Last night, I had the honor of speaking with 100 Black Men of Chicago, the Chicago chapter of 100 Black Men of America, a 25,000-member volunteer organization that works to enhance quality of life and educational and economic opportunities for African Americans.
I was originally asked to speak about gun violence and its impact on our youth, but the conversation naturally turned to Minneapolis and the death of Mr. George Floyd. His death was a reprehensible, heartbreaking moment.
The images of Mr. Floyd on the ground, with an officer with a knee on his neck, broke my heart and it enraged me at the same time. And we cannot forget that his death followed the recent brutal killings of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, & far too many...
Senate Republicans are doing untold damage to our federal judiciary by rubber-stamping so many of President Trump’s radical & unqualified judicial nominees. Today, it was Lawrence VanDyke. Here is some of what we know about Mr. VanDyke:
The American Bar Association’s peer review process found Mr. VanDyke “not qualified” and described him as “arrogant, lazy, an ideologue, and lacking in knowledge of the day-to-day practice.” Americans deserve qualified, non-ideological judges with proper temperament.
Emails show that Mr. VanDyke has let the gun lobby shape his litigation decisions. And during his unsuccessful campaign for the Montana Supreme Court, he sought the NRA’s endorsement, saying that gun control laws are “misdirected.” He prejudged the issue.
Today, I am calling for the initiation of a formal impeachment inquiry by the House of Representatives of President Donald Trump.
His admission that he solicited negative info from the Pres. of Ukraine concerning his potential opponent, Joe Biden, while withholding $250M in US security aid for Ukraine is beneath the dignity of any President & by any reasonable legal standard merits an impeachment inquiry.
Because the White House refuses to respond to Congressional subpoenas, I feel a formal impeachment inquiry is the only way to pursue this critical investigation, which I believe will ultimately be tested in the courts.
Jeffrey Rosen does not have the qualifications to be Deputy AG. He has no experience working in the Justice Department or handling criminal cases. When I questioned him about core DOJ functions, he wasn’t familiar with them.
For example, when I met with him and asked him about the landmark First Step Act, he said he had, “begun getting informed about it.” When I asked him about voting rights and voter suppression, he said he hadn’t had occasion to study the issue.
When I asked him about DEA’s role in setting opioid production quotas, which he will oversee, he didn’t know about it. And I asked him about DOJ’s role in immigration matters, including his priorities for immigration courts he'll oversee & he said looked forward to learning more.
Here are some of the anti-immigrant provisions included in the Trump-McConnell bill to end the #TrumpShutdown:
Excludes hundreds of thousands of DACA-eligible individuals and all TPS recipients from the African countries the President disparaged. Includes sweeping new restrictions that would bar many current DACA recipients.
Makes it much more difficult to receive TPS in the future, and guts protections for Central American children seeking safe haven in our country.
The Trump Administration’s family separation policy is more than a bureaucratic lapse in judgment. It is and was a cruel policy inconsistent with the values of this nation. politico.com/story/2019/01/…
It’s inconceivable that our government chose to secretly separate thousands of children from their parents, was unable or unwilling to reunite these families for months due to incompetent leadership and poor planning, and still doesn’t know how many children were separated.
No one has been held accountable for this humanitarian disaster at our Southern border. Instead President Trump continues to push anti-immigrant policies making it easier to detain and deport children as a condition for reopening the government.
Toby, a 6-year Air Force veteran from Aurora, is an air traffic controller who has gone without a paycheck since Dec. 31. I shared his story today on the Senate floor.
Veterans are some of the hardest hit by the Trump shutdown. Today, as many as 250,000 veterans across the country – direct hire federal workers and contractors alike – are going without pay due to the #TrumpShutdown.
Here’s what Toby had to say about the #TrumpShutdown: “It's not acceptable as a veteran, as a federal employee, as an air traffic controller to use my profession and my livelihood as a political football.” I agree.
Fact check: DEA has found that Mexican cartels most commonly transport drugs through our Southwest border at legal ports of entry. A border wall does nothing to stop that from happening, sorry VP Pence.
CBP Commissioner McAleenan told me in October 2017 that his top priority to secure the border was more drive-through inspection systems at ports of entry. He didn’t mention a border wall.
According to DHS, these drive-through inspection systems examine 98% of rail cars but only 18% of cargo, passenger vehicles, and sea containers combined. Yet the President’s FY 2019 Budget request included just $44 million for these systems.
Let me be clear: Dems support strong, effective border security. The type of border security that Dems have long-supported, including increased funds for tech, is what experts have said is needed & actually works. What doesn’t work is an ineffective, expensive & medieval wall.
But here’s what we should all agree on: large portions of the government shouldn’t be shut down while there’s a debate on border security.
Today, we urged the President and Republican leaders to pass the 6 other appropriations bills, which would reopen most of the government, along with a short-term bill to keep DHS funded and working while we continue to debate the path forward on border security.
Democrats have made it clear to the President that there are much more effective ways to secure our border than a wall – like more screening technology and personnel to stop drugs from flowing through our borders. Democrats support smart border security that works.
For example, the DEA has found that the cartels transport the bulk of their illicit goods over the Southwest border through legal ports of entry using passenger vehicles or tractor trailers.
CBP Commissioner McAleenan told me directly in October 2017 that his top priority to secure the border was more drive-through inspection systems, known as Z-portals. He didn’t mention a border wall.
The 1990 campaign for Jesse Helms in North Carolina engaged in deeply disturbing tactics aimed at suppressing the vote. Who was Helms’ legal counsel? Thomas Farr – now seeking Senate confirmation to be a federal judge in NC.
The Helms campaign sent over 100,000 postcards to mostly African American voters warning that they might be ineligible to vote for residency reasons. The postcards warned that the recipients might be arrested for voter fraud if they came to the polls.
Farr told the Judiciary Committee he didn't participate in any campaign meetings in which this mailing was discussed before it was sent. News reports then indicated Farr did participate in an Oct 1990 meeting that included discussion about challenging voters’ residency.
Today, America holds more prisoners, by far, than any other country in the world. Our overcrowded federal prisons consume one quarter of DOJ's discretionary budget. This undermines other important priorities, like preventing crime and treating drug addiction.
The largest increase in the federal prison population is nonviolent drug offenders, and this is because of inflexible mandatory minimum sentences. These mandatory penalties don’t allow judges to distinguish between drug kingpins—who should be our focus—and lower-level offenders.
We also have to consider the racially disparate impact of these unfair laws. The majority of illegal drug users & dealers in our country are white, but 3/4s of all people incarcerated for drug offenses are African American or Latino.
E-cigarette use among children and teenagers is an epidemic, just ask our federal health agencies or any school teacher in America. The FDA is finally moving in the right direction by cracking down on the sale of kid-friendly flavors in e-cigarettes and cigars.
The bottom line is this: it’s ludicrous to think flavors like bubble gum, cotton candy, or tutti fruitti are meant for adults. E-cigarette companies want to hook another generation of Americans onto a deadly and addictive product so they have a customer for life.
These flavors are the key to their callous business strategy, and they have no business being sold on the market. The FDA’s actions today make clear that we won’t stand for manipulative marketing tactics, and that our children’s health and safety will always come first.
One week ago, the tragic shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh revealed in heartbreaking detail the hate and latent violence that lives in the hearts of too many in this land.
As I reached out to many of my Jewish friends I learned the stunning personal impact of this tragedy. Many characterize it as the worst incident of anti-Semitic violence in America they could ever recall.
The perpetrator of this carnage expressed his rage over the activities of @HIASrefugees. I was heartened to learn that despite the negative statements about immigrants & refugees still flowing from the highest levels of our government, HIAS is receiving record levels of support.
The Rauner Administration’s delay on notifying residents in Lake County about cancer-emitting chemicals from two plants is simply outrageous. Day after day, the Rauner and Trump Admins continue to prioritize public relations over serious public health hazards.
The U.S. EPA & Illinois EPA must immediately begin conducting ambient air monitoring and stack tests to identify all emissions from the Medline and Vantage facilities and determine whether these facilities are releasing harmful levels of ethylene oxide – cancer causing emissions
I’ll also be calling on the EPA OIG to investigate whether or not EPA complied with all statutory, regulatory & policy requirements & protocols when it intentionally withheld critical health information from the public on these two facilities.
Today Senate Republicans are “plowing right through” with two controversial circuit court nominees who have worked to restrict voting rights and strip health coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.
The White House announced it would nominate Chad Readler to the 6th Circuit on the same day Readler filed a brief arguing that the Affordable Care Act’s coverage of pre-existing conditions is unconstitutional.
Make no mistake: the Trump Administration wants to end the Affordable Care Act’s coverage for pre-existing conditions. The Readler nomination shows they really mean it.
I spoke to organizations tonight working to end violence against children. Together, we can break the cycle of violence and suffering, and I look forward to continuing to work towards making a difference for our children.
The World Health Organization has estimated that globally, at least 1 billion children have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence or neglect in the past year.
Violence against children is tragic and preventable. It can take many forms: physical or sexual violence, emotional abuse or neglect, trafficking, child labor, and forcible family separation. It must be condemned and confronted everywhere.
The White House and Senate Republicans must choose: either immediately call for the FBI to conduct an investigation into the multiple allegations of sexual assault by Judge Kavanaugh or withdraw his nomination.
These women had every reason to stay silent to avoid harassment and death threats. They have shown that they have nothing to hide by calling for a nonpartisan FBI investigation and sworn testimony from other witnesses.
Yet, Senate Republicans and the White House have blocked an FBI investigation and refuse to call other relevant witnesses.
“Plow right through.” That’s what Republican leaders want to do with Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, even though serious and credible allegations of sexual misconduct have been brought forward. Republicans want to rush this vote through ASAP.
Despite all the calls for fairness over and over again by Senator McConnell, fairness would dictate that the FBI do an impartial investigation of the sexual assault allegations against Judge Kavanaugh and present their conclusions, whatever they may be.
No nominee is entitled to a seat on the Supreme Court. It’s a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land. The person who fills that seat can make decisions which swing history one way or the other. Decisions that affect justice, privacy & fairness in everyone's life.
Today I sat down with leaders at @YWCAChicago for an important discussion about the challenges faced by sexual assault survivors—and the need to listen to, support, and believe survivors when they choose to come forward with their stories.
At a time when Dr. Blasey Ford is experiencing death threats and vicious attacks, Republicans are trying to rush a rigged hearing, refusing to call all of the relevant witnesses, and denying her request to hold off on a hearing until the FBI conducts an independent investigation.
I commend Dr. Blasey Ford for her bravery in coming forward. I hope my Republican colleagues will think carefully about this moment and what’s at stake. We must treat Dr. Blasey Ford’s allegations with the seriousness and dignity that survivors of sexual assault deserve.