It is an honor to serve as your representative for North Carolina’s First Congressional District. I am committed to being a strong advocate for my constituents, working to improve lives by proposing impactful legislative initiatives, prioritizing constituent services and expanding opportunities. This newsletter serves to provide you with up-to-date information on Congressional work in our district and on Capitol Hill. From the courtroom to Congress, I have always fought for equality and opportunity; and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve you in Congress to continue that fight.
“The measure of a country’s greatness is its ability to retain compassion in times of crisis.”
― Thurgood Marshall
House Passes Bipartisan Historic Policing Reform and Equal Justice Legislation
On June 25, 2020, the House of Representatives, led by the Congressional Black Caucus, passed H.R.7120, the bipartisan George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. This bold legislation calls for unprecedented reforms to curb police brutality, end racial profiling and eliminate qualified immunity for law enforcement. It will transform the culture of policing to address systemic racism and help save lives as it holds police accountable and increases transparency. Specifically, the bill bans chokeholds, stops no-knock warrants, ends the qualified immunity doctrine that is a barrier to holding police officers accountable for wrongful conduct, combats racial profiling, mandates data collection, including body cameras and dashboard cameras, and establishes new standards for policing.
I was proud to vote in support of the passage of this legislation.
Make America “Great” for All Americans
Opinion Editorial by Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01)
“The events of recent weeks—beginning with the tragic police murders of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks and culminating in the most diverse coalition of protesters for equal justice that this nation has ever seen—have opened color-blind eyes and tone-deaf ears. Congress must seize this moment to address systemic racism in America.
On June 25th, the House of Representatives in cooperation with the Congressional Black Caucus took the first step against systemic racism by passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020. This legislation mandates significant changes to American police culture: it curtails the use of excessive force like the chokehold that killed Eric Garner, bans no-knock warrants of the type that killed Breonna Taylor, and limits police use of military-grade weapons and paraphernalia. It also increases police accountability by requiring officers to wear body cameras and by establishing a national registry for police misconduct. Most importantly, it eliminates the judge-made law of qualified immunity, which courts manufactured to shield police misconduct from virtually all civil legal consequences because of the extraordinary high bar in the required evidence and the standard of proof. The hope of America now lies with the Senate and the President to join in the making of a “New Really Great America” that will, for the first time in our history give real meaning to our American value system.
This is the way forward. Responsible laws, coupled with vigorous enforcement of existing civil rights statutes, will start to heal America’s festering wounds, arising from 401 years of racism grounded in 246 years of inhumane slavery.
Now is the time to move beyond America’s racist legacy towards a new era of accountability and moral integrity. Now is the time to courageously remove the symbols of racism that celebrate the confederate states’ choice to wage a war that killed hundreds of thousands of Americans rather than give up their “states’ rights” to own other human beings as chattel.
Now is the time to face the reality that the Civil War was not a “War Between the States,” it was a “War Against the United States of America.” Those who led and fought in that war sought the same result as America’s fascist, genocidal enemies in World War II—the conquest and destruction of the United States of America and everything it stands for. No honor should be bestowed upon them, and their battle flag has no place beside the stars and stripes of our great nation.
Racism did not end once and for all when the cause of freedom prevailed with the 13th Amendment’s abolition of slavery. African Americans continued to suffer racism and discrimination in various forms—Jim Crow, redlining, disenfranchisement, and lynchings, to name a few. Today, elements of those blatant (and blatantly abhorrent) forms of racism persist alongside widespread passive discrimination and unconscious or implicit bias.
I recognize that no one of sound mind desires to be labeled a bigot or racist in this era. And perhaps equally so, most of us desire to honor our ancestors and explain away their failings as the “temper of their times.”
But we cannot overcome the harmful vestiges of our racist past by celebrating it with undeserved memorials to traitors against the United States on public property. Such efforts only cement the evils of history in the present, when we would rather move forward.
This is a crucial moment for America. Never before have so many who are not directly targeted by racism been willing to lend their support to meaningful change. We have an unprecedented opportunity to push towards the old promise of racial equality.
Today we see protestors coming together across America, representing a multi-racial, multi-cultural coalition. They demand that this country’s political leadership put us on a path towards a new way of life where we treat African American citizens with respect and dignity. They say to their elected representatives that we should begin this process by passing laws that will start to repair the damage inflicted upon African American citizens and their ancestors over the past four hundred years.
It is my fervent hope that Democrats and Republicans in the Congress of the United States will listen and engage in constructive dialogue to pass legislation that will begin the healing process—to “Make America Great for All Americans.”
House Passes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act to Lower Health Care Costs
On June 29, 2020, the House passed H.R.1425, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act. This sweeping legislation lowers Americans’ health coverage costs by expanding tax credits and allowing more middle-class individuals and families to qualify for subsidies.
It delivers immense savings to taxpayers, employers, workers and patients by preventing Americans from having to pay higher prices for their medicines than what pharmaceutical companies charge for the same drugs overseas. It also combats inequity faced by communities of color by protecting vulnerable populations from losing health coverage, cracks down on junk plans, and strengthens protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
I was proud to vote in support of passage of this essential healthcare legislation.
House Passes Infrastructure Legislation to Rebuild America
On July 1, 2020, the House passed H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, which would invest more than $1.5 trillion to rebuild America’s infrastructure while creating millions of good-paying jobs, combatting the climate crisis and addressing disparities throughout America.
The Moving Forward Act:
- Expands affordable high-speed Internet to underserved communities with a $100 billion investment that promotes competition, connects children to remote learning, closes broadband adoption and digital skills gaps and improves affordability.
- Upgrades hospitals and health care infrastructure by investing $30 billion to increase capacity and strengthen care, help community health centers respond to COVID-19 and future public health emergencies, improve clinical laboratory infrastructure, support the Indian Health Service‘s infrastructure and increase capacity for community-based care.
- Rebuilds our highways, bridges, transit, rail, airports, ports and harbors by investing nearly $500 billion to improve safety, reduce gridlock and put the U.S. on a path toward zero emissions from the transportation sector, all while protecting American jobs with strong Buy America provisions and labor protections.
- Invests in our children’s futures by helping safely reopen and rebuild schools with a $130 billion investment in school infrastructure targeted at high-poverty schools that do not meet health and safety standards, while also creating 2 million jobs.
- Invests boldly in affordable housing by directing over $100 billion to reduce housing inequality, create jobs, stimulate the economy, improve living conditions and increase environmental sustainability and climate resilience.
- Ensures all communities have clean water by investing tens of billions to remove dangerous contaminants from our drinking water and invests in new, safe wastewater infrastructure.
Delivers a 21st Century Postal Service by modernizing infrastructure and pursuing a zero-emissions postal fleet.
- Promotes investments in our communities by spurring private investment through the tax code, through a revitalized Build America Bonds program, expansions of Private Activity Bonds and significant enhancements to the New Markets Tax Credit and the Rehabilitation Tax Credit.
I was proud to vote in support of passage of this transformative legislation.
House Passes Housing Protection Legislation amid Pandemic
On June 29, 2020, the House passed H.R. 7301, the Emergency Housing Protections and Relief Act of 2020. This legislation prevents evictions, foreclosures, and unsafe housing conditions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
It provides $100 billion for an emergency rental assistance fund that would help renters cover their rent and utility bills, including any unpaid bills. It also helps renters and landlords by extending the eviction moratorium to March 27, 2021 and expanding it to protect all renters. This legislation extends the foreclosure moratorium for 6 months from enactment and expands it to protect all homeowners and provides $11.5 billion for homeless assistance grants that will help ensure that people experiencing homelessness are able to follow social distancing guidance and have access to necessary services.
I was proud to vote in support of passage of this commonsense legislation.
Serving the Constituents of NC-01!
Serving our Veterans
After over a year of effort, a veteran reached out to my office requesting help to get his records corrected so that he could apply for benefits. This veteran is suffering from severe health issues and needed to apply for healthcare related financial assistance. After diligent outreach, phone calls and consistent correspondence, several of my constituent caseworkers were able to quickly get his records corrected, making him eligible to apply for benefits. My office will continue to follow the progress of this constituent’s efforts. It is an honor to serve those who have served our nation in uniform.
Don’t delay! The deadline for filing your taxes is July 15th. You can take advantage of tax services online, such as filing tax returns, getting refunds and submitting tax payments. Learn more at www.IRS.gov.