Becoming Chairman of House Judiciary Subcommittee
January 25, 2019
This week, I was named Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and pledged to protect voting rights, address long-neglected areas of oversight, and examine possible violations of the emoluments clauses. I also voted, again, to reopen the federal government and end the Trump Shutdown; was named to the Committee on Science, Space and Technology; commemorated the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Holiday; joined the Memphis Women’s March; stood with furloughed and unpaid federal employees; attended a border briefing; offered U.S. Capitol Historical Society calendars and provided a cancer prevention health tip for women. Keep reading to learn more about my week and follow me on Twitter and Facebookto see more updates as they happen.
Becoming Chairman of House Judiciary Subcommittee
On Wednesday, I was honored to be named Chairman of the newly re-named House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. We have important and long-neglected oversight of the Trump administration to undertake. I hope we can protect voting rights, look into possible emoluments clause violations, examine the scope of the pardon power, and look at the impact of our continued use of the Electoral College, among other things. It’s a great honor to be Chairman and I look forward to this important work. See my release on the announcement here.
This week, like the previous two weeks, the House took up and passed bills to re-open federal government agencies, put people back to work and assure they are ultimately paid for what is now a record-breaking, 35-day shutdown. As I write this, President Trump has just agreed to re-open the government until February 15, backing down from his insistence on $5.7 billion for the border wall as a condition for ending payless paydays for 800,000 federal employees. I look forward to the ongoing negotiations to resolve border security issues with all federal employees on the job and being paid. It looks like the Trump Shutdown is nearing the end, at least temporarily. I believe Speaker Pelosi’s insistence that the House would not host a State of the Union speech while the government was shut down helped bring about its end today.
On Wednesday, I was appointed to a seat on the Committee on Science, Space and Technology in the new Congress. The Science Committee will play a pivotal role on critical issues such as climate change, the space program and clean energy,and I anticipate the Committee will have major policy debates and legislative action on those issues in the this Congress. I am honored to join the Committee and grateful for the confidence my colleagues have shown in giving me a third full committee assignment.
I am also pleased to continue my service on the Judiciary Committee and on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
On Monday, I attended the 28th Annual LeMoyne-Owen College Alumni Association’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast, spoke about King’s life days after what would have been his 90th birthday, and presented a proclamation. Later that morning, I spoke to participants in the annual MLK Parade and Celebration sponsored by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 667 and the NAACP. King’s greatness will be remembered forever, especially in Memphis.
Last Saturday, I attended the Memphis Women’s March and spoke to a good crowd on a damp day outside City Hall. I mentioned that we were gathered on the weekend leading up to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Holiday and that Dr. King had come to Memphis fighting for the labor rights of striking sanitation workers. I talked about the Trump tax scam that greatly increased disparities in wealth, which Dr. King warned of when he spoke of the threat of the three “isms”: militarism, materialism and racism. The tax scam will also create a huge deficit and threaten many of the programs, like public education, that we hold dear. See a Commercial Appeal story on the Women’s March here.
Also Saturday, I went out to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building off Getwell in Memphis to address “The Rally for Fairness” with protesting federal employees from Health and Human Services (HHS), Customs and Border Protection (CPB), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and IRSwho are furloughed and/or working without pay because of the Trump Shutdown. I told them I am doing everything I can to get the government re-opened and their retroactive paychecks in hand.
On Thursday, I attended a Border Protection briefing conducted by members of the House Homeland Security Committee who made the case that President Trump’s claims about the need for a border wall are false and misleading. Briefers noted that between 2007 and 2018, Congress has appropriated $8.74 billion for border security fencing, technology and infrastructure. During the same period, Congress increased annual appropriations for Border Patrol operations by 93 percent, to $4.4 billion. They also noted that the vast majority of drug interdictions at the border take place at ports of entry, not remote spots along the border, and that the vast majority of known or suspected terrorists attempting to enter the country were prevented from boarding planes to the United States, not apprehended on the Mexico-U.S. border.
My office has a limited number of 2019 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 can mail calendars only to residents of Tennessee’s 9th Congressional District. Please feel free to share this email with other residents of the 9th District who may be interested in receiving one but who do not receive my e-Newsletter.
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This month is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. Each year in the U.S., thousands of women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and even more with cervical precancers, which can require invasive testing and treatment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends having preteens vaccinated against the HPV virus. See more about preventing cervical cancer and about HPV vaccinations here.
"We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values...When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Beyond Vietnam,” The Riverside Church, New York City, April 4, 1967
As always, I remain,