Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D.-Mich.), the newly elected congresswoman who stirred controversy by calling President Donald Trump a “mother*****”, gave her first speech on the House floor on Thursday and her opening topic was drunk driving.
Tlaib also lamented that “vital EPA workers that monitor air pollution” have “been off duty for weeks now.”
Tlaib said she supports legislation offered by Rep. Debbie Dingell that would require that all new vehicles be equipped with “interlock breathalyzers” that would prevent an intoxicated person from starting the vehicle.
“I rise today to speak out against drunk driving, a senseless, unacceptable, and preventable act,” said Tlaib. “I uplift my dear friends, the Abbas family, who lost their lives tragically due to the fault of a drunk driver. They were kind. They were loving.
“According to the CDC, alcohol-impaired fatalities accounted for 29 percent of the total vehicle traffic accidents in 2017,” said Tlaib. “I honor their memory today by supporting my colleague, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, in her proposal to expand the use of breathalyzers in new vehicles.”
“I have vital EPA workers that monitor air pollution in my district that have been off duty for weeks now,” said Tlaib. “One in five children has asthma in my district, Mr. Speaker. This is unjust. We need to have a functional and open government that protects us.”
Ms. TLAIB. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak out against drunk driving, a senseless, unacceptable, and preventable act. I uplift my dear friends, the Abbas family, who lost their lives tragically due to the fault of a drunk driver. They were kind. They were loving.
According to the CDC, alcohol-impaired fatalities accounted for 29 percent of the total vehicle traffic accidents in 2017. I honor their memory today by supporting my colleague, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, in her proposal to expand the use of breathalyzers in new vehicles.
This doesn't change the fact that someone got drunk and got behind the wheel of a car, and, as a result, we lost five bright lights in Michigan: Issam Abbas, Dr. Rima Abbas, and their three children, Ali, Isabelle, and Giselle.
I want to repeat a quote by Helen Keller: ``What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes part of us.''
Let us honor the memory and the lives of the Abbas family and pray for the comfort of their surviving family.
In regards to the shutdown, Mr. Speaker, I would like to help my colleagues understand the human toll on our residents and thousands of Federal workers across the Nation. It is now day 20. Today, over 400 housing units across my district, the 13th Congressional District, are directly impacted by the HUD funding expiring due to the government shutdown. HUD is begging landlords to not evict our residents due to the lack of payment.
HUD provides affordable rent for over 40,000 low-income families across this Nation. We are talking about residents who are disabled, children, seniors, and veterans who are living with challenges that require assistance to live.
Mr. Speaker, again, going on day 20, we are creating a humanitarian crisis. In Detroit, Michigan, there are nearly 1,000 families affected by this current situation. The number is sure to rise as the shutdown continues.
Another area of the shutdown that we cannot stress enough is the amount of workers who do not know when they will receive their next paycheck. In Michigan alone, we have 6,000 workers, mostly in southeastern Michigan, and now they are scrambling to figure out how they will pay for their shelter and food for their family.
In Wayne County, Michigan, Federal workers are being given an extension to pay their property taxes. The shutdown is causing a disruption in their lives and so many that are connected. The bills will continue to come, Mr. Speaker. The late fines and interest fees will pile up while the administration plays games with the lives of the American people.
Government must be about people first. The continued denial that the real crisis is the shutdown will cause a detrimental impact on our residents. The cost to reopen government will continue to increase. We deserve better. We deserve our President to lead with compassion.
It is critical that we put a human face to this crisis so that we understand the real impact on everyday people.
The U.S. Coast Guard employees in Michigan today are at risk of missing their next paycheck. They are currently working around the clock on the Great Lakes breaking ice to keep our shipping and logistics industries going. They are providing a critical role in our regional economy and security without knowing whether they will get paid. Our Coast Guard even rescued a man from Lake Michigan, an honorable action, but let's thank them by paying them so they can take care of their families.
Jasmine, a worker that has been with the TSA for nearly 16 years, has already been unable to cover her bills and had to turn to her own mother for financial help. She said that they are doing their job to the best of their ability and feel that they are being treated as pawns in something they have no control over. She is right, Mr. Speaker. She and her fellow workers are wondering how they are going to pay for gas and feed their children.
I know I am a new Member here, but the disconnect of many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle and the current administration, it has been felt here and also back home. I see it. It is toxic, and it will never serve the American people. The disconnection with real people will continue to deny the right for our citizens to live with human dignity.
I have vital EPA workers that monitor air pollution in my district that have been off duty for weeks now. One in five children has asthma in my district, Mr. Speaker. This is unjust. We need to have a functional and open government that protects us. We have some of the worst corporate polluters in the country in the 13th Congressional District, and now we have no one protecting us from air pollution violators. Let's get them back to work for our residents.
Mr. Speaker, these are just a handful of examples of Americans that are being harmed by the actions of this administration and the inaction of the Senate. We must end this shutdown now. Our residents deserve us to lead with compassion and responsibility.