Paying Respects to the Late President George H. W. Bush
This week, I joined my colleagues in the Capitol Rotunda and at Washington’s National Cathedral, and a nation in mourning, to pay my respects to the late President George H. W. Bush. I also led a letter with 96 of my colleagues urging the House Committee on Education and the Workforce to act swiftly to investigate, address and hold a hearing to review allegations of pregnancy discrimination at the Memphis XPO Logistics warehouse and usher in national legislation to protect pregnant workers, wrote to the federal regulator of motor coaches after Monday’s fatal accident involving an Orange Mound youth football team, noted that the December 15 deadline is looming for signing up for coverage at HealthCare.gov, participated in the Judiciary Committee’s deposition of former FBI Director James Comey, remembered Creole Chef Gary Williams, noted the passing of Collierville Municipal Judge William Craig Hall, announced a $11.8 million grant for Head Start, scheduled four appearances on MSNBC, moved my Washington office, offered Capitol Historical Society 2019 calendars and made a health tip about getting a timely flu shot. Keep reading to learn more about my week and follow me on Twitter and Facebookto see more updates as they happen.
Paying Respects to the Late President George H. W. Bush
Calling for Hearing on XPO Logistics Labor Practices
Seeking answers about Fatal Bus Crash in Arkansas
Flagging Open Enrollment Now Available at HealthCare.gov
Questioning former FBI Director Comey
Remembering Creole Soul Food Chef Gary Williams
Noting the Passing of Collierville Municipal Judge William Craig Hall
Announcing $11.8 Million Head Start Grant
Appearing on MSNBC Tonight, Saturday, Sunday and Monday
Moving My Washington Office
Offering U.S. Capitol Historical Society Calendars
Signing Up for “Congress On Your Corner” and this e-Newsletter
Weekly Health Tip
Quote of the Week
On Monday, I joined my colleagues in the Capitol Rotunda to pay my respects to President George H.W. Bush and, on Wednesday, I attended his state funeral at Washington’s National Cathedral. President Bush presided over the end of the Cold War, expelled the Iraqi army from Kuwait, signed the Americans with Disabilities Act and Clean Air Act, and upheld the traditions and expectations of his high office with dignity and grace. The World War II fighter pilot, Congressman, Ambassador, CIA Director, Vice President and President served his country with distinction. The last of the “greatest generation” presidents, he volunteered for service in World War II and was the country’s youngest Naval aviator. At the funeral, I had the opportunity to talk with former Vice President Al Gore about his experience as an investigative reporter at The Tennessean, and to my Congressional Class of 2006 colleague Gabby Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly. I suspect President Bush, known for his compassion, visited with Gabby during her long convalescence in Houston after the assassination attempt in 2011. President Bush’s 1989 visit to Memphis and speech from the front lawn of The Commercial Appeal on Union will be long remembered.His was a life well lived.
On Tuesday, my colleague Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and I, joined by another 95 members of Congress, urged the House Committee on Education and the Workforce to hold a hearing on alleged unfair labor practices, including pregnancy discrimination, of XPO Logistics, which operates in Memphis and in 22 other states. Many of the allegations featured in a New York Times expose occurred in Memphis and were brought to my attention by employees who came to my office. In our letter, we asked the committee to consider national legislation to protect pregnant workers such as the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. Shortly after releasing our letter, XPO Logistics announced it was undertaking an independent investigation of recent complaints and implementing a new policy toward pregnant employees. This appears to be a step in the right direction but I intend to continue closely monitoring progress on this issue to ensure the company’s proposals are implemented and that Congress enacts laws to prevent future pregnancy discrimination.
On Monday morning, I learned about the terrible accident that took the life of 9-year-old Kameron Johnson and injured more than 40 other children returning home to Memphis from a youth football game in Texas. I wrote to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which regulates motor coach transportation to ask for details about its oversight of the bus company. I also expressed my condolences to Kameron’s family and my hope for a speedy recovery for all those injured and their loved ones.
Open enrollment for 2019 HealthCare.gov insurance plans is now under way. This year, open enrollment runs only through December 15, a week from tomorrow. I will be making use of every possible means to make my constituents aware that the time available to sign up has been limited again this year compared to the enrollment periods during the Obama Administration -- six weeks shorter than it was in 2016. Listen for my public service radio announcement that encourages signing up. For more information on signing up for health care, see Healthcare.gov.
On Friday, the Republican Majority still in control of the House Judiciary Committee held a last-chance hearing behind closed doors at which just a few members questioned former FBI Director James Comey. Director Comey was consistently professional and fulsome and answered my questions. In January, under new leadership, you can expect the Committee on which I serve as a senior member to conduct substantive oversight of the Trump administration and fulfill duties it has been shirking.
I was saddened to learn of Chef Gary Williams’ passing on Thursday. Williams, a New Orleans native, was one of Memphis’ renowned chefs, known for his gumbo, crawfish etouffee, catfish with grits and greens and for his engaging smile as he worked the kitchens and glad-handed diners at his DejaVu and Krewe of DeJavu eateries. He loved Memphis and Memphis loved him back.
On Sunday, longtime Collierville Municipal Judge and lifelong Collierville resident William Craig Hall passed. Judge Hall was my classmate in law school, was always fair-minded and he was a heck of a nice guy. I extend my sincere condolences to his family, his many friends and to the people of Collierville whose lives he touched.
I was pleased to announce on Thursday a Department of Health and Human Services grant of $11.8 million to the Shelby County Board of Education for its Head Start programs. Head Start is one of the best programs for young children whose parents have limited means. Its proven record shows it gives these children a shot at the American Dream.
I am scheduled to appear on MSNBC four times in the next four days. I'll be on "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell tonight at 9 p.m., "AM Joy" with Jonathan Capehart at 10 a.m. on Saturday, "Live with Alex Witt" at 11 a.m. on Sunday and again on "The Last Word" at 9 p.m. on Monday.
This week, I moved from the fourth floor to the first floor of the Rayburn House Office Building. Seniority has its advantages and the new office, at 2104 Rayburn, will be more convenient for visiting constituents. My phone number remains the same: (202) 225-3265.
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 hereto receive notification as soon as the next event is scheduled.
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Each week, I share a health tip in the hope of promoting a healthy lifestyle for residents of the 9th Congressional District. As always, it is best to check with your doctor before making any changes to your diet, exercise routine or lifestyle.
This week is National Influenza Vaccination Week which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established to remind people of how important it is to get vaccinated against the flu during the holiday season and that there’s still time to get your flu shot this year. I’ve gotten mine. So far this flu season, rates of flu-like illness remain low but the CDC still encourages flu shots since the flu kills tens of thousands every year. You can view the CDC’s flu shot recommendations here. Use this CDC tool to review surveillance reports for flu cases and to find a location in your neighborhood where you can get vaccinated.
“We're a nation of community, of thousands and tens of thousands of ethnic, religious, social, business, labor union, neighborhood, regional and other organizations, all of them varied, voluntary and unique. This is America: the Knights of Columbus, the Grange, Hadassah, the Disabled American Veterans, the Order of Ahepa, the Business and Professional Women of America, the union hall, the Bible study group, LULAC, ‘Holy Name’ — a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.” -- George H. W. Bush, accepting the Presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention in New Orleans, August 18, 1988
As always, I remain
Member of Congress