Celebrating Memphis' 200th Birthday
This week, I celebrated the City of Memphis’ 200th birthday and admired the new art installation spelling out M-E-M-P-H-I-S on Mud Island. I also voted for and passed my amendment to give free credit scores to consumers; observed the 100th anniversary of the House passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote; wrote an op-ed for The Commercial Appeal proposing a legislative solution to address police misconduct and uses of excessive force; voted to make it easier to save for retirement; expressed concern to local and national media about Trump administration intransigence and non-cooperation with Congress; voted to send three important immigration measures to the House floor; planned next Friday’s “Congress On Your Corner” event at the Whitehaven Branch Library; and offered a health tip about staying active. Keep reading to learn more about my week and follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to see more updates as they happen.
Celebrating Memphis’ 200th Birthday
Passing Amendment to Provide Free Credit Scores
Observing the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment
Offering a Legislative Solution to Address Police Shootings
Making it Easier to Save for Retirement
Sending the Dream and Promise Act to the House Floor
Expressing Concern about Trump Administration Intransigence
Holding “Congress On Your Corner” on Friday, May 31
Weekly Health Tip
Quote of the Week
On Wednesday, Memphis turned 200. Founded on May 22, 1819, the Bluff City on the Mississippi has been home to millions of Memphians, who know our town as “The City of Good Abode.” I wish a happy birthday to all who call Memphis home, and wish us all many happy returns. See my floor speech on the birthday here.
On Wednesday, the House passed my amendment to provide consumers with free credit scores. The amendment was originally the Free Access to Credit Scores Act that I introduced last week. It became part of H.R. 1500, the Consumers First Act. Federal law currently allows consumers to obtain one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus, but these reports do not include the crucial credit score. This is like trying to figure out how well a baseball team is doing based on the players’ batting averages. A good credit score translates into lower interest rates on mortgages, credit cards and other consumer loans. I’d like to acknowledge my former staffer Michael Fulton, now government affairs director for the Memphis International Airport, whose research led to the Fair Access to Credit Scores Act when I first introduced it nine years ago. See my release here.
On Tuesday, I celebrated the 100th anniversary of House passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. Tennessee was the crucial 36th state to ratify the amendment in 1920. Memphian Paula Casey spearheaded the effort to create the Tennessee Suffrage Commission and, as a state senator, I sponsored the enacting legislation. I worked to get the bas relief (above) celebrating the passage of the amendment onto the wall of the State Capital on the 75th anniversary of its ratification.
This week, The Commercial Appeal published my opinion column about newly released cell phone video of the arrest of the late Sandra Bland by a Texas state trooper in 2015. I suggested that having all officers wear body cameras could improve accountability, reduce police misconduct and restore public trust. Earlier this year, I introduced the Police Creating Accountability by Making Effective Recording Available (CAMERA) Act, which would provide funding to states that use body cameras. See that column here.
On Thursday, I voted for and the House passed H.R. 1994, the Bipartisan SECURE (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement) Act. The bill provides provisions to expand opportunities for Americans to increase retirement savings. It also repeals a provision in the GOP Tax Law to provide tax relief to Gold Star families who received a drastic tax increase.
All day Wednesday, as a senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee, I worked with my Committee colleagues to mark up three immigration bills to protect immigrants brought to our country as children and those with temporary protected status. The committee spent hours debating the minority’s poison pill amendments. In the end, the Committee sent H.R. 2820, the Dream Act, which would cancel and prohibit removal proceedings for Dreamers, and the other measures to the House floor for a vote.
As the Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, I am deeply concerned that yet another Trump Administration official – this time, former White House Counsel Don McGahn – defied the Judiciary Committee’s subpoena and failed to appear before us Tuesday as scheduled. I joined Congressmen John Lewis of Georgia and Joaquin Castro of Texas as the first to sign on to a resolution introduced by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas that would authorize the Judiciary Committee to investigate whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its Constitutional authority to hold President Trump accountable. See my interview with MSNBC’s Ari Melber about these disturbing developments here and my interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow here.
Next Friday, May 31, my staff and I will be holding a “Congress On Your Corner” event at the Whitehaven Branch Library, 4120 Millbranch Road, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. This is your opportunity to get assistance on a variety of federal programs and benefits, including Social Security, Medicare, veterans, housing loans, Internal Revenue Service problems, and more. I hope to see you there.
May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. Being active doesn’t require joining a gym. The Department of Health and Human Services has compiled a list of activities and ideas recommended to improve aerobic and bone health such as taking a walk with a friend instead of speaking by phone. See the ideas here.
Besides Memphis, the great American poet Walt Whitman turned 200 this year.
“The future is no more uncertain than the present.” – Walt Whitman, “Song of the Broad-Axe,” in Leaves of Grass (1900).
I want to wish everyone a pleasant Memorial Day on Monday.
As always, I remain
Member of Congress