Celebrating the Juneteenth National Holiday

June 17, 2021
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June 17, 2021

 

 

Dear Friend,

This week, I voted to make Juneteenth a federal holiday to commemorate the anniversary of the day in 1865 when enslaved African Americans in Texas learned of their emancipation. I also went to the House floor to reiterate the importance of getting the coronavirus vaccine and reached out to all who remain hesitant in our community. I also presided at a hearing on illegal evictions; applauded the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare); spoke at a press conference in favor of a bill allowing local governments to expand Medicaid coverage in places like Tennessee whose state governments decline to do so; questioned expert witnesses at a hearing on the War on Drugs and sentencing reform; spoke out against foreign kleptocrats; congratulated the winner of this year’s Congressional Art Competition for Tennessee’s 9th Congressional District; announced two pandemic-related tax credits – for child care and for small businesses; and offered a health tip. Keep reading and follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to see what I’m doing as it happens.

Celebrating the Juneteenth National Holiday

Urging All to Get Vaccinated

Presiding at Hearing on Illegal Evictions

Applauding Supreme Court Ruling Upholding the ACA

Supporting Expansion of Medicaid by Local Governments

Questioning Experts About the Need for Sentencing Reform

Speaking Out Against Corruption and Kleptocracy

Congratulating Sydney Charles for Winning the Congressional Art Competition

Announcing Availability of Child Care and Small Business Tax Credits

Weekly Health Tip

Quote of the Week


Celebrating the Juneteenth National Holiday

On Wednesday night, I voted for making Juneteenth a federal holiday and applauded President Biden for swiftly signing the measure into law. The holiday commemorates June 19, 1865, when the enslaved African Americans of Texas learned of their emancipation. I have long celebrated this important day in the history of our country and look forward to its recognition by all Americans. See my statement after Wednesday’s House vote here and my statement commemorating Saturday’s anniversary of Juneteenth here. My District and Washington offices will be closed Friday in observance of the holiday.

Urging All to Get Vaccinated

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On Wednesday evening, I went to the House floor to talk about how important it is for everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible. I recounted my own experience as a child when my father, a medical doctor, declined to give me the new polio vaccine because I was not a second-grader under the medical protocol. I then contracted the disease that has profoundly affected my life ever since. There are parts of our region, and parts of Memphis, where hesitancy or impediments to access are keeping vaccination rates too low. I thanked Doug Emhoff, the Second Gentleman of the United States (Vice President Kamal Harris’s husband) for coming to Memphis on Wednesday to draw attention to the situation.

Vaccines are currently available for everyone 12 years of age and older. If you need a ride to a vaccination site, you can call 901-RIDE901 (901-743-3901) to coordinate the best transportation option for you. The City of Memphis is also now coordinating with organizations, congregations, community groups, and businesses to host COVID-19 vaccinations. To find the latest information about vaccination sites, to request a vaccination appointment for a homebound individual, or to set up a community COVID vaccination event, visit https://covid19.memphistn.gov/.

Presiding at Hearing on Illegal Evictions

On Monday, as Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, I presided at a hearing on illegal evictions during national emergencies. During the hearing, expert witnesses endorsed my H.R. 1451, the Emergency Eviction Enforcement Act, that I reintroduced in March. Among the hearing witnesses were Cindy Ettingoff, Chief Executive Officer and General Counsel, Memphis Area Legal Services, and Katy Ramsey Mason an Assistant Professor of Law and Director, Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic, at the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, The University of Memphis. See my release on the hearing here.

Applauding Supreme Court Ruling Upholding the ACA

On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 law commonly known as Obamacare, denying Republican plaintiffs’ claim that the law’s health insurance mandate is unconstitutional. The ACA is now a popular and important part of our health care system. It can and will be improved upon over time -- with lower drug prices and expanded access, for example -- but we can hope this will be the last of the partisan efforts to destroy health care coverage for millions of Americans, including those with pre-existing conditions.

Supporting Expansion of Medicaid by Local Governments

On Thursday, I joined my colleague Lloyd Doggett of Texas and others as a cosponsor of the Cover Outstanding Vulnerable Expansion-Eligible Residents (COVER) Now Act, which would permit local governments to expand Medicaid coverage in states like Tennessee that have declined to expand coverage statewide.

Questioning Experts About the Need for Sentencing Reform

On Thursday, as a member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, I questioned expert witnesses on ways to reform sentencing laws. In my questions, I focused on the racist nature of the War on Drugs. See my release on the hearing here.

Speaking Out Against Corruption and Kleptocracy

On Wednesday evening, as President Biden was flying home after his summit meeting in Geneva with Vladimir Putin, I attended and made remarks at a reception at the Hudson Institute celebrating last week’s launch of the Caucus Against Foreign Corruption and Kleptocracy. I was pleased to meet with Vladimir Kara-Murza, a prominent dissident, and others. The formation of this caucus is timely, as the Biden Administration has now designated the fight against corruption as a core U.S. national security interest. I am a proud original member of this Caucus, which is dedicated to rooting out corruption around the world, and look forward to working with my colleagues on this serious foreign policy issue.

Announcing Treasury Funds for Three Memphis Community Development Financial Institutions

On Tuesday, I announced that the U.S. Treasury Department is awarding three Memphis-based community development financial institutions a total of $2.8 million to address economic challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic. Orion Federal Credit Union, Tri-State Bank of Memphis and River City Capital Investment are receiving the funding. See my release on the awards here.

Congratulating Sydney Charles for Winning the Congressional Art Competition

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Sydney Charles winning drawing "Ground Control to Major Tom" 

Also Tuesday, I announced that Sydney Charles, a 10th grader at the East T-STEM Academy, has won the annual Congressional Art Competition for Tennessee’s 9th Congressional District. See my release on her recognition here.

Announcing Availability of Child Care and Small Business Tax Credits

This week, I made my constituents aware of two tax credits related to the pandemic.

Provided through the American Rescue Plan, the newly enhanced Child Tax Credit will help households meet day-to-day needs as our economy reopens and we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The enhanced Child Tax Credit will provide up to $3,600 total for each child under 6 and $3,000 total for each child between ages 6 and 17. Eligible families can receive $300 per child under age 6 and $250 per child from ages 6 to 17, and payments will be dispersed monthly through the end of the year. Single parents making up to $75,000 and filing their taxes as individuals, those filing as heads of household making up to $112,500, and married joint filers making up to $150,000 a year are eligible for these automatic monthly installment payments. For eligibility and other information, see guidance from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) here.

For Small Businesses, I announced Monday that the IRS will continue to provide tax credits to help local small businesses cover the costs of providing paid sick and family leave for workers through September. Along with using leave to care for themselves and family who are sick, workers can also use leave to get their COVID vaccinations and take time off to recover from any temporary side effects from the shot. See my release on that tax credit here.

Weekly Health Tip

Again: If you need a ride to a vaccination site, you can call 901-RIDE901 (901-743-3901) to coordinate the best transportation option for you.  The City of Memphis is also now coordinating with organizations, congregations, community groups, and businesses to host COVID-19 vaccinations. To find the latest information about vaccination sites, to request a vaccination appointment for a homebound individual, or to set up a community COVID vaccination event, visit https://covid19.memphistn.gov/.

Quote of the Week

“By making Juneteenth a federal holiday, all Americans can feel the power of this day and learn from our history and celebrate progress and grapple with the distance we’ve come. Great nations don’t ignore the most painful moments. They don’t ignore those moments in the past. They embrace them. Great nations don’t walk away.” – President Joe Biden at the signing ceremony making Juneteenth a national holiday on Thursday.

As always, I remain.
Most sincerely,

Steve Cohen
Member of Congress






Memphis
167 North Main Street,
Suite 369
Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: (901) 544-4131
Fax: (901) 544-4329

Washington, D.C.
2104 Rayburn
House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3265
Fax: (202) 225-5663

 

 

 

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