Congressman Hank Johnson's Holiday E-Newsletter
I want to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa and a Happy New Year. I hope everyone had a Happy Hanukkah. May the gift of love, peace and happiness be yours this season.
OFFICER’S FUNERAL: This week, I attended the funeral of slain DeKalb County Police Officer Edgar Isidoro Flores, who was shot and killed while making a routine traffic stop in DeKalb County. I was honored to present a U.S. Citizen of Distinction recognition for Officer Flores to his family at the service. Officer Flores would have turned 25 this week. He was engaged to be married and is being remembered as a hero. For more, click HERE.
GOOGLE: Last week, as the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet (IP), I questioned Google CEO Sundar Pichai on the importance of consumers’ digital privacy. For more on my exchange, click HERE. To watch the video, click HERE.
IMMIGRATION: I also had some time to question Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security, about the death of Jakelin Caal, a seven-year-old girl who died this month in Customs & Border Patrol custody. I also had some hard-hitting questions on family separation and the administration's failure to properly track the children and reunite them with their families. For more, click HERE.
ACA: Since the Affordable Care Act was established in 2010, residents of the great state of Georgia – and America – have benefited from the law. Here’s what it does:
• Provides lifesaving protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions;
• Prevents insurers from imposing lifetime limits & annual caps on health care;
• Women cannot be charged more for health coverage just for being women;
• It expands Medicaid so it can cover 15 million more people;
• Creates marketplace tax credits that help up to 9 million more people;
• Puts in place tax credits for small businesses to provide health coverage;
• Children and young adults can remain on their parents' insurance until age 26;
• It helps seniors pay for prescription drugs;
• Extends the life of the Medicare Trust Fund;
• Insurance companies cannot charge seniors with an unlimited age tax.
Despite the latest legal assault on the law, the Affordable Care Act and all of its protections remain the law of the land. When Democrats take the gavel, the House of Representatives will move swiftly to uphold the law and its life-saving protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
RUSSIA TARGETS AFRICAN AMERICANS: We know from a new report from the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russia was working hard via social media and other online channels to suppress the African-American vote. Not only are forces within our country and state actively pursuing policies that suppress and depress African-American turnout, but foreign nations are doing it as well. While this next Congress gives both Democrats and Republicans an opportunity to address election security, my colleagues and I call upon the President to take the security of our elections seriously and work with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the FBI to stop foreign election meddling efforts. We would also like to hear directly from Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook, and CEOs of other companies whose platforms were weaponized, about what they knew, and concrete steps they will implement to address future attempts at disinformation campaigns. We cannot allow the deceit and misinformation that characterized the 2016 elections to be repeated in the future. For more, click HERE.
OPEN HOUSE: At the beginning of the New Year and new Congress (116th), my Washington, D.C., staff and I are holding an open house so constituents visiting Capitol Hill can stop by. Our office is the people’s office -- it belongs to the people -- so please visit 2240 Rayburn Building on January 3rd from 3-5 p.m. We look forward to seeing you. For more, click HERE.
POSSIBLE SHUTDOWN: Republicans control the House, the Senate and the White House for the remainder of 2018. They have both the responsibility and the power to keep government open – instead of shutting down the government and hurting people in the middle of the holiday season and a time of great economic uncertainty. But President Trump has declared that he’d be “proud” to shut down the government, saying “I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down” if he cannot force American taxpayers to spend billions of dollars on an immoral, ineffective and expensive wall. If Republicans steer our nation into a Trump Shutdown, however, in January 2019 the House Democratic Majority will swiftly pass the appropriation bills with a CR for Homeland Security to re-open government. For more on what a shutdown might mean, click HERE.
SAFETY FIRST: The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) urge everyone to have a safe holiday season. There are about 200 decorating-related injuries each day during the busy holiday season. CPSC estimates that from 2013 to 2015, there was an annual average of about 100 Christmas tree fires, resulting in 10 deaths, 10 injuries, and $12 million in property damage. To avoid fires and other decorating hazards, please click HERE.
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to represent you in Congress, and I look forward to seeing you soon. Please have a safe and prosperous New Year.