Weekly Update: Jan 6 Commission, One Year Since George Floyd's Murder, Combatting Antisemitism
Early this afternoon, Senate Republicans put party over country and blocked the creation of an independent, bipartisan Commission to investigate the root causes of the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. As Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, I remain fully committed to our investigation into the January 6 attack and getting answers for the American people.
This week, we marked one year since George Floyd’s murder and while I’m thankful that we are seeing accountability in this case, we must continue to pursue policies that ensure that these injustices stop now – the Senate must pass the George Floyd Justice in Police Act.
As a city and a nation, we also must address the recent spike in antisemitism which has been spreading online and has led to violent attacks in New York, across the country, and around the world. Today, I joined with my colleagues in asking President Biden to use all the tools at his disposal to strengthen our national response to hate crimes, including the new policies now available through the passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act.
This week, I also announced my intentions to reintroduce the Overdraft Protection Act, introduced the Flexibility for Working Families Act, and chaired an Oversight Committee meeting during which we passed my IG Independence and Empowerment Act.
More on these and other updates below.
If you missed this week’s NY-12 COVID-19 Update, you can read it here.
Senate GOP Blocks January 6 Commission
I am deeply disappointed that Republicans in the Senate put party over country and blocked the creation of an independent, bipartisan Commission to investigate the root causes of the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
The January 6 Commission bill, which passed the House on a bipartisan vote just over a week ago, would have provided an independent and thorough investigation of one of the darkest days in our nation’s history.
Many Republicans have recently sought to whitewash the violence we all witnessed that day and downplay the grave danger it posed to our nation. Some have claimed that it is too early for a Commission; others that it is too late. Sadly, a majority of Republicans in both the House and Senate have chosen to ignore the deadly reality of January 6 and have instead embraced the flagrant lies of a failed president who incited the insurrection and attempted to topple American democracy.
The American people deserve the facts about the events of January 6, and they deserve accountability. As Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, I am committed to ensuring that the January 6 attack is swiftly and fully investigated.
One Year Since George Floyd’s Murder
This past Tuesday marked one year since George Floyd’s murder – a brutal event that changed the national conversation around police brutality. And while it should not have taken 9 minutes and 29 seconds of a police officer kneeling on his neck for our country to collectively recognize the reality of police brutality, we must take hold of this moment and enact real change.
I am thankful that we are seeing accountability in George Floyd’s case – with Derek Chauvin convicted of murder and he and the other officers involved in Mr. Floyd’s death indicted on federal civil rights charges, but accountability is not justice.
Justice would be a world in which George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Eric Garner would still be alive. And while nothing can bring them or the too many other Black men and women killed by police back to their families, we owe it to them to make the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act law. The House has now passed this bill twice and the Senate needs to act.
Addressing the Recent Spike in Antisemitism
The recent spate of antisemitism online and here in New York, across the country, and around the world is disturbing and cannot be tolerated. I am extremely concerned that many American Jews are feeling the need to hide their identity to stay safe. It’s up to all of us to stop and stand up to antisemitism wherever and whenever we see it. And so today, I joined with colleagues in sending a letter to President Biden asking him to swiftly implement the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which included the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act to strengthen our national response to hate crimes.
Beyond bringing those committing these attacks to justice, we need to stop antisemitism before it starts. A recent analysis of Twitter posts conducted by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) “showed more than 17,000 tweets which used variations of the phrase, ‘Hitler was right’ between May 7 and May 14, 2021.”
Hateful rhetoric and bigotry such as this is why I authored and passed the Never Again Education Act to give educators the tools they need to teach about the Holocaust and the dangers of antisemitism and hate. Children are not born with hate in their hearts, it is up to us to make sure they never learn it.
Cracking Down on Banks’ Predatory Overdraft Practices
At yesterday’s Financial Services Committee virtual hearing titled “Holding Megabanks Accountable: An Update on Banking Practices, Programs and Policies,” I announced my intention to reintroduce the Overdraft Protection Act. This bill will crack down on predatory overdraft fees, and would establish fair and transparent practices for overdraft coverage programs.
You can read more about the bill here.
Flexibility for Working Families Act
Today, I introduced the Flexibility for Working Families Act. This legislation would ensure that hardworking Americans can request that their employer modify their schedules so workers can balance the demands of their jobs and their home life without fear of reprisal.
The COVID pandemic and the pressures it has put on hardworking Americans have made it clearer than ever that we need to ensure flexible workplace policies. Employees in all industries are working to balance childcare, caring for an elderly parent, or even living with a medical condition, and having flexible workplace arrangements means that these workers would not need to choose between food on the table and caring for themselves or loved ones. This is a simple, clear solution to make sure workers can have an open dialogue with their employers and request modified schedules without fear of reprisal.
You can read more about the bill here.
PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act Passes Education & Labor Committee
On Wednesday, the House Education and Labor Committee passed H.R. 3110, the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act, my bill to close an unintentional coverage gap in the Break Time for Nursing Mothers Act and ensure that all employees who are nursing babies less than two years old have the access and protections they need to express milk during the workday.
For the health and safety of mothers and their babies, all working moms who want to breastfeed must have the time and space to pump breastmilk. These employees and their families suffer when these basic rights aren’t met. Without these protections, nursing mothers face serious health consequences, including risk of painful illness and infection, diminished milk supply, or an inability to continue breastfeeding. All working moms should be guaranteed the workplace protections to breastfeed if they want to, and no new mother should be forced to choose between breastfeeding and earning a paycheck.
Oversight Hearing: Confronting Violent White Supremacy (Part V): Examining the Rise of Militia Extremism
On Wednesday, the Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties held a hearing examining the role of militia groups in the current rise of violent right-wing extremism.
As members of Congress, and as Americans, we cannot afford to ignore the rising threat of militia extremism. The events of January 6 clearly demonstrated the danger that domestic violent extremism poses to our democracy.
Days after the Capitol insurrection, the FBI, DHS, and the National Counterterrorism Center issued a joint warning about an increase in hateful, racist rhetoric by groups like the Three Percenters.
The report warned that the gathering of domestic violent extremists on January 6 would likely foster connections between radical groups and increase the “willingness, capability, and motivation” of those groups to attack our government.
In other words, January 6 was not just a dangerous attack on our democracy; it was a massive recruiting event for these extremist groups who will continue to use it to recruit others to their cause.
There is no room for excuses or ignoring this problem any further. We need an honest assessment of the extent of this problem, which is hiding in plain sight. Failure to address this form of extremism will doom us to repeat the destruction of January 6.
Read Congresswoman Maloney’s full opening statement from Wednesday’s hearing here.
The IG Independence and Empowerment Act
On Tuesday, I held a Committee on Oversight and Reform meeting to consider bills that will promote accountability, help federal workers, and protect the independence of Inspectors General.
During the meeting, the Committee passed my comprehensive package to ensure that Inspectors General can do their jobs without fear of political retaliation and with all the tools needed to conduct thorough investigations. The previous Administration’s efforts to bully, sideline, and fire independent IGs made the urgency of these reforms clear, but this bill contains a number of bipartisan proposals that both Democrats and Republicans on the Committee have supported for many years, regardless of which party controlled Congress and the White House. I look forward to the House passing the IG Independence and Empowerment Act to enhance the independence and authorities of Inspectors General in order to strengthen their work exposing waste, fraud, and abuse in government.
You can read more about the bill here.
Requesting the Postal Service IG Review the Internet Covert Operations Program
On Tuesday, I sent a letter to Tammy L. Whitcomb, Inspector General of the U.S. Postal Service, expressing concerns about reports that the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) is using the Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP) to perform intelligence operations on First Amendment activity.
As Ranking Member Comer and I wrote in the letter, “these activities raise serious questions about the scope of the program, the extent of sharing of information among law enforcement agencies, and whether USPIS has the authority to conduct such an operation. We understand that USPIS has a critical law enforcement responsibility to protect the people and facilities of the Postal Service. We also appreciate that since reports of iCOP being used in connection with First Amendment activity have become public, USPIS has put certain safeguards in place and is reviewing additional ways to protect First Amendment activities. Nevertheless, significant questions about iCOP remain.”
You can read the full letter here.
Snapshot from NY-12
Yesterday, I was thrilled to join the Grand Street Guild for the grand opening of the new Nutritional Access Center. The new Center will provide Grand Street Guild residents with healthy and sustainable foods and is funded in part by the $100 billion I helped to secure for New York in the American Rescue Plan.
On Wednesday, I joined with Assemblymember Emily Gallagher, NYC Councilmember Stephen Levin, AD50 District Leader Kristina Naplatarski, and community advocates to urge Mayor de Blasio to tear down the building behind me and expand Bushwick Inlet Park. I fought to get the park built and I will keep fighting until it’s expanded to the full build we were promised.
As always, your concerns still and always remain my top priority. Please do not hesitate to email me through my website.