Tuesday, June 28, 2016

CONYERS & LAWRENCE Take Action To End Gun Violence

31 Americans lose theirs lives every day to gun violence. Congress can't sit idly by—the time to act is NOW.

I joined Rep. Brenda Lawrence for an inter-faith gun violence round table to identify ways to ‪#‎EndGunViolence‬ in Michigan, especially in the ‪#‎Detroit‬ Metropolitan area.

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CONYERS & COHEN Laud Supreme Court Pro-Choice Decision

Washington, D.C. - House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice Ranking Member Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) today released the following joint statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt decision, which ruled that Texas’ abortion law was unconstitutional: 

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“We are deeply heartened that the Supreme Court has reaffirmed the fundamental constitutional right of women to make their own decisions about their health, their bodies, their families, and their lives. This right, a pillar of women’s equality and a key to ensuring women’s health, has been well-established since 1973 when the Court held in Roe v. Wade that a woman had a constitutional right to choose whether to have a pre-viability abortion. 

“The Court correctly saw the Texas law for what it was, which was an attempt to severely restrict abortion rights and not one to protect women’s health.  The Texas law required abortion providers at clinics to obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital without also requiring the hospitals to grant or even consider granting such privilege, and would have required abortion clinics to comply with completely unnecessary and cost-prohibitive requirements applicable to ambulatory surgical centers.  The Court rightly held that these requirements placed such substantial obstacles to a woman’s choice to have an abortion that its provisions were an “undue burden” on women’s constitutional right to choose. 

“While today’s decision was a victory for all Americans who care about the Constitution’s guarantees of freedom and equality, we must remain vigilant against continuing attempts by states and anti-choice politicians to block women’s access to safe and legal abortions that threaten to undermine women’s health and their constitutional rights.”

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CONYERS, RANGEL, JOHNSON Introduce Resolution To Recover POW/MIA Remains From North Korea

Washington D.C. – Marking the 66th anniversary of the start of the Korean War on June 25, 1950, the three remaining Korean War veterans in Congress, Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), joined by Reps. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), and Sam Johnson (R-TX), introduced House Resolution 799 that calls on the U.S. government to resume talks with North Korea to account for thousands of American men and women from the Korean War (1950-1953). Between 1954 and 2005, joint U.S.-North Korea teams successfully conducted recovery missions that identified and returned thousands of Americans. Yet these efforts were suspended in 2005, despite the fact that the remains of 5,300 out of 8,000 total number of unaccounted Korean War veterans are estimated to be in North Korea.

Dean of the U,S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
More than five thousand brave American soldiers who fought in the Korean Conflict for our country remain unaccounted for.  That is simply unacceptable.  As a veteran of the Korean Conflict, I feel honor bound to ensure we do everything we can to bring their remains home.  After all our fighting men in Korea sacrificed, it is our duty to make sure we do everything to provide them and their families some measure of peace.  I am proud to join with my fellow veterans of the Korean Conflict in ensuring the United States reengages the North Korean government on this issue,” said Conyers, who served in the National Guard and the United States Army Corps of Engineers during the Korean War.

“I am grateful to my colleagues and fellow Korean War veterans for working together to ensure that we bring these veterans home. This resolution would ensure that the heroic service members of the Korean War are identified and brought back to their loved ones in the United States, where they belong. We have a responsibility to our veterans to make sure we do not forget their sacrifices made to defend the freedoms we enjoy. Their families deserve peace,”said Rangel, a decorated veteran, who has been awarded both a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. 
“With the 66th Anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War around the corner, it is important we remember those American forces who remain unaccounted for from this war. As a Korean War veteran and former Prisoner of War, I believe we owe our fallen brothers in arms every last effort to provide a proper and dignified return to home. I'm proud to join my fellow Korean War veterans, Congressman Rangel and Congressman Conyers, in this noble cause,” said Rep. Johnson, a decorated war hero, who spent his 29-year career in the U.S. Air Force, during which he flew combat missions in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Johnson endured nearly seven years as a Prisoner of War in Hanoi, including 42 months in solitary confinement.
“The lifetime hope for thousands of Americans is to bring home their loved one still missing in North Korea. It is a wound that never healed. The path to finding that closure will open only when North Korean and U.S. leaders decide to pursue this humanitarian mission other than their political differences. It can be done. It has been done. It is time to do so again. Thank you to Representatives Rangel, Conyers and Johnson, who are keeping the mission alive to help fulfill the promise that no one's father, husband, brother, uncle, cousin or comrade in arms is left behind in war," said Rick Downes, President of the Coalition of Families of Korean & Cold War POW/MIAs, and son of Hal Downes, who went missing in action in North Korea in 1952.

As recently as this year, North Korea has reported uncovering the remains of American veterans- but the fate of these remains is unknown due to construction and development. H.Res 799 calls on the U.S. Government to resume talks with North Korea regarding the research, investigation, recovery, and identification of missing and unaccounted Korean War veterans.

“While we will never be able to fully end the lingering pain of the families, we must try to bring closure,” said Rangel,“We will keep fighting to bring home our comrades in arms.”

Rangel, Johnson, and Conyers have previously worked together to introduce and pass legislation that supports veterans of the Korean War, including H.Res.384 - Calling for a formal end of the Korean War; H.Con.Res 91, Encouraging reunions of divided Korean American families; H.Con.Res.41 - Encouraging peace and reunification on the Korean Peninsula (Passed in 2013); H.Res. 618 - Expressing support for designation of 2012-2013 as the "Year of the Korean War Veteran" (Passed in 2012); H. Res 376 - Calling for Repatriation of POW/MIAs and Abductees in North Korea (Passed in 2011); H.J.Res.86 - Recognizing the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War and Reaffirming U.S.-Korea Alliance (Passed in 2010); and the Korean War Veterans Recognition Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-41).

Below is the full text of H.Res 799 calling for U.S. Government to resume talks with North Korea on Korean War POW/MIAs:

Calling on the United States Government to resume talks with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea regarding the research, investigation, recovery, and identification of missing and unaccounted members of the United States Armed Forces from the Korean War.

Whereas more than 36,000 members of the United States Armed Forces died and nearly 103,000 were wounded during the Korean War, which began on June 25, 1950;

Whereas of the approximately 8,000 members of the United States Armed Forces who remain unaccounted for from the Korean War, the remains of at least 5,300 Americans are believed to be in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (in this resolution referred to as “North Korea”);

Whereas the United States and North Korea have a precedent of working together on issues related to American prisoners of war/missing in action (POW/MIAs) from the Korean War;

Whereas North Korea has intermittently returned the remains of deceased members of the United States Armed Forces found in North Korea, including several thousand sets of remains in 1954, and varying numbers of remains in 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, and 2003;

Whereas United States operations in North Korea to recover the remains of deceased members of the United States Armed Forces were suspended in 2005;

Whereas the remains of deceased members of the United States Armed Forces in North Korea are being lost due to construction and development, the passing of North Korean observers of United States plane crashes, and inclement weather conditions;

Whereas North Korea has reported uncovering the remains of deceased members of the United States Armed Forces in North Korea through agriculture and construction projects as recently as 2016;

Whereas not all of the remains of Korean War veterans located at the National Memorial Cemetery in Hawaii (The Punch Bowl) have been identified;

Whereas members of the Coalition of Families of Korean & Cold War POW/MIAs, the National League of POW/MIA Families, the National Alliance of Families, Rolling Thunder, the Korean War Veterans Association, the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and thousands of families and veterans are yearning and advocating for the accounting of their loved ones and comrades in arms of the Korean War; and

Whereas the mission of the United States Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) is to provide the fullest possible accounting of missing United States personnel;
Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives calls upon the United States Government to resume talks with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to make substantial progress in the research, investigation, recovery and identification of missing and unaccounted members of the United States Armed Forces from the Korean War.

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CONYERS and RANGEL: Trump’s Bigotry Reminds Us of Strom Thurmond

By John Conyers, Jr. & Charlie Rangel

'As veterans who have fought for our country abroad and then at home, we simply cannot stay silent while un-American attacks on other minority groups are given voice'
Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
Some six decades ago, we left our homes in Detroit and New York City to serve in the Korean War. We were both young men in our early 20s, afraid but resolute. We would both be decorated for our service, and Charlie would be severely wounded in the Battle of Kunu-ri. We would both fight to defend democracy on the Korean Peninsula.
In Korea, we fought as part of the first truly integrated armed forces our nation had ever known. The near defeat of U.S.-led forces in the early days of the conflict led to rapid integration after three years of delaying implementation of President Harry Truman’s 1948 order to desegregate our Army and Navy. This led to a certain level of meritocracy: Charlie would rise to Staff Sergeant, and John would serve as an officer.
However, when we returned home we were quickly reminded that we were not just veterans—we were black veterans. Commendation medals did not mean we could sit in the front of the bus in Alabama, and a Purple Heart did not protect black veterans from racist landlords, employers, businesses or police. Our service didn’t trump our race.
Today, Donald Trump is fomenting a movement to bring back that shameful period in time by alienating groups who have fought and died for our freedoms. In the “Great America” that Donald Trump talks about, people of Mexican descent are not soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines—or judges—they are drug dealers, rapists and thieves. To Trump, Muslim immigrants are not allies who had to flee persecution because their assistance to U.S. forces endangered their lives—every single one is a potential terrorist who should be subject to special police laws. Both groups of citizens—Hispanics and Muslims—are clearly unfit to serve as judges in Trump’s America. Like the segregationists of our youth, no amount of national service seems to overcome Trump’s belief that a person’s race and religion make him or her less American.
As we have said, Trump’s hair-brained bigotry is nothing original. Indeed, his sort of prejudiced campaign does not even predate our service to our country. In 1948, the year we both put on U.S. Army uniforms, Strom Thurmond won 39 electoral votes as the nominee of the Dixiecrats. But Trump’s dangerous provocations—the forced expulsion of 11 million people and the creation of secret police and special religious ghettos for Muslims—represent crimes that we simply did not travel half a world a way to defend.
That Trump has never served in uniform—his boarding school experience excepted—is painfully obvious when he speaks. And we are not just referring to his shameful comments about Senator John McCain and prisoners of war. He has clearly never had to put his life at risk for our nation. If he had, he would know the same thing we learned from bullets and bombs as young men—on the battlefield, one’s skin color or the name of his God is the last thing that matters.
A Commander-in-Chief is responsible for the lives of all our fighting men and women: 158,000 of those soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen identify as Hispanic or Latino, and more than 5,000 of them are Muslim. Trump simply cannot fulfill the constitutional duties of the presidential office by questioning the patriotism, integrity and devotion of one out of eight U.S. service men and women. Nor should a man who wants to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, our military ally—a nation with whom we last fought an armed conflict in 1919—receive command of a military that has been through enough unnecessary dust and bloodshed.
Unfortunately, Congressional Republicans are starting to take their cues from their nominee, with all but 20 of them voting last week to end enlistment programs that grants citizenship status to undocumented immigrants who came here as children, who already have legal residency in the United States, and who simply want to serve in our Armed Forces. This trend is disturbing. It is one thing for a fringe political candidate who won a plurality of G.O.P. voters to suggest such dangerous polices; it is another for Congressional Republicans to pick up and carry that flag in the House.
As veterans who have fought for our country abroad and then at home, we simply cannot stay silent while un-American attacks on other minority groups are given voice.
Sixty-six years to the day after our military went to fight a war as an integrated force for the first time, we hope the American people will stand up for those who are fighting on our behalf.

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CONYERS: Attorney General Schuette's Lawsuit Wont't Undo the Damage Flint Has Suffered

Washington, D.C. – Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) released the following statement on the lawsuit filed by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“While  Schuette’s lawsuit may represent some measure of accountability for those who failed to exercise due care in carrying out Governor Snyder’s takeover of the Flint water system, it will do nothing to undo the damage that Flint’s citizens have already suffered and continue to suffer each day.  If Mr. Schuette dedicated his resources to environmental protection instead of using them to sue the Environmental Protection Agency to allow increased mercury pollution for special interests in Michigan, Flint’s families would not be struggling with the anguish and uncertainty they presently face.

“The simple fact is that no matter how many people are prosecuted or sued by Attorney General Schuette, it will not undo the damage Flint has suffered. Unfortunately, it seems that in Michigan, there are two water quality standards: the one that wealthy communities who supported Governor Snyder receive, and the one forced upon minority, low-income communities who are politically unimportant to our Republican-controlled state government.

“If the facts bear out that these two companies used an insufficient level of care, then they should absolutely be held accountable and pay a price for their actions.  Sadly, it seems like Governor Snyder and Attorney General Schuette have no interest in holding themselves to that same standard of which they are now—finally—holding to others.  In one important respect, the lawsuits change nothing, the people of the State of Michigan are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to attorneys to protect those largely at fault. 

“Until Flint’s water is fully safe, its children are made whole, and we see consequences for those who stripped Flint’s citizens of their political and civil rights to protect themselves, there will be neither justice nor resolution for the people of Flint.”

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Thursday, June 23, 2016


Washington, D.C. - Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, upholding affirmative action programs at the University of Texas at Austin. House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security Ranking Member Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), and Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice Ranking Member Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) released the following joint statement:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“With today’s ruling, the Supreme Court finally put to rest the question of whether race-conscious admission programs can be employed in a Constitutional manner to achieve the state interest of a diverse student body.  Though the ruling rests on highly particularized findings of fact, this precedent should send the signal that this Court has grown weary of the constant array of challenges to affirmative action plans by test-case litigants like Fisher. 

“In a globalized and increasingly interconnected world, the nation that succeeds is the one best positioned to adapt to a world of differences -- cultural, religious, economic, social, racial, and political. Given the challenges facing our nation, it is more important than ever before that our institutions of higher learning prepare our diverse student population to lead and innovate into the 21st century.”

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Washington, DC – House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) released the following statement on the sit-in on the House floor today to demand action on gun violence:

Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) is pictured on the House floor during the sit-in with Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and House Democrats.

“It is simply unacceptable for Congress to choose to do nothing in the face of gun violence, which takes a deadly toll on our streets and in our communities every day.  It appears that Republicans’ only response to gun violence is silence — but we won’t be silent. What we are doing on the House floor is a call to action.  We are challenging Republicans in the House to simply hold votes on common-sense bills that are supported overwhelmingly by our citizens. 

“I join my colleagues today for the sit-in because now is the time to face the challenges posed by gun violence by taking steps that we know will make us safer. I thank my good friend Congressman John Lewis for initiating this sit-in to demand that Congress act now.

“Our Republican colleagues can no longer ignore the plight of the American people and calls from Democratic members of Congress to do something. It’s past time that we act, and bring legislation to the floor that addresses serious problems within our system that allow guns to fall into the wrong hands.”

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