Voting Against Trumpcare
This week, I voted against the disastrous Trumpcare bill, voted in support of an omnibus appropriations bill that funds many priorities for Memphians and increases the budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), introduced a bill to reduce the prevalence of food deserts, questioned airline executives on the safety and health consequences of smaller airplane seats, spoke with Newsweek about my bipartisan bill to commission a bust of Elie Wiesel in the U.S. Capitol, and opposed President Trump’s executive order on religious liberty. Keep reading to learn more about my week and follow me on Twitter and Facebook to see more updates as they happen.
Voting Against Trumpcare
On Thursday, I voted against Trumpcare because it is harmful to the average American and will result in people dying because they don’t have access to quality, affordable health insurance. Trumpcare would allow states to discriminate against patients with pre-existing conditions and to opt out of offering essential health benefits such as maternity care, mental health services, pediatric services, preventative care services, drug abuse treatment and physical rehabilitation services. As many as 24 million more Americans would be uninsured and those 50-64 years of age would pay significantly higher premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. It would significantly reduce federal funding for Medicaid, shorten the life of the Medicare Trust Fund and waive annual and lifetime caps now prohibited by the ACA. Lower and middle-income Americans would pay more for less coverage while the wealthiest Americans receive huge tax breaks. Read my full statement on Trumpcare here. Watch my remarks on the House floor about the bill here. Watch my remarks on Facebook Live here.
On Wednesday, I voted for the bipartisan omnibus appropriations bill to keep the government open through September. I was pleased this bill included adequate funding for programs important to Memphians that President Trump proposed drastically cutting such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) supplemental nutrition program, food stamps and Planned Parenthood. I was particularly pleased that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be receiving a $2 billion funding increase in the omnibus bill, something for which I have long advocated. Robust medical research funding will help provide treatments and find cures for the myriad of diseases that attack Americans every day. Read my full statement here.
On Tuesday, I introduced the Supermarket Tax Credit for Underserved Areas Act to help reduce the prevalence of “food deserts” by providing tax incentives for the establishment of supermarkets in empowerment zones and formerly designated renewal communities to help ensure that healthy, fresh foods are available. Read more about my bill here.
On Tuesday, I participated in a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing with airline executives on the oversight of U.S. airlines customer service. Just one day after this hearing, CNN reported that at least one airline plans to shrink the distance between seats on its airplanes. It is extremely frustrating that airlines are considering further decreases to legroom just hours after they told Congress they are working to make improvements for passengers. The Washington Post took notice as well. Congress needs to pass my SEAT Act to establish minimum seat sizes for safety and health of airline passengers. Watch my remarks in the committee hearing here.
Last week, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and I introduced a bipartisan bill to commission a bust or statue of holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel in the U.S. Capitol. This week, I spoke to Newsweek about our efforts. You can read the story here.
On Thursday, I spoke out against President Trump’s executive order, “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty,” which uses religion as a tool for political purposes. It is ironic that President Trump issued an Executive Order purporting to protect religious liberty – an Order that, in fact, does little to actually protect religious freedom -- on a day when the House voted on Trumpcare, a bill that nearly all religious groups opposed. Read my full statement here.
Meet my office's Ambassador of Joy, Stevie! Stevie, named after singer Stevie Nicks, is a goldendoodle who belongs to my staff member Alex Schnelle. Stevie was featured in Roll Call’s Dogs on the Hill segment on Tuesday.
On Friday, May 26 from 11am-1pm at the Gaston Community Center (1040 South Third Street), my staff will hold “Congress on Your Corner” office hours to assist Memphians with questions or problems with federal agencies such as Social Security, Medicare, FHA, the VA and more. Please mark the date on your calendar. For more information about Congress on Your Corner, visit my website at https://cohen.house.gov.
Each year billions of dollars are distributed in federal grant and loan money to institutions and organizations throughout the country. The 9th District's universities, colleges, non-profit organizations, small businesses, and local governments are well-qualified to compete for these funds. If you are interested in receiving up-to-date federal grant information, including a list of the most recent grant awards and opportunities, please click here to sign up for my Grants E-Newsletter. I also encourage you to explore the resources on my website to help you and your organization search and apply for grants.
Each week, I share a health tip in the hopes of promoting a healthy lifestyle for residents of the Ninth Congressional District. As always, it is best to check with your doctor before making any changes to your diet, exercise routine or lifestyle.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental health services is one of the many important essential health benefits covered under the Affordable Care Act. Mental health problems can vary and affect your thinking, mood and behavior. They are common and help is usually available. Learn more here.
As always, I remain.