Legislative Update

Committee Marks Up NASA Reauthorization
April 28, 2014

(Washington, DC) – Today, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a markup of H.R. 4412, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2014.  The bill authorizes funding for one year and provides policy direction for NASA.

In July 2013, the Committee passed H.R. 2687, the “National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2013, by a party-line recorded vote.  Over the past several months, Majority and Minority Members and staffers have worked together to develop a new NASA reauthorization that both sides of the aisle could support.  Earlier this month, the Space Subcommittee marked up H.R. 4412 and approved it with a bipartisan Manager’s amendment.  Today’s markup also was conducted in a bipartisan manner.

Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) said, “I consider reauthorizing NASA to be one of our Committee’s most significant legislative responsibilities.  And that is why I am pleased that after some initial missteps, this Committee is addressing that responsibility with a good bipartisan bill—something that has long been a hallmark of this Committee.”

Subcommittee on Space Ranking Member Donna F. Edwards (D-MD) said in her statement for the record, “It has been said that our Nation’s greatness is embodied in our space program. Today, I joined Congressman Steven Palazzo and the Science, Space, and Technology Committee to ensure that the talented, dedicated men and women who make up the National Aeronautics and Space Administration have the certainty they need. Even in these challenging times, NASA’s accomplishments in human spaceflight, space science, aeronautics research, and space technology are the envy of other nations and a source of inspiration for all Americans. Our committee has taken a strong step to help NASA maintain its position of preeminence, and I look forward to working with Mr. Palazzo, Ranking Member Johnson, and Chairman Smith on bringing this bipartisan bill to the House Floor and seeing it through to final passage.”

Ranking Member Donna F. Edwards (D-MD) and Chairman Palazzo introduced a bipartisan Manager’s amendment.   The Manager’s Amendment includes provisions that reflect several Democratic priorities such as education and public outreach, Earth science, and other important science programs.

Ms. Johnson said, “The Manager’s amendment and bill before us today are the product of weeks of negotiation between myself, Chairman Smith, Subcommittee Ranking Member Edwards, Subcommittee Chairman Palazzo, and our respective staffs.  These negotiations have not been easy.  Chairman Smith has not gotten the bill he would have preferred.  I have not gotten the bill I would have preferred.  But through this process we have arrived at a product that we both can support.”

H.R. 4412 passed out of Committee by voice vote.

 

Ranking Member Edwards Introduces Legislation to Authorize NASA, Cites Need to Return Agency to Path of Greatness

Ranking Member of the Space Subcommittee, Donna F. Edwards (D-MD), introduced H.R. 2616, the NASA Authorization Act of 2013.  H.R. 2616 reauthorizes the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for three years, beginning FY 2014 with an authorization level of $18.10 billion and increases at about 2 percent a year to a level of $18.87 billion by FY 2016.   Full Committee Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) is an original cosponsor of the bill, along with Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL); Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR); Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA); Rep. Dan Maffei (D-NY); Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL); Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-MA); Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA); Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA); Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX); and Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL).

“NASA is critical to the Nation and its economic strength.  This Authorization bill is a vitally important opportunity to set the policy direction and authorize the funding needed to ensure America’s global leadership in space” said Congresswoman Edwards.  She added, “Unfortunately, in the past few years, NASA has been asked to do more despite being provided with fewer resources.  This is intolerable as NASA is the Nation’s crown jewel for spurring innovation, highly-skilled and good paying jobs, and inspiring the next generation of scientists.  This fiscally responsible bill puts NASA back on track to greatness and provides flexibility in how the agency is to implement engineering and scientific details.” 

Important provisions in the bill include:

  • Preserving NASA’s purchasing power relative to FY2012 enacted levels by authorizing $18.1 billion;
  • Providing a clear goal of a crewed mission to the surface of Mars and requiring a roadmap that identifies intermediate destinations and activities which contribute to enabling achievement of that goal;
  • Recognizing the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion crew vehicle as the highest priorities for carrying out the Mars goal;
  • Providing robust funding for commercial crew system development of $700 million per year;
  • Maintaining U.S. commitment to International Space Station (ISS) operations through 2020 and initiating a process for determining if and how long ISS should operate beyond 2020;
  • Restoring Planetary Science to $1.5 billion in annual funding following recent cuts to the program;
  • Maintaining a sound Earth Science program that ensures observing systems development, and advances research, knowledge, and applied data uses that benefit society;
  • Sustaining a stable aeronautics research program, consistent with FY 2012 enacted levels, that supports research priorities, strategic initiatives, and flight demonstrations;
  • Investing in space technology to enable future missions, spur innovation, and contribute to economic growth and job-creation; and
  • Sustaining NASA’s STEM education activities and continuing agency education and outreach activities supported by scientists and engineers.

Edwards' Tipped Minimum Wage Increase Included in Sen. Harkin and Rep. Miller's "Fair Minimum Wage Act"

Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (MD-4) released the following statement after the announced introduction of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Representative George Miller’s (CA-11) Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013. The bill would increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10, in three steps of 95 cents, setting an adequate base before implementing automatic adjustments to keep pace with the rising cost of living. The legislation also includes a raise in the tipped minimum wage for the first time in 20 years, an issue championed by Congresswoman Edwards in the WAGES Act, H.R. 650, reintroduced in the 113tth Congress.

“I commend Senator Harkin and Representative Miller for introducing the Fair Minimum Wages Act. Congressional action is long overdue to tie an increase in the minimum wage to inflation that will help ensure working families do not continue to live in poverty. Since the last raise in the federal minimum wage five years ago, a dozen states around the county raised their minimum wage because when families can afford basic necessities it helps grow the economy. These efforts must be met with action at the federal level.

“I am grateful that Sen. Harkin and Rep. Miller included language I championed to raise the tipped minimum wage in this bill and going the extra, necessary step of pegging it to inflation.  Since 1991, tipped workers have seen their wages frozen at $2.13 and are a reason why living standards continue to fall for this segment of our workforce.  I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Congress and workers all across the country to get this done.”

According to a 2009 report by the National Employment Law Project, the tipped minimum wage of $2.13 has lost 36% of its value in real terms since it was established in 1991.  As a result, waitresses and waiters suffer three times the poverty rate compared to the overall workforce.

Rep. Edwards Introduces Broadening Opportunities through Education Act

Rep. Edwards introduced H.R. 6434, the Broadening Opportunities through Education Act, to combat high school dropout rates. The bill provides incentives and additional resources to states that increase compulsory school attendance through age 17. The resources can be used for to implement secondary school improvement programs such as expanding work-based programs that integrate academic, career, and technical training.

“The Broadening Opportunities through Education Act is essential to fulfilling the obligation to provide our students with a quality education that prepares them for a 21st century global economy,” said Congresswoman Edwards. “By providing additional resources to our states, we will keep students in school longer, reaping significant economic benefits for them and our country. As Congress continues to debate efforts to reduce the deficit and grow our economy, I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to remember that the greatest asset is the knowledge of our workforce and to join me in this effort.”

High school dropouts earn $300,000 less than high school graduates over their lifetime, amounting to nearly $320 billion in lost earning potential. In addition, by cutting the number of dropouts in half, $45 billion in new tax revenue would be generated annually, according to the Center for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education at Teachers College at Columbia University.

Edwards and Bono Mack Introduce Bipartisan S.O.S Act to Save Lives, Address Ongoing Problem of Drug Overdose

Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (MD-4) and Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (CA-45) were joined by over two dozen Members of the House to introduce the bipartisan Stop Overdose Stat (S.O.S.) Act. The S.O.S. Act will create a create a federal grant program to support overdose prevention efforts across the country, including education, training for caregivers and individuals at-risk of an overdose, and how to administer first aid and medication that reverses quickly an overdose from heroin and opioid pain relievers.

“The S.O.S Act will fight a growing health crisis that is going largely unnoticed in our country,” said Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards. “Approximately 30,000 Americans die each year from drug overdoses, yet the national response to combat this ongoing crisis remains woefully inadequate.  It is time that the federal government took on an active role in promoting proven treatments recommended by medical associations. I want to thank Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack for joining me in introducing the S.O.S. Act, and I look forward to working with all my colleagues to pass this bill into law.”  

“As Americans, we rally around efforts to fight breast cancer, childhood diseases and other serious health threats. But for far too long, there have only been hushed whispers about prescription drug abuse – now the fastest growing drug problem in America.  So as the death toll from prescription drug overdoses continues to rise sharply, it’s time to move this story from the obituary page to the front page where it belongs. It’s time to realize that we can’t simply wish this horrific problem away. Not with more than 20,000 people a year dying from it.  Not when the number of newborn babies who must be withdrawn from opiate dependence at birth has tripled in the past decade.  Not when nearly one out of 4 high school seniors has used prescription painkillers.  This is nothing less than a national tragedy.  If 20,000 people died each year from food poisoning, Americans would demand immediate action,” said Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack.

Although drug overdose is entirely preventable, it has risen above car accidents as the leading cause of injury-related death for individuals ages 35-54 and is now the second leading cause for young people. Since the late 1990s, fatal overdoses have jumped more than 140 percent nationwide, claiming more than 36,450 lives in 2008 and 28,500 lives in 2009. Overdoses from illegal drugs persist as a major public health problem, yet fatal overdoses from prescribed opioid pain relievers such as oxycodone account for more than 40 percent of all overdose deaths. 

Reps. Edwards and Conyers Reintroduce Constitutional Amendment to Address Flawed Citizens United Ruling

 

Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards and Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI) reintroduced an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, H. J. Res 78, that would reverse the Supreme Court’s unprecedented application of the First Amendment to corporations allowing them to spend unlimited money to influence elections.  The amendment will give specific authority to Congress and the states to regulate corporate expenditures on political activity.

“Justice John Paul Stevens warned that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizen’s United threatened ‘to undermine the integrity of elected institutions around the nation’ and how right he was,” said Congresswoman Edwards.  “Since that flawed ruling was issued, campaign spending by outside groups including corporations surged more than four-fold to reach nearly $300 million in the 2010 election cycle.  I am proud to join with Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Conyers to reintroduce this constitutional amendment, which is the only way to once and for all put the American people, and not corporations, in charge of our treasured democracy.”

“Last year, the Supreme Court overturned decades of law and declared open season on our democracy,” Conyers said.  “It is individual voters who should determine the future of this nation, not corporate money.   I commend Rep. Edwards for her work in developing this narrowly crafted constitutional amendment that will undo the effects of this radical decision and I look forward to working with her to restore balance to our electoral process.”

Below is the amendment language:

112th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. J. RES. 78

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to clarify the authority of Congress and the States to regulate the expenditure of funds for political activity by corporations.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

September 12, 2011

Ms. EDWARDS (for herself and Mr. CONYERS) introduced the following joint resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

JOINT RESOLUTION

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to clarify the authority of Congress and the States to regulate the expenditure of funds for political activity by corporations.

    Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States:

`Article--

    `Section 1. Nothing in this Constitution shall prohibit Congress and the States from imposing content-neutral regulations and restrictions on the expenditure of funds for political activity by any corporation, limited liability company, or other corporate entity, including but not limited to contributions in support of, or in opposition to, a candidate for public office.

    `Section 2. Nothing contained in this Article shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.'.

 

Reps. Edwards, Carnahan join Senator Udall to Introduce the Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act of 2011

Representatives Donna F. Edwards (MD-4) and Russ Carnahan (MO-3) joined Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) to introduce bicameral legislation to promote green infrastructure designed to address stormwater management in a way that enhances the natural environment and is economically cost-effective. The Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act of 2011 would establish up to five Centers of Excellence charged with conducting research on green infrastructure that is relevant to the geographic region in which the center is located, and provide communities with training and technical assistance on how to implement green infrastructure best management practices.  The legislation would also provide funding to help communities develop green infrastructure technologies.

 

Congresswoman Edwards' and Washington Area Metro Region Members Reintroduce the National Metro Safety Act of 2011

 

Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (MD-4) and Members of the Washington area metro region’s House delegation today reintroduced the National Metro Safety Act of 2011. The bill will direct the US Department of Transportation, in consultation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), to establish federal safety standards for heavy rail systems across the country.  The bill incorporates several guidelines the NTSB has advocated for years, including the establishment of minimum standards for the structural crashworthiness of heavy rail passenger cars, emergency access and egress, event recorders, and hours of service. Representatives Chris Van Hollen (MD-8), Steny Hoyer (MD-5), James P. Moran (VA-8), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Frank Wolf (VA-10), and Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11) joined Congresswoman Edwards in introducing this legislation.

 

New Credit Card Protections Go Into Effect

On February 22, new common sense consumer protections went into place to protect credit card holders from a wide range of unfair practices. These regulations are a major step towards helping working families save money and pay off their debt. According to the Pew Charitable Trust, which tracks credit card issues, consumers will save at least $10 billion a year from curbs on interest rate increases alone. 

  

Some of the key changes include:

  • Credit card companies must give at least 45 days notice before increasing your interest rate, changing certain fees, or making other significant changes to the terms of your card. 
  • Credit card bills must provide information to clearly explain how long it will take to pay off the balance by making only minimum payments.  
  • Credit card companies will be restricted from allowing over-the-limit transactions without the cardholders' knowledge, which often impose exorbitant fees.
  • Interest rate increases will, in most cases, be prohibited during the first year of the life of an account.
  • Any changes to your billing will require a statement detailing those changes at least 21 days before the payment is due. 

 

For more detailed information on the new consumer protections for credit card users, visit The Federal Reserve's Consumer Information website.

 

Prince George's and Montgomery Counties Announce Launch of Joint County Gang Initiative

 

Federal and county officials representing Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties announced a new Joint County Gang Initiative today that will streamline prevention and suppression operations between the two jurisdictions and enhance regional efforts to keep communities safe and prevent youth from engaging in gang activity.  A $2.7 million federal investment for the initiative was recently secured by Reps. Hoyer, Van Hollen and Edwards in a FY2010 federal appropriations bill. Officials announced the new effort at the Langley Park Community Center in Hyattsville, chosen to emphasize the importance of prevention through youth programs and activities that provide children and young adults with safe alternatives to crime and gang membership.

 

Click here for additional information.

 

Reps. Edwards, Biggert, Van Hollen, Broun, Sarbanes, and LoBiondo Introduce a Six-Month Homeowners Tax Credit Extension

Representative Donna F. Edwards (D-MD) introduced legislation that would extend the first-time homebuyer tax credit for six months, H.R. 3773.  Rep. Edwards was joined by Reps. Judy Biggert (R-IL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Paul Broun (R-GA), John Sarbanes (D-MD), and Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) as original co-sponsors.  H.R. 3773 is the House companion to legislation introduced in the Senate by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), along with Senators John Ensign (R-NV), Harry Reid (D-NV), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

 

Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards and Colleagues Successfully Include Important Language in the Jobs for Main Street Act to Help Rebuild the American Workforce

 

Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards voted for the Jobs for Main Street Act, which passed the House by a vote of 217-212.  Rep. Edwards was a strong proponent of this legislation and had language included in the legislation that she and several other Members championed.  The Jobs for Main Street Act will create or save jobs here at home with targeted investments for highways and transit, school renovation, hiring teachers, police, and firefighters, small businesses, job training, and affordable housing.

For additional information, please click here.

 

Rep. Edwards Votes for Historic Health Care Reform Legislation for All Americans

 

Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (D-MD) today voted for the Affordable Health Care for American Act, H.R. 3962, which passed the House by a vote of 220-215.  Rep. Edwards championed the effort to include section 104 of the Manager’s Amendment, a provision to prevent price gouging by enabling states to review private insurers’ premium increases beginning in 2010.  The provision guarantees transparency on rates and will also enable state insurance commissioners to recommend to the National Insurance Commissioner whether a particular insurer should participate in the Health Insurance Exchange, taking into account excessive or unjustified premium increases in making that determination.  Section 104 will hold private insurers (both inside and outside of the Exchange) accountable, and ensure affordability for working American families. 

“The Affordable Health Care for America Act is historic legislation, which will usher in a new era of affordable and accessible health care for all Americans,” said Rep. Edwards.  “I am thankful for the opportunity to lead the effort to include a provision against price gouging that will hold insurance companies accountable to ensure health care affordability for working families in the 4th Congressional District and across the country.  This landmark legislation will make health care affordable for millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans, end rate increases or coverage denials for pre-existing conditions, and eliminate co-pays and deductibles for preventative care.”

In Maryland’s 4th Congressional District, the Affordable Health Care for America Act will:

  • Improve employer-based coverage for 476,000 residents.
  • Provide credits to help pay for coverage for up to 112,000 households.
  • Improve Medicare for 71,000 beneficiaries, including closing the prescription drug donuthole for 3,700 seniors.
  • Allow 15,100 small businesses to obtain affordable health care coverage and provide tax credits to help reduce health insurance costs for up to 13,300 small businesses.
  • Provide coverage for 57,000 uninsured residents.
  • Protect up to 1,200 families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs.
  • Reduce the cost of uncompensated care for hospitals and health care providers by $36 million.

Furthermore, the Affordable Health Care for America Act will provide tremendous benefits for women who have suffered gender discrimination for decades under the current health care system.  The legislation will end “gender rating” so that insurance companies cannot charge women more than men for the same benefits, prohibit insurers from denying coverage to victims of domestic violence (or consider domestic violence a preexisting condition), and eliminate lifetime caps on benefits.

“The current health care system is not sustainable for small businesses, who must pay up to 18% more per worker than large firms for the same health insurance policies,” said Rep. Edwards.  “Due to high costs, more than half of our nation’s uninsured are small business owners, employees, and their families. This legislation will change all of that by helping small businesses provide health care for their employees and their families.”

This bill is also critical to the nation’s small businesses, which are the engine of the American economy. Since 2000, small businesses’ health care costs grew an unbelievable 129%. Workers in small businesses pay an average of 18% more for premiums than those with larger firms, and administrative costs consume two and a half times more of their premiums.

 

Rep. Edwards Votes to Extend Unemployment Insurance Benefits, Homebuyers' Tax Credit, Business Tax Relief to Stimulate Local Economy

 

Congresswoman Edwards voted to stimulate the local economy and provide stability to American families hit hardest by the recession by extending unemployment benefits, the homebuyers’ tax credit, and tax relief for military families and businesses. The Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act of 2009, H.R. 3548, passed the House by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 403 to 12.

 

For additional information, please click here.

Congresswoman Edwards Helps Secure Funding for Several Important Projects in the FY2010 Energy and Water Appropriations Conference Report

 

 

The FY 2010 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Conference Report will help promote job creation and provide real solutions to our energy and water quality needs with investments in new technologies, scientific research and conservation efforts. By building on the investments in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, this legislation helps America move toward energy independence and the rebuilding of our deteriorating infrastructure.

 

 

Rep. Edwards worked with other Members from the region to secure funding for several important projects related to updating the district's water infrastructure.

 

Please click here for a list of the projects and additional information.

 

Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards’ Amendment Adopted to Include the Chesapeake Bay in H.R. 3650, Establishing a National Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Program

Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards’ amendment was adopted by the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment.  The amendment changes Section 5 (“Regional Research Action Plans”) of H.R. 3650 to require that the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere “consider the impacts, research, and existing program activities of all United States coastlines and fresh and inland waters, including the Great Lakes, the Chesapeake Bay, and estuaries and tributaries” in developing the Regional Research Action Plans.”

“I support Chairman Baird's efforts in introducing this bill and establishing a national harmful algal bloom and hypoxia program,” said Rep. Edwards.  “I am pleased that my amendment, which would ensure that this program addresses this problem in all of our waterways, specifically the Chesapeake Bay, was adopted.  The Chesapeake Bay is the largest fresh water estuary in the country, and the health and welfare of the Bay is a top priority of mine.” 

To read more about this important issue, please click here.

 

 

Congresswoman Edwards Introduces the WAGES Act

Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (D-MD) continued her commitment to working people by introducing the Working for Adequate Gains for Employment in Services (WAGES) Act, H.R. 2570.
The legislation would increase incrementally the minimum wage for tipped employees over the next three years.

For more information, please visit Congresswoman's Edwards' blog post about the WAGES Act by clicking here.

 

 

Rep. Edwards Appointed Vice Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment

 

Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (D-MD) was appointed today to the position of Vice Chairwoman for the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. In just a year and a half, Rep. Edwards has established herself as a proven leader on water resource issues in Maryland and across the country. She fought to include significant funding for infrastructure projects to enhance water quality, as well as, weatherization grants for struggling families looking to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. In Maryland, she is a staunch advocate for the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.  Rep. Edwards also supported efforts to increase “green” technology activities to be eligible to control stormwater runoff and to increase the reauthorization for such projects. 

 

For additional information, please click here.

 

Congresswoman Edwards’ Consumer Protection Language Included in Final Wall Street Reform Bill

 

Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards succeeded in inserting three consumer protection provisions that strengthened the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009, H.R. 4173, which passed the House by a vote of 223 to 202.  Two of Rep. Edwards’ amendments were included by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) into his manager’s amendment, which was then added to the overall bill.  Rep. Edwards’ third provision was included in the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act, H.R. 1728, which was also included in the final version of H.R. 4173.

 

These important provisions ensure that state regulatory agencies have the appropriate tools necessary to enforce tough regulations at the state level to regulate risky financial transactions, prevent predatory lending, and protect consumers, homeowners, and investors.  These provisions strengthen the role of the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency in its mission to limit systemic risk and prevent Wall Street’s greed from pushing America to the brink of economic ruin in the future. 

 

For additional information, please click here.

 

Reps. Edwards, Carnahan, Driehaus Introduce ‘Green' Water Infrastructure Bill That Will Create Jobs, Reduce Costs

 

Representatives Donna F. Edwards (D-MD), Russ Carnahan (D-MO), and Steve Driehaus (D-OH) introduced the Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act of 2009, H.R. 4202.  Green Infrastructure is a stormwater management technique that preserves the natural hydrology of an area to help reduce stormwater runoff from hard surfaces. 

 

 

“Access to clean water is a necessity and must be protected to ensure the future prosperity and well-being of the United States,” said Rep. Edwards.  “A growing threat to water quality throughout the U.S. is due to polluted stormwater runoff from highly urbanized areas flowing into surface waters without being treated.  This is especially for the 4th Congressional District and metropolitan area bordering the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers and ultimately impacting the Chesapeake Bay.  If we do not begin to address this problem, water quality gains made over the last forty years will be lost. Green infrastructure is a proven method that can help address this challenge.  The Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act of 2009 is an innovative, environmental and economically cost-effective approach to manage storm water flows and improve water quality throughout the nation.  I am proud to be joined by Reps. Carnahan and Driehaus to introduce this important bill.”

 

Green infrastructure techniques rely on natural systems to absorb and filter stormwater in a way that relies on soil and plant life to remove toxins and recharge ground water supplies.  Implementing green infrastructure provides numerous benefits, which include enhancing water resources, protecting the environment, reducing the urban heat island effect, increasing community health, creating green jobs, and saving money through reduced capitol costs. 

 

For additional information, please click here

 

Maryland to Receive Over $6 Million in Emergency Funding for Energy Assistance for Low-Income Families

 

Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (D-MD) announced that Maryland will receive $6,387,721 in emergency funds for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.  In a letter to President Obama earlier this year, Congresswoman Edwards joined her colleagues in urging the President to release the emergency funding.  LIHEAP helps eligible families pay for home heating, cooling, and other energy costs, as well as helping with weatherization costs.

 

“During these difficult economic times, families have seen an increased demand for key services, particularly in our most vulnerable communities,” said Congresswoman Edwards. “For years, LIHEAP has been a foundation of our country’s social safety net. This funding is needed now more than ever. These energy subsidies will heat homes in our Congressional district and across the state of Maryland, preventing families from making the terrible choice between energy bills, putting food on the table, and paying for medicine.”

 

Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards' Votes to Accelerate Tax Deductions for Haiti Relief 

 

Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (D-MD) voted for and is an original co-sponsor of H.R. 4462.  This legislation allows individuals who make charitable contributions until March 1, 2010 to victims of the earthquake in Haiti to claim an itemized charitable deduction on their 2009 tax return, instead of having to wait to claim it on their 2010 return. The legislation also includes a provision allowing those who use text messages to donate to use their phone bill as proof of that donation.

 

“As we witness the terrible tragedy unfolding in Haiti, we are reminded again of the incredible generosity of the American people,” said Rep. Edwards. “The tremendous outpouring of donations is a testament to our nation’s character, and the level of response is necessary to help the Haitian people recover and rebuild their nation.  Today’s bi-partisan legislation is an effort to thank those who have already given, and to encourage others to contribute to this inspiring global relief effort.”

 

In addition to passing this measure, the House of Representatives voted to pass a resolution Rep. Edwards co-sponsored expressing condolences to, and solidarity with, the people of Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake of January 12th, 2010.

 

Representative Donna F. Edwards (D-MD) introduced legislation that would extend the first-time homebuyer tax credit for six months, H.R. 3773.  Rep. Edwards was joined by Reps. Judy Biggert (R-IL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Paul Broun (R-GA), John Sarbanes (D-MD), and Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) as original co-sponsors.  H.R. 3773 is the House companion to legislation introduced in the Senate by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), along with Senators John Ensign (R-NV), Harry Reid (D-NV), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

 

The current provision passed as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, provides an $8,000 credit for first-time homebuyers, and is set to expire on December 1, 2009.  According to the Washington Post, first-time homebuyers made up 30 percent of all August sales. This bill would not change the tax credit; it would simply extend it until June 1, 2010. 


“The first-time homebuyers’ tax credit is critical to the recovery and stabilization we are beginning to see in the housing market,” said Rep. Edwards.  “It is important that we pass this six-month extension to ensure the upward trend in home sales and purchases, further stabilizing the nation’s housing market. Extending this tax credit is good policy for the housing industry and the entire economy, and more importantly good for families looking to purchase a home.  I thank my colleagues in the House and Senate for working together in a bi-partisan effort to move this important legislation forward.”

Please click here to read the entire press release.

 

Congresswoman Edwards and Judiciary Committee Chairman Conyers Introduce Constitutional Amendment to Fix Flawed Supreme Court Ruling on Campaign Finance

 

Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (D-MD) and Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) introduced an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to address the flawed ruling by the Supreme Court allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections. The amendment will undo the Supreme Court decision and allow Congress and the states to regulate the expenditure of funds by corporations for political speech.

 

 

“The ruling reached by the Roberts’ Court overturned decades of legal precedent by allowing corporations unfettered spending in our political campaigns,” said Congresswoman Edwards. “Another law will not rectify this disastrous decision.  A Constitutional Amendment is necessary to undo what this Court has done. Justice Brandeis got it right: ‘We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.’ It is time we remove corporate influence from our policies and our politics. We cannot allow corporations to dominate our elections, to do so would be both undemocratic and unfair to ordinary citizens.” 

 

 

“The Supreme Court’s idea that corporate political speech is no different than an individual citizen’s political speech was not the law when the Constitution was written, was not the law before the Supreme Court’s decision two weeks ago, and should not be the law in the future.  I look forward to working further with Ms. Edwards and my other colleagues to use every tool at our disposal to make sure that elected representatives are accountable to voters, not corporations,” said Chairman Conyers. 

 

 

Amendment language:

111TH CONGRESS
2D SESSION

 

 

H. J. RES. _____
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States permitting Congress and the States to regulate the expenditure of funds by corporations engaging in political speech.

 

 

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

Ms. EDWARDS of Maryland (for herself and Mr. CONYERS) introduced the following joint resolution; which was referred to the Committee on ____________________

 

 

JOINT RESOLUTION

 

 

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States permitting Congress and the States to regulate the expenditure of funds by corporations engaging in political speech.

 

 

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:

 

 

‘‘ARTICLE—

 

 

‘‘SECTION 1. The sovereign right of the people to govern being essential to a free democracy, Congress and the States may regulate the expenditure of funds for political speech by any corporation, limited liability company, or other corporate entity.
‘‘SECTION 2. Nothing contained in this Article shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.’’.