Spanberger Marks One Year in U.S. House, Highlights Work to Lower Prescription Drugs Costs, Expand Broadband Access, & Strengthen Border Security
Since Arriving in the U.S. House, the Congresswoman Has Worked to Protect Healthcare Coverage, Expand Educational & Economic Opportunity Across Central Virginia’s Communities, Increase Accountability in Government, & Gather Feedback Directly from Constituents
**Click Here for a Report on Spanberger’s Accomplishments for Central Virginia in 2019**
HENRICO, V.A. – U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today marked one-year in the U.S. House of Representatives serving the people of Central Virginia. Spanberger also released this report focused on key accomplishments from her first year in the U.S. House.
Since her swearing-in on January 3, 2019, Spanberger has worked to advance the priorities important to the people of Virginia’s Seventh District—including lowering healthcare and prescription drug costs, expanding access to rural high-speed broadband internet access, passing landmark campaign finance reform legislation, and keeping Central Virginia communities safe.
Spanberger has also made efforts to build coalitions between Democrats and Republicans to pass bipartisan legislation on critical issues—such as prescription drug costs and border security. Last month, President Trump signed her bipartisan legislation into law to help combat Central American trafficking and smuggling networks that threaten U.S. border security.
In a statement marking one year serving in the U.S. House, Spanberger thanked Central Virginians for sharing their stories, attending her office’s events, and working with her office to advance legislation throughout 2019. Additionally, she looked ahead to the next year and called for progress on pressing issues like the ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the need to pass bipartisan legislation to lower prescription drug costs for American seniors and families.
“Throughout 2019, I met with Central Virginians who are focused on the issues that matter most to them—whether it’s addressing rising healthcare costs, expanding high-speed internet access, or keeping their kids safe at school. In the House, I’ve been honored to fight to advance their priorities, and I’ve been proud of what we’ve accomplished to hold drug companies accountable, bring transparency to U.S. elections, increase access to affordable education, and address the root causes of illegal migration,” said Spanberger. “As another year in the House begins, I’m looking forward to bringing my bipartisan legislation to protect against foreign cyberattacks to the House floor, and I look forward to continuing the fight to lower drug costs for Central Virginia seniors. In 2020, I also urge the Senate to take up legislation passed last month to finally give Medicare the power to directly negotiate drug prices. And going forward, I will also keep calling on the Senate to bring the USMCA up for a vote, because Central Virginia businesses and workers have waited long enough.”
Last month, Spanberger helped pass the USMCA through the U.S. House after repeatedly calling for a finalized agreement. Earlier that month, she joined Vice President Mike Pence in a bipartisan meeting with five of her colleagues at the White House to discuss the status of the USMCA and the need to finalize the agreement.
During her first year in office, Spanberger has prioritized fighting for the issues most important to the people of Central Virginia, including:
LOWERING PRESCRIPTION DRUG COSTS & PROTECTING HEALTHCARE COVERAGE
Leading a bipartisan bill to increase transparency in the prescription drug industry. At a community-focused roundtable held in August, Spanberger heard from patients and pharmacists about how the three largest pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) in the United States control three-quarters of the U.S. prescription drug supply chain. In October, Spanberger’s bipartisan Public Disclosure of Drug Discounts Actpassed in the U.S. House on a 403 to 0 vote. The bipartisan legislation would help hold PBMs accountable by requiring PBMs to report their aggregate rebates, discounts, and other price concessions to a public website. And In November as part of her two-day healthcare tour, Rep. Spanberger hosted a prescription drug forum in Henrico County alongside AARP Virginia to discuss her PBM-focused legislation and the impacts of high prescription drug prices in Central Virginia.
Working to give Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices. In December, Spanberger joined Democrats and Republicans in passing the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which would give Medicare the power to negotiate directly with drug companies.
Advocating for increased competition among generic drug manufacturers and expanding access to lower-cost prescription drugs. In October, Spanberger joined U.S. Representative Tom Reed (R-NY-23) in leading a bill to stop harmful practices that block new generic alternatives from entering the consumer market. And in May, Spanberger cosponsored and helped pass the CREATES Act, which would level the playing field for generic drugs in the United States.
Conducting issue-specific tours across the Seventh District. During her two-day November healthcare tour, Spanberger met with local patients, healthcare professionals, providers, and community leaders to learn more about the health and wellness challenges facing families and seniors across the Seventh District. In October, she conducted an eight-stop education tour to learn more about how she can continue her work in the House to expand educational opportunities for all Central Virginia students. And during her two-day August Farm Tour, Spanberger met with Central Virginia crop and livestock producers, farm families, and agribusinesses to learn more about how she can support economic growth, boost trade opportunities, and help expand broadband internet in the region’s rural communities
KEEPING CENTRAL VIRGINIA COMMUNITIES SAFE & SECURE
Introducing and leading bipartisan legislation to strengthen border security and address the root causes of illegal migration. In December, Spanberger’s bipartisan border security bill—introduced alongside U.S. Representative Will Hurd (R-TX-23)—to combat trafficking and smuggling networks in Central America was signed into law by President Trump.
Shedding light on foreign political spending and preventing foreign influence. In October, the U.S. House passed Spanberger’s amendment to increase transparency regarding online political advertisements purchased by foreign actors. The amendment would require online platforms to include information about whether a buyer is acting as the agent of a foreign government or foreign political party.
Pushing through bipartisan efforts to protect Central Virginia consumers and seniors from robocalls and phone calls. Spanberger helped pass bipartisan legislation that would give Central Virginia consumers the tools they need to block spam robocalls. The bipartisan TRACED Act, which was signed into law in December, will help end a growing pattern of dangerous, disruptive, and illegal robocalls. In July, she cosponsored and helped pass the bipartisan Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, which was merged with a U.S. Senate version of the legislation to create the TRACED Act.
INCREASING TRANSPARENCY & ACCOUNTABILITY IN GOVERNMENT
Putting the public interest ahead of special interests. In March, Spanberger helped pass landmark campaign finance reform legislation—which she cosponsored—that would strengthen transparency in the U.S. political system and limit the influence of special interests and undisclosed donors in the democratic process. The legislation also included Spanberger’s amendment to prevent foreign threats to the electoral process by requiring intelligence assessments to identify possible foreign threats to election infrastructure, so that states may take appropriate actions.
Calling on Congress to meaningfully address the national debt and increase transparency in the budget process. In July, Spanberger voted against a budget bill that would have increased the U.S. national debt by nearly $2 trillion. And in September, she joined nine of her freshman colleagues in calling on House Committee chairs to follow pay-as you-go rules and make sure that legislation that would increase the deficit is offset by spending cuts or revenue increases.
Spearheading a successful push to block a proposed Congressional pay raise. Spanberger was part of a successful bipartisan effort to block a pay increase for Members of Congress. After she and 19 additional Democrats and Republicans pushed an amendment to block the proposed cost-of-living-adjustment, House leaders decided to delay consideration of the Member pay raise.
STRENGTHENING CENTRAL VIRGINIA’S ECONOMY & EXPANDING OPPORTUNITY
Giving college students additional opportunities in the field of early childhood education. Spanberger introduced a bipartisan bill to allow Head Start programs to receive Federal Work-Study dollars.
Addressing the immigration and workforce needs of greenhouses, dairy farms, and agribusinesses. Alongside a strong bipartisan coalition, Spanberger helped introduce and pass the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. In October, Rep. Spanberger and a bipartisan group of her colleagues introduced the legislation to improve predictability for Central Virginia agriculture employers and to reform the immigration system for farmworkers. Spanberger heard about these concerns at a variety of roundtables and meetings across Central Virginia.
BOOSTING ACCESS TO RELIABLE HIGH-SPEED BROADBAND INTERNET
Leading the fight to protect funding for critical broadband projects. Spanberger successfully fought to preserve funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Reconnect rural broadband internet program, which helps close the digital divide in rural communities. In 2019, several counties in Central Virginia applied for rural broadband infrastructure funding through the ReConnect program. However, this critical program’s funding was zeroed-out in a Senate appropriations bill earlier in 2019. Following a bipartisan push led by Spanberger and joined by 48 of her House colleagues, the funding was included in the final budget legislation signed into law by the President.
Bringing attention to the issue of unreliable high-speed internet connectivity. In August 2019, Spanberger held her Rural Broadband Summit in Louisa County to hear about how a lack of reliable broadband internet access is impacting families, farmers, first responders, and small business owners across Central Virginia. Attendees were also able to ask questions directly to representatives from USDA and the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Returning more than $730,000 to Seventh District constituents. In 2019, Spanberger and her staff successfully returned more than $730,000 to the people of VA-07 through federal casework. Click here to read a few success stories from constituents.
Fighting to protect federal workers, prevent funding lapses, and helping to end the record-long government shutdown. Spanberger’s first bill she led and introduced would prevent future government shutdowns. During lapses in government funding, Spanberger’s Stop STUPIDITY Act would automatically renew funding at the same levels as the previous year—except for the legislative branch and the Executive Office of the President. During the government shutdown, Spanberger went to the White House to meet directly with President Trump as part of a bipartisan group of House Members. And one of the first bills Spanberger helped introduce would make sure law enforcement and military personnel are paid during shutdowns.
Highlighting the voices and priorities of Central Virginians through her role as Chair of the Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee. In January, Spanberger was selected to serve as Chair of the House Agriculture Committee’s Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee. In this leadership role, she has worked to amplify the voices of Central Virginia farmers and give crop and livestock producers a seat at the table in the federal decision-making process. In October, Spanberger brought Dustin Madison—a farmer and crop consultant from Louisa—to discuss how farmers can use precision ag tools to achieve both tangible conservation benefits and increased yields.
Pushing back against a misguided effort to eliminate much-needed payments to Central Virginia farmers. In September, Spanberger pushed back against an effort by other House Members to block continued Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments to American farmers that offset the negative side-effects of the administration’s trade wars. The MFP payments were preserved in the final version of the funding bill.