The Latest from Congressman Steve Cohen
January 11, 2019
This week, I voted on a series of spending bills to re-open parts of the federal government shuttered by the Trump shutdown. I also expressed disappointment at President Trump’s misleading address to the nation on the U.S.-Mexico border situation, co-sponsored a bill that would require universal background checks for gun purchases, voted to authorize the House to intervene in a federal lawsuit in a Texas case involving the Affordable Care Act, congratulated three new Memphis City Council members, wrote about my Constitutional amendment to eliminate the Electoral College, attended an event honoring former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and the late Congressman Leo Ryan, offered 2019 Capitol Historical Society calendars and suggested a health tip for preventing sickness in pets. Keep reading to learn more about my week and follow me on Twitter and Facebook to see more updates as they happen.
Voting to Re-open Departments Closed by Trump Shutdown
This week, the House took up and passed a series of bills -- drafted by Senate Republicans and passed overwhelmingly by the Senate last year -- in an effort to re-open the government and put federal workers back to work. See my releases on the subject here and here and here. As I write this, an intransigent Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is refusing to bring the measures to the Senate floor for a vote, and the Trump shutdown continues. The costs of the shutdown are already extending beyond those directly affected and will pose increasing risks to the U.S. economy. Business confidence may weaken; consumer spending may slow; travel delays are starting to be seen at some airports; mortgage processing is threatened and the broader economy may be slowing.
I watched President Trump’s first address to the nation from the Oval Office and was disappointed to hear the same misleading fearmongering and simplistic commentary. See my statement on the speech here.
On Wednesday, I attended the unveiling of a plaque naming the House Democratic Cloakroom in the U.S. Capitol for former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the late California Congressman Leo J. Ryan. Gabby was in my 2006 Congressional class and I was deeply troubled by the attack on her and her staff in January 2011 from which she is still recovering. Gabby is an active proponent for sensible gun policy and continues to advance good causes despite her continuing physical challenges. Ryan was a fighter for justice whose 1978 in-person fact-finding mission to the Peoples Temple cult in Johnstown, Guyana, led to his assassination. Ryan’s staffer Jackie Speier was seriously wounded in the incident but is now Congresswoman Speier after succeeding my friend and hero, the late Tom Lantos, in representing part of the Bay Area. As Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in unveiling the Giffords-Ryan plaque, “We inscribe their names in the halls of Congress as an enduring monument to their legacies of heroism and selflessness.”
Gun violence prevention is a high priority for the new Majority and I was pleased to join Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson and others on Tuesday in co-sponsoring a major initiative. The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 (H.R. 8) would require background checks on all gun sales. Gabby Giffords, as a former member, was on the House floor when the bill was introduced.
On Tuesday, I voted to authorize the House to intervene in the federal court case out of Texas in which a judge recently declared the Affordable Care Act (ACA) unconstitutional. The ACA provides affordable health insurance coverage to over 20 million people and ensures that insurers can no longer refuse coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions. I will continue to fight to see that protection preserved.
I send my congratulations to Southwest Tennessee Community College Administrator Sherman Greer, former Shelby County Assessor Cheyenne Johnson and Whitehaven Community Development Officer Gerre Currie for their appointments to the Memphis City Council this week. Sherman Greer was my first District Director and always put helping constituents first; Cheyenne Johnson has been a good friend for 40 years; and Gerre Currie is held in high esteem. It’s good to see the Council back to its full 13-member strength.
This Sunday, The Commercial Appeal will run an opinion article I wrote about a Constitutional amendment I introduced to eliminate the Electoral College, an institution that has resulted in five presidents taking office despite losing the popular vote. See my article here. (An online version was published Thursday.)
Please join me at the District Issues Meeting at my Memphis office on Friday, January 18, to talk about what matters to you and your family. As always, I will share with you the work I’m doing on behalf of the 9th Congressional District. My staff and I look forward to seeing you.
When: Friday, January 18, 2019, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
If the federal building is closed becaise of the ongoing government shutdown, the meeting will take place at the same time at the Memphis City Hall Hall of Mayors.
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 provide answers 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.
For those who haven’t participated in a telephone town hall, it’s easy to sign up for them by using this form.
If you would like to receive this weekly e-Newsletter, or share it with others, you can do that with this form.
As animal lover, and supporter of animal welfare issues, I’m aware that attention to pet diets and other pet needs helps keep them, and their owners, healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has useful information on keeping pets healthy here.
“The shutdown is harming the American people, the business community, and the economy. The adverse consequences of the shutdown are wide and growing.” – U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive vice president Neil Bradley, January 8, 2019.
As always, I remain,