Weekly Update: Census Subpoena, Trump's Unstable Transition, Booster Seat Safety
As COVID cases increase across the country, Congressional Democrats continue to fight for a relief bill that helps all those who are struggling during this unprecedented pandemic. I remain hard at work in New York and Washington, DC fighting for our community and continuing the critical oversight of the Trump Administration.
On Thursday, I issued a subpoena to Commerce Secretary Ross for the full unredacted set of internal Census documents the Oversight Committee requested last month, and we held hearings on the Trump Administration’s unstable transition process and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) failure to protect the rights of landowners. The Committee also released a report on our investigation into concerns about the safety of child booster seats marketed in the United States.
More on these and other updates below.
NY-12 COVID-19 Update
By the Numbers
Confirmed Cases: 15,611,014
New York State
Confirmed Cases: 743,242
Total Tested: 21,301,446
Testing Positivity: 3.49%
New York City (last 7 days)
Total Cases: 21,435
Confirmed Deaths: 118
NYC Dining Update
Governor Cuomo today announced that indoor dining will be shuttered as of Monday, December 14.
Outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery are still allowed. Outdoor dining will be closed from 10pm – 5am.
Subpoena for Census Documents
Yesterday, I issued a subpoena to Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross for the full unredacted set of internal Census documents requested by the Oversight Committee last month relating to data errors and delays with the 2020 Census.
Secretary Ross’s approach to Congress’ oversight responsibilities has been abominable. He has repeatedly withheld documents from the Commerce Department’s oversight committee, Congress, the independent Government Accountability Office and, according to Census Bureau officials, the federal Judiciary. He has repeatedly failed to inform the Committee on a timely basis of grave problems with the Census, forcing us time and time again to read about them in the press rather than from the agency he leads.
A complete and accurate census is critical for the health and well-being of hundreds of thousands of American families in red states and blue states alike. They don’t want political machinations to jeopardize their fair representation in Congress and their share of $1.5 trillion in federal funds over the next decade for programs that provide healthcare, education, job training, transportation, and many other services.
You can read my letter to Secretary Ross here.
Oversight Hearing: FERC’s Failure to Protect Landowners
On Wednesday, the Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties held a hearing examining the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) failure to protect the rights of landowners.
There is a growing consensus among landowners, advocates, courts, and even some FERC Commissioners that FERC’s process is not fair to landowners. In 2017, the Center for Public Integrity and State Impact Pennsylvania undertook a comprehensive investigation into FERC. The investigation involved more than 100 interviews and reviews of FERC records for almost 500 pipelines. They found that “at every turn, the agency’s process favors pipeline companies.”
We need a bipartisan solution that will protect landowners by restoring balance and fairness to the FERC pipeline process, but FERC does not need Congress to act in order to suspend certificates of public convenience and necessity while landowners’ appeals are pending. Once granted, these certificates give pipeline companies the power of eminent domain to take people’s land. The Commission should suspend these certificates during the appeals process – a solution suggested by Commissioner Richard Glick. FERC needs do all it can to restore the proper balance of power between big natural gas companies and individual landowners.
Oversight Hearing: The Trump Admin’s Unstable Transition Process
On Thursday, the Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations held a hearing examining the ongoing presidential transition, its challenges, and lessons already learned that can improve future transitions.
Throughout his Administration, President Trump has chosen to put his personal interests before the needs of the country and has disregarded both congressional oversight and public scrutiny. According to press reports, President Trump has routinely ignored federal records laws, regularly tearing up or shredding documents that are required to be preserved. The destruction was so bad that career records officers were reportedly forced to use scotch tape to put important documents back together. Given this track record, I’m deeply concerned that President Trump and his aides may attempt to conceal or destroy important White House materials during their last remaining days.
I will be joining with Representative Gerald E. Connolly, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, to introduce the Midnight Regulations Review Act. This bill would require the Government Accountability Office to create a list of the regulations that the outgoing administration promulgates during this lame duck, which will allow Congress and the incoming administration to review whether they are based on evidence and research or whether they should be considered for amending or elimination.
Oversight Investigation: Top Booster Seat Manufacturers Knowingly Misled American Consumers on Safety
Yesterday, the Oversight Committee released a staff report detailing the findings of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy’s investigation into concerns about the safety of child booster seats marketed in the United States.
Under the leadership of Subcommittee Chairman Raja Krishnamoorthi and Subcommittee Member Katie Porter, the investigation uncovered:
I commend Subcommittee Chair Krishnamoorthi and Rep. Porter on their investigation to uncover the truth on behalf of America’s families. Parents trust booster seat manufacturers with their most precious cargo. This staff report is crystal clear: Congress must intervene. I look forward to working with Reps. Krishnamoorthi and Porter on the best solutions for our children’s safety in the next Congress.
You can read the staff report here.
Click here to share your family’s personal concerns and experience with booster seats.
Fort Hood Independent Review Committee Report
On Tuesday, the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee released its final report, which found that the Army’s implementation of the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) Program at Fort Hood “was ineffective, to the extent that there was a permissive environment for sexual assault and sexual harassment.”
While I’m glad that the report was finally released, I regret that it took the anguish of so many families and congressional pressure to spur the Army into action. Sexual assault and harassment have no place in the United States military, but I am encouraged that the Army appears to be moving expeditiously to address the Independent Review Committee’s findings and implement its recommendations.
You can read more about the report and the Oversight Committee’s investigation into the recent deaths of soldiers stationed at Fort Hood here.
On Wednesday, I voted against the House-passed Conference Report to H.R. 6395, the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2021.
Included in the FY2021 NDAA are two important provisions: one that will make our country safer, and another that will make sure all Federal employees receive the paid parental leave we committed to provide last year.
The first, my Corporate Transparency Act, is the most important anti-money laundering and anti-corruption bill in 20 years. When a terrorist cell or a criminal organization wants to move their money, they usually do it right here in the U.S., with a shell company. My bill will end the abuse of anonymous shell companies in the U.S. by requiring companies to disclose their true, beneficial owners to the Treasury Department at the time the company is formed. While I could not support final passage of the Conference Report as a whole, I’m thrilled that the Corporate Transparency Act has been included and want to thank my negotiating partners — Chairman Crapo, Ranking Member Brown, Chairwoman Waters, and Ranking Member McHenry.
Also importantly, I’m pleased that this bill includes a correction to my paid parental leave bill that will give FAA and TSA employees, medical professionals working in VA facilities, and DC courts and public defender employees up to 12 weeks of paid leave in the event of the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child. Congress intended to guarantee paid parental leave for all Federal employees, and this bill honors that commitment.
But, even with these important provisions, I voted against the bill because I could not, in good conscience, vote for legislation that continues to explode the Pentagon’s budget while millions of Americans are suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic. I also could not support the NDAA’s silence on the 1033 program, leaving in place the mechanism that transfers military equipment to local law enforcement across the county.
While I appreciate the hard, bipartisan work that went into this compromise I remain committed to reallocating funding to better serve the American people.
We need to be investing in our schools and strengthening social safety net programs. And we need to provide robust rent relief and pandemic unemployment assistance for millions of people who now find themselves out of work. We need to provide real relief for the people.
As always, your concerns still and always remain my top priority. Please do not hesitate to email me through my website.
Carolyn B. Maloney