Update: RBG's legacy, Oversight Report on Immigration, Protecting Our Democracy Act

Sep 25, 2020

Dear Friend,


Today, we said our final goodbyes to women’s equality crusader Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg - how fitting that she was first woman to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol. She made an everlasting impact on this country through her arguments before the Supreme Court and founding of the Women’s Rights Project at the ACLU. Her Supreme Court dissents will be read by legal scholars for generations to come. Losing an icon like this, a role model for so many — including me — is a difficult loss to cope with, but I am heartened to see the outpouring of those inspired by her and her work. Losing a staunch defender of women’s rights on the Court is a huge blow to the movement and we all must now double down on our efforts to protect women’s equality, abortion rights, and to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.


Below, you can read more about my work in Congress this week, including the release of a new Oversight Committee report on the failures of the Trump Administration’s immigration detention system, and the introduction of the Protecting Our Democracy Act, landmark legislation to prevent further presidential abuses of power. 


Oversight Committee Report on Trump Admin’s Immigration Failures

On Thursday, I released a Committee on Oversight and Reform staff report detailing the failures of the Trump Administration’s immigration detention system and the deaths of immigrants in custody. 


This staff report, entitled The Trump Administration’s Mistreatment of Detained Immigrants:  Deaths and Deficient Medical Care by For-Profit Detention Contractors, and the documents the Committee obtained, explain how the Administration and its private prison contractors have let known problems fester into a full-blown crisis—a crisis that has become far worse during the coronavirus pandemic.  This broken system needs fundamental reforms, including enhancing internal and external oversight, ending the use of private prison contractors, and significantly decreasing the number of immigrants detained in the first place—all choices the Administration could make right now.


As we release this report, the Committee is continuing our joint investigation with the Homeland Security Committee into troubling allegations of medical neglect, unsanitary conditions, and abuse raised by a nurse at Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) and by ICDC detainees in a whistleblower complaint filed earlier this month. 


Read more about Thursday’s report here.


Protecting Our Democracy Act

Watch Chairwoman Maloney's speech introducing the Protect Our Democracy Act here.

On Wednesday, I, along with the Chairs of the Intelligence, Judiciary, Budget, House Administration, Foreign Affairs, and Ways and Means Committees, introduced the Protecting Our Democracy Act – a landmark reforms package that will prevent future presidential abuses, restore our system of checks and balances, strengthen accountability and transparency, and protect our elections.


Our democracy is not self-effectuating – it takes work and a commitment to guard it against those who would undermine it, whether foreign or domestic. Congress must act to strengthen the bedrock of our democracy and ensure our laws are strong enough to withstand a lawless president. These reforms are necessary not only because of the abuses of this president, but because the foundation of our democracy is the rule of law and that foundation is deeply at risk.


You can read more about the Protecting Our Democracy Act here, and watch and read my speech from our press conference introducing the bill here.


Committee on Oversight and Reform Climate Agenda

Watch Chairwoman Maloney's opening statement at Thursday's Subcommittee on the Environment hearing here.

On Thursday, I released the “COR Climate Change Agenda,” a set of six bills that draw on recommendations from the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis that fall within the Committee on Oversight and Reform’s (COR) jurisdiction.


From above-average hurricane seasons to unprecedented wildfires, the climate crisis is already devastating the lives of so many Americans. Congress and the Administration have a duty to lead — a responsibility to act. The COR Climate Change Agenda sets forth legislation that will reduce the federal government’s environmental footprint and enhance its ability to address this crisis.


You can read more about the agenda here.


Public Housing Solar Equity Act

Today, I introduced the Public Housing Solar Equity Act, legislation to ensure that when a public housing authority, such as NYCHA, sells or leases assets to private companies for the installation of solar panels, residents’ needs come first.


As we see the use of solar energy increasing, it’s clear that public housing authority roofs are going to become a hot commodity. I want to make sure that when these spaces are leased or sold, that the benefit of this solar energy is first given to the residents of those buildings. Any use of public housing authority land or buildings should benefit the people these properties were set aside for, not private companies.


Continuing Census Oversight

The Oversight Committee recently obtained new documents from a whistleblower that demonstrate that the Census Bureau is taking shortcuts in order to end field operations early and that the Census Bureau instructed its employees to advise administrators of homeless shelters that enumerators would be asking their populations questions about citizenship. 


So, on Thursday, I requested information from Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham about these documents that raise serious concerns about the actions the Trump Administration is taking to rush through the 2020 Census.


Read more about those documents and the full letter to Director Dillingham here.


Standing Up for Afghan Women and Girls

Watch Chairwoman Maloney's exchange with Ambassador Khalilzad here.

At this week’s Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on National Security hearing examining the Trump Administration’s Afghanistan strategy, I asked Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad what he and this Administration are doing to protect the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan during peace negotiations with the Taliban. We must use our leverage as the United States to ensure that the hard fought gains made by Afghan women are not rolled back. 


You can watch my exchange with Ambassador Khalilzad here.


Keeping the Government Open and Funded

On Tuesday, I voted to pass H.R. 8337, the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act. This bipartisan agreement averts a catastrophic shutdown at the end of September, in the midst of the ongoing pandemic, wildfires on the West Coast, hurricanes, and economic downturn, by extending funding through December 11. 


While I continue to believe that we should work to pass a budget through regular order, this bill is, right now, the solution we need. It includes $8 billion in desperately needed nutrition assistance for struggling families – many of whom are facing economic uncertainty because of COVID-19. This is especially critical for New York City, where every school child is eligible to receive free school meals, as it ensures that students will continue to receive these meals whether they are attending class in-person or learning remotely and extends the Pandemic EBT program. This program provides additional EBT funds to families whose children would have received free or reduced-price meals in school if not for pandemic-related school closures and shortened hours. And for our city’s seniors, it includes provisions to prevent an up to $50 per month Part B premium hike.


Just as we have reached bipartisan agreement on this package, Republicans need to work with Democrats on a Coronavirus relief package that meets the health and economic needs of the American people.


Naming the Manhattan VA After a True Pioneer

This week, the House passed my bill, H.R. 1925, to rename the Manhattan Campus of the VA New York Harbor Health Care System after Revolutionary War hero Margaret Corbin. Margaret Corbin fought alongside the Revolutionary Army and became the first woman to be recognized for her military service by the United States. This legislation proposes for the facility to be renamed to the “Margaret Cochran Corbin Campus of the New York Harbor Health Care System.”


Margaret Corbin embodies the heroism of American soldiers who are wounded in battle, as well as their struggles, often lifelong, resulting from their injuries and their time on the battlefield. It is more than fitting to give Margaret Corbin the honor of being the first woman to have a VA hospital named for her. I’m calling on the Senate to pass this bill without delay.


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