I had accidentally nuked the email, and when I went to look for it on Eshoo's page, discovered that the latest e-letter online was last August's. One of her nice staffers sent the letter to me, with this note:
Dear Mr. ******,
Below is the latest enewsletter from Congresswoman Eshoo. I believe it was sent last week. I will look into why the older ones haven't been posted recently and make sure they are. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
Senior Field Representative
Office of Congresswoman Anna Eshoo
698 Emerson Street
Palo Alto, California 94301
(650) 323-2984 phone
(650) 323-3498 fax
In last week's State of the Union address, the President set out an ambitious agenda for the country. Of course, I will work with him to meet the many important challenges before us, but on many issues, the President left little room for compromise.
I was pleased that the President called for increasing the use of information technology in medicine, expanding the use of DNA testing to ensure that convictions are valid, and reauthorizing the Ryan White AIDS Act. These are all worthy of bipartisan support.
His remarks about other issues, especially Social Security, are of deep concern to me.
The President said in the next 13 years Social Security will begin paying out more than it takes in, neglecting to mention the trillions of dollars in bonds the trust fund now holds to pay future benefits. By failing to acknowledge this revenue, he's implying that the government will default on the money it has borrowed from Social Security over the last 22 years, including paying for his $2 trillion in tax cuts, amongst other things. If this were to occur, it would be an unprecedented failure of America's fiscal obligations and would severely damage our financial standing.
The President proposes taking money out of the current system in order to create private accounts in the future. The plan he proposes will draw more than $6 trillion out of Social Security in the next 20 years. One cannot simply save the program by taking money out of it. Meanwhile the President raised the possibility of "price-indexing" benefits, which will mean future beneficiaries could face a benefit cut of 40% or more.
Every generation of leadership has the responsibility to strengthen and lengthen the life of Social Security. We can do that without jeopardizing the one secure system in our country.
His statements about the courage of American soldiers and Iraqi voters were inspiring, particularly his recognition of the family of the late Sergeant Byron Norwood, who died in Iraq, and Safia Taleb al-Suhail, an Iraqi citizen who participated in last week's election. But on the questions of where we go from here, how we achieve peace and stability in Iraq, and how we bring our troops home, the President offered little.
There were several other issues the President didn't adequately address:
- He mentioned the continuing war on terrorism and homeland security, but he didn't mention his plan to cut the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program by $480 million and grants to local firefighters by $215 million.
- He talked about ending medical malpractice lawsuits to reduce health care costs, but he didn't say how he would address the 45 million Americans without health insurance.
- He called for the passage of an energy bill, but didn't mention that the bill he supports (H.R. 6) will dirty the air and raise gas prices in California or that it won't do anything to end our dependence on foreign oil.
- He pushed for the passage of his Clear Skies Initiative, but didn't mention that his proposal will actually allow large polluters to continue emitting dangerous air pollutants and won't do anything to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
- He talked about improving elementary and secondary school achievement, but he didn't tell us how he will close the $27 billion shortfall in the No Child Left Behind Act.
- He talked about raising the maximum Pell Grant, but didn't mention that he's changed eligibility requirements, eliminating Pell Grants for nearly 90,000 students and reducing grants for one million others.
- He talked about spreading democratic values and human rights across the globe, then expressed support for a Constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions.
- Finally, at the same time he called for cutting the federal deficit in half (from $450 to $225 billion a year), he called for making his tax cuts permanent. Last year, those cuts made up 70% of the deficit.
I believe these are the great issues of our time and must be addressed. If you have any comments or questions, let me hear from you.
Member of Congress
Congresswoman Anna Eshoo
205 Cannon Building, Washington, D.C. 20515
Telephone: (202) 225-8104
698 Emerson Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301
Telephone: (650) 323-2984