News from Representative DeGette

       

Dear Friend,

This week began with the tragic news that 58 people were killed and hundreds injured at a music festival in Las Vegas, the deadliest mass shooting in recent American history – surpassing the Pulse nightclub massacre that left 50 dead just 16 months ago. Enough. Too often, our efforts in Congress to advance sensible gun safety reform get sidelined by moneyed interests hiding behind the Second Amendment. I’ve been engaged in this struggle for a long time, and have seen it up close and quite personal. We must do everything within our power to avoid another such attack. On Medium, I outlined five common-sense gun safety measures Congress can take now. In the meantime, the Las Vegas victims, their families and first responders remain in our hearts. 

With the flag at half-staff, House Democrats came together to honor the Las Vegas victims, as well as all who have been killed in senseless shootings. In attendance was my good friend and former congressional colleague, Gabrielle Giffords, who has devoted her life to this cause since surviving a shooting that left her with a severe brain injury. Her bravery, passion and dedication, and those of countless other victims, inspire us to never stop fighting until we pass smart legislation that keeps guns out of the hands of those who wish to use them for grave harm.

And we continue to support our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria's devastation. The White House's request for an additional $29 billion in aid for relief efforts is a good start but still not enough to cover the massive costs of rebuilding these two U.S. territories whose infrastructure has been completed destroyed. Only 9% of Puerto Rico's residents now have electricity, a number of hospitals still are unable to function, and many roads remain impassible for deliveries of clean water and fuel. I urge Congress to approve this request, and I will keep working to ensure our fellow citizens receive the full support of the federal government.


This week saw the return of another long-standing and sadly partisan struggle in Congress: The House passed H.R. 36, a draconian GOP bill banning abortions after 20 weeks with few exceptions. I spoke on the House floor against it, sharing the story of a friend and colleague whose wife faced an excruciating personal decision late in her pregnancy because of a severe fetal anomaly that would affect the future of her family. This bill would have deprived her of that choice. It rips basic, constitutionally-protected rights from women and is needlessly cruel. 

The assault on women’s health continued with President Trump’s announcement today of an interim final rule that would allow any employer to be exempt from the requirement to provide health insurance that includes contraception. As a result, many women will be forced to pay the full cost of their birth control. Under the Affordable Care Act, insurers are required to cover birth control at no cost. We must remind the President that birth control is health care, plain and simple, and his decision could take this essential aspect of care away from tens of millions of women. As Co-Chair of the Congressional pro Choice Caucus, I will continue opposing these regressive policies and bills such as H.R. 36, working to cement the health benefits gained through the ACA and our constitutionally protected rights. 

Republicans also continued to put politics ahead of health this week when the extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program was allowed to lapse due to their inaction. Reauthorizing CHIP is normally done with widespread consensus, but this year was different. Instead of prioritizing bipartisan legislation to save health insurance for millions of children, Republican leaders in Congress and President Trump wasted the latter half of September working feverishly to repeal the Affordable Care Act and gut the Medicaid program. The hyper-partisan politics in Washington threaten to roll back decades of bipartisan work to make sure all children, regardless of their family’s circumstances, have health insurance.

But on a brighter, bipartisan note, the entire Colorado congressional delegation joined me in sending a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos urging the tech giant to build its second headquarters in the Centennial State. The nine of us, representing the House and the Senate on both sides of the political aisle, don’t always see eye-to-eye – but we can all agree that Colorado is a great place to do business and an ideal location for this ambitious economic investment that could create more than 50,000 new jobs. Colorado’s exemplary infrastructure, public lands, educational institutions and fiscal management have created an enviable quality of life and have already encouraged Amazon to expand existing operations here. Colorado is ready for HQ2.

To discuss these topics and others, I’d like to invite you to my next community forum being held Saturday, October 14. What’s happening in Washington, D.C. has significant impact on our Colorado communities and across the country. From health care to immigration to taxes and more, changes in policy have a big effect. That’s why I’m convening this forum at West High School. I’m always impressed with the quality of the ideas and observations that arise at these events. I look forward to another important and energetic dialogue. RSVP by clicking on this link. I hope to see you there

As always, you can visit my website where you can read my positions on issues and learn about the different ways my staff can assist you. While you’re there, be sure to visit the “Contact” page and send me an email about what matters most to you and your family. Finally, be sure to share this email with your friends, family, and neighbors so that they too can be a part of this important dialogue.


Sincerely,

Diana DeGette
Member of Congress

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