Weekly Update: Pride 2021 & Moms' Equal Pay Day
This Tuesday kicked off Pride 2021, a month dedicated to celebrating the hard-fought wins for LGBTQIA+ equality that we’ve made, pay tribute to those who sacrificed so much to make progress, and recognize the work still to be done. As we see a spate of anti-transgender bills that are being proposed in local governments all across the country, it is even more important that we make it clear to transgender youth that we are fighting to keep them safe.
Today marks Moms’ Equal Pay Day – symbolizing the extra days into 2021 that mothers’ must work to be paid the same amount that their male peers took home in 2020. To mark the occasion, I held a roundtable at Hunter College to examine how the gender pay gap specifically impacts moms and what we can do to make this better.
More on these and other updates below.
If you missed this week’s NY-12 COVID Vaccine and Recovery Update, you can read it here.
June is recognized nationwide as Pride Month, a time to celebrate hard-fought wins for LGBTQIA+ equality and pay tribute to those who sacrificed so much to make progress.
In the 1980s, as a member of the New York City Council, I authored the first bill in New York State history to legally recognize same sex couples. I was initially told the bill was unconstitutional and could not be printed, but I persevered. Today, we know that what was unconstitutional was denying the fundamental right to marriage to millions of Americans. And while we’ve come a long way since then, the LGBTQIA+ community still faces unacceptable daily harassment, violence, and unequal treatment.
This year marks 52 years since the Stonewall Uprising, and as a New Yorker, I am immensely proud and forever grateful to those who took a stand at the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969. Their actions, led by Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, sparked a turning point in the gay rights movement, and yet a half-century later, we still have work to do. The Senate must pass the Equality Act, and both the House and Senate need to pass the Resolution Calling to End Homophobia and Transphobia, the Armed Forces Transgender Dependent Protection Act, and the Global Respect Act.
We all need to work together to defeat the spate of anti-transgender bills that are being proposed in local governments all across the country – greatly endangering trans youth and their mental health, and we need to address the bigotry and hatred that is leading to and encouraging the murder of Black trans women.
Every American must feel free and protected to live their truth.
On this first week of Pride, I proudly remain a committed ally and promise to never stop fighting until all members of the LGBTQIA+ community can live not only without fear of discrimination, but fully embraced as an integral part of our communities.
Oversight Committee Roundtable: Moms’ Equal Pay Day
This morning, I hosted a roundtable at Hunter College to recognize Moms’ Equal Pay Day and examine the impact of the gender wage gap on working mothers—including how the gender wage gap has forced many mothers out of the workforce during the pandemic.
As a mother myself, I have personally experienced the hardships and discrimination many women face in the workplace. Things have improved since I had young children, but they haven’t changed enough! We must make more progress so that mothers are supported and fairly compensated for the incredible work they do.
Seeking Information on Private Companies’ Ransomware Payments
As I wrote in my letters, I am extremely concerned that the decision to pay international criminal actors sets a dangerous precedent that will put an even bigger target on the back of critical infrastructure going forward. Congress needs detailed information about ransom payments made to cybercriminal actors to legislate effectively on cybersecurity and ransomware in the United States.
You can read the letters here.
Examining Security Risks of Government Telework Systems
On Wednesday, I sent letters to ten Inspectors General recommending they each conduct an assessment of any cyber vulnerabilities created or exacerbated by their respective departments’ and agencies’ use of telework systems during the coronavirus pandemic, and whether those vulnerabilities have been mitigated.
You can read the full letters from me, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security Stephen F. Lynch; Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations Gerald E. Connolly; Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy Raja Krishnamoorthi; Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Jamie Raskin; and Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Environment Ro Khanna here.
GAO Report on Management Problems at DHS Office of Inspector General
On Thursday, I joined with Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson, Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member John Katko, and Oversight and Reform Committee Ranking Member James Comer to announce the release of a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report we requested on systemic management problems at the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General (DHS OIG).
It is critical that DHS, a large agency with a national security mission, has an Office of Inspector General that is fully functional and conducting effective oversight. We expect the DHS OIG to fulfill its mission with independence, integrity, transparency, and accountability, but this report makes clear the office must make significant changes to do so. GAO has presented clear evidence that the failure to address long-standing weaknesses has impacted the quality and timeliness of the OIG’s work, and has resulted in arbitrary decision-making leading to diminished morale and complaints of leadership favoritism. While Inspector General Cuffari responded by saying that work on addressing GAO’s recommendations has begun, we need to see a complete implementation plan and real action to accomplish it in order to assess whether the office is on the right track.
You can read more about the report here.
Coming Up: Oversight Hearings
Sleeping Danger: The Rock ‘n Play Sleeper and Failures in Infant Product Safety
On Monday, June 7 at 11am I will hold a hybrid Oversight Committee hearing on the Committee’s investigation into dozens of infant deaths associated with the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper sold by Fisher-Price, a subsidiary of Mattel, and grave flaws in the U.S. consumer product safety system.
Yesterday, the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) passed a rule banning infant inclined sleep products and today, it announced its decision to issue recalls of Mattel’s Rock ‘n Glide Soother and Soothe ‘n Play Glider. I commend the CPSC for taking these actions to protect Americans from dangerous products that have been connected with the tragic deaths of close to 100 infants.
The Rock ‘n Glide Soother and Soothe ‘n Play Glider are inclined infant products that Fisher-Price marketed for sleep despite clear evidence that sleeping at an incline is unsafe for babies. The company never should have released these dangerous products to the public, and this appears to be part of a troubling pattern of Mattel selling products that pose serious risks to infants. The Oversight Committee has been investigating this issue for nearly two years, and next week the company’s CEO will testify before the Committee and explain why his company appears to have put profits over people. This news underscores that we must address the weaknesses in federal oversight of consumer product safety, so that companies don’t have the final say on whether their products are safe.
You can watch live here.
The SACKLER Act and Other Policies to Promote Accountability for the Sackler Family’s Role in the Opioid Epidemic
On Tuesday, June 8 at 12pm, I will hold a hybrid hearing to examine the Sackler family’s role in fueling America’s opioid epidemic and policies to promote accountability, like the SACKLER Act.
The hearing will examine the harm members of the Sackler family inflicted on American communities while enriching themselves through Purdue Pharma’s sales of the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin.
You can watch live 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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