Celebrating Black History Month
This week, I celebrated the start of Black History Month, cosponsored legislation to stop President Donald Trump’s unconstitutional executive order banning refugees and citizens from majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States, spoke out against this executive order on the House floor and on CSPAN’s Washington Journal, was pleased to hear Dunbar Elementary School in Orange Mound will not close, introduced legislation to expand access to voting, wrote to the Department of Justice concerning voter suppression, recognized U.S. Attorney Ed Stanton III for his service, attended a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing with FedEx CEO and Chairman Fred Smith, introduced legislation to combat human trafficking, introduced legislation to put veterans back to work, appeared on CNN to discuss President Trump’s foreign policy decisions, and opposed President Trump’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Keep reading to learn more about my week and follow me on Twitter and Facebook to see these updates as they happen.
Celebrating Black History Month
Stopping President Trump’s Unconstitutional Muslim Ban
Saving Dunbar Elementary School
Expanding Access to Voting
Recognizing U.S. Attorney Ed Stanton III for His Service
Ensuring Affordable Education for Tennessee Students
Combating Human Trafficking
Putting Our Veterans Back to Work
Discussing President Trump’s Foreign Policy Decisions
Opposing President Trump’s Supreme Court Nomination
Bringing Congress to Your Corner
Weekly Health Tip
Congressman Steve Cohen and President Barack Obama at a meeting at the White House in 2014
This Black History Month, I would like to pay tribute to the accomplishments of our first African American president, Barack Obama. Over the past 8 years, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama served our nation with integrity, dedication and grace. Watch my full video commemorating Black History Month and the accomplishments of President Obama here.
Stopping President Trump’s Unconstitutional Muslim Ban
On Monday, I joined my colleagues in cosponsoring the Statue of Liberty Values (SOLVE) Act to stop President Trump’s unconstitutional and immoral executive order on immigration. This executive order suspends all refugee admissions worldwide for 120 days, bars all Syrian refugees from entering the United States indefinitely, and blocks citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days. These seven countries include Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The executive order has affected professionals who work in the United States, people visiting their family members receiving medical treatment, children, students and those who have already been thoroughly vetted and received visas to enter the country. You can read more about the SOLVE Act here and watch my speech on the House floor against the executive order here.
Congressman Cohen at the forum hosted by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers on the impacts of President Trump’s immigration ban
On Thursday, I participated in a forum hosted by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers on the impacts of President Trump’s immigration ban. Khizr Khan, the Gold Star Father who became famous after speaking at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, was one of the panelists. You can watch the forum here. Also on Thursday, I was on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal to discuss the executive order and took calls from Democrats, Republicans and Independents on various issues. You can watch my segment here.
Congressman Cohen on C-SPAN's Washington Journal
Congressman Cohen and Dunbar Elementary School Principal Dr. Anniece Gentry at Mt. Pisgah CME Church during the ceremony to honor First Lady Michelle Obama’s designation of Orange Mound as a Preserve America community.
I was pleased to learn on Wednesday that the Shelby County School Board chose not to close Dunbar Elementary School in Orange Mound. I was proud to attend a neighborhood meeting last week and speak in favor of keeping the school open. Good public schools are an important part of fighting crime in our community. Former First Lady Michelle Obama recently designated Orange Mound as a Preserve America Community. It is important to protect and celebrate the heritage of this historic community while building a future that will keep the community strong and vibrant for generations to come. Keeping Dunbar Elementary School open will help achieve this goal.
On Wednesday, I introduced legislation to ensure that every state allows citizens to vote for at least two weeks prior to federal elections, require polling locations to be within walking distance of a stop on a public transportation route, and require that states provide adequate poll workers and other resources to prevent wait times of longer than one hour. Read more about my bill here. In addition, on Tuesday, I sent a letter to the Department of Justice requesting information on complaints it has received on voter suppression. The right to vote is the cornerstone of democracy and must be protected. Read my letter here.
On Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Ed Stanton III announced he would be resigning as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee. I was proud to recommend Ed Stanton to President Barack Obama for this position in 2010, in which he has served with distinction, and to later recommend him to be nominated to serve as District Court Judge for the Western District of Tennessee in 2015. I remain disappointed, however, that despite unanimous approval by the Senate Judiciary Committee and support from both Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell never brought Ed Stanton’s nomination for this judgeship to a vote before the full Senate even though his nomination was next in line to be approved. I appreciate Ed Stanton’s work during his tenure as U.S. Attorney. All Memphians should be proud of Ed Stanton’s service to our country. Read my full statement here.
On Wednesday, I attended a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing with FedEx CEO and Chairman Fred Smith. Mr. Smith praised free community college for all Tennessee students and said it would help prepare students for good-paying jobs that could help improve our infrastructure. I am proud of my 20-year effort in the Tennessee State Senate to pass the highly acclaimed and successful Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship Program. The lottery has raised over $4 billion for education programs and scholarships in Tennessee, including for the highly successful HOPE Scholarship Program and the Tennessee Promise community college program. I was proud to work with Mr. Smith on the creation of the Tennessee lottery.
On Tuesday, I introduced a bipartisan bill to provide health care professionals training on how to identify and appropriately treat human trafficking victims. Read more about my bill here.
Today, I introduced legislation to reauthorize the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), which helps train unemployed veterans for careers in high-demand occupations. This bill would also create grants to hire veterans as firefighters and law enforcement officers. Read more about my bill here.
On Thursday, I was on CNN’s New Day with Alisyn Camerota to discuss President Trump’s recent interactions with foreign leaders. Rather than focusing on combating ISIS and Al Qaeda, President Trump has chosen to pick fights with our closest allies such as Australia and Mexico. Watch my full interview here.
On Tuesday night, President Trump announced his nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy. It is disappointing that the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch comes as the result of a vacancy that should have been filled by President Obama’s nominee, whom most Senate Republicans refused to even meet with and whose nomination Senate Republican Leadership refused to hold hearing on. Read my full statement here.
On Friday, February 24, from 11am to 1pm, my staff will hold its regular “Congress on your Corner” office hours at the Whitehaven Branch Library at 4120 Millbranch Road. If you have questions or problems with Social Security, Medicare, FHA, the VA or any other federal agencies, my staff will be on hand to answer questions and provide assistance. We hope you can make it.
Each week, I will be suggesting a health tip in the hopes of promoting a healthy lifestyle for residents of the Ninth Congressional District. As always, it’s best to check with your doctor before making any changes to your diet, exercise routine or lifestyle.
We live in stressful times. Over the long-term, stress may contribute to or worsen a range of health problems including digestive disorders, headaches, sleep disorders, and other symptoms. Click here for some relaxation techniques to combat stress.
As always, I remain.
Member of Congress