As Congress returns from a two-week recess, House Democrats continue to prioritize the needs of middle class and low income families. This week, the House Judiciary Committee held a markup on legislation to lower the cost of prescription drugs, while the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs considered legislation to expand services to homeless veterans. During the first 100 days of the 116th Session of Congress, House Democrats have passed historic legislation that would ensure fair wages, expand voting rights, and reauthorize the indispensable Violence Against Women Act. I look forward to more great accomplishments in the weeks and months ahead.
Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations
In June, we will begin the process of passing 12 annual appropriations bills to keep the government funded. As Vice-Chairman of the House Committee on Rules, I have the opportunity to weigh in on each of these bills before they come to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote. I am pleased to take a leading role every year in advocating for the full funding of programs important to our region, state, and country, and look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure the priorities of American families are being met.
The Mueller Report
On April 18, 2019, Attorney General William Barr released a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report to Congress and public. In contrast to President Trump’s repeated assertions that the report exonerates him from wrongdoing, the report identifies no fewer than 10 instances of possible obstruction of justice by the President. Even in its redacted form, the Special Counsel’s report states verbatim that it ‘does not exonerate him.’
There is quite simply no way to read the report and arrive at the conclusion that the President has been exonerated. I was deeply disturbed by the Attorney General’s initial characterization of the report, which appeared to be more focused on providing political cover for the President than meeting his responsibilities as the senior law enforcement official in our nation. With the revelation of Special Counsel Mueller’s March 27 letter protesting that the Attorney General’s four-page memo ‘did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance’ of his work, it is now apparent that the Attorney General misrepresented, and knowingly withheld, the truth from the United States Congress.
Attorney General Barr’s failure to show up earlier this week to testify before the House Judiciary Committee is one incident of many in a series of unsettling events, which make clear this Administration’s disrespect and complete misunderstanding of good governance and transparency, eroding the very foundation of our democracy.
Congress will continue to work on behalf of the American people to investigate the very damaging evidence in the Mueller Report, and every question left unanswered by Attorney General Barr’s dereliction of duty. We have a responsibility to act as a check against abuses of power in order to preserve and protect the integrity of our democracy.
Legislation in Focus
Last month, I introduced three measures to support communities recovering from disaster and recognize the contributions of different cultures to American Society. H.R.2032, the Donate for Disaster Relief Act, would create a voluntary check-off that allows taxpayers to donate to a disaster relief trust, giving each taxpayer the opportunity help communities better prepare for responding to emergency situations. I was also pleased to introduce H.Res.292, Celebrating the heritage of Romani Americans, to mark April 8th as International Roma Day, and H.Res.297, Supporting the Goals and Ideals of Jubilee Day, recognizing the talents of the Jubilee singers and their tremendous sacrifices to save Fisk University and introduce the spirituals of enslaved Africans to an international audience.
For more information on the various issues that I am working on, visit my official website at www.alceehastings.house.gov.
With warm personal regards, I remain,
Alcee L. Hastings
Member of Congress
20th District of Florida