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Senator Blumenthal Week In Review 02/03/2023—02/10/2023


U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) released the following statement and video in response to President Biden’s State of the Union address:

Blumenthal attended President Biden's State of the Union.

“The President’s words glowed with hope and energy in reminding us how much we can continue to accomplish when we work together. I was deeply moved by his determination and strength in urging heightened support for Ukraine against Putin’s murderous, genocidal invasion. Ukraine is fighting for more than its own freedom – they are on the frontlines of the global war for democracy. Ukrainians I’ve met on my visits will hear this speech and be fortified by our nation’s firm commitment to their cause.”

“I was especially encouraged by his support for stopping the poisonous effect of social media. My Kids Online Safety Act is long overdue. Kids and teenagers are demanding tools and safeguards that allow them to take control of their online lives – and Big Tech needs to be held accountable for promoting toxic content.”

“I was proud of his support for continuing the progress we made last year in providing our veterans with the care and benefits when they suffer the effects of toxic chemicals from burn pits and other sources. We passed the PACT Act and now need to make sure veterans come home to good paying jobs, affordable housing, and mental health services they need and deserve. We must work together with bipartisan action to make it a reality.”

Blumenthal’s guest for the State of the Union was Alex Plitsas, a U.S. Army veteran who has helped evacuate refugees from Afghanistan following the U.S. withdrawal of troops. Plitsas is a Fairfield resident and former chairman of the Fairfield Republican Town Committee.

“Alex is a real hero. Eighteen months after the U.S. withdrawal of troops, the images and stories of men, women and children pleading for help and desperately seeking to escape the Taliban continue to haunt me. Alex courageously stepped up in the days that followed to help many Afghan refugees escape the Taliban. Alex’s remarkable leadership, dedication and determination has provided a path out of Afghanistan for many of the most vulnerable and at-risk of our allies and I am honored to host him as my guest for tonight’s State of the Union address,” Blumenthal said.


Blumenthal highlighted federal efforts to increase pay for home and community-based care workers during SEIU 1199’s Support Long Term Care Workers campaign kickoff.

“Our country is facing an at home care crisis. The failure to provide enough pay & support to long term care workers has rippling ramifications. I stand in strong solidarity with 1199 SEIU as they join me in calling for passage of the Better Care Better Jobs Act.”

Blumenthal highlighted federal efforts to increase pay for home and community-based care workers during SEIU 1199’s Support Long Term Care Workers campaign kickoff.

Blumenthal is a co-sponsor of the Better Care Better Jobs Act, legislation which would expand access to home and community-based services for older adults, people with disabilities, and injured workers, while increasing pay and improving benefits for the caregivers who provide this life-sustaining care. The Better Care Better Jobs Act would enhance Medicaid funding for home care, helping many of the over 650,000 people on waiting lists nationally finally receive care in the setting of their choice, allowing them to stay active in their communities, and live independently. This legislation would also strengthen the caregiving workforce, improve quality of life for families, and boost the economy by creating good-paying jobs to make it possible for families and workers alike to thrive economically.

Blumenthal also joined U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) in a letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure encouraging the agency to establish minimum staffing standards in nursing homes to ensure high-quality care for nursing home residents.

“While many factors, including wages, benefits, and opportunities for professional development, affect job quality and turnover, we believe that creating a robust staffing standard will go a long way towards improving the quality of nursing home jobs, which in turn will help attract more workers and begin to resolve the current workforce shortages in this industry,” the lawmakers wrote.


As traffic fatalities rise in Connecticut, Blumenthal announced $958,000 in federal funding for the Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) to develop a comprehensive safety action plan. The funding is awarded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) grant program, a new program established to prevent roadway deaths and serious injuries.

“New Britain & other CT communities are making roads safer for motorists, pedestrians, & cyclists thanks to a $2.4M federal grant. With this funding from the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, our state will be on the path to better roads, safer streets, & fewer injuries.”

“Our roads have never been deadlier—with injuries & fatalities at an all-time high, to motorists, pedestrians & cyclists. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Act passed last session has $5B for safer roads & streets. A good beginning.”

As traffic fatalities rise in Connecticut, Blumenthal announced $958,000 in federal funding for the Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) to develop a comprehensive safety action plan.

According to a recent report from the Connecticut Department of Transportation, there was a total of 5,620 pedestrian injuries and 254 fatal injuries statewide during the 2017-2021 period. New Britain ranked the sixth highest in pedestrian collisions, with a total of 187 occurring in that four-year period.

According to a recent report from the Connecticut Department of Transportation, there was a total of 5,620 pedestrian injuries and 254 fatal injuries statewide during the 2017-2021 period. New Britain ranked the sixth highest in pedestrian collisions, with a total of 187 occurring in that four-year period.


Following new Twitter whistleblower allegations, Blumenthal called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the company’s handling of user privacy and security and its compliance with the Commission’s consent decree.

“According to recent whistleblower disclosures, Twitter has failed to address serious deficiencies in its own privacy and security controls despite its legal obligations to do so under an FTC consent decree,” wrote Blumenthal to FTC Chair Lina Khan.

Blumenthal pointed to these new whistleblower allegations supporting concerns about the company’s handling of security vulnerabilities and mishandling of personal data raised last year by Twitter’s former Security Lead Peiter “Mudge” Zatko writing: “I am particularly concerned about the implications of Twitter’s failures for U.S. national security. Both complaints demonstrate vulnerabilities in Twitter’s internal controls that would allow any of its thousands of employees to take over user accounts, raising acute concern about insider threats from foreign governments, especially in light of Mr. Zatko’s disclosure noting examples of apparent espionage from China and India.”

Blumenthal raised alarm about Twitter’s apparent failure to address previously reported consumer data concerns, writing “Twitter may be continuing to mishandle and misrepresent its use and retention of private data, including failing to delete information and misusing data collected from consumers.” Blumenthal also raised concerns that these alleged deficiencies continued past Twitter’s agreement to put in place stricter security controls in compliance with the May 2022 consent decree and following Elon Musk’s acquisition of the company.

“Despite assurances to the public and Congress from Twitter about cleaning up its act, the platform has apparently continued to ignore not only threats to user safety and national security, but also its legal obligations under the consent decree,” Blumenthal emphasized. “The FTC has a responsibility to bring enforcement actions—whether for any breach of Twitter’s consent decree or for other violations of our consumer protection laws—including seeking liability for individual Twitter executives, where appropriate.”


Blumenthal and U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and U.S. Representatives Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M. (R-OH) and John B. Larson (D-CT) reintroduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to help Medicare beneficiaries access affordable outpatient surgical care. Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASC) offer many essential outpatient services at low prices and are projected to save Medicare billions of dollars in the coming years, but restrictions and misaligned reimbursement rules limit seniors’ access to these centers—and lead to higher taxpayer costs. The Outpatient Surgery Quality and Access Act would close the reimbursement gap, eliminate copay penalties for Medicare beneficiaries, and address other barriers standing between patients and affordable, quality care.

“Patients shouldn’t be charged more for a procedure just because it was performed by an outpatient provider. The current restrictions on Ambulatory Surgery Centers are an unnecessary burden – limiting seniors’ access to care and driving up health care costs,” said Blumenthal. “Our bill will ensure patients have access to the quality care they deserve and save taxpayers money.”  


Blumenthal announced $980,000 in federal funding for the Wheeler Clinic, Inc.’s new community health center and administration headquarters. Once completed, this facility will combine two existing community health centers to provide integrated primary and behavioral health care in one location in the city.

Wheeler Health serves more than 50,000 people each year, in 90 percent of Connecticut’s cities and towns. Bristol will serve as their new flagship location.


Blumenthal urged urge passage of the JOBS Act which would allow students to use federal grants to enroll in shorter term job training programs for the first time.

The JOBS Act, of which Blumenthal is a co-sponsor, would allow students to use federal Pell Grants to afford high-quality, shorter-term job training programs. Pell Grants are need-based education grants for low-income and working students and as of now, can only be used for two-year and four-year colleges or universities. By expanding Pell Grant eligibility, the JOBS Act would help close the skills gap and provide workers with the job training and credentials they need for careers in high-demand fields.

Incarcerated people are newly eligible for Pell Grants this year and would also benefit from expanded access to job training programs while in prison. Studies show that formerly incarcerated people who earned a college degree or learned a skill while in prison are more likely to successfully re-enter society.


Blumenthal and U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and U.S. Representative Hank Johnson (D-GA) reintroduced the Supreme Court Ethics Act, requiring the Judicial Conference of the United States to create a code of ethical conduct for the Supreme Court of the United States. The legislation would also require the appointment of an Ethics Investigations Counsel and require justices to publicly disclose recusal decisions. Recent revelations concerning some justices’ ethically questionable behavior – including leaks of draft court decisions and personal conflicts of interest that should have led to recusal – have increased scrutiny of the court’s practices.

“These ethics reforms will help restore and sustain public trust and confidence in our nation’s highest court. The Supreme Court’s credibility will continue to erode unless it follows transparency and ethics rules like other courts. Ongoing conflicts of interest— added to damaging leaks and dubious rulings—demand these rules. It’s simple common sense, not complicated legalese,” said Blumenthal.

Blumenthal and Johnson also joined U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and U.S. Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Mike Quigley (D-IL), and David Cicilline (D-RI) in reintroducing the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency (SCERT) Act to bring basic transparency and accountability standards to the Supreme Court. The legislation would create a much-needed process for investigating misconduct at the Supreme Court, strengthen recusal standards for judges and disclosure rules for special interests trying to influence the courts, improve disclosure of travel and hospitality for judges, and mandate the creation of a binding code of ethics.  Introduction of the comprehensive Supreme Court ethics legislation follows a new report from the Washington Post indicating that the justices have been unable to reach consensus around a code of conduct on their own.

“This bill will implement some basic accountability and transparency measures to begin restoring public trust and confidence in our courts – the lifeblood of our judicial branch,” said Blumenthal. “Serious financial disclosures and standards for recusal are pretty basic requirements for a court making decisions that impact the lives of every single American.  Americans’ trust in the Supreme Court has never been lower, which is why this measure is so urgent.  I’m proud to be working with colleagues in both the House and the Senate to move these vital reforms forward.”


Blumenthal released the following statement after his bill with U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), the Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Act, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously. The legislation would help lower drug prices by preventing bad actors in the pharmaceutical industry from deliberately abusing the patent system.

“Today brings us one step closer to lowering Americans’ prescriptions drug costs,” said Blumenthal. “Big Pharma’s abuses of our patent system have crushed competition and stifled innovation – leaving countless families to foot the bill while the industry pads their profits. Our bipartisan, common sense measure is needed to cut out-of-pocket expenses and help patients access their critical medications. I look forward to championing our bill in the Senate.”


Blumenthal joined the Connecticut Congressional Delegation in requesting U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III to direct the Department of the Army to provide a detailed briefing on the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) competition to members of Congress no later than February 17th. In a letter to Secretary Austin, the delegation detailed their four previous requests for a briefing and the Army leadership’s repeated refusals, as well as the factual inaccuracies of their shifting justifications.

“As Members of Congress, we have a responsibility to conduct oversight of the Department of Defense to ensure proper stewardship of taxpayer dollars. For the last two months, we have unsuccessfully attempted to engage senior leadership in the Department of the Army to seek information on the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) competition. The Department of the Army has declined to provide us with a briefing, offering incomplete, misleading, and factually incorrect justifications as to why Members of Congress are not entitled to receive this information while the Government Accountability Office (GAO) evaluates a competitor’s protest,” the delegation wrote.

The delegation concluded: “We ask only that the Department of the Army be held to this same standard and promptly provide this information to Members of Congress.”


Blumenthal and Murphy joined U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) in reintroducing the Keep Americans Safe Act, legislation to ban the importation, sale, manufacturing, transfer, or possession of gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. High-capacity ammunition magazines allow shooters to fire a large number of bullets without stopping to reload. As a result, from 2009-2020, mass shootings where the shooter used high-capacity magazines led to five-times as many people being shot per mass shooting than incidents that did not involve high-capacity magazines.


Blumenthal joined U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in unveiling new legislation that would expand access to affordable child care to every American family, offer high-quality early education to every child, and create good jobs for our early educators. The Child Care for Every Community Act would use a sliding scale to ensure that fees are affordable based on families income, with higher-income families paying no more than seven percent of their income, and lower income families making less than 75% of their state median income would be fully subsidized. Half of families nationwide would pay no more than $10 a day for child care.

“Every American family deserves access to affordable child care. As working parents in Connecticut and across the country spend more and more of their paychecks on early learning opportunities, our legislation caps prices and invests in their children’s’ long-term development,” said Blumenthal. “Building on the success of Head Start, supporting child care workers, and bringing down costs are essential to helping our next generation succeed.” 


As American households struggle to afford high home heating costs this winter, Blumenthal joined U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and U.S. Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) in reintroducing the Heating and Cooling Relief Act, legislation to invest in and expand the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to ensure people, especially underserved families and individuals, receive the financial assistance they need to stay warm throughout the winter and cool throughout the summer. The legislation also ensures that states can leverage LIHEAP funding to invest in climate adaptation, including a transition away from fossil fuels to clean energy sources, a vital step for lowering energy costs for the long term and combatting the extreme weather that results from climate change.


Blumenthal joined Whitehouse and U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) in introducing the No Tax Breaks for Outsourcing Act. By ending the Trump tax law’s incentives for jobs and profits overseas, the bill would join the European Union, United Kingdom, and South Korea in moving to implement the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) global minimum tax agreement and stop the race to the bottom on corporate taxation. The bill would level the playing field for American workers and small businesses by making sure multinational corporations pay the same tax rate on profits earned abroad as they do in the United States.


Blumenthal and Murphy joined U.S. Representative Jim Himes (D-CT) and Stamford Mayor Caroline Simmons in announcing more than $5 million in congressionally directed spending to support several projects in the City of Stamford. As part of the 2023 federal omnibus appropriations bill, the city received: $2,000,000 to upgrade its network of inefficient, sodium-based streetlights to energy-saving LED streetlights; $3,000,000 to design and construct a new satellite branch of the Ferguson Library system on the East Side; and $250,000 to purchase training equipment for a regional police academy.

The Connecticut congressional delegation secured funding for more than 150 community-based projects throughout the state in the appropriations bill for fiscal year 2023.

Blumenthal attended the Connecticut Army Nation Guard send-off ceremony for aviation units being deployed to support Operation Inherent Resolve in the Middle East. He also welcomed home members of the 103rd Airlift Wing returning from Africa.

“Welcome Home! Members of the 103rd Airlift Wing returning from the Horn of Africa—& congratulations on 100 years of ‘Flying Yankees’ serving our nation. Their centennial marked by the tail flash on this C-130 aircraft. Great ceremony in East Granby.”

Blumenthal welcomed home members of the 103rd Airlift Wing returning from Africa.

Blumenthal attended a ceremony commemorating the 13th anniversary of the Kleen Energy explosion.

“Remembering the tragic loss of 6 workers in the Kleen Energy explosion at this 13th Commemoration in Middletown. The cause of workplace safety is as urgent as ever.”

Blumenthal attended a ceremony commemorating the 13th anniversary of the Kleen Energy explosion.

Blumenthal visited the Diyanet Mosque of New Haven which is organizing relief efforts for the victims of the earthquake in Türkiye. With many people displaced from their homes in Türkiye and Syria, the need for supplies and aid is urgent.

Blumenthal visited the Diyanet Mosque of New Haven which is organizing relief efforts for the victims of the earthquake in Türkiye.

Blumenthal honored Charles and William Petrone, brothers who served in our armed forces during World War II.

“Two members of the greatest generation—brothers Charles & William Petrone—were honored in Danbury with WWII medals. Charles was killed in action at age 19. William came home—& has lived to be close to 100. I was privileged to participate—saluting inspiring patriots & heroes.”