Update: Impeachment, SOTU, and Holding Trump Accountable
Before we talk about happenings in the House of Representatives this week, I want to address the conclusion of President Trump’s impeachment trial.
Although the final vote tally was not what we had hoped for, Wednesday’s bipartisan vote in the Senate was a clear condemnation of President Trump’s abuse of the Constitution and agreement that he should be removed from office. Unfortunately, most Republican Senators put their political allegiance to Donald Trump ahead of the interests of our nation – this is not something we can take lightly. By doing so, they weakened both the House of Representatives and the Senate itself, allowing an out-of-control President to flout subpoenas and refusing to call even a single witness or demand a single piece of paper. History will not be kind to the Republican Senate of 2020. While this was not the conclusion many of us believe is right, I promise to keep working to hold this President and his Administration accountable and to continue the work of the Congress in helping every single American.
After Tuesday’s list of lies that was the President’s State of the Union, the Committee on Oversight and Reform held four hearings over Wednesday and Thursday to examine the Trump Administration’s attack on children. We looked at the harm the Administration is causing to children through its gutting of key programs and protections related to poverty, housing, hunger, and health.
Also this week, I joined with Senator Elizabeth Warren to request that the GAO examine how much gun violence is costing people in healthcare expenses and my colleagues and I passed two key bills on the House floor; one to strengthen ethics requirements for members of presidential transition teams, and the other to protect workers and their right to organize.
Today, I joined with Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Nydia Velázquez to urge the FAA to implement all of the safety regulation recommendations in the NTSB's final report of their investigation into the East River crash landing on March 11, 2018 that killed all five passengers.
More on this, and other developments from the week, below.
Series of Oversight Hearings: Trump Administration's Attack on Children
This week, the Oversight Committee held a series of hearings on the Trump Administration’s assault on children. Advocates and expert witnesses testified that this Administration’s attempt to gut regulations will harm the health of children, strip their SNAP benefits, and keep them in concentrated poverty. I am committed to raising the alarm about these harmful regulations.
The Presidential Transition Enhancement Act
Click here to watch Chairwoman Maloney’s remarks
On Wednesday, the House sent S. 394, the Presidential Transition Enhancement Act, to President Trump’s desk. This bipartisan bill will make a number of important changes to the transition process when a new President is elected. Most importantly, it will strengthen the ethics requirements for transition team members.
After this bill’s enaction, eligible presidential candidates will be required to implement and enforce ethics plans during the transition period and make these plans publicly available. It means more sunlight on the process so that we, the American people, can know that the members of the transition team are held to a higher standard – one befitting of serving in such an influential, public service role.
The Protect the Right to Organize Act
Over the last three years, the Trump Administration has waged an assault on organized labor by limiting unions’ ability to fairly represent the American labor force and undermining safeguards that protect against discrimination and unsafe working conditions.
To fix this, I joined with my colleagues to pass H.R. 2474, the Protect the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. This bill will protect workers against this erosion of rights by finally implementing meaningful, enforceable penalties for companies that violate workers’ rights to organize. It also streamlines access to justice for workers who suffer retaliation, facilitates collective bargaining, and increases transparency in labor relations.
You can watch my floor speech urging my colleagues to vote yes here.
The Costs of Gun Violence
Last September, as Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, I chaired a hearing, “Gun Violence in America: Understanding and Reducing the Costs of Firearm Injuries and Deaths,” which examined the larger economic impacts of gun violence. Based on existing data, the Committee’s Democratic Staff found that gun violence costs our country $200 billion per year, which is about 1.4 percent of GDP.
On Monday, I joined with Senator Elizabeth Warren to ask the GAO to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the medical costs of gun violence.
Our nation’s gun violence epidemic is one of the most pressing public health crises we currently face. Each year, more than 30,000 people are killed by guns, and nearly 70,000 others suffer gun-related injuries. Guns are also the leading method of attempted suicide in the United States, resulting in death 85 percent of the time. And so, Sen. Warren and I want to know how much this is costing federal health care programs, particularly Medicaid and Medicare.
Not only is our gun violence epidemic a moral issue, it is an economic one as well.
On March 11, 2018, a doors-off sightseeing helicopter crashed into the East River, killing all five passengers on board. Sadly, this type of incident, and the dangers of helicopter flight in New York City, has become all too evident which is why in October, I joined with Reps. Nadler and Velázquez to introduce the Improving Helicopter Safety Act of 2019. Today, the three of us wrote to the FAA Administrator urging him to adopt all of the safety recommendations that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) made following their investigation of that March 11th crash.
We are committed to addressing all of the public safety and quality of life issues that helicopters create for our city.
You can read the letter that we sent to FAA Administrator Dickson here.
PSA: Get Your Flu Shot!
On Tuesday, I partnered with Ryan Health, Senator Brad Hoylman, Assemblyman Harvey Epstein, and Councilwoman Carlina Rivera to host a flu shot drive at the Campos Plaza Community Center. It was great to see so many people come by to get vaccinated, and I hope that if you haven’t yet, that you will soon.
You can learn more about the flu shot, and where you can get one, from NYC Health.
On Thursday, the House Committee on Financial Services held a hearing with the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Kathy Kraninger. During my time for questions, I asked Director Kraninger if she had followed through on her previous statement that the CFPB would crack down on transaction re-ordering. This is when banks re-order their customers’ transactions solely for the purpose of maximizing the number of overdraft fees that they can charge – it's manipulative, deceitful, and unfair.
Disappointingly, the Director has not followed through on her promise.
This is why I am fighting for the Overdraft Protection Act, which would make things like transaction re-ordering illegal.
You can see part of my exchange with the Director here.
I want to thank the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists for awarding me with the public service award on Thursday for my work on financial transparency and improving the Bank Secrecy Act. Working together, I know we will pass the Corporate Transparency Act to crack down on anonymous shell companies.
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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Carolyn B. Maloney
Member of Congress