MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Sep. 24, 2020

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Democratic Representatives Write Op-Ed on How to Protect Democracy

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (Photo Credit: U.S. House Office of Photography)
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler

Yesterday, U.S. Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn), Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens), Eliot Engel (D-Bronx), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), John Marmuth (D-KY) and Richard E. Neal (D-MA) wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post on a number of reforms they’ve introduced to resist the Trump Administration’s attempts to upend democracy.

The lawmakers first started drafting this package of reforms over a year ago. It includes several different provisions designed to prevent the President from abusing their power – including, but not limited to:

  • Suspending the statute of limitations for any offense committed by a president or vice president while in office;
  • Strengthening the power of Congress to enforce subpoenas;
  • Allowing whistleblowers to sue in court if publicly outed;
  • and mandating harsher penalties for Hatch Act violations.

“This is where we begin, but it is not where we will end,” they wrote. “Democrats have already passed landmark reforms to expand and protect the right to vote, limit the influence of big money in politics and create a more transparent, accountable and ethical government. Now we take an important step further, to strengthen our democratic institutions from an unscrupulous executive.”

Read the full article here.

James Secures Access to Trump Financial Records

Attorney General of NY Letitia James (Photo by KCP)
Attorney General of NY Letitia James

Yesterday, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) claimed a significant victory in her ongoing investigation of President Donald Trump’s (R) financial dealings.

Last month, she filed a motion to compel the Trump Administration to provide her office with documents pertinent to the investigation, and testimony from key witnesses – most notably from Trump Organization Executive Vice President Eric Trump. The New York County State Supreme Court ruled in James’ favor, mandating that the Trump Organization turn over the documents she’s requested; the court also ruled that Eric Trump must testify under oath to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), no later than Oct. 7.

“Justice and the rule of law prevailed today,” said James. “We will immediately move to ensure that Donald Trump and the Trump Organization comply with the court’s order and submit financial records related to our investigation. Further, Eric Trump will no longer be able to delay his interview and will be sitting down with investigators in my office no later than October 7. To be clear, no entity or individual is allowed to dictate how or when our investigation will proceed or set the parameters of a lawful investigation. The court’s order today makes clear that no one is above the law, not even an organization or an individual with the name Trump.”

Espaillat Writes Op-Ed on School Reopenings

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (Photo credit: U.S. House Office of Photography)
U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat

Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan, Bronx) wrote an op-ed for Patch involving the task of safely reopening schools this semester.

Espaillat proposes that we should consider delaying in-person learning until the start of 2021. Although he concedes that “full-time, in-person tuition” is the most effective form of learning, it may be too risky to let students back in this Fall, given the incoming flu season and the perpetual threat of COVID-19.

“There will be those who will agree, disagree, and vehemently disagree with this supposition,” said Espaillat. “But it is a consideration that we cannot summarily dismiss as much as we may want in order to return to a semblance of normal life. I know that this has been part of conversations in other realms of education here in New York City and I want to encourage city leaders as they have demonstrated to take all possible options into consideration and ensure safety precautions that meet the standard everyone in public education expects and can be delivered.”

Read the full article here.

Williams Opposes Proposed HUD Rule Removing Protections Based on Gender Identity

New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (Photo credit:
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (D) has submitted a comment to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in strong opposition to a proposed new rule that would remove gender identity protections around admission to federally funded homeless shelters.

The rule, he said, would allow shelters to discriminate against transgender and nonbinary people. Furthermore, it would lead to a direct increase in the homeless population, which is the last thing we want during a pandemic.

“Trans persons are subject to discrimination, harassment, and abuse as a matter of routine due to their being trans, driving many to homelessness,” said Williams. “The shelter system is no respite from this, with substantial percentages of the trans population experiencing discrimination from shelters who will not house them, and often harassment and violence from those that will. This rule, if adopted as proposed, would undo years of work in combating trans homelessness and arguably contradict recent Supreme Court opinion.”