Weekly Update: Mobile Casework Hours, Abortion Rights, Confronting White Supremacy

Oct 1, 2021
Newsletter

Dear Friend,

 

This coming Sunday and Monday my team and I are hosting Mobile Casework Hours near Central Park and on the Lower East Side. I will be there to answer questions and provide help with federal agencies.

 

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This week, I held an Oversight Committee hearing on extreme anti-choice state actions like Texas’s S.B. 8 legislation and on the threat we are facing when it comes to access to an abortion. I also wrote to Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Department of Corrections Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi demanding a briefing on reported untenable and dangerous conditions at Rikers Island.

 

I am continuing to work with my colleagues in the Congressional Progressive Caucus to ensure passage of the full Biden Build Back Better agenda – investing in our nation’s infrastructure cannot just mean funding bridges and roads, but also addressing climate change and creating a care economy that lifts children out of poverty and supports working families.

 

More on these and other updates below.

 

If you missed it, you can read this week’s NY-12 COVID-19 Vaccination and Recovery Update here.

 

 

Protecting Abortion Rights

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Watch Chairwoman Maloney’s opening statement here.

Ahead of this this weekend’s rallies across the country in support of reproductive rights, I held an Oversight Committee hearing yesterday on the existential threat to abortion rights and access posed by extreme anti-choice state actions like Texas Senate Bill 8 (S.B. 8) and a Supreme Court that is hostile to reproductive rights. This hostile Supreme Court is expected to take up a challenge to Roe v. Wade this term.

 

The hearing highlighted actions the federal government can take to protect and expand access to abortion care.

 

Nearly 1 in 4 women in the United States will have an abortion in their lifetime. But with a hostile Supreme Court, extremist state governments are no longer chipping away at our constitutional rights—they are bulldozing right through them. We must take bold action to protect and expand abortion care rights and access.

 

You can view the highlights from the hearing here.

 

 

Examining & Demanding Changes to the Conditions at Rikers Island

On Monday, I was joined by Congressman Jamie Raskin, Chair of the Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in sending a letter to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Department of Corrections Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi requesting a briefing on the dangerous conditions facing incarcerated individuals at the Rikers Island Correctional Facility. Rikers Island has a history of federal civil rights violations, and our letter comes after twelve incarcerated individuals died this year while in custody at Rikers.

 

There have been multiple reports of the collapse of basic jail operations, in part as the result of widespread staffing shortages within the New York City Department of Corrections (DOC). These shortages—caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as persistent overcrowding and mounting violence—have rendered the facility unsafe for those incarcerated there. These unacceptable conditions at one of the largest jails in the United States appear to be part of a longstanding pattern of civil and human rights violations on Rikers Island. The number of in-custody deaths on Rikers Island has more than quadrupled over the past two years—from three deaths in 2019 to twelve in 2021.

 

You can read our full letter here.

 

 

Confronting Violent White Supremacy

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Watch Chairwoman Maloney’s opening statement here.

At this week’s Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties hearing, I commended the Biden Administration for recognizing the threats posed by violent white supremacy and domestic terrorism and meeting them head on.

 

On January 6th, the entire country witnessed this terror first-hand as militia groups and other violent extremists led an attack on our Capitol while flying the flag of the Confederacy—a symbol of white supremacy, bringing this symbol of hate into the Halls of Congress by force for the first time in American history. This threat did not arrive unannounced. In recent years, domestic terror attacks by white-supremacist, anti-Muslim, and anti-government extremists on the far right have surged. Yet during the same time period, the FBI arrested fewer, not more, domestic terrorists. During the Trump Administration, top officials focused on the threat posed by far-left extremism, while a right-wing insurrection against the Capitol was planned in plain sight.

 

You can watch my full opening statement here.

 

 

Calling on NYSERDA to Shut Down “Big Allis”

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Last weekend, I joined with NYCHA Residents’ Association and community leaders to renew our calls for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to shut down the peaker power plant known as Big Allis.

 

Earlier this year, Rise Light & Power, the operating company of “Big Allis,” submitted a renewable replacement proposal to NYSERDA that would make all outputs from the plant renewable by 2026. Last week, Governor Hochul announced two green energy infrastructure projects to power New York City with wind, solar, and hydropower projects from upstate New York and Canada. Neither of these projects include shutting down Big Allis.

 

Big Allis is the largest smokestack on site at Ravenswood Generating Station, which is the most polluting power plant in the state of New York. It is also located across from Queensbridge Houses, which is the largest public housing development in the United States. Our communities – especially Asthma Alley – and our environment cannot afford to pass up this opportunity to address the dangers of Big Allis. It is absolutely unthinkable that people are dying in Asthma Alley, and existing proposals that could fix this were not selected. New Yorkers deserve clean air, and NYSERDA can help deliver it. We cannot afford anything less.

 

 

Demanding Oversight of Improper Influence Over Government Employees and Policies

On Monday, I joined Congressman Mark Takano, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, to release new documents showing that Ike Perlmutter, Marc Sherman, and Dr. Bruce Moskowitz, associates of former President Trump known as the Mar-a-Lago Trio, violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act and attempted to exert improper influence over government employees and policies involving the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

 

Our joint investigation found that the Mar-a-Lago Trio, bolstered by their connection to President Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago club, violated the law and sought to exert improper influence over government officials to further their own personal interests. The documents we released shed light on the secret role the Trio played in developing VA initiatives and programs, including a ‘hugely profitable’ plan to monetize veterans’ medical records. The Committees’ investigation demonstrates the need for Congress to pass the Federal Advisory Committee Transparency Act, which would ensure the American people know who is providing advice to federal policymakers and would require agencies to disclose whether individuals on advisory committees have conflicts of interest.

 

You can read the new documents here.

 

 

Addressing Delays for Handling of Widespread Ransomware Attack

On Wednesday, Congressman James Comer, Ranking Member of the Oversight Committee, and I sent a letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray requesting a briefing on the FBI’s three-week delay in aiding hundreds of businesses and institutions that were successfully targeted by a major ransomware attack this past summer. Cyber-attacks, including ransomware attacks, have become more severe and the lawmakers are requesting information to understand the rationale behind the FBI’s decision to withhold critical assistance as the FBI sought to disrupt the attack.

 

The growing threat of ransomware attacks requires our federal government agencies—especially the FBI—to respond quickly and effectively to prevent or minimize the damage from these attacks. Public reporting raises questions about the FBI’s response to this summer’s ransomware attack. Ransomware hackers have shown their willingness and ability to inflict damage on various sectors of the U.S. economy, and Congress must be fully informed whether the FBI’s strategy and actions are adequately and appropriately addressing this damaging trend.

 

You can read our full letter here.

 

 

Snapshot From NY-12

 

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Last weekend, I held mobile casework hours in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and the East Side of Manhattan. Thank you to all the constituents who dropped by to either say hello or get help from our office!

 

 

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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.

 

Learn more here and register here.

 

 

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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Sincerely,

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Carolyn B. Maloney
Member of Congress