Monday, March 27, 2017

CONYERS: “NFL Players Speak Up: First-Hand Experiences and Building Trust Between Communities and Police”

RVSP Here
Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.

What:            Congressional forum to hear from NFL players about their own experiences and how they hope to improve relationships with minority  communities and the police while supporting programs to help inmates successfully re-enter their communities.

Hosts:             Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member
                       House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

                      Rep. John Conyers Jr., Ranking Member
                      House Committee on the Judiciary

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Ranking Member
                      Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee

Rep. Cedric Richmond, Chair
Congressional Black Caucus

When:            11am on Thursday, March 30, 2017

Where:           2154 Rayburn House Office Building

Who:             Anquan Boldin, Detroit Lions

Malcolm Jenkins, Philadelphia Eagles

                      Phillip Atiba Goff, PhD, Cofounder and President, Center for Policing Equity

[Additional NFL players may accompany Mr. Boldin and Mr. Jenkins.]

RSVP:          Media interested in attending should RSVP toShadawn.reddick-smith@mail.house.gov.

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

CONYERS: House GOP Keeps Attacking The Intelligence Community, Ignoring Their Warnings


Washington, D.C. – Earlier today, three senior Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter, below, to the leaders of the U.S. intelligence community, arguing that “unauthorized and felonious disclosures . . . are increasingly casting a pall over not only our country’s intelligence apparatus but also the American people’s trust in the efficacy and integrity of the intelligence community.” 

House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) released the following statement in response:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“I do not condone the unlawful release of classified information by anyone, including to or from the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. 

“But, once again, the Majority has chosen to focus on the fire alarm and not on the fire.  Every day, we learn more about possible connections between the government of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump’s campaign for president.  Those connections raise the specter of a massive effort to undermine our democratic institutions.  Once again, the Majority chooses to ignore the warnings of the whistleblowers and journalists who bring us this information.  Every day that they complain about ‘felonious leaking’ and not collusion with a foreign adversary represents another missed or delayed opportunity to get to the bottom of Russia’s attack on our democracy.

“Recent events make it altogether clear that we must have an independent and bipartisan investigation of the substantive issues here—including but not limited to the string of Trump campaign officials who met with Russian officials, attempted to hide those meetings, and were forced to recant or resign when the truth became public.”

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Friday, March 24, 2017

CONYERS & CICILLINE: The Right Approach to Promoting Competition in the Health Care Marketplace

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
Healthy competition in the health insurance marketplace is one of the most critical elements in ensuring that Americans can access quality, affordable health care. When insurance companies are forced to compete, the American people win.

Unfortunately, too many families are still paying higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs today because of anti-competitive practices that health insurance giants are allowed to engage in under the law.

One of the reasons? It’s a law few Americans have ever heard of—the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945.

Under this law, insurers can engage in egregious actions like price fixing, bid rigging, and market allocation with total impunity. These practices allow insurers to inflate their costs and impose burdens on middle class families all across our nation.

That’s why House Democrats have supported the full repeal of the McCarran-Ferguson Act since 1988, and passed legislation to end this antitrust exemption for health insurers in 2010 by a vote of 406-19.

This week, we worked with the same Republicans that opposed this measure in 2010 to pass H.R. 372, the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act, legislation that repeals the antitrust exemption that has shielded health insurers for more than 70 years.

As the Council of Economic Advisors put it last year, robust enforcement of antitrust laws is “an important way in which the government makes sure the market provides the best outcomes for society with respect to choice, innovation, and price as well as fair labor and business markets.”
But make no mistake: while promoting competition in state markets will benefit consumers, the benefits will be lost if Republicans are able to repeal the strong consumer protections that exist as part of the Affordable Care Act.

These protections, which the American people overwhelmingly support, ensure that health insurance markets operate efficiently, lift limits on lifetime coverage amounts, and protect millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions from discrimination.

Furthermore, the Affordable Care Act dramatically increased the number of health insurers operating in local marketplaces, which has helped slow the growth rate in premium costs to their lowest level in 50 years.

In order to protect the progress we have made over the last seven years, it is critical that we work to strengthen the Affordable Care Act.

Yet, since Election Day, Republicans and President Trump have been squarely focused on repealing the law in its entirety and replacing it with a proposal they claim will establish a national marketplace for health insurance.

In fact, the same architects of the Majority’s “repeal and replace” effort—including Speaker Paul Ryan, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Bradyvoted against repealing health insurer’s antitrust immunity in 2010.

They now claim that simply allowing the sale of insurance across state lines will serve as a magical elixir that brings down health care costs for good.

There’s only one problem with this claim: it’s already permitted under ObamaCare.
Section 1333 of the Affordable Care Act already allows states to establish “health care choice compacts” to allow out-of-state health insurers to sell health insurance products in-state.
Several states have already enacted statutes to provide for healthcare choice compacts. The National Conference of State Legislature reports that five states have passed out-of-state purchasing laws since 2008.

The fact is that promoting health insurance competition across state lines, as opposed to cracking down on anti-competitive practices, does little to lower costs for consumers. In fact, despite the existing law, few health insurers choose to engage in cross-state sales because there is little economic incentive for them to do so.

President Trump’s repeal and replace proposal will not change this underlying reality.
The president would be wise to withdraw his proposal and instead focus on joining our bipartisan effort to work across the aisle to improve and strengthen the Affordable Care Act.

Today, thanks to ObamaCare, the uninsured rate is at an all-time low, seniors are paying less for their prescription drugs, millions have received coverage under Medicaid expansion, and the number of competitors in local markets is growing.

The Affordable Care Act is improving Americans’ health care coverage and choice. President Trump owes it to the American people to build on this success rather than tear it down.

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CONYERS, SLAUGHTER, CROWLEY, NADLER & JEFFRIES: GOP Bill To Single Out New Yorkers Represents Worst of Washington


Members Release Legal Analysis Pointing to Provision’s Unconstitutionality

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), House Rules Committee Ranking Member Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY), and House Judiciary Committee Members Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) released a legal analysis, below, prepared by the House Judiciary Committee Democratic staff demonstrating the unconstitutionality of the ongoing Republican plans to single out New York State for sharing Medicaid costs with its counties. The Members  released the following joint statement:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“House Republicans’ Trumpcare bill is nothing more than a tax cut for the wealthy masquerading as a 'healthcare bill.' If this bill were to become law, 24 million Americans would lose their insurance coverage, and seniors would face skyrocketing premiums. Even worse, to appease the extreme conservatives of the House Republican Freedom Caucus, the newly adopted manager’s amendment includes provisions eliminating Essential Health Benefits requirements such as maternity care, prescription drug and emergency coverage – essentially erasing protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions.

“In a desperate attempt to pass this unconscionable bill, Speaker Ryan and the House Republican leadership have offered to include the Faso-Collins amendment in order to gain the support of vulnerable New York Republican members. This blatant vote buying represents the worst side of Washington politics. In fact, many Republican Attorneys General called a similar provision in 2009 ‘constitutionally flawed’ and ‘violating the most basic and universally held notions of what is fair and just.’  

“By singling out New York State – even though 15 other states have similar systems for sharing Medicaid costs -- and forcing New York to give up its core sovereign power to decide how it will raise funds for its own share of Medicaid, this measure is unconstitutional. This is why we believe New York State would be well within its rights to challenge the provision in court, as Governor Cuomo has suggested.

“The irony of this buyout is that the payment supposedly being delivered in exchange for votes is the legislative equivalent of a check on a closed bank account. It will never deliver the promised benefit. 

“Finally, it is also important to note that House Republican Leadership’s reckless attempt to cram Trumpcare through Congress is that according to the most recent CBO report, the Faso-Collins amendment has no or only incidental impact on the federal budget.  It should therefore be struck under reconciliation rules if this bill even reaches the Senate.” 

Background

For the last 51 years, New York State has chosen to fund a portion of its share of the Medicaid Program by using funds from county property taxes.  Fifteen other states structure Medicaid funding through a similar legally authorized system.

The Faso-Collins amendment, being incorporated into the Manager’s amendment to H.R. 1628, the “American Healthcare Act of 2017,”  specifies that any State that had an allotment of Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) funds that was more than 6 times the national average, and that requires subdivisions with populations of less than 5,000,000 to contribute toward Medicaid costs, shall have its reimbursement reduced by the amount of contributions by such subdivisions. This effectively limits the application to New York State, and carves out New York City. Under the amendment, New York State is at risk of losing $2.3 billion of its $32 billion in Federal Medicaid funds.

The amendment would implicate Constitutional limits on the Federal Spending Power, the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses and the Tenth Amendment (reserving all undelegated powers to the States) because it is not related to a legitimate Federal interest; no rational Federal purpose has been proffered for the provision which singles out New York for discrimination; and it severely intrudes on traditional state prerogatives, such as structuring taxing and spending authorities.  Under a series of Supreme Court cases these provisions would exceed Congress’s spending authority, violate the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses, and violate Tenth Amendment principles. 


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Thursday, March 23, 2017

CONYERS, GOODLATTE, GRASSLEY, FEINSTEIN, LEAHY Call for Quick Action on Legislation to Provide Selection Process for Register of Copyrights



Makes Register a Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation 

Washington, D.C. -- House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) and Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.)  today introduced the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act, which is the product of months of bicameral, bipartisan discussions led by Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), Chairman Goodlatte, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Senate Judiciary Committee Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

The Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act makes important changes to the selection process for the head of the U.S. Copyright Office, known as the Register of Copyrights.  Specifically, the legislation requires the Register to be nominated by the President of the United States and subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate.  It would also limit the Register to a ten year term which is renewable by another Presidential nomination and Senate confirmation.

Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Conyers, Chairman Grassley, Ranking Member Feinstein, and Senator Leahy released the following joint statement upon introduction of the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act.

Dean of the U.S, House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“We are pleased to join together in a bipartisan, bicameral effort to make important and necessary improvements to the selection process for the position of Register of Copyrights. We remain absolutely committed to working on modernizing the Copyright Office. Reforms being considered include public advisory committees, improvements to Copyright Office systems for data inputs and outputs, and copyright ownership transparency.  However, time is of the essence when it comes to the selection process for a new Register of Copyrights.

“America’s creativity is the envy of the world and the Copyright Office is at the center of it.  With the current Register serving only on an acting basis, now is the time to make changes to ensure that future Registers are transparent and accountable to Congress.  We must ensure that any new Register is a good manager and fully qualified to lead and make this office more operationally effective as he or she continues to directly advise Congress on copyrights. The next Register of Copyrights should be dedicated to serving all stakeholders in the copyright ecosystem.”  

The Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act was introduced with twenty-nine bipartisan cosponsors.

Background:  As part of the copyright review, the House Judiciary Committee held 20 hearings which included testimony from 100 witnesses.  Following these hearings, Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers invited all prior witnesses of the Committee’s copyright review hearings and other interested stakeholders to meet with Committee staff and provide additional input on copyright policy issues.  In addition, the House Judiciary Committee conducted a listening tour with stops in Nashville, Silicon Valley, and Los Angeles where they heard from a wide range of creators, innovators, technology professionals, and users of copyrighted works. In December 2016, Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers released the first policy proposal to come out of the Committee’s review of U.S. Copyright law.  Additional policy proposals will be released.
Original Cosponsors:

Karen Bass (D- Calif.) Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) Ken Buck (R-Colo.) Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) Judy Chu (D-Calif.) David Cicilline (D-R.I.) Doug Collins (R-Ga.) Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) Blake Farethold (R-Texas) Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) Hank Johnson, Jr. (D-Ga.) Mike Johnson (R-La.) Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) Steve King (R-Iowa) Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) Tom Marino (R-Penn.) Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) Ted Poe (R-Texas) John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) Martha Roby (R-Ala.) Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) Lamar Smith (R-Texas)


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CONYERS: Chairman Nunes Should Be Disqualified


It Is Past Time for an Independent Investigation into Russia and the Trump Campaign

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Chairman Devin Nunes of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence told reporters that, “on numerous occasions, the intelligence community incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition.”  Chairman Nunes then traveled to the White House to share his findings with President Donald Trump.  FBI Director James Comey recently confirmed that President Trump and his associates are the subject of an ongoing counterintelligence investigation. Later in the evening, CNN reportedthat the FBI may be in possession of evidence that indicates direct collusion between President Trump’s team and Russian officials, possibly to coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. 

House Committee on the Judiciary Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. released the following statement in response to these developments:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“An after-the-fact apology is not enough. With his reckless behavior, Chairman Nunes has disqualified himself to lead any legitimate investigation into the actions of the Trump campaign.  Despite what evidence he may have, he is not entitled to share that information with President Trump before briefing his colleagues on the intelligence committee.  President Trump is the potential target of an ongoing federal investigation.  This is more than a breach of protocol – it is a direct threat to the work of the FBI.

“The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee cannot be a surrogate of the White House.  At a minimum, this investigation must be taken out of Chairman Nunes’ hands.

“If indeed the FBI has evidence of collusion or communication between President Trump and the Russian government, then we can wait no longer.  It is past time for Congress to establish a bipartisan, independent panel to uncover the full scope of the President’s allegedly treasonous actions.”


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CONYERS At Capitol In Opposition To "Wealth Care" Bill



Image may contain: 6 people, people smiling, people standing, crowd and outdoorYesterday, I joined my colleagues and former VP 
Joe Biden in front of the Capitol in opposition to the Republican healthcare bill that I like to call wealth care. Despite all the wrong that this bill does and opposition from both Democrats and Republicans, Trump and Ryan are continuing to try to bully Republicans into passing this bill. We can't afford to have millions of Americans lose their health insurance.


#WealthCare



Image may contain: 19 people, people standing, crowd and outdoor

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