Economy and Jobs

Generating jobs and strengthening the economy is one of Congressman Cohen’s top priorities in Congress. Some of the efforts that Congressman Cohen has made to bring much needed economic revitalization to Memphis include:

Economic Development

  • Congressman Cohen helped to secure the $71.2 million Department of Transportation grant for the Lamar Avenue redevelopment project, an effort that has been a top priority for Congressman Cohen since he was elected to federal office. The project includes major roadway repairs and capacity upgrades to Lamar Avenue, a regionally and nationally important intermodal freight corridor and will facilitate truck traffic in and out of the BNSF intermodal freight facility, creating efficiencies in the movement of goods and bring jobs and economic growth to Memphis.
  • Congressman Cohen helped Memphis secure a $30 million federal grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Choice Neighborhood program to redevelop Foote Homes and bring much needed revitalization to Memphis.
  • Congressman Cohen helped Memphis acquire a $15 million TIGER grant for the Main to Main pedestrian and bike path project across the Harahan Bridge and other improvements to downtown Memphis infrastructure.
  • Congressman Cohen helped Memphis-Shelby County Airport to be selected as one of ten federal test sites for the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program (drones), a program overseen by the Department of Transportation that will increase the stature of Memphis as a center for this cutting-edge technology and burgeoning industry, ultimately bringing jobs and positive economic growth to the region.  

Economic Empowerment

  • Congressman Cohen fought for years to secure funding for the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center in Memphis that led to a three year $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) in 2012. The MBDA is the only federal agency created specifically to foster the establishment and growth of minority-owned businesses in America.
  • Congressman Cohen introduced the Supermarket Tax Credit for Underserved Areas to provide tax incentives for the establishment of supermarkets in food deserts. The bill increases the work employment tax credit to hire disadvantaged youth, community residents and veterans and also provides a credit of sales for fresh fruit and vegetables from local community gardens.
  • Congressman Cohen cosponsored the Pay Workers a Living Wage Act to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.
  • Congressman Cohen cosponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act to strengthen the Equal Pay Act by providing effective remedies to women who are not being paid equal wages for doing equal work and protecting employees from retaliation for sharing salary information with their coworkers.
  • Congressman Cohen cosponsored the Credit Access and Inclusion Act to allow the use of non-financial service providers to provide customers’ on-time payments to credit reporting agencies, including gas, electric, and telecommunications firms and landlords. The bill enables more predictive information of often-credit-invisible consumers to be utilized to establish credit.
  • Congressman Cohen cosponsored the Original Living Wage Act. The bill links the federal minimum wage to 15% over the federal poverty threshold for a family of four ($24,600) and increases the minimum wage automatically every four years to ensure that inflation does not diminish purchasing power.
  • Congressman Cohen cosponsored the Keep Our Pensions Promises Act to prohibit multiemployer pension plans from reducing retirees’ monthly benefits and safeguard guaranteed benefits to ensure participants from companies that leave multiemployer plans, and subsequently stop paying into them, will continue to receive benefits.
  • Congressman Cohen cosponsored the Restoring Overtime Pay Act to support overtime protections and robust wages for working people by pegging the salary threshold to the 40th percentile of wages in the lowest wage census region and requires automatic updates every three years to ensure the threshold remains in-line with overall increases in workers’ wages.
  • Congressman Cohen cosponsored the Schedules that Work Act to provide relief to workers facing irregular and unpredictable schedules. It would require that retail, food service, and cleaning employees receive work schedules at least two weeks in advance. Though schedules may later be changed, one hour’s worth of extra pay is required for schedules changed with less than 24 hours’ notice.
  • Congressman Cohen cosponsored the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to require employers to make reasonable, low-cost, non-disruptive accommodations to employees who have limitations stemming from pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer.

Consumer Protection

  • Congressman Cohen introduced the Fair Access to Credit Scores Act to amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to provide all consumers with a free credit score each year. In January 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) ordered credit reporting agencies TransUnion and Equifax to pay more than $23.2 million in fines for deceiving consumers about the usefulness and cost of credit scores they bought from credit reporting agencies.
  • Congressman Cohen introduced the Equal Employment for All Act along with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to amend the Fair Credit and Reporting Act to prohibit the use of consumer credit checks against prospective and current employees for the purposes of making adverse employment decisions.
  • Congressman Cohen cosponsored a Congressional Review Act resolution to nullify the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) rollback of net neutrality protections.
  • Congressman Cohen cosponsored the Comprehensive Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act to make sweeping reforms to safeguard consumers’ personally identifiable information from future attacks similar to the Equifax breach, provide affordable access to credit freezing services, and shorten the time period that adverse credit remains on the record.  
  • Congressman Cohen introduced the Tax Return Preparer Accountability Act to give the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) explicit authority to ensure that paid tax preparers are adequately trained and maintain high standards of integrity protect consumers from fraudulent tax preparation businesses.
  • Congressman Cohen cosponsored the Protecting Consumers from Unreasonable Credit Rates to establish a maximum Annual Percentage Rate of 36 percent and applies this cap to all open-end and closed-end consumer credit transactions, including mortgages, car loans, credit cards, overdraft loans, car title loans, refund anticipation loans, and payday loans.
  • Congressman Cohen cosponsored the Return to Prudent Banking Act to reinstate the Glass Steagall Act to revive the separation between commercial banking and investment banking by increasing federal oversight over large investment banks but maintaining the flexibility of smaller, local community banks.

More on Economy and Jobs

April 2, 2020 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that Memphis will be receiving $6,495,376 and Shelby County will be receiving $704,206 in Covid-19 related assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 


Congressman Cohen made the following statement:


“Residents of public housing and those receiving housing assistance are in obvious need as the coronavirus invades Memphis. This much-needed funding will ease some anxiety over household expenses like rent. I’m pleased that this welcome relief has come in a timely manner.”

April 2, 2020 Press Release

MEMPHIS -- Over the past several weeks, Congressman Cohen’s office has received a flood of calls from constituents regarding their ability to receive the economic stimulus payments that Congress passed as part of the CARES Act. Social Security recipients, those who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and other individuals who do not typically file taxes were told they would be required to go through additional hurdles in order to receive this much-needed aid.

March 27, 2020 Press Release


WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) flew into Washington from Memphis this morning to cast a decisive, once-in-a-generation vote on a critical Coronavirus Response bill. The measure passed this afternoon and is expected to be swiftly signed into law. 


March 26, 2020 Press Release

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update for Thursday, March 26  

March 19, 2020 Press Release


WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure’s Aviation Subcommittee, today joined Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) and Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (IL-04) in writing to House and Senate leaders negotiating a possible airline bailout urging them to include consumer and other protections in any deal. 

March 18, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a member of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, today announced that the University of Memphis will receive  a grant of $297,822 from the National Science Foundation to improve statistical literacy.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

March 11, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today moderated a briefing hosted by the newly re-constituted Congressional Collegiate Sports Caucus to discuss issues of student athlete compensation, as well as the fairness and integrity of the games overseen by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Congressman Cohen founded the Collegiate Sports Caucus with former Texas Congressman Joe Barton in 2011. 

February 19, 2020 Press Release


WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that Southwest Tennessee Community College will be receiving a $998,405 grant from the Department of Labor’s Closing the Skills Gap Program designed to expand apprenticeship programs.

The college was one of 28 recipients of grants awarded Wednesday totaling nearly $100 million that will support the training of 92,000 individuals in new or expanded apprenticeship programs.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

February 6, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) will receive grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

St. Jude will receive $163,068 from the Department’s Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education Payment Program. UTHSC will receive $512,419 from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases for research on neonatal urinary tract obstructions.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

January 29, 2020 Press Release


WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today voted for, and the House passed, the Comprehensive Credit Rating Enhancement, Disclosure, Innovation and Transparency (CREDIT) Act. The bill features elements of his Free Access to Credit Scores Act and his Equal Employment for All Act.