Good afternoon. I would like to provide a few updates about recent developments in Congress and share some important information.
Endless Frontier Act
I partnered with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Todd Young (R-IN), and Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI) to introduce the Endless Frontier Act. This bill is a bold initiative to advance and solidify the United States’ leadership in scientific and technological innovation through increased investments in the discovery, creation, and manufacturing of technology critical to U.S. national security and economic competitiveness.
Specifically, the Endless Frontier Act will expand the National Science Foundation (NSF) by creating a new Technology and Innovation Directorate within NSF to advance research and development in 10 key technology focus areas, including artificial intelligence, semiconductors, quantum computing, advanced communications, biotechnology, and advanced energy. The Technology and Innovation Directorate would receive $100 billion over five years to invest in basic and advanced research, commercialization, and education and training programs in technology areas critical to national leadership. An additional $10 billion would be authorized at the Department of Commerce to support regional technology strategies and to designate at least 10 regional technology hubs across the country as global centers for the research, development, entrepreneurship, and manufacturing of new key technologies.
The Endless Frontier Act would also establish a new Supply Chain Resiliency and Crisis Response Program with the mission of strengthening critical technology supply chains in the U.S. and with global allies and partners. Additionally, the bill invests in U.S. manufacturing innovation and competitiveness with over $2.4 billion in funding to enhance and expand the Manufacturing USA network for key technologies. To support the country’s national security capabilities, the bill mandates a strategy on national competitiveness and ingenuity in science, research, and manufacturing to support the national security strategy.
The era of endless wars should come to a close and, in its place, we must embark upon a 21st century full of mass investment in scientific discovery & technological innovation. This bicameral, bipartisan legislation is the first step towards making that future a reality for our country.
Earth Day Hearing with Greta Thunberg
On Earth Day, April 22nd, I held my first hearing as Chairman of the Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on the Environment, which was also the first hearing Congress has ever held on the role of fossil fuel subsidies in preventing action on the climate crisis. Climate experts and advocates, Greta Thunberg, Tara Houska, Joseph Aldy, Peter Erickson, Jill Antares Hunkler, and Frank J. Macchiarola, testified before the subcommittee.
During this landmark hearing, we discussed the dire health and economic impacts of fossil fuel subsidies and why the Biden Administration, and the rest of the international community, should fulfill their commitments to repeal fossil fuel subsidies. Also, we examined how federal subsidies for the fossil fuel industry disproportionately affect already vulnerable communities.
The United States is the largest oil and gas producer in the world, and under the Trump administration, the fossil fuel industry received between $10.4 billion and $15.2 billion in direct relief from the federal government. We must stop spending our tax dollars to enrich wealthy corporate polluters. It is long past time we invest in the health and well-being of our planet and our communities.
End the Blockade of Yemen
I sent a letter to the Biden Administration calling for the immediate end to the Saudi-led blockade on Yemen. I, along with Debbie Dingell (MI-12), and Mark Pocan (WI-02) led 76 of our House colleagues in pressing the Biden administration to use all available leverage with Saudi Arabia to demand an end to the blockade, which has been a leading driver of Yemen’s humanitarian crisis. It has contributed to shortages of fuel, food, water, electricity, and transportation. According to the United Narions, as many as 400,000 Yemeni children under the age of 5 could die from acute malnutrition this year if the Saudi-led war and blockade continues.
We ask that the Biden Administration publicly pressure Saudi Arabia to lift the blockade and guarantee that humanitarian and commercial imports can freely enter Yemen. Every day we allow the blockade to continue is another day that pushes more children to the brink of death. Furthermore, we must push for a comprehensive political settlement that brings this disastrous conflict to a permanent end.
Updates in the District
I had the opportunity to meet with many of you, both virtually and in-person, to get an update on vaccine distribution, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) hate, and more. I understand that there has been some frustration with the COVID vaccine distribution, and I assure you that I will continue working closely with our federal, state, and local officials to improve the process so that everyone who wants to be vaccinated can be. Getting our community vaccinated is the surest way to help our struggling small businesses and ensure an equitable recovering from this economic crisis.
Also, I was encouraged to hear so many in our community speaking out against Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) hate. COVID-19 has already devastated our public health and our economy, we cannot add to the suffering by allowing misguided fear, blame and hatred harm our community even more. All forms of racism and bigotry against the AAPI community must stop.
As always, my district staff continues to prioritize constituent services and federal agency casework. We will work diligently to find the best pathways to resolve your issues with federal agencies, including U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Facebook Live Town Halls
Thank you to all who participated in this month’s Facebook Live town hall. In May, I will host a Facebook Live town hall on May 17th at noon Pacific. Please be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @RepRoKhanna.
Withdrawing from Afghanistan
In my Washington Post op-ed with Senator Bernie Sanders, we applaud President Biden’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021. Senator Sanders and I see this as an essential first step towards ending “forever wars,” and an opportunity to refocus American foreign policy to emphasize diplomacy over military action.
Caseworkers in my Santa Clara office are available to help Silicon Valley residents navigate the bureaucracy of federal agencies and any other concerns during the COVID-19 crisis. My staff can help you solve problems with immigration, visas, Social Security payments and VA paperwork, among other areas. Please call my office at (408) 436-2720 between 9:00am and 5:00pm Monday-Friday if you need assistance. Your call will be promptly answered (remotely) by my staff. You can also contact me online at any time at Khanna.house.gov/contact. While we are unable to meet in-person, my staff is ready to help. Visit my website for more information.