Congressman Dan Kildee on Bipartisan Amendment on Flint Aid

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Contact: Jennifer Cox, 202-225-3611, Jennifer.Cox@mail.house.gov

Statement by Congressman Dan Kildee on Bipartisan Amendment on Flint Aid

 Congressman Dan Kildee issued the following statement after the bipartisan Kildee-Moolenaar Amendment to H.R. 5303 the Water Resources Development Act was made in order, which would provide $170 million dollars in federal aid to Flint:

 “I commend the bipartisan agreement we reached to bring much-needed Flint aid up for a vote in the House. Today’s vote is a step forward to ensuring that Flint families get the resources they need to recover from this crisis. The people of my hometown have waited over two years for their government to help them in their time of need. We will continue to fight until Flint aid reaches the President’s desk.”

Rep. Roybal-Allard Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Today, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), the first Mexican-American woman elected to Congress and a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), released the following video in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sqILVbNEq4.

Below is a copy of Rep. Roybal-Allard’s statement:

“Hello, I’m Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard.  Each year, from September 15th to October 15th, we gather as a nation to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by highlighting the many contributions our Latino communities have made to our country.  These include enriching our arts and sciences, defending our country by bravely serving in our Armed Forces, creating millions of small businesses and jobs through our entrepreneurial spirit, and serving our communities as teachers, doctors, nurses, and law enforcement officers.  These and many more contributions are cause for celebration, not only by Latinos, but by all Americans.

“Unfortunately, the full potential of Latinos to contribute to our nation is hampered by America’s broken immigration system.  That is why we must never give up our fight to pass a fair and comprehensive immigration bill.

“In the meantime, I am pleased that President Obama has taken some very positive steps.  In 2012, the president used his executive authority to address weaknesses in our immigration system by initiating DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.  This order has helped over 728,000 DREAMers to live without the fear of deportation.

“In 2014, the president worked to expand DACA, and to initiate DAPA, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents.  Disappointingly, the Supreme Court failed to clarify if DAPA and expanded DACA could proceed.  Therefore, our fight continues for the millions of hardworking immigrants who contribute to our country while at the same time living in fear of being separated from their loved ones and of never having the opportunity to become a citizen in our country of freedom and hope.

“As we draw closer to the November election, let us also continue fighting to restore the Voting Rights Act.  This act protects eligible Latino and minority voters from barriers to voting.  As we approach a presidential election in which 14 states have, now, new discriminatory voting laws, we must ensure that no eligible American citizen is denied their right to be heard with their vote.  I urge my Republican colleagues to work with congressional Democrats to restore the Voting Rights Act, and to develop legislation that will ensure Latinos and all Americans can fully enjoy America’s freedom and opportunity.

“During this month of celebration, please share your Hispanic Heritage story by using the hashtag #HHM2016.

“¡Gracias y feliz Mes de la Herencia Hispana!  Thank you, and happy Hispanic Heritage Month!”

Congresswoman Lee Welcomes Opening of Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee released this statement celebrating the opening of the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture:

“Today’s opening has been a long time coming. Nearly 100 years ago, in 1929, Congress passed legislation to establish this museum.

Now, it has finally become a reality thanks to the tireless efforts of thousands, including dedicated leadership from Civil Rights champion, Congressman John Lewis, and the Congressional Black Caucus.

Unfortunately, African American history remains a footnote in most textbooks and classrooms. This museum will be a vital tool in educating all Americans about the struggle of African Americans who faced tremendous odds, yet kept the faith and helped build our great nation.

While much work remains to fully tell the African American story, this museum will hopefully help inform and bring greater context to current issues facing African Americans and our nation, including racial injustice, mass incarceration and structural and institutional racism.

On Monday, I had an opportunity to preview this beautiful and haunting museum. This museum tells our story from where it begins, long before slavery, and continues all the way to the present.

While it celebrates the triumphs and immeasurable contributions of generations of Africans and African Americans, it also tells the upsetting but honest story of centuries of oppression, from slavery through Jim Crow and into the modern day, that African Americans have overcome.

I could not be happier to see this important institution open at a place of honor on our National Mall. This museum is and will remain a vital storytelling tool for our nation and the American people.

Additionally, I hope that this institution begins an honest and full discussion about reparations to correct the vestiges and lingering legacy of slavery.”

Earlier this week, Congresswoman Lee became an original co-sponsor of a Congressional resolution celebrating the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. The resolution will be introduced by Congressman John Lewis.

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Congresswoman Lee is a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, the Steering and Policy Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. She serves as chair of the Democrat Whip Task Force on Poverty, Income Inequality and Opportunity.

CBC Holds Press Conference at DOJ and Presents Letter to AG Loretta Lynch Addressing Systematic Surveillance and Profiling of Blacks by Law Enforcement

September 22, 2016

Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, CBC Chairman G. K. Butterfield, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and members of the CBC held a press conference at the U.S. Department of Justice to address the systematic surveillance and profiling of African Americans by law enforcement in communities across the country:

“The Congressional Black Caucus is outraged and deeply troubled with the dozens of unlawful police shootings taking place all across America involving unarmed African American men, women and children,” said CBC Chairman Butterfield. “Tensions are very high in our country, and violence does not lead to justice. We urge Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Department of Justice to aggressively pursue investigations, indictments and prosecutions through the Office of Civil Rights, against any and all law enforcement officers who harm or kill innocent, unarmed African Americans.  There must be a national standard regarding the use of lethal force, and the Congressional Black Caucus will not rest until fairness and justice have been brought to the victims, families and communities who have suffered at the hands of law enforcement.”

A copy of the letter presented to Attorney General Lynch may be viewed in its entirety here.

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Since its establishment in 1971, Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) have joined together to empower America’s neglected citizens and address their legislative concerns. For more than 40 years, the CBC has consistently been the voice for people of color and vulnerable communities in Congress and has been committed to utilizing the full Constitutional power and statutory authority of the United States government to ensure that all U.S. citizens have an opportunity to achieve the American Dream. To learn more about the Congressional Black Caucus, visit http://cbc-butterfield.house.gov.

Media inquiries: Candace Randle Person at (202) 593-1331 or Candace.Person@mail.house.gov

Cartwright Named to Powerful House Appropriations Panel

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright announced that the Democratic Caucus has elected him to serve on the House Committee on Appropriations, the panel that makes annual spending decisions for all federal agencies and is considered one of the most powerful committees in Congress.

For fully one-half century, between the end of World War II and the turn of the millennium, northeastern Pennsylvania had strong and able representation on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee.

“For almost a generation now, our area has not had a voice on Appropriations.  I am happy to say that the wait is over.  This is not only a great honor, but also an opportunity to shape spending that can have a tremendous effect on the lives of seniors, veterans, children, students, commuters, federal workers, federal contractors, and military service personnel,” said Rep. Cartwright.  “Every discretionary dollar goes through the Appropriations Committee, and I intend to use my voice and vote on the Committee to protect the health and retirement security of my constituents and to help spur economic growth in the 17th congressional district.”

“I welcome Matt Cartwright as the newest member of the House Appropriations Committee,” said Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), Ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee.  “Congressman Cartwright has been a vocal and effective leader on behalf of Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District.  I look forward to his joining Appropriations Democrats as we work to invest in hard-working American families, create more good-paying jobs, and build a stronger America.”

The House Appropriations Committee serves an indispensable role as the originator of all annual federal spending bills, as referenced in Article I of the Constitution.  Each year, under normal operating procedure, twelve spending bills are reported to the full House covering areas such as transportation infrastructure, energy development, military construction, education and student loan programs, rural development, environmental protection, and homeland security.  Appropriators wield the “power of the purse” at the programmatic level and enjoy close working relationships with federal agencies and offices as their yearly budgets are set.

“Municipal officials, regional planners, business managers, nonprofit directors, and constituents in the 17th congressional district are not shy about letting me know what’s important to them, and I intend to make those concerns and desires my top appropriations priorities,” continued Cartwright.  “To me, this appointment is an opportunity to be even more responsive to the needs of the six counties I represent, and to help them grow and thrive, even as budgets are tight.”

“We’ve seen comparatively restrictive discretionary budgets under the 2012-enacted sequester law, which runs through 2023,” Cartwright added.  “That’s a law we need to rethink, especially where additional strategic investments would create jobs.”

“Matt Cartwright has consistently proven himself to be a forceful and effective champion for America’s hard-working families,” said Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.  “Congressman Cartwright’s tireless leadership has been invaluable to House Democrats’ effort to build a stronger America for all Americans.  In his new role on the Appropriations Committee, Matt Cartwright will be a powerful voice for a budget that invests in America, creates more good-paying jobs, and strengthens hard-working families.”

Cartwright Introduces Legislation to Protect Our Children from Bullying, Ensure Schools Districts Are on Notice

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright introduced the Bullying Redress and Verified Enforcement (BRAVE) Act, legislation that would address bullying behavior within schools.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 1 in 3 students say they have been bullied at school.  Moreover, 1 out of 10 students who drops out of school does so because of repeated bullying.

“Bullying can have destructive consequences on our children and their education,” Rep. Cartwright said.  “As a parent and a Member of Congress, I believe we must take steps to create a school environment that prevents bullying and where our children can feel safe.”

In 2014, Robin Zotynia of Plainfield Township lost her 14-year-old daughter to suicide as a result of incessant bullying at school.  An eighth-grader at Wind Gap Middle School at the time, Courtney had her first experience with bullying in sixth grade.  The family tried to get Courtney help, putting her in different programs and sending her to several psychiatrists.  But her mom said she wasn’t getting what she needed.

Currently, bullying laws exist in all fifty states, including Pennsylvania, but these laws provide varying levels of protection.

The bill requires school personnel to report instances of bullying in order to increase their awareness of the problem and oversight in schools.  Requiring districts to keep accurate records may make it easier for students to demonstrate that the district has a policy or custom of allowing bullying to occur, facilitating litigation and enabling students to pressure the school district for equal protection in the courts.  If schools fail to comply, the bill establishes a procedure to submit complaints to the Office of Civil Rights for the Department of Education, allowing parents and students to hold the districts accountable and prevent further bullying.

Clyburn OP-ED: Democrats vs. Republicans on the Economy: It Is Not A Close Call

WASHINGTON U.S. House Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn (SC) published the following op-ed on the Huffington Post today:

Democrats v. Republicans on the Economy:  It is Not a Close Call

            If our history were not so instructive about the catastrophic consequences that often flow from sophisticated campaigns of misinformation, I would probably be amused by the half truths and untruths that are being tossed around during this election season.  Democrats in general and President Barack Obama in particular are being blamed for everything that has gone wrong with our country’s economy over the last generation.

President Obama, our nation’s first African American President, is being viciously blamed by a few uninformed and misguided souls for all the maladies being experienced by black Americans. It is very clear, however, that over the last 35 years the American economy has fared much better under Democratic presidents than it has under Republican presidents.  And all Americans – particularly black Americans – have seen their fortunes dramatically improved under President Obama’s Administration.

According to a February 2016 report by the Joint Economic Committee on analysis of economic performance since World War II under Democratic versus Republican presidents, “data show[s] that the economy has performed much better during Democratic administrations.  Economic growth, job creation and industrial production have all been stronger.”  Also, a recent study by Princeton University professors Alan Blinder and Mark Watson concluded: “The superiority of economic performance under Democrats rather than Republicans is nearly ubiquitous; it holds almost regardless of how you define success.”

It is often stated that all of us are entitled to our opinions, but there can be only one set of facts.  And when we look at the facts on job creation, employment levels and deficit reduction under the most recent five presidents, it is not a close call.

Job Creation:

Since 1981, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more jobs have been created during Democratic presidencies (33 million) than Republican presidencies (20 million), despite the fact that Democrats governed for four fewer years during that time. Let’s take a look at a few facts:

During President Ronald Reagan‘s eight years, 1981 – 1989, 16.1 million jobs were created.

During President George H. W. Bush’s four years, 1989 – 1993, 2.6 million jobs were created.

During President Bill Clinton’s eight years, 1993 – 2001, 22.9 million jobs were created.

During President George W. Bush’s eight years, 2001 – 2009, 1.3 million jobs were created.

During President Barack Obama’s seven years, 2009 – today, 10.4 million jobs were created.

Employment Levels:

When President Reagan assumed office, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment for all Americans was 7.5 percent, for black Americans it was 14.6 percent.  When he left office 8 years later, it was 5.4 percent for all Americans and 11.8 percent for black Americans.

President George H. W. Bush succeeded Reagan. When he left office 4 years later, total unemployment was 7.3 percent, but for black Americans it was 14.1 percent.  President Bill Clinton inherited President Bush’s 14.1 percent black unemployment rate when he took office in 1993.  When he left office 8 years later, the unemployment rate for blacks was 8.2 percent and 4.2 percent for all Americans.

President George W. Bush succeeded Clinton, and seven years later our economy was in a free fall.  The automobile industry tanked.  The country entered a “Great Recession,” and black families lost 50 percent of their wealth.  When George W. Bush left office in 2009, our economy was losing 800,000 jobs a month and the unemployment rate for all Americans was 6.1 percent.  For blacks, however, it was 12.7 percent.

That is what confronted President Barack Obama when he assumed office in 2009.  Today the nation’s unemployment rate is down to 4.9 percent, and the black unemployment rate has dropped to 8.4 percent.

Deficit Levels:

Republicans rail a great deal about the perils of budget deficits.  Yet the record demonstrates a lack of creditability on the subject.  The last President to balance the federal budget was a Democrat, Bill Clinton.  According to the Office of Management and Budget, President Barack Obama has reduced the deficit he inherited by 68 percent.

The facts are clear. The budget deficit ballooned under Reagan by 110 percent, and under his successor, George H.W. Bush, by 87 percent.  George W. Bush inherited a balanced budget from President Clinton and blew the deficit through the roof with massive tax cuts for corporate special interests and the wealthiest few and uncontrolled spending on misguided foreign adventurism.

Our nation’s second President John Adams once observed, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”  Adams was right.  And when you look at the facts about whether Democrats or Republicans are better on the economy, it is not a close call.

Reforming Our Criminal Justice System

I am committed to reforming our broken prison system to save taxpayers money and give ex-offenders, those who have paid their debt to society, a second chance. In conjunction with my leadership on criminal justice matters, I have focused on producing legislation which invests in education, in economic growth, and in jobs. I believe we should be investing in jobs and education, instead of squandering tax dollars building more prisons.

Solitary Confinement

Federal, state and local prisons have vastly expanded the use of solitary confinement. At any given time, 80,000 people are held in solitary confinement nationwide. These individuals are kept isolated for as many as 23 hours a day, often for years on end, with limited contact with other prisoners or the outside world. Inmates subject to indefinite long-term solitary confinement are at higher risk for suicide, self-mutilation and often descend into madness. We must change our approach to solitary confinement to address the public safety, human and fiscal costs to our nation.

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Rep. Richmond’s State of the Dream Address

Congressman Richmond delivers the State of the Dream Address from the floor of the United States House of Representatives in honor of Black History Month.

Racial Justice Forum

On August 18th, 2015, Congresswoman Barbara Lee hosted a successful community forum on racial justice at Brookins AME Church in Oakland. More than 800 people RSVPed for the event and a multiracial audience of more than 500 people attended. The event was also livestreamed via Periscope. This was a continuation of Congresswoman Lee’s town hall series.

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