Friday, August 18, 2017

CONYERS: Bannon's Removal Doesn't Address Trump's Support Of White Supremacy & Racism

Conyers: We Must Boldly Condemn Racist Un-American Ideals

Detroit, MI– House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) today released the following statement in response to the news that Steve Bannon will no longer serve as White House Chief Strategist:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“As I said in November, Steve Bannon is the standard-bearer for the worst instincts in American society.  Whether Bannon personally trades in violence, racism, and bigotry - he allowed Brietbart - his media organization - to become a platform for white nationalism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, and anti-immigrant sentiment of the worst kind. 

“I am pleased that he is no longer serving in the White House, he should have never been appointed. However, his removal will not undo the damage that has already been done and it will not reconcile the hate-filled agenda of the Trump Administration.

“President Donald Trump has shown us his true colors. He sided with un-American white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and all those who give racism and hatred a voice. Trump's failure to reflect on his dangerous rhetoric continues to embolden these groups and ideals.

“This administration must reverse its pattern of discriminatory positions in notable areas including voting rights, policing, immigration, and affirmative action. Beyond wringing our hands, we must use this opportunity to enact meaningful change.”

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

CONYERS: More Than 60 Members Of Congress Reject Trump Statements On North Korea

Administration Urged to Act with Restraint and Adhere to Diplomatic Approach

Washington, D.C. –  More than 60 Members of Congress, working from their home districts during recess, came together to write an urgent letter, below, to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to express “profound concern” over “irresponsible and dangerous” statements made by President Trump and to urge Tillerson to do everything in his power “to ensure that President Trump and other Administration officials understand the importance of speaking and acting with the utmost caution and restraint on this delicate issue.”

The letter warns that “Congress and the American public will hold President Trump responsible if a careless or ill-advised miscalculation results in conflict that endangers our servicemembers and regional allies,” and asks the Administration to reaffirm its understanding of the longstanding Constitutional principles that pre-emptive strikes on another nation must be authorized by Congress.

The Congressmembers indicate their strong support for Tillerson’s recent statements calling for direct talks with North Korea and offering assurances that our country is not their enemy and does not seek war or regime change.

The letter notes that Tillerson’s approach accords with that urged by 64 Members of Congress in a May letter to President Trump, and is also backed by leading experts on US-North Korea policy, including former Secretary of Defense William Perry, former Secretary of State George Schultz and former Senator Richard Lugar who have stated that our country “should make clear that the United States does not have hostile intentions toward North Korea.”

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) said, “As a veteran of the Korean War, I am ashamed that our Commander-in-Chief is conducting himself in a reckless manner that endangers our troops stationed in Korea and our regional allies.  Trump must immediately cease talk of pre-emptive war—which must be authorized by Congress—and commit to the diplomatic path advocated by both American experts and the South Korean government.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) said, “President Trump’s belligerent rhetoric is dangerous. Instead of saber-rattling, this Administration should pursue direct talks with North Korea to de-escalate tensions.”

Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam) said, “President Trump’s statements were unhelpful, dangerous and raised tensions with North Korea higher than we have previously seen. This has led to North Korea directly threatening nearly 168,000 American citizens living in my home district of Guam. While I have great confidence in our military’s capabilities in the Pacific and appreciate that the DoD has deployed proven missile defense systems in the region, including a THAAD battery on Guam, President Trump must show steady leadership to prevent further escalating tensions. I join Representative Conyers and my Democratic colleagues in calling on the Trump Administration to work with the international community and engage in diplomatic discussions with North Korea. It is imperative that President Trump and his Administration work towards a peaceful solution to this situation and refrain from any action that could lead toward a military conflict.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) said, “Now is the not the time to encourage North Korea to make additional threats. Nearly 50 members of the House recognize that we need assured leadership in regards to the situation with North Korea and urge the State Department to choose diplomacy over a show of force.”

An Economist/YouGov poll conducted from April 29 to May 2, 2017found that 60 percent of Americans support “direct negotiations between the United States and North Korea” to end North Korea’s nuclear program, while 10 percent were somewhat opposed and 8 percent strongly opposed.  63 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of Republicans support direct negotiations with North Korea.

Today’s letter was led by Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13). Signatories include: Reps. Ro Khanna (CA-17), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Madeleine Z. Bordallo (GU), Alma S. Adams (NC-12), Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Karen Bass (CA-37), Don S. Beyer Jr. (VA-08), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-AL), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Salud O. Carbajal (CA-24), Judy Chu (CA-27),  David N. Cicilline (RI-01), Emanuel L. Cleaver, II (MO-05), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Danny K.  Davis (IL-07), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10), Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Michael F. Doyle (PA-14), Keith Ellison (MN-05), Dwight Evans (PA-02), Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11), Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), Al Green (TX-09), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Luis V. Gutiérrez (IL-04), Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01), Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07),  Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (GA-04), Daniel T. Kildee (MI-05), Al Lawson, Jr. (FL-05), Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14), Ted W. Lieu (CA-33), Alan S. Lowenthal (CA-47), Betty McCollum(MN-04),  James P. McGovern (MA-02), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Janice D. Schakowsky (IL-09), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), José E. Serrano (NY-15), Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), Louise Slaughter (NY-25), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Darren Soto (FL-09), Niki Tsongas (MA-03), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07), Timothy J. Walz (MN-01), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Peter Welch (VT-AL), and Frederica Wilson (FL-24), John A. Yarmuth (KY-03).
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CONYERS To Host Town Hall Meeting On Jobs & Health Care With Bernie Sanders 8-22-2017

Dean of the U.S. House of Representatives John Conyers, Jr. &
2017 Democratic Presidential Candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders
DETROIT – On Tuesday, August 22, 2017 at 7:00 pm, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) will host a town hall meeting to discuss jobs, healthcare and building a better future for Michigan’s 13th Congressional District.

Rep. Conyers has invited U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to join in on the discussion. Topics will include healthcare, creating good paying jobs, raising wages and building an economy that gives every American the tools to succeed in the 21st century. This event is open to the public.

Date:               August 22, 2017
Time:              7:00 p.m.
Location:        Fellowship Chapel Church
7707 W. Outer Drive
Detroit, MI

RSVP:              Media interested in attending should RSVP to Monique Mansfield and Shadawn Reddick-Smith . 
Background: In January, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. reintroduced H.R. 676, “The Expanded And Improved Medicare For All Act.” H.R. 676 would expand and improve the highly popular Medicare program and provide universal access to care to all Americans. Rep. Conyers has introduced H.R.676 every year since 2003. Sen. Sanders has announced he will be introducing a similar version of the legislation. 

Conyers and Sanders also just introduced companion youth jobs bills in the House and Senate to tackle unemployment. According to some estimates, Detroit has one of the highest youth unemployment rates -- 30 percent -- amongst the 25 largest U.S. metro areas.  

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

CONYERS, CUMMINGS, CONNOLLY & CICILLINE Request Documents about President Trump’s Regulatory Task Forces’ Secret Meetings and Conflicts of Interest

Washington, D.C. (August 7, 2017)—Today, Reps. John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House Committee on the Judiciary, Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Gerry Connolly, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, and David Cicilline, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law, sent a letter, below, to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Administrator Neomi Rao expressing grave concerns about the secrecy of the Regulatory Reform Task Forces and requesting information about the nature of their meetings.

“We write to express our alarm concerning the lack of transparency, accountability, and independence of the Regulatory Reform Task Forces,” the Members wrote. “We believe that the interests of the American public must be paramount when reviewing the worthiness of regulations. Therefore, these Task Forces must have an effective and transparent guard against conflicts of interest, especially those in which industry lobbyists seek to overturn environmental and health protections for financial gain. It appears that the current Task Forces are already failing on this front, and instead are actively hiding their members and their meetings from public view.”

The Democrats explained that press reports indicate these Task Forces appear to have operated in private without public input, and some agencies have refused to release basic information about their activity or maintain a record of their meetings as required by the Federal Records Act.

“Withholding the names and titles of Task Force participants may also violate the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA),” the Members wrote. “Simply put, it is unacceptable for federal agencies to operate in such a clandestine and unaccountable manner especially when the result could be the undoing of critical public health and safety protections.”

The Members also expressed concern that several employees stand to profit from their work on the Task Force. For example, the wife of one Task Force member at the Environmental Protection Agency is the top lobbyist for a large oil company.

“Rather than ‘drain the swamp,’ these conflicts threaten to influence the outcome of the review process against hardworking Americans and in favor of regulated industries and agency staff,” the Members wrote.

The Members requested documents and information, including a description of every Task Force created pursuant to the executive order, a list of the names and titles of every member of each Task Force, and communications related to non-governmental entities participating in Task Force meetings.

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Friday, August 4, 2017

CONYERS & SENSENBRENNER Urge AG Sessions To Reconsider DOJ Policies On Asset Forfeiture

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) sent the following letter to United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions to express concerns and objections to his proposal to expand the Department of Justice’s civil asset forfeiture program. The letter also urges AG Sessions to reconsider his newly-announced policies.

Congressman Conyers: “I am deeply disappointed by the Justice Department’s recent move to reverse its ban on adoptive seizures.  The prior policy, which was instituted in January of 2015, greatly curtailed this practice, which provides financial incentives for law enforcement to seize the property – including the homes – of individuals who may not even be guilty of a crime.  I call on Senator Sessions to withdraw the new policy, which is contrary to the growing bipartisan effort to reform our civil forfeiture laws and practices.  Indeed, the time has come for Congress to enact the DUE PROCESS Act, a bipartisan bill to significantly alter these laws and increase protections for innocent property owners.”

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “Expanding the federal civil asset forfeiture program is a step in the wrong direction and I urge Attorney General Sessions and his Department of Justice to reconsider. I am a supporter of criminal asset forfeiture – the seizure of property after the conviction of crime—but with civil asset forfeiture, law enforcement has a direct economic incentive to take people’s property without ever even charging them with a crime. We need to add more due process to forfeiture proceedings. Expanding forfeiture without increasing protections is, in my view, unconstitutional and wrong.”

Conyers & Sensenbrenner Letter to Attorney General Sessions Re Adoptive Forfeitures 8.4.17 by Beverly Tran on Scribd
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CONYERS Celebrates Startup Day Across America In Detroit

Image may contain: 3 people, people standingAugust 1, 2017 was Startup Day Across America and what a day it was.

I had the pleasure of visiting several local business in MI-13 including:

1️⃣ Detroit Chassis LLC, a local business that specializes in sub-assemblies and chassis modification.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sitting and indoor2️⃣ Rickman Enterprise Group, a Veteran owned business which provides customer-specific services in Efficiency Management, Environmental Services, Quality, Environmental & Energy Assessments.

3️⃣ ARD Logistics, a national logistics and warehousing firm, incubator/co-working space for young people in Southwest Detroit.

4️⃣ James Group International, a minority-certified provider of global supply chain management services. 

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CONYERS: More Than 30 House Judiciary, Armed Services & LGBT Equality Caucus Democrats Urge Secretary Of Defense & Joint Chiefs Of Staff To Not Comply With Trump's Unconstitutional Transgender Ban

Washington, D.C. – More than 50 Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee, Armed Services Committee, and the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus today wrote to Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. to urge that they not comply with any unconstitutional directive to ban transgender individuals from serving in the United States military. 

Today’s letter was led by House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA). In addition to the letter, Reps. Conyers, Smith, Nadler, and Cicilline released the following statement: 
“President Trump’s recent Twitter announcement banning military service by transgender individuals is not only bad policy, it is unconstitutional. It defies common sense to deny the military these service members' mission-critical skills.  No American who is willing and able should be denied the honor and responsibilities that come with serving in our Armed Forces solely on the basis of their status as the member of a protected group.

“Unfortunately, President Trump’s proposed ban is yet another troubling sign of his willingness to make impulsive policy decisions while ignoring military leadership. We appreciated the measured response of Secretary Mattis, General Dunford, and other military leaders in response to President Trump’s rash announcement of a proposed discriminatory and unjustified ban on military service by transgender individuals. We would urge President Trump to stop making policy via Twitter and to consult America’s professional military leadership before making decisions that affect the lives and safety of our citizens.”

Thousands of transgender individuals are currently serving in the United States Armed Forces. Trump’s July 26th Twitter announcement to ban transgender individuals from the military has received much backlash. More than 50 retired senior military officers recently released a statement opposing the ban on the grounds it would degrade military readiness. Trump’s announcement is particularly troubling in light of recent news reports regarding President Trump’s meetings with Secretary of Defense Mattis and other military leaders to discuss the war in Afghanistan, in which he complained that the U.S. is ‘losing’ and insinuated he should ignore strategic advice from high-ranking military officials by likening the war to the renovation of a New York City restaurant. 

Image result for klinger

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CONYERS on Detroit in 1967: 'I Couldn't Stop It'

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
Any movie based on a true story will take certain liberties, and Kathryn Bigelow's examination of the events of the 1967 riot in Detroit—Detroitout Friday—acknowledges that some of the precise details of those events aren't even certain to those who deal strictly in nonfiction. But at least one moment in the film, its subject says, is "a fair representation of what I did and said."

That subject is Rep. John Conyers Jr., who represented Detroit in the House of Representatives in 1967 and still does today, as the most senior member in that legislative body and the first African-American representative to hold that honor.

And the moment in question is one of which TIME likewise took note, in its cover story about the events:
When the riot was only a few hours old, John Conyers, one of Detroit 's two Negro Congressmen, drove up Twelfth Street with Hubert Locke and Deputy School Superintendent Arthur Johnson. "Stay cool, we're with you!" Conyers shouted to the crowd. "Uncle Tom!" they shouted back. Someone heaved a bottle and the leaders beat a prompt retreat, not wanting to become "handkerchief heads" in the bandaged sense of the epithet. "You try to talk to these people," said Conyers unhappily, "and they'll knock you into the middle of next year."

Looking back on that time from the vantage point of today, Conyers says, it can be hard to grasp what Detroit was like, the way that "segregation was a fact of life" and how much more tense things were than they are even today. And, as a result, despite the difficulty he experienced talking the crowd that day, he takes an empathetic view of those who shouted him down.

"This was a moment where rage and rebellion and anger and opposition to the mistreatment of people because of their race all erupted in one of those unusual and important moments. It couldn’t be stopped. I couldn’t stop it at all," he tells TIME. "[Calming down] was an important step but I think it was a step that we couldn’t accomplish because of the explosion of emotions and the pent-up feelings of being less than first-class citizens. It’s hard to imagine how much separation of people there was in and around Detroit because of a person’s racial background."

Though he says he didn't know all of the people in the crowd personally, he was familiar with many of them and they with him. He was also intimately familiar—as he would tell reporters in the immediate wake of the riot—with the frustration and impatience that lay underneath the tensions in the city. The spirit of "we're not going to take it any longer" took over, he says, and the inequality that was no longer supportable could be traced not just to Detroit's recent history but all the way back to slavery. The relationship between the city's African-American population and its law enforcement was a key point for the expression of that history, and he says that the police played "a large role" in creating a situation in which those constituents could no longer be persuaded that violence was not the only recourse left.

"There were very few African-Americans on the police force of Detroit and it was certainly way [before] the time when we would have an African-American chief of police in the city of Detroit, and the police were more than impolite," he says. "They were rough. They ordered people around. They had what they called a 'Big Four' cruiser, in which police drove around, usually threatening young people who were just hanging out on the corners or on the streets with not too much to do. They weren’t a menace but they were the ones who were available. The absence of sensitized police relations played a huge role in fomenting this pent-up resentment against law enforcement."

Though he couldn't stop the riots, Conyers recalls that his first priority was telling people to stay off the streets for their own safety, as the longer the disturbance went on the more people would be hurt or killed. (The death toll by the end of the five-day riot would be 43.) He also recalls receiving a phone call from President Lyndon Johnson, who wanted to know whether the reports he was receiving were accurate. Conyers told him that yes, he was in Detroit and he could promise that the news that was reaching Johnson really did reflect how bad the situation was on the ground.

"The sound of tanks, United States Army tanks, going down, say, Dexter Avenue in Northwest Detroit, just made a horrible sound," he says. "It rattled everything."
In the wake of that horror, however, he saw hope.

Organizations like New Detroit were founded to work on desegregation and other solutions, and these days the Detroit police force is majority-black and, despite a rough road getting there, Conyers says he believes that organizations that are dedicated to working on improving racial justice in his city have made a difference.

"We haven’t resolved all of the problems but I think we’ve got organizations now that are sensitized," Conyers says. "This kind of thing is something in our history, but I don’t really expect that it would happen again."

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CONYERS Condemns Mississippi Governor's Anti-Union Remarks

Detroit, MI – Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) released the following statement in response to Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant’s anti-union remarks:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“Detroit paved the first mile of road, made the automobile a household good, and built the Middle Class.  General Motors, Ford, and FCA are only three of the more than a dozen auto makers in America—but they employ two-thirds of American autoworkers.  They have invested billions of dollars over the past few decades in Southeast Michigan.  They do the majority of their design, manufacturing, and surrounding services right here in America—and they offer their employees a much larger voice in their workplace than Governor Bryant apparently wants for his own citizens.

“Governor Bryant’s statements are a typical cheap shot.  I would be offended if he was not so transparent: he is simply parroting what the anti-worker special interests he serves want him to say.

“As someone whose own family fled Jackson, MS for opportunity in Detroit—and who still has some family in Mississippi—I wonder why is it that Bryant does not think workers in his state should have a voice?  The Mississippians I know are smart and sharp.  They should have the same say in their workplace as anyone else. Perhaps as the Governor of a state ranked 51st in household income—Bryant should focus more on empowering workers—and less on doing the bidding of anti-union billionaires who reward him for keeping wages low and workers silent in his state.”

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

CONYERS, SCOTT Statement On Reports Of Trump Administration Plans To Attack Affirmative Action

WASHINGTON – Representatives Bobby Scott (VA-03) and John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13), the ranking members of the House Committees on Education and the Workforce and the Judiciary, respectively, issued the following statement after reports surfaced that the Department of Justice plans to attack and undermine affirmative action programs in colleges and universities. 

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“While we cannot comment on the veracity of this alleged memo, we are deeply concerned by news reports that the Department of Justice intends to challenge the application of affirmative action programs in colleges and universities.  What is already clear is the Trump Administration’s public record of attacking civil rights protections on multiple fronts. 

“As ranking members, we led 86 Members of the House in an amicus brief in support of affirmative action programs in higher education. We were one of nearly 70 organizations to take the same position, including retired Chiefs of Staff of our nation’s Armed Services, leading Fortune 500 companies, academics, 19 state governors, the faith community and many others. The position that we took was ultimately affirmed by the Supreme Court – the consideration of race and ethnicity to achieve diversity in admissions is a constitutional and is a compelling state interest that can be achieved through narrowly tailored means.

“Whether it is the Department of Justice’s decision to examine the use of consent decrees with state and local police departments, which are designed to reduce instances of police brutality and discriminatory treatment; Attorney General Session’s decision to  return to the harsh application of mandatory minimum sentences which have been proven to be racially discriminatory and counterproductive to reducing crime; the White House’s so-called election integrity commission which purports to “solve” voter fraud while requesting the most personal data of the Nation’s 200 million registered voters; or efforts to weaken the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) – agencies charged with the enforcement of employment nondiscrimination laws, the Trump administration has not wasted any opportunity to roll back existing civil rights protections for underrepresented minorities.

“Further, the Administration’s reactionary efforts were signaled in the White House’s proposed budget to which reduces or eliminated funding tied to the enforcement of federal civil rights laws.  The Trump Administration’s budget undermines the constitutional promise of Brown v. Board of Education by cutting federal funding to support public schools that serve our nation’s poorest students. It proposes elimination of the environmental justice program, gutting the primary tool to examine and address the impact of environmental policies and decisions on communities of color, low-income and tribal communities. And proving the adage “any rights without remedies are no rights at all,” the President’s budget proposes eliminating federal funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) that provides civil legal aid for low income Americans to help them have their day in court.

“These actions, already on the record, provide a clear, yet unsettling picture of this Administration’s hostile view of the federal government’s role in protecting civil rights.”

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Sunday, July 30, 2017

50 Years Ago, LBJ Signs Medicare & Medicaid Into Law

50 years ago, President Johnson signed into law, Medicare & Medicaid to provide health care to old, the young, the sick and the veterans who have served this nation.

50 years later, our elected officials want to "unsign" the health care law.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Medicare bill and dedicated it to Harry S. Truman, the former president who "planted the seeds of compassion".

No longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine. No longer will illness crush and destroy the savings that they have so carefully put away over a lifetime so that they might enjoy dignity in their later years. No longer will young families see their own incomes, and their own hopes, eaten away simply because they are carrying out their deep moral obligations to their parents, and to their uncles, and their aunts.

And no longer will this Nation refuse the hand of justice to those who have given a lifetime of service and wisdom and labor to the progress of this progressive country.

Dean of the U.S. House of Representatives, John Conyers, Jr. has introduced Medicare For All.

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Saturday, July 29, 2017

CONYERS renews call for end to racial profiling

Washington — U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr. is seizing on the new film “Detroit” and the 50th anniversary of the city’s uprising to renew his call for greater accountability and training for police in an push to end racial profiling.

Conyers, portrayed in the film by actor Laz Alonso, convened a discussion Thursday evening at the U.S. Capitol with “Detroit” director Kathryn Bigelow, Alonso and others to discuss these issues and screen the movie for members of Congress, their staffs and guests.

“As we have seen from police-involved shooting incidents and Department of Justice investigations around the country, 1967 Detroit is being repeated every year still,” Conyers said.

“For this reason, I continue to pursue improving police relationships and accountability and criminal justice reform here in Congress.”

Conyers has introduced a bill to prohibit racial profiling in every Congress since 2001. It would require retraining of law-enforcement officers on how to discontinue racial profiling and would mandate data collection.

The film focuses on the incident at the Algiers Motel, set against the backdrop of the 1967 Detroit uprising – also called the 12th Street Riot.

The Algiers incident involved three black men who died during an interrogation by police officers. The officers tried for the deaths were found not guilty. Observers have drawn parallels to the recent deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Philando Castile, who were also killed by police.

Bigelow said the movie came about in the wake of Brown’s shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, when her screenwriter brought her the story of the 1967 Algiers incident.

“As I was listening to the story, I found myself thinking it didn’t feel like 50 years ago,” Bigelow said. “I thought we would benefit from seeing this story. It’s a very tragic one – an American tragedy – but in a perfect would it might stimulate a conversation.”

As the riots grew in 1967, Conyers went into the streets and tried to quell the community’s rage, directing it to more “proactive organization,” he said.

The film recreates the scene of Conyers grasping a bullhorn atop a car in the middle of the crowd, urging his neighbors and constituents to stop the destruction.

“What I felt more than anything, in the rebellion scene, was the need to be heard. Everyone needed to be heard. The citizens of Detroit were not being heard,” Alonso said.

“When Representative Conyers went up to talk to these people, he needed to be heard. …
Unfortunately, at that moment in time, the bubble had burst, and there was no listening. It was all action. All the frustrations that had built up for so long.”

Democratic Rep. Brenda Lawrence was a young girl on the east side of Detroit during the riots. She recalls her grandmother’s anxiety and television images of military tanks rolling down city streets.

In an interview, she stressed the need for community leaders around the country to provide ongoing training for police.

“We are held responsible – us in government – for the training and the accountability of our police. This movie shows where some of the failures happened,” said Lawrence, the former mayor of Southfield.

“It’s an opportunity for us to step back and say, if we don’t train, or have better accountability in collecting data, we could be right where we were. Ferguson happened just recently. I’m hoping the outcome of this film will be that it will create a sense of urgency for our local governments to train and invest in our police officers.”

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CONYERS, BEYERS, House Democrats Introduce Security Clearance Review Act

Would authorize the FBI Director to revoke the security clearance of Senior White House staff

July 28, 2017 (Washington, D.C.) – Reps. John Conyers (D-MI) and Don Beyer (D-VA), Ranking Member of the House Committee on the Judiciary, today introduced the Security Clearance Review Act. The bill would authorize the Director of the FBI to revoke the security clearance of an employee of the Executive Office of the President if the Director deems such actions necessary to national security. Their legislation was cosponsored by 19 additional Representatives.

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“The Trump Administration has a very poor track record when it comes to their handling of classified information—and those are only incidents we know about,” said Rep. Conyers.  “Given that several senior officials appear to have failed to disclose their contacts with foreign governments on their applications for a security clearance, given that President Trump is related by marriage to at least one of these officials, and given that the President himself appears to have played fast and loose with sensitive intelligence, it is imperative that the authority to revoke these clearances extend beyond the President, to include the Director of the FBI.”

“Donald Trump’s refusal to hold his senior staff accountable for their deceptions on Russia have sadly made this legislation necessary,” said Rep. Beyer. “Despite all we have learned about his secret meetings with Russians, Jared Kushner apparently continues to hold his clearance.  Jared Kushner’s case and that of disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn make it clear that we need further protections when it comes to security clearances for the President’s family and closest advisers. I thank my colleague, Ranking Member Conyers, for working with me to craft legislation to protect our national security.”

The cosponsors of the bill are Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Norma Torres (D-CA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Peter Welch (D-VT), David Cicilline (D-RI), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).

The bill is, below.

Rep. Beyer has led congressional attempts to hold Jared Kushner accountable for “omitted” meetings with Russian officials from his SF-86 form since Kushner’s failure to disclose those meetings was revealed. In April, Beyer and four other Representatives asked the Administration to suspend Jared Kushner’s security clearance.

The FBI’s response to that letter alerted the Representatives to the surprising fact that the President alone holds final authority to suspend or revoke employees of the Executive Office of the President.

Beyer subsequently led over 50 Members of Congress in calling for immediate revocation of Kushner’s security clearance following revelations that the Special Prosecutor was investigating Kushner’s meetings with Russian officials. 

Earlier this month, Beyer led nearly two dozen Representatives seeking FBI scrutiny of White House adviser Ivanka Trump over possible omissions on her SF-86.
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Thursday, July 27, 2017

U.S. House Judiciary Committee Calls For Special Investigation of Loretta Lynch, James Comey & Hillary Clinton

Letter of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint a second special counsel to investigate a plethora of matters connected to the 2016 election and its aftermath, including actions taken by previously public figures like Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
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CONYERS Statement On Senator Daines Using Medicare For All As A Pawn

Washington, D.C. – Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) today released the following statement on Republican Senator Steve Daines using Rep. Conyers’ H.R. 676, Medicare for All legislation as a pawn in his scheme to force a vote on Senate Democrats:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“The process by which the Senate is considering changes to our nation’s healthcare plan is a sham, and Senate Democrats are right not to take part in it. We’ve said all along that Republicans should be holding hearings, soliciting input from the public, and carefully weighing analysis from the Congressional Budget Office. My proposal is no different. In fact, Medicare for All is far more popular than the status quo or anything Republicans have put forward, with about 60% of Americans in support, so it’s even more deserving of hearings and a CBO score.

“Poll after poll shows that Americans agree that we have a collective obligation to guarantee healthcare coverage to everyone through a government financed healthcare system. A majority of my Democratic colleagues in the House are cosponsors of my Medicare for All bill. Republicans are right: thanks to its overwhelming popularity, Medicare for All has become the alternative to Trumpcare. So let’s have a real debate, including hearings, independent analysis, and input from doctors, patients, and hospitals. What we shouldn’t be doing is holding disingenuous 11th-hour votes on any ideas that haven’t be subjected to the normal legislative process.”

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

CONYERS: House Judiciary Committee To Consider Sessions' Recusal and Comey Firing Resolution

Washington, DC – On Wednesday, July 26, 2017, the House Judiciary Committee will consider Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and David Cicilline’s (RI-01) resolution of inquiry requesting the Trump Administration to release any and all information pertaining to Attorney General Sessions’ involvement in the firing of FBI Director James Comey in violation of his recusal and related matters. The full text of the Resolution of Inquiry can be found, below.

Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr., issued the following statement:
Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“The Majority has shown itself to be in complete lockstep with President Trump.  Rather than talk about a crisis at the Department of Justice, our colleagues would rather re-litigate the 2016 election and question the credibility of a long list of public servants who no longer work for the government.

“There is simply no excuse for our Committee’s failure to hold a single oversight hearing on these matters.  Their attempt to hide behind stale conspiracy theories is both tone deaf and counterproductive.  It makes the Majority complicit in the actions of President Trump and his associates.

“I am disappointed that the Republicans denied us an opportunity to debate our resolution, but we will not be deterred.  Whether the crisis comes to the Committee or the Committee comes to the crisis, we will conduct oversight of the Trump Administration.”

BACKGROUND:  A resolution of inquiry is a legislative tool that has privileged parliamentary status, meaning it can be brought to the floor if the relevant committee hasn’t reported it within 14 legislative days, even if the Majority leadership has not scheduled it for a vote.

House Judiciary Committee Democrats have long been calling for House Judiciary Republicans to provide proper oversight over Trump and his Administration. Democrats have written to Chairman Goodlatte four times to request hearings on Russian interference with the 2016 election, potential collusion with Russia, the firing of James Comey and Attorney General Sessions’ recusal. 

 Democrats have also sent several letters to Speaker Paul Ryan, the Department of Justice and the White House requesting related information. 

Despite Judiciary Republicans’ attempts to block Democratic efforts, resolutions of inquiry should be the proper next step in the Committee’s oversight of the Trump Administration.  House Judiciary Republicans have so far blocked Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s (D-NY) resolution of inquiry and Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Ted Lieu’s (D-CA) resolution of inquiryfrom reaching the House floor.  

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CONYERS Condemns Senate Vote To Start Obamacare Repeal Process

Washington, D.C. – Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) released the following statement after Senate Republicans voted to start debate on repealing the Affordable Care Act:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“I’m horrified by what today’s vote means for poor and working people in this country. The Affordable Care Act is not perfect and I have said this many times. However, in Detroit alone, the uninsured rate has dropped from 22% to 7.4% over the last 3 years. That progress will be undone by today’s vote.

“The proposals that Republicans have on the table will result in more than 50,000 people in my district losing coverage. Nationwide, premiums will skyrocket for those lucky enough to have insurance and Medicaid will be cut by 1/3 - meaning that people will likely die. I don’t say that to be hyperbolic; it’s simply a fact that lack of access to care results in preventable deaths.

“Today’s vote makes clear what I’ve been saying for decades: the only way forward is through a single, national insurance plan: Medicare for All. Virtually every other advanced country on earth uses a government guaranteed model rather than relying on employer-sponsored care through a for-profit insurance industry. These countries spend 30-60% less than we do, with longer life-expectancy and lower infant and maternal mortality rates. We are the richest country on earth. It is a moral failure that we lag so far behind the rest of the world on healthcare. When Democrats regain control of Congress and the White House, it is essential that we invest in Medicare expansion and extend it to every American.”

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

CONYERS: An unchecked presidency is a danger to the Republic

By: Reps. John Conyers and Elijah Cummings 

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
On Saturday, Oct. 20, 1973, President Richard Nixon fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox because he refused to back down from his pursuit of the Watergate tapes.

Nearly a half century later, President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey because of, in the president’s own words, “this Russia thing with Trump and Russia.”

And Wednesday, the president complained about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation; Mr. Trump said he “would have picked someone else” to run the Department of Justice had he known that was coming.

 How Congress responds to moments like these matters.

The differences between Congress’ response in 1973 and our response today are stark — and, frankly, disappointing.

In 1973, the House Judiciary Committee had a serious and bipartisan response, subpoenaing and eventually releasing the Watergate tapes.

The current Republican response has been tepid at best; they have not issued a single subpoena to the White House, and Speaker Paul Ryan defended Mr. Trump’s interference in the Russia investigation by assuring us that “he’s just new to this.”

 As the senior Democrats on the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees, we believe it is critical that Special Counsel Robert Mueller be given the independence, time and resources to conduct a thorough investigation and report his findings to Congress.

At the same time, as a co-equal branch of government, Congress must fulfill its constitutional duty to investigate the full range of Trump administration and Trump campaign actions.

 Successful congressional investigations develop a comprehensive, fact-based record to form the basis for further action.

The House and Senate Watergate investigations led to Nixon’s resignation and adoption of the Ethics in Government Act. It was serious, deliberative, bipartisan, transparent and operated in parallel to law enforcement investigations. In the absence of any meaningful investigation by House Republicans, Democratic members have sent requests for information on our own.

Our efforts have been met with months of stonewalling.

The Trump White House recently told government agencies “not to cooperate [with any oversight] requests from Democrats,” and issued a contrived Justice Department legal opinion that such queries are “not properly considered to be oversight requests.”

 We will continue to press for answers because the information we seek goes to the central question of the Trump presidency: Is the administration acting in the public interest, or merely to benefit the private interests of President Trump?

 And because our requests have been largely ignored by the administration and the GOP — including the chairs of our own committees — we have been forced to utilize alternative means of accountability.

 For example, more than 200 members of Congress have filed a lawsuit to force the president to comply with the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause. Oversight Committee Democrats are attempting to use their special statutory authority to obtain information from the General Services Administration about the lease of the Trump International Hotel to the president.

Together, our committee Democrats have asked the inspector general of the Department of Justice to investigate whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions violated the terms of his recusal when he participated in the decision to fire Director Comey.

 Democrats have also demanded up or down votes where critical oversight requests have been denied.

The House has voted on 10 privileged resolutions — each one defeated by the Republicans — to obtain copies of the president’s tax returns.

Democrats are introducing 12 separate resolutions of inquiry in six committees seeking information on matters ranging from possible obstruction of justice, to the president’s foreign entanglements, to abuse of power.

And Democrats have filed a discharge petition asking every Member of the House to go on record as to whether they support an independent bipartisan commission to examine foreign intervention in our elections.

 An unchecked presidency — such as that of Richard Nixon or Donald Trump — represents a clear and present danger to the Republic.

We have taken this series of steps in an attempt to provide at least a measure of independent scrutiny and to mark how Republicans in Congress have repeatedly failed in this responsibility.

We do not have the right to remain silent.

Our investigations must continue separate from, and in addition to, the special counsel’s work.

 The next constitutional crisis — the firing of Special Counsel Mueller, perhaps — is not hard to envision.

Mr. Trump has already characterized the Russia investigation as “the single greatest witch hunt in American history,” being “led by some very bad and conflicted people,” and warned Mr. Mueller not to expand the investigation into his family’s finances beyond Russia.

 In recent days, we have seen evidence of the willingness by Donald Trump Jr. and others in the Trump campaign to obtain information damaging to Hillary Clinton from the Russian government — information that is as probative to Mr. Mueller’s investigation as it is threatening to the president.

Congress must ensure that Mr. Mueller can continue his investigation independently, effectively, and steadfastly.

Should Mr. Mueller be fired, the current majority must understand they have a duty to enforce our system of checks and balances — as we did in 1973. c

If Republicans cannot appreciate that obligation, then the American people will be forced to decide whether they really want a Congress that continues to ignore its responsibility.

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CONYERS: Statement for the Hearing on H.R. 2887, the No Regulation Without Representation Act of 2017

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
Before I begin my remarks, I’d like to take a moment to recognize Joseph Ehrenkrantz for his dedicated service to the House of Representatives.

Over the past two years, he has diligently served the House Judiciary Committee as a Professional Staff Member.

Joe began his career with the House Judiciary Committee Democrats shortly after graduation, and has worked tirelessly on issues of civil rights, state and local taxation, and voting rights ever since.

Joe has served the Members and staff of the Committee with great energy and enthusiasm, working to ensure the smooth functioning of Committee business by coordinating briefings, staffing hearings, and clerking markups.

We thank Joe for his many outstanding contributions to the House Judiciary Committee and the U.S. House of Representatives, and wish him well as he begins law school at Georgetown University this fall.

He will surely be missed.

Turning to today’s hearing, which focuses on H.R. 2887, the “No Regulation Without Representation Act of 2017,” it appears that supporters of this legislation intend to address the apparent problem of states regulating beyond their borders.

Twenty-five years ago, the Supreme Court in Quill held that a state may require a business to remit a sales tax only if such business had a physical presence in the state where the goods or services are provided. 

In an effort to respond to this holding, various legislative responses have been introduced over the years, including two of which I strongly supported, namely, The Remote Transactions Parity Act and the Marketplace Fairness Act. 

Although one of these bipartisan measures overwhelmingly passed the Senate in 2013, our Committee has unfortunately failed to consider either of these bills. 

Instead, we are focusing today on H.R. 2887, a highly-flawed measure. 

Among its many flaws, this bill would eviscerate the 10th Amendment and override the powers of all 50 states by expanding the physical presence standard to all taxes and all regulations.

H.R. 2887 represents an extreme rethinking of the constitutional role of states in our Nation and would strip essential consumer protection powers and taxing authority from all 50 states.

To quote the bipartisan National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures, this legislation “is a direct threat to representative self-government.”

Simply put, H.R. 2887 would preempt tens of thousands of state laws and saddle these states with untenable budget constraints by reducing their ability to collect tax revenues.
Second, this bill appears to ignore the real problems that main street retailers face today.

Local retailers—that have to collect sales taxes—are desperately struggling to compete with the reduced prices and conveniences offered by remote Internet sellers, whose online prices are generally lower because many consumers do not pay any sales taxes and thereby can save upwards of 10% or more on the purchase price of these items.

Technological advancements have made it easier for consumers to take advantage of this disparity and the consequences of this loophole are becoming increasingly more apparent.

Since October, at least 10 major, nationwide brick and mortar retailers have filed for bankruptcy and more than 90,000 workers have been laid off. 

Retail sector growth is at its weakest since the Great Recession, and recent projections estimate that a quarter of all U.S. shopping malls will close in the next five years.

Without question, I am a strong supporter of competition, especially when it benefits consumers and encourages innovation. Nevertheless, competitors should compete on things other than sales tax policy.

We should ensure parity at the point of sale among retailers and level the playing field.

Finally, H.R. 2887, by codifying Quill, would effectively prevent states and local governments from accessing a substantial part of their tax base.

State governments rely on sales and use taxes for nearly one third of their total tax revenue. Yet, as more Americans purchase more of their goods on the internet, the states receive less in sales tax revenue.

We owe it to our local communities and local retailers, as well as state and local governments, to take up helpful legislation rather than considering such flawed measures as H.R. 2887.  Accordingly, I urge Committee Chairman Goodlatte and Subcommittee Chairman Marino to instead consider H.R. 2193, the “Remote Transaction Parity Act,” bipartisan legislation introduced by Representative Kristi Noem earlier this year.

In closing, I look forward to hearing the testimony from our witnesses today and yield back the balance of my time.

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