Weekly Update: Marijuana Legislation, Fighting for MTA Emergency Relief, Oversight Census Hearing
This week, I chaired a hearing in the Oversight Committee examining risks to the accuracy and completeness of the 2020 Census count; voted to pass the MORE Act, a marijuana and criminal justice reform bill; and a key Senate committee voted to approve the Senate companion to my bill to create a Smithsonian Women’s History Museum. I also led members of the New York Delegation in requesting emergency relief for the MTA and was reelected by the Democratic Caucus to serve as Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform in the 117th Congress.
More on all this and other updates below.
COVID-19 Data Update
Confirmed Cases: 65,435,151
Confirmed Deaths: 1,510,313
Confirmed Cases: 14,139,577
Confirmed Deaths: 276,325
New York State
Confirmed Cases: 674,093
Confirmed Deaths: 34,775
Testing Positivity: 3.38%
New York City
Confirmed Cases: 299,509
Confirmed Deaths: 19,613
Testing Positivity: 3.53%
For further COVID-19 updates, see this week’s COVID-19 update for NY-12 here.
Oversight Committee Census Hearing
On Thursday, I chaired an Oversight Committee hearing to examine risks to the accuracy and completeness of the 2020 Census count.
The message from the witnesses was loud and clear – the 2020 Census is in grave danger. The witnesses warned that if the Trump Administration cuts short the process to fix these problems, the census count risks being inaccurate and incomplete. I called this hearing because the Trump Administration refused to share information with the Committee about these critical data errors.
Secretary Ross has one week to produce the complete and unredacted set of documents we requested last month. If he does not, then he could very well face a subpoena. I hope he complies voluntarily, but I am open to calling Secretary Ross to testify under oath before this Committee if he does not produce the requested documents.
The MORE Act
Today, I went to the House floor to urge my colleagues to join me in voting for the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, legislation to remove cannabis from the list of federally controlled harmful substances, protect medical cannabis businesses, and expunge low-level marijuana convictions that have disproportionately harmed communities of color.
It’s past time that Congress answers the call for reform for low-level marijuana conviction justice. In addition to officially removing cannabis from the list of federally controlled harmful substances, protecting medical cannabis businesses, and expunging low-level marijuana convictions that have disproportionately harmed people and communities of color, the MORE Act would also help those whose convictions are overturned through an Opportunity Trust Fund. This fund would provide job training, re-entry assistance, and legal aid.
If we are serious about criminal justice reform, we need to get rid of the antiquated cannabis laws that disproportionately harm people of color; result in many non-violent individuals facing long prison sentences disproportionate to their offenses; and waste billions of dollars in tax payer funded enforcement. The MORE Act would do just that.
Smithsonian Women’s History Museum
When the House passed my Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act in February, the vote was overwhelmingly bipartisan. I’m proud to report that yesterday, the Senate Rules Committee also favorably reported the Senate companion led by Senators Collins and Feinstein on a bipartisan basis. I hope we can come together to finally pass this historic legislation before the end of the 116th Congress, and begin the work to create a museum that tells a more comprehensive story of our nation’s history and the extraordinary women who helped shape it.
This endeavor has been many years in the making. It is time to move it forward to passage.
Fighting for Emergency MTA Relief
This week, I joined with Representatives Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) and Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-7) to lead a bipartisan group of 17 New York Delegation members in requesting that House and Senate leadership provide “robust emergency relief” to the MTA in the next COVID-19 response legislative package.
You can read our full letter here.
Nasdaq Diversity Rule
This week, Nasdaq released a proposal for new listing rules that “would require all companies listed on Nasdaq’s U.S. exchange to publicly disclose consistent, transparent diversity statistics regarding their board of directors.”
I applaud Nasdaq for proposing this important rule to provide much-needed transparency on corporate board diversity. I have been working for years to increase corporate board diversity and rules like this, similar to what I proposed in my Diversity in Corporate Leadership Act. Nasdaq's proposed rule, if adopted, will go a long way toward helping us reach that goal.
My full statement here.
SCOTUS Child Slavery Case
I recently joined with 20 of my colleagues in filing a bipartisan amicus brief in the consolidated case of Nestlé USA and Cargill v. Doe, which was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court this past Tuesday, December 1. The cases were brought under the Alien Tort Statute by former child slaves who allege they were trafficked to work on cacao farms in Côte d’Ivoire.
As co-chair and co-founder of the Human Trafficking Caucus, fighting trafficking has long been one of my top priorities in Congress – in New York, around the country, and worldwide. I was proud to join my colleagues in filing this amicus brief, ensuring that the Supreme Court knows what Congress has done and is doing to combat human trafficking. What happened to these children is horrifying, and we should all be working to stamp out these human rights abuses anywhere they occur in the world.
You can read more about the case and the amicus brief here.
Corporate Transparency Act Included in Must-Pass Legislation
My bipartisan Corporate Transparency Act, which is one of the most important anti-money laundering and anti-corruption bills in decades, will be voted on next week in a must-pass legislative package.
This bill, which I’ve been working on for 12 years, will crack down on anonymous shell companies, which have long been the vehicle of choice for money launderers, terrorists, and criminals. The bill will finally allow law enforcement to follow the money in their investigations, and will prevent terrorists, kleptocrats, and other bad actors from using the U.S. financial system to hide their dirty money. This bipartisan compromise was hard-fought, and I want to thank Chairwoman Waters, Ranking Member Brown, Chairman Crapo, and Ranking Member McHenry for their hard work, persistence, and willingness to make the necessary compromises to get this bill signed into law. I also want to thank the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition for diligently working with me for many years to get this important bill done.
Reelected Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform
I am honored to continue to serve as the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform in the next Congress. As the primary investigatory committee in the House, we have conducted robust oversight of the Trump Administration, including exposing its repeated attempts to undermine the accuracy of the 2020 Census and politicize the U.S. Postal Service. We also revealed evidence that pharmaceutical companies are targeting the United States for high prescription drug prices because the Federal government is not allowed to negotiate directly with drug companies for lower costs.
In the 117th Congress, I look forward to working with my colleagues to crush the coronavirus crisis and build upon the work we have done so far to ensure that all Americans receive their mail in a timely manner, are counted in a complete and accurate 2020 Census, and can afford lifesaving medications.
As always, your concerns still and always remain my top priority. Please do not hesitate to email me through my website.
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