Expressing My Concern about More Bad Decisions by an Impulsive President
This week, I grew even more concerned about our erratic President and his sudden and reckless decisions on withdrawing troops from Syria that resulted in the Defense Secretary quitting, and his insistence on a $5 billion border wall that, as I write, has us approaching another partial government shutdown. I also saw our Stop, Observe, Ask and Respond (SOAR) to Health and Wellness Training Act passed by both the House and Senate, planned for my January 18 District Issues Meeting, voted for a significant criminal justice reform bill that will now become law, questioned the Homeland Security Secretary about the rise in hate crimes, asked Governor Bill Haslam to look at possible clemency for a juvenile victim of sex trafficking, praised Senator Lamar Alexander’s long service to our state following his announcement that he will retire in 2020, and offered a health tip about drinking and driving 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.
Expressing Concern about More Bad Decisions by an Impulsive President
Passing the SOAR Act
Holding a District Issues Meeting January 18
Passing the First Step Act
Questioning Homeland Security Secretary about Hate Crimes
Asking Governor Haslam to Consider Clemency for Cyntoia Brown
Praising Senator Alexander for his Service
Offering U.S. Capitol Historical Society Calendars
Weekly Health Tip
Quote of the Week
This week we faced more alarmingly impulsive decisions by President Trump. After indicating he would support a bipartisan compromise to keep the government open, he suddenly reversed course, and now, as I write this, it appears we may be heading for a partial government shutdown. Even more alarming, the President surprised our allies, Republican members of Congress and even his own advisors by announcing that ISIS had been defeated and that he would hastily withdraw American troops from Syria. The move was so alarming, Defense Secretary Mattis announced his resignation. The only person happy about the move seems to be Russian President Vladimir Putin. I will continue to work to ensure that America works with our allies to protect our nation’s citizens from ISIS and all other threats.
On Thursday, I voted for and the House passed my Stop, Observe, Ask and Respond (SOAR) to Health and Wellness Training Act addressing human trafficking. This followed Senate passage earlier in the week. The SOAR Act was inspired by an event for front-line health and public safety officials at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center two years ago, and will go a long way toward combatting human trafficking. See my press release about it here.
My district staff and I will be hosting my annual District Issues Meeting on January 18 between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. at the Clifford Davis/Odell Horton Federal Building, 167 North Main, Suite 369. I look forward to hearing from you and updating you on my work for the 9th Congressional District.
On Thursday, the House followed the Senate in passing the First Step Act, the first major criminal justice reform measure in a long time, and one that will shorten sentences for nonviolent drug offenders, give judges more latitude to work around mandatory sentences where appropriate, and allow offenders who were sentenced before Congress reduced the disparity between penalties for crack and powder cocaine in 2010 to petition to have their cases re-evaluated for possible sentence reductions. I have long championed these causes and will be pleased to see these reforms implemented. See my press release about it here.
On Thursday, I questioned Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen about the President’s sudden, reckless and dangerous declaration that ISIS had been defeated and decision to withdraw American troops from Syria and discovered she had not been consulted beforehand. I also asked her about the President’s use of racial, ethnic and anti-Semitic dog whistle and code words and whether they have contributed to the rise in hate crimes. See our exchange here.
This week, Shelby County Commission Chairman Van Turner and Commissioners Willie Brooks, Tami Sawyer and Mikell Lowery and state Senator Katrina Robinson this week sought clemency for Cyntoia Brown, a juvenile victim of sex trafficking. Last week, I wrote a letter asking Governor Bill Haslam to consider Ms. Brown’s case for clemency and released the letter on Wednesday. See my press release about it here.
On Monday, Senator Lamar Alexander announced he would retire in 2020. It has been my pleasure to have a fine working relationship with Senator Alexander in Congress as well as when he was Governor. We have partnered often to the benefit of Tennessee. I worked with then-Governor Alexander as a state senator on the Tennessee State Scenic Highway legislation and, in Congress, on the 21st Century Cures Act which delivered important resources to the National Institutes of Health for medical research, particularly on Alzheimer’s. I look forward to continuing to work with him over the next two years. I know he is looking forward to spending more time with his wife Honey and his wonderful family, and wish him well.
My office has 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.
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 here to receive notification as soon as the next event is scheduled.
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With holiday season upon us, many of us will be going to Christmas, New Year’s Eve and other festivities where drinks are served. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests you save yourself and many others a lot of grief by designating a sober driver to take you home. See its advice here.
“My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues. We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.” -- Secretary of Defense James Mattis in his letter of resignation Thursday.
I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
As always, I remain
Member of Congress