Returning to Washington to Work on Justice in Policing Act

June 19, 2020
Enewsletters

Dear Friend,

This week, I returned to Washington to work on two major pieces of legislation – the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, addressing police brutality, and the INVEST in America Act, regarding the country’s infrastructure needs. I also announced a grant to the University of Memphis to study the impact of the coronavirus on employment practices; welcomed the Supreme Court’s ruling in the DACA case; condemned the Tennessee General Assembly for its late-night abortion vote; announced a major improvement to the Interstate 40 corridor between Memphis and Nashville; wrote an op-ed for The Commercial Appeal about the impact of the pandemic on our nation’s capital; supported making Juneteenth a national holiday; applauded a National Science Foundation grant to Southwest Tennessee Community College; announced a grant to the Memphis Animal Services to deal with financial shortfalls due to the pandemic; reminded constituents to fill out the 2020 Census; and offered a health tip. Keep reading and follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to see what I’m doing as it happens.

Returning to Washington to Work on Justice in Policing Act
Advancing INVEST in America Act Infrastructure Bill to the House Floor
Announcing Grant to Study Impact on Employment from Coronavirus
Welcoming Supreme Court Ruling in DACA Case
Condemning Tennessee General Assembly’s Late-Night Abortion Vote
Announcing $11.2 Million Fiber Optic Grant for Interstate 40 Corridor
Writing an Op-Ed on Returning to “Dystopian” Washington, D.C.
Supporting Effort to Make Juneteenth a National Holiday
Applauding Mathematics Instruction Grant to Southwest Tennessee
Announcing Grant to Memphis Animal Shelter Affected by the Pandemic
Filling Out Census Forms
Weekly Health Tip
Quote of the Week
 


Returning to Washington to Work on Justice in Policing Act

On Wednesday, I returned to Washington to participate in the House Judiciary Committee markup of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Over the course of 12 hours, the House Republicans introduced a series of misleading and irrelevant amendments that did not advance the goal of the measure, which is to address excessive force against African Americans and end practices, like chokeholds, that have no place in law enforcement. I am pleased that the measure incorporates my National Statistics on Deadly Force Transparency Act (H.R. 119), Police CAMERA Act (H.R. 120), and Police Training and Independent Review Act (H.R. 125) that I have sponsored for years. The measure was advanced late Wednesday to a floor vote scheduled for next week. See my release on the markup, and my remarks during the debate here and here

Advancing INVEST in America Act Infrastructure Bill to the House Floor

On Wednesday and Thursday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, on which I serve as a senior member, took up the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation (INVEST) in America Act, an ambitious five-year infrastructure bill. The measure incorporates some of my priorities, including H.R. 1511, the Stop Underrides Act, H.R. 3959, the School Bus Safety Act, H.R. 3663, the Complete Streets Act and H.R. 1400, the Horse Transportation Safety Act in addition to two of my amendments, one that directs the Amtrak Working Group to study the reinstatement of the dining car service and another that sets a date for the establishment of the Committee on Underride Protection. On Thursday, I introduced amendments to the measure to make further improvements, which I plan to continue to work on with my colleagues. This bill strengthens Memphis as a highways and rail distribution center, and will create jobs. See my release on the measure here.

Announcing Grant to Study Impact on Employment from Coronavirus

On Wednesday, I announced that the University of Memphis will receive a significant grant from the National Science Foundation to study how rapid changes in work conditions in response to the pandemic have affected employee well-being. See my release about it here.

Welcoming Supreme Court Ruling in DACA Case

On Thursday, I welcomed the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) case, which found the Trump Administration violated the law when it abruptly ended the compassionate policy President Obama put in place eight years ago. I am an original cosponsor of H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act, which passed the House on June 4th of last year. This bill would provide Dreamers with a path to citizenship and protect them from deportation. It awaits consideration in the Senate. See my release on the DACA ruling here.

Condemning Tennessee General Assembly’s Late-Night Abortion Vote

Overnight Thursday into Friday morning’s early hours, I was increasingly disturbed to see the Tennessee State Senate in which I once served use passage of a draconian abortion bill as leverage to pass a budget on which members were at an impasse. Women’s health and a woman’s right to choose should not be used as a political football to pass a budget. The Tennessee General Assembly was not perfect when I served from 1982 to 2006, but there were members with consciences and intellect who kept most issues between the goal posts and usually kept Tennessee from being embarrassed. Now there seem to be very few, if any, who care about individual rights unless it relates to guns, and they consistently pass bills that give our General Assembly a deservedly bad reputation. As if this weren’t enough, the Tennessee House then went and passed a resolution that the mainstream media ‘sensationalized’ the coronavirus pandemic, even as cases rise.

Announcing $11.2 Million Fiber Optic Grant for Interstate 40 Corridor

As a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I was pleased to announce on Thursday that the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) will receive an $11.2 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for a fiber optic intelligent transportation system (ITS) along the Interstate 40 corridor between Memphis and Nashville. See my release about it here.

Writing an Op-Ed on Returning to “Dystopian” Washington, D.C.

The Commercial Appeal published an op-ed I wrote about my experience returning to what I referred to as our “dystopian” national capital last week. See that article here.

Supporting Effort to Make Juneteenth a National Holiday

Today is Juneteenth, the 155th anniversary of June 19th, 1865, when the enslaved people of Texas finally learned that they had been freed by Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation for more than two years. I support making this momentous event in the history of our country a national holiday and will work with my Congressional colleagues, including my friend Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, to make it happen. See my release here.

Applauding Mathematics Instruction Grant to Southwest Tennessee

On Friday, I announced that Southwest Tennessee Community College will receive a significant grant from the National Science Foundation to improve mathematics instruction. See that release here.

Announcing Grant to Memphis Animal Shelter Affected by the Pandemic

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is concerned about the impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on animal shelters and fundraising. In response, it has made a generous grant to our Memphis Animal Shelter. See my release here.

Filling Out Census Forms

By now you will have received two or more reminders that this is a U.S. Census year and that you can fill out the forms online at 2020Census.gov. I did mine online in a matter of minutes. Help your community get its fair share of our national resources. Consider filling out the forms today.   

Weekly Health Tip

As I have over the past several weeks, I want to urge my friends to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols for staying safe in this ongoing pandemic: Wash your hands frequently for at least 25 seconds; keep a minimum social distance of six feet from others; wear a face mask when out in public; and avoid being in crowds of more than 10. We will get through this together.   

Quote of the Week

“This is really about the kind of America we all want to see. We all want to be safe in our communities. We all want the police to come to our rescue when we are in trouble. We all want to support the brave men and women who put their lives on the line for us every day. And when we interact with the police, we all want to be treated with respects, not suspicion. Nobody should be subjected to harassment or excessive force just because of the color of their skin and no one should suffer the indignities of racial profiling or be on the end of a deadly choke hold.” – Congresswoman Karen Bass of California, Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, in an opening statement at the June 10 Judiciary Committee hearing on the Justice in Policing Act.

As always, I remain
Most sincerely,

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Steve Cohen
Member of Congress