Joining President Obama in Israel for the Funeral of Shimon Peres
This week, I joined President Obama in Israel for the funeral of former Israeli President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres, commemorated the 25th anniversary of the National Civil Rights Museum, welcomed Alfreda Ferrell, the granddaughter of Ida B. Wells, and her granddaughter Tiana Ferrell to my Washington office, continued my call for justice in the Darrius Stewart case, discussed issues facing Congress on C-SPAN, expressed disappointment in Blue Cross Blue Shield’s decision to pull out of the federal healthcare marketplace in Memphis, praised President Obama for nominating the first U.S. Ambassador to Cuba in 50 years, celebrated National Voter Registration Day, and congratulated two Shelby County Schools for being named Blue Ribbon Schools. Keep reading to learn more about my week and follow me on Twitter and Facebook to see these updates as they happen.
Joining President Obama in Israel for the funeral of Shimon Peres
Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the National Civil Rights Museum
Welcoming the Family of Ida B. Wells to My Washington Office
Fighting for Justice in the Darrius Stewart Case
Recessing Congress with Work Left to Do
Discussing Issues Facing Congress on C-SPAN
Striving to Make Healthcare More Affordable
Nominating the First U.S. Ambassador to Cuba in 50 Years
Celebrating National Voter Registration Day
Congratulating Two Shelby County Schools
January-March 2017 Timed Passes for NMAAHC Available Monday
September is Suicide Prevention Month
Bringing Congress to your Corner
Congressman Cohen and Shimon Peres in Israel in 2007
I was deeply saddened by the death of former Israeli President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres. Mr. Peres was one of the greatest leaders I’ve ever met. He had a storied career as one of the founders of Israel, Defense Minister during Operation Entebbe, Prime Minister, President and Nobel laureate for his role in negotiating the Oslo Accords peace agreement. It was a privilege to be invited by President Obama to help represent the United States at this historic funeral to remember the life of such an illustrious man. A giant has fallen in Israel.
President Obama speaks at the funeral of Shimon Peres
Wednesday marked the 25th anniversary of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. I encourage everyone who has the opportunity to go tour the museum and pay tribute to the civil rights soldiers who strove to make America what it was intended to be: a more perfect union. You can watch my remarks on the House floor commemorating the anniversary here.
On Monday, I welcomed Alfreda Ferrell (front), the granddaughter of civil rights leader Ida B. Wells, as well as her granddaughter Tiana Ferrell (back) to my Washington, D.C. office. We discussed the opening of the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and the impact her grandmother had on the struggle for civil rights and women’s rights. I also shared with her that I would be sending a letter this week to Mayor Jim Strickland and the Memphis City Council about renaming Memphis Park (formerly Confederate Park) to Ida B. Wells Park and having a statue of Ida B. Wells commissioned for the park.
Ida B. Wells poster hanging in the front office of my Washington, D.C. office
On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it would not bring civil rights charges against Memphis Police Officer Connor Schilling for the shooting of Darrius Stewart, an unarmed, African-American teenager killed during a routine traffic stop in Memphis last year. Read my statement on DOJ’s decision here.
On Wednesday night, Republican leadership recessed the House of Representatives for the next six weeks, following a record eight week recess in July and August, after passing a Continuing Resolution (CR) that would fund the government until only December 9. While the CR included funding to combat the Zika virus and Congressional leadership struck a deal to provide funding for those affected by contaminated water in Flint, Michigan, Congress has yet to restore voting rights or prevent those on the terrorist watch list from purchasing guns. The Senate has taken no action to confirm Merrick Garland for the vacant Supreme Court seat or on confirming any other district court judges. Memphian and U.S. Attorney Ed Stanton III, the nominee I recommended to President Obama to serve as District Court Judge for the Western District of Tennessee, is next on the list of judges to be confirmed by the Senate yet his confirmation still awaits Senate action. As District Court Judge, Ed Stanton would continue to serve our country in an outstanding fashion, and I will continue to urge my colleagues in the Senate to move swiftly towards his final confirmation.
On Wednesday, I was on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal morning show to discuss a variety of issues facing Congress and took phone calls from listeners. You can watch my segment here.
On Monday, I was disappointed to learn that Blue Cross Blue Shield would be pulling out of the Affordable Care Act federal marketplace in Memphis, Nashville, and Knoxville. Republicans in Congress have been doing everything in their power to dismantle the Affordable Care Act since it began, and the Tennessee General Assembly has refused to accept additional Medicaid funding from the federal government. This has created a more uncertain and riskier environment for health insurance providers. Read my statement about their decision here.
On Tuesday, President Obama nominated Jeffrey DeLaurentis to be the first U.S. Ambassador to Cuba in more than 50 years. Mr. DeLaurentis has served as the U.S. Chief of Mission in Havana since August 2014 and has extensive experience in Cuba and Latin America. I hope the Senate does its job and confirms Mr. DeLaurentis.
Tuesday was National Voter Registration Day, which celebrates one of our most fundamental rights as an American citizen: the right to vote. Information on how to register to vote can be found here. In Tennessee, you have until October 11 to either mail in your voter registration forms or register to vote in person if you have not already done so. Early voting for the November 8th election runs from October 19 through November 3.
Congratulations to Jackson Elementary School and John P. Freeman Optional School for being awarded the U.S. Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon School Award. Only 329 schools across the country were honored with this achievement. I appreciate the work the teachers at these outstanding schools do preparing our students for a bright future.
Timed entry passes for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture for January, February and March 2017 will be made available online at 9:00 am ET Monday, October 3, 2016. They will be available at https://nmaahc.si.edu/visit/passes.
September is Suicide Prevention Month. Be there for the Veterans and Service members in your life by letting them know that you care. Learn more about the resources available during Suicide Prevention Month and year-round here.
If you have questions or problems with Social Security, Medicare, FHA, the VA or any other federal agencies, my staff will be on hand at the Ed Rice Community Center (2907 N. Watkins St.) on Friday, October 14th from 12pm-2pm to answer questions and provide assistance. Please visit my website at https://cohen.house.gov for more information on Congress on your Corner events.
Go Tigers! Make it 4-0 in Oxford!
As always, I remain.
Member of Congress