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

February 18, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and its Subcommittee on Aviation, today announced that four Memphis-area airports will receive significant funding from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act passed in December providing nearly $2 billion in federal grant funding to help airports affected by COVID-19.

February 10, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, participated in a daylong markup to consider legislative proposals to comply with the reconciliation directive included in section 2001 of the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2021, S. Con. Res. 5. The proposal includes nearly $100 billion to support transportation workers and communities affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Congressman Cohen voted for the measure in Committee this evening.

February 4, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, today participated in a hearing on “Protecting Transportation Workers and Passengers from COVID-19,” describing failures he witnessed in enforcing mask mandates at airport terminals and in flight following the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. His questions elicited testimony indicating airports and airlines were not prepared for the belligerence and non-compliance of some passengers.

February 4, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) was pleased to announce today that he has been named to the House Natural Resources Committee which has jurisdiction over the nation’s energy and mineral resources; national parks, public lands and wildlife refuges; wildlife conservation, clean water and outdoor recreation.  One of Congress’ oldest committees, it can trace its jurisdiction to the Public Lands Committee created in 1805.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

February 4, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today introduced a bill to provide preference to local contractors for work on or services provided at Department of Veterans Affairs facilities. The measure would benefit local economies by retaining companies that support local incomes.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

January 26, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced three federal grants totaling more than $1 million. The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) will receive $542,105 from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute for research on endothelial cells. The University of Memphis will receive $346,506 from the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism for work on approaches to reducing alcohol use among non-student, emerging adults.

January 15, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today introduced The Living Wage Now Act today, a measure to immediately increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

December 28, 2020 Press Release


MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today joined his colleagues in a bipartisan vote overriding the President’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act. The measure contains vital provisions for our service members, addresses Vietnam-era veterans dealing with exposure to Agent Orange, and begins the process for removing the names of Confederate officials in the Civil War from our military installations, among its important provisions.

The vote, which required a two-thirds majority, was 322 to 87.

December 28, 2020 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today voted for the Caring for Americans with Supplemental Cash (CASH) Act, increasing from $600 to $2,000 ($4,000, up from $1,200, for joint filers) the direct relief checks to be provided to eligible individuals under the coronavirus relief portions of the Fiscal Year 2021 Omnibus spending bill passed in both Houses last week. Dependents in each household would also receive $2,000 under the new measure. The measure phases out payments for individuals with adjusted gross incomes of more than $75,000 or $150,000 for couples.

December 21, 2020 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today voted for the Omnibus Appropriations bill containing full-year funding for the federal government for Fiscal Year 2021, and including $900 billion in much-needed coronavirus health and economic relief for millions during the first weeks of the Biden Administration. The bill contains in its entirety the Airport Readiness Act (AIR) Act which the Congressman introduced. The measure also includes major wins for Memphis, including the transfer of flood control obligations from the City to the U.S.