Weekly Update: Mobile Casework Hours Saturday, Public Housing Funding in BBB, & Protecting Abortion Access
Tomorrow, my staff and I will be holding Mobile Casework Hours at Astoria Houses from 3-4pm. Stop by to say hello or if you need help with a federal agency.
This week, I voted with my colleagues in the Financial Services Committee to include $80 billion in the reconciliation bill to address the national public housing capital needs backlog, stood with Governor Hochul to assure New Yorkers we are working on the state and federal level to protect our abortion rights, and launched an Oversight Committee investigation of fossil fuel industry disinformation on the climate crisis.
More on all these and other updates below.
If you missed it, you can read this week’s NY-12 COVID-19 Vaccination & Recovery Update here.
Standing Up for NYCHA Residents
At this week’s Financial Services Committee hybrid markup, I spoke in support of the historic funding levels for public housing that is included in this committee’s portion of the budget reconciliation bill. Included in the package is nearly $80 billion to help eliminate the public housing capital needs backlog nationwide. New York City is home to the largest public housing authority in the nation, with more than 400,000 New Yorkers residing in NYCHA's public housing developments across the City’s five boroughs. Our district, NY-12, is home to 21 of these developments, including Queensbridge Houses – the largest public housing community in the nation.
You can watch and read my remarks from the business meeting here.
Protecting Abortion Access
On Friday, I joined with Governor Kathy Hochul, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, NYS Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and abortion rights advocates to make it clear that New York State will protect abortion and all reproductive rights.
In the dead of night, as the Supreme Court refused to block the implementation of Texas’s SB 8, the Court rebuffed decades of precedent and sent a clear message that it will no longer uphold our constitutional right to abortion.
Because of this ruling, it is now illegal in Texas to end a pregnancy under nearly all circumstances. This devastating ruling by the court will impact all women and birthing people in the state, but most greatly BIPOC women and children and those in lower income communities who do not have the same access to health care or ability to travel out of state to access an abortion. This is why Congress must repeal the Hyde Amendment. The House voted to do so by voting to pass our package of spending bills in July. The Senate must do the same.
In just a few months, the Supreme Court is slated to take up another draconian abortion law in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. The writing is on the wall – which is why the House will be voting this coming week to make law the protections of Roe by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act.
I am also working with my colleagues to expand access to safe abortion services, including lifting the restrictions on medication abortion. I introduced a resolution with Reps. DeGette, Lee, and Pressley in support of the FDA doing just that. Medication abortion is a very safe, common way to access abortion care – in fact, nearly half of all abortions in the US are medication abortion. The FDA needs to act now to provide this safe and simple way for people to have their abortions at home.
Ensuring 9/11 Survivors and Responders Get the Services They Need & Deserve
On Monday, I was joined by Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Congressman Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) in writing to Anne Finch, Chief Executive Officer of Logistics Health Incorporated (LHI), and Dr. John Howard, Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety (NIOSH) and Administrator of the World Trade Center Health Program, to express concern over recent reports that 9/11 responders and survivors outside of the New York metro area have not received the services they deserve from LHI, a contractor that administers part of the World Trade Center Health Program.
To fulfill our obligation to 9/11 survivors and responders, we must ensure the World Trade Center Health Program not only has the necessary resources, but that the program is also properly administered so that members receive the high-quality care that they need and deserve.
You can read our letters to LHI and NIOSH here.
Holding the Fossil Fuel Industry Accountable for Disinformation
Yesterday, I joined Congressman Ro Khanna, Chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee on the Environment in requesting documents on the reported role of the fossil fuel industry in a long-running, industry-wide campaign to spread disinformation about the role of fossil fuels in causing global warming from top executives at ExxonMobil Corporation, BP America Inc., Chevron Corporation, Shell Oil Company, American Petroleum Institute, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. We also requested that the executives testify at a Committee hearing on October 28, 2021.
As worsening natural disasters linked to global warming devastate communities in the U.S. and globally, one of Congress’s top legislative priorities is combating the increasingly urgent crisis of a changing climate. Congress must address pollution caused by the fossil fuel industry and curb troubling business practices that lead to disinformation on these issues.
You can read our letter to the executives and the Chamber here.
Holding the Sackler Family Accountable
This week, the U.S. Trustee (UST), a component of the Justice Department responsible for overseeing the administration of bankruptcy cases, appealed the confirmation of Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy plan. I applaud this appeal, as the previously confirmed bankruptcy plan would grant sweeping legal protection to the Sackler family for their role in fueling an opioid crisis that has claimed more than half a million American lives. The Sacklers were granted these extraordinary legal releases over the objection of numerous state attorneys general and in violation of the due process rights of thousands of people. These releases are illegal and unconstitutional, and they must not stand.
Safeguarding and Modernizing the Federal Workforce
I applaud the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) new report that reinforces the agency’s independence to retain and attract a talented federal government workforce. The Oversight Committee was right to fight President Trump’s misguided attempts to abolish OPM. People are at the heart of the Federal Government and to help federal workers meet the unprecedented challenges facing us today, we must revitalize OPM. I support Director Ahuja and OPM in providing governmentwide leadership in supporting our federal workforce.
Urging the UN to Hold Turkey Accountable for its Actions in Cyprus
On Monday, I joined with Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Congressman Chris Pappas (D-NH) in leading 16 members of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues in urging United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to firmly assert the United Nations’ authority to administer and prevent the resettlement of Varosha, pursue the immediate and full implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions on Varosha, and examine sanctions against Turkish and Turkish Cypriot attempts to illegally and unilaterally reopen and resettle this city.
You can read our full letter to Secretary-General Guterres here.
Snapshot from NY-12
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.