Voting for the Updated Heroes Act

October 2, 2020
Enewsletters

October 2, 2020

Dear Friend,

This week, I voted to address the ongoing health and economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic with the updated Heroes Act, which contains several provisions I pushed for that will benefit my Memphis constituents. I also expressed the hope that President Trump and the First Lady will recover from exposure to the coronavirus; condemned vote-suppression efforts in Texas and Pennsylvania; voted to advance a bill that will improve the accountability of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the safety certification of aircraft like the Boeing 737 MAX; wrote again to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about my concerns about fraudulent manipulation of the Paycheck Protection Program, possibly involving companies linked to the President; introduced a bill to permit a fairer distribution of funds to cities like Memphis from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program; joined my Congressional colleagues in a letter to President Trump asking him to take a leadership role in curbing plastics pollution; remembered Father Nicholas Vieron of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church for his ecumenical leadership during the 1968 Sanitation Workers Strike and long service to our community; announced a major job training initiative; and offered another coronavirus-related health tip. Keep reading and follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to see what I’m doing as it happens.

Voting for the Updated Heroes Act to Address Health and Economic Consequences of the Pandemic
Wishing President Trump and First Lady a Speedy Recovery
Condemning Effort to Suppress the Vote in Texas and Pennsylvania
Advancing Measure to Improve Accountability of the FAA
Writing to Treasury Secretary Over Concerns about Paycheck Protection Program
Introducing Measure to Provide a Fairer Allocation of Community Development Block Grants
Joining Colleagues to Urge President Trump to Ensure Trade Agreements Respect  Plastic Waste Mitigation Efforts 
Remembering Father Nicholas Vieron
Clarifying Rules for Voting in Upcoming National Election 
Reminding Constituents to Fill Out 2020 Census
Announcing Major Labor Department Job Training Contract
Offering 2021 Congressional Calendars 
Weekly Health Tip
Quote of the Week


Voting for the Updated Heroes Act to Address Health and Economic Consequences of the Pandemic

This week, Democratic Congressional leaders continued to try to negotiate with Trump Administration officials over the scope of a new coronavirus response bill to address the ongoing pandemic and its economic and social consequences. On Thursday, I voted for an updated Heroes Act, a slimmed down version of the bill the House passed on May 15 that the Senate has so far failed to consider. The new measure is our set of priorities in ongoing negotiations, and includes another $1,200 economic impact payment for individuals and $500 per dependent; a continuation of the $600 federal weekly supplement to state unemployment benefits; and help for restaurants, airlines, public schools, hospitals and community health centers, and transit systems. It also helps protect our upcoming election. I look forward to successful negotiations resulting in an acceptable compromise because our country is suffering.

Wishing President Trump and First Lady a Speedy Recovery

This morning, President Trump announced that he and the First Lady have tested positive for the coronavirus. I wish them both a speedy recovery and a return to their family after the required quarantine period.

Condemning Effort to Suppress the Vote in Texas and Pennsylvania

Earlier today, I condemned new voter-suppression efforts in Texas and Pennsylvania just a month before the November 3 election. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed an executive order limiting Texas counties – some larger than two states – to one drop-box for mail-in ballots. Pennsylvania’s Republican-dominated legislature is considering an “election integrity” committee, with subpoena power and the authority to impound uncounted ballots in a transparent effort to weed out disfavored ballots and delay certification of the election results. See my release here.

Advancing Measure to Improve Accountability of the FAA

On Wednesday, as a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and its Subcommittee on Aviation, I voted to advance the Aircraft Certification Reform and Accountability Act to the House floor. The measure will improve regulatory oversight of the airline safety certification process and is based on the findings of an 18-month Committee investigation into the crashes of two Boeing 737 MAX airliners, now understood to have been caused in part by lax federal oversight. See my remarks on the measure and my release on the bill here.

Writing to Treasury Secretary Over Concerns about Paycheck Protection Program

After Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin failed to answer my letter in a timely manner regarding my concerns about his department’s plan to forgive Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans despite reports of widespread fraud in the program, I sent him a letter to follow up. In my second letter, I also asked him to review whether companies associated with President Trump have received PPP loans. See my release and letters here.

Introducing Measure to Provide a Fairer Allocation of Community Development Block Grants

On Tuesday, I introduced a measure to provide a fairer funding formula for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program grants to cities like Memphis. I appreciate the input from Mayor Strickland in shaping this legislative proposal. See my release on the measure here.

Joining Colleagues to Urge President Trump to Ensure Trade Agreements Respect Plastic Waste Mitigation Efforts

On Thursday, I led a letter with my Senate and House colleagues urging President Trump to ensure our future trade agreement with Kenya does not undermine plastic waste mitigation efforts. It is important the U.S. champion equitable trade agreements that promote sustainable jobs and protect our global environment. See that letter here.

Remembering Father Nicholas Vieron

Father Nicholas Vieron of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church on Highland, who was the ecumenical chairman of the Memphis Ministerial Association at the time of the Sanitation Workers Strike and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., passed on Tuesday. He was a fine man, always quick with a kind word or a joke. See my remembrance of him in The Congressional Record here.

Clarifying Rules for Voting in Upcoming National Election 

Voter registration: Voters must be registered by October 5. New voters have three options to register to vote in Tennessee. You can apply online here; print and hand-deliver your completed application to the Shelby County Election Commission office (located at 980 Nixon Drive, Memphis, TN 38134); or register in person at any of the following agencies: County Clerk’s Office, County Election Commission Office, Department of Health, Department of Human Services, Department of Mental Health, Department of Safety (DMV), Department of Veterans Affairs, a public library or the Register of Deeds Office.   
 
Voting in person: Early Voting begins on Wednesday, October 14 and ends Thursday, October 29.  See the Shelby County Election Commission’s page on upcoming elections for election dates, offices to be elected, Early Voting schedules (locations, dates, hours), Election Day polling locations, sample ballots and an absentee application.   
 
Voting by mail: Currently, Tennessee is not allowing all residents to request absentee ballots due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, those with underlying conditions, as well as their caretakers, may request absentee ballots. See the Shelby County Election Commission’s page on voting absentee for a full list of circumstances that qualify you to vote absentee by mail.   

The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Tuesday, October 27. Due to mail delivery delays at the Postal Service, it is strongly recommended that you request an absentee ballot as soon as possible. Request your ballot here. Once you’ve received it and cast your votes, immediately send it back to the Election Commission.  

Mail-in ballots must be received at your county election commission by Election Day to count. Mail-in ballots CANNOT be hand delivered to election offices. The only acceptable way to submit an absentee mail-in ballot in Tennessee is by mail (USPS, FedEx, UPS, et cetera). If you do not receive your ballot in the mail, please contact the Shelby County Board of Elections Absentee Department at (901) 222-6800 or absenteevoting@shelbycountytn.gov.   
 
If you request an absentee ballot but do not receive or return your ballot in time, you may still be able to cast a provisional ballot, either during early voting or on election day. However, provisional ballots require additional verification. To make sure your ballot is counted, it is best to apply for your absentee ballot as early as possible and return it by mail as early as possible.    
 
Reminding Constituents to Fill Out 2020 Census

It is important to fill out the every-ten-year head count mandated by the Constitution, which provides an accurate measure of the population for federal benefits and political representation. I urge you to fill out the U.S. Census form as soon as possible. Your community is counting on you. If you need help filling out your Census questionnaire, call the help line at (844) 330-2020.  

Announcing Major Labor Department Job Training Contract

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a new contractor to operate the Benjamin L. Hooks Job Corps Center on McAlister in Whitehaven. See my release on the announcement here.

Offering 2021 Congressional Calendars 

My office will have a limited number of 2021 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 e-Newsletter.  

Weekly Health Tip

Again this week, I want to call attention to the high number of coronavirus cases, in Tennessee and across the country, that are likely the result of reopening prematurely without implementing basic precautionary measures such as wearing masks and adhering to social distancing guidelines. Please follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols and those adopted by Memphis and Shelby County for staying safe in this ongoing pandemic: Wash your hands with soap 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. When you’re indoors, six feet might not be far enough, according to recent studies; 14 feet might be better. It is best to wear a mask, particularly when indoors in close quarters. We must work together to get through this.      

Quote of the Week

“Yes, ‘n’ how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, ‘n’ how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.” – Bob Dylan, “Blowin’ in the Wind (1962) 

As always, I remain.
Most sincerely,

Steve Cohen
Member of Congress