News from Representative DeGette

       

Dear Friend,

After a productive stay back home in Colorado, where I worked to defend our environment from Environmental Protection Agency rollbacks and corruption, supported Colorado's growing green economy and more, I was back in DC this week to bring our western values to ongoing priorities in Congress. 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before the Energy and Commerce Committee this week, and I was prepared to ask him tough questions about the company’s use and protection of personal data thanks in part to the thoughts that constituents shared on my social media. In the wake of news that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica received the data of 87 million Facebook users, it’s critical to get answers that will guide the much-needed reforms I have in mind. He was evasive during many of my questions and didn’t seem to know the answers to others, including when it came to the shockingly small amount his company has been required to pay out to plaintiffs in previous class-action lawsuits over privacy concerns. The market and existing regulatory framework has failed to hold companies that handle consumer data fully accountable. They should face substantial and meaningful financial penalties as an incentive to protect people before their information is compromised. As co-chair of the Congressional Bipartisan Privacy Caucus, this is one of my top priorities.

Mark Zuckerberg isn’t the only powerful individual I’m taking to task. On Tuesday, my fellow Democratic leaders on the Energy and Commerce Committee joined me in calling for Scott Pruitt’s resignation as head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Currently, five separate Inspector General inquiries are being conducted at our request into Administrator Pruitt’s actions and misuse of taxpayer funds. We also are looking into other ethically suspect activities, including his sweetheart condo deal, flying first class and inviting his security detail to join him on the taxpayer’s dime, and more. He represents the kind of behavior we’ve come to expect in this administration, headed by a President who promised Americans he would drain the swamp. His crony, Scott Pruitt, is the swamp, and he must step down. The integrity of this agency and our entire federal government depends on it.

Meanwhile, President Trump is talking about taking dramatic U.S. military action against Syria – and so far, his Republican allies controlling Congress have failed to request from him even a basic strategy. In 2013, when President Obama was considering greater military involvement in Syria, former GOP Speaker John Boehner requested detailed answers regarding future U.S. actions there. At the same time, I was also urging thoughtful diplomacy and a congressional vote before our country used further military force in Syria. Why isn’t Speaker Ryan doing the same now? When lives are at stake, foreign policy decisions should be weighed and scrutinized to the highest degree.

Tuesday was Equal Pay Day, an annual commemoration to highlight the ongoing struggle to close the gender pay gap. This year I marked the occasion by once again cosponsoring a resolution recognizing its significance in our fight to end this unacceptable disparity. A woman who works full time, year-round earns on average only 80 cents for every dollar earned by a man in a similar position, and the gap is even worse for black women and Latinas, highlighting the double burden of sexism and racism. This inequality is slowly improving, but progress is agonizingly slow. I’m working to hasten this much-needed change, once again cosponsoring the Paycheck Fairness Act, which strengthens efforts to achieve equal pay. We must all keep fighting to close the pay gap. When women succeed, we all succeed.

And finally for now, I’d like to invite my constituents to participate in a live telephone town hall I’ll be holding on Tuesday, May 1 at 6:30 p.m. MT. I’m holding this meeting in order to provide an update on what’s happening in Congress and to hear from you. I hope you’ll sign up below and listen in. You will have the opportunity to ask me questions throughout the call.

 

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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