A picture of Representative Sheila Jackson Lee
Sheila J.
Democrat TX 18

About Rep. Sheila
  • Serving the American People

    by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

    Posted on 2015-01-07

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    JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, as we come to begin this new opportunity of service to the American people, clearly we want to emphasize to them that we take this responsibility seriously and, as well, that we know that we represent our constituents. These are districts that are between thousands of people that are in our congressional districts, but we realize that the broader sense of what we do is to represent our Nation and the values and needs of the American people.

    Over the last 2 days, as we begin this legislative process, I have been concerned about two issues in particular that I believe do not, if you will, provide for the overall sensitivity to the American people. We were discussing a major financial services bill that will be coming up. Many elements are in this bill, but I want our constituents and, more importantly, our colleagues to realize that you have a bill that will diminish what we call the Volcker rule.

    What that is is a protection to make sure if banks want to dibble and dabble in risky ventures or risky investments, that they do so with the money that is private and separate from money that is protected by the FDIC. That is your savings accounts. That is the money you socked away. In the instance of this legislation, they want to take that protection away so that banks can dibble and dabble in accounts that are protected by the FDIC, meaning that you pay for mistakes; you pay for collapse; you pay for the wrong decisions that are made; and you lose. I don't want the American people to lose.

    It is something that has touched my heart because I represent a vast amount of constituents: those who are quite well-endowed, if you will, quite wealthy, such as major corporations and neighbors and others who are doing quite well; and then, of course, I represent children and widows who are dependent on something called SSI, or those who are disabled who are dependent on SSI. And I cannot, for the life of [[Page H55]] me, understand why we would pass legislation that would, in essence, indicate that we are not going to continue supporting SSI, in fact, that we may call for either the elimination or the decreasing of benefits under SSI.

    Do we realize, does this Republican leadership realize, that those who receive SSI are the most vulnerable, the poorest, the children who are in great need, the sick who are in great need, people who have worked and who have fallen upon times in which they need that kind of support? Why would we, in the thinking of representing the core of American values, lifting all people, believing in the equality of all, why would we do this? And so my voice is going to be heard loudly and clearly. I call upon, as my Democratic colleagues have so aptly noted, that we raise our voices and that we get in the way and that we stop this kind of intrusion on those who cannot, in some instances, speak for themselves.

    I want to rise today as well to acknowledge my deepest sympathy to the people of France for the heinous and tragic incident which has just occurred. When I left, there were 12 dead, including two police officers in the line of duty. We pray for their families, and we stand up against this vile act of franchise terrorism.

    As a member of the Homeland Security Committee, I am grateful to serve on that committee with the ranking member, Mr. Thompson, and Chairman McCaul. I hope that we can work in a bipartisan manner to confront this kind of dangerous terrorism, recognizing that we do not label people by their faith, but we label them by their actions.

    Might I also say that I express, again, on the floor, a sympathy for the tragic execution of the NYPD law enforcement officers. We do not stand for that. That individual has been determined to be disturbed, crazed, and does not represent any value of America. We offer our deepest sympathy to those shot recently in the line of duty. Hopefully we will continue working in the Judicial Committee to look at the criminal justice system that really involves a whole number of elements, such as the grand jury system, the special prosecutor system, the constant traffic stops in many instances that are done on a racially profiled scenario, and the uplifting of training and community-oriented policing.

    Mr. Speaker, we can do all of these things if we work together, but I did not come to this Congress to undermine the criminal justice system or to undermine people who are in need.


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