Legislative Victories You Might Have Missed During Impeachment
This week was a historic one for our country. For only the third time in our nation’s history, Congress voted to impeach the president. I voted in favor of both articles of impeachment because President Trump abused his power, obstructed Congress, and betrayed the American people — and there is no higher crime under our Constitution than that.
Undoubtedly, impeachment dominated the headlines but our work for the people continues. We were able to find common ground to pass several pieces of legislation to fund the government.
Here’s the run down of what we accomplished.
✅ Appropriations Package for FY 2020. We passed a strong appropriations package that reflects our values and achieves critical victories For The People, including:
- 25 million for federal research at the CDC and NIH into our nation’s gun violence epidemic.
- $425 million for election security grants to states.
- $7.6 billion to ensure a thorough and accurate Census.
- $80 billion for VA medical care, including funding to provide homelessness assistance, suicide prevention and outreach, and gender-specific care.
- $1.5 billion in funding for state grants to combat the opioid epidemic.
- $9 billion for the EPA and $495 million for the Land & Water Conservation fund$1.5 billion in funding for state grants to combat the opioid epidemic.
✅ Lower Drug Costs Now Act. Last week, we passed H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act. This critical bill:
- Gives Medicare the power to negotiate directly with the drug companies, and creates powerful new tools to force drug companies to the table to agree to real price reductions, while ensuring seniors never lose access to the prescriptions they need.
- Makes the lower drug prices negotiated by Medicare available to Americans with private insurance, not just Medicare beneficiaries.
- Stops drug companies ripping off Americans while charging other countries less for the same drugs, limiting the maximum price for any negotiated drug to be in line with the average price in countries like ours, where drug companies charge less for the same drugs — and admit they still make a profit.
- Creates a new, $2,000 out-of-pocket limit on prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries, and reverses years of unfair price hikes above inflation across thousands of drugs in Medicare.
- Reinvests in most transformational improvement to Medicare since its creation — delivering vision, dental and hearing benefits — and turbocharging the search for new cures.
✅ The NDAA. The National Defense Authorization Act delivered major wins for workers in our district and our national security, including:
- $28 million for the Chinook Program, based in Ridley, PA. This funding is critical to protect nearly 4,000 jobs in our district.
- 12 weeks of paid parental leave for all federal employees.
✅ The FUTURE Act. This bill permanently reauthorizes crucial mandatory funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and all Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) with $255 million a year in funding.
- Cheyney University, our nation’s first HBCU located in PA-5, will receive an award of $500,000.00 a year as a result of the passage of the FUTURE Act.
✅ The USMCA. After months of tough negotiating, we were able to secure critical victories for workers, lower prescription drug costs and environmental protections, including:
- Stronger Enforcement: While the original USMCA draft would have allowed a trade cheating nation to stop an enforcement complaint from even being heard, Democrats’ changes prevent nations from “panel blocking” and create strong rules of evidence to help the U.S. win more cases.
- Landmark Worker Protections: The original USMCA draft stacked the deck against labor violation claims, with weak monitoring and the absurd requirement that violence against workers be “sustained or recurring” to trigger enforcement. Democrats’ changes enact a new rapid-response enhanced labor protection to protect American workers; provide for facility-based enforcement and establish Labor Attaches to provide on-the-ground information about labor practices; create stronger rules to protect workers from violence and prosecute labor violations; and create tough new monitoring tools to ensure that Mexico is complying with its labor reforms.
- Restored Environmental Protections: The original USMCA draft had weak environmental rules, and stacked the deck against any environmental violation claim by requiring proof it impacted trade. Democrats have ensured that USMCA recognizes environment’s connection to trade, and established Environment-Focused Attachés in Mexico City that will regularly monitor Mexico’s environment laws, regulations, and practices.
- Prescription Drugs: The original USMCA contains unacceptable giveaways for Big Pharma that would have locked in high prescription drug prices for American seniors and families. Democrats have eliminated these unfair hand-outs to big corporations, and secured provisions to lower drug costs and improve access to life-saving medicines.