During her more than 30 years in Congress, Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., has been a fierce advocate for net neutrality and a supporter of data privacy legislation that would protect consumers’ personal information.
Silicon Valley’s longtime lawmaker, Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., announced on Tuesday that she will not be seeking reelection after her current term expires in early 2025.
Eshoo was first elected to Congress in 1992 and currently represents California’s 16th congressional district, which includes portions of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. She is the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health and previously chaired the panel during the 116th and 117th Congresses.
“Rep. Eshoo’s congressional district is the innovation capitol of our country and her legislation mirrors innovation,” the congresswoman’s office said in a press release.
During her over three-decade career, the congresswoman has extensively focused on issues related to technology, cybersecurity, health and medical research. She has also worked to educate her colleagues on a variety of tech-related issues, including in her role as co-chair of the Congressional AI Caucus, as the co-chair and founding member of the Congressional Internet Caucus and as the co-chair and founding member of the House Medical Technology Caucus.
Eshoo has also been a strong proponent of enshrining net neutrality protections into law and was referred to as “the godmother for net neutrality in the House of Representatives” by then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., during a press conference in 2018.
The Federal Communications Commission rolled back the net neutrality rules — which prohibited broadband providers from blocking or throttling services or engaging in paid prioritization — in a 2017 vote, but the agency voted in October to advance a proposal that would reinstate them.
“As the first woman and the first Democrat to ever represent our district, I’m very proud of the body of bipartisan work I’ve been able to achieve on your behalf in Congress,” Eshoo said in a video announcing her retirement, noting that “66 of my bills have been signed into law by five presidents.”
This includes legislation — signed in 2010 by then-President Barack Obama — that requires the FCC to bar television commercials from being louder than the programming with which they are shown. Eshoo introduced legislation in March that would update and expand the law to include commercials shown on streaming services.
She was also one of the leading House lawmakers who pushed to establish a task force of experts responsible for creating a roadmap for the development of a “national cloud” to help the public sector perform AI-related research. That bill was signed into law by President Joe Biden as part of the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.
During her time in Congress, Eshoo has also championed efforts to safeguard Americans’ personal data and protect critical infrastructure and technologies from foreign threats.
She is one of the main House sponsors of the Online Privacy Act — which would create regulations around companies’ collection and use of consumer data — and co-sponsored legislation that limits technologies from certain Chinese firms from being publicly sold or imported into the U.S. over national security concerns. That bill, the Secure Equipment Act, was signed into law in November 2021, and the FCC moved last November to implement the legislation’s directive.
The congresswoman has also sponsored or co-sponsored a variety of bills to bolster the U.S. tech sector against foreign competition and threats, including legislation to promote the domestic manufacturing of printed circuit boards and a bipartisan bill to restrict the exportation of U.S. users’ data to foreign nations.
Eshoo is one of 30 House lawmakers so far to announce that they will not be running for reelection in 2024.
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