March Recap: What You Might Have Missed Last Month

Mary Gay Scanlon
9 min readApr 11, 2022


Our team just wrapped up a very busy month, both on the Hill and back home in the district — working on legislation to cap insulin costs, improve health care for our veterans, and shore up the United States Postal Service. During our March district week, I spent time catching up with constituents, businesses, and local agencies, answering questions about the many ways that our region will benefit from the American Rescue Plan, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and government funding legislation for the Fiscal Year 2022, as well as plans to address challenges that lie ahead.

Here are some of the highlights:

Legislative Activity

Introduced the Stopping the Fraudulent Sale of Firearms Act

Right now, gun buyers can too easily evade a background check by purchasing a firearm online. We need to crack down on deceptive practices that bad actors use to circumvent rules designed to prevent the sale of guns and ammunition on tech platforms. I was proud to work with my colleagues in the Senate to introduce the Stopping the Fraudulent Sale of Firearms Act. The bill prevents gun sellers from circumventing technology companies’ terms of service by making it illegal to fraudulently sell firearms and ammunition online.

Led a letter demanding answers about ATF enforcement

Philadelphia suffered terribly from gun violence in 2021, with fatal and non-fatal shootings at levels not seen for decades, and the rate of homicides in the city continues to climb. Crime guns come from multiple sources, but our law enforcement partners are clear that we have seen an explosion in gun sales since the start of the pandemic. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is responsible for making sure Federal Firearms License holders (“FFL”s) follow laws that prevent guns from being acquired by straw purchasers and gun traffickers, and sanction or shut down rogue gun dealers who skirt the law. We are looking into the limited number of FFL inspections in recent years. In order to enforce the laws already on the books, we need to ensure that ATF has the resources to do its job.

Joined President Biden at the White House to celebrate the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act

I worked with victims of domestic violence for nearly 40 years and saw firsthand the importance of VAWA as a tool in combating domestic violence. This landmark legislation was first passed in 1994, championed by then U.S. Senator Biden. In the nearly three decades since, he has worked with members of Congress from both parties to pass legislation to renew and strengthen VAWA three times: in 2000, 2005, and 2013. Each time, he worked to expand access to safety and support for all survivors and increase prevention efforts.

Called on DOJ to do more to reduce domestic violence homicides

Data clearly shows that domestic violence and firearm ownership are too often a deadly combination. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen a surge in gun sales and an increase in domestic violence as people spend more time with their abusers. In March, I joined some of my Democratic colleagues to call on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to strengthen the effectiveness of state and federal domestic violence laws prohibiting the possession of firearms by domestic abusers.

Passed the Postal Service Reform Act

From the founding of our nation, the United States Postal Service has been a vital public service, but misguided policy changes in recent years impacted its finances and functions. By passing the Postal Service Reform Act, we set the USPS on a better course — strengthening service standards that the Postmaster General threatened to undermine, enacting health care savings, and correcting a misguided 2006 requirement that the USPS, unlike every other federal agency, pre-fund its retirement obligations.

Led an amendment to the Honoring Our PACT Act to ensure newly eligible veterans can access earned benefits and health care in a timely manner

Our servicemembers risk their lives and make great sacrifices for our country, but the risks posed by burn pits and exposure to toxic chemicals have not been adequately addressed until now. The Honoring Our PACT Act is a comprehensive legislative package that opens up health care to over 3.5 million veterans exposed to toxic substances during their military service and finally addresses exposure to burn pits and airborne hazards.

My amendment to the Honoring Our PACT Act authorizes $150 million for the Fiscal Year 2023 to expand the capacity of the Veterans Benefits Management System at the VA to help the agency process the anticipated increase in claims by newly eligible veterans.

Voted to pass the CROWN Act

I was proud to cosponsor the CROWN Act, and I’m thrilled that it passed the House last month. This critical piece of legislation ensures minorities, especially Black Americans, are protected from discrimination on the basis of hair styles and textures associated with a particular race or national origin. While this form of discrimination has no place in our schools and workplaces, students and workers regularly experience such discrimination. I’m calling on the Senate to pass this bill and send it to the president’s desk.

Voted to pass the MORE Act

Now that the majority of states, including Pennsylvania, have legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal and/or recreational purposes, we must bring federal law into alignment so consumers and businesses engaged in legal activities are not penalized. But decriminalizing marijuana isn’t enough. We need to repair the harm done to communities of color by failed drug policies. The MORE Act would invest approximately $3 billion over the next decade to provide job training, reentry services, and legal aid to people harmed disproportionately by those policies.

Voted to cap the price of insulin with the Affordable Insulin Now Act

One of the greatest challenges facing American families is the high price of prescription drugs, with the price of insulin reaching staggering heights in recent years. House Democrats continue to propose and pass legislation to address this issue. I proudly cast my vote for the Affordable Insulin Now Act to cap the price of insulin for Pennsylvania consumers. However, there’s more to do. Congress must pass comprehensive legislation to lower the price of all prescription drugs.

Championed the addition of statues of two trailblazing women in the Capitol

Of the hundreds of statues in the US Capitol, only 14 honor women. As we closed out Women’s History Month, I proudly urged my colleagues to honor former Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, two women who made groundbreaking contributions to American history and jurisprudence, with their own statues in the Capitol.

House Judiciary Committee: Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cyber Division

Our schools, businesses, governments, public utilities, and critical infrastructure all exist at a nexus of threats from cybercriminals. During a recent oversight hearing, I questioned Assistant Director Vorndran about the actions he and his colleagues at the FBI Cyber Division are taking to keep our country safe.

House Judiciary Committee: Reimagining Public Safety in the COVID-19 Era

If we’re going to stem the tide of violence, we need to employ comprehensive approaches to public safety and address the underlying challenges that lead to gun violence in the first place — mental health struggles, poverty, lack of education or opportunity, and of course, easy access to guns. Local officials in my district are working right now to implement evidence-based solutions, prevent violence, and support the people living in their communities. I was glad to have an opportunity to explore ways the federal government can support these efforts.

What Else you Might Have Missed

Support for Ukraine

Since the unlawful invasion of Ukraine by Russia, we have received regular briefings on the developing conflict, and the role of the United States and its allies in supporting the courageous people of that country with military and humanitarian aid. Our briefing from President Zelinskyy was a powerful reminder that his country’s fight for democracy is a fight for freedom and democracy around the world. I have also visited and heard from the large Ukrainian-American community in our region. We all must stand with the people of Ukraine in their nation’s pursuit of peace.

Hosted a pinning ceremony to honor Vietnam War veterans

Millions of brave men and women served our nation during the Vietnam War, and sadly, many of them did not receive the respect and recognition they deserved when they returned home. This ceremony was one small way for our community to honor those who sacrificed so much for our country. It was my privilege to host PA-05’s veterans and thank them for their service.

Announced $96 million funding for SEPTA from American Rescue Plan

Like other transit agencies across the country, SEPTA saw ridership plummet when the pandemic forced people to work from home or adopt social distancing measures, leading to lost revenue and service cuts. I was pleased to announce this grant, made possible by the American Rescue Plan, which will help SEPTA maintain the safe, efficient service required for Southeastern Pennsylvania to get back to normal.

Celebrated St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is always a big deal for the Irish-American community in our district, but after two years of the COVID pandemic, the 2022 celebrations were particularly welcome. It was great to see in-person celebrations return this year, especially at Philadelphia’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which marked its 250th anniversary.

In D.C., I met throughout the week with government and NGO officials visiting from the Emerald Isle, as they continue to address the impact of Brexit on the border between the Republic and Northern Ireland. On St. Patrick’s Day, I was also proud to cast my vote for a resolution condemning the unjustified killing of 14 individuals and other acts of violence that took place on Bloody Sunday 50 years ago.

Honored Women’s History Month

March is National Women’s History Month, which includes Equal Pay Day. I was lucky to join some of my colleagues at the White House for a celebration recognizing different women who made their mark on American history.

Kicked off Youth Soccer Day at FDR Park

I was happy to join Fairmount Park Conservancy to highlight plans to restore and enhance FDR Park — including more recreation space for children and youth.

Joined Chester, Ridley, and Crum Creek Watershed Association for the Annual Streams Cleanup Event in Little Crum Creek Park

The cleanup brought hundreds of constituents out to dozens of sites across the region to help improve our environment and keep local waterways clean. I was happy to join some friends at Little Crum Creek Park.

Celebrated the opening of Murphy’s Giving Market in Upper Darby

Desiree LaMarr-Murphy started a food pantry in her backyard early on in the pandemic. It has been such a success, due to her enthusiasm and determination, that the pantry moved to a brick-and-mortar location in March. I’m grateful for visionaries like Desiree as government, nonprofits, and individuals work together to end hunger.

Welcomed Afghan evacuees living in our area at a luncheon in Wallingford

The end of the war in Afghanistan brought a wave of refugees to the U.S., and dozens are settling in our area. Most of our new neighbors worked for the U.S. government or military, which meant they and their families had to flee their homeland or risk being targeted by the Taliban. We are working with local and federal partners to make entry as smooth as possible for these allies who risked so much to provide critical support for our troops and government. Thank you to the St. John Chrysostom community for hosting such a lovely event.



Mary Gay Scanlon

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