Voting to Advance the Equal Rights Amendment
This week, I voted for, and the House passed, a measure to advance the Equal Rights Amendment toward ratification as the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I also helped introduce and spoke in favor of a comprehensive measure to limit plastic pollution and make the plastics industry take responsibility for the cleanup of the wasteful products it produces; joined my Judiciary Committee colleagues in announcing an investigation into the politicization of the Department of Justice; wrote to the CEO of Amtrak asking for a credible rationale for its changes in food service; reacted to the release of the President’s heartless budget proposal; made information about temporary jobs with the U.S. Census Bureau available; introduced the MEAL Act; reminded constituents of my first “Congress On Your Corner” event of the year on February 28; and offered a heart-healthy Valentine’s Day-related health tip. Keep reading to learn more about my week and follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to see more updates as they happen.
Voting to Advance the Equal Rights Amendment
Helping Introduce and Cosponsoring the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act
Investigating the Politicization of the Department of Justice
Demanding Credible Evidence from Amtrak CEO on Food Service Changes
Reacting to the President’s Harmful Budget Proposal
Making Information about U.S. Census Jobs Available
Introducing the MEAL Act
Holding “Congress On Your Corner” on February 28
Weekly Heath Tip
Quote of the Week
On Thursday, I voted for, and the House passed, a resolution to remove the deadline previously set for states to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Passage was one more step toward making the Equal Rights Amendment the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and eliminating discrimination based on sex. Before the vote, I spoke from the House floor in favor of the measure. See my release on the vote, and my speech, here. On Monday, as Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, I testified before the House Rules Committee, urging it to adopt a rule for consideration of the measure. See my release and the testimony here.
On Wednesday, I helped introduce the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act. This comprehensive measure would phase out some single-use plastic products, incentivize consumers to recycle by creating a national 10-cent refund program for all beverage containers, require plastic producers to design and finance programs to collect waste, and reform our broken waste and recycling collection system. See my release and my remarks at the press conference rolling out the measure here.
On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee, on which I serve as a senior member, announced that Attorney General William Barr would testify before the Committee in March to address concerns regarding his leadership and the politicization of the Department of Justice (DOJ). President Trump has repeatedly pressured the DOJ to pursue his political enemies and help his allies who have committed serious crimes. This undermines the rule of law and threatens our national values. Read the Committee’s press release here. See my interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow on the situation here.
Also Wednesday, as a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials, I wrote to Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson to ask for credible evidence to support his decision to suspend dining car food service on some long-distance routes. See my release and the letter here.
On Monday, President Trump released a destructive budget proposal that prioritizes special interests and the rich and powerful over the health, safety, and economic security of American families. For example, the Trump budget cuts $1.6 trillion from health care programs over 10 years. This includes a more than $900 billion cut to Medicaid, a half a trillion-dollar cut to Medicare, and more than $200 billion in cuts to other health programs. It would also cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and critical research dollars for cures for catastrophic diseases at the National Institutes of Health. It would also cut Social Security benefits by $24 billion -- despite the President’s previous claims he would leave Social Security alone -- and $292 billion over 10 years from mandatory programs that support working families. The federal budget should be a statement of values. Once again the President is showing just how little he values the well-being of hard-working Americans. House Democrats will reject this heartless budget.
Every ten years, the U.S. Census Bureau counts the number of people living in the United States for the purpose of reapportioning the U.S. House of Representatives’ 435 seats among the 50 states. That requires a huge temporary workforce. Hundreds of thousands of jobs are now available for Census field supervisors, Census takers, clerks and other positions. In Shelby County, the pay ranges between $20 and $22 per hour with reimbursement for mileage and expenses. To qualify, you must be at least 18, have a valid Social Security number, a valid email address and pass a criminal background check. To apply, go here.
On Friday, I introduced the Making Essentials Affordable and Lawful (MEAL) Act to lift restriction on the receipt of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) for people with prior drug felony convictions, ensuring that they can meet their basic needs as soon as they reenter society. See my release on the measure here.
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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 a notification as soon as the next event is scheduled. My next “Congress on Your Corner” is Friday, February 28, at the Gaisman Community Center, 4221 Macon Road, Memphis 38122, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
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I want to wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day and offer some advice during February’s “American Heart Month.” The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute provides guidance on reducing the risk of heart disease here.
Wednesday was Abraham Lincoln’s 211th birthday and Monday is Presidents Day. Consider some wisdom from our 16th President:
“In times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and eternity.” – Abraham Lincoln, Message to Congress, December 1, 1862.
As always, I remain
Member of Congress