Saturday, June 27, 2015

John Conyers Discusses His Healthcare Vote


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Friday, June 26, 2015

Conyers Statement on Supreme Court Ruling on Marriage Equality


Washington – Today, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) released the following statement after the United States Supreme Court announced that same-sex marriage is legal in a 5-4 decision in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“In this landmark ruling, the Supreme Court has yet again confirmed that the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees the right to equal protections of the laws.  I applaud this decision recognizing marriage equality as a constitutional right.  It affirms the essential role of the Constitution in protecting the right to make our most intimate decisions and upholds our human dignity.”


In March, Congressman Conyers signed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in support of marriage equality in theObergefell case. 

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Conyers: Compassion and Common Sense Prevail in the Case of King v. Burwell

Veteran Congressman Applauds Supreme Court Ruling Upholding Key Component of Obamacare

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) released the following statement after theSupreme Court announced its 6 - 3 decision to uphold a core tenet of the Affordable Care Act in King v. Burwell:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“Fifty years ago, I was proud to cast my vote for the creation of Medicare.  The Affordable Care Act (ACA) represents the most important expansion of Americans’ access to lifesaving healthcare since that time.  For the second time, the United States Supreme Court has reaffirmed that the ACA is the law of the land and ensures that millions of Americans can continue to access affordable health care.   

“Today’s decision—that all Americans, regardless of their home state, have the access to tax credits to afford essential healthcare—is a victory for compassion and common sense.   

“Since the Affordable Care Act was enacted five years ago, more than 16 million Americans have gained coverage and the nation’s uninsured rate now stands at its lowest level ever –11.9 percent.  More than 5.7 million young people now have health insurance through their parents’ plans and as many as 17 million children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage.  The ACA has also allowed 9.4 million seniors to save $15 billion on prescription drugs.

“After years of debate in Congress leading to passage of the law and two Supreme Court rulings upholding the law, it is time for Republicans to stop attempting to deny Americans’ access to healthcare by attempting to repeal the law.  Recent polling demonstrates that more than half of Americans – including 80 percent of Democrats and a quarter of Republicans – support expanding healthcare further to a ‘Medicare for All’ model. 

“Earlier this year, I was proud to reintroduce H.R. 676 ‘The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act’ to build on the proud legacy of Medicare and the Affordable Care Act to allow Americans to access the same high-quality, cost-effective, and equitable care that’s the standard throughout the industrialized world.  

“Half a century ago, addressing the convention of the Medical Committee for Human Rights, Martin Luther King Jr. declared, ‘Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.’  Today’s ruling reinforces our crucial work to combat this cruel inequality.”  
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Statement of House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. Criminal Justice Reform Listening Session


Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“I commend Chairman Goodlatte for convening today’s listening session on criminal justice reform.  For decades, we in Congress reacted to the justifiable concern of our citizens about crime.  We developed and enacted legislation intended to make us safer and to achieve justice.  Over time, it has become increasingly apparent to citizens and public officials from across the political spectrum that some of our laws are not achieving these goals.  In fact, some of them are actually counterproductive from the standpoint of public safety, fairness, and fiscal responsibility. 

“There are a number of areas that urgently require reform, as the Chairman has acknowledged in the materials we jointly issued inviting Members to testify.  I want to highlight several areas that I hope will be priorities for action:
           
“We need to take steps to ensure that sentences are appropriately long, but are not set beyond levels that no longer serve legitimate criminal justice purposes.  Our prisons are overcrowded because of one-size-fits-all sentencing policies. Mandatory minimum sentencing leads not only to unjust outcomes for individuals, but also has serious systemic consequences by contributing to the problem of overincarceration. 

“We must take additional steps to address the collateral consequences of incarceration and other involvement with the criminal justice system.  We are not adequately preparing those in prison for successful reintegration into the community, and consequences such as the loss of voting rights and diminished employment prospects are needlessly hindering the ability of too many of our citizens to productively participate in society.

“We must also take action to improve the relationship between our police and the public they serve.  That is why the Ranking Member on the Crime Subcommittee, Ms. Jackson Lee, joined me and others yesterday in introducing the Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act. 

“This bill provides incentives for local police organizations to voluntarily adopt performance-based standards to ensure that incidents of misconduct will be minimized through appropriate management, training and oversight protocols and that if such incidents do occur, that they will be properly investigated.  Our nation’s police officers face danger on a daily basis to protect us from harm and to bring criminals to justice. 

“They deserve our respect and support – and I believe this bill will serve to strengthen the critical bond between communities and those who enforce our laws. 

“We need to address these issues, as well as all of those Chairman Goodlatte and I have outlined as we announced the process for considering reform proposals.  We will hear a wide range of proposals from our colleagues today to address these and other critical issues, and I look forward to working with the Chairman and other Members of the Committee to expeditiously consider legislation to improve our criminal justice system.” 

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House Judiciary Committee to Hold Criminal Justice Reform Listening Session


Washington, D.C. – On Thursday, June 25, 2015 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., the House Judiciary Committee will hold a criminal justice reform listening session. At the listening session, any Member of the House of Representatives who has an idea or proposal for criminal justice reform is invited to present his or her proposal for five minutes, or submit a proposal in writing. Following the listening session, the Judiciary Committee will give due consideration to all proposals offered by interested Members on this topic.

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
Earlier this month, the House Judiciary Committee announced the formation of a criminal justice reform initiative.  Over the coming months, the Judiciary Committee, which has primary jurisdiction over the U.S. Criminal Code, will take a step-by-step approach to address a variety of criminal justice issues, including over-criminalization, sentencing reform, prison and reentry reform, protecting citizens through improved criminal procedures and policing strategies, and civil asset forfeiture reform.

Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers issued the following joint statement on the Committee’s listening session:

“This week marks the first of many steps in the House Judiciary Committee’s criminal justice reform initiative.  On Thursday, the Committee will hear from any Member of the House of Representatives who has an idea to improve our nation’s criminal justice system. The goal of the Committee’s criminal justice reform initiative is to produce strong legislation to ensure that our criminal justice system better reflects core American values and works for America.”
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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

REPS. CONYERS, JACKSON LEE & LUJAN GRISHAM CALL ON DEA TO DETAIL METHODS BEHIND “COLD CONSENT” SEARCHES


WASHINGTON – Today, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Ranking Member Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), and Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM) issued a letter to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenburg requesting details concerning the use of “cold consent” searches, particularly at transportation facilities.

The letter cites a report released by the Justice Department Inspector General earlier this year in January which examined the DEA’s use of “cold consent” searches – which typically entail an officer asking for consent to speak with an individual and, if the agent thinks it’s warranted, to seek consent to search their belongings.  In some of these encounters, cash is seized. 

As the Inspector General states, such “cold consent” encounters can raise civil rights concerns, and the Department of Justice itself recognizes that “cold consent” encounters are more often associated with racial profiling than contacts based on previously acquired information. 

While not solely attributed to “cold consent” searches, as stated in the letter, “…from 2009-2013, DEA interdiction Task Force Groups seized $163 million in 4,138 individual cash seizures.  21 percent of these seizures were contested and in 41 percent of those contested cases all (or a portion) of the seized cash was returned – a total of $8.3 million.” 

According to press reports, DEA agents seized $16,000 in cash from Joseph Rivers, a young African-American man who was traveling from Michigan to Los Angeles to film a music video.  Mr. Rivers’ attorney states that agents boarded the train and began asking various passengers where they were heading and why.  When Rivers replied that he was travelling to Los Angeles to film a music video, the agent asked to search his bag and Rivers complied.  Despite the cash being in a bank envelop and the agents’ phone call to Rivers’ mother, who corroborated his story, the agents seized all of the cash.  Rivers stated he was the only African-American passenger in his portion of the train and believes he was racially profiled.


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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

IRAQ WAR PROTEST: Interview w/Rep. John Conyers 2007


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