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Maintaining New York's Progress in the Fight Against COVID19

Dear Friends,

Over the past several weeks, we have seen the worst of America—the continued spread of COVID19, police brutality, and the pain and devastation created by generations of systemic racism, injustice and inequality. But we have also seen the best of our collective spirit, as Americans have come together in peaceful protest and continued, especially here in New York, to work together to combat the pandemic. That is the only way we can make progress as a nation, working together and helping neighbors and fellow citizens to bring about the positive change we all seek. As always, my office remains available to support you over the phone—call 212-367-7350 should you require any assistance.

Maintaining New York's Progress in the Fight Against COVID19

After months of determined social distancing and mask wearing, New York has made important progress in flattening the COVID19 curve, with New York City now boasting one of the country’s lowest transmission rates. This is a testament to the discipline and hard work shown by millions of New Yorkers, who have dutifully followed the guidance of public health officials, saving thousands of lives and lifting the pressure off our heavily taxed healthcare system. As New York City prepares to enter Phase III—which allows a resumption of indoor dining and reopens outdoor facilities like dog parks and sports fields—it is crucial that we remain committed to those same principles of social distancing and flattening the curve that have allowed us to achieve this dramatic progress. 

My office has compiled an online webpage with useful resources and links to help keep you informed and connected during the COVID19 pandemic. You can find information regarding city, state and federal resources here.

Reforming America’s Broken Policing System

The protests that were sparked across America after George Floyd’s murder at the end of May stood as a stark reminder of the systemic racism and injustice that has permeated so much of American society, along with the police violence through which it so often manifests. I was encouraged to see so many New Yorkers turn out to protest peacefully, with hundreds of thousands filling the streets in an effort to raise awareness of racial injustice and achieve meaningful, needed change. It was with that same intent that the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on police brutality and racial profiling, using the testimony learned from that hearing—at which Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, was a witness—to draft the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020.

The Justice in Policing Act would fundamentally remake American policing, delivering significant, substantive reforms. It would create a national police misconduct registry, ensuring that violent cops can’t escape accountability, and ban violent, abusive police practices like chokeholds and no-knock warrants. I was proud to draft this legislation, along with the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), and Sens. Corey Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA), and to advance this bill through the Judiciary Committee, before passing it in the full House with bipartisan support. Our next challenge is to ensure that the Senate takes up this vitally needed piece of legislation.

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 is a step in the direction of justice and equality, but we cannot allow our work to stop here. The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain and so many others who tragically came before must spur us to continued action to make our nation fairer, more just, and freer of the scourge of racism.

Holding Attorney General Barr Accountable

I believe the Attorney General's actions have abused and politicized the Department of Justice (DOJ) in order to serve the needs of President Trump. As Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, I believe I have a responsibility to hold the Department of Justice, the Attorney General, and even the President himself accountable to our rule of law and will continue to press forward with our investigations, public hearings, and court cases.  

It is in that vein that we recently convened a hearing with several DOJ whistleblowers, all of whom testified that partisanship has seeped into the DOJ’s crucial work, corrupting our justice system and threatening the rule of law in our country.  While I’m deeply grateful to these whistleblowers for their courage in testifying—and we will work to bring more whistleblowers before the Judiciary Committee in the coming weeks—it’s crucial that Attorney General Barr appear himself to answer questions in front of the American people. I am glad to announce that the Attorney General has agreed to appear for an oversight hearing before the Judiciary Committee, and we will continue to do what is necessary to protect the rule of law.

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