Demanding IRS Increase Awareness about Economic Impact Payments
October 16, 2020
This week, I led a letter to the IRS Commissioner with 32 Congressional colleagues to demand the agency do all it can to deliver Economic Impact Payments to the estimated nine million low-income non-tax filers who still have not received their checks. I also continued to monitor the disturbing national and regional trends in coronavirus infection and the Trump administration’s continued incompetent response to it; continued to urge repeal of a provision of the CARES Act that gives millionaires an undeserved tax break unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic or its economic consequences; expressed disappointment at the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to end the 2020 U.S. Census prematurely and before all who could have participated had the opportunity to do so; announced a $2 million Department of Justice grant to test backlogged rape kits; was pleased to receive a 100 percent score on my environmental record regarding clean water issues; provided guidance on voting in the upcoming election; made 2021 Congressional calendars available; and offered a coronavirus-related health tip. Keep reading and follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to see what I’m doing as it happens.
Demanding IRS Increase Awareness about Economic Impact Payments for Nine Million Low-Income Americans
On Thursday, I led a letter with 32 of my Congressional colleagues asking IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig to do all in his agency’s power to identify and assist the estimated nine million people eligible for $1,200 Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) under the CARES Act who are difficult to reach because they don’t file annual federal income tax returns. While I am pleased the IRS extended the deadline from October 15 to November 21, as I’d requested in an earlier letter, more must be done to help them. See my release and the letter here.
Much of the country – including our Mid-South region – is following a disturbing trend of increased COVID-19 infection just as cold weather forces us inside where the likelihood of infection and spread of the virus increases. I am dismayed at the failure of the Trump administration’s response to this pandemic and urge my friends and constituents to follow public health protocols to protect themselves and our community until the situation improves.
The New York Times again this week called attention to an unfair tax break secretly inserted into the CARES Act that became law in late March. Since April, I have been calling for the repeal of the provision and cosponsored legislation that gives millionaires an undeserved break unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic. Similar repeal language is in the updated Heroes Act the House passed on October 1, but the Senate has refused to consider it. We need to address the pressing health and financial crisis while repealing this obscene tax break.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration to halt the 2020 Census ahead of schedule, ending the every-ten-year head count prematurely and denying participants an opportunity to accurately shape Congressional district representation and federal spending for the next decade. Memphis, a traditionally undercounted city, will be particularly affected by this transparent effort to deliberately skew the results to the disadvantage of minority and underserved communities. I hope you were able to fill out your Census form. If you did, your community and I thank you.
For more than a decade, I have worked to increase spending on rape kit testing after learning of the significant backlog in testing both in Memphis and across the country that deprives survivors of justice and prosecutors of evidence. Using amendments during the appropriations process, I have helped add millions of dollars to the Department of Justice Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) program, which this week awarded a $2 million grant to the City of Memphis. I will continue to work to bring justice to survivors knowing that justice delayed is justice denied. See my release here.
Last Friday, Clean Water Action gave me its 100 percent perfect score for my environmentally significant votes during the 116th Congress that is now drawing to a close. I’m proud of my environmental voting record and plan to continue working to deserve this kind of recognition. See my release here.
The deadline to register to vote in Tennessee was October 5. Here is some guidance on voting procedures this year.
Voting in person: Early Voting began on Wednesday, October 14 and ends Thursday, October 29. See the Shelby County Election Commission’s page on upcoming elections for election dates, offices to be elected, Early Voting schedules (locations, dates, hours), Election Day polling locations, sample ballots and an absentee application.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Tuesday, October 27. Due to mail delivery delays at the Postal Service, it is strongly recommended that you request an absentee ballot as soon as possible. Request your ballot here. Once you’ve received it and cast your votes, immediately complete and send it back to the Election Commission.
Mail-in ballots must be received at your county election commission by Election Day to count. Mail-in ballots CANNOT be hand delivered to election offices. The only acceptable way to submit an absentee mail-in ballot in Tennessee is by mail (USPS, FedEx, UPS, et cetera). If you do not receive your ballot in the mail, please contact the Shelby County Board of Elections Absentee Department at (901) 222-6800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
My office will have a limited number of 2021 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 am only able to mail calendars to residents of Tennessee’s Ninth District. Please feel free to share this email with other residents of the Ninth District who may be interested in receiving one but who do not receive my e-Newsletter.
Again this week, I want to call attention to the high number of coronavirus cases, in Tennessee and across the country, that are likely the result of reopening prematurely without implementing basic precautionary measures such as wearing masks and adhering to social distancing guidelines. Please follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols and those adopted by Memphis and Shelby County for staying safe in this ongoing pandemic: Wash your hands with soap frequently for at least 25 seconds; keep a minimum social distance of six feet from others; wear a face mask when out in public; and avoid being in crowds of more than 10. When you’re indoors, six feet might not be far enough, according to recent studies; 14 feet might be better. It is best to wear a mask, particularly when indoors or in close quarters. We must work together to get through this.
Consider this inspiring song I heard on YouTube, called “November.” The perfect song to listen to this election season.
"The great man who led the march from Selma to Montgomery and there called for the passage of the Voting Rights Act foresaw progress, even in Alabama. ‘The arc of the moral universe is long,’ he said, but ‘it bends toward justice,’ if there is a steadfast commitment to see the task through to completion. That commitment has been disserved by today’s decision.” – Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in dissent, in Shelby County v. Holder (2013)
As always, I remain