Legislative Recap: What You Might Have Missed

Mary Gay Scanlon
7 min readApr 29, 2021

The month of April has been busy on the legislative front, and back in the district. I wanted to share a few updates with all of you about what I’ve been working on while Congress is in session.

Hosted Rep. Lauren Underwood for a Facebook Live conversation about the Black maternal health crisis

As maternal mortality rates are decreasing in most of the world, the U.S. is the only developed country with a rising maternal mortality rate, and that rate is 3 to 4 times higher than similar countries. And within the U.S., Black women are 3–4 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications. The causes are complex, but systemic racism is a driving force: even a Black woman with a college degree is more likely to die from giving birth than a white woman without a high school diploma. Fortunately, there are proven practices which can bring that rate down, for everyone, if we have the will to implement them.

I was grateful to be joined by Congresswoman Lauren Underwood of Illinois, co-chair of the Black Maternal Health Caucus and a health care policy expert, to discuss this urgent issue and our “Momnibus” legislation during Black Maternal Health Week (April 11–17).

Listen to our conversation here.

Read more about the Momnibus Act here.

Celebrated the Cardinal O’Hara Lady Lions on the House floor

I recognized Cardinal O’Hara Girls Basketball on the House floor for their recent PIAA Class 5A Girls Championship – the school’s first-ever state basketball title. Congratulations to the Lady Lions!

Watch my remarks: https://fb.watch/52LlvET8GQ/

Voted in favor of H.R. 7, the Paycheck Fairness Act

Fifty years after passage of the Equal Pay Act, women make, on average, only 82 cents for every dollar earned by a man. The wage gap is even bigger for women of color, and the wealth gap for all women compounds over time. The House’s passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act is an important next step toward ending gender-based wage discrimination, but now we need the Senate to act too!

Learn more about the Paycheck Fairness Act here.

Won approval for my Driving for Opportunity Act from the House Judiciary Committee

Last week, the House Judiciary Committee passed my latest bill – the Driving for Opportunity Act of 2021. This bill, which incentivizes states to stop debt-based driver’s license suspensions, has bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. It is also supported by a wide range of groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the ACLU, law enforcement, and transportation safety experts.

Suspending driver’s licenses for unpaid fines and fees has proven to be counterproductive. The practice makes it harder for Americans to get to work to pay off their debts and diverts law enforcement resources that could be better used elsewhere.

Read more about the bill here.

Watch my remarks here.

Recognized local heroes on the House floor

Last week, I had the opportunity to recognize some of the local heroes working behind the scenes on COVID-19 response and relief efforts in Delco. We are so grateful for the Delaware County COVID-19 Task Force, Delaware County Emergency Services, and Delaware County Medical Reserve Corps and Citizen Corps volunteers who have gone above and beyond to help us through the past year’s challenges.

Listen to my remarks here.

Joined the House Admin Committee hearing: “Oversight of the United States Capitol Police and Preparations for and Response to the Attack of January 6th.”

I had the opportunity to ask Inspector General Bolton of the U.S. Capitol Police about failures in intelligence analysis and preparation leading up to the Jan. 6 attack. I still have many questions, but my colleagues and I are committed to uncovering what went wrong and preventing it from occurring again.

View part one of my questions here.

View part two of my questions here.

Voted to outlaw discriminatory religious travel bans and protect due process rights at ports of entry

I proudly voted to pass H.R. 1333, the NO BAN Act, and H.R. 1573, the Access to Counsel Act of 2021. Together, these landmark pieces of legislation would prevent future presidents from issuing travel bans that discriminate based on religion, such as the infamous Muslim Ban that stranded travelers at our nation’s airports, and ensure certain due process protections for individuals detained while attempting to lawfully enter the country at ports of entry.

Read more about the bills here.

Testified on behalf of our district before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

As Congress begins drafting the American Jobs infrastructure bill, I am making sure that the infrastructure needs of our community are being addressed. PA-05 includes Philadelphia’s airport, port, and rail yard, as well as miles of highways and passenger rail lines. In my testimony, I stressed the need to address decades of underfunding and maintenance backlogs so our region can build back better.

Listen to my testimony here.

Joined the House Rules Committee hearing: Ending Hunger in America

Throughout this pandemic, and well before it, food insecurity has been a pervasive problem in our district. Returning to a pre-pandemic status quo that left millions dealing with food insecurity isn’t good enough. We need to look forward to enhancing our existing programs to ensure that all Americans have this basic need met.

I was grateful to have the opportunity to examine solutions, collect stories and ideas, and encourage the White House to hold a conference on hunger. We have the ability to end hunger in America if we have the courage and willpower to act.

Check out the hearing here.

Joined the House Judiciary hearing: Why Don’t They Just Get in Line? Barriers to Legal Immigration

Whenever the broken nature of our current immigration system intrudes on the news, the idea that people seeking admission to the U.S. should. “get in line” or “wait their turn” becomes a go-to talking point for those who haven’t lived through the complexity and anxiety of our immigration system.

The reality is that our immigration system today is incredibly slow and complex. Refugees are waiting decades for a chance to join their families in the U.S., talented workers are seeking employment in other countries so they can more easily bring their spouses and children, and Dreamers and TPS holders are left confused by complicated and ever-changing guidance. I was grateful for this opportunity to hear from the experts about changes Congress can make to simplify and reform our immigration policies.

Watch the hearing here.

Tuned in to President Biden’s First Address to a Joint Session of Congress

The speech was a welcome return to tradition as President Biden used the opportunity to address the entire nation, to lay out his vision for the country, and to start a conversation with the country and Congress about how we can best work together for the American people.

Read more of my reaction here.

Joined the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law for a hearing: Treating the Problem: Addressing Anticompetitive Conduct and Consolidation in Health Care Markets

This past year, as our nation grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, the negative economic and health outcomes associated with the exorbitant cost of prescription drugs have only become more pronounced. Last Congress, I was proud to join my colleagues on this committee to pass bipartisan legislation to curb some of the most egregious anti-competitive behaviors in the pharmaceutical market. I remain committed to fighting to preserve pharmaceutical competition and bring down the cost of prescription drugs.

Listen to the hearing here.

My team and I also took part in other community events while I was home in the district.

  • Attended the start of the Healthy Kids Running Series at Subaru Park in Chester.
  • Joined Delco AFL-CIO at a food drive supporting local food banks.
  • Helped install a travelling memorial to victims of gun violence with Heeding God’s Call in Swarthmore.
  • Dropped by the Family Fun Day at Chester High School.
  • Stopped by the Rutledge Borough Earth Day celebration with Mayor Kevin Cunningham.
  • Made the ceremonial first kick at the Army-Navy Cup IX soccer game.



Mary Gay Scanlon

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