Update from Congresswoman Bonamici
By Representative Suzanne Bonamici
President Trump has now been in office for six months. I've been disappointed with many of his decisions and actions, but it has been encouraging to hear from so many of you through phone calls, emails, and town hall meetings. This month, I had the opportunity to meet with more than 500 Oregonians in Beaverton during a town hall meeting, where people raised concerns about health care, the Trump campaign's connections to Russia, and more. I have continued to call for an independent investigation into the Administration's connections with Russia because the American people deserve answers.
In Astoria, I toured the US Coast Guard Base and learned more about innovative approaches the Coast Guard is taking to protect our shores. And in Washington County, I visited two workforce development centers that are helping to connect people with good jobs.
Here are more details on what I'm working on in Oregon and Washington DC:
Protecting Access to Health Care Coverage
Access to health care is a right – not a privilege for only the healthy and wealthy. The Senate just turned down a plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The proposals the Senate considered would have resulted in millions of Americans losing health care coverage, and important consumer protections were at risk for people with pre-existing conditions and people with employer-sponsored coverage. And in addition to being harmful policy, these proposals were negotiated behind closed doors and brought forward without hearings. We can – and should – be working together to improve access to care and lower the cost of health care. Earlier this month I joined Senator Wyden, Senator Merkley, nurses, doctors, patients, and concerned citizens at a rally in Portland where we were speaking out against the misguided proposals to repeal the Affordable Care Act. I continue to stand ready and willing to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on this important issue.
Keeping Our Communities Safe
Emergency responders play an essential role in our communities. This month I heard about how the Banks Fire District is educating young people about fire safety, helping them access higher education, and working in meaningful public service careers. I also learned about the Maritime Fire Safety Association, a collaborative effort that protects lives and the unique environment of the Columbia River by preparing to respond to shipboard fires and oil spills. And the St. Helens Police Department shared information about their work to train police officers and partner with local mental health providers to better serve people with mental illness. In Congress, I'll continue to advocate for the grant programs and policies that support first responders and help keep our communities safe.
Keeping the Internet Fair and Open
Unravelling network neutrality protections could be the end of the internet as we know it. Net neutrality means that internet service providers have to deliver all websites at equal – or neutral – speeds. In our modern economy, small businesses and consumers rely on an open and fair internet to work, communicate, and live their lives. But the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and some internet service providers want to end many of these protections. I've joined several of my colleagues in calling on the FCC to protect net neutrality and keep the internet a fair playing field.
Safeguarding Access to Justice for Consumers
As a former consumer protection attorney, I know how important it is for people to have access to justice when they've been taken advantage of by a financial institution. For years, arbitration clauses in the fine print of agreements have required too many Americans to sign away their right to go to court. Earlier this month, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) passed a rule to protect consumers and allow them to access justice in a court of law when cheated by financial institutions. In Congress, I fought House action to repeal the CFPB's rule. I will continue to stand with consumers and protect them from these fine print arbitration clauses that deny them access to justice.
Supporting Veterans, Seniors, and Working Families
Decisions made in our nation's Capitol are felt back at home in Oregon. As Congress begins the process of writing a budget, I'm focusing on protecting programs that support veterans, seniors, and people who are struggling to get by. Earlier this month I visited Community Action Team in Columbia County and learned about the important work they do to connect people with housing, jobs, and child care assistance. A robust network of programs gives people the help they need in hard times. Unfortunately, many of these programs are under attack from President Trump and Congressional Leadership. I will stand strong against cutting these critical programs that help lift people out of poverty.