Good afternoon. I would like to provide a few updates about recent developments in Congress and share some important information.
Lowering Prescription Drug Prices
I partnered with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Representatives Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Peter Welch (D-VT), Cori Bush (D-MO) and others to introduce a sweeping legislative package to drastically reduce prescription drug prices. My specific contribution is The Prescription Drug Price Relief Act. If enacted, my bill would lower most brand name drug prices in the United States by 50%. Additionally, the U.S. government could save close to $360 billion over 10 years if Medicare negotiated the same drug prices as Canada.
In 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, five of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. made $44.9 billion in profits. Meanwhile, one in four Americans cannot afford their medicine. That is a grievous injustice which cannot be allowed to continue. Coupled with the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act and the Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act, my bill would ensure that no one’s medication will be out of reach because of high prices.
Investing in Cures Before Missiles (ICBM) ACT
Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) and I introduced the Investing in Cures Before Missiles (ICBM) Act. Our bill would stop further development of the Pentagon’s new ground-based strategic deterrent (GBSD) intercontinental ballistic missile and direct those savings towards the development of a universal coronavirus vaccine. The ICBM Act would:
- Extend the current service-life of the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile and redirects $1 billion of the unobligated balances to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to conduct or support research for the development of a universal coronavirus vaccine;
- Transfer unobligated funds for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s W87-1 warhead modification program to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research and combat emerging and zoonotic infectious diseases;
- Prohibit funds authorized for fiscal year 2022 from being obligated or expended for the GBSD program or the W87-1 warhead modification program; and
- Commission an independent study by the National Academy of Sciences to explore viable technical solutions to extend the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile to 2050, to include force structure changes and the non-destructive testing of missiles.
The ICBM Act demonstrates that the United States can maintain a safe, secure, effective, and affordable nuclear arsenal that deters adversaries and reassures allies without making a multi-generational investment in the GBSD. The last thing we should be doing is giving billions to defense contractors to build missiles we don’t need, especially when that money can be better spent developing vaccines to protect us against the more immediate threat of viruses.
Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies
I am pleased to announce that the Environmental Oversight subcommittee will be a holding a hearing on ending fossil fuel subsidies on April 22nd, Earth Day. I can think of no better way to commemorate Earth Day than to demonstrate our support for environmental protection by discussing the end of a system that incentivizes environmental destruction.
Every year, the U.S. government gives billions of dollars in subsidies and tax incentives to fossil fuel companies, which profit from the extraction and exploitation of our natural resources. We should not be spending our tax dollars to help polluters. It is long past time we invest in the health and well-being of our planet and our communities.
Updates in the District
We have three special events coming up in the next few weeks. All three events will be livestreamed on Facebook:
- Wednesday, April 7 at 5:30-6:30pm. Stop AAPI Hate Forum with Assemblymember Evan Low. We will discuss the federal, state and local response to the rise in anti-AAPI hate crimes and incidents. The focus will be on taking action now!
- Monday, April 12 at 5:30-6:30pm. COVID Relief Townhall with Santa Clara County Supervisor Otto Lee. We will address the impact of the American Rescue Plan and current vaccination efforts in our district.
- Thursday, April 15 at 3:30-4:30pm. Small Business Townhall with Assemblymember Alex Lee. We will be joined by representatives of the US Small Business Administration and local Small Business Development Centers to provide the latest information to small businesses looking to return to business following the pandemic.
As always, our District Office continues to prioritize constituent services and federal agency casework. As policies evolve under the Biden administration, we respond to find the best pathways to resolving 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 April, I will host a Facebook Live town hall on Monday April 26th, at noon Pacific. Please be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @RepRoKhanna.
Fighting for the $15 Minimum Wage
Sixty-seven percent of Americans support raising the minimum wage to $15. However, because the unelected Senate parliamentarian blocked the minimum wage increase from the COVID relief package, millions of workers were denied a raise. In my latest Washington Post op-ed, I argue that it is time to overrule the Parliamentarian or end the filibuster, whatever it takes to raise the minimum wage.
COVID Relief for the Bay Area
In my Mercury News op-ed, I explain how the latest COVID relief package, the American Rescue Plan, delivers for the South Bay. The American Rescue Plan includes $1,400 stimulus checks, increased child tax credits, $1.3 billion in relief to Santa Clara and Alameda county and the surrounding areas, and much more. The South Bay, like the rest of the country, has been under significant strain from the COVID pandemic, and the American Rescue Plan delivers the relief we needed.
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.