Visiting 9th Congressional District Constituents at the U.S. Naval Academy
This week, I visited midshipmen from Tennessee’s 9th Congressional District studying at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and came away impressed at their commitment to becoming U.S. Navy or Marine officers. I also wrote the Shelby County Election Commission expressing my concern at its reported high rate of invalid voter applications, introduced a bill to prevent double taxation on purchase of digital goods and services, cheered the signing of bills on which I worked that block insurers from enforcing “gag clauses” that prohibit pharmacies from telling customers about how they can pay less for drugs, attended a documentary film on the Watergate scandal, condemned the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, wrote an opinion column on the treatment of Obama-era judicial nominations, began inviting veterans to my Veterans Day barbecue, offered my constituentsU.S. Capitol Society calendars and provided a health tipon Alzheimer’s disease. Keep reading to learn more about my week and follow me on Twitter and Facebook to see more updates as they happen.
Visiting 9th Congressional District Constituents at the U.S. Naval Academy
Expressing Concern about Voter Registration Application Invalidations
Introducing the Digital Goods and Services Tax Fairness Act
Blocking Big PHARMA’s Influence over Insured Drug Costs
Attending Washington Premiere of “Watergate”
Condemning the Confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh
Lamenting Obstruction of Obama-era Judicial Nominations
Inviting Vets to My Veterans Day BBQ Luncheon
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 Tuesday, I had a delightful visit with three, third-year Midshipmen from the 9th Congressional District at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. These young men will graduate as U.S. Navy or Marine officers after a fine education at an elite institution. Memphis University School graduate C.J. McCoy, White Station High School graduate Brody McDonald and Evangelical Christian School graduate David Boyd will make this country proud. Receiving a Naval Academy education is a tremendous honor and a major achievement. It also instills qualities of character that produce true leaders. I was disappointed I couldn’t meet with four other 9th District midshipmen who are on the Navy football team and were busy training, but I’ll give a shout out to them, too: Sean Williams of Cordova and Memphians Cameron Kinley, Caleb Clear, and Camren Taylor. I wish them all a Navy toast of “fair winds and following seas.”
On Wednesday, I wrote to Shelby County Election Commission Chairman Robert Meyers expressing my concern about the Commission’s assertion that 55 percent of voter applications are being ruled invalid. I asked Chairman Meyers what the Commission is doing to ensure federal law is being followed and that applications are processed before the beginning of early voting on October 17 – next Tuesday. I also asked what the Commission is doing to inform eligible citizens whose applications have been deemed incomplete what they are required to do to complete them,and what is being done to inform felons who are eligible to have their voting rights restored what they are required to do to complete an application. Read my letter here. With what’s going on in Georgia, where 53,000 registration applications are being held up – 70 percent of which are from African Americans -- we must ensure that no Tennessean’s right to vote is compromised.
On Friday, I joined Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) in introducing the Digital Goods and Services Tax Fairness Act aimed at protecting consumers who make purchases over the internet or by smart phone. The bill would ensure that consumers aren’t taxed at a higher rate than they would be for purchases of tangible items. It would also ensure that consumers aren’t double taxed. I look forward to its consideration by the House Judiciary Committee on which I serve.
On Wednesday, two bills were signed into law that block insurers from enforcing “gag clauses” that prohibit pharmacies from telling customers about how they can pay less for drugs. I was proud to cosponsor the House version of The Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act which was introduced by my colleague Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), as well as the House version of the Know the Lowest Price Act. These bills will help ensure that consumers can find out whether a prescription drug would cost less were they to pay for it out of pocket instead of through their health insurance. The Patient Right to Know Act applies to patients covered by private insurance and takes effect immediately. The second measure applies to Medicare recipients and takes effect in 2020.
Watergate prosecutors George T. Frampton, Richard Ben-Veniste, and Jill Wine-Bank speak with “Watergate” director Charles Ferguson (with microphone).
On Wednesday evening, I attended and enjoyed the Washington premiere of the first half of the documentary “Watergate – Or, How We Stopped an Out-of-Control President” at the National Portrait Gallery. The part I saw led up to 1973 and depicted a paranoid, obsessed president whose involvement in illegal activity and its coverup was abetted by people around him who realized but hid that he was out of control. Nixon is seen attacking The Washington Post and other news organizations and falsely asserting that the Watergate special prosecutors would find nothing in their investigation of the burglary, the political chicanery or the payoffs to keep witnesses silent. As a member of the House Judiciary Committee,I found the parallels to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation of Russian interference in our elections, and Trump’s response to it, chillingly similar, and was reminded why it is so important for Congress to pass the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act to protect Mueller from being inappropriately fired. The documentary airs on cable television in early November.
Much of the country was disappointed at last Saturday evening’s Senate vote confirming Judge Brett Kavanaugh as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. I talked with the Reverend Al Sharpton of MSNBC on Sunday and with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Monday about the confirmation process and the impact Kavanaugh is likely to have in jeopardizing voting rights, women’s reproductive rights and other critical issues resolved by the nation’s highest court. Kavanaugh does not have the judicial temperament for the job. We need fair and impartial judges to protect the rights of the most vulnerable.
In response to a recent column by Senator Lamar Alexander in The Commercial Appeal accusing Senate Democrats of stalling the confirmation of federal District Court judge nominees, including state Senator Mark Norris, I wrote my own op-ed in The Commercial Appeal pointing out the lengthy delay and ultimate derailing of President Obama’s nomination of former U.S. Attorney Ed Stanton to become a federal judge. Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to let the Senate consider President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland. Senator Norris was confirmed by the Senate Thursday night. The record reflects that Republican senators engaged in far more obstruction of Obama’s nominees than Democratic senators have of Trump’s nominees.
Words cannot fully express the gratitude our nation owes its military veterans for their dedication to our country and the sacrifices they have made. My annual Veterans Day Luncheon is a time to thank them and their families. This luncheon serves as an opportunity for me to hear their concerns and for veterans to hear what is being done at the federal, state and local levels to better serve their needs.
My 10th Annual Veterans Day Barbecue Luncheon will be held on Monday, November 12, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Kroc Center of Memphis – Hardin Hall, 800 East Parkway South. Vets should RSVP by Thursday, November 8 at (901) 544-4131.
My office will soon have 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 here to 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.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) estimates 5.7 million Americans are now living with Alzheimer’s disease, the leading cause of dementia in the elderly. While some risk factors, like age and genetics, can’t be controlled, the CDC offers a few tips to improve your chances of staving off dementia, including staying active, avoiding smoking and, perhaps surprisingly, just trying to learn new things. Alzheimer’s is also the most expensive disease in America, with one in five Medicare dollars spent on someone with the disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, early diagnosis would save billions while providing better treatment options for families and caregivers.
With the post-season upon us, it’s always nice to be reminded of the wisdom of baseball great Yogi Berra:
“You can observe a lot by just watching.”
“Baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical.”
“Never answer an anonymous letter.”
I'll be at the Liberty Bowl Saturday afternoon when the Tigers take on UCF. Let's go Tigers!
Member of Congress