Update: My trip to the border, 9/11 VCF, and more
Another week has come and gone, and I wanted fill you in on what I’ve been up to.
Last Saturday, before returning to NYC, I joined my colleagues on a trip to McAllen, TX to see firsthand what is happening at border detention centers. Then I kicked off the week on Monday by standing with our 9/11 first responders and survivors to make clear to the Senate that we are watching and will not stop fighting to make permanent and fully fund the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
I also reached out to the MTA to demand that they better inform all of us when there will be shutdowns on our subways. On the floor this week, I joined my House colleagues to stand up for American values and against this President and his Administration’s flippant attitude to the rule of law. I’m proud to report we also voted to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour. In my capacity as Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, I released my official response to the Economic Report of the President.
My Trip to the Border
On Saturday, I traveled to the Southern border with 20 other members of Congress so we could see for ourselves the conditions of border detention centers. What I witnessed firsthand was inhumane treatment and atrocious conditions that we, as a country, should find unacceptable; extreme overcrowding, no access to showers or toothbrushes, and people forced to sleep on concrete floors.
I met a Honduran woman who fled after gangs set fire to her business and murdered her brother. Asylum seekers like her, fleeing danger and persecution, should be treated with compassion and humanity, not cruelty. Congress approved $4.6 billion dollars in federal funding to help them, and we need to make sure this money goes immediately towards improving conditions and ending this suffering.
Standing for American Values and the Rule of Law
On Tuesday, I was proud to join my colleagues in voting for a resolution to make clear that we stand with immigrants and for an America that embraces people of all backgrounds, races, and religions and that we will not tolerate racist tweets or speech from our President. These views do not represent the America we fight for or the one we want to be.
Then, on Wednesday, we voted to defend the interests of the American people, our system of checks and balances, and our Constitution as we held Secretary Ross and Attorney General Barr in criminal contempt. For well over a year, Trump Administration officials have lied through their teeth about the reason for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census. They have repeatedly lied to Congress, the Supreme Court and the American people. In an effort to cover up their lies, they blocked every demand to comply with responsible oversight - withholding documents, asserting illegitimate executive privilege, and ignoring bipartisan subpoenas. Congress has every right to these documents and the Administration’s refusal is just a continuation of its blatant disregard for the law. Holding Secretary Ross and AG Barr in contempt was absolutely necessary.
The Fight for Our 9/11 Heroes Isn’t Over Yet
On Monday, I joined New York Senator Chuck Schumer, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, 9/11 first responders, and 9/11 health and compensation advocates to celebrate the overwhelming House passage of the Never Forget the Heroes Act. But even in our celebrations, we remain focused on getting the bill passed in the Senate. We will not rest until this bill is signed and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund is finally made permanent. I will not rest until every survivor, first responder, and family member gets the critical care and compensation they deserve.
Holding the MTA to Account for L Train Disruptions
On Monday, I urged the MTA to do more public outreach to inform L Train riders of service disruptions and the upcoming planned closure of the L train for many weekends and late nights in the coming months. While the MTA’s newsletter “The L Project” included information on the planned closures, most riders of the L Train do not get the newsletter and would have no way of knowing that they may have to switch to a shuttle bus. This is unacceptable. The MTA must start posting notices and doing public outreach to let people know their options. You can read my full letter to the MTA here.
Raising the Minimum Wage
I was proud to vote yesterday to pass the Raise the Wage Act to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2025. Millions of working families who earn the minimum wage and who have seen their wages frozen for the past decade need this raise, and they need it now.
I spoke on the House floor on Tuesday and Thursday urging my colleagues to vote for this bill because no one working a full-time job should be struggling to put food on the table in one of the richest nations in the world.
Responding to the Economic Report of the President
Yesterday, I issued the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) Democratic response to the 2019 Economic Report of the President. The JEC is required by law to submit findings and recommendations in response to the Report, which is prepared and released each year by the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers.
In our report, we set the record straight after President Trump’s Report misconstrued facts, cherry-picked data, promoted theories rejected by most economists, and claimed credit for conditions he inherited. Our work draws on solid data and careful research, whereas the White House Report prioritizes politics over serious economic assessment.
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