, which passed the House with a vote of 232-190. This legislation reverses the Trump Administration’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rollback of Net Neutrality principles that prohibit internet companies from blocking, throttling, and prioritizing content. It also restores the FCC’s authority to support funding of broadband access and deployment, helping to ensure that all Americans have access to the internet.

I believe that legislation like this, to protect the free and open internet, is especially important because the internet has become essential to modern society and every person must have access to this fundamental right. The internet is today’s public square, where ordinary citizens come together to freely discuss ideas and engage in commerce. It’s necessary to the survival of our democracy, and it enables entrepreneurs and small businesses to flourish. Net Neutrality provided the foundation for online innovation in the past, and it is critical to achieving even greater progress in the future.

Reintroduced Legislation to Protect Seniors and Medicare

On Tuesday, Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV) and I reintroduced H.R. 2143, the Promoting Integrity in Medicare Act (PIMA) to prevent physicians in certain specialties from referring patients to ancillary medical services in which they have an ownership interest.

ImageSpecifically, the bill prohibits self-referral for four complex services which are not typically performed at the time of the patient’s initial office visit including advanced imaging, anatomic pathology, radiation therapy, and physical therapy. PIMA will also strengthen provisions in the law that maintain access to care for rural Medicare patients.

Multiple GAO studies have outlined the rampant abuse and waste of billions of taxpayer money through Medicare reimbursement for unnecessary services that are driven purely by greed for personal profit. Closing this loophole would save an estimated $3.3 billion according to a 2017 analysis conducted by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and protect vulnerable seniors who depend on Medicare for their quality of life. You can read more about our bill here.

Reintroduced Bill to Tackle Disruptive Robocalls

On Friday, I introduced H.R. 2298, the ROBOCOP (Repeated Objectionable Bothering of Consumers on Phones) Act, a bill that would require phone companies to provide customers with free tools to block robocalls.

Not a day goes by that I am not barraged with calls at home or on my cell phone from automated calling services and scam artists – and I am not alone. Nationally, about 47.8 billion robocalls were made last year and it continues to be the top complaint made to the FCC and FTC.

People sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry thinking this constant telephonic harassment will stop but the registry fails to protect consumers from law-breakers and overseas scammers. It’s time for Congress to take action and pass the ROBOCOP Act!

Where’s Jackie?

Hearing on Climate Change and National Security

On Tuesday, I attended the House Oversight Committee’s hearing which featured former Secretary of State John Kerry and former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaking about the need for the United States to assert leadership to combat climate change in the interest of national security. They explained how climate change is a threat-multiplier that heightens risks to national security at home and around the globe by creating challenging conditions during armed conflict, weakening strategic advantages, and increasing damage caused by natural disasters.

As both witnesses testified, green energy has the potential both to be a huge economic force as well as the best method of preventing disastrous climate change. American innovation should lead the world, as it has in the past, but the current Administration spends more energy denying the facts than moving forward on these important issues. I applaud Secretaries Kerry and Hagel, as well as Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings, for bringing attention to this serious threat and the urgent need for action.


Commemoration of Armenian Genocide

On Tuesday, I spoke at an event commemorating the 104th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. I continue to be inspired by Armenia's democratic progress, especially when compared to its autocratic neighbors.

It’s more important than ever that Congress and the President recognize the Armenian genocide. We must all do our part to ensure Armenia’s brave and vital progress continues.

HASC Hearing on FY 2020 Navy Defense Budget

On Wednesday, the House Armed Services Committee, of which I'm a member, held a hearing on the Fiscal Year 2020 budget for the Navy and Marine Corps. The Marines are facing severe challenges to rebuild major bases after several recent hurricanes. I was impressed by USMC Commandant Robert Neller's comments on the importance of prioritizing reconstruction over unfunded border deployments.

Separately, I remain concerned about Navy contracting policies that fail to hold contractors accountable for delivering quality ships on time and urged Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson to hold shipbuilders to a higher standard.

Meetings with Jackie

Meeting with Nueva Upper School Students

ImageOn Tuesday, I met with a motivated group of students from the Nueva Upper school in San Mateo. We spoke about my experiences in public service as well as many of the issues facing students today.

As I’ve said before, talking with young, passionate constituents is one of the best parts of my job and their excitement and energy inspires me to work even harder to secure a better, more just, and more vibrant future for our children and future generations.

Meeting with San Mateo Building Trades Council

This week, I met with members of the San Mateo Building Trades Council to discuss the transportation and infrastructure needs of our district and the need to protect working families.

We also talked about the importance of high-quality apprenticeship and training programs that are needed to better prepare hard-working Americans for successful careers in our labor force.

Welcomed CA Retired Teachers Association to the Capitol

On Wednesday, I spoke with retired California teachers about several important issues facing our community. Chief among them is the need to preserve the Affordable Care Act, strengthen Medicare, and lower prescription drug prices to keep quality health care affordable for retired Americans.

We also discussed efforts to eliminate the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO), two titles of Social Security that reduce benefits for public employees and their loved ones.

Voices of California’s 14th District

Each week, hundreds of my constituents call, write, and email my San Mateo and Washington, D.C. offices to share their concerns and support for issues and request information about legislation and policies.

Every constituent who writes in receives a personal response. Here are some of the issues raised this week:

  • 160 constituents expressed their concern over the use of the pesticide glyphosate, which is used in various herbicide Imageproducts on public lands. I share these concerns and will fight to protect public health and safety and ensure that our water, produce, and environment is safe from toxic chemicals.
  • 75 constituents shared their support for the Armenian Genocide Resolution. As one of the two Members of Congress of Armenian descent, I share their commitment to speaking out against this terrible crime against humanity. I am also proud to be a Co-Chair of the Congressional Armenia Caucus and an original cosponsor of H.Res. 296, the Armenian Genocide Resolution, which was introduced this week.
  • 40 constituents expressed their concerns regarding President Trump’s FY20 budget requests. I also share this concern and want my constituents to know that I will not accept President Trump’s proposal and I will fight for a budget that reflects our priorities as a nation.
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