News for New York's 12th Congressional District
With President Obama’s State of the Union address a few weeks ago, 2015 started off with a bang in Washington. I am proud that the President highlighted the consumer protections provided by the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights that I authored and passed in 2009, and threw his support behind paid family leave and workplace flexibility. I’ve championed these important policies for years in order to boost the middle class and improve our economy, and I’ll be pushing hard to enact them in this Congress.
The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights has saved consumers tens of billions of dollars since it was signed into law nearly six years ago. This policy is exactly the kind of solution our economy needs, and I plan to continue pushing for more consumer protections from abusive practices like high overdraft fees that cost middle-class consumers a lot of money. In addition, I recently re-introduced the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act (FEPPLA), which would provide for six weeks of paid family leave for federal workers after the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child. The United States is one of just two countries in the world that does not provide paid maternity leave, and this Congress I am aiming to change this outdated policy.
Fortunately, we’ve also had some success in recent weeks. The Terrorism Risk Insurance Reauthorization Act, which I helped author as the lead House Democrat, was signed into law in January. As a result, this vital program has been extended for 6 more years and New York City’s development projects, which support thousands of jobs, can get the insurance they need to go forward.
That’s good news for our economy, which has added over 1 million jobs in the past three months. We now have one of the lowest unemployment rates in years. Our next challenge is to keep up this momentum while also making sure that everyone can benefit from these record gains.
As always, I will work hard in the months ahead to improve our neighborhoods, create jobs, and protect the safety of our communities by tackling the public health crisis of gun violence and combating human trafficking both in the U.S. and abroad.
Read more about these initiatives below, and follow me on twitter at @RepMaloney for daily updates!
Carolyn B. Maloney
Working to end human trafficking
Trafficking experts and survivors recently joined me in my New York office to discuss plans for new laws to help combat trafficking in persons. Legislation I supported as co-chair of the Congressional Trafficking Caucus, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, would re-focus law enforcement efforts on punishing pimps, johns and other traffickers and provide much needed victim services to survivors. This bill passed the House, and I hope the Senate will act quickly to help eradicate this form of 21st-century slavery.
Addressing gun violence through sensible research
I urged Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy to take action on the public health crisis of gun violence and other public health issues in 2015. Recently President Obama included funding for this critical initiative in his budget request. Together with Sen. Ed Markey from Massachusetts, I have led the charge on Capitol Hill to highlight the senseless omission of public health research on the epidemic of gun violence. We led a bicameral coalition of 46 Members of Congress and Senators calling on the President to include this funding, and I am pleased he renewed his commitment to this important public health initiative.
Honoring Diwali with a new postage stamp
Diwali, a holiday that celebrates the triumph of good over evil, light over dark, and knowledge over ignorance, is celebrated by billions across the globe. I have urged the United States Postal Service to issue a stamp to commemorate Diwali. Aside from the cultural significance of the Diwali stamp, there are economic benefits associated with its issuance. There are over 3 million Indian Americans residing in the United States and millions more who come from other countries that celebrate Diwali. The sale of the Diwali stamp could provide the USPS with a much-needed revenue surge. Read more about this issue here
Fighting for paid parental leave
With tremendous support from House Democrats, last month I reintroduced the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act (FEPPLA). This legislation would provide six weeks of paid leave to federal employees for the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child. President Obama recently backed the legislation in his push for expanding our country’s family leave policies – a message that was also highlighted in the State of the Union Address. According to a fact sheet issued by the Joint Economic Committee, on which I am the Ranking Democrat, paid parental leave helps retain skilled workers and supports healthy development for young children. Read my op-ed on FEPPLA in Roll Call.
Protecting the right to choose
Despite all the lectures from Republicans about how creating jobs and growing the economy should be the number-one priority for this Congress, again the House is considering policies to hammer away at a woman’s right to control her own body and make choices about her own health care. Last month, I opposed a partisan attempt to prevent millions of women from receiving comprehensive health services under health insurance plans obtained through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces. Read more about the issue here.
Supporting a middle-class agenda
We have added more than a million jobs in the past three months, and the Department of Commerce recently announced that the U.S. economy grew at a 2.6 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2014, an above-trend pace. With the economy showing signs of steady growth, now is the time for us to work together to kick our economy into high gear. Congress should pass the President’s middle-class agenda and give America a raise. We need to make sure the gains in our economy are broadly shared. We can start by investing in infrastructure, strengthening leave policies, and making education more affordable. Read more about the issue here.
Securing funding for the Floating Hospital
The Floating Hospital provides New York City’s underserved population with health services that otherwise would most likely be denied or inaccessible. I recently secured funds- $327,098 in total- to go directly to the expansion of The Floating Hospital. The expansion will include specific services for a much needed geriatric psychiatry program, as well as more staff and other vital needs. Read more about the issue here.
Punishing reckless drivers who endanger the lives of pedestrians
Too many New Yorkers have mourned the loss of family members killed in accidents caused by reckless driving. In January I joined many of these families and community members to call on the City’s prosecutors to tackle reckless driving so that our city is safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. Read about the rally in the Daily News. I believe the city’s District Attorneys should prosecute these cases more frequently, and I will push for the increased punishment of reckless drivers in New York City. Read more about the issue here.
Rebuilding and revitalizing the East River Esplanade
For decades, the East River Esplanade from 60th to 125th Street has been crumbling due to storm damage and lack of regular upkeep. The East River Esplanade Task Force, which I created and now co-chair with Councilman Ben Kallos, comprised of elected officials and community leaders, has been making progress. As a result of our efforts, many of the sinkholes and other problems have been repaired – and we now know that the City will have to invest $110 million over the next ten years to keep the Esplanade from collapsing into the East River. I am pleased that, thanks to advocacy of the Task Force, the City Council, Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito and Mayor de Blasio allotted $35 million to making critical structural repairs to the Esplanade. I am also pleased that at a recent meeting of the Task Force, the Parks Department announced that it had appointed a site manager and a landscape architect to focus on ways to fix the Esplanade and make it more resilient and beautiful.