Thursday, April 20, 2017

CONYERS: Judiciary Policing Strategies Working Group Visits Houston & Holds Press Conference

 Washington, D.C. -- Several members of the bipartisan Policing Strategies Working Group traveled to Houston, Texas to meet with local community leaders and law enforcement to discuss police accountability, aggression towards law enforcement, and public safety concerns related to these issues.

Members of the working group held a press conference on Thursday, April 20 at 12:15 p.m. CT. Details can be found below.

WHO:  Members of Congress

  • House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.)
  • House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.)
  • Representative Doug Collins (R-Ga.)
  • Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas)
  • Representative Cedric Richmond (D-La.)

  • WHAT:  Press conference following the conclusion of the bipartisan Policing Strategies Working Group roundtable with community leaders.

    WHEN:  Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 12:15 p.m. Media with video equipment can begin setup at 11:45 a.m.

    WHERE:   Mickey Leland Federal Building
                        1919 Smith Street

    Background on the Working Group: In July 2016, Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Ranking Member John Conyers  announced the establishment of a working group to examine police accountability, aggression towards law enforcement, and public safety concerns related to these issues. The bipartisan working group is in the process of holding a series of roundtables to candidly discuss the issues fueling excessive force used by law enforcement and attacks against police officers. Read Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers’ op-ed on the working group in The Hill here.

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    Wednesday, April 19, 2017

    CONYERS, GOODLATTE, LEAHY, GRASSLEY Remain Committed to Good-Faith Talks to Reform Investor Visa Program Ahead of Expiration

    EB-5 reforms needed to curb fraud, abuse, national security risks 

    Washington, D.C. - Bipartisan, bicameral Judiciary Committee leaders today reaffirmed their commitment to reform the troubled EB-5 investor visa program ahead of its scheduled expiration on April 28, or to let the flawed program expire if reforms are not possible.  Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Senator Patrick Leahy, along with House Judiciary Ranking Member JohnConyers, Jr. and Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte reiterated requirements of any meaningful negotiation as they continue to search for a compromise on EB-5 reform.  The program has longstanding, well-documented fraud, abuse and national security concerns, and has drifted away from Congress’ original intent: spurring job creation in rural and economically depressed areas.

    Dean of the U.S. House
    of Representatives
    John Conyers, Jr.
    “Despite the well-documented and rampant abuse of the EB-5 Regional Center Program that we have exposed in recent years, we remain committed to working in good faith with our colleagues and industry stakeholders to bring about much needed reforms to this troubled program. However, as we have made clear time and time again, any reforms must contain genuine and sincere changes to allow rural and distressed urban areas, the very communities this program is supposed to benefit, to compete for investment dollars. In addition, any reforms must address the many national security and fraud concerns by containing – without loopholes – compliance measures, background checks, and transparency provisions,” the lawmakers said.

    “Just a few weeks ago, we were encouraged by a reasonable proposal offered by IIUSA, the nation’s largest EB-5 industry trade association, containing significant reforms to the program. The proposal was a good faith effort to address our concerns and provide long-term stability to the program, and could have served as a basis for reform negotiations.

    “As we have in the past, we remain willing to work with our colleagues and industry groups to produce meaningful reform. This must include strong transparency and anti-fraud measures, meaningful investment differentials, adjustments of the investment amounts to appropriately account for inflation, adequate set asides for both rural and urban distressed areas, and an end to the program’s abusive gerrymandering practices.” 

    In a recent letter, below, to congressional leadership, the lawmakers, along with Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, stated that the program should expire absent these reforms.
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    Tuesday, April 18, 2017

    CONYERS Speaks To Gray Panthers Of Metro Detroit On Universal Health Care

    It was my pleasure to speak to the Gray Panthers of Metro Detroit on the importance of fighting for universal health care, and updated them on HR 676 #MedicareForAll and HR1000 #JobsForAll

    Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and indoor

    A common question I hear is, "What is the Democrat's plan for healthcare?" Well, I've been introducing my plan, #MedicareForAll, every year since 2003. Countries around the world provide quality, universal access to health care and it is about time that we do the same here in the United States. I call on my colleagues to join me in supporting HR.676, Medicare for All.

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    Thursday, April 13, 2017

    CONYERS Health Care Listening Session, April 13, 2017

    Image may contain: 1 personToday, Congressman Conyers held a Listening Session on Health Care.

    Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and textMembers of the District were given the opportunity to voice their ideas and share their stories pertaining to health care in the United States.

    Mr. Conyers announced the formation of the Disability Caucus to further the work for Single Payer, Medicare For All.

    More information on how to sign up and participate will be posted.

    To learn more on Medicare For All, you can read his op-ed in the New York Times in the link, below.

    CONYERS: Medicare for All's time has come

    #MedicareForAll    #SinglePayer

    My apologies on the lack of rotation of this video post.

    When I have found the coding to rotate, you shall know

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    Monday, April 10, 2017

    CONYERS Cordially Invites You To Attend His Community Listening Panel, April 13, 2017

    Congressman John Conyers, Jr., cordially invites you to attend his Community Listening Panel

    Date: Thursday, April 13, 2017

    Time: 7:00 pm

    Location: UAW Local 600 Hall, 10550 Dix, Dearborn 48120

    Featured speakers and experts will be in attendance to discuss issues that greatly affect our region such as Healthcare (HR 676) and Immigration.

    For more information please call:

    Detroit Office (313) 961-5670; or,

    Westland Office (734) 675-4084

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    Friday, April 7, 2017

    CONYERS & GOODLATTE Seek Answers On Americans Swept Up Under Foreign Intelligence Programs

    Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) today requested that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence provide a public estimate of the number of communications involving U.S. persons incidentally swept up under FISA Section 702.

    FISA Section 702, which targets the communications of non-U.S. persons outside of the United States in order to protect national security, reportedly contributes to more than a quarter of all National Security Agency surveillance and has been used on multiple occasions to detect and prevent horrific terrorist plots against our country. Although Congress designed this authority to target non-U.S. persons located outside of the United States, it is clear that Section 702 surveillance programs can and do incidentally collect information about U.S. persons when U.S. persons communicate with the foreign targets of Section 702 surveillance.

    In their letter to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Goodlatte and Conyers state it is crucial that members of the House Judiciary Committee understand the impact of Section 702 on U.S. persons as the Committee proceeds with the debate regarding the reauthorization of this surveillance authority. They request that Director Coats provide a public estimate of the number of communications involving U.S. persons subject to Section 702 surveillance as soon as possible in order to inform public debate on the law.

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    CONYERS Commemorates Martin Luther King's Sermon "Beyond Vietnam"

    This week, longtime civil rights activist and Congressman John Lewis and more than 50 Members of Congress joined me to introduce my new resolution, H.Res. 246, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the April 4, 1967 “Beyond Vietnam” sermon given by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Riverside Church in Harlem, New York.

    In the sermon, Dr. King declared his opposition to the U.S. war in Vietnam.

    He also gave an important warning to our nation, one that still rings true today. Dr. King said: “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

    Since I recorded this message, President Trump unilaterally decided, without approval from Congress or the United Nations, to bomb a sovereign nation.

    Those 59 Tomahawk missiles alone cost taxpayers more than $50 million.

    I will continue do to everything in my power to stop Trump from wasting our tax money bombing people abroad, when we have so much important nation-building to do right here at home.

    There is no question that the United States must do more to relieve the suffering of the civilians trapped in Syria’s civil war.

    If President Trump wants to help the Syrian people, he should start by welcoming those seeking refuge from this terrible civil war. You can listen to Dr. King’s prophetic 1967 speech here:

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    CONYERS: Trump Must Come To Congress On Syria

    The House Must Reconvene Immediately and Debate the Use of Military Force

    Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, following a chemical attack on civilians attributed to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, United States military forces launched a missile strike on a Syrian airbase.  Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House Committee on the Judiciary, issued the following statement in response:

    Dean of the U.S. House
    of Representatives
    John Conyers, Jr.
    “There is no question that the United States must do more to relieve the suffering of the civilians trapped in Syria’s civil war. 

    “But before we can debate the wisdom of a single unilateral strike on a Syrian air field, President Trump must answer a number of threshold answers:

    “First, what is the legal basis for the President’s military intervention in Syria?  The President is bound by the U.S. Constitution, the War Powers Resolution, and the international laws of armed conflict—but Congress has never authorized military action against the Assad regime, and the President took this action without approval by the United Nations or any claim of self-defense.

    “Second, what is the President’s plan for Syria going forward?  For years, Donald Trump warned President Obama not to get involved in Syria.  The central theme of his campaign was ‘America First.’ He is not empowered to commit our troops to a new war on a whim, however brutal the actions of President Assad.

    “Finally, how does President Trump reconcile this action with the other policies of his Administration?  Like the President, I am haunted by the images of the children who have been murdered in this civil war.  Like many of my colleagues, I wonder if the President understands that the refugees he hopes to ban from entry to the United States seek shelter from the same conflict. 

    “I join with Leader Pelosi in her request to reconvene the House immediately to demand answers to these questions.”

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    Thursday, April 6, 2017

    CONYERS: Members Hold Forum On Civil Rights Under The Trump Administration

    Washington, D.C. – Today, April 6, 2017 at 10:30 AM, Members of the U.S. House of Representatives held a forum entitled, “Civil Rights Under the Trump Administration-The First 100 Days.” 

    The 2016 presidential campaign was the most polarizing and divisive in memory, particularly from a civil rights perspective.  Though the Obama administration made notable legislative and enforcement gains in civil rights, with the rise in hate violence, police shootings and legislative backlash at the state and local level, minority communities have been justifiably concerned about the continuing role of the Federal government in protecting their civil rights.  This forum will examine the appointments, polices and orders undertaken in the first 100 days of the Trump administration in order to help foster an agenda for the protection of civil rights.   

    WHO:            Members of Congress
    ·         House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI)
    ·         House Committee on Education and the Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA)
    ·         Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus
    ·         House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
    ·         Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC)
    ·         Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
    ·         Rep. Hank Johnson Jr. (D-GA)
    ·         Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-RI)
    ·         Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA)
    ·         Additional Members of Congress

    ·         Gavin Grimm, plaintiff in transgender rights case,G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board

    ·         Chief Hassan Aden, Steering Committee, Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration and former Chief of Police of the Greenville Police Department

    ·         Catherine Lhamon, Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, former Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education

    ·         Ron Davis, former director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services at the Department of Justice

    ·         Chiraag Bains, Senior Fellow at Harvard Law School Criminal Justice Policy Program, former Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights

    ·         Roy Austin, former director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs, Justice, and Opportunity

    ·         Joe Rich, Co-Director, Fair Housing & Community Development Project, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

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    Tuesday, April 4, 2017

    CONYERS & LEWIS Lead More Than 50 Members Of Congress In Honoring 50th Anniversary Of Dr. Martin Luther King's Landmark Anti-War Sermon

    Washington, D.C. — Today, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) and Congressman John Lewis, veterans of the civil rights movement, led more than 50 Members of Congress in introducing H.Res. 246, a resolution to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the April 4, 1967 “Beyond Vietnam” sermon given by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Riverside Church in Harlem, New York. In the speech, he condemned the Vietnam War and called for a fundamental change in the way the United States conducts foreign policy abroad.  

    “I consider Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to be the greatest American figure of the 20th century. When I introduced the bill to establish the Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday, it was not only for his work to promote equality for African-Americans. His advocacy for diplomacy over conflict and for spending on human needs instead of weapons of war, was also one of his enduring contributions to mankind,” Rep. Conyers said.

    The resolution highlights many powerful and prophetic passages from the sermon.  It quotes Dr. King’s call for a “true revolution in values,” one that “will lay hand on the world order and say of war, ‘This way of settling differences is not just.” The resolution further emphasizes Dr. King’s warning against prioritizing war spending of that for social welfare, declaring that “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” His statement rings true today, as President Trump has proposed a budget that would increase the U.S. military budget—already by far the world’s largest—by $54 billion dollars, while simultaneously proposing draconian cuts to domestic spending.  King called for transformative changes to our nation’s fabric, stating that “We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.’’ The resolution calls on the United States to pursue foreign policy that aligns with Dr. King’s vision for peace by fighting poverty and promoting understanding.

    The legislation is cosponsored by Reps. Alma Adams (NC-12), Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Karen Bass (CA-37), Joyce Beatty (OH-03), André Carson (IN-07), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Lacy Clay (MO-1), Emanuel Cleaver(MO-05), Steve Cohen (TN-09), John Conyers Jr. (MI-13), Joe Courtney (CT-02), Elijah E. Cummings (MD-07), Danny K. Davis (IL-07), Rosa L. DeLauro (CT-03), Val Demings (FL-10), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Keith Ellison (MN-05), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Dwight Evans (PA-02), Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), Luis V. Gutiérrez (IL-04), Alcee L . Hastings (FL-20), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Hakeem S. Jeffries (NY-08), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), Hank Johnson Jr. (GA-04), Robin L. Kelly (IL-02), Al Lawson (FL-05), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Barbara Lee (CA-13), John Lewis (GA-05), Donald McEachin (VA-04), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Gregory Meeks (NY-05), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ-06), Donald Payne Jr. (NJ-10), Stacey E. Plaskett (VI), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Cedric L. Richmond (LA-02), Bobby L. Rush (IL-01), David Scott (GA-13), José E. Serrano (NY-15), Terri A. Sewell (AL-07), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07), Maxine Waters (CA-43), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), and Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24).

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    CONYERS: Medicare for All's time has come

    Dean of the U.S. House
    of Representatives
    John Conyers, Jr.
    I’m as happy as anyone with the way the Republicans’ plan to wreck our healthcare system crashed and burned. And President Donald Trump is right: Republicans lost because Democrats beat them. We beat them because we were organized, we were unified and we were backed by unprecedented grassroots energy. Members of the U.S. Congress hosted dozens of rallies, advocacy organizations hosted hundreds more and constituents showed up in overwhelming numbers at town halls across this country to make their voices heard.

    And what exactly was their message? One of the most poignant moments came at a town hall hosted by U.S. Rep. Diane Black, Republican of Tennessee, where a constituent explained her opposition to the GOP bill using faith. As a Christian, she said, her faith was rooted in helping the unfortunate, not cutting taxes on the rich, so why not expand Medicaid and allow everyone to have insurance? And she’s not alone. Last week, a Quinnipiac survey found that voters overwhelmingly oppose cuts to Medicaid -- 74% of them -- including 54% among Republicans.

    Given the record high support for publicly funded healthcare, economistspolicy experts and commentators everywhere have called on the Democratic party to build on our momentum by supporting a single payer system. But perhaps the most convincing case I heard came from Jessi Bohan, the teacher from Cookeville, Tennessee who spoke at Rep. Black’s town hall.

    The week after her question went viral she wrote to the Washington Post that she was troubled to see her comments used as a "defense of Obamacare" instead of what they were: an indictment of any healthcare policy that leaves anyone out. As Bohan so eloquently put it, "it is immoral for health care to be a for-profit enterprise" that allows insurance companies to make "enormous sums of money off the sick while people are struggling to pay their medical bills." If she had it to do over again, she wrote, she would have explained to Black "the Christian case for universal, single-payer health insurance, which would protect all Americans."

    While her message was targeted at Republicans, it is one that many of my colleagues in the Democratic Party need to hear as well. For two weeks, I’ve watched Democrats point to theCongressional Budget Office’s analysis of the Paul Ryan bill and express righteous outrage that it would lead to 24 million Americans losing their insurance. But that same CBO score says that 28 million Americans will still be without insurance even under the Affordable Care Act. I’m impressed that the ACA has expanded Medicaid eligibility in states that have adopted it and more than 20 million previously uninsured now have insurance, but universal healthcare it is not.

    Time and time again I’ve heard Democrats dodge questions about their support for universal healthcare by saying they’re focused right now on defending the ACA. Now that we have repelled Paul Ryan’s attack and Donald Trump has signaled that Republicans will move on, the time for those excuses has passed.

    For years, I’ve also watched as Democrats, including our presidential nominee last year, have avoided putting their name behind single payer by saying they’re focused on politically achievable short-term goals.

    Single payer is politically achievable.

    Gallup, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and other polling organizations have found that there is majority support for Medicare for All in America today. But more important, elected officials are not supposed to move to the political center, we are supposed to stake out the moral center and convince others to join us there.

    November’s election results showed that we can’t just say "the other side is awful," however true that may be, and expect Americans to flock to us. To win again, we must be a party of principles and present bold ideas and a vision for the future.

    It is true that single-payer healthcare has been implemented in virtually every other advanced democracy on Earth. It is also true that in those countries, people live longer andhealthcare is dramatically less expensive than it is here. And finally, it is true that Medicare for All is the direction Americans overwhelmingly want us to go. Nevertheless, I want my colleagues to join me in supporting single-payer not to save money or to win elections, but because it is the moral and just thing to do. If, like me, you believe healthcare is a right to everyone and not a privilege to those who can afford it, let’s be organized and let’s be unified in our support for Medicare for All.

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    Monday, April 3, 2017

    CONYERS: Democrats Push Trump Administration to Protect the Education of Undocumented Children

    WASHINGTON – Today, John Conyers (MI-13), Reps. Bobby Scott (VA-03),  Bennie Thompson (MS-02), and Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), the Ranking Members of the Committees on Education and the Workforce, Judiciary, Homeland Security, and Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, respectively, sent a letter, below, to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly asking them to remind public schools that they are still required to educate undocumented children, despite recent changes to immigration policies.

    Dean of the U.S. House
    of Representatives
    John Conyers, Jr.
    “We write to express concern that recent changes in immigration enforcement policies are creating fear, anxiety and confusion in immigrant communities around the country,” the Members wrote. “In this environment of trepidation, it is important that we do all we can to minimize the impact these policies have on public school attendance and student learning. One way to address this concern is to ensure that school enrollment and attendance practices do not chill school participation based on the students’ or their parent’s immigration status.”

    To assuage increasing apprehensions, we request that the Department of Homeland Security issue a statement making clear that, in spite of other changes in enforcement policy, the sensitive locations policy remains in full effect, at schools and other localities,” the letter reads. “Fear of immigration enforcement actions cannot be allowed to create a hostile learning environment for our children.”

    In the Plyler v. Doe decision, the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to deny any child, including an undocumented child, access to a public education.  A student’s immigration status was irrelevant to the student’s right to access a public elementary and secondary education.
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    Friday, March 31, 2017

    CONYERS, JEFFRIES & LIEU To AG Sessions: "Are You Recused From Russia Matters Or Are You Going After The Alleged Russia Leaks?"

    Members Call for Sessions to Clarify his Involvement with Investigation

    Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions indicated that the Department of Justice will pursue criminal charges to curb the number of alleged leaks of classified information from within the government.  The statement raises questions about the scope of the Attorney General’s recusal from matters related to the presidential campaigns, and whether that recusal continues to apply to investigation of the many contacts between the Trump campaign and Putin’s Russia. 

    Earlier this week, the House Committee on the Judiciary considered H. Res. 184, a resolution of inquiry introduced by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), that would have directed the Department of Justice to turn over information related to the Attorney General’s misleading testimony and the pattern of connections between President Trump’s advisers and the Russian government.  That resolution was defeated on a party line vote.

    Dean of the U.S. House
    of Representatives
    John Conyers, Jr.
    Today, Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), joined by Reps. Jeffries and Lieu, wrote to the Attorney General, below, to ask for clarification on his comments.  The members also released the following statement:

    “Given the Attorney General’s troubling record on his own contacts with the Russian government, and given the Trump Administration’s apparent attempt to obstruct the work of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence by coopting its Chairman, it seems entirely inappropriate for him to comment on any aspect of these alleged leaks of classified information.  It is critical that Attorney General Sessions clarify the precise scope of his recusal.  We look forward to his prompt response to our letter.”
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    Thursday, March 30, 2017

    CONYERS Medicare for All bill gains steam in the wake of Trumpcare’s failure

    The office of the Democratic representative from Michigan tells the New Republic that his Medicare for All bill now has 78 co-sponsors, with today’s addition of Rep. Kathy Castor of Florida.

    “I have been introducing the Medicare For All bill every session of Congress since 2003, and I’m the longest serving member of Congress. I have never seen more enthusiasm and energy behind this issue than what I’m seeing today,” Conyers said in a statement. “I will keep introducing this bill as long as it takes because access to health care—not just health insurance, but quality, affordable care—is a universal right, not a privilege for those who can afford it.”

    Conyers has introduced the bill yearly in the House since 2003, to varying degrees of support from fellow Democrats. Seventy-eight co-sponsors is the most it’s had since 2009, and though it’s DOA in a Republican-controlled government, its renewed popularity is a source of optimism for single-payer backers on the Hill. It comes at an auspicious time, as Democrats move from their tentative victory in keeping Obamacare alive to a new health care reform message for 2018 and beyond.

    A congressional aide with knowledge of the situation tells the New Republic that single-payer is “a winning message.”

    “The will is there at the grassroots. The will is there among progressives which are the Democratic base. The will is there among the constituents of more moderate and centrist Democrats,” he said.

    “It’s just a question of if the party wants to decide to do something smart for a change.”

    He added, “I hope that the [Democratic] caucus decides to make it a campaign issue because I think it would work a lot better than some of the things we’ve been trying.”

    Update: Conyers’s office now says that Reps. David Price and Gene Green have signed the bill, bringing the number of co-sponsors to 80.

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    CONYERS Remarks at “NFL Players Speak Up: First-Hand Experiences Building Community Trust”

    Image may contain: 3 people, people standing and suit
    Representing Detroit on and off the field. It was a pleasure to hear
    Anquan Boldin thoughts on how we can bridge the gap
    between minority communities and police; and reform the
    criminal justice system - as he testified on Capitol Hill.
    I hope his activism will encourage others to make their voice heard.
    For the better part of two decades, the relationship between African-American communities and their police departments across the nation have hovered in a state of volatility, awaiting a single incident to combust.  These tensions have grown as allegations of bias-based policing by law enforcement agents, sometimes supported by data collection efforts and video evidence, have increased in number and frequency.

    While the current wave of national attention was triggered by the controversial shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9, 2014, the sensibilities of the nation have also been shocked by other high-profile police-involved shootings of more than 30 unarmed African-American and Latino men.  Overall more than 250 African-American men were killed in police incidents in 2016.

    Against this backdrop, these same communities have been ground zero in the so-called War on Drugs.  There is bipartisan agreement that our nation has a crisis of over-incarceration, with 2.2 million people imprisoned in this country.  One of the main reasons for this catastrophic level of incarceration is the use of mandatory minimum sentencing, which often imposes sentences that are not appropriate for the facts and culpability of individual cases. 

    Once released, these people face the prison-after-prison, where they can experience both housing and employment discrimination due to their criminal records.  These burden can be so great that over half are re-incarcerated within three years of their release.  All of this disproportionately impacts African Americans and is a major factor impacting the quality of life in our families and communities. 

    The rise of activism triggered by the racial disparities in our criminal justice system has touched diverse parts of our communities.  Harkening back to the civil rights era of the 1960's, people have taken to the streets to proclaim that black lives matter and to seek justice for those who have died.

    Today we are joined by members of the National Football League.  This is the second Hill visit by NFL players and we look forward to building further links with the NFL Players Association to raise awareness around our Justice Agenda.  As we recognize the price that some of your colleagues are paying for their activism, we note that your appearance here is meaningful – and not without risk to your livelihood.  Ultimately, I believe that your activism will inspire other to raise their voices for justice.  Let no one make the mistake of believing that the search of for justice in America is anything less than an act of patriotism.

    As soon as C-SPAN corrects the issues on my account, I will update with clips to his statement.

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    House Judiciary Committee Overwhelmingly Passes Bipartisan Legislation on Selection Process for Copyright Register

    Washington, D.C. -- The House Judiciary Committee today approved the bipartisan Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act(H.R. 1695) by a vote of 27-1.

    The Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act, authored by House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) and Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), 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 creates a selection panel made up of Members of Congress and the Librarian of Congress.  This panel would be tasked with submitting a list of at least three qualified individuals to the President for his or her consideration. Finally, the President would nominate an individual from the selection panel’s list and that individual would be subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate.  The legislation also limits the Register to a ten year term which is renewable by another Presidential nomination and Senate confirmation and notes that the Register can only be removed for cause.

    Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers praised today’s approval of the bill in the statement below.

    Dean of the U.S. House
    of Representatives
    John Conyers, Jr.
    “Over the last few years we have been working together in a bipartisan fashion to review our copyright laws.  This initiative is designed to determine whether the laws are still working in the digital age to reward creativity and innovation.  While we are fully committed to continuing the work of our copyright review and our efforts to modernize the Copyright Office, there is an immediate need when it comes to the selection process for the next Register of Copyrights.  While this is only the first initial legislative step, as always we remain open to working with every member and every stakeholder at every step of the way – including the Leadership on both sides of the aisle -- as we continue to enhance our Committee’s work.    

    “In the past, the authority of the Copyright Office to conduct rule makings has been challenged in the courts because the Register is not currently Presidentially-appointed. This bipartisan legislation would put to rest, once and for all, that question, and ensures that the Register is accountable to Congress.”

    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.

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    CONYERS Statement On DOJ IG Report On DOJ's Use Of Asset Forfeiture

    Washington, D.C. - The Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice issued a report concerning the Department’s “Oversight of Cash Seizure and Forfeiture Activities.”  The Inspector General analyzed the asset seizure and forfeiture policies, practices and performance management capabilities of the Department as a whole, in addition to examining the forfeiture activities of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The review identified weaknesses in the Department’s oversight of asset seizure and forfeiture activities, and specifically found that the Department and its investigative components do not use data “to determine whether seizures benefit criminal investigations or the extent to which they may pose potential risks to civil liberties.” 

    In response, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) stated:

    Dean of the U.S. House
    of Representatives
    John Conyers, Jr.
    “The results of the Inspector General’s report are very troubling.  This report questions the Justice Department’s asset seizure and forfeiture practices, finding that many may not advance or relate to criminal investigations.  The report confirms our fears that our asset forfeiture laws must be updated and reformed, which I have been working with my colleagues, on a bipartisan basis, to accomplish. 

    “I have previously cosponsored the Deterring Undue Enforcement by Protecting Rights of Citizens from Excessive Searches and Seizures Act of 2016 (DUE PROCESS Act), and am joining my colleagues Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) in reintroducing today.  This bill is necessary to provide important new protections against the abuse of our civil forfeiture laws, which allow the government to take someone’s property without even filing criminal charges.” 

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