Fighting Back: “Democrats are not backing down from the fight against systemic racism.”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Congressman Donald McEachin discussing the urgent need to pass legislation to fight systemic racism.

(Congressman Donald McEachin discussed the urgent need to pass House Democrats’ George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to fight systemic racism and the vital role of environmental justice in protecting disproportionately impacted communities of color.)

“Never have the deadly and insidious effects of systemic racism been clearer than the past few months as we have all weathered a pandemic that has disproportionately assailed and killed Black and brown people. The COVID-19 crisis proves that evidence of systemic racism is not always as graphic as cellphone footage of police encounters gone wrong, but its effects are just as destructive.

“Addressing racism and justice for all certainly means that one’s own community, one’s home must not be a health risk. It is no secret that the same racist economic and political forces that previously redlined Black and brown neighborhoods into environmentally hazardous areas still exist today.[…]

“Communities that have disproportionately suffered from environmental injustice and are now hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis need the government to treat them as a strong partner in the decisions that will affect their neighborhoods and their well-being, not regulate them to an afterthought.

“Together, we will work to protect our environmental laws, to research and address the cumulative impacts of pollution on overburdened communities and to prioritize frontline communities in new federal spending to deploy clean energy and infrastructure.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Transcript: Congressman Donald McEachin Delivers Weekly Democratic Address

“Hello, I am Congressman Donald McEachin, and I have the honor of representing Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District.

“Americans today are recognizing we must do more to address two critical and intertwined issues in our nation: the unfinished work of racial justice and the need for environmental justice to protect our communities.

“People across our country are still protesting in the streets because they believe in a better America, an America where equal justice under the law is more than an empty platitude.

“Our communities are tired of watching African Americans maimed or killed with no accountability from our justice system. Americans tire of the endless hashtags and of shouldering the compounding weight of our collective grief, pain and rage. They deserve for their Congress to rise to meet this moment in our nation’s history, to make clear once and for all that no one should be above the law because they wear a badge.

“I urge the Senate to join House Democrats in hearing the loud, unyielding call for justice and pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to end the pervasive bias in policing and demand accountability from officers to the communities they serve.

“Unlike the Senate Republicans’ proposal, the American people deserve serious legislation that combats the epidemic of racial injustice and police brutality. They deserve a bill that contains meaningful and mandatory measures to end this country’s persistent pattern of police misconduct.

“This crisis is not new, but this moment has to be different. We cannot go back to business as usual until America shows with action that Black Lives Matter. The present moment has laid bare what we have known all along: the real and urgent discussions happening today about racism in this country are long overdue.

“Never have the deadly and insidious effects of systemic racism been clearer than the past few months as we have all weathered a pandemic that has disproportionately assailed and killed Black and brown people. The COVID-19 crisis proves that evidence of systemic racism is not always as graphic as cellphone footage of police encounters gone wrong, but its effects are just as destructive.

“Addressing racism and justice for all certainly means that one’s own community, one’s home must not be a health risk. It is no secret that the same racist economic and political forces that previously redlined Black and brown neighborhoods into environmentally hazardous areas still exist today.

“To begin to address this reality, I worked alongside Representative Raúl Grijalva, Chair of the Natural Resources Committee and with environmental justice communities across the country to introduce the Environmental Justice for All Act, legislation crafted by the people, for the people to give them a voice and a means to fight back against the pollution that threatens their children and their families.

“We spent the last year and a half listening and learning from the stories of these communities, stories that should never happen in America.

“Stories of Black and brown communities located adjacent to toxic waste sites and factories spewing noxious air, grappling with alarming rates of asthma, cancer and even death.

“For too long, we have denied those communities a voice and a means to fight back against the pollution that threatens their children and families.

“But this Congress, in the House Democrats’ Climate Action Plan drafted by the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, we make clear our commitment to these communities to work collaboratively to right these wrongs.

“We make clear that the concerns of communities most affected by pollution and health disparities must be centered in our policymaking and ensure that environmental justice is our future. And we make clear to the polluters that are poisoning the air and waterways in environmental justice communities that enough is enough.

“House Democrats know that the clean, sustainable future we are fighting for cannot exist without a democracy that truly provides equity and justice for all. And while President Trump eliminates basic and necessary environmental regulations, we are working hard to ensure Americans, no matter their zip code or race or income level, are protected from environmental devastation at a time when they need our support the most.

“Communities that have disproportionately suffered from environmental injustice and are now hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis need the government to treat them as a strong partner in the decisions that will affect their neighborhoods and their well-being, not regulate them to an afterthought.

“Together, we will work to protect our environmental laws, to research and address the cumulative impacts of pollution on overburdened communities and to prioritize frontline communities in new federal spending to deploy clean energy and infrastructure.

“And together, we can ensure a better, brighter, more sustainable future for Americans across our country, while delivering justice to communities that have long been denied.”

Any bolding has been added.

~

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference from Thursday:

Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference

Speaker Pelosi. Good morning, good morning.

So here we are. The Supreme Court, including the President’s appointees, have declared that he is not above the law. The path that the Supreme Court has laid out is one that is clearly achievable by us in the lower court, and we will continue to go down that path.

The decision enables – to enable the Trump Administration’s – I don’t even know what they are saying about it. I hear he is tweeting one thing and then other people are saying another. But whatever it is, it is not good news for the President of the United States. It is a path that we will take.

So I put out a statement. I don’t see it here. Do we have a copy of the statement? Do we? It’s not here. So – but, anyway, you don’t need me to give you a piece of paper to have what the statement is, but it took me a little longer to get out here because I wanted to read to the bottom, end of the decision. And Chief Justice specifically speaks to the fact that the President is ‘not above the law.’ And that was something that was proclaimed in the decision, including two of his recent appointments.

Now, let me say: A careful reading of the Supreme Court ruling related to the President’s financial records is not good news for President Trump.

The Court has reaffirmed Congress’s authority to conduct oversight on behalf of the American people, as it asks for further information from Congress. Congress’s constitutional responsibility to uncover the truth continues, specifically related to the President’s Russia connection that he is hiding.

The Congress will continue to conduct oversight For The People, upholding the separation of powers that is the genius of our Constitution. We will continue to press our case in the lower courts.

That is what happened this morning.

Earlier this morning, for the sixteenth week in a row, over one million Americans applied for Unemployment Insurance – the sixteenth week in a row. We have to open up our economy. We can only do so by killing off the virus. That is what is in The Heroes Act. Testing. Tracing. Treatment. Separation. Masking. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. As I said, that is what is in The Heroes Act.

All of the scientific pronouncements have spoken to the need for more testing and the urgency of tracing and the benefit of treatment so that people do not die. Again, this Administration seems to be turning its back on science and instead saying: Open up. Take a risk. And oh, by the way, open up the schools. Open up the schools.

As a mother and a grandmother, we all – everybody I know wants to open up the schools. Indeed, a large percentage, overwhelmingly, the teachers want to open up the schools, but it has to be safe for the children. And to be safe for the children, we must attack this coronavirus. We must kill it off. We cannot ignore it and we cannot call it a hoax and we cannot misrepresent the facts as to what the status of it is.

In order for the children to go back to school, our state and local governments have to function. That is what The Heroes Act is about. The first piece of it: honor our heroes. State and local government, hiring our first responders. Our teachers, our teachers, our teachers. Our health care workers who risk their lives to save other lives, and now they may lose their jobs. Over a million public employees have lost their jobs in the course of this coronavirus and we can change that if we make the commitment in The Heroes Act to state and local government.

And by the way, go there – Speaker.gov/HeroesAct – and see how much money goes to your community. Your state, your locality, your county, your municipality. And then recognize that it is only one‑half of what the Republicans gave to the top one percent in their tax scam. Their tax scam costs twice as much as what we want to spend to open up government, to provide the services that people need, to open up our economy and to open up our schools.

The Secretary of Education indicated that children should go to school. They have to take risks. Everybody takes risks: you take risks to ride a bicycle, to be an astronaut. There are risks. You have to take risks.

No, we don’t want our children to take risks to go to school. We are supposed to mitigate for any damage. We are supposed to keep them safe. So, with stiff competition, that was one of the most ill‑informed statements – stiff competition though in this Administration on this and other subjects.

And the third part of it is, we are never going to have our economy come back unless we recognize that we must put money in the pockets of the American people. And that is what we do with the third pillar of The Heroes Act.

Unemployment Insurance will expire in a few weeks. In July, Unemployment Insurance will expire. The Heroes Act extends it, extends it. And, again, the last checks go out about July 26th, or something like that, but it is over by the end of the month.

We must renew Unemployment Insurance. This morning, sixteenth straight week of one million people, over one million people applying for Unemployment Insurance. And we have to put the money in the pockets of people with our direct payments, absolutely essential.

If we do not, if we do not help our state and local governments honoring our heroes, if we do not kill off this virus and if we do not put money in the pockets of the American people, our economy will only worsen. Don’t take it from me. Take it from authorities on the subject who track this all the time. So it is absolutely essential, absolutely essential, that we come together in a bipartisan way and get this done in the next few weeks.

It also has in there, resources that had bipartisan support in the country for helping the Postal Service – keeping the Postal Service going, keeping voting‑at‑home funded; and also, a very important part, putting people back to work, our OSHA provision for safety in the workplace.

PPP and its availability, or lack thereof, is very much a part of everything we have been talking about, about meeting the health care needs of people who are diagnosed. It is essential to our teachers and our children going back to school, teachers, custodians, all of those who are responsible for the education of our children, which is of the highest priority for us all, safely – PPP, necessary. And, again, we have a shortage of that.

So we have to have commonsense weigh in on this, commonsense to listen to the scientists and not CDC regulations that are predicated on a tweet, on a tweet. What? We always want any guidance that we get to be updated by the scientific knowledge and the rest, but for this to be downgraded on a tweet, just tells you how senseless all of this is.

As we are gathering here this week, the – many things are going on. The Appropriations Committee is meeting every day, starting Monday, over the next two weeks putting together our appropriations bills which, as you know, must be passed by September 30th. That is the deadline.

The Armed Services Committee is meeting, I think right now, as we speak, and they are being briefed on matters that relate to Russia. Right now, today, I guess it is a continuation of the work of the Committee on Energy and Commerce that is having its hearings. Appropriations, Homeland Security – these are the subcommittees of Appropriations.

Foreign Affairs Committee on Europe is having its hearings. Education and Labor: examining the impact of COVID‑19 on the future of higher education. Financial Services: economic perspectives on alternative approaches to protecting workers during COVID‑19. Oversight Committee goes into the life‑threatening impact of single‑use plastic on human health. And then in Natural Resources, there is a meeting of Democrats only on the restoration economy, examining environmental and economic opportunities.

The list goes on: Homeland Security, Small Business, Budget, Veterans Affairs, Energy and Commerce, I said. There are, like, three days of these meetings.

So, I am very proud of the work that the Members are doing to prepare us for the votes on the Floor when we call all the Members back.

Intelligence Committee, when we come back, will be marking up the intelligence bill. But it is all in the works now. So, we are getting ready for when they come back. And as I say, many of these meetings are virtual. Some are hybrid. Some are actual – all of them important, and all of them to be acted upon when we come back, including the appropriations bill and almost immediately, the National Defense Authorization Act.

The urgency – it is more than urgent. It is so necessary and so obvious of The Heroes Act demands. It is an imperative that we put something together that passes out of the Congress, signed by the President, by the end of July so that people who have uncertainty in their lives because of unemployment, uncertainty in their lives because of just not having resources, will have the comfort of knowing and therefore the consumer confidence to spend, which is so important.

Anyway, it is just a very eventful time, sad about the, again, the sixteenth week of people applying for Unemployment Insurance.

Carefully reading the Supreme Court decision and responsibilities for them that they lay out for the Congress, which we will abide by in the lower courts. And, again, seven to two, even the President’s appointees saying the President of the United States is not above the law.

Speaker Pelosi. Any questions?

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

~

Dear Colleague on Congress’s Duty to Continue Oversight Following Supreme Court Victory for the Constitution and Rule of Law

July 10, 2020

Dear Democratic Colleague,

As you know, the Supreme Court issued a 7-2 decision on Thursday in the case involving President Trump’s challenge to Congress’s right to conduct oversight and issue subpoenas to access the President’s financial records. This is the first time that this issue has been litigated before the Supreme Court; in the past, Presidents and Congress have cooperated on matters of subpoenas. Sadly, because of President Trump’s insistence that he is above the law, court proceedings were necessary. Happily, the Court concluded the President is not above the law.

These rulings are a victory for the Constitution and the rule of law and are not good news for President Trump. The Court made clear that the President is not above the law, as it rejected his argument that the House can never obtain his personal financial records and reaffirmed the Congress’s authority to conduct oversight and issue subpoenas on behalf of the American people. Moreover, in the companion New York case, the Court resoundingly rejected the President’s argument that the Supremacy Clause gives a sitting President absolute immunity from state criminal investigative subpoenas seeking his financial records. See United States v. Burr.

In the Mazars case, the Court rejected the argument by the President and the Justice Department that a Congressional Committee must meet “demanding standards” to obtain Presidential information. It held that this matter should be re-examined by the lower courts and set out standards that Congress’s subpoenas must meet, including related to the specificity and legislative purpose of the subpoenas and burden on the President resulting from the subpoena. The bottom line is that the Court made clear that the President is subject to Congressional subpoenas and laid out a standard that we know we can meet.

The press has made these decisions about the President’s taxes. These cases are separate from the case involving a request by the House Ways and Means Committee to the Treasury Department/IRS for copies of Trump’s tax returns. That case is currently stalled in District Court in D.C., where the judge is awaiting a ruling by the D.C. Circuit regarding a Judiciary Committee subpoena to former White House Counsel Don McGahn. The McGahn case was argued several months ago before the full D.C. Circuit, and we await an imminent decision.

The Congress will continue to press our case in the lower courts, as set out by the Mazars decision. Congress’s constitutional responsibility to uncover the truth continues, particularly related to the President’s Russia and other foreign connections, which is a matter of national security. And we will continue to conduct oversight For The People, upholding the separation of powers that is the genius of our Constitution.

Thank you for your patriotic leadership on behalf of the American people.

best regards,
Nancy

~

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  2 comments for “Fighting Back: “Democrats are not backing down from the fight against systemic racism.”

  1. JanF
    July 12, 2020 at 12:11 pm

    We can run on health care in 2020, 2022, 2024, 2026 – however long it takes to make health care in America a right that the Republicans on the Supreme Court can’t deny to us.

    Pelosi Statement on Supreme Court Ruling on ACA Contraceptive Coverage Case

    July 8, 2020

    San Francisco – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to weaken the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive-coverage requirement by allowing private employers to opt out of providing contraceptive coverage for their employees:

    “The Supreme Court’s decision to enable the Trump Administration’s brutal assault on women’s health, financial security and independence is a fundamental misreading of the statute. The Affordable Care Act was explicitly designed to prevent discrimination against women and to ensure that women have access to preventive care, including contraception.

    “It is unconscionable that, in the middle of the worst global pandemic in modern history, the Administration is focusing on denying basic health care to women that is essential for their health and financial security, instead of protecting lives and livelihoods.

    The Democratic House will continue to fight to uphold and strengthen the ACA and just last week, passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act to further lower health care costs and strengthen coverage. Access to affordable health care is a matter of life-or-death, and Democrats will never stop fighting #ForThePeople at this devastating time.”

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    • bfitzinAR
      July 12, 2020 at 3:39 pm

      Basically that’s probably the only thing we can run on and win – but it’s a very good thing to run on and we can do the other stuff as well as long as we do win.

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