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Getting To Work: Legislative priorities for the 115th Congress

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Just one week after the November 6th election, I was sworn into the 115th Congress as the Congresswoman for Pennsylvania's current 7th district. It has been an honor to get to work right away for the people of Pennsylvania. I want to thank everyone in our community who have taken the time to reach out to our office and share their thoughts on how we can work together to move our country forward. We've received calls regarding some of the most pressing issues facing not only our community, but the country. From voting rights, to gun safety legislation, immigration, and healthcare reform -- I am eager to begin the work that you have elected me to do. As we continue to hire staff for our offices in both Washington, DC and the district, we look forward to keeping the conversation going and working together to improve the lives of people in our community.

Like many of you, I am eager for the new Congress to begin. With a democratic majority and a class of bold, progressive leaders joining us, there is real opportunity for the legislation that was tabled in the 115th Congress to be re-introduced and reconsidered in the new year. Though the legislative process will be starting over again in a few weeks, it is important to me to sign my name to a few select pieces of legislation as a symbol of my commitment to the issues that Pennsylvanians have demanded action on.

Restoring Our Democracy

I have said this from the beginning: the right to vote is central to who we are as Americans. We must change the way we finance elections, hold our elected officials to the highest ethical standards, and eliminate barriers to eligible voters casting a ballot. That is why I, along with over 100 democratic candidates, penned a letter to Congress asking for government reform to be the first order of business -- now is the time to turn that commitment into policy. I am so proud that Speaker-Designate Nancy Pelosi and Rep. John Sarbanes are making H.R. 1, a democracy reform package, the top priority for the 116th Congress. I look forward to supporting this effort.

Today, I have cosponsored the Voter Empowerment Act (HR 12), which I expect will form a key component of H.R. 1. The VEA will modernize the American electoral system by improving access to the ballot, enhancing the integrity of our voting systems, and providing for greater accountability in our elections. The VEA also addresses unprecedented efforts, some in our own state, to turn back the clock and erect barriers to voting for the military, disabled, minority, young, elderly, and low-income Americans.

Combatting Gun Violence

I have heard loud and clear from folks in our district how important it is to address the public crisis of gun violence plaguing our communities. There is no simple solution, but we need immediate policy change to end the all too easy access to guns by people seeking to do harm. Today, I have signed onto the Gun Show Loophole Closing Act (HR 1612), the Background Check Completion Act (HR 3464), and the Assault Weapons Ban (HR 5087). We cannot wait any longer: the time to pass these common-sense reforms is now. I will continue to be a champion for these pieces of legislation and ask all my constituents to continue to call in and let me know their ideas for ending the scourge of gun violence occurring every day in our district.

Protecting Pennsylvania's Health Care

Too many Pennsylvanians have been denied access to health care or had to choose between paying for medical treatment or putting food on the table. Accessible, affordable health care is a right for all, not a privilege exclusively for the wealthy. That's why I have signed onto H.R. 1031, which authorizes Congress to intervene in a lawsuit in Texas that challenges the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Without Congress's intervention, it is possible that the lifesaving provisions of the ACA, including the requirement that insurance companies cover folks with pre-existing conditions. In the 116th Congress, I will fight to restore the damage the Trump Administration has done to the ACA and expand and improve the law.

Investing in Education and Infrastructure

Pennsylvania consistently ranks as one of the most inequitably funded public education systems in the country. Every student deserves access to a world class education and that requires us to make proper investments in our education infrastructure. I am proud to sign onto the Rebuild America's Schools Act (HR 2475), which will invest $100 million over ten years in rebuilding schools serving high-poverty communities. In addition to this vital investment in our nation's schools, the Rebuild America's Schools Act will also create as many as 1.9 million new jobs.

Ensuring Humane Immigration Policies

Our government's approach to immigration needs comprehensive reform and I look forward to working with my colleagues to overhaul this broken system. One of our bedrock principles must be to give people brought to this country as children a chance at the American Dream. That's why I have cosponsored the Dream Act (HR 3440), which will protect Dreamers from deportation from the only country they've ever called home. I also have signed onto the Keep Families Together Act (HR 6135), to stop once and for all the Trump Administration's inhumane practice of separating children from their families at the border.

To be clear, this is not an exhaustive list of the legislation that is important to me. Rather, I present these first pieces of legislation as a sign of my commitment to the values held by me and people I am honored to represent. We will keep talking about the challenges facing our communities and the best ways forward.

Please continue to reach out to my office by calling 202-225-2011 or emailing us through our website, scanlon.house.gov. We hope to be opening our permanent offices in the district soon, so you have a place to come and meet with me and my staff in Pennsylvania.


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