A Look Back at 2019
What a year we’ve had! It’s hard to believe that 2019 is coming to an end. With a new year—and decade—ahead, I wanted to take a look back at all that we accomplished together this year. We got a lot done working for the American people, including:
- Securing permanent funding of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund;
- Becoming the first woman ever to chair the Committee on Oversight and Reform;
- Reauthorizing the Debbie Smith Act to provide funding to test backlogged DNA kits; and
- Impeaching the President
Read more on all of this and more below.
Turning Promise Into Law: Honoring Our 9/11 Heroes
Congresswoman Maloney speaks at a press conference on the passage of the Never Forget the Heroes Act
In February, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund announced that due to a funding shortfall, injured and ill 9/11 responders and survivors would receive significant cuts to their pending and future claims. I could not allow that. Fully funding and permanently authorizing the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund was the least we could do to honor the sacrifices of these brave men and women. After months of bipartisan work, during which i wore a firefighter jacket every day to reming my colleagues about the importance of making the program permanent, my bill, the Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act, was signed into law in July.
This would not have been possible without the incredible community of first responders, survivors their families who advocated tirelessly for this life saving legislation. With this bill, and the World Trade Center Health Program, the 9/11 community and their families now have a greater sense of security knowing that these resources will always be there for them.
Becoming the First Female Chair of The Committee on Oversight and Reform
In November, my House Democratic colleagues elected me as the new Chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform. I will do my best to follow the honorable example that the late Chairman Cummings left for us all. When I first came to Congress, I wanted to join this committee because it fights corruption, ensures transparency, and protects the American people. Today, these responsibilities are more important than ever. It is a great honor to chair the Oversight Committee, and I am humbled by the additional honor of being the committee’s first woman chair.
Ensuring Funding to Reduce the DNA Testing Backlog
Across the country, DNA evidence sits backlogged and untested because forensic labs lack the resources to process it. That’s why, in 2004, I wrote and passed the Debbie Smith Act. The legislation provided much-needed resources to law enforcement agencies to process untested DNA evidence. The National Institute of Justice reports that since 2005, Debbie Smith funding is responsible for 192,000 – or about 42% - of DNA matches in the FBI database. As importantly, it also provides some measure of justice to survivors of violence. Although the program lapsed for a few months, I am proud to say that the bill passed the Senate in December and is on its way to the President's desk.
Impeaching the President
Impeachment is not something that I take lightly. I took no pleasure in learning what I feel is disturbing information that led me to conclude that the House of Representatives must impeach the President. I did not come to Congress to impeach a president, but I feel that he has left us no choice based on his actions.
I am proud of the honest, detailed investigative work that the Committee on Oversight and Reform did towards writing the impeachment report and in supporting the work of the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees. I cannot thank the staff enough for their dedication to getting this right, for our Constitution and the American people.
Guaranteeing 12 Weeks Of Paid Parental Leave For 2.1 Million Federal Workers
This month, the House and Senate reached an agreement to include part of my Federal Employee Paid Leave Act in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Federal workers will now receive 12 weeks of paid parental leave for the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child. This ensures no federal employee must ever decide between being home with their new child or receiving a paycheck. While this is a win for many families, there is still more to be done. We continue to figh for universal paid family and medical leave for both the public and private sector employees across the country. That’s why I held my first hearing as chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform on this very issue. Fighting for paid family leave for all Americans has and always will be one of my top legislative priorities.
The First Hearing on The Equal Rights Amendment in Three Decades
Congresswoman Maloney speaks at the House Committee on the Judiciary hearing on the Equal Rights Amendment
In April, House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) held the first hearing on the Equal Rights Amendment in 36 years. The ERA was first introduced in 1923 and prohibits denying equal rights on the basis of sex. Congress passed the ERA 47 years ago, but in 1982, the ratification deadline expired without securing approval from the 38 states required to amend the Constitution. Since coming to Congress in 1992, I have introduced legislation to restart the ratification process 12 times, and I was honored to testify at this historic hearing to make the case about why women's rights should be written into the Constitution. We have an opportunity and a responsibility to finally ratify the ERA.
Bearing Witness to Inhumane Conditions at Border Detention Centers
In July, I joined 20 other members of Congress to witness firsthand the horrific conditions at a border detention center in McAllen, Texas. What we saw was unacceptable: extreme overcrowding, no access to showers or toothbrushes, and people forced to sleep on concrete floors. Based on what I have seen and reports I have heard, I believe that the Administration’s policies toward immigrants and asylum seekers is traumatizing and dehumanizing. We must treat all human beings with the dignity they deserve and never forget that our nation’s diversity is its greatest strength. I am proud to represent a diverse constituency with immigrant communities that make New York City, and America, stronger.
The Economic Cost of Gun Violence: $229B per year
As Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, I released a report detailing the economic costs of gun violence and held a hearing with expert witnesses who outlined how to end this epidemic. The report shows that gun violence costs our country $229 billion per year, let alone the immeasurable emotional toll gun violence places on our children, families, and loved ones. Even though New York is the fourth most populous state, it is not in the top ten when it comes to total gun violence costs. I credit our strong gun safety laws, which include an assault weapons ban. In my opinion, the federal government should look to New York as a model for federal gun laws.
Winning at the Supreme Court: Blocking the 2020 Census Citizenship Question
As co-chair of the House Census Caucus, I fought back against the Administration’s efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census which census experts agreed would make the Census less accurate. They reported that including the question would lead to an undercount and therefore would undercut federal funding for minority communities and would deprive millions of Americans fair representation in all levels of government. In June, the Supreme Court delivered a victory for fair census advocates by ruling that the citizenship question could not be added to the 2020 Census. I remain laster-focused on ensuring a fair and accurate 2020 Census.
Cracking Down On Anonymous Shell Companies
The House passed my Corporate Transparency Act, which requires companies to disclose their beneficial owners at the time the company is formed. This prevents bad actors from using anonymous shell companies from thwarting law enforcement and hiding illicit activities. We are the only advanced country in the world that doesn’t require this disclosure. The illicit use of anonymous shell companies is a pressing national security threat and this legislation is a straightforward solution.
Beyond the impacts for law enforcement, this bill will also help to crack down on New York’s real estate being used to park illicit money, driving up housing costs and limiting availability. It seems that more than ever before, there are too many dark windows in apartments in NYC at night – but with this bill, it is my hope that this practice will be put to an end. Too many anonymous LLCs instead of families own NYC apartments. The Senate needs to act to pass this bill without delay.
Removing NYC Department Of Sanitation Trucks from East 10th Street
Congresswoman Maloney speaks at an event calling for the removal of sanitation trucks from East 10th Street
In August, I joined a group of local officials in calling on the NYC Department of Sanitation and Mayor de Blasio to immediately remove sanitation trucks that have been a burden on resident and business owners.
I am thankful that Mayor de Blasio committed to removing these trucks. I look forward to the City finding a permanent location for NYC Department of Sanitation trucks that does not disrupt New Yorkers lives.
City & State’s 2019 Women Power 100 List.
I was so proud to be named to City & State’s 2019 Women Power 100 list because of my influential and senior positions on the Committee on Oversight and Reform, the Joint Economic Committee, and the Financial Services Committee. I am honored to be included on this list of so many incredible New York women. I want to thank City and State for including me, and I vow to keep working on behalf of women and our great nation every day.
Ensuring Businesses Can Access Terrorism Risk Insurance
Working with my colleagues on the House Financial Services Committee, we reauthorized the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) in the bipartisan spending package ahead of the bill’s 2020 expiration. After September 11th, the market for terrorism insurance completely shut down. Without it, construction stopped and thousands of jobs were lost. TRIA provides a backstop for terrorism insurance to make it both available and affordable at no cost to taxpayers. TRIA can’t prevent a terrorist attack, but it can greatly lessen the financial impact. This program works and reauthorizing it ahead of its expiration was the right thing to do.
Allocating $25 Million to Study Gun Violence
For the first time since 1996, Congress has approved federal funding for the study of gun violence. I have been introducing a bill with Senator Ed Markey to do this for years now because gun violence is a public health epidemic, and it should be studied just like any other health crisis. The $25 million included in the 2020 spending package is a critical first step in addressing an epidemic that takes 100 lives per day.
Fighting for Helicopter Safety for NYC
When a pilot’s failed emergency landing crashed into the AXA Equitable Center in Midtown Manhattan, we were reminded of the safety threat posed by non-essential helicopters. After what we felt was insufficient action by the Federal Aviation Admiinistration FAA), I joined with Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) and Nydia Velázquez (NY-7) to introduce legislation to prohibit these helicopter flights over New York City. This law aims to improve safety and quality of life for all New Yorkers.
Putting Public Housing Tenants First
I recently introduced the Public Housing Residents Protection Act to ensure that if and when a public housing authority (like NYCHA) decides to lease or sell any of its assets (like land or buildings), that the sale financially benefits the residents of these communities and the agency overall. Public Housing Authorities across the country should be making decisions with the same top priority: putting the residents' best interests above all else, this bill will ensure that.
Also this year, I joined with residents of Holmes and Stanley Isaacs Houses, tenant leaders, and community groups as they filed suit to get necessary repairs to their homes without privatization of public housing. I am also a proud cosponsor of The Public Houseing Emergency Response Act and The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act to fund needed repairs, including the elimination of health and safety hazards from public housing developments across the country.
Opening the New Kosciuszko Bridge
Congresswoman Maloney celebrating the completion of the Kosciuszko Bridge with some of the workers who helped to build it.
On August 28, I was thrilled to celebrate the completion of our new, state of the art, Kosciuszko Bridge and to have helped secure $670 million in federal funds, roughly 85% of its total cost. I feel that the Kosciuszko Bridge is an example of the great things New York and our nation can accomplish when we fund bold, innovative infrastructure projects. A city has to invest in itself to stay strong, and when I look at the Kosciusko Bridge and all the rest of our projects, I know that New York’s future is incredibly bright.
Fighting Antisemitism Through Education
This year, as I have for many years, I introduced legislation to fight antisemitism through education. As a former educator, I know that education is key in fighting all types of bigotry and hate. As we see the rates of violent acts of antisemitism rising in our city, I remain as committed as ever to getting this bill passed to give educators across the country the tools and resources they need to teach about the dangers of antisemitism and hate. This bill has broad bipartisan support in both the House and Senate and I hope to get it passed in the new year.
On Our Way to Building a Smithsonian Women's Museum
Last month, the Committee on House Administration unanimously passed my bill, H.R. 1980, the Smithsonian Women's History Museum Act, to create a museum dedicated to telling the comprehensive story of American women throughout our nation's history. Creating this museum isn’t just about understanding our past; it’s an investment in our future. In celebrating the achievements of women in history, we’re educating and inspiring the next generation to make history themselves. I’ve worked my entire career to make sure women are represented in the halls of Congress and seats of power. I’m proud we're well on our way to the day when women are celebrated for the history they’ve made and more young women are inspired for the future. I believe it would be very fitting to pass this bill in 2020 as we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment which guarantees women's right to vote.
As always, your concerns still and always will remain my top priority. Please do not hesitate to email me through my website.
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Thank you again for a meaningful and fulfilling 2019. I wish you, your family, and friends a Happy Holidays and all the best in the New Year.
Carolyn B. Maloney
Member of Congress