Presiding at a Hearing for a Commission to Study Reparations for African Americans

February 19, 2021
Enewsletters

Dear Friend,  

This week, as Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, I presided at a hearing on H.R. 40, a bill to create a commission to study proposals for reparations for African Americans. I also introduced the Civil Rights Legacy Protection Act to establish federal penalties for vandalizing the physical symbols of our civil rights heritage; condemned the Senate vote acquitting the former president on his impeachment for high crimes and misdemeanors in inciting the attack on the U.S. Capitol; joined Congressional colleagues in introducing the Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act; called attention to the three-month open enrollment for Affordable Care Act (Healthcare.gov) coverage that began Monday; congratulated Herman and Bobbie Goldberger for their loving stewardship of The Hebrew Watchman; announced more than $14.9 million in pandemic relief funding for four Memphis-area airports; announced $2 million in grants to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC); and offered a health tip. On Friday, MLG&W informed customers that they should boil water from taps before drinking due to broken pipes causing low water pressure in some areas. See the entire notice below. Keep reading and follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to see what I’m doing as it happens.

Presiding at a Hearing for a Commission to Study Reparations for African Americans 

Introducing the Civil Rights Legacy Protection Act 

Expressing Regret at Impeachment Trial Acquittal of Former President  

Introducing the Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act 

Calling Attention to Healthcare.gov Open Enrollment 

Congratulating the Goldbergers for their Stewardship of The Hebrew Watchman 

Announcing $14.9 Million in COVID-related Airport Grants 

Announcing $2 Million in Research Grants to UTHSC

Boiling Water as a Precaution Due to Ongoing Freezing Conditions 

Weekly Health Tip 

Quote of the Week 


Presiding at a Hearing for a Commission to Study Reparations for African Americans 

On Wednesday, as Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, I presided at a hearing on “H.R. 40: Exploring the Path to Reparative Justice.” The hearing explored H.R. 40, which would create a study commission to develop and consider a proposal for reparations for African Americans. The bill was first proposed more than 30 years ago by the late Congressman John Conyers of Michigan. I have been a cosponsor of this year’s and every iteration of H.R. 40 since I first came to Congress in 2007. In my opening statement, I recounted that I introduced and shepherded to passage the House’s first-ever apology for slavery and discriminatory Jim Crow laws during my first term in Congress. See my release on the hearing, including my opening statement, here

Introducing the Civil Rights Legacy Protection Act 

On Thursday, I introduced the Civil Rights Legacy Protection Act to establish penalties for vandalizing physical symbols of the Civil Rights Movement. See my release here

Expressing Regret at Impeachment Trial Acquittal of Former President  

I voted to impeach President Trump a second time after he incited an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. However, too few Republican Senators felt obliged to weigh the overwhelming evidence of his guilt and, as a result, he was acquitted. While I am disappointed in this outcome, I’m committed to ensuring that justice will prevail and I plan to support other accountability measures. See my statement after the verdict here

Introducing the Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act 

On Wednesday, I joined my colleagues Representatives Joe Neguse of Colorado and Dave Joyce of Ohio in introducing the Animal Cruelty Enforcement (ACE) Act, bipartisan legislation to ensure better protection of animals by creating an Animal Cruelty Crimes Division at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Calling Attention to Healthcare.gov Open Enrollment 

On January 28, in light of the twin health and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, President Biden issued an executive order creating a Special Enrollment Period for enrolling in HealthCare.gov that runs from February 15 until May 15. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs and their job-based health coverage due to the pandemic.  During this pandemic, access to affordable quality coverage is more important than ever. Please avail yourself of this new opportunity if you need to and contact my office if you need assistance.  

Congratulating the Goldbergers for their Stewardship of The Hebrew Watchman 

This week, I congratulated my friends Herman and Bobbie Goldberger for their long stewardship of The Hebrew Watchman newspaper that has kept a close eye on the Memphis Jewish community since Herman’s father founded it in 1925. Before the Goldbergers retired, I was pleased to see that Jewish Scene Magazine editor and publisher Susan C. Nieman has stepped up to continue their proud legacy. See some remarks I made honoring the Goldbergers in The Congressional Record here

Announcing $14.9 Million in COVID-related Airport Grants 

In December, Congress passed another package to support struggling airports with nearly $2 billion in coronavirus relief funding. On Thursday, I announced that more than $14.9 million of that funding would be coming to Memphis International, DeWitt Spain, Charles W. Baker and Millington-Memphis airports. See my release here

Announcing $2 Million in Research Grants to UTHSC

Earlier today, I announced $2.05 million in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grants to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC). See that release here

Boiling Water as a Precaution Due to Ongoing Freezing Conditions 

The Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division put out a Boil-Water Advisory this morning. Please see it here: 

Precautionary Boil Water Advisory 

February 18, 2021 

Due to freezing weather, Memphis Light, Gas and Water has experienced multiple line breaks and water production issues which have resulted in a significant loss of pressure in the drinking water system. As a precautionary measure we are asking customers to boil water before using for consumption. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience while we work to resolve this problem. 

Customers who are affected by this Precautionary Boil Water Advisory 

All MLGW water customers. 

What does this mean? What should I do? 

DO NOT DRINK THE WATER WITHOUT BOILING IT FIRST. Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for three (3) minutes, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water. 

Water main breaks and water production issues are resulting in a loss of system pressure which can introduce disease-causing organisms into the water system. These organisms include bacteria, viruses, and parasites, which can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches. The symptoms above are not caused only by organisms in drinking water. If you experience any of these symptoms and they persist, you may want to seek medical advice. 

People with severely compromised immune systems, infants, and some elderly may be at increased risk. These people should seek advice from their health care providers about drinking water. 

What is being done? 

MLGW is actively seeking and repairing line and main breaks. Once system pressure is restored, required regulatory testing will be conducted. Customers will be informed when the notice is lifted and no longer applies. Rest assured, MLGW is committed in delivering the highest quality water to our customers 

For more information, please contact MLGW at 901-320-3950. General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by microbes are available from the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791. 

Please share this information with other MLGW water customers, especially those who may not have received this precautionary advisory directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this advisory in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail. 

In addition, MLG&W offers numbers for Outages: (901) 544-6500 and Emergencies: (901) 528-4465.  

Some good news: The National Weather Service in Memphis predicts high temperatures in the mid- to high-30s Saturday. 

Weekly Health Tip 

We seem to be making gradual progress against the coronavirus and I’m sure you were pleased, as I was, to hear President Biden say we will have 600 million doses of the vaccines available by July. However, since there is still serious concern about the emergence of variant strains of the virus and it will still take time to distribute the vaccine to every American, I strongly urge you to remain vigilant about public health protocols like washing hands, wearing face masks and keeping one’s distance from others. I know we’re all eager to get the vaccine, so click here to see when you will be eligible, and call 901-222-7468 to be notified when appointments are available through the Shelby County Health Department.   

Quote of the Week

“As I said on January 6th, the President bears responsibility for these tragic events. The evidence is compelling that President Trump is guilty of inciting an insurrection against a coequal branch of government and that the charge rises to the level of high Crimes and Misdemeanors. Therefore, I have voted to convict. – Senator Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina, explaining why he voted to convict Trump. 

As always, I remain.
Most sincerely,

Steve Cohen
Member of Congress