LEGISLATION, LETTERS, & STATEMENTS
— U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), author and lead Senate sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), released the following statement after Senate Republicans blocked a procedural vote to proceed with debate on the bill:
“The Supreme Court is poised to strip women of the freedom to make their own healthcare decisions and put that power in the hands of the government – and so-called “liberty-loving” Republican Senators just gave them the go ahead. Let’s not forget for one minute what today’s vote means: Republicans are taking away women’s freedom to make choices about their own bodies.”
“I am disappointed in today’s vote, but I am undeterred – I will never stop fighting for abortion access, reproductive justice, and the right for every person to make their own decisions about their bodies and their healthcare. We’re going to take this issue back to the American people, and make them aware of the devastating even deadly consequences of the Supreme Court stripping away a woman’s control over her own body. We are not backing down or going way.”
Before the vote, Blumenthal visited Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. to share his support with physicians, nurses, and staff.
“For years I’ve been a steadfast advocate of the health care Planned Parenthood provides—especially their location in New Haven, which I’ve visited many times. This afternoon I went a few blocks from the Capitol to visit their DC location & thank their incredible staff.”
“This has been a really tough few weeks for providers all across the country. From the bottom of my heart, especially with today’s vote on #WHPA, I wanted to say thank you. We’ll never stop fighting for reproductive freedom.”
— U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Chair and Ranking member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security, issued the following statement after the Senate Commerce Committee approved Reese’s Law, bipartisan legislation to strengthen safety standards for products with button batteries frequently found in everyday items:
“This vote on small battery standards is a welcome step for kids’ safety. No family should have to worry about seemingly harmless household items causing irreversible damage and injury to their children,” said Blumenthal and Blackburn. “Hearing the tragic story of Reese Hamsmith in our subcommittee last year was a call to action, and revealed the danger these button batteries can pose to kids across the country. By requiring child-resistant battery compartments and warning labels on everyday products, Reese’s Law will give the Consumer Product Safety Commission the tools it needs to strengthen common sense standards. As Chair and Ranking Member of the Consumer Protection Subcommittee, we’re proud to have introduced this legislation and look forward to a vote on the floor of the Senate.”
Named in honor of Reese Hamsmith, an 18-month-old child who died after ingesting a button cell battery from a remote control, the legislation would protect children from these small button cell and coin batteries found in common household items including cameras, calculators, battery-operated candles, flashing apparel, and even greeting cards. If swallowed, these batteries can pose a serious danger to young children and infants, and can cause serious injuries, severe internal burns, or even death.
— U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) applauded Senate confirmation of Alvaro Bedoya to serve as Commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC):
“Alvaro Bedoya will be a steadfast, strong champion for privacy and civil rights. I’ve seen firsthand Commissioner Bedoya’s commitment to holding Big Tech accountable for their abuses, and know he will be a powerful voice in protecting consumers. As costs and scams exploiting Americans skyrocket, this confirmation is critical to bolster FTC’s power to act swiftly, including to expose profiteering and fraud—and to decrease the pain in people’s pocketbooks. I’ve been proud to advocate for his nomination as a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and look forward to seeing his impressive work at the FTC.”
— U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and U.S. Representative Chuy Garcia (D-IL) stood with members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to demand better compensation and protections for airport workers.
“Proud to stand with SEIU to call for a living wage & fair benefits for our frontline airport workers. We must support these hardworking people who are the backbone of our transportation network,” said Blumenthal.
— U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) called for action to help families and caregivers in response to the ongoing baby formula shortage.
“Deeply alarming reports of shortages, scams, & price gouging. We must quickly work to ensure all infants have access to the nutrition they need. I'll be demanding answers from the FTC & FDA about what more can be done to fix this scarcity & prevent scammers from taking advantage.”
— U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced a bipartisan Senate resolution affirming that the United States Senate views the actions of the government of the Russian Federation, at the direction of President Vladimir Putin, as sponsoring acts of terrorism. The resolution calls on the Secretary of State to designate the Russian Federation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism (SST).
“Russia’s horrific inhumanity – including barbaric atrocities and war crimes – have richly earned its designation as a state sponsor of terrorism. I am proud to be leading this resolution with Senator Graham, applying stiffer sanctions and recognizing Russia as a true pariah among nations,” said Blumenthal.
The SST designation allows additional categories of sanctions to be placed on a country, including restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance, ban on defense exports and sales, certain controls over exports of dual use items, and financial and other restrictions. If designated, Russia would join a small list of other countries who are designated SSTs: Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Syria.
— U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) joined thirteen of their colleagues in introducing the Medicare for All Act of 2022 to guarantee health care in the United States as a fundamental human right to all.
Today in the United States, 68,000 Americans die each year because they cannot afford the health care they desperately need, and millions more suffer unnecessarily because of delayed treatment. About 44 percent of the adult population, some 112 million Americans, are struggling to pay for the medical care they need and over 70 million Americans are uninsured or under-insured because of high deductibles and premiums.
“Health care should be a right for all, not a luxury for some,” said Blumenthal. “In the United States of America, millions of Americans go to sleep at night worried about a procedure they can’t access or a treatment their family can’t afford. Our status quo is unacceptable. Regardless of age, income, or zip-code, access to quality, timely medical care should be guaranteed for all who need it. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this landmark legislation.”
— U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) announced that the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee passed their bipartisan Stop Tip-overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth (STURDY) Act, legislation to prevent furniture tip-overs resulting in injury or death, and is headed to the floor for consideration by the full Senate. The bill would change the stability standard for manufacturers of clothing storage units from voluntary to mandatory—requiring companies to ensure their products are tested for safety and stability before being sold.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), tip-overs cause an average of 25,500 emergency room-treated injuries each year as children are crushed, trapped or struck by furniture, TVs and appliances.
“This committee vote is an important step forward in preventing deadly furniture tip-overs that can be tragic for children and their families,” said Blumenthal. “By establishing a process to finalize mandatory furniture stability requirements, the STURDY Act will protect millions of American households from dangerously-designed furniture, and curtail hundreds of needless injuries and deaths. As Chair of the Consumer Protection Subcommittee, I’m proud to have joined my colleagues in introducing and negotiating this legislation and I look forward to continuing to fight for its passage in the Senate.”
— U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined thirteen of their colleagues in a letter urging Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to cease efforts to undermine unionization campaigns occurring at the company’s locations, and instead support employee-led union efforts nationwide. In the letter, the Senators detailed the company’s proposal to deny new, expanded benefits to unionized workers, and made clear interfering with workers’ right to organize is an illegal, unfair labor practice.
“We urge you to listen to the voices of your partners who are joining together to create a fairer and safer workplace for all Starbucks employees by voluntarily recognizing unionization efforts and actively pursuing a nationwide agreement to provide coverage for all Starbucks employees,” wrote the Senators. “Your employees have worked throughout the pandemic, keeping communities comforted and caffeinated while fueling strong company profits. Now we urge you to listen to your employees and hear their pleas to improve the company they are dedicated to serving.”
— U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Gary Peters (D-MI) joined eleven of their colleagues in a letter urging the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to help states effectively use funding from the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program and the Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) to improve election security.
“As states continue to administer the 2022 midterm elections and prepare for the 2024 federal election cycle, it is imperative that the federal government continue to invest in bolstering election security and ensure that state and local governments have resources to modernize their election infrastructure and protect against threats to cybersecurity and physical security,” the senators wrote.
— U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced a new version of the Twenty-First Century Courts Act to promote accountability and increase transparency in the federal courts.
“Our courts command no army or police force. They have no power of the purse. Their authority rests in the American people’s belief in their independence and integrity. Now, their credibility is hanging by a thread,” said Blumenthal. “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. I’m proud to be working with colleagues in both the House and the Senate to move these vital reforms forward.”
— U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Roger Wicker (R-MS) and U.S. Representatives John Larson (D-CT), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), and David Joyce (R-OH) joined their colleagues in a bipartisan resolution recognizing National Nurses Week. The resolution honors and celebrates the important contributions of America’s nurses to safe, high-quality care and the invaluable role that nurses play in patient care every day and particularly in treating injured and sick patients during wartime, natural disasters, and public health emergencies—including the COVID-19 pandemic.
— Ahead of a vote on the Women’s Health protection Act (WHPA), U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) joined advocates at the State Capitol to urge the U.S. Senate to pass his legislation which guarantees a pregnant person’s right to access an abortion — and the right of an abortion provider to deliver such abortion services. The legislation would ensure that abortion access first guaranteed under Roe v. Wade is a reality for everyone, everywhere.
“I’m standing with CT women’s health providers & advocates to decry SCOTUS’ abhorrent draft decision & call for the passage of #WHPA. At the federal level we need a law that preserves & protects reproductive rights.”
— During National Nurses Week, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), a member of the Senate Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs Committees, saluted the nurses of the VA system who have gone above and beyond in their steadfast care and service of our nation’s veterans throughout the pandemic. Blumenthal and the VA Connecticut Healthcare specifically honored three nurses with citations for their extraordinary and exemplary service and dedication to the VA during the COVID-19 pandemic.
— U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) joined Dr. Ulysses Wu, Chief Epidemiologist at Hartford Hospital, to announce major funding for tick-borne disease research and urge safety actions to combat the exploding tick population and resulting tick borne illness epidemic. Last year, Blumenthal led efforts urging Congress to allocate funding and grants for states to prevent and address tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease.
Connecticut’s tick population is on the rise and so is the risk of devastating tick borne illnesses such as Lyme disease, the Powassan Virus, babesiosis and anaplasmosis. Connecticut recorded its first case of the Powassan virus this month and new tick species have been found in Connecticut this year, increasing concerns about the spread of tick borne diseases.
May is Lyme Disease Awareness month and as the weather warms and more people head outdoors, the risk of tick bites and tick borne illnesses increase. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate than 476,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year nationwide.
— U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) announced $823,000 in funding for the Workforce Alliance Inc. to expand their program preparing young adults who are not in school or working for information technology careers. The funding will allow the Workforce Alliance to expand their new IT Talent Building for an Equitable Future program, which provides professional development and guided pathways to entering and advancing in the IT field for 18-24-year-olds who are disconnected from school or work.
The program aims to close the diversity gap within the IT field and make it easier for young adults to enter the field without a four-year college degree, and consists of four months in the classroom followed by a two month internship with a business. The program is provided at no cost to the students.
With eight students currently enrolled, this program is currently in a pilot phase and was funded through a U.S. Department of Labor H-1B Grant prior to receiving the Congressionally Directed Spending funding. With the $823,000 funding, Workforce Alliance Inc. will expand the program to 26 students and continue to provide the program at no cost to the students.
— U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), a member of the Senate Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs Committees, visited Click Bond, Inc. in Watertown, a Connecticut manufacturer that produces specialty fasteners, screws, bushings, mounts, and adhesives for aerospace, maritime, and industrial uses. Blumenthal heard from the company about the challenges facing defense manufacturers and discussed increased needs for defense manufacturing in light of the war in Ukraine.
— U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), visited Nuovo Pasta Productions in Stratford to tour their pasta production facility and learn more about the challenges facing local businesses. Nuovo Pasta Productions was founded in 1989 with a small pasta machine and a rolling pin and has grown into a company of 220 employees in Connecticut.
— U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) congratulated two Connecticut students on being named Presidential Scholars by the U.S. Department of Education.
“A huge congratulations to the two CT students—Maya & Aditya—named 2022 Presidential Scholars. We are all so proud of your accomplishments & excited for your bright futures ahead.”