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September 23, 2022

  The Weekly Wrap-up

Week 38 (September 18)

This week, Congresswoman Bourdeaux returned for another jam-packed legislative session in Washington, DC. On Wednesday, September 21, Congresswoman Bourdeaux joined her colleagues to pass the Presidential Election Reform Act. This bipartisan legislation amends the Electoral Count Act to clarify the process of counting electoral votes during a Presidential election. The legislation was drafted as a follow-up from the January 6th Commission findings on how former President Trump’s supporters tried to find legal loopholes to invalidate the results of the 2020 election. 

The House also passed four bills to support local law enforcement officers. Included in the package is the Invest To Protect Act, cosponsored by Congresswoman Bourdeaux, which provides federal grants to small local law enforcement agencies with fewer than 125 officers and would benefit local city police departments across Gwinnett and Forsyth Counties. Another bill promotes the use of mental health experts to assist law enforcement officers where appropriate, something Congresswoman Bourdeaux has already been working on with local law enforcement agencies. All four bills passed and are headed to the Senate. 

Rep. Bourdeaux joined her colleagues on the House Small Business Committee to discuss and reauthorize the State Trade Expansion Program — an important program that helps American small businesses bring their products to international markets. Additionally, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee met to discuss strategies to improve clean water access. 

The Weekly Rundown

The Presidential Election Reform Act passed the House on September 21st and is on its way to the Senate. The congresswoman shared her thoughts on the groundbreaking reform.

Congresswoman Bourdeaux joined her colleagues for a Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment hearing, to reflect on lessons and challenges learned after fifty years of the Clean Water Act. During the hearing, she highlighted the work that needs to be done to continue to preserve water quality for the metro area.  

Rep. Bourdeaux was happy to join Rajeev Menon and the Coalition of Hindus of North America for their National Hindu Advocacy Day in Washington.

On Tuesday, Congresswoman Bourdeaux and the Small Business Committee held a hearing on  the Small Business Administration’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) program and passed new legislation that reauthorizes and expands support for the program. STEP is an important program that helps American small businesses bring their products to international markets. In addition to benefiting local businesses, STEP also plays a large role in supporting immigrant entrepreneurs who maintain relationships with their native country. 

Tuesday, September 20, was National Voter Registration Day. If you live in Georgia and intend to cast your ballot this November, make sure to register before October 11.

On Wednesday, Congresswoman Bourdeaux met with members of the National Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship to discuss Minority Business Development Centers and initiatives that can help support Asian-American-owned businesses.

On Wednesday, Congresswoman Bourdeaux met with representatives from the Georgia Music Educators Association to discuss the importance of music and arts education for students in Georgia.

On Wednesday, Congresswoman Bourdeaux celebrated the distinction of Associate Justice Sotomayor as the first Hispanic and woman of color on the Supreme Court of the United States.

The Bridging the Gap for New Americans Act passed the House on Monday. The bill requires studies on barriers preventing immigrants with advanced degrees & credentials from entering their field in the United States.

Monday, Congresswoman Bourdeaux joined her fellow representatives to call attention to the 22 million Americans who struggle with substance use disorder.

As Hispanic Heritage Month begins, Congresswoman Bourdeaux celebrated the achievements of Antonia Coello Novello — the first Hispanic and first woman to serve as Surgeon General of the United States under presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. 

The Gwinnett Coalition launched GwinnettHealthFinder.org to help improve access to health care for uninsured and underinsured residents in Gwinnett County.

Congresswoman Bourdeaux joined the Blue Dog Coalition discussion to examine improvements for financial services, including housing and expansion of credit access for Americans. 

Congresswoman Bourdeaux met with the International Franchise Association, where she recognized the crucial role that franchises play in small business ownership in Georgia.  

On Friday, Congresswoman Bourdeaux attended the Digital Dialogue Forum, where she had the opportunity to speak to world-leading technology companies about her work in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as well as the Small Business Committee. The Congresswoman also discussed how to facilitate innovation and expand opportunities for small businesses in America. 

Georgia to Washington, DC 

Congresswoman Bourdeaux and her staff are hard at work for the community. Here’s what her team is getting done for Georgia’s 7th Congressional District!

This week, Congresswoman Bourdeaux supported our local law enforcement and invested in harm reduction techniques by passing four bipartisan bills. The Invest To Protect Act, introduced by Rep. Gottheimer, provides funding for small police departments. Nearly all city-level local law enforcement departments in Georgia’s 7th District are expected to be eligible for funds made available through this program, which will be made available within 120 days of this legislation being enacted into law. 

Additionally, the Mental Health Justice Act, introduced by Rep. Porter, establishes grants for localities to hire and train emergency mental health professionals. This comes after Congresswoman Bourdeaux secured $235,000 to Forsyth County to establish a Crisis Intervention Team to assist local law enforcement with individuals experiencing a mental health crisis earlier this year. You can read Congresswoman Bourdeaux’s press release here

The Senate passed a bipartisan bill that Tuesday to award the Congressional Gold Medal posthumously to Emmett Till, a teenager savagely killed in 1955 by White supremacists in Mississippi, and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley. Sen. Cory Booker [D-NY] and Sen. Richard Burr [R-NC] introduced the bill “as a solemn reminder of the terror” endured by Black Americans, but also “the courage and activism” of Till’s mother in the aftermath. The civilian medal is Congress’s highest expression of national appreciation. Congresswoman Bourdeaux is a cosponsor of this bill in the House. 

This Week’s Votes

H.R. 8542 – Mental Health Justice Act of 2022 (Rep. Porter – Energy and Commerce)

The bill creates an HHS grant program for states, Tribes, and local governments to hire, train, and dispatch mental health professionals when responding to 911 calls due to a mental health crisis and support connecting these people into appropriate care rather than incarceration. 

Click here for a fact sheet.

H.R. 6448 – Invest and Protect Act of 2022 (Rep. Gottheimer – Judiciary)

The bill will help ensure that police departments in small towns and communities with fewer than 125 officers have the resources and training they need by creating a grant program to provide resources to these small law enforcement agencies for training, recruiting, and retaining officers and providing mental health resources to their officers.

H.R. 4118 – Break the Cycle of Violence Act (Rep. Horsford – Judiciary)

The bill would authorize federal grants to communities for evidence-based community violence intervention and prevention programs designed to interrupt cycles of violence. It would create an Office of Community Violence Intervention at the Department of HHS to implement these programs and create a grant program at the Department of Labor to provide job training and work opportunities for youth in communities impacted by violence.

Click here for a fact sheet. 

H.R. 5768 – VICTIM Act of 2022 (Rep. Demings – Judiciary)

The bill would establish a grant program at the Department of Justice (DOJ) to help State, Tribal, and local law enforcement agencies improve their clearance rates for homicides and non-fatal shootings.  The resources could also be used to help police address the needs of victims and their family members.  This bill responds to the declining percentage of murder cases being solved by law enforcement agencies across the country by giving additional tools to help law enforcement agencies solve crimes.

Click here for a fact sheet.

H.R. 8873 – Presidential Election Reform Act (Reps. Lofgren/Cheney)

The Presidential Election Reform Act (PERA) will reform the Electoral Count Act to ensure that Congress counts the votes as required by the Constitution, including by ensuring that Congress receives a single accurate electoral certificate from each state, requiring that States select electors in accordance with state law existing as of the date of the election, providing a federal judicial remedy in the event that a state governor refuses to certify the lawful result of a presidential election, and in other ways. The reforms do not benefit either political party. 

S. 1098 – Joint Consolidation Loan Separation Act (Sen. Warner – Education and Labor)

This bill permits borrowers who previously joined their loans as a married couple to submit an application to the Department of Education to split their joint consolidated loan into two separate federal direct loans, split proportionally based on the percentages that each borrower originally brought into the loan. The two new federal direct loans would have the same interest rate as the consolidated loan. The bill also provides a pathway for a borrower to apply to separate their debt from an ex-spouse or current spouse, including in the event of an absentee or unresponsive spouse, an act of domestic violence, or economic abuse. 

H.R. 8453 – Upholding the Dayton Peace Agreement Through Sanctions Act, as amended (Rep. Wagner – Foreign Affairs)

The bill would state the policy of the United States to support a unified, sovereign, and multiethnic Bosnia and its Euro-Atlantic integration; use sanctions against those who undermine the Dayton Accords and Bosnian democracy; encourage the EU to join the U.S. in sanctioning Dodik; expose Russia’s role in fueling instability in Bosnia and imperiling the Office of the High Representative and EU peacekeeping presence in Bosnia; and work to protect the Office of the High Representative in multilateral fora. It would also codify and tailor the authority to impose sanctions on foreign persons and adult family members who undermine the Dayton Accords or otherwise threaten the security of Bosnia and makes these sanctions mandatory. Finally, it requires Presidential determination on sanctions and a report justifying such a determination upon request of the Chair and Ranking Member of the appropriate congressional committees.

H.R. 6846 – CORRUPT Act, as amended (Rep. Malinowski – Foreign Affairs)

This bill requires the President to submit a determination of whether any of the 198 persons listed in the bill meets the criteria for the imposition of sanctions under provisions of law that authorize sanctions for activities related to corruption or human rights violations.

H.R. 7240 – READ Act Reauthorization Act of 2022, as amended (Rep. Bass – Foreign Affairs)

This bill reauthorizes the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development (READ) Act of 2017 by modifying current law to require the presidential strategy to promote access to basic education for children around the world to be carried out for an additional five years through 2027.

H.R. 8503 – Securing Global Telecommunications Act (Rep. Manning – Foreign Affairs)

This legislation authorizes the International Digital Economic and Telecommunication Advisory within the State Department, requires the development of a strategy to promote the use of secure telecommunications infrastructure, and mandates a report on Chinese and Russian influence in the International Telecommunications Union.

H.R. 8520 – Countering Untrusted Telecommunications Abroad Act, as amended (Rep. Wild – Foreign Affairs)

This legislation requires the State Department to provide information on the use of unsafe telecommunications equipment produced by Chinese companies and requires companies to disclose the use of unsafe equipment in their networks. 

H.R. 7338 – Russia Cryptocurrency Transparency Act, as amended (Rep. Meeks – Foreign Affairs)

This legislation authorizes a new lead position overseeing the intersection of digital assets and sanctions at the State Department, requires congressional notification for any State Department rewards paid out in crypto, and requires reports on how cryptocurrencies are being in the context of Russia’s illegal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine. 

H.R. 6265 – CAPTAGON Act (Rep. Hill – Foreign Affairs)

This bill would require the federal government to develop an interagency strategy to disrupt and dismantle narcotics production and trafficking and affiliated networks linked to the Assad regime in Syria.

H.Res. 558 – Urging the European Union to designate Hizballah in its entirety as a terrorist organization, as amended (Rep. Deutch – Foreign Affairs)

Currently, the EU only includes Hezbollah’s military wing – and not its political wing – on its list of sanctioned terrorist organizations. The United States makes no distinction between its branches and includes Hezbollah in its entirety on the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organization list. This resolution urges the European Union (EU) to fully designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

H.R. 1433 – Helen Keller National Center Reauthorization Act of 2022, as amended (Rep. Pocan – Education and Labor)

This bill reauthorizes the Helen Keller National Canter which provides training and resources to individual who are over 16 and have combined vision and hearing loss. The Center was first authorized in 1967 and provides individualized training in assistive technology, vocational services, orientation and mobility, communication and independent living at the headquarters in Sands Point, New York. The Hellen Keller National Center is also a leader in professional learning, “training the trainers” to work with the Deaf-Blind community. 

H.R. 4009 – Enslaved Voyages Memorial Act, as amended (Rep. Norton – Natural Resources)

This bill authorizes the Georgetown African American Historic Landmark Project and Tour to establish a commemorative work, the Enslaved Voyagers Memorial, in the District of Columbia and its environs.

H.R. 4358 – Little Manatee Wild and Scenic River Act, as amended (Rep. Buchanan – Natural Resources)

This bill amends the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate for study segments of the Little Manatee River as a component of the Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

S. 2490 – Blackwell School National Historic Site Act (Sen. Cornyn – Natural Resources)

This bill establishes the Blackwell School National Historic Site in Marfa, Texas.

H.R. 7566 – Stop Human Trafficking in School Zones Act (Rep. Jackson-Lee – Judiciary)

This bill would increase the maximum penalty available under current law for the commission of the offenses of sex trafficking and coercion and enticement committed within school zones or on, or within 1,000 feet of, school-sponsored activities or institutions of higher education by up to five years.

H.R. 7181 – Human Trafficking Prevention Act of 2022, as amended (Rep. Jeffries – Judiciary)

This bill would provide for the posting of the contact information for the National Human Trafficking Hotline in a visible place in all federal buildings, and in the restrooms of all U.S airplanes, airports, trains, train stations, buses, bus stations, and ports of entry, so that any victim, or anyone who notices a potential victim of human trafficking, knows where to turn for help.

S. 169 – ARTS Act (Sen. Tillis – Judiciary)

This bill would waive the filing fee for an application to register a copyright for a student’s work that has won the Congressional Art Competition or the Congressional App Challenge, thereby introducing these students to the intellectual property system and its benefits.

H.R. 4330 – PRESS Act, as amended (Rep. Raskin – Judiciary)

This bill creates a qualified, federal statutory privilege that protects journalists from being compelled by the federal government to reveal confidential sources and information and prohibits the federal government from compelling an electronic service provider that stores a journalist’s information to disclose that information to the government, unless a court determines that there is a reasonable threat of imminent violence absent the information’s disclosure, and subject to other requirements and certain specified exceptions.

H.R. 3034 – To amend title 28, United States Code, to provide an additional place for holding court for the Western District of Washington, and for other purposes (Rep. DelBene – Judiciary)

This bill would add Mount Vernon, Washington as an additional place of holding court for the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington. It would reduce travel times and administrative burdens for witnesses, defendants, lawyers, and federal agents in getting to court.

H.R. 6353 – National Service Animals Memorial Act, as amended (Rep. Wild – Natural Resources)

This bill authorizes the National Service Animals Monument Corporation to establish a commemorative work, the National Service Animals Memorial, in the District of Columbia and its environs.

H.R. 6734 – Keep America’s Refuges Operational Act of 2022, as amended (Rep. Jeffries – Natural Resources)

This bill reauthorizes through FY2027 the volunteer services, community partnerships, and refuge education programs of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

H.R. 7618 – To designate the Kol Israel Foundation Holocaust Memorial in Bedford Heights, Ohio, as a national memorial (Rep. Brown (OH) – Natural Resources)

H.R. 820 – New Philadelphia National Historical Site Act, as amended (Rep. LaHood – Natural Resources)

This bill establishes the New Philadelphia National Historical Park in the State of Illinois as a unit of the National Park System.

H.R. 7698 – To designate the outpatient clinic of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Ventura, California, as the “Captain Rosemary Bryant Mariner Outpatient Clinic” (Rep. Brownley – Veterans’ Affairs)

S. 2771 – To rename the Department of Veterans Affairs community-based outpatient clinic in San Angelo, Texas, the “Colonel Charles and JoAnne Powell VA Clinic” (Sen. Cornyn – Veterans’ Affairs)

This bill establishes the Blackwell School National Historic Site in Marfa, Texas.

S. 3895 – United States Commission on International Religious Freedom Reauthorization Act of 2022 (Sen. Rubio – Foreign Affairs)

This legislation reauthorizes the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom through 2024.

S. 3157 – Bridging the Gap for New Americans Act (Sen. Klobuchar – Education and Labor)

This bill requires the Department of Labor (DOL) to study and issue a report on the barriers immigrants and refugees face in obtaining professional credentials in the United States that they have already obtained from another country. Specifically, the bill asks to identify: the types of occupations immigrants and refugees had in their home country; what professional credentials are needed in the United States to be employed in that same occupation; what barriers exist in obtaining those credentials; and what public and private resources are available to mitigate those barriers. The bill also requires DOL to offer policy recommendations to Congress to alleviate those barriers. The report is due to Congress 18 months after the bill’s enactment.

H.R. 1456 – Peace Corps Reauthorization Act of 2022, as amended (Rep. Garamendi – Foreign Affairs)

The bill provides additional resources to advance the Peace Corps’ mission around the world and better support current and returned Peace Corps Volunteers.  The bill authorizes appropriations up to $230.5 million in Fiscal Year 2023 and 2024 and updates benefits to Volunteers and returned Volunteers that include readjustment allowance, re-enrollment priority, transition assistance, health insurance, non-competitive eligibility for federal employment and updated workers’ compensation. It provides Volunteers with protection against retaliation or reprisals for reporting waste, fraud or abuse; updates safety and security policies; modernizes the Peace Corps National Advisory Council; and provides authorization to recruit Volunteers for virtual services as well as for domestic service at the request of another agency.

Catch Us In The News

What We’re Reading

  • Gwinnett Daily Post | Jackson EMC Foundation awards $47K to agencies serving Gwinnett County.
  • AJC | Less driving helped the Atlanta area meet EPA smog standards.
  • Washington Post | FEMA chief to visit Puerto Rico.

Looking Ahead

Next week, the House will be back in session. Congresswoman Bourdeaux will also be attending the White House on Monday to congratulate the Atlanta Braves on their recent World Series win. 

Stay tuned for more.