This week, I voted to advance important gun violence prevention measures. I also presided over a hearing on ongoing voting discrimination; voted to adopt procedures for the Judiciary Committee to investigate President Trump’s misconduct; prepared for Monday’s Small Business Procurement Fair; introduced a bill to end discriminatory rental car excise taxes; congratulated Memphis native U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Marcus T. Oats on his promotion; called attention to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Gun Crime Tip Line; endorsed a review of Trump’s interference in forecasting for a recent major natural disaster by the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight; announced a grant to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center for its Sickle Cell Surveillance Program; offered Capitol Historical Society 2020 calendars; and offered a health tip for Suicide Prevention Month. 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 Historic Bills to Prevent Gun Violence
All day and well into Tuesday night, the House Judiciary Committee debated and ultimately passed three significant gun violence prevention bills, adding momentum to an effort begun in February when the House passed two background check bills broadly supported by the American people. These new bills create a red flag system to ensure that people who shouldn’t have guns don’t possess them, bans high capacity magazines, and prohibits those convicted of hate crimes from purchasing guns. See my release here.
Presiding at Hearing on Ongoing Voting Discrimination
On Tuesday morning, as Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, I presided at a hearing on “Evidence of Current and Ongoing Voting Discrimination.” Like my field hearing last week in Memphis, witnesses at this week’s hearing discussed the discriminatory state and local voting laws that have been enacted across our country since the Supreme Court’s disastrous Shelby County, Alabama vs. Holder decision in 2013. See my release about the hearing, including my opening statement, here.
Setting Judiciary Committee Rules for a Trump Impeachment Investigation
On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee adopted procedures for conducting an impeachment investigation of President Trump. I serve as Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, which will be central to the ongoing inquiry. See my release on the procedures here.
Preparing for Monday’s Small Business Procurement Fair
On Monday, September 16, I will host a Federal Procurement Fair at the FedEx Institute of Technology at the University of Memphis to give Memphis small business owners an opportunity to learn more about the federal government contracting process. Participating agencies include the General Services Administration (GSA), the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the Department of Transportation (DOT), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, the Minority Business Development Center and UT CIS Procurement Technical Assistance Center. If you would like to participate, please contact Jeremy Jordan at Jeremy.Jordan@mail.house.gov or (901) 544-4131.
Introducing Bill to End Discriminatory State Taxes for Auto Renters
On Thursday, Congressman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) and I introduced the End Discriminatory State Taxes for Automobile Renters Act, which would limit the use of excise taxes on “out-of-town” visitors renting cars to raise revenue for local needs. Too often these taxes fall on residents with the least ability to pay them not tourists. See my release about it here.
Congratulating Chief Master Sergeant Marcus T. Oats
Chief Master Sergeant Marcus, Cecelia and Mya Oats
On Tuesday evening, Marcus T. Oats, a 1996 graduate of Overton High School, became U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Marcus T. Oats in a promotion ceremony in the Kennedy Caucus Room of the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington. The man once known to his Airman colleagues as simply “Oats” will now be known as “Chief.” He now holds the highest enlisted rank in the Air Force, which only 1 percent of the entire Air Force may hold. On hand for the ceremony were the Chief’s wife, Cecelia; his children Kayla, Mya and Myles; his grandmother, Brenda Oats-Williams; three of his four brothers, Edward, Rod and Jonathan; cousins; high school friends, colleagues from all of his duty stations since 1997; and Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski in whose office he currently serves as an Air Force Legislative Fellow. I want to congratulate Chief Master Sergeant Oats on this prestigious achievement.
Calling Attention to U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Tip Line
Last month, I met with officials from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to talk about gun crime in Memphis and the creation of a strike force to address it. I also told the officials that I would call attention to the bureau’s Gun Crimes Tip Line in my newsletter to constituents. Call (888) ATF-TIPS – (888) 283-8477 -- if you have a tip for these dedicated law enforcement specialists.
On Tuesday, I remembered Baxter Leach, one of the last of the 1968 Sanitation Workers whose strike and demand to be treated like men brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Memphis. Mr. Leach died August 27. See my remarks in The Congressional Record here.
Supporting Investigation of Trump Administration Interference with Hurricane Forecast
I serve on the Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, which has oversight authority over the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Weather Service. President Trump’s misguided attempt at weather forecasting – predicting Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama “(much) harder than anticipated,” when it was not in the storm’s path as more than a strong breeze – seemed absurd at first. But when unnamed NOAA officials endorsed his mistake, that interference compromised the integrity of the federal government’s weather prediction and efforts to promote public safety. This was no mere gaff and I support my Subcommittee’s efforts, including its call for an inspector general’s investigation into the incident, to get to the truth of this matter.
Announcing U.T. Health Science Center Grant for Sickle Cell Surveillance
On Wednesday, I announced that the University of Tennessee Health Science Center will be receiving a grant supporting its Sickle Cell Surveillance Program. See that release here.
Offering U.S. Capitol Historical Society Calendars
My office currently has a limited number of 2020 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 am only able to mail calendars to residents of Tennessee’s Ninth District. Please feel free to share this email with other residents of the Ninth District who may be interested in receiving one but who do not receive my eNewsletter.
Sign Up for “Congress on Your Corner” and this 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 a notification as soon as the next event is scheduled. My next “Congress on Your Corner” is next Friday, September 20, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Frayser Branch Library, 3712 Argonne Street, Memphis 38127.
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Weekly Health Tip
September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Research indicates that people having suicidal thoughts feel some relief when someone asks about them in a caring way. See guidance from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline here. If you or someone you know is in crisis, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is free and available 24-7 at (800) 273-8255.
Quote of the Week
“If we had a disease that was killing as many people as our guns in our country, we would devote a lot more resources to make sure we had the best data, the best research to know what is most affected.” – Daniel W. Webster, director, Johns Hopkins University Center for Gun Policy and Research, quoted in The Washington Post, October 25, 2015.
As always, I remain
Member of Congress
167 North Main Street,
Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: (901) 544-4131
Fax: (901) 544-4329
House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3265
Fax: (202) 225-5663