December 31, 2022
It is the privilege of a lifetime to advocate for you and the Fifth Congressional District of Missouri in the People’s House. As 2022 and the 117th Congress rapidly come to a close, I truly believe that, while there are certainly still challenges that lie ahead, we are better positioned today than we were when the year began.
As we look forward to the possibilities and potential of 2023, I want to take this opportunity to underscore some of the work I’m most proud of from the past twelve months. Whether it was assisting constituents with government services and ensuring Missourians get the benefits to which they are entitled or passing landmark legislation and bringing federal dollars back to our congressional district, I believe the past year has been one of the most successful during my time in Congress.
However, we cannot lose sight of the fact that there is still much work to do to support Missouri families and the communities within our congressional district. Although the United States has created 10.5 million jobs, including 750,000 manufacturing jobs, since January 2021 and our economy continues to recover from the global pandemic, it is critical that the new Congress continue to pass bipartisan legislation – like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the Honoring our PACT Act, and the Respect for Marriage Act – that focuses on the needs of the American people.
As we look forward to the new year, I remain committed to passing legislation that will lower costs for Missourians, create good-paying jobs for workers, and make our communities safer from the threats of climate change and gun violence. Thank you for taking the time to read about the work I’m doing for our communities in Congress, and if you’d like to stay updated in the new year, please take a moment to sign up for my e-newsletter at cleaver.house.gov.
Now, let’s get to my 2022 End of Year Report!
Passing Landmark Legislation For the People
In 2021, Congress was able to pass historic legislation, like the American Rescue Plan Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, that helped protect and vaccinate our communities from COVID-19, support our economic recovery from the global pandemic, and made critical investments in our national infrastructure. These bills continue to provide investments that will enable our communities to grow and thrive in the years ahead. However, we refused to get complacent—instead passing additional legislation that would meet the immediate needs of the American people. Here are a few bills I was most proud to support, including three bills I authored to combat disparities in the home appraisal industry, strengthen Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) that are vital to underserved communities, and reauthorize the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area for another fifteen years—two of which were passed by the House of Representatives and one that was signed into law.
The Inflation Reduction Act
Most recently, and perhaps most importantly, Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act to lower costs for American families on everything from prescription drugs to health care and energy bills and to combat the existential threat of climate change. This legislation will allow Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug costs for America’s seniors, cap insulin costs at $35 per month for Medicare beneficiaries, provide tax credits to improve energy efficiency in households, and more—all while reducing the federal deficit.
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act was the most significant gun safety legislation passed by Congress in nearly three decades, and as communities across Missouri continue to face the horrifying consequences of gun violence, I’m thrilled that Democrats and Republicans were able to come together to take this important step to protect our communities. While this is but one step toward our goal of ending the scourge of gun violence that plagues America, it is an important reminder that reforms are possible on this issue. Moving forward, I’ll keep fighting to enact universal background checks, ban assault weapons, and strengthen Red Flag laws to save lives and keep our schools and communities safe.
The Honoring Our PACT Act
The Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress and extends critical benefits to more than five million American veterans that were exposed to toxic substances while serving our nation. I was proud to cosponsor this long-overdue legislation, which ensures veterans can receive high-quality health care screenings and services related to potential toxic exposure.
The CHIPS and Science Act
This summer, I was proud to vote for the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act, a bill that makes historic investments to bring the manufacturing of semiconductors back to the United States, strengthen our supply chains, lower costs for consumers, and create good-paying jobs for American workers. This legislation will be a boon for American labor, and I will continue to prioritize bringing jobs back home rather than offshoring them so giant corporations can make a bigger profit.
The Respect for Marriage Act
Following a suggestion from the Supreme Court that they should revisit the Obergefell decision after striking down the 50-year-old Roe v. Wade ruling, I immediately joined with other lawmakers to begin working to enshrine protections for marriage equality into federal law. I’m happy to let you know that Congress was able to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, with President Biden signing the bill into law this month. The bill codifies protections for interracial and LGBTQ+ marriages, ensuring that these couples will not have to live in fear in the future and demonstrating to the world that the United States remains a beacon of freedom thanks to our commitment to equality and human rights.
The Real Estate Valuation Fairness and Improvement Act
Last year, I introduced the Real Estate Valuation Fairness and Improvement Act to promote greater diversity in the appraisal industry, which is approximately 98% White and has acknowledged a history of bias that devalues homes for minority homeowners. My bill establishes a federal grant program to promote diversity and inclusion in the appraisal profession through scholarships, training and education, implicit bias training, and more. In July, I’m proud to say that I was successful in getting the legislation passed by the House of Representatives as an amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act, and I will continue working to combat disparities in the appraisal industry, ensuring every homeowner receives fair value for their most prized possession.
The CDFI Bond Guarantee Program Improvement Act
As we continue our economic recovery from a global pandemic, I believe it is critical that Congress seek to find ways we can boost support for underserved rural and urban communities. That’s why I introduced the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program Improvement Act, which would strengthen the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program, provide affordable financing for community development projects, and stimulate greater economic development in the most economically distressed communities across the country. I was proud to see the legislation passed by my colleagues in the House of Representatives with overwhelming bipartisan support, and I will continue to fight for the development of communities that have been neglected for far too long.
Emanuel Cleaver, II is the U.S. Representative for Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District, which includes Kansas City, Independence, Lee’s Summit, Raytown, Grandview, Sugar Creek, Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Oak Grove, North Kansas City, Gladstone, Claycomo, and all of Ray, Lafayette, and Saline Counties. He is a member of the exclusive House Financial Services Committee; Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development, and Insurance; member of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress; member of the Committee on Homeland Security; and a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus.