Children and Families
Children and Families are important to our district and to my work in Congress.
The Children's Defense Fund (CDF) Action Council has listed me as one of the Best U.S. Representatives for Children, citing my 100% rating on the CDF Congressional Scorecard. The well-being of America's children and families is of great importance to me and I am proud of the work that I have done for the families of the Ninth District.
One of the most devastating and heart-breaking problems confronting our community is the high rate of infant mortality in Memphis. The infant mortality rate in the United States is one of the highest of any industrialized nation in the world, and the city of Memphis has one of the highest rates in the country. During the 111th Congress, I authored a resolution that urged a stronger national commitment to ending infant mortality in our nation and I was happy to see that this resolution was passed by my colleagues in the House. I worked diligently to see that H.R 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act included my legislation called the NEWBORN Act, which would create 15 national pilot programs in those cities, like Memphis, that are experiencing high rates of infant mortality. Unfortunately, the NEWBORN Act provision could not be included in the final version of the legislation due to budget reconciliation rules. Currently, the United States ranks 30th in the world and the NEWBORN Act would provide the resources to undertaking research and educational outreach programs aimed at helping women get the pre-natal care they need to deliver healthy babies.
I have re-introduced the NEWBORN Act in the current Congress, and will continue to work to see that it is passed and enacted so that our nation’s families can lead happier and healthier lives. In October, 2007, I hosted a Capitol Hill briefing on infant mortality, featuring research and medical professionals from Tennessee and across the nation who gathered to discuss this troubling issue. Brian Dobbins and Dr. Ramasubbareddy Dhanireddy from The MED and Erin Do and Jessica Gibson from the State of Tennessee Comptroller's Office provided different perspectives on the alarmingly high rate of infant mortality in Memphis and what must be done to lower it. In September of 2011 I hosted another infant mortality briefing featuring speakers from numerous organizations and federal departments. I am thankful to have so many willing partners in the fight against infant mortality, and I will continue to advocate for this issue on behalf of my constituents.
The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has been a leading health issue facing Congress. Congress created CHIP in 1997 with broad bipartisan support. CHIP provides health coverage for children in working families with parents who either can't afford insurance or hold jobs that lack health care benefits. I have been proud to speak on the floor numerous times in support of the Children's Health Insurance Program. It is appalling that in 2007 my colleagues across the aisle rallied against a program that currently provides health coverage for over 6 million children and could ensure the health and wellbeing of an additional 4 million uninsured young people. I always have supported and will continue to support adequately funding CHIP. Health insurance for our nation's children is far too important to become a partisan issue.
I have cosponsored numerous pieces of legislation that support families and children:
- H.R. 460: Right Start Child Care and Education Act of 2009
- H.R. 697: Family Building Act of 2009
- H.R. 702: PRE-K Act of 2009
- H.R. 913: Mentoring America's Children Act of 2009
- H.R. 1324: Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act of 2009
- H.R. 1933: A Child Is Missing Alert and Recovery Center Act of 2009
- H.R. 2003: Children's Hospitals Education Equity Act of 2009
- H.R. 2054: No Child Left Inside Act of 2009
- H.R. 2460: Healthy Families Act
- H.R. 3003: School-Based Health Clinic Establishment Act of 2009
- H.RES. 1452: Expressing support for the goals and ideals of National Infant Mortality Month 2010
- H.R. 666: Birth Certificate Enhancement Act of 2011
- H.R. 2127: The Nationally Enhancing the Wellbeing of Babies through Outreach Now Act of 2011