Economy and Jobs
If we want to help our country move forward, it is vital that Republicans join Democrats in our efforts to invest in transportation, infrastructure, manufacturing, clean energy, health care, tax reform and education. We can effectively strengthen our economy and country for future generations through strategic planning and investment.
Congressman Cohen introduced the Supermarket Tax Credit for Underserved Areas (H.R. 1433) 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 is cosponsor of Pay Workers a Living Wage Act (H.R. 3164) to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.
Congressman Cohen voted for legislation, now law, to permanently extend the earned income tax credit. The Earned Income Tax Credit is a federal tax credit for low- and moderate-income working people. It encourages and rewards work as well as offsets federal payroll and income taxes. Families with three or more children may be eligible to receive a credit up to $6,242. The provision was included in the Fiscal Year 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 2029).
Congressman Cohen is a cosponsor of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grants for Job Creation Act (H.R. 2495). This bill provides an emergency supplemental appropriation of $7.5 billion over the next 6 years for the TIGER grant program, which creates jobs by funding investments in transportation infrastructure. In 2012, Congressman Cohen helped secure a $15 million TIGER grant for the for the Main to Main pedestrian and bike path project across the Harahan Bridge and other improvements to downtown Memphis infrastructure. The project is underway with a targeted completion date of late summer/early fall 2016.
Congressman Cohen is a cosponsor of the Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act of 2015 (H.R. 1000) funds job training and create a national public service jobs program, and recommit the U.S. to seeking a national goal of full employment, where everyone has the right to useful work at living wages.
Congressman Cohen is a cosponsor of the Schedules that Work Act (H.R. 3071). The legislation would 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 is a cosponsor of the Keep Our Pensions Promises Act (H.R. 2844). This bill would prohibit trustees of multiemployer pension plans from reducing retirees’ monthly benefits. It would also safeguard promised benefits by creating a new legacy fund within the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) that would insure participants from companies that leave multiemployer plans, and subsequently stop paying into them, will continue to receive benefits.
Congressman Cohen voted against a resolution disapproving of a National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) Representation-Case Procedures Rule (S.J. Res. 8). The resolution is an extreme move that would roll back and undermine workers’ rights to a fair and timely election on union representation. The Representation-Case Procedures Rule is process by which workers may vote on whether or not to form a union or seek representation by an existing union.
Congressman Cohen voted for the Trade Preference Extension Act of 2015 (H.R. 1295), which provides $450 million each year for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) workers, firms and farmers through June 30, 2021. The bill passed both the House and Senate and was signed into law by President Obama on June 29, 2015.
Congressman Cohen is a cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 1619) 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 is a cosponsor of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (H.R. 2654). This bill requires 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.
Minority Business Development
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. In October 2015, Congressman Cohen contacted MBDA to encourage continued funding for the business center and to keep it in Memphis.
Congressman Cohen contacted Governor Bill Haslam to express his concern with the level of participation by African American owned businesses in the state of Tennessee’s contract awards and requested the Governor’s assistance to facilitate greater participation for African American businesses in state procurement projects.
Congressman Cohen introduced the Equal Employment for All Act (H.R. 3524). A Senate Companion (S. 1981), was introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). This bill amends 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 introduced the Tax Return Preparer Accountability Act of 2015 (H.R. 1609). This bill gives 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 is a cosponsor of the Protecting Consumers from Unreasonable Credit Rates Act of 2015 (H.R. 1565). This legislation establishes 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 is a cosponsor of the Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2015 (H.R. 381). The bill would re-instate the Glass Steagall Act to revive the separation between commercial banking and investment banking.
More on Economy and Jobs
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and its Aviation Subcommittee, today announced two Federal Aviation Administration grants. One grant is a reimbursement for $28.5 million spent in reconstructing Taxiways Y and T. A second grant for $14.7 million funds the fifth phase of the rehabilitation of the Memphis International Airport’s Concourse B.
Congressman Cohen made the following statement:
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, said today’s predictable 5-4 ruling against the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) will have the effect of diminishing wages for working- and middle-class Americans, furthering income inequality, and is a direct result of the failure of the U.S. Senate to confirm President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. He made the following statement:
Become your own best advocate for government contracting by discovering resources available to help you gain an edge in this lucrative but competitive market. Memphis small business owners will have an opporutnity to learn about the federal government contracting process. If you are new to the federal contracting process and want to know the basics on how to do business with the federal government, this fair will add clarity to the process.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) expressed dismay that the Tennessee state Senate Education Committee failed on Wednesday to advance a bill to provide in-state tuition to students currently protected by the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs, effectively killing the effort, and made the following statement.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) announced today that the Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) has awarded research grants totaling more than one million dollars to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, and Healthchart LLC, a Memphis firm that manufactures diagnostic medical equipment.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today co-sponsored the PARADE Act, whose acronym spells out “Prohibit Allocation of Resources for Absurd Defense Expenditures,” an example of which would be President Trump’s wasteful proposal to conduct a military parade, and made the following statement:
“America’s greatness is not shown by displays of its military power; it’s shown through respect for the rule of law, for scientific contributions benefiting all mankind, and in our heritage of welcoming ‘the teeming masses yearning to breathe free.’
I am deeply concerned about Governor Haslam’s decision to reintroduce work requirements for recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in most Tennessee counties.
Those in Memphis who benefit from SNAP, many of whom are African American, rely on its financial assistance to feed themselves and their families. The governor’s announced change in policy will turn back time for Shelby County and make it harder to prevent some of our most vulnerable citizens from going hungry.