Designating Juneteenth as a National Holiday, Oversight Committee’s Second January 6th Hearing, Coffee with Carolyn on Friday
Before we get to this week's update, I want to invite you to this month's virtual Coffee with Carolyn. I hope to see you tomorrow morning. RSVP here.
Today, I was proud join President Biden as he signed S. 475, the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, into law to designate Juneteenth as a federal holiday. This is the first new federal holiday in 39 years – the last being when we established Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.
On Tuesday, I held the Oversight Committee’s second hearing on the January 6th insurrection and released documents detailing President Trump’s repeated efforts to pressure the Department of Justice to overturn the lawful results of the 2020 presidential election.
More on these and other updates below.
If you missed it, you can read this week’s NY-12 COVID-19 Vaccine & Recovery Update here.
Designating Juneteenth as a National Holiday
Today, I was proud to join President Joe Biden at the White House as he signed
S. 475, the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, into law. The landmark legislation establishes Juneteenth, which is celebrated annually on June 19, as a federal holiday.
As Chair of the Oversight Committee, I managed House debate on the bill on Wednesday evening, and this morning, I was honored to join with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Congressional Black Caucus for the bill’s enrollment ceremony, during which the Speaker signed the bill so that it could be sent to the President’s desk.
Juneteenth is a cause for celebration but should also serve as an occasion for learning and for this country to reflect on our history and recommit to doing the vital work to ensure that the lasting effects of slavery, bigotry, and racism are replaced with hope, dignity, and true equality for all. We can start with the Senate passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, long-overdue legislation to reform policing and address systemic racism and bias within law enforcement, and finally making the John Lewis Voting Rights Act law.
Today, we celebrate this historic designation of Juneteenth as a federal holiday. After Juneteenth, we get back to work.
Oversight Hearing: The Capitol Insurrection: Unexplained Delays and Unanswered Questions (Part II)
On Tuesday, I held a hearing to examine the events of January 6, 2021, in which insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol to disrupt a joint session of Congress convened to count the Electoral College votes of the 2020 presidential election.
In advance of the hearing, the Committee released new documents revealing President Trump’s repeated efforts to pressure the Department of Justice to overturn the lawful results of the 2020 presidential election in the days before to the January 6 insurrection. We also released evidence that the Defense Department received at least 12 urgent requests for assistance on January 6, but the National Guard did not reach the Capitol until more than four hours after the Capitol perimeter was breached.
You can read more about the hearing and all the documents and evidence released here.
Repealing the 2002 AUMF
Yesterday, ahead of today’s vote on H.R. 256, Repealing the AUMF Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, I spoke on the House floor to urge all my colleagues to join me in voting to repeal the AUMF and exercise Congress’s constitutional authority to declare war and peace.
Now that the House has passed this bill, the Senate must also act to repeal this 19-year-old authorization that has been used and abused to justify expansive military actions across the globe.
You can read my full floor speech here.
Centering Environmental Justice as We Build Back Better
On Wednesday, the Oversight Subcommittee on Environment held a hearing on “Jumpstarting Main Street: Bringing Jobs & Wealth Back to Forgotten America.” During the hearing, I called for a robust environmental justice approach, starting with the Biden Administration’s Justice40 Initiative and seeking even more ambitious steps. Fundamentally, we need to direct at least 40 to 50 percent of investments to the most impacted communities — meeting and hopefully exceeding the goal set by President Biden in the American Jobs Plan. As we heard during the hearing, these communities are poised to lead the way to a green industrial transformation.
Small Business COVID-19 Paid Leave Tax Credit Extended
The IRS will continue to provide tax credits to help New York City small businesses cover the costs of providing paid sick and family leave for workers through the end of September. Along with using the leave to care for themselves and family who are sick, workers can also use leave to get their COVID-19 vaccinations and take time off to recover from any temporary side effects from the shot. Research has shown that states where employees gained access to paid sick leave through this tax credit experienced a slow-down in the spread of COVID.
New York City’s small businesses felt the brunt of the pandemic, struggling to keep employees on payroll and their doors open. This tax credit has, and will continue to keep paychecks in pockets, businesses open, and workers safe.
Read more here.
Legislation: Improving Corporate Governance Through Diversity Act
On Wednesday, the House passed H.R.1187, the Corporate Governance Improvement and Investor Protection Act, which includes an amendment I offered with Reps. Gregory Meeks (NY-05) and Ritchie Torres (NY-15), the Improving Corporate Governance Through Diversity Act.
The Improving Corporate Governance Through Diversity Act would help investors accomplish greater diversity in corporate board rooms by requiring public companies to report the voluntary, self-identified racial, ethnic, gender identity, and sexual orientation composition of their board members and executive officers in their annual proxy statement. Getting more women, minorities, and individuals from historically underrepresented communities into corporate leadership positions is extremely important. Leaders set the tone, and they set the priorities. If we want to change corporate culture, we need to start with changing what leadership looks like.
The bill also establishes a Diversity Advisory Group at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This body would study issues related to diversity and make policy recommendations.
Read more here.
Calling on JPMorgan to Return Overdraft Fees Charged During the Pandemic
On Thursday, Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (NY-04) and I were joined by Reps. Gregory Meeks (NY-05) and Tom Suozzi (NY-03) in urging JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon to refund overdraft fees that JPM charged to consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic and to stop charging these predatory fees going forward.
As we said in our letter, during the pandemic, the largest banks in the United States charged billions of dollars in overdraft fees at a time when millions of Americans were struggling financially. Last year, JPM collected nearly $1.5 billion in overdraft fees, which is more than any other bank. Recent reporting has also estimated that banks in New York received over $1.6 billion in fees from consumers state-wide since March 2020. New York was one of the hardest hit states by the COVID-19 pandemic. This included our districts on Long Island and in New York City. We are very concerned by a recent analysis of overdraft fees that revealed Long Island and New York City were also the top two regions hardest hit by these fees in the state.
You can read the full letter here.
Snapshots from NY-12
On Saturday, I joined with Gays Against Guns to honor the 49 innocent individuals were killed at Pulse Nightclub, a known LGBTGIA+ establishment in Orlando.
In the 5 years since this horrific attack, our efforts to end gun violence continue to be stonewalled. As Members of Congress, we are meant to answer to the American people – not the NRA. And the American people are calling out for action on gun safety. Enough is Enough. On this anniversary, we are called to honor all victims of gun violence with action. As we remember those taken too soon, and comfort those who relive the heartbreak of losing a loved one year after year, we are called to action. As we celebrate the heroes – those who risked and too often gave their lives to save others, we are called to action. As we thank the first responders, nurses, and doctors who work to protect and help our communities in the days, weeks, and months after these tragedies, we are called to action. To honor the lives and memories of victims of gun violence, we must answer that call to action. There is no honor in failing to take action on gun safety. There is no honor in buckling to the will of the NRA and refusing to act to save lives. Thoughts and prayers are not enough – in fact, they are meaningless when not backed up by doing the work to effect real change.
This Saturday, June 19 from 10-11am, my staff and I will be in McGorlick Park for mobile casework hours. Stop by to say hi or if you need any assistance with federal agencies or public programs. I hope to see you there, but if you can’t join us tomorrow, you can always call my office at 212-860-0606 or email me.
As always, your concerns still and always remain my top priority. Please do not hesitate to email me through my website.
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