News from Representative Cummings

January 20, 2017

Dear Friend,

This morning, President Barack Obama left the White House for the last time as our Commander-In-Chief.
Like many of you, I am filled with many emotions—gratitude, respect, sadness and pride. 
I am old enough to remember segregation.  When I was 10 years old, my friends and I marched in Baltimore to integrate Riverside Pool.  That experience was the first time in my life that I realized I had rights other people had to respect.  And despite the progress that our nation had made in my lifetime, I did not know if I would live to see a Black president.
All that changed the day then-Senator Obama called me to let me know he was running for President. I asked him, “President of what?” He said, “President of the United States.”  He asked me to create and lead Marylanders for Obama, and I was proud when he won the Maryland Democratic Primary 61 to 36 percent.
In the years that have passed since that phone call, not once have I regretted being an early supporter of President Obama.  The poise, grace and dignity with which he has served our nation has made me proud beyond words.  He has presided over an Administration that has held the highest ethical standards and has been scandal-free for 8 years. 
President Obama entered the White House at a perilous time in our nation.  Sometimes, it’s hard to remember just how scary things were.  Due to President George W. Bush’s failed economic policies, our nation’s economy was collapsing; financial institutions were going bankrupt one after another; we were losing more than 700,000 jobs every single month; and unemployment reached a high of 10%. 
Despite these seemingly insurmountable odds, President Obama turned our nation around.  Working with Democrats in Congress, he pressed for a stimulus package that halted the bleeding and helped millions of American families.  He signed the Dodd-Frank Act, which brought accountability to our nation’s financial system and created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  He signed the Affordable Care Act, which has helped 20 million Americans get health insurance—many of them for the first time in their lives.  He signed legislation to help students struggling under a mountain of student loan debt, and he saved millions of jobs in our nation’s auto industry.  He has also over seen 75 consecutive months of private sector job growth, and has cut our unemployment rate in half from 10% to 4.7%.
President Obama has managed to do all this with no help from Congressional Republicans.  I served under during the Administrations of Presidents Clinton and Bush before President Obama, and in all my years in Congress, I have never seen a President face as much obstruction.  For 8 years, Republicans have placed their party over their country.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, in 2010, that he and his colleagues’ primary goal was “for President Obama to be a one-term president.” 
As we prepare for life under the Trump Administration, we know that we will have to fight to protect our progress.  Congressional Republicans have already set the stage to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and there are reports that the President-Elect’s first budget to Congress will propose drastic cuts to domestic violence shelters and local police departments.
For us to truly honor our great President and his legacy, we must follow his lead.  We must remain focused on what we are fighting for, not who we are fighting against.  We must work hard every day to make America more fair and more equal.  We must work to create an economy that works for all Americans, not just those at the very top.
So today, I am asking you to join me in thanking President Barack Obama.  I thank him, the First Lady and their wonderful daughters for being role models for young people across our nation.  I thank him for bringing our economy back from crisis.  And I thank him for giving us hope and reminding us that our nation is a constant work in progress, and we are all responsible for perfecting it.


Elijah E. Cummings
Member of Congress

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