Weekly Update: Ranked Choice Voting Info Session Tomorrow, Oversight Hearing on January 6 & Postal Reform,
This week, I chaired an Oversight and Reform Committee hearing examining the events of the January 6 insurrection and introduced the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act. The Oversight Committee also passed my Postal Service Reform Act, legislation that will put the Postal Service on more secure financial footing, enhance transparency, and improve service.
Do you have questions about New York’s new ranked choice voting system? I’ll be at Queensbridge House and Astoria Park this Saturday with the Mayor’s office to answer your questions.
Miss this week’s NY-12 COVID-19 Update? You can read it here.
More on D.C. happenings and other updates from the past week below.
Oversight Hearing: The Capitol Insurrection: Unexplained Delays and Unanswered Questions
This past Wednesday, I held a hearing to examine the events of the January 6 insurrection.
That day was an historic failure. The Capitol was overrun, several Americans died, and our nation’s peaceful transfer of power was nearly derailed. If the Attorney General had done his job, our law enforcement agencies would have been better prepared for the threat of violence by President Trump’s supporters. If the Defense Secretary had done his job, the mob attack would have been repelled hours earlier.
This hearing was the first time Congress heard testimony from former Acting Department of Defense (DOD) Secretary Christopher C. Miller and former Department of Justice (DOJ) Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen. It is unacceptable that these senior Trump Administration officials continue to downplay their failure to prepare for and respond to this attack. Republicans need to accept facts; President Trump provoked and encouraged this violent mob attack on Congress. Instead of trying to revise history, they need to work us to ensure that something like this never happens again.
It is clear that we need more oversight and a 9/11-style commission to get to the bottom of what happened.
You can read more about the hearing here.
Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act
Earlier this week, I was joined by Congressional Maternity Care Caucus co-chairs Congresswomen Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and co-chairs of the Black Maternal Health Caucus Congresswomen Alma Adams (D-NC) and Lauren Underwood (D-IL), to introduce the bipartisan Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act. This bill will close an unintentional coverage gap in the Break Time for Nursing Mothers Act and ensure that all employees who are nursing babies less than a year old have the access and protections they need to express milk during the workday.
When I was pregnant with my first child, I was told there was no such thing as maternity leave at my current job, and while we’ve come a long way since then, new parents still face too many difficulties in the workplace. Those difficulties should not include breastfeeding. All working moms who want to breastfeed must have access to basic accommodations to pump breastmilk in clean, private spaces. 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. No new mother should be forced to choose between breastfeeding and earning a paycheck.
You can read more about the bill here.
Postal Service Reform
On Thursday, I held an Oversight Committee business meeting during which we passed the Postal Service Reform Act and the Postal Service Improvement Act, as amended.
We have accomplished something historic by passing the bipartisan Postal Service Reform Act, legislation that will put the Postal Service on more secure financial footing, enhance transparency, and improve service. I am proud that this bill to strengthen the Postal Service was approved by the Oversight Committee on a strong bipartisan basis. This measure was years in the making, and I want to thank Ranking Member Comer and Representatives Connolly, Lynch, Lawrence, and Foxx as well as their staffs for their tenacious efforts to get bipartisan postal reform done. I’m looking forward to swift, bipartisan passage of this bill by the House and Senate.
The Postal Service Improvement Act will enable the Postal Service to more easily support boards of elections and voters to track mail-in ballots, and will create equity for postal employees by giving them access to 12 weeks of paid parental leave – a workplace benefit already provided to other federal employees. I’m hopeful that this policy will make the Postal Service more effective and help attract employees who want to build a career in public service. Alongside the bipartisan Postal Service Reform Act, this bill will help the Postal Service better serve the American people.
Electrifying the Postal Fleet
On Tuesday, I joined with Chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA), and Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA) in leading a group of more than 50 House Democrats in sending letters to President Biden and Speaker Pelosi requesting support to enable the United States Postal Service to purchase an all-electric delivery fleet and the infrastructure to support that fleet. Read more here.
Servicemember Parental Leave Act
This week, I joined with Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA), Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Congresswoman Stephanie Bice (R-OK), and Congressman David P. Joyce (R-OH) to introduce the bipartisan Servicemember Parental Leave Act. This bill would significantly expand parental leave for military servicemembers and make other improvements for new parents who serve in the armed forces.
It is long past time that our servicemembers have the parental leave they need to properly care for themselves, their children, and their partners. Our military’s leave policy should be the best in the nation, not lagging far behind the private sector and federal government. This is the least we can do for those who are serving this nation – raising a family while serving is already hard enough.
You can read more about the bill here.
Aid to NYC & Our Families
Emergency Broadband Benefit Program
This week, the FCC launched the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program, which will provide eligible New Yorkers with discounts on their monthly internet bill. From virtual classrooms to telehealth visits, the COVID-19 pandemic has made access to reliable, high-speed internet more important than ever. Today, internet service is a necessity, not a luxury, that every American family should be able to afford. I encourage New Yorkers who may be struggling right now to see if they qualify for this new program, and sign up by contacting their internet provider.
You can learn more on the FCC’s new enrollment website, getemergencybroadband.org.
Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds
Over the last year, COVID-19 has devastated families and communities across the nation and here at home in New York. This week, the Treasury Department is beginning to disburse the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds provided in the American Rescue Plan. This means $12.7 billion heading to New York State and $5.9 billion to New York City to help us build back better. These funds will help us continue getting vaccine shots in arms, upgrade school safety, provide mental health services, help struggling families and small businesses, and support an equitable recovery for our hardest-hit communities.
Situation in Israel and Gaza
The current situation in Israel and Gaza is untenable and unacceptable.
Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
Today, I was proud to vote to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and am urging the Senate to pass it swiftly. Pregnancy discrimination holds working parents back and threatens their financial stability, with women of color being disproportionately harmed by the current lack of workplace protections. It’s long past time we ensure that every worker is entitled to reasonable accommodations to support a healthy pregnancy.
We just celebrated Mother’s Day. What if – in addition to flowers one day per year – we make sure that during pregnancy, workers have fair working conditions? And are never in the position of risking their safety to continue providing for themselves and their families? No pregnant worker should have to choose between their health or their job.
Improving America’s Cybersecurity
With this week’s Executive Order to improve the nation’s cybersecurity and protect federal government networks, President Biden has taken a significant step toward bolstering our nation’s woefully inadequate cybersecurity. The threat to our country posed by malicious cyber actors is grave, and this order will begin the process of creating critical new procurement and cyber incident reporting requirements to ensure better cybersecurity practices from federal suppliers. Read more here.
Good Government Legislation
During Thursday’s hearing on postal reform, in addition to passing critical legislation that will improve the Postal Service, the Oversight Committee passed several bipartisan bills that will make the government more accountable and transparent. While we do not always agree, Thursday’s markup proves that there are things that we can do together to help better serve the American people. Read more here.
Coming Up: Oversight Hearings
Prescription Drug Pricing
On Tuesday, May 18, 2021, at 10:00 am, I will hold a hybrid hearing to examine the pricing and business practices of AbbVie Inc., which sells the anti-inflammatory drug Humira and the cancer drug Imbruvica. You can read more here.
The Opioid Crisis
On Tuesday, June 8, 2021, at 10:00 am, 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 Committee will hear from New York Times bestselling author Patrick Radden Keefe, whose recently published exposé, Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty, documents the history of the Sackler family and the fortune they amassed while fueling the opioid crisis. You can read more here.
I hope you’ll join me next Friday, May 21 for this month’s Coffee with Carolyn.
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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