Rep. John Lewis’ Chief of Staff Provides Long List of Lewis’ Accomplishments...

Rep. John Lewis’ Chief of Staff Provides Long List of Lewis’ Accomplishments in Congress

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John Lewis did more before he was 25 than most people have done during their entire lives. Since Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) called Donald Trump an “illegitimate” soon-to-be President and dared to remind everyone of the dubious fact that Russia assisted Trump to victory, there’s been yammering about Lewis’ contributions after his civil rights era work.

Most of these questions have come from those who have done close to nothing consequential in their lives that comes anywhere close to Lewis’ achievements before age 25.  Yesterday. Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who is seemingly always right on time to lecture Blacks and Hispanics for their lack of something or other, was critical of Lewis, saying the legendary Congressman hasn’t done anything since the 1960s.

“John Lewis, thank you for your contribution to civil rights during the civil rights era. I would appreciate it if you would contribute something since then. It’s been a half a century,” King said yesterday in an interview.

Over the weekend, Lewis’ long time Chief of Staff, Michael Collins provided a list of Lewis’ post civil rights work on facebook. It would be interesting to compare the list below to whatever King has been doing in Congress.  As a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Lewis has been able to achieve a lot of results for his district and the U.S. in general.
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As Chief of Staff for Congressman John Lewis for 17 years I felt it was important to share a snapshot of his 30 years in Congress. I cherish his legacy and honored to serve him…

It will take more than a factsheet to put together a complete list of Rep. Lewis’ career legislative and policy successes.
Rep. Lewis continues to serve as the Senior Chief Deputy Democratic Whip.  On the House Ways and Means Committee, he serves as the Ranking Member of the Oversight Subcommittee and an active member of the Health Subcommittee.

Congressman John Lewis represents the 5th Congressional District of Georgia, which includes the city of Atlanta and parts of Fulton, DeKalb, and Clayton Counties.  It is one of the most dynamic congressional districts in the country – with major corporations, national historic sites, the largest passenger airport in the world, and diverse constituents.

Rep. Lewis’ District Office provides constituent services and programs which are free and accessible to all constituents.  Recent events include town hall meetings on fighting the Zika virus and gun violence and regular policy updates.

In the U.S. Examples of Rep. Lewis’ legislative and policy leadership during the 114th Congress include:

• Witnessing the culmination of his 28-year legislative effort with the successful opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall;

• Leading Members of Congress in demanding changes, audits, and accountability to the HomeSafe/ Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) Program that was established to help unemployed homeowners with their monthly mortgage payments;

• Authoring the Medicaid Expansion Parity Act to improve assistance for States regardless of when they choose to expand Medicaid;

• Introducing the Law Enforcement Inclusion Act which would allow law enforcement agencies to use Federal funds to recruit, hire, and retain officers who reside in the communities they serve;

• Leading a regional coalition in advocating for fair and humane immigration enforcement practices;

• Fighting to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in federal foster care and adoption programs as the lead sponsor of the Every Child Deserves a Family Act with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL);

• Pioneering H.R. 12, the Voter Empowerment Act — the most comprehensive proposal to update our nation’s voting systems;

• Championing peace by successfully adding the Cost of War Act to the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2017, which President Obama signed into law in December;

• Leading a bipartisan, bicameral coalition to permanently reauthorize the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act signed into law by President Obama on December 16, 2016. Authored the original law signed by President George W. Bush.

• Sponsoring a bill included in Public Law 114-10 that makes employer-sponsored health insurance simpler and more accessible for everyone.

• Championing interstate highway and road safety by leading policy efforts on teen truck drivers and motorcoaches included in Public Laws 114-94 and 112-141;

• Conducting oversight to ensure timely accessible services for all American taxpayers;

• Securing inclusion of the SMART Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Act in Public Law 113-4, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization;

• Moving legislation through the House so that the National Park Service can offer improved services and programs to visitors in Atlanta’s Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Site;

• Championing peace, nonviolence, and the end of war by sponsoring briefings, trainings, and legislation on the Colombian Peace Process and protecting funding for the U.S. Institute of Peace;

• Offering amendments on trade and human rights and sponsoring non-partisan educational forums on international labor standards.
Additional, recent, constituent-inspired successes include –
Addressing Constituent Health Priorities
o Building coalitions to protect and increase CDC funding.
o Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Act, HR 552. Became law as part of Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act, (MIPPA) HR 6331 (P.L 110-275).
o The Kidney Care Quality and Education Act, HR 1193.  Major portions became law as part of MIPPA, HR 6331 (P.L 110-275); actively negotiated the Kidney/ESRD title of MIPPA with Ways and Means committee staff, ESRD industry and CBC; Lewis widely recognized as a leader on Kidney and ESRD issues; Industry credit’s Lewis and is pleased with the outcome.
o Medicare Home Health Flexibility Act, HR 1094, Passed the House as part of the Health Reform Bill
o Medicare Access to Community Health Centers (MATCH ) Act, Portions passed the House and Senate as part of the Health Reform Bill

Protecting and Encouraging Constituent Financial Security
o The introduction and passage of a tax relief bill for workers affected by airline bankruptcies.  The bill allowed  their bankruptcy payments to be transferred to retirement accounts without penalties;
o Working with the Secretary of Health and Human Services to secure an emergency release of Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds to help Metro Atlanta families pay their energy bills;
o Leading the charge to fight the Social Security backlog and sponsoring legislation to deter identity theft and fraud.
o Sponsoring the Homebuyer Tax Credit Improvement Act, HR 3901 Became Law as part of HR 1 – American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) (P.L. 111-5)
o Leading the charge for Trade Adjustment Assistance Reauthorization to be included in the stimulus package.  (The legislation had been stalled in the Senate for almost two years.)
o Advocating for the inclusion of the Empowerment Zones/ Renewal community funding in the tax extenders. An estimate $40 to $53 million for Atlanta is included in the House-passed package; urging Senate to act immediately.
o Offering the Lewis/Etheridge Financial Counseling Amendment to H.R. 3221 Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act adopted in the manager’s amendment to ensure Georgia Student Finance Commission is eligible for funding to provide students and families with loan and financial counseling.

Securing Federal Funding
There is no way to track these letters of support, legislative initiatives, and phone calls over Congressman Lewis’ 26 year congressional career, but in the last 12 years, almost $22 billion in federal grants has come through the 5th Congressional District — over $200 million for MARTA alone.

He hosted a record grants forum 101 to help his constituents become more savvy and competitive in the process and regularly leads the delegation to fight for grants for Metro Atlanta.

Before House Republicans banned earmarks, Congressman Lewis secured $62,399,500 for Metro Atlanta priorities in FY08, FY09, and FY10.

Congressman Lewis helped secure discretionary funding in the FY 2010 appropriations bills for the following Metro Atlanta entities:
• Center for Advanced Bioengineering for Enhanced Soldier Survivability, Georgia Institute of Technology: $2,500,000
• Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Expansion of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Hughes: $200,000

• City of Atlanta, GA Sewer System Rehabilitation: $500,000
• City of College Park, GA, Emergency Operations Center Technology Upgrade: $450,000
• City of College Park, GA, Entrepreneurial Development Center: $150,000

• City of East Point, Georgia, Law Enforcement Technology Upgrade Project: $100,000
• City of Sandy Springs, Hammond Drive Roadway Upgrades/ City of Sandy Springs: $500,000
• Covenant House Georgia, Inc., Covenant House Georgia Rights of Passage Transitional Living Program: $100,000
• Emory University Transplant Center: $2,000,000
• Environmental Infrastructure, City of Atlanta: $1,429,000
• Fulton County Police Department, Fulton County High Intensity Crime Area Task Force: $100,000
• Consortium on Plant Biotechnology Research, Georgia Institute of Technology: $4,000,000
• Grady Health System, Grady Health System Network Transformation: $1,100,000
• Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta’s Innovative Aging-In-Place Services Project: $100,000
• Marcus Autism Center,  Autism Statewide Delivery System Master Plan: $300,000
• Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), Interstate – 20 East Transit Corridor: $300,000
• Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA),  MARTA Acquisition of Clean Fuel Buses: $4,000,000
• Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District: $500,000
• Morehouse College Energy Science Research and Education Initiative: $2,000,000
• Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Initiative: $200,000
• Morehouse College, John H. Hopps Defense Research Scholars Program: $2,400,000
• Morehouse School of Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine Health IT Partnership: $100,000
• Saint Joseph’s Mercy Care Services, Inc. Strengthening Atlanta’s Health Care Safety Net: $200,000
• Southern Pine Based Biorefinery Center, Georgia Institute of Technology: $1,000,000
• Women’s Sports Foundation, GoGirlGo! Atlanta Initiative: $100,000

Congressman Lewis helped secure discretionary funding in the FY 2009 appropriations bills for the following Metro Atlanta entities:

• Atlanta BeltLine: $475,000
• Atlanta, GA Sewer System Rehabilitation, City of Atlanta: $300,000
• City of Atlanta, Environmental Infrastructure, City of Atlanta: $1,818,000
• City of East Point, Law Enforcement Technology Upgrade: $300,000
• Clark Atlanta University, Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development: $428,000
• Emory University, Southeastern Center for Emerging Biologic Threats: $95,000
• Flood Control/Environmental Infrastructure Project, City of East Point: $500,000
• Georgia Cotton Commission, Cotton Insect Management: $346,000
• Georgia Institute of Technology, Consortium on Plant Biotechnology Research: $3,806,000
• Georgia Institute of Technology, National Textile Center: $100,000
• Georgia State University, Atlanta Center of Emergency and Primary Health Systems Effectiveness: $95,000
• Georgia State University, Prisoner Re-Entry for HIV-Infected Inmates: $500,000
• Girls Incorporated of Greater Atlanta, Girls Incorporated of Greater Atlanta Programming: $71,000
• Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta, GA for renovation and equipment: $95,000
• I-85 NB VIADUCT at SR 400 NB – EXIT LANE: $2,000,000
• Intergenerational Resource Center, Inc. (IRC), Adult Day Health Services for Veterans & Seniors: $57,000
• Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta’s Naturally Occurring Retirement Community initiative: $95,000
• MARTA I-20 East Transit Corridor: $950,000
• Morehouse College, John H. Hopps Defense Research Scholars Program: $1,600,000
• Morehouse College, Morehouse College Minority Energy Science Research and Education Initiative: $1,903,000
• Morehouse College, Morehouse College Research Initiative for the Academic Success of African American Males: $95,000
• Morehouse School of Medicine, Neuregulin-1:effects on stroke and nerve gas recipients: $1,520,000
• National Black Arts Festival, Children’s Education Village for National Expansion: $143,000
• Noise Barrier Evaluation Study, Georgia Department of Transportation: $570,000
• Quality Living Services, Inc.: $237,500
• Spelman College, Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Scholars Program: $200,000
• Spelman College, Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Scholars Program: $95,000
• The Consortium for Plant Biotechnology Research, Inc.(CPBR): $750,000

Congressman Lewis helped secure discretionary funding in the FY 2008 appropriations bills for the following Metro Atlanta entities:

• Atlanta, GA City Safe Project: $399,500
• Georgia State University HIV/ Prisoner Reentry Program, Atlanta, GA: $94,000
• City of East Point GA Law Enforcement Technology Upgrade: $446,000
• Morehouse College Project Mars Program: $188,000
• Women in Science and Engineering Scholars Program at Spelman College: $188,000
• Atlanta (Environmental Infrastructure), GA: $1,500,000
• Morehouse College Energy Science Research and Education Initiative: $2,000,000
• The City of Atlanta for wastewater and stormwater rehabilitation project: $300,000
• The Metro North Georgia Water Planning District for water and wastewater improvements project: $300,000
• Consortium for Plant Biotechnology and Research: $525,000
• Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, Atlanta, GA for a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community: $82,000
• Southeastern Center for Emerging Biologic Threats, Emory University, Atlanta, GA for programs related to bioterrorism and emerging biological threats: $390,000
• Piedmont Hospital, Atlanta, GA for a project regarding the transition of older patients from hospital to home: $195, 000
• Fulton County, Atlanta, GA for Project Excell, an intensive outpatient treatment program serving homeless males with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders: $97,000
• St. Joseph’s Hospital Mercy Care Services, Atlanta, GA for health information technology: $390,000
• Beltline Environment Impact, Atlanta, GA: $300,000
• I-285 Bus Rapid Transit Project in Atlanta, GA: $500,000
• Acquisition of MARTA Clean Fuel Buses, GA: $3,000,000
• Southern Fuel Cell Coalition Demonstration Project, GA: $200,000

• Atlanta Botanical Gardens in Atlanta, GA for construction of the Canopy Walk, an educational nature walk: $150,000

• Intergenerational Resource Center, Inc. in Atlanta, GA for construction of the Martin Luther King, Sr. Community Resource Center, Inc.: $200,000

• Cotton Insect Management and Fiber Quality, University of Georgia and the Georgia Cotton Commission, GA: $371,000

• Morehouse University School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA for land acquisition and construction of the medical school campus: $300,000

• MARTA Clifton Corridor (Lindbergh-Emory), GA: $750,000
• Grady Health Systems, Atlanta, GA for electronic medical records upgrades: $326,000

• Advanced Bio-engineering for Enhancement of Soldier Survivability, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA: $1,600,000

• The Center for Vaccine Scale-Up/Process Research Phase I, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA: $800,000
• The John H. Hopps, Jr. Defense Research Scholars Program, Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA: $2,000,000

This is just a snapshot!!!!

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Lauren Victoria Burke
Twitter: @LVBurke / Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist who analyses politics and justice reform. She created Crewof42.com, a blog that covers the work of African American members of Congress, in 2009. Ms. Burke has also been a staffer for the Senate Democratic Policy Committee and Director of Communications for Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN). She has had a very diverse career in politics and media and appears weekly on NewsOneNow with Roland Martin. She has also appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews, Politics Nation with Al Sharpton and Up with Steve Kornacki on MSNBC. She is also a contributing writer for NBCNews.com and TheRoot.com Ms. Burke was born in the Bronx, New York and grew up on Long Island. She holds a B.A. in History from The American University. E-mail: LBurke007@gmail.com. Instagram: LVB325.

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