Tag: Congress

R.I.P. U.S. Congressman and Chair of House Oversight and Reform Committee Elijah E. Cummings, 68

Rep. Elijah Cummings, a key Trump opponent, dies at 68
— Read on www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2019-10-17/us-representative-elijah-cummings-dies

PBS to Air Documentary on Iconic Civil Rights Leader John Lewis this February

Congressman John Lewis (photo via eurweb.com)

article by Ny Magee via eurweb.com

Georgia congressman John Lewis is finally getting what many believe to be the TV treatment he deserves. The civil rights icon is the focus of a forthcoming new documentary set to air on PBS.

Get In The Way: The Journey of John Lewis” aims to tell the story of the civil rights pioneer, who led a 26-hour sit-in for gun control, marched with Dr. King, challenged political houses and continues to fight for human rights, per Jetmag.com.

According to the film’s website, it offers a “highly personalized narrative of an epic chapter in U.S. history.”  The biographical documentary will air on PBS as part of the network’s Black History Month programming.

“He is the moving, roaring protector of the rights afforded to every person in this nation. Get in the Way arrives at the perfect time,” actress and activist Alfre Woodard is quoted as saying in the documentary highlights.

“Get In The Way” airs on Feb. 10.

To read full article, go to: http://www.eurweb.com/2017/01/john-lewis-pbs-air-documentary-iconic-civil-rights-leader/#

U.S. House Democrats Stage Sit-in Led by John Lewis on Floor of Congress Over Guns

Rep. John Lewis sits next to Rep. Gregory Meeks on the floor of the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., on June 22, 2016.
Rep. John Lewis sits next to Rep. Gregory Meeks on the floor of the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., on June 22, 2016. (LAUREN VICTORIA BURKE)

article by Lauren Victoria Burke via theroot.com

At noon Wednesday, members of the House shut it down—all the way down.

In a historic act of protest, Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives refused to observe the regular order of the House, staging a sit-in protest over the lack of legislation on gun control.

The protest Wednesday occurred after House Republicans ignored several demands from House Democrats to take action on guns after 49 people were murdered in an Orlando, Fla., nightclub June 12. Their first demand came during a moment of silence for the victims of the mass shooting after Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) attempted to ask Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) if action on gun-related measures was possible. Ryan gaveled Clyburn down.

Wednesday’s effort was led by civil rights legend Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and featured several members of the Congressional Black Caucus who have had to deal with continuing gun violence in their districts. The group included Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.), who represents parts of Detroit; Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.); and several others.

“This is the right thing to do, when you look at the polling data and it shows that 90 percent of the American public says we should not allow terrorists to be able to walk in a store and buy a gun and kill 50 people,” former Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) told The Root steps away from the House floor. “We don’t lose on this. The Congressional Black Caucus did lead this.”
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End Racial Profiling Act 2015: Democratic US Lawmakers Re-Introduce Minority Protections Bill

John Conyers
U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D- Mich., is pictured during a House Judiciary Committee hearing. On Wednesday, Conyers and Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., re-introduced the End Racial Profiling Act in Congress.  (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Democratic lawmakers are making yet another attempt to pass legislation against racial profiling in local law enforcement. On Wednesday, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., and Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., announced they would re-introduce the End Racial Profiling Act for at least the third time in the last three sessions of Congress. Previous bills have failed to get hearings or clear the Senate and House committees with law enforcement oversight.

The latest measure, coming as tensions rise between police and communities of color amid a wave of police killings of black men, would stop police officers from racially profiling African-Americans and Latinos, as well as Muslims, Sikhs and other minority groups that have long complained of targeting by law enforcement. Last year, the Department of Justice expanded policies that protect racial and religious minorities from profiling by federal law enforcement agencies.

The DOJ rules don’t apply to state, county and local law enforcement; the proposed law would expand on them by requiring states to certify their compliance with policies discouraging racial profiling. The announcement by Cardin and Conyers was welcomed Wednesday by civil rights leaders and activists.

“Racial profiling robs people of their dignity, undermines the integrity of our criminal justice system and instills fear and distrust among members of targeted communities,” Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said in a statement.

Studies have shown how generally ineffective and counter-productive racial profiling has been as a law enforcement tool, Henderson said. Officers can become overly distracted by racial stereotypes and overlook individuals posing serious threats to public security, he said. But despite the evidence of its ineffectiveness, racial profiling expanded after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., in the guise of counterterrorism and immigration enforcement.

Senate and House versions of the law were introduced one day after the “March 2 Justice,” a group of activists against racial profiling and police brutality who walked 250 miles from New York to the U.S. Capitol, arrived in Washington. The group met Wednesday with members of Congress to urge passage of the racial profiling ban.

article by Aaron Morrison via ibtimes.com

Congressional Black Caucus Swears In Largest Group Of Black Lawmakers

cbc swearing in
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus Chairman participate in a ceremonial swearing-in, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. on Capitol Hill in Washington, as the 114th Congress began . (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

Hundreds gathered in the nation’s capital Tuesday morning for the Congressional Black Caucus’ (CBC) swearing-in ceremony for both newly elected and current members of the 114th Congress. Forty-six African-American men and women took oath during the ceremony, making it the largest group of representatives to be sworn in to the CBC. One of the 46 was Republican Rep. Mia Love, who became the first Black female Republican in Congress.

Rep. G.K. Butterfield will lead the CBC as chairman. He plans on tackling poverty and other issues that have plagued the African-American community. “As we stand here now on the dawn of a new Congress, the 114th Congress, we must tell the full story — for many Black Americans, they are not even close to realizing the American dream. Depending on where they live, an economic depression hangs over their head, and it is burdening their potential and the potential of their children.

Black America is in a state of emergency today as it was at the turn of the century,” he said during the ceremony. “There will be times when I will encourage the CBC to reach across the aisle and try to reach some bipartisan deals that will not make us feel good, but will move the needle in our communities and communities of color.”

To see video coverage of this event, click here.

article via newsone.com

Lower Student Loan Interest Rate Bill Clears the House

Just in time for the upcoming academic year, the House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill to lower student loan interest rates by a vote of 392-31. The measure, now headed to President Obama for his signature, retroactively lowers the interest rate on loans that doubled from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1.

Moving forward, Congress will no longer fix interest rates each year. Instead, they will be tied to the interest rate on money borrowed by the federal government. The bill does include caps so the interest rate won’t exceed 8.25 percent for undergraduates, 9.5 percent for graduate students and 10.5 percent for parents who secure loans for their children.

“This bipartisan compromise offers hardworking students and families critical protections, reduces rates on all new loans this year, and saves undergraduates $1,500 on average over the life of their loans.  The plan caps market-based interest rates, ensuring students won’t bear the brunt of skyrocketing rates in the future,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas).  The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill will reduce the federal deficit by $715 million over the next 10 years.

article by Joyce Jones via bet.com

Ten Black Students Awarded Truman Scholarships in 2013

(L to R) Top row: Kemi A. Oyewole, Uzoma Kenneth Orchingwa, Deon Tramaine Jones, Gabrielle Chelsea Newell, and Jessica Laurel Anderson. Second row: Evan Daniel Shepherd, Brandon Kyle Hersey, Akunna Faith Uka, Stefan Terrell Johnson, and Jordan Alyssa Metoyer.

The Truman Scholarship Foundation, established by Congress in 1975, has announced 62 winners of Truman Scholarships for 2013. The 62 winners were selected from a field of 629 candidates nominated by 293 colleges and universities. Each winner receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Winners also receive an admissions edge at partnering universities, career and graduate counseling, and internship opportunities with the federal government.  Since the awards were first made in 1977, there have been 2,906 Truman Scholars. This year it appears that 10 of the 62 winners are African Americans.

Kemi A. Oyewole is a junior at Spelman College in Atlanta, where she is majoring in economics and mathematics. She also is the student representative on the college’s board of trustees. Oyewole plans on pursuing a Ph.D. in economics and hopes to have a career as an economist focusing on poverty issues in sub-Saharan Africa.

Uzoma Kenneth Orchingwa is a native of Chicago but lived for several years in Nigeria. He is a junior at Colby College in Maine, where he is majoring in philosophy and sociology. Orchingwa plans on attending law school and hopes to have a career in civil rights law.

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Hiram Rhoades Revels Sworn in as 1st Black Senator 143 Years Ago Today

rhoades revel

The First Colored Senator and Representatives, in the 41st and 42nd Congress of the US. Top standing left to right: Robert C. De Large, M.C. of S. Carolina; and Jefferson H. Long, M.C. of Georgia. Seated, left to right: U.S. Senator H.R. Revels of Mississippi; Benj. S. Turner, M.C. of Alabama; Josiah T. Walls, M.C. of Florida; Joseph H. Rainy, M.C. of S. Carolina; and R. Brown Elliot, M.C. of S. Carolina. Lithograph by Currier and Ives, 1872.

On February 25, 1870, exactly 143 years ago today, Hiram Rhoades Revels was sworn into the U.S. Senate, making him the first black person to ever sit in Congress.  After the Reconstruction Act of 1867 was passed by a majority-Republican Congress, the South was divided into five military districts and all men, regardless of race were granted voting rights. Revels was elected by the Mississippi legislature, and seven black representatives were later elected for states like Alabama, South Carolina, Florida and Georgia thanks, in large part, to the support of African American voters.

Revels and some 15 other black men served in Congress during Reconstruction, and more than 600 served in state legislatures, while hundreds held local offices.

article via huffingtonpost.com

William “Mo” Cowan Appointed to Fill John Kerry’s US Senate Seat

William 'Mo' Cowan, speaks to the media after begin named interim U.S. Senator January 30, 2013 at the Statehouse in Boston, Massachusetts. Cowan, a senior advisor to Governor Deval Patrick, will fill the position until a successor can be named for the departing John Kerry, who was recently named Secretary of State. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

William ‘Mo’ Cowan, speaks to the media after begin named interim U.S. Senator January 30, 2013 at the Statehouse in Boston, Massachusetts. Cowan, a senior advisor to Governor Deval Patrick, will fill the position until a successor can be named for the departing John Kerry, who was recently named Secretary of State. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has appointed one of his senior advisers, Mo Cowan, as John Kerry’s interim replacement in the United States Senate, meaning that two African-Americans will serve in that chamber simultaneously for the first time ever.

Cowan is expected to serve in the Senate until June 25, when a special election will be held to replace Kerry, who was confirmed this week as secretary of state. The longtime Patrick adviser says he will not run for the seat himself, as Patrick had been looking to appoint a Democrat who would serve as a caretaker while others campaign to permanently replace Kerry.

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Obama and Congress Reach Fiscal Cliff Deal

obama & boehner (at table)

(Via CBS News) – As revelers in Times Square and cities and towns across the country wait for the ball to drop to ring in the new year, politicians in Washington have announced that a ball is not likely to drop on the average taxpayer. Negotiators have come to an agreement on the so-called “fiscal cliff” – and with less than three hours to spare, CBS News has confirmed.

Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Capitol Hill to brief Senate Democrats on the details of the deal; both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have signed off on the agreement, White House and congressional sources told CBS News’ Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett.

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