Our nation has reached a tipping point. We are in the midst of an epidemic of gun violence that is equally inflicting devastating carnage on our community; because of the culture of easy access to guns, and the failure of some elected officials to stand up to the gun lobby. I believe we must break the grip of the NRA on Congress and our state legislature by adding our voices to the fight.
To that end, I proudly introduced H.R. 3435 to help cities like St. Louis reduce gun violence through local, common-sense regulation. The Local Public Health and Safety Protection Act allows local communities the freedom to enact gun control policies without the permission of their state legislatures, ensuring that communities have the power to protect themselves from gun violence.
Too many Americans feel that, when it comes to economic policy, the interests of big business take priority over the needs of working people. It’s time for Congress to enact legislation that will create jobs here in America and will provide real support and opportunity for working families. I have co-sponsored a number of bills to do just that, including:
- H.R. 6104, the Generating American Income and Infrastructure Now Act (GAIIN Act). This bill requires the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to sell certain distressed notes and other obligations held by USDA. Of the proceeds from the sale:
- 50% must be deposited into an account for carrying out infrastructure projects in low-income communities.
- 50% must be retained by the Treasury for deficit reduction.
- H.R. 582, the Raise the Wage Act of 2019, to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025. This act would increase the paychecks of 33 million Americans, including 677,000 Missourians.
I have also worked with local and national leadership to bring the Next NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency) West to North St. Louis. We broke ground on the $1.7 Billion project, the largest federal investment in St. Louis history on November 26, 2019, and the facility will be operational by 2025. The facility alone will bring 1,500 construction jobs and 3,000 permanent jobs to North St. Louis, and its operations will help bring even more economic development to the surrounding neighborhood.
From career civil servants threatened by a criminal President to survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, I believe that witnesses to crimes should always be able to tell the truth free from retaliation. Witness protection is imperative to our criminal justice system, which is why I worked with St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner and St. Louis County prosecutor Wesley Bell to help them enhance our witness protection program. I am also calling for tougher criminal penalties for witness intimidation, as no witness should ever be forced to make the choice between staying silent and facing personal danger.
America is facing a Black Maternal Health Crisis, as African-American, Native American, and Alaska Native women die of pregnancy related causes three times more often than white women. I believe that it is long past time we took maternal health care seriously, so I introduced the Black Maternal Health “Momnibus,” a historic legislative package that will:
- Make critical investments in social determinants of health that influence maternal health outcomes, like housing, transportation, and nutrition.
- Provide funding to community-based organizations that are working to improve maternal health outcomes, particularly for black women.
- Comprehensively study the unique maternal health risks facing women veterans and invest in VA maternity care coordination.
- Grow and diversify the perinatal workforce to ensure that every mom in America receives maternity care and support from people she can trust.
- Improve data collection processes and quality measures to better understand the causes of the maternal health crisis in the United States and inform solutions to address it.
- Invest in maternal mental health care and substance use disorder treatments.
- Improve maternal health care and support for incarcerated women.
- Invest in digital tools like telehealth to improve maternal health outcomes in underserved areas.
- Promote innovative payment models to incentivize high-quality maternity care and continuity of health insurance coverage from pregnancy through labor and delivery and up to 1 year postpartum.
I have also cosponsored the Medicare for All Act of 2019 and the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH) Woman Act of 2019, which would:
- Eliminate the anti-Choice Hyde Amendment.
- Ensure that all federal government health insurance plans cover abortion care.
- Strongly oppose state level attacks on reproductive rights.
I recognize that climate change is the most important issue facing our nation and our world today, and I will always advocate for renewable energy and the fight against climate change. I proudly co-sponsored H.Res. 109, Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal. This important step affirms the need for the Federal Government to meet the goals of:
- Achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.
- Establishing millions of high-wage jobs and ensuring economic security for all.
- Investing in infrastructure and industry.
- Securing clean air and water, climate and community resiliency, healthy food, access to nature, and a sustainable environment for all.
- Promoting justice and equality.
As a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, I am also proud to cosponsor:
- H.R. 3195 – The Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act.
- H.R. 1373 – The Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act, which would protect over 1 million acres of federal lands from mining and other environmentally destructive activities.
- H.R. 3824 – The Cahokia Mounds Mississippian Culture National Historical Park Act, which would designate the magnificent
Education is the key by which we can each open the doors of opportunity. A quality public education for every American creates stronger communities and ensures that our nation is thoroughly prepared for the challenges of the 21st century. I am deeply committed to ensuring that our public education system functions effectively and successfully serves our students. That includes supporting federal
funding to make schools safer, increasing and expanding Pell Grants for low-income students, and making college and vocational trade schools more affordable. I am a proud co-sponsor of the following bills to improve access to education:
- Sponsored H.R. 4750 and H.R. 4749, Relief from Excessive Debt Act (RED) and Student Loan Relief Act of 2019 respectively, providing temporary and permanent relieve from student loan
- Cosponsor and advocate for H.R. 4180 the Teacher Tax Deduction Act of 2019, allowing teachers to claim higher deductions on their taxes for out of pocket instructional expenses
- Cosponsor and advocate for H.R. 3511 Transforming Student Debt to Home Equity Act of 2019, establishing and implementing a pilot program to provide eligible applicants the ability to receive student loan assistance while purchasing a home.
- Cosponsor and advocate for H.R. 3257 Student Loan Fairness Act of 2019 which would amend current federal regulation to introduce the 10/10 Loan Repayment Plan. The 10/10 Loan
Repayment Plan would allow ten (10) years of payments at 10% of yearly discretionary income to count towards the 120-payment requirement. Any outstanding student loan balance after
ten (10) year of payments under this plan, would be forgiven. Private loans would be allowed to “rollover” into federal loan repayment plans to allow borrowers to better manage payment.
This bill would also cap federal student loan interest rates at 3.4 percent.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are the basic tenants afforded to all citizens of America. In order to ensure Americans and my constituents in the First Congressional District are afford their life
to purse any liberty of their choosing in the pursuit of happiness, I am honored to have cosponsored a few of the following laws and resolutions:
- H.R. 1 For the People Act of 2019 providing for the expansion of voter registration, voting access, election integrity, election security, political spending, and ethics in all three branches of
- H.R. 3 Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act to lower prescription drug cost and expand Medicare to cover dental, vision, and hearing care for Seniors
- H.R. 1595 Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2019 which prohibits federally regulated
banks from penalizing or discouraging legitimate marijuana-related business in banking
- H.R. 3884 Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2019 which decriminalizes and deschedule cannabis while providing reinvestment in communities of color
adversely affected by the War on Drugs. Individuals with cannabis related offenses are expected to receive expunged criminal records from this legislation.
The opioid epidemic has taken too many lives in America, especially in the first congressional district of Missouri. As your congressman, I am deeply troubled and sadden by the effect of opioids on our community and like communities afflicts by this silent killer. Without a substantial increase of support and national commitment, we will continue to feel the negative effects of opioids in our community. I have been honored to co-sponsor the following legislation to combat the opioid epidemic on behalf of America and the First Congressional District:
- HR 2459 Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency Act providing emergency assistance to states and local areas affected by the opioid epidemic with financial assistance to local areas
through nonprofits and state governments. These organizations will also be responsible to citizens by coordinating effective and efficient delivery of care to those dealing with substance
- HR 2466 State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act providing financial resources to State Opioid Response (SOR) Grants and Tribal Opioid Response (TOR) Grants for 5 years. It provides $1 billion per year, which includes $50 million for TOR grants. These resources are needed to combat the growing epidemic of opioid addiction and crisis.