California Democrat Anna G. Eshoo announced plans Tuesday to end her 30-year congressional career at the end of this term.
Eshoo, 80, has been a power player in the Democratic Party, particularly when it comes to health and technology policy, and is a close ally of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The Silicon Valley representative’s hometown newspaper, the San Jose Spotlight, first reported his retirement.
“As the first woman and the first Democrat to represent our district, I am very proud of the bipartisan work I have been able to achieve on your behalf in Congress,” Eshoo said in a video announcement, noting that 66. of the bills he proposed were signed into law by five presidents.
News of his retirement comes just after another prominent California Democrat, Tony Cárdenas, announced he will not return to Congress after his term ends. According to Eshoo, 31 legislators (21 Democrats and 10 Republicans) have announced plans to leave office, either to retire or to seek another office.
Eshoo and Cárdenas represent seats in solidly Democratic districts. But Eshoo’s retirement will also trigger a race to replace her as head of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee. Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., and Cardenas were next in line and are both retiring.
Eshoo took the helm of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health in 2019 and played a key role in Democrats’ efforts to address prescription drug prices, expand access to health insurance and expand public health infrastructure during the COVID-19 pandemic. She was a big proponent of the Democrats’ efforts to make Medicare negotiate the cost of prescription drugs, which was passed as part of the 2022 reconciliation bill.
She has been heavily involved in advancing biomedical research and calling for more funds to go to the National Institutes of Health. More recently, he helped push for the launch of a new agency to advance research and development: the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, often called ARPA-H. Eshoo was also heavily involved in the passage of a 2016 law associated with biomedical research and the “lunar cancer” of President Barack Obama.
Eshoo also led the passage of a key pandemic preparedness law in 2006 and its subsequent reauthorizations.
But with his roots in Silicon Valley, much of Eshoo’s career has been in tech policy. During his time in Congress, he also spent six years as the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.
Eshoo has been a leading voice on issues related to the open internet and has criticized the online spread of misinformation. Pelosi called Eshoo “the godmother” of net neutrality, the movement to prevent Internet service providers from favoring one type of content over another.
He also partnered with Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr., DN.J., on a proposal to amend a 1996 law, commonly known as Section 230, that protects websites and online platforms to be held responsible for third parties. content, but the legislation has not progressed.
She also advocated for broadband access, teaming with Massachusetts Democratic Senator Edward J. Markey on bicameral legislation to direct the Federal Communications Commission to update the National Broadband Plan and analyze the effects of the pandemic on broadband policy.
He married his two interests during the COVID-19 pandemic, when he rallied against social media companies for not stopping the spread of medical misinformation.
Although he announced his plans Tuesday, a handful of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s health care authorizations remain in limbo, including the reauthorization of the pandemic preparedness bill, the reauthorization of the program of Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education and bipartisan legislation to address the global spread of HIV/AIDS.
“As my final year in Congress approaches, I will continue my work with unwavering vigor and commitment to you,” Eshoo said in his retirement video.
Sandhya Raman and Jessie Hellmann contributed to this report.
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