Applauding Decision to Hold Public Hearing in Memphis on TennCare Block Grant Proposal
This week, I applauded the decision to hold a public hearing in Memphis on the bad idea to block grant Tennessee’s Medicaid program. TennCare did not originally schedule a hearing in our city, despite the disproportionate impact this proposed change would have on Memphians. I also called attention to a roundtable discussion on “Complete Streets” I have scheduled for October 25 to discuss pedestrian, bicyclist and transit users’ safety; expressed concern at the Trump Administration’s stonewalling of legitimate oversight of its clearly impeachable conduct; condemned Trump’s dangerous decision to allow Turkey to invade parts of Syria held by U.S.-backed Kurdish militias; addressed Mr. Rakestraw’s A.P. Government class at White Station High School; talked to a large group of Career and Technical Education (CTE) students at Cordova High School; spoke out against gun violence at a “Moms Demand Action” event; offered 2020 U.S. Historical Society calendars; and offered a health tip on depression. Keep reading to learn more about my week and follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to see more updates as they happen.
Applauding Decision to Hold a Memphis Public Hearing on Bad TennCare Block Grant Proposal
Holding a Complete Streets Roundtable October 25
Expressing Concern at Trump Administration Stonewalling of the Ukraine-centered Impeachment Inquiry
Condemning Trump’s “Green Light” to Turkey’s Invasion of Syria
Addressing Mr. Rakestraw’s White Station High A.P. Government Class
Talking to Career and Technical Education Students at Cordova High
Speaking Out Against Gun Violence at a “Moms Demand Action” Event
Offering 2020 U.S. Historical Society Calendars
Weekly Health Tip
Quote of the Week
I wrote to Governor Bill Lee on September 20 requesting a public hearing on the TennCare Block Grant proposal. Shelby County has more than ten times the number of beneficiaries as Madison County, the only county in West Tennessee originally scheduled for a public hearing. I also wrote an op-ed for The Commercial Appeal. I am pleased to see a hearing has been planned for Tuesday, October 15, at 1:30 p.m. at the University Center Ballroom, 499 University Street. Memphians deserve to be heard. This proposal would allow the state government to arbitrarily change TennCare coverage and slash benefits for those who need them most. I hope the hearing is well-attended and expect it to produce the overwhelmingly negative response it has already received at hearings in Knoxville, Nashville and Jackson.
Congressman Cohen speaking at People for Bikes Workshop Thursday
It is an unpleasant fact that Memphis has a reputation as one of the most dangerous cities for pedestrians, bicyclists and users of public transit. That’s why I introduced H.R. 3663, the Complete Streets Act. This bill would create a program to pay for technical assistance and provide capital grants for projects such as sidewalks, bike lanes and bus stops to improve the safety and efficiency of transit. I am hosting a Complete Streets roundtable discussion on October 25 in Memphis to hear ideas from private sector stakeholders and our local, state and federal government on how to produce safer Complete Streets. On Thursday, I attended a City of Memphis and People for Bikes workshop at which protected bike lane proponents, such as keynote speaker Charles T. Brown of Rutgers University, spoke of transportation equity and the need to prioritize the interests of pedestrians and bicyclists after decades of prioritizing moving as many cars as possible through our streets.
Just as Trump has repeatedly stonewalled the House Judiciary Committee throughout the 116th Congress, he is now obstructing the House’s impeachment inquiry into his attempts to pressure foreign governments to dig up dirt on his political opponents. The American people deserve answers and it is essential we stand up to this President’s reckless and impeachable behavior. See my interview about the ongoing stonewalling with CNN’s Bianna Keilar here and with CNN’s Jim Sciutto here.
I am deeply disappointed in the President’s knee-jerk and irresponsible decision to give Turkey the green light to invade parts of northeastern Syria currently occupied by U.S.-backed Kurdish militias. There has been a bipartisan chorus from lawmakers and foreign policy experts condemning the President’s decision to abandon an important ally. I am also very concerned about what message this abandonment sends to our other allies. I dread the humanitarian disaster that likely comes next.
On Tuesday, I met with students in teacher Curt Rakestraw’s Advanced Placement Government class at White Station High School to talk about what I’m doing in Congress and to take thoughtful questions from students. Mr. Rakestraw is clearly a great teacher and his engaging students are a testament to his hard work. It was an honor to meet with them.
On Thursday, I met with more than 650 juniors and seniors in various Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs at Cordova High School about the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs. As a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, I have supported legislation to expand access to these essential programs. Just last month, the House passed the STEM Opportunities Act to remove barriers for minority students in STEM fields. It is essential that our best and brightest have to opportunity to conduct research and improve technology to make us all safer, healthier and better prepared to meet the challenges ahead. I want to thank Principal Barton Thorne, teacher Ariane Kavass and the entire “Wolfpack” for inviting me.
On Thursday, I joined “Moms Demand Action” volunteers to speak out against senseless gun violence. The Judiciary Committee on which I serve as a senior member has passed a red flag law and limits on high-capacity magazines while the whole House has passed a bipartisan universal background checks bill and a bill closing the Charleston loophole. Unfortunately, these measures remain bottled up by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who cares more about the NRA than the safety of our communities.
My office will have a limited number of 2020 U.S. Capitol Historical Society calendars available. If you would like to receive a calendar, please complete this form on my website. Due to the rules of the House, I am only able to mail calendars to residents of Tennessee’s Ninth District. Please feel free to share this email with other residents of the Ninth District who may be interested in receiving one but who do not receive my e-Newsletter.
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Weekly Health Tip
Depression affects more than 8.1 percent of adults over 20 and can be a torment endured in silence without professional intervention. Depression among women is about twice as common as among men. Thursday was National Depression Screening Day, but any day when you or a loved one feel desperate or depressed is a good day to seek help. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255. See some guidance and resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here.
“If you were really great and powerful, you’d keep your promises!” – Dorothy Gale, played by Judy Garland, to the Wizard, played by Frank Morgan, in “The Wizard of Oz” (1939)
As always, I remain
Member of Congress