Thursday, February 4, 2016

CONYERS, Dingell, Kildee and Lawrence Urge Fixes to Visa Waiver Program


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, four Democratic members of the Michigan Congressional Delegation, U.S. Representatives John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Daniel T. Kildee (MI-5), and Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14) cosigned a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson urging the Administration to establish waivers to protect dual nationals from discriminatory travel guidelines, and ensure that no American is treated differently due to their national origin or ancestry.

In the letter, the Members request that the Departments of State and Homeland Security implement their authority under Section 203 of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act to support American interests abroad; establish waivers to protect dual nationals of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Sudan; and to ensure uninterrupted visa-free travel to VWP countries for American citizens who have visited Iran for family, academic, or tourist related purposes.

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
Reps. Conyers, Dingell, Kildee and Lawrence stated, “As Members of Congress we must balance the need to maintain our national security with our responsibility to safeguard the civil rights and liberties of the American people. The recently implemented Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act may cause dual nationals of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria to be excluded from the Visa Waiver Program. These recent changes to the long-established Visa Waiver Program, which is based on reciprocity, could result in discriminatory impact on U.S. citizens.

“Equal treatment of all American citizens is a central tenet of our national principles, regardless of their birthplace. We will continue to work on legislation, such as the Equal Protection Act of 2016, with our Congressional colleagues on a bipartisan, bicameral basis to ensure that the rights of all Americans are protected, while strengthening the Visa Waiver Program.”

Additionally, Reps. Conyers, Dingell, Kildee and Lawrence are cosponsors of H.R. 4380, the Equal Protection Act of 2016, which was introduced on January 13, 2016 in response to discriminatory changes made in the VWP in December 2015.   If passed, the legislation would strike the dual national provisions to ensure that no one would be discriminated against on the basis of their nationality or ancestry.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Congressional Hearing Of The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform On Flint Water Crisis, February 3, 2016 Learn more: BEVERLY TRAN: Congressional Hearing Of The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform On Flint Water Crisis, February 3, 2016

Congressional Hearing Of The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform On Flint Water Crisis, February 3, 2016.

The matter is currently being criminally and civilly investigated by the U.S. DOJ.

There will be future congressional hearings.


  


Learn more: BEVERLY TRAN: Congressional Hearing Of The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform On Flint Water Crisis, February 3, 2016 http://beverlytran.blogspot.com/2016/02/congressional-hearing-of-committee-on.html#ixzz3zAQP4E3f
Stop Medicaid Fraud in Child Welfare 


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CONYERS Addresses Diversity In Academy Awards

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
The below letter was sent earlier today to Ms. Boone Isaacs, President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (“the Academy”) from U.S. Representatives Hank Johnson (D-GA) and John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) regarding racial and gender diversity of its membership.

Your recently announced plan to increase diversity within the Academy should be seen as a first step toward a broader plan to increase diversity in Hollywood as a whole; however, we hope to ensure that this is not a false step.  The motion picture industry has long been a crucial ally in the fight for justice, telling the stories that help us to see one another in a different light.  We believe Hollywood should be on the leading edge of inclusion, and the Academy, by recognizing excellence from all viewpoints, can help achieve that goal.
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Congressional Hearing Of The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform On Flint Water Crisis, February 3, 2016

Congressional Hearing Of The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform On Flint Water Crisis, February 3, 2016.

The matter is currently being criminally and civilly investigated by the U.S. DOJ.

There will be future congressional hearings.



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Statement of the Honorable John Conyers, Jr. for the Markup of a Resolution Establishing the House Committee on the Judiciary Executive Overreach Task Force


    
Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
   “Debates about the proper scope of executive power and its relationship to legislative authority are as old as the Nation itself.

       “As the Committee charged with examining issues arising under our Constitution, it is important that we regularly discuss such fundamental matters about our Nation’s basic governing framework.

       “Today’s resolution, which would establish an ‘Executive Overreach Task Force’ for the next 6 months, is ostensibly the latest effort to fulfill this important obligation.

       “As we move forward with the creation of this Task Force, however, we must keep several matters in mind.

       “To begin with, it is my fervent hope that this Task Force not devolve into a partisan political witch hunt."

       “Sadly, I have seen too many examples of task forces, select committees, and other bodies that have been set up merely to become venues for roving political attacks."

       “During the Obama Administration, we have seen the use of a select committee to question the Administration’s conduct concerning the attacks on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya.  After nearly 2 years and $5.8 million taxpayer dollars spent, that committee has yet to find evidence contradicting the key findings of the State Department’s Accountability Review Board or prior congressional investigations finding no wrongdoing."

       “There also appears to be a vigorous effort to undermine women’s health and equality through the establishment of a select committee that seeks to de-legitimize the work of Planned Parenthood."

       “These efforts seem to many to be nothing more than political fishing expeditions designed not to get to the truth but to energize the Republican Party’s base voters in preparation for this year’s elections."

       “Given the importance of the question of whether Executive authority has become too concentrated and too open to abuse, I hope that this will not be the case with the so-called ‘Executive Overreach Task Force.’"

       “Assuming for now that the Task Force represents a good faith effort to study executive power substantively, I would like to highlight several issues that I would recommend the Task Force consider.  These include:

●   Expansive and frequent assertions of the state secrets privilege, including efforts to potentially shield evidence of government wrongdoing;
●   The need to enact press shield legislation that would provide a qualified privilege that prevents a reporter’s source material from being revealed, with limited exceptions;
●   The need for enhanced and strengthened legal protections for whistleblowers, including for federal employees who report high-level governmental misconduct to Congress;
●   The need for legislation to strengthen Congress’s contempt power, including a clear and expeditious mechanism to enforce congressional subpoenas civilly against current and former Executive Branch officials;
●   The need for legislation to expand the Department of Justice Inspector General’s jurisdiction to allow investigation of misconduct by senior Department officials and United States Attorneys; and
●   The overuse of presidential signing statements to challenge legal provisions, not merely to explain the President’s legal interpretations."

       “These are among several areas that are ripe for finding common ground."

       “Indeed, our Committee has a long and distinguished history of task forces operating in a productive and non-partisan manner."

       “Task forces such as the Task Force on Over-criminalization and the Task Force on Antitrust and Competition Policy offer promising precedents for working cooperatively to consider important issues.  It is my hope that this latest effort will continue that tradition.”

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Rep. Lawrence to host press conference regarding the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Hearing on Flint’s water crisis

press-banner
TODAY, February 3, 2016, 2 p.m.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI-14) will host a press conference today following the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Hearing regarding the Flint water crisis. She will be joined by Reps. Elijah Cummings, Ranking Member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform; G.K. Butterfield, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus; Keith Ellison and Raul Grijalva, Co-Chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus; Dan Kildee, who represents the Flint community; and many more Members committed to ensuring a crisis of this magnitude never occurs again in America.

WHAT:
Press Conference re: OGR hearing on the Flint water crisis.

WHO:
Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD-07), Ranking Member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform;
Rep. G.K. Butterfield (NC-01), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus;
Rep. Keith Ellison (MN-5), Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus;
Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ-03), Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus;
Rep. Dan Kildee (MI-05), Congressional Representative for Flint, Michigan;
Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Ranking Member of OGR Subcommittee on the Interior and host;
Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee

WHEN:TODAY, February 3rd, 2016 at 2 p.m.

WHERE:Capitol Visitor Center studios, HVC 114, House Studio A.


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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

CBC Message To America: Rep. Conyers Breaks Down The Root Cause Of Crime & Poverty

“Ultimately, the same amount of energy poured into reforming our criminal justice system must also be centered on expanding education, job creation and access to affordable healthcare"

  
Representative John Conyers (D-MI) delivered this week’s CBC Message To America addressing the deeply rooted issues of crime, persistent poverty in urban communities of color, and criminal justice reform.

Rep. Conyers, a Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, explained, “The number of high poverty urban neighborhoods in the nation’s largest cities have tripled over the last 40 years.”
As a result, “Increased poverty has resulted in further segregation of neighborhoods and reduction of employment opportunities, access to affordable housing, and educational services.” Conyers continued, “Increased food and transportation services have all added yet another barrier for working class families to stay a float.”
“These conditions make our communities more vulnerable to crime, and the government’s knee-jerk response of over-incarceration has deprived our communities of the resources necessary to encourage economic development and crime prevention programs.”
“Disproportional sentencing laws have had a deep impact on high poverty,” Conyers said. “One in ten Black men in their thirties is incarcerated on any given day and more than 60 percent of our prisoners are racial and ethnic minorities.”
To combat these alarming trends, Rep. Conyers introduced the Law Enforcement Integrity Act to make police officers more accountable.
Conyers also highlighted the End Racial Profiling Act and the Sentencing Reform Act, which would narrow the scope of mandatory minimum prison sentences, and other pieces of legislation that could have a major impact in reversing the broken criminal justice system as well as curb mass incarceration.
Rep. Conyers told viewers he would continue to work even more to reverse the damage of persistent poverty in urban communities and mass incarceration, but the legislation he discussed in this week’s CBC Message to America would be a ”good start to bringing hope to families who’ve suffered from overly strict sentences.”
“Ultimately, the same amount of energy poured into reforming our criminal justice system must also be centered on expanding education, job creation, access to affordable healthcare, and housing and crime prevention programs,” said Conyers.
Rep. Conyers wrapped his remarks: “Proactive investment in our communities now is vital to a successful future.”

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