Dear Friend,

I want to take this opportunity to share with you some of the work that I've been doing recently in the U.S. Congress.


Protecting Free and Democratic Elections

Leading constitutional scholars testified before my subcommittee about the impact that the Citizens United Supreme Court decision could have on our elections.  Watch my opening statement.
In January, the Supreme Court dealt a significant blow to the integrity of our electoral process.  In its Citizens United v. F.E.C. ruling, the Court overturned longstanding precedent designed to limit the influence of corporate money on political campaigns and allowed corporations to spend unlimited sums on campaign advertisements.  In this single act of judicial activism, the Court has increased the role and influence of money in the electoral process exponentially, jeopardizing our free and democratic elections in the process.

This is why I recently convened a hearing in my role as Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties.  The hearing explored the full impact of the recent Court decision and examined the steps Congress can take in order to restore reasonable limitations on corporate campaign spending.

For years, I have fought against the corrupting role that money can play in elections, and I have supported legislation that would create a system of public financing for elections.  Such a system would empower communities—not corporations—to decide who represents them in Congress and must be considered as part of our legislative response to the Citizens United case.
Where We Stand on Health Care Reform

As Speaker Pelosi has said, the House of Representatives simply does not have the votes to pass the Senate health care bill as it stands.  This means that, despite both houses of Congress having passed their own health care bills, we do not yet have a consensus bill that can be sent to the President for his signature.  But we must not abandon comprehensive health care reform, which remains one of the most critical issues before Congress and something we have worked so hard to attain.

Instead, we must negotiate an agreement to pass a few key changes to the Senate bill through the process known as reconciliation.  Those provisions that cannot be passed through the reconciliation process—dealing with such subjects as pre-existing conditions, rescissions, and annual and lifetime benefit caps—should be put into a separate bill and passed immediately.  I also continue to strongly support a public option and have signed the Polis-Pingree letter to support using reconciliation as a means to advance it towards a final vote.
Removing Dangerous Chemicals from New York’s Schools

Two years ago, I was alarmed by the discovery of PCBs—noxious chemicals found in certain construction materials pre-dating 1976—in P.S. 199 on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.  Although these chemicals were banned in 1976, they are commonly found in window caulking and door frames in schools built before the ban.  Along with a coalition of parents, community leaders, and elected officials, I have since been pushing the EPA to remediate these dangerous chemicals and ensure that our children are not exposed to them.  In January, the EPA and the City of New York finally agreed to develop a long-term strategy to remove the PCBs from our schools.  I am pleased that the EPA and City have finally recognized the problem and have now begun the process of remediation.


Jerrold Nadler
Member of Congress

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