Catching Up with Annie
The Right Side of History
Washington, D.C., June 19, 2020
This week I am thinking about what it means to be an American and to strive for “the pursuit of happiness, with liberty and justice for all.”
On Monday, I joined Governor Sununu and General Mikolaities for the somber interment at the NH Veterans Cemetery of NH National Guard Specialist Pamela Usanase, 21, of Concord, who tragically drowned in the Merrimack River on May 30. I was moved by the outpouring of community members who turned out for the service and the love of her National Guard unit who presented full honors, including the American flag to her courageous family. Pamela had been assigned by the National Guard to the New Hampshire Food Bank for COVID-19 relief operations since late April, and helped prepare more than 40,000 meals for families in need. We will never forget Pamela’s generous and selfless nature, and we are grateful for her service.
On Tuesday evening, Brad and I joined hundreds of Hopkinton residents, who gathered at our Town Library and marched to the gazebo for speeches by local high school students to support the Black Lives Matter movement. I was touched by the courage and grace of each student, sharing their lived experience and urging our town to listen and learn about how each of us can combat racism and fight for police reform and equal justice, here at home in New Hampshire and all across America. We can and must do more to educate ourselves about race, justice and systemic racism - and this list of books, films and podcasts is a good start.
As our country continues to reflect on racism and how to build a fairer and more equal world, we also commemorate Juneteenth - the anniversary of the end of slavery in the United States. We carry the memory of those who were subjected to unspeakable pain and injustice close to our hearts. While we’ve made great progress in the 155 years since the emancipation of slaves, our work is far from over. This week, led by the Congressional Black Caucus, the House Judiciary Committee passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act: a bold, unprecedented reform to combat police brutality, end racial profiling and eliminate qualified immunity for law enforcement. This legislation will transform the culture of policing to address systemic racism and help save lives as it holds police accountable and improves transparency.
This Week’s Supreme Court Rulings
This week, the Supreme Court ruled that all Americans -regardless of who they are or who they love - are protected from discrimination in the workplace under federal law. This decision is a step towards progress and a victory for the LGBTQ community.
In addition, yesterday’s ruling by the Supreme Court to block the Trump Administration’s reckless, cruel decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will bring some certainty to the lives of hundreds of thousands of young Dreamers who were brought to our country as children and only know one nation as home - the United States. These young Americans are making contributions to our nation by serving in our military, working and paying taxes, and getting an education.
Building a Clean Energy Economy
On Tuesday, I had an opportunity to question former Energy Secretary Moniz in a virtual Energy and Commerce Energy Subcommittee hearing on how we can work to ensure this pandemic does not hurt our nation’s clean energy future.
Confronting Disparities and Inequities in Our Health Care System
I participated in a virtual Energy and Commerce Committee hearing Wednesday on inequality in America’s health care system. We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities of color. But, this began long before COVID-19, and systemic racism has been a public health crisis in this country since its founding. In New Hampshire, the proportion of COVID-19 cases continues to grow in communities of color. I am hopeful that this conversation is one of many future hearings on our Committee’s continued work in addressing racial health inequities and social justice.
Fighting for the Postal Service
This week, I joined Congressman Chris Pappas, Congresswoman Kendra Horn and Congressman Gil Cisneros in urging SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza to address the dire financial state of the U.S. Postal Service and the impact this could have on small businesses across the country. Without the Postal Service, small businesses that are already increasingly reliant on e-commerce to stay afloat would not only see higher overhead costs but could lose customers as well.
The House recently passed the HEROES Act, which includes $25 billion in emergency funding for the US Postal Service. The Senate should act to pass this vital legislation.
Remembering the Charleston Church Shooting
Five years after the horrific violence at Mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston, we remember the nine peaceful worshipers who were senselessly killed in an act of hate and racism. As we continue to mourn this loss, we must act to prevent future acts of violence.
Last year, we took meaningful action in the House as we passed H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act, to close the Charleston Loophole. It's been more than a year since we passed this commonsense gun violence prevention legislation, but the Senate has yet to hold a vote - this must change. You can watch my colleague, Congressman James Clyburn, discuss the need to take action here.
A Message for 2020 Graduates
Across New Hampshire this month, graduates are beginning new chapters of their lives with the absence of the regular celebrations and festivities of years past. Despite these uncertain times, our young Granite Staters continue to display immense strength and resilience. Congratulations, class of 2020 - we are so proud of you! You can watch my full message to the class of 2020 here.
News You Can Use
This week is Census Week! The Census only takes about 10 minutes to complete and getting an accurate count is critical to ensure Granite State communities have the resources, funds, and representation they deserve. Go to my2020census.gov.