Updates: COVID-19 in NYC and Work in Washington, DC
It was another busy week as I introduced a new bill, the Made in America: Preparation for a Pandemic Act; the Supreme Court issued an opinion in the Mazars case, and I appealed to the MTA to establish a new express bus route connecting Williamsburg to Manhattan. I am also working with my colleagues in Congress to demand justice for Army Specialist Vanessa Guillen, ensure healthcare equality for all, and conduct oversight of this Administration. Updates on all this, and more, below.
Made in America: Preparation for a Pandemic Act
Having strong domestic production of PPE is absolutely essential to keeping Americans safe in the midst of a global pandemic. Too many lives have been lost unnecessarily because broken global supply chains left our essential workers without the equipment they needed, which is why this week, I introduced the Made in America: Preparation for a Pandemic Act.
While I am incredibly proud of the coalition of New York City fashion industry members who stepped up and worked tirelessly to produce over one million non-surgical PPE isolation gowns during the height of the pandemic here in NYC, our nation should never be placed in such a desperate position again. This bill will guarantee an adequate stock of PPE in the Strategic National Stockpile at all times and establish domestic supply chain incentives that put Americans to work building the skills and materials we need to sustain us when our nation is hit with the unthinkable.
SCOTUS Opinion in the Mazars Case
Thursday’s Supreme Court opinions reaffirm a bedrock principle in our democracy: no one—not even the President—is above the law. For far too long, President Trump has shown utter contempt for this principle. He has refused to turn over documents to Congress with no legitimate legal basis, repeatedly blocked witnesses from testifying even when subpoenaed, attacked independent Inspectors General for doing their jobs, failed to cooperate with the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, publicly criticized independent judges for rulings he disliked, and pressured prosecutorial decision-making to benefit himself, his friends, and his allies.
I am disappointed that the Court remanded our case to the lower court for a review under a new standard for subpoenas for Presidential papers, but I am confident our Committee ultimately will prevail.
Demanding Justice for Vanessa Guillen
This week, as Chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, I requested a briefing on the Army’s response to and investigation into Vanessa Guillen’s horrific disappearance and murder. I also joined a letter led by Representative Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) with more than 85 of my colleagues requesting that Department of Defense Inspector General Sean O’Donnell conduct an independent investigation into Fort Hood’s handling of SPC Guillen’s case.
You can read more about the briefing request from me, Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security; and Committee Member Rep. Jackie Speier here. You can read the full letter led by Rep. Garcia here.
Pushing for my Corporate Transparency Act to Be Included in the FY2021 NDAA
In light of reports that Ghislaine Maxwell, who was charged in Federal court last week for conspiring with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse minors, had been using anonymous shell companies to hide her alleged illicit activities, I have asked the House and Senate Committees on Armed Services to include parts of my Corporate Transparency Act in the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
We’re the only advanced country in the world that doesn’t already require disclosure of beneficial ownership information. Without these provisions, we will continue to facilitate global corruption by remaining a financial safe haven for human traffickers, drug cartels, terrorists, corrupt foreign officials, illegal arms dealers, and other bad actors. Anonymous shell companies enable them to access money, and therefore, enable their existence. By adding transparency to financial flows, we would greatly weaken the threats that we spend so much energy fighting.
You can read my full letter to the Committees here.
Opposing the Trump Administration’s Discriminatory Healthcare Rule
On Wednesday, I joined with several other House committee chairs to condemn the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for finalizing a rule that weakens protections under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for LGBTQIA+ individuals, women, people with limited English proficiency, immigrants, people of color, people with disabilities, and patients from other marginalized communities, and urged HHS Secretary Alex Azar to immediately rescind it.
New York City is a place that is inspired by and proud of our diversity and the ability for everyone here to be who they are and follow their American Dream. This rule is a continuation of the Administration’s anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-LGBTQ+ agenda. And even more horrifying, the Administration is acting to limit healthcare access during a global pandemic and national crisis.
You can see the full letter from me, House Education and Labor Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), and House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) here.
Requesting an Express Bus to Connect Williamsburg and Manhattan
On Thursday, I sent a letter to Chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Patrick Foye calling for an express bus line from Williamsburg to Manhattan. This request follows two previous letters that I have sent in support of a Brooklyn Community Board 1 (CB1) resolution favoring the route which received a unanimous vote. All North Brooklyn residents would benefit from a regular and permanent express bus line to Manhattan, especially during the COVID-19 outbreak to ease overcrowding on the L train. You can read my full letter to the MTA Chairman here.
Treasury Department Agrees to Recognize Full Authority of Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
On Monday, following my questioning of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin at a Congressional hearing last week, the Treasury Department committed to complying with the law that gives the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) authority to conduct oversight over all spending in the CARES Act. This is a significant victory for oversight and accountability after an erroneous legal opinion seemed to indicate that the Trump Administration was manufacturing legal loopholes to undermine Congressional intent—and the PRAC’s authority. I thank Secretary Mnuchin for this clarification and look forward to working with him to ensure the Department fully complies with the PRAC’s investigations to root out waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal government’s spending of over $2 trillion of taxpayer dollars.
GAO Report on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)
On Wednesday, the non-partisan, independent Government Accountability Office released a report on the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) showing that the Attorney General has failed to provide clear guidance to ensure that federal agencies provide accurate and complete information into the database. NICS saves lives by preventing guns from being purchased by those who shouldn’t have them, but it is only as good as the information our government agencies put into it. The Attorney General must immediately provide clear guidance and ensure that all federal agencies follow it.
You can read the GAO report here.
Release of K2 Documents
On Thursday, the Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security released newly declassified Department of Defense (DOD) documents, which detail multiple hazards and toxins that U.S. servicemembers were exposed to while deployed to Camp Stronghold Freedom at Karshi-Khanabad (K2) Air Base in Uzbekistan between 2001 and 2005.
I applaud Subcommittee Chairman Lynch and Congressman Green on their bipartisan investigation to ensure that K2 veterans and their families receive the information and health care that they need. The courageous Americans who served at K2 put their lives on the line to protect our country, and for years their government has denied them answers. The Oversight Committee will continue to seek justice on behalf of our K2 heroes and work to ensure that our servicemembers and veterans are appropriately compensated for their sacrifice.
You can read more about the document release here.
Oversight Committee Briefing on the Intersection of Intimate Partner Violence and COVID-19
Thursday’s briefing was an opportunity for Members to hear from experts who are working at the intersection of multiple crises: domestic and sexual violence, and the coronavirus pandemic. Even before the pandemic, interpersonal violence was a public health crisis in the United States. The coronavirus pandemic has further enabled abusers to use tools of isolation and control against their victims—even in states that have reopened. Service providers like the organizations which briefed us yesterday have used their limited resources to provide comprehensive care and support for survivors for a long time but, the coronavirus pandemic has strained their resources even further. We must support their vital work with robust funding, and, for the duration of the coronavirus crisis and the recovery, we must give these organizations the flexibility necessary to fully support survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
You can read more about what we heard during the briefing here.
New Yorkers looking to get tested should text COVID TEST to 855-48 or visit NYC.gov/COVIDTEST
According to Johns Hopkins, the US has a total of 3,118,168 cases and has seen 133,420 deaths.
According to Johns Hopkins, we have 399,513 cases and have lost 32,283 New Yorkers to COVID-19.
Johns Hopkins is reporting that the City has 218,052 cases and NYC Health reports 23,283 lost to COVID-19.
The City’s Board of Health voted to reopen childcare in NYC on Monday, July 13. This will apply to about 3,000 childcare programs in NYC with a capacity of around 150,000.
- Limit group size to 15 children
- Classrooms must be changed to enable social distancing
- Face coverings required for children over 2 and adults
- Daily health screenings
- Frequent cleaning and disinfecting
- Limited sharing of toys and supplies
- Checklist for Child Care Program Guidelines (PDF)
- Reopening New York City: Frequently Asked Questions What Child Care Programs Need to Know (PDF)
NYC public schools will not fully reopen in September. Classroom attendance will be limited to 1-3 days a week. Buildings will be deep cleaned on a nightly basis with electrostatic disinfectant sprayers and HVAC systems are being upgraded to ensure better ventilation.
The City’s Dept. of Education has set up a Return to School 2020 page with the latest updates on reopening public schools and specifics on hybrid learning and the first day of school. Chancellor Carranza also released a letter for NYC school families.
Large events requiring a city event permit will be canceled through September 30th, as the City works to prioritize open spaces for public use.
Governors Island will reopen next Wednesday, July 15 with reduced capacity and public safety precautions on both the island and the ferry.
If you're traveling to New York from the following states, you must self-quarantine for 14 days:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
As always, your concerns still and always will remain my top priority. Please do not hesitate to email me through my website.
If you have any friends who you think should be receiving my newsletters, tell them they can sign up here.
Carolyn B. Maloney
Member of Congress