Update: This Week in Congress
This morning, we said our final goodbyes to the late, great Elijah Cummings. He is the first African American lawmaker to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol – a fitting honor for one of the most honorable men I have ever known. I am proud to have known him, to have worked with him, and to have learned from him. We will carry on his legacy of fighting for justice, equality, and our democracy.
Earlier this week, the work of Congress continued. On Monday, I unveiled a new report on the links between gun ownership and suicide and on Tuesday and Wednesday the House voted to pass two of my bills – the first on ending anonymous shell companies and the second to reauthorize the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant program. More on all this below.
New Report: Guns and Suicide
As Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, I issued a new report on Monday entitled Guns and Suicide. I was proud to be joined by Giffords, the Brady Campaign, and people who have lost family members to gun suicide for its release. And what the report found is clear – access to a gun increases the likelihood you will die by suicide. In other words, a gun doesn’t make you safer, it can actually put you in significant danger.
Suicide takes an enormous toll on families, friends, communities, co-workers and others. This is a public health issue and, sadly, it’s an economic issue as well. Lifetime medical and work-loss costs due to suicides and suicide attempts are estimated at almost $70 billion per year, or about $1.5 million per death on average. If we reduce firearm suicides, we would make substantial progress in addressing the gun violence epidemic in America. Now, the challenge and the responsibility before Americans is to do something about it. I’ve said it before and will say it again: The inaction of the President and Senate Majority Leader McConnell is literally killing Americans. This report makes that even clearer.
Cracking Down on Anonymous Shell Companies
On Tuesday, the House passed my bipartisan Corporate Transparency Act to crack down on anonymous shell companies – one of the most pressing national security problems we currently face.
These shell companies are being used by money launderers, criminals, and terrorists – but with this bill, we can stop that. We’re the only advanced country in the world that doesn’t already require that companies disclose their true, beneficial owners when they’re formed — and frankly, it’s an embarrassment. Law enforcement has told us they need this information. Right now, they hit brick walls when trying to “follow the money” because of anonymous shell companies – we need to tear down that wall.
Beyond the impacts for law enforcement, this bill will also help to crack down on New York’s real estate being used to park illicit money, driving up housing costs and limiting availability. It seems that more than ever before, there are too many dark windows in apartments in NYC at night – but with this bill, it is my hope that this practice will be put to an end. Too many anonymous LLCs - instead of families - own NYC apartments. The Senate needs to act to pass this bill without delay.
Reauthorizing the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant Program
Across the country, DNA evidence sits in a backlog because forensic labs don’t have the resources they need to process it, denying justice to victims of violent crime. So, in 2004, I wrote and passed the Debbie Smith Act – which at the time was called the “the most important anti-rape legislation ever signed into law.” The Debbie Smith Act authorization expired on September 30, and we must act quickly to reauthorize it to make sure that this successful program continues to help solve and prevent violent crime and protect survivors.
This grant funding keeps rapists and other criminals off the streets. And perhaps more importantly, it can deliver some measure of justice to survivors of violence. The Senate needs to pass and send this bill to the President’s desk immediately.
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