Update: Getting the FDNY the $ it Deserves, Kodak Investigation Update, Protecting Pregnant Workers

Sep 18, 2020

Dear friend,                                                                                                                                    

It was another busy week in Washington, DC.

Today, I joined with the Chairs of the House Judiciary, Intelligence, and House Administration committees in urging the Department of Justice Inspector General to launch an emergency investigation into whether AG Barr, U.S. Attorney Durham, or any other political appointees violated DOJ policy and federal law that prohibits them from taking any actions to improperly influence the upcoming presidential election.

On Thursday, 23 members of the New York Delegation joined me, Rep. Jerry Nadler, and Rep. Pete King in urging Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to immediately release the $3.7 million in reimbursement currently being withheld from the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) World Trade Center Health Program.

Earlier this week, the Oversight Committee passed my Nonpartisan Postmaster General Act and Made in America: Preparation for a Pandemic Act, and in a Financial Services Committee hearing, I was able to secure a commitment from Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Calabria to protect homeowners and renters and preserve the availability of affordable mortgages for low-income and minority communities. At a second Financial Services Committee hearing this week, I discussed the Committee on Oversight and Reform’s investigation into the Trump Administration’s decision to loan $765 million to Kodak to support the production of ingredients for generic drugs as well as trading activity by company executives and board members before the loan was announced.

The House also passed two major pieces of legislation to make education more equitable, one to support pregnant workers, and a resolution condemning all forms of anti-Asian sentiment related to COVID-19. 

More on all this below.


Calling on the DOJ IG to Investigate AG Barr's Efforts to Improperly Influence November Presidential Election
Today, I joined with my colleagues to call on the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General (IG) to open an emergency investigation into whether Attorney General William Barr, U.S. Attorney John Durham, and other political appointees are in violation of longstanding Department policy and federal law to avoid taking any action – including making public comments on ongoing investigations – that could improperly influence the upcoming presidential election.

Both AG Barr and U.S. Attorney Durham have made several public comments that could violate this Department policy and related guidelines. AG Barr has repeatedly signaled that he is likely to allow DOJ to take prosecutorial actions, make public disclosures, and even issue reports before the presidential election in November. These actions clearly appear intended to benefit President Trump politically.

Read the full letter to the IG from me, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), and House Administration Committee Chairperson Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) here.


Urging Sec. Mnuchin to Immediately Make FDNY Health Program Whole

On Thursday, I, Rep. Jerry Nadler, Rep. Pete King, and 23 members of the New York Delegation called on Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to immediately release the $3.7 million in reimbursements currently being withheld from the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) World Trade Center Health Program.

Because of the Treasury Department’s withholding of funds through the Treasury Offset Program, the World Trade Center Health Program is short millions of dollars that it requires in order to provide the medical treatment and monitoring that our 9/11 responders need and deserve.

You can read our full letter to Sec. Mnuchin here.


The Nonpartisan Postmaster General Act

On Wednesday, the Oversight Committee passed H.R. 8109, the Nonpartisan Postmaster General Act, my bill to designate the Postal Service Board of Governors, the Postmaster General, and the Deputy Postmaster General as further restricted employees under the Hatch Act, which would prevent them from holding any political position while in office – ensuring that these positions are filled by qualified experts rather than political operatives.

The faith of the American public in the Postal Service is paramount, particularly in a year when hundreds of millions of ballots will be cast by mail. That is why it is so critical that the Postal Service remain free from partisan politics. While federal employees should be free to engage in political activity in their personal time if they choose, brazen political engagement by the leadership of independent agencies is inappropriate and damaging to our democratic institutions.

We have a choice:  we can continue to allow the President to turn the Postal Service into a partisan football—and watch the faith of the public in this critical agency vanish—or we can work together to ensure that no Administration or political party can unduly influence the actions of this treasured American institution.  I am proud that we made the right choice.


Made in America: Preparation for a Pandemic Act

As we navigate the challenges of the coronavirus crisis, we must turn to the spirit of ingenuity that has always fueled America’s success and resilience. 

Inspired by my work with Fashion for the Frontlines, a group of New York designers and garment industry manufacturers who banded together to produce PPE when New York City and the nation were facing a critical shortage, I introduced the Made in America Act in July to unleash American manufacturing power to safeguard the country from the catastrophic shortages of medical supplies and personal protective equipment, or PPE, since the pandemic’s outbreak.

Fashion for the Frontlines’ production of more than one million non-surgical PPE isolation gowns to distribute to hospitals and governments in New York City and across the nation showed that, without a doubt, America has the spirit and skills to guarantee an adequate stock of PPE in the Strategic National Stockpile at all times, build our domestic supply chains, and put Americans to work manufacturing the materials and equipment we need to sustain us when our nation is hit with the unthinkable. This bill charts the course forward to save lives, create jobs, and enhance our resilience in the face of future health crises and global supply chain disruptions.  I am very pleased that my colleagues broadly supported this legislation.


Commitment from FHFA to Prevent Disruption in Housing Finance System, Protect Homeowners and Renters

Watch Rep. Maloney's exchange with Director Calabria here.

During Wednesday’s Financial Services Committee hearing, I secured a commitment from Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Calabria to postpone his harmful push to release Fannie and Freddie from conservatorship before the end of the year, protecting homeowners and renters and preserving the availability of affordable mortgages for low-income and minority communities.

You can watch and read more about my exchange with Director Calabria here.


Update on the Kodak Investigation

Watch Rep. Maloney Speakon the Kodak investigation at Thursday's Financial Services Committee hearing here.

The September 15 internal report from Eastman Kodak Company lawyers regarding the Trump Administration’s proposed $765 million federal loan to Kodak to support the production of ingredients for generic drugs, as well as trading activity by company executives and board members before this loan was publicly announced raises more questions than it answers.

This report does not represent the findings of any regulator; it is a report generated by a law firm hired by Kodak. Kodak's lawyers deny the company violated securities law, but the Securities and Exchange Commission must independently and carefully scrutinize this matter. In addition, Kodak’s lawyers’ own report acknowledges “several flaws in the process” and “significant concerns from a corporate governance perspective.” 

The report also shows senior White House officials, including Assistant to the President Peter Navarro, were heavily involved in arranging the loan, contrary to recent efforts to distance the White House from this deal. The Oversight Committee, Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, and the Committee on Financial Services plan to vigorously pursue our ongoing investigation into this matter, and we expect full cooperation from Kodak and the Administration.

Earlier this year the House passed my legislation – the 8-K Trading Gap Act – with overwhelming bipartisan support. Right now, when there’s a significant corporate event at a public company – like a $765 million federal loan — the company has to disclose that significant event to the public by filing a Form 8-K within four days of the event occurring. Of course, during this four-day gap, executives at the company know about the significant event, but other investors don’t. My bill would address this problem by simply prohibiting executives from trading during this four-day gap.


Fighting Discriminatory Policies and Practices in Schools

On Tuesday, I voted to pass H.R. 2639, the Strength in Diversity Act, legislation which will establish a grant program to support the efforts of school districts to increase racial and socioeconomic diversity. 

More than 66 years after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education, we have yet to fulfill the promise of equity in education. America’s public schools are more segregated today than at any time since the 1960’s. Segregated schools lead to segregated opportunity. Schools which predominantly serve students of color are under-resourced and over-disciplined compared to schools serving predominantly white students. The Strength in Diversity Act will allow us to invest in effective solutions that enforce the spirit and letter of the landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

Following this vote, on Wednesday, I voted to pass H.R. 2574, the Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act (EIEA), legislation which will restore the power of students and parents to hold schools and other federally funded programs accountable for discriminatory policies and practices.  Every student should know they have the same opportunities as their peers, no matter their race, color, or national origin.


Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

Watch Rep. Maloney's floor speech urging her colleagues to support the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act here.

I’m pleased to report that on Thursday, the House passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, bipartisan legislation establishing a pregnant worker’s rights to clear-cut, reasonable workplace accommodations.

This bill is an incredible step in the right direction and once we ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, we will have an anchor in the Constitution to pass even more robust protections for women. You can read and watch my full floor speech in support of this legislation here.


H.Res. 908, Condemning All Forms of Anti-Asian Sentiment As Related to COVID-19

Since March, we have seen a dramatic and disturbing increase in reports of hate crimes and racist incidents against Asian Americans. These racist incidents include physical and verbal assaults, and reports of individuals being barred from establishments, and Uber and Lyft rides. We’ve also seen Asian American owned businesses targeted for vandalism. Congress needs to send a strong message that this is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. I was proud to stand with my colleagues today in voting for H.Res. 908 to send that message loud and clear.

The resolution:

  • Calls on all public officials to condemn and denounce any and all anti-Asian sentiment in any form.
  • Recognizes that the health and safety of all Americans, no matter their background, must be of utmost priority;
  • Condemns all manifestations of expressions of racism, xenophobia, discrimination, anti-Asian sentiment, scapegoating, and ethnic or religious intolerance.
  • Calls on federal law enforcement officials, with state and local officials:
    • To expeditiously investigate and document all credible reports of hate crimes and incidents and threats against the Asian American community in the United States;
    • To collect data to document the rise of incidences of hate crimes due to COVID-19; and
    • To hold the perpetrators of those crimes, incidents, or threats accountable and bring such perpetrators to justice.
  • Recommits United States leadership in building more inclusive, diverse, and tolerant societies
    • To prioritize language access and inclusivity in communication practices; and
    • To combat misinformation and discrimination that put Asian Americans at risk.

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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Carolyn B. Maloney

Member of Congress