Being Elected to Influential Steering and Policy Committee
This week, my Congressional colleagues elected me to a post on the influential Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. I also held a “Congress On Your Corner” event at the Benjamin Hooks Central Library, celebrated the Tigers’ victory over Houston and advanceto the American Athletic Conference Final, reminded constituents that open enrollment for HealthCare.gov is still available, voted for Nancy Pelosi to be the Speaker of the House when it convenes in January, announced that I will be reintroducing a constitutional amendment limiting presidential pardon power, expressed concern about the new developments in the Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen cases brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, met with officials of the Memphis Area Transit Authority, remembered former Nashville mayor and congressman Richard Fulton, learned more about American-German relations, offered U.S. Capitol Historical Society 2019 calendars and provided tips about staying healthy during the holidays. Keep reading to learn more about my week and follow me on Twitter and Facebook to see more updates as they happen.
Being Elected to Influential Steering and Policy Committee
Holding an Evening “Congress On Your Corner”
Celebrating Tiger Victory over Houston and Advance to AAC Final
Flagging Open Enrollment Now Available at HealthCare.gov
Electing Nancy Pelosi Speaker-Designate for 116th Congress
Reintroducing Constitutional Amendment on Presidential Pardon Power
Expressing Unease at Twists in Manafort Case, Trump Tweets
Meeting with Memphis Area Transit Authority Officials
Remembering Nashville Mayor and Congressman Richard Fulton
Learning More about German-American Relations
Signing Up for “Congress On Your Corner” and this e-Newsletter
Offering U.S. Capitol Historical Society Calendars
Weekly Health Tip
Quote of the Week
On Thursday, I was elected by my Democratic colleagues to the powerful Democratic Steering and Policy Committee for the new Congress that convenes in January. I’ve served as a member of the committee in an appointed capacity since January 2017 when I was named to it by the once and future House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The Steering and Policy Committee nominates Democratic Members for committee assignments and has both elected and appointed positions.
I am honored to receive this vote of confidence from my colleagues and the opportunity to serve again on the Steering and Policy Committee. As a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, I look forward to using my experience in Congress to help advise the House Democratic Caucus. Democrats must remain committed to ensuring civil rights and voting rights for all Americans, preserving the Affordable Care Act, protecting Medicare and Social Security,creating jobs to build a stronger economy, and exercising oversight over the current administration’s culture of corruption, among other issues. I am grateful my colleagues have placed their trust in me.
My staff and I held a “Congress On Your Corner” event Monday night at the Benjamin Hooks Central Library where I had the opportunity to meet constituents as my staff and I helped them with their dealings with federal government agencies like the Social Security Administration, Medicare, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Small Business Administration (SBA) and other programs. We worked with one centenarian in need of in-home assistance and a veteran with some employment guidance. I look forward to having a “Congress On Your Corner” again soon.
Last Friday, I watched our fighting University of Memphis Tigers defeat the University of Houston Cougars 52 to 35. I was particularly impressed with our offense and was pleased that Sam Craft, a sixth year senior, ran for a 28-yard touchdown as we earned a place against UCF in Saturday’s AAC Final Game in Orlando. Go Tigers!
Open enrollment for 2019 HealthCare.gov insurance plans is now under way. This year, open enrollment runs only through December 15. I will be making use of every possible means to make my constituents aware that the time available to sign up has been limited again this year compared to the enrollment periods during the Obama Administration -- six weeks shorter than it was in 2016. Listen for my public service radio announcement encouraging signing up. For more information on the importance of health insurance, check out my flyer and, to sign up, see Healthcare.gov.
On Wednesday, I was proud to cast my vote in the Democratic Caucus for Nancy Pelosi of California to become Speaker of the House of Representatives when the new Congress convenes in January. Pelosi, who became the first woman Speaker when she was first elected in 2007, is a proven leader who will lead our unified caucus as it takes on the current culture of corruption in the White House. When the nation is in crisis, as I believe it is, the people need a strong leader at the table negotiating on our behalf.
The President’s pardon power is supposed to be a safety valve preventing injustice. It is not supposed to be a vehicle for presidents to put themselves, their families or their administrative or campaign staffs above the law. Unless we change the Constitution to prevent those kinds of abuses, that’s how it could be used. That’s why I announced this week that I will be reintroducing a constitutional amendment I introduced in October 2017 to prohibit the current and all future presidents from pardoning themselves, their families, or members of the administrative or campaign staffs. Trump’s dangling the possibility of a pardon before those associated with his 2016 campaign who have already been convicted or pleaded guilty in the ongoing probe of Russian interference in our elections should concern us all.
This week, a series of fast-moving events – including the collapse of a plea agreement with Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman and convicted felon Paul Manafort – appeared to place the investigation of Russian interference in that election by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in further jeopardy. With Trump now identified as “Individual One” in a federal criminal filing and with Trump acolyte and acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker now overseeing the probe, I have been calling on Congress to protect Mueller’s investigation by passing the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act (H.R. 5476). This legislation, which I have cosponsored, is needed to prevent the President from inappropriately firing Mueller and sparking a constitutional crisis.
Left to right: Gary Rosenfeld, CEO, Memphis Area Transit Authority; Congressman Cohen; Nicole C. Lacey, Chief Communications Officer; Robert R. Clark, Chief Government Affairs Officer, Department of Government Affairs at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a MATA Board member; and Tommy Pacello, President, Memphis Medical District Collaborative, a MATA Board Member.
I had an engaging discussion Thursday with representatives of the Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) Board about the upcoming implementation of dedicated bus lanes for our Bus Rapid Transit project along Second and Third Streets, the first of their kind in the state of Tennessee. In addition, we discussed ways in which we can continue bringing new revenue streams that will lead to expanded transit access, reliability andfuture free Wi-Fion buses, as well as modernized onboard bus fare-box systems.
Richard Fulton was a great Tennessean, a great Nashville mayor and a great congressman. I was saddened to learn of his passing Wednesday night at 91. Fulton, a progressive leader who was one of just seven Southern Democrats to vote for the 1964 Civil Rights Act, set the political climate for Nashville to grow into a convention city open to doing business in the New South. A seven-term congressman, Fulton was the last of a group of powerful and effective Democratic leaders that included Tennessean editor John Seigenthaler, attorneys John J. Hooker Jr., George Barrett and Cecil Branstetter and Sheriff Fate Thomas. He will be missed.
On Thursday night, I joined several colleagues for a dinner discussion at German Ambassador Emily Haber’s residence in Washington, arranged by the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress.We talked about the implications of the retirement of longtime German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a source of stability in Europe, and the rise of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD). I noted that German parliamentarians from the Bundestag visited Chattanooga and Nashville this Fall. It was an enlightening evening.
I enjoy meeting regularly with constituents in the district and helping get answers for them to questions about dealing with federal agencies. If you are interested in attending one of my “Congress on Your Corner” events, you can sign up hereto receive notification as soon as the next event is scheduled.
For those who haven’t participated in a telephone town hall, it’s easy to sign up for them by using this form.
If you would like to receive this weekly e-Newsletter, or share it with others, you can do that with this form.
My office will soon have 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.
Each week, I share a health tip in the hope of promoting a healthy lifestyle for residents of the 9th Congressional District. As always, it is best to check with your doctor before making any changes to your diet, exercise routine or lifestyle.
The Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) have come up with seven tips for having a safe and health holiday season, among them: Get some sleep. See all seven here.
“You go through the gate. If the gate’s closed, you go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we’ll pole vault in. If that doesn’t work, we’ll parachute in. But we’re going to get health care reform passed for the American people.” – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California (Speaker 2007-2011)
Good luck to all the runners in Saturday’s St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Marathon. Half Marathon, 10K, 5K and kids’ run. I’ll be waving to you as you run through Overton Park.
As always, I remain,
Member of Congress