I continued my work for the 52nd district from Washington, D.C., this week. The House voted on major pieces of legislation, including the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2022, a bill to keep our government running and prevent default, and the Women's Health Protection Act to protect a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health care decisions throughout the U.S.
I want to acknowledge the messages I have received regarding my vote on H.R. 3 and my drug pricing proposal, the Reduced Costs and Continued Cures Act, during the past few days. Many callers stated that they were encouraged to call by national organizations. However, these organizations did not provide the callers with complete or accurate information about my position or proposal, the Reduced Costs and Continued Cures Act.
It provides a yearly out-of-pocket cap in Medicare for the expense of prescription drugs for those who need assistance most:
- $1200 annual out-of-pocket cap for those at 300 percent or less of the Federal Poverty Level;
- $1800 annual out-of-pocket cap for those at 300 to 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level; and
- $3100 annual out-of-pocket cap for those at above 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.
- Caps insulin for Medicare beneficiaries at $50 per month.
- Closes the loopholes abused by drug companies to extend patents that delay generics
- Claws excess drug company profits going back five years.
H.R. 3 has passed the House twice but has never succeeded in the Senate. This means it has not lowered the cost of one drug or helped one patient. This time around, as Congress considers President Biden's $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, enough senators have signaled they will not support H.R. 3 and I was not willing to watch history repeat itself. That’s why I offered an alternative – one that lowers drug costs for seniors as well as other consumers without stifling investment in future live-saving treatments. More than 50 patient advocacy groups, including the California Access Coalition, have stated strong concerns against H.R.3, and many of them have thanked me for my work to present an alternative. I want to make sure a solution to lower drug prices has the ability to be signed into law.
Below is another update on some of the work my staff and I have done this week to serve you.
This Week's Casework Success Story
Caroline, a veteran from the 52nd district, contacted my office in mid-August. She requested assistance with extending her HUD-VASH voucher, which was expiring imminently. The HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program combines HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance for homeless veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs(VA). Due to a prior eviction on her record, she had trouble finding housing on her own. My staff reached out to the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) and provided necessary documentation and the VASH voucher extension request. The request was quickly reviewed and granted by SDHC and the VA, ensuring that Caroline would remain housed.
Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Hearing: "Addressing COVID-19's Impacts on Children"
On Wednesday, I attended an Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing to explore how the pandemic has affected children and adolescents. I asked two witnesses what we know about how the pandemic has affected development and academic achievement.
Lee Savio Beers, M.D., F.A.A.P. is the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She said the impacts of the pandemic have not been equitably distributed. Children from communities of color, those from lower income families, and those who deal with grief and loss are especially affected. She also emphasized the importance of safe and stable relationships for children to thrive and recover.
Arthur Evans, Jr., Ph.D., is the Chief Executive Officer of the American Psychological Association. He spoke about the wider societal affects on children besides the pandemic, and the need for efficient clinical services, and more resources to address early intervention and prevention to reduce the risk of behavioral problems.
Joint Economic Committee Hearing: "Examining the Economic Benefits of Electrifying America’s Homes and Buildings"
On Wednesday, I also participated in the Joint Economic Committee's hearing on electrification to save money and our climate. I asked Ari Matusiak, Chief Executive Officer at Rewiring America, what it means for America to electrify homes and buildings and the costs and resources involved in this undertaking. I also asked how Congress could establish programs and incentives to make this happen.
P3 Chamber of Commerce Roundtable
To mark this year's climate week, I participated in many events highlighting my relevant work in Congress and how we can further reach our climate goals. On Thursday, I spoke with the Chamber of Commerce on the importance of bring the public and private sectors together to address the climate crisis. Using the technical expertise and efficiencies of the private sector, combined with the institutional advantages of the public sector, we can establish partnerships that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deliver benefits to our communities.
Meeting with Members of the International Conservation Council Foundation
I also met with members of the International Conservation Council Foundation to discuss climate and trade this week. I spoke about how the United States’ trade policy can strengthen the competitiveness of our industries while reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. I also emphasized the importance of establishing a domestic fee on carbon pollution and protecting rain forests across the globe.
San Diego Regional Chamber Board Meeting
On Thursday, I joined the San Diego Regional Chamber for its monthly board meeting. We discussed the bipartisan infrastructure bill, the reconciliation process, the federal deficit, and other items important to small businesses. Small business remains one of the leading drivers of economic growth, so I was excited to talk about the latest updates from Washington, D.C. Although I am disappointed I will not be seeing all the Chamber of Commerce members for their annual day on Capitol Hill, I appreciated this opportunity to connect via Zoom this week.
If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or need assistance with a federal agency, reach out to us through our website or by calling the district office at 858-455-5550.
To stay updated on my work throughout the week, you can also follow my social media accounts by clicking on the icons below.