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Press Releases

April 23, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON— In November 2017, Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) led 30 Members of Congress in requesting a Government Accountability Report (GAO) on the alleged mistreatment of pregnant women in ICE detention facilities, after numerous reports of horrific conditions in ICE custody—including solitary confinement and the denial of adequate healthcare. This week, the long-awaited GAO report was released.

In December 2017, the Department of Homeland Security updated its policy on the detention of pregnant woman that reversed previous guidance that discouraged incarcerating pregnant women barring extraordinary circumstances. The number of detentions decreased from 1,380 in calendar year 2016 to 1,160 in 2017, and then increased to 2,098 in calendar year 2018.

April 23, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON – Today, House Judiciary Crime Subcommittee Chairwoman Karen Bass (D-CA) and Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), led Members of the House Judiciary Committee in sending a letter to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to seek answers regarding the measures the agency has undertaken to keep untraceable homemade firearms from falling into the wrong hands during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the letter, the members wrote, “While the surge in firearm sales from federally licensed dealers has received nationwide attention, at least 16 companies that sell ghost gun kits have reported order backlogs and shipping delays due to overwhelming demand.   The uptick in sales of ghost gun kits and parts have received substantially less notice, even though the incre

April 22, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON-Today, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) and 48 of their colleagues sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad Wolf demanding the release of detained children amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As the number of children in HHS custody infected with COVID-19 continues to increase, the lawmakers stressed the need to protect the health and safety of children in U.S. custody.

“There are currently nearly 2,400 children in Office of Refugee Resettlement’s (ORR) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) custody, including licensed shelters.

April 22, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON—Today, Rep. Bass (D-CA) and the Democratic members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs called on President Trump to restore funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) and warned against shifting blame to the WHO in order to distract from the Trump Administration's failed response to the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter led by Chairman Eliot L. Engel, the members underscored the need for a coordinated global response to the pandemic and the important role the WHO plays, despite the organization’s imperfections.

“The WHO plays a vital role in supporting and enforcing international health regulations, educating the public, and strengthening the ability of health systems—particularly those in the developing world—to prevent, detect, and respond to outbreaks.  The organization is not perfect, and we should thoroughly review its early handling of this crisis, particularly its engagement with Chinese author

April 20, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) joined Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) along with 47 of her colleagues in sending a letter to House leadership calling for additional funding to help students and teachers adapt to distance, virtual, and online learning during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“As the public health crisis continues to worsen, a growing number of states and cities across the country are issuing stay-at-home orders and closing schools,” wrote the Members in their letter.

April 16, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON-Today, Representatives Karen Bass (D-CA), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Don Bacon (R-NE), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), and Paul Mitchell (R-MI), Co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth (CCFY), sent a letter to Governors urging them to consider the needs of transition-age foster youth as they implement their COVID-19 pandemic response plans. In the letter, the CCFY Co-chairs express concern that transition-age foster youth are suffering serious social and economic hardship during this disaster -- from homelessness to food insecurity and a lack of healthcare.

While the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth and their colleagues in Congress continue to advocate for federal COVID-19 relief for transition-age foster youth, they also encourage Governors to support these young people as they manage their state responses to the pandemic. 


April 15, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON—Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) joined Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9), in addition to a group of 15 Senators and 98 House members in pushing congressional leadership to institute a nationwide moratorium on utility shut-offs amid the mounting economic insecurity caused by the coronavirus pandemic, in order to help protect the health, well-being, and security of families across the country.

As jobless claims continue to spike—with millions of new claims being filed every week—millions of Americans are finding themselves unable to pay their bills. This is especially true for low-income families, which are more likely to pay higher rates for basic utilities, including electricity and heat.

April 14, 2020 Press Release
LOS ANGELES - Today, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations, issued the following statement after the Trump administration halted U.S. payments for the World Health Organization during a pandemic.

"President Donald Trump’s absolute abdication of international responsibility and leadership is now unequivocally apparent.

April 14, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON - Today, Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA), Kim Schrier (D-WA) and Don Young (R-AK) sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy encouraging them to address the increased need to support families during the COVID-19 response in ways that prevent child abuse and neglect. The letter also asks for increased funding to support older foster youth who are struggling for personal and financial security while the entire world is in a economic crisis. Finally, the letter asks for systems support so child welfare practice can adapt to social distancing and keep social workers online during the pandemic.

Read the full letter here or below.

April 14, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswomen Karen Bass (D-CA), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Robin Kelly (D-IL), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust, and Barbara Lee (D-CA), along with Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and more than 85 of their colleagues introduced the Equitable Data Collection and Disclosure on COVID-19 Act.

The bill would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to collect and report racial, ethnic, and other demographic data on COVID-19 testing, treatment, and fatality rates, and provide a summary of the final statistics and a report to Congress within 60 days after the end of the public health emergency. The legislation comes as reports across the United States poin