Weekly Update: Developments in the Investigation into Trump's Efforts to Overturn the 2020 Election, Mobile Casework Hours on Tues
This Tuesday, August 3, my office is hosting Mobile Casework Hours at Seward Park (E Broadway & Essex Street) from 12-1pm to answer questions and provide help with federal agencies.
As you may know, the U.S. Passport office has seen an influx of requests now that international COVID-19 travel restrictions are being lifted. For those planning travel in the fall and for Thanksgiving and around Christmastime, the State Department is urging you to check your passports and, if needed, submit renewal requests now.
As you may have heard, today I released handwritten notes which provide further evidence of President Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election. This week, the Justice Department also announced that former Trump Administration officials can testify before Congress. These two developments will help us get to the bottom of what really happened on – and caused – the January 6th insurrection.
Also this week, the House passed multiple funding bills – which included all 10 of my community funding project requests and funding for gun violence research at the CDC and National Institutes of Health (NIH), which Senator Markey and I have spent years advocating for with our Gun Violence Prevention Research Act.
More on these and other updates below.
If you missed it, you can read this week’s NY-12 COVID Vaccination & Recovery Update here.
Developments in the Investigation into Trump’s Efforts to Overturn Election Results
Today, I released handwritten notes taken by then-Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard P. Donoghue of a December 27, 2020 phone call with former President Trump and former Acting Attorney General Rosen.
These handwritten notes show that President Trump directly instructed our nation’s top law enforcement agency to take steps to overturn a free and fair election in the final days of his presidency.
Earlier this week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that former Trump Administration officials may testify before Congress regarding former President Trump’s efforts to enlist DOJ officials to help him overturn the 2020 election.
I am pleased that the Justice Department has recognized that the Oversight Committee has “compelling legislative interests” in understanding the “extraordinary events” surrounding President Trump’s conduct, and that DOJ has authorized key officials to provide “unrestricted testimony” to the Committee without asserting claims of privilege. I am committed to getting to the bottom of the previous Administration’s attempts to subvert the Justice Department and reverse a free and fair election. The Oversight Committee has begun scheduling interviews with key witnesses to investigate the full extent of the former President’s corruption, and I will exercise every tool at my disposal to ensure all witness testimony is secured without delay.
Fighting Voter Suppression Efforts
On Thursday, I spoke at the Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties hearing on the restrictive voting bills currently under consideration in the Texas legislature, as well as how these proposals are related to nationwide voter suppression efforts fueled by baseless claims of widespread electoral fraud.
Our witnesses took brave actions to defend the rights of Texans against one of the most aggressive attempts at voter suppression we have seen anywhere in the country. Now more than ever we must follow their example to ensure that these shameful attacks on the right to vote are unsuccessful. We must fight to fulfill the American promise that voters choose their elected representatives — rather than politicians picking their own voters.
You can read my full opening statement here.
Fighting Exxon's Climate Change Disinformation
On Monday, I was joined by Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA), Chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee on the Environment, in sending a letter to Keith McCoy, a senior lobbyist for ExxonMobil, requesting his appearance at a transcribed interview regarding efforts by ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel companies to mislead the public and Members of Congress about the dangers of fossil fuels and their role in causing global climate change.
ExxonMobil has had scientific evidence about the danger posed by climate change since at least 1981. Yet for decades, the fossil fuel industry and its allies have used the same tactics as the tobacco industry to spread denial and doubt about the harm of its products — undermining the science and preventing serious action on climate change. ExxonMobil has played a large role in these decades of climate disinformation.
More information here.
House Passage of Funding Bills
This week, the House passed multiple funding bills. This package makes historic investments in American jobs, opportunity, and working families and includes $50 million for gun violence research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Back in February, Senator Markey and I introduced the Gun Violence Prevention Research Act. The legislation would authorize $50 million in funding each fiscal year for the next five years at the CDC to study gun violence. We need to treat gun violence as the public health crisis it is – and that means funding research so that we can create evidence-based policy solutions to combat gun violence and prevent thousands of senseless deaths every year. With gun deaths and gun sales surging in 2020, the need to act is more important than ever. We know of the commonsense solutions like the need for better and more robust background checks and the need to renew the assault weapons ban, but we must also seek other solutions.
Some highlights from this package for NY-12 include:
This package also contained the $6.3 million for NY-12 that I was able to secure through community project funding requests. Under guidelines issued by the Appropriations Committee, each Member of Congress was allowed to request funding for up to 10 projects in their community for fiscal year 2022. All 10 projects of mine were funded. This funding is going to:
You can read more about these projects here.
$496 Million for NY-12 Venues
I am proud to report that 290 venues in NY-12 will receive a total of $496 million in Shuttered Venue Operators Grants (SVOG), a program I was proud to vote to establish to provide support to hard-hit businesses in the music, entertainment, and live event industries that were forced to shut their doors due to the pandemic.
NYC’s small and large music, comedy, and entertainment venues are part and parcel to our city’s spirit and culture. The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program was created to save these businesses which have struggled immensely during the pandemic. I’m glad they are finally getting the help they need and deserve.
Veterans Record Backlog
On Monday, I was joined by a bipartisan group of Oversight Committee members in sending a letter to Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero urging the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to apply for funding through the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) to help clear the backlog of records requests for veterans at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC).
NARA has identified the need to digitize records as one of the biggest hurdles to addressing the backlog of veterans’ requests, and Congress has provided substantial financial support for NARA to reach this goal. Although NARA has taken some steps to begin digitization, more significant action is needed to improve the agency’s IT infrastructure.
More information here.
Accountability in Bankruptcy Proceedings
This week, in partnership with Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Dick Durbin (D-Il), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), I announced the introduction of the Nondebtor Release Prohibition Act of 2021.
This legislation will prohibit the use of non-consensual, non-debtor releases that have helped entities and individuals, like members of the Sackler family, escape accountability for wrongdoing through bankruptcy proceedings.
For too long, the unfettered abuse of non-debtor releases has allowed wrongdoers to evade responsibility for their actions. As Chairwoman of the Oversight Committee, promoting accountability for America’s opioid epidemic has been one of my top priorities. The Sackler family directed Purdue Pharma to flood our communities with dangerous OxyContin. They created and fueled a national public health crisis that has claimed nearly half a million lives. It is imperative that Congress act quickly to prohibit the abuse of non-debtor releases and prevent bad actors — including the Sacklers — from evading accountability.
Read more about the legislation here.
Funding Capitol Security, Honoring Capitol Police Heroes, and Defending Democracy
On Thursday, I voted with my colleagues to pass H.R. 3237, an emergency funding package to harden the United States Capitol Complex, deliver much-needed resources to the U.S. Capitol Police force, and respond to the costs of the January 6th insurrection.
I am proud to support this bipartisan legislation to ensure the Capitol’s safety so Congress can continue its job of serving the American people. On January 6th, we saw a worst-case scenario of what can happen to threaten our democracy. We must allocate the necessary resources to protect and defend this great nation and honor the heroic Capitol Police officers who protected Members of Congress, congressional and Capitol staff, and members of the press on that day. This is a critical step forward to ensuring the Capitol is safer and stronger for years to come.
Congratulating Janno Lieber on Appointment as Acting CEO of the MTA
Yesterday, my longtime friend and colleague, Janno Lieber, was appointed as the Acting CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). I have worked with Janno on important transportation projects such as building Phase 1 of the 2nd Avenue Subway and completing critical repairs for the L Train, which connects the lower Manhattan and North Brooklyn portions of NY-12. I look forward to working with him on future projects like expanding the 2nd Avenue Subway to 125th Street and making Sunnyside Yards a transit hub. I applaud Janno’s steadfast commitment to bettering the MTA and for making it a modern, more accessible system for every single New Yorker.
The annual Congressional App Challenge for NY-12 has officially begun! All middle and high school students in New York’s 12th Congressional District are eligible to apply.
The CAC accepts computer program apps written in any programming language, for any platform (desktop/PC, web, mobile, raspberry Pi, etc.).
The Challenge’s submission portal is now open. The deadline for student submissions is November 1, 2021. The competition is open to all students who meet the eligibility requirements, regardless of coding experience.
Winners will be selected by panels of judges drawn from the local community and honored by their Member of Congress. Their apps are eligible to be featured on display in the U.S. Capitol building, on house.gov, and on the Congressional App Challenge website.
As always, your concerns still and always remain my top priority. Please do not hesitate to email me through my website.