January Recap: What You Might Have Missed Last Month

The new year is off to a busy start, and I am eager to continue the work we have started to advance policies that will improve the lives of all Americans. When I am home in the district, I have been talking with constituents about our big wins from the past year — like the American Rescue Plan, which is driving our strong economic recovery, and the long-overdue infrastructure bill that will deliver historic amounts of funding to our communities — and the impact this legislation will have on our lives. I look forward to hearing your feedback as Congress continues to tackle the issues facing our community during the year ahead.

Legislative Activity

Joined efforts to pass legislation to ban lawmakers from trading stocks

Members of Congress shouldn’t be trading stocks when they have access to information not available to the general public. The current law addressing this issue is far too narrow, and has allowed elected officials to avoid violations on technicalities while still taking ethically questionable action. Members of Congress should be held to a higher standard. That’s why I support legislation like the Ban Conflicted Trading Act to do just that.

Voted to increase benefits for the National Guard and Reserve

The National Guard and Reserve have been called upon again and again to serve our communities during natural disasters, the pandemic, civil unrest, and more. But right now, they don’t get full credit for that service in GI benefits. I was proud to vote to pass the Guard and Reserve Bill GI Parity Act to ensure that every day these brave men and women spend in uniform counts towards benefits they’ve earned.

Passed the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act in the House

Our founding fathers may not have anticipated all the ways our country would change over the centuries and the ways in which our government would need to adapt — but they were really good at anticipating the evil people might do in pursuit of power. That is why they endowed Congress with the authority, under Article 1, Section 4 of the Constitution, to take necessary steps to protect Americans’ sacred right to vote. The Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act protects our democracy by preventing state legislatures, like the Pennsylvania General Assembly, from making it harder for Americans to vote. The House has acted time and again to protect voting rights, but the Senate has failed to do the same so far.

Celebrated National Mentoring Month with the Congressional Youth Mentoring Caucus

Kids need a trusted adult in their lives to help them navigate today’s challenges. With a mentor, young people are 52% less likely to skip a day of school, 78% more likely to volunteer regularly, and 130% more likely to hold a leadership position in a club or sports team. I was thrilled to celebrate National Mentoring Month as Chair of the Congressional Youth Mentoring Caucus to amplify the tangible effects of mentoring.

Committee Activity

House Judiciary Committee: Addressing the Effects of Economic Concentration on America’s Food Supply

The concentration and consolidation of certain businesses in the United States’ food supply chain pose a serious threat to our food markets, the food industry workforce, and the financial stability of the American consumer, and we’ve seen it impact grocery shelves during the pandemic. During a recent Judiciary Committee hearing, we explored this issue and the ways in which we can protect our food supply chains.

House Rules Committee: Using Budget Principles to Prepare for Future Pandemics and Other Disasters

While the Omicron variant has caused a lot of hardship recently, our country is doing so much better than where we were a year and a half ago. Throughout the whole pandemic, our nation’s response was severely hampered by a lack of preparation. The Rules Committee held a hearing to discuss lessons learned from the federal response to COVID-19 and suggest potential changes for how to use the budget to improve disaster response and coordination between government and private stakeholders.

What Else You Might Have Missed

Visited Clearview Landfill with EPA Commissioner Michael Regan and Governor Tom Wolf to highlight what funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will do for PA-05

Just before the winter holidays, I was thrilled to join EPA Commissioner Regan and Governor Wolf at Clearview Landfill — part of the Lower Darby Creek Area Superfund site — to highlight how new funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will speed up cleanup projects at Superfund sites across the country. No one should have to worry about contamination at the places where they live, work, and play. Completing these cleanup projects quickly will not only produce environmental benefits but will also help the neighbors and communities surrounding these sites.

​​Our event at the Lower Darby Creek Area Superfund site was even featured in a highlight video from the EPA.

Highlighted how the new infrastructure law will improve accessibility at SEPTA stations

Our public transit systems should be accessible to everyone. People throughout PA-05 rely on SEPTA every day to get to work, drop their kids off at school, make a trip to the grocery store, go to the doctor, and complete other critical tasks. I am proud that funding from the Infastructure Investment and Jobs Act will accelerate ADA design and construction at SEPTA stations and improve the user experience for all riders in our region.

Joined bipartisan colleagues and local law enforcement to highlight legislation that would help tackle gun violence

The gun violence we’re seeing in our communities right now can’t be solved with just one thing. It will take a multi-pronged approach. With rising gun violence since the onset of the pandemic, it’s more important than ever for law enforcement to clear cases in an effort to get criminals and guns off the street. The VICTIM Act would help the Philadelphia Police Department and law enforcement across the country solve open shooting cases and get criminals off the street by supporting personnel, training, and technology needs.

Celebrated the Wistar Institute receiving a $250,000 grant for workforce training

Philadelphia’s regional economy is driven by our dynamic Eds, Meds, and Tech sectors — and the Wistar Institute is at the center of it. The U.S. Economic Development Administration just announced that Wistar is one of eight organizations nationwide to receive a STEM Talent Challenge grant to support training for more skilled life science workers. I was thrilled to join Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo in Philly to highlight this incredible investment in our region’s workforce, and even more excited to learn that students from Cheyney University, the nation’s first HBCU, are participating in the program.

Observed the first anniversary of January 6th Insurrection

One year after the events of January 6th, I gathered with my colleagues to reflect on the events that transpired and honor those who protected the Capitol that day. Today, our democracy is still being tested, but I will never stop fighting to defend it.

Marked the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and called on the Senate to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act

Nearly 50 years after the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade established the constitutional right to an abortion, reproductive health care is still not accessible to all who need it, and many states are making it less accessible as abortion rights are under attack. I joined my colleagues in calling upon the Senate to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to codify Roe and protect a woman’s freedom to choose.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebrations in the District

I was happy to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with constituents across the district, including sharing a favorite children’s book and hosting a mini-town hall with kids at the Sharon Hill Public Library, attending a training for election workers sponsored by the Committee of Seventy, and helping collect and distribute food, clothing, diapers, and menstrual products for our neighbors.

Delivered food boxes to seniors in Southwest Philadelphia with Share Food Program

Throughout the pandemic, Share Food Program has provided 30lb boxes of nutritious, shelf-stable food to qualifying seniors every month. They delivered hundreds of boxes each week to those who were unable to leave home, and I was glad to join Share Food staff during a recent distribution in PA-05.

Honored school board members on the House floor

During School Director Recognition Month, I had the opportunity to extend my gratitude to all those who volunteer on their local school boards — a service that is critical to the success of America’s students.

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Mary Gay Scanlon

Mary Gay Scanlon currently serves a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District.