Friday, January 23, 2009

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-9 TN): We Witnessed History.

Dear Ronald,

On Tuesday, we witnessed history. I had the great honor of watching Barack Obama take the oath of office from the inaugural platform, and I was awestruck as I looked across the expanse of the National Mall to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where one of America’s most courageous and compassionate prophets of peace — Reverend Martin Luther King — called upon our nation to fulfill the promise of its founding dream for all of our people. This week we made one giant leap toward fulfilling that dream when Barack Obama was sworn in as our 44th President of the United States in front of nearly two million joyful Americans.

“On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord,” said President Obama.

Hundreds of Memphians made the long trek up to our nation’s capitol and joined with us to celebrate this momentous occasion. I was inspired by all of your stories, humbled by your support and grateful for all your good will. Neither the cold, nor the crowds, nor any of the myriad inconveniences ever threatened to dampen the spirit of the gathering that amassed that morning on our National Mall. The palpable feeling of community, harmony and togetherness in Washington, D.C. over the past week will never be forgotten by those who experienced it. (Click HERE to view a slideshow of people from the 9th District attending the Inauguration.)

“What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified,” said President Obama.

Just three days into the Obama Presidency, the country has undergone a dramatic transformation. Government is once again in the business of improving the lives of its citizens, and President Obama has taken large steps to restore our nation’s image abroad. The details of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are being finalized, and today, I was proud to announce that Memphis City Schools will receive nearly $150 million upon passage of the proposed legislation. This is going to change the lives of our schoolchildren and create good-paying jobs in the 9th District while improving our critical infrastructure in the long-term. We’ll also be giving tax cuts to those who need it most during these difficult economic times. Additionally, we are mandating that remaining TARP funds be used to help homeowners avoid foreclosure, assist community banks in financial restructuring, and require that companies who accept taxpayer money don’t use those funds to give executives “golden parachutes.” In short, we’re bringing transparency and accountability to the TARP legislation that was missing under the direction of Secretary Paulson and President Bush.

President Obama also announced yesterday that America will close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay and end the use of torture as an interrogation technique. During his campaign, President Obama assured the nation of a return to the rule of law, and he is rapidly making good on his promise. (Click HERE to watch my speech on the rule of law on the Floor of the House.)

This week, the Inauguration of President Obama has rightly dominated the headlines, but I’m happy to announce that we received some exciting news of our own. Yesterday, my colleagues on the influential Judiciary Committee elected me to chair the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law (CAL). It’s a rare privilege to chair a subcommittee in only your sophomore term, and I was honored to accept the chairmanship. As some of you may remember, I was elected to serve as a Regional Whip back in December by the Democratic Caucus, so this is my second leadership post in just my second term.

CAL has jurisdiction over bankruptcy law, among other areas; so in the coming weeks, we will have a significant role in shaping key elements of the economic recovery. We in CAL have a lot of work to do, and I am excited to hit the ground running. I will work with Chairman Conyers, Speaker Pelosi and members of the Obama Administration to empower bankruptcy judges to modify mortgage terms to help homeowners stay in their homes and put a floor on this mortgage crisis. (Read more about my Chairmanship HERE).

Also this week, the Senate passed two pieces of legislation that I strongly supported and cosponsored: the Paycheck Fairness and the Lilly Ledbetter Acts. These two bills will help to close the gender-based pay gap and will come back to the House next week where they have strong support. President Obama has also expressed his support.

“Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met,” said President Obama.

The significance of Barack Obama’s rise to the presidency can not be overstated. While the daunting array of challenges facing his administration at the dawn of his presidency are many, I have faith in this great leader, faith in my colleagues in Congress, and most importantly, faith in the American people that we can overcome these crises.

As always, I remain,

Most sincerely,

Steve Cohen
Member of Congress

*Check Out U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen Interview On W.E. A.L.L. B.E News & Radio:

See Also...
W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio Special:Reflections On The 2009 Inauguration Part One:

W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio Special: Yes He Did...So Now What??? Defining The Obama Presidency...

W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio Special:O Yes We Did!!! The Barack Obama Tribute...

W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio Special: Barack Obama & The Hip Hop Effect On American Politics:


Get The Barack Obama Holiday Inaugural Gift Package By R2C2H2 Tha Artivist!!!

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