As a member of the House Judiciary Committee and the Bi-Partisan Task Force on Overcriminalization, Hakeem is committed to fixing the institutional flaws in the criminal justice system. In the wake of recent tragedies involving law enforcement and communities of color, he is fully dedicated to transforming pervasive public discontent into legislative action.
Hakeem is optimistic that Congress can make an immediate positive impact by reforming the grand jury system and introducing independent prosecutors in exceptional cases involving deadly force. Additionally, he understands that the most effective means of rebuilding trust and stability within communities is preventing such tragedies from taking place and tackling the problem at the source. For this reason, Hakeem is a strong advocate for community policing programs and enhanced law enforcement training.
It may often seem that overcoming our nation’s deeply rooted tensions and troubled past is an insurmountable task. However, the objective is simple and lies at the heart of American values and tradition. We must restore the balance between effective law enforcement on the one hand and a healthy respect for the Constitution and civil rights on the other.
As a product of New York City’s public school system, Hakeem recognizes as well as anyone the immeasurable value of a first-rate education. He knows that in order for America to compete in the twenty-first century globalized economy, every student must be given the opportunity to excel in the classroom.
Nationwide, the inequality of educational opportunity is staggering. Low-income and minority communities are continually short-changed by state and local budgets, and schools have a hard time attracting and retaining effective teachers. Hakeem is passionate about this issue, and he will continue to push for federal intervention to ensure that we bridge the educational divide and adequately prepare students for college and the globalized, technology-driven job market.
Hakeem’s eagerness to tackle this issue dates back to his days in the New York State Assembly. As an Assemblyman, he fought against foreclosures, passed historic rent regulations for New York City, and helped transform empty luxury apartments into affordable homes for middle-class families.
Hakeem is a true champion on affordable housing. He knows that building and protecting affordable units for working and middle-class residents is an essential ingredient for the vitality of New York and other cities across the nation. Today, the lack of affordable housing in New York City continues to be a daily nightmare for residents, who face soaring rent costs and often times find themselves pushed out of their home communities.
Hakeem has continued his efforts to make a difference on this issue at the federal level, co-sponsoring the American Public Housing Act of 2013 and the Low and Moderate Income Housing Act of 2014. In his second term, he will continue to rally lawmakers and community leaders to address the affordable housing crisis.
Hakeem’s foremost priority since his arrival in Congress has been to create well-paying jobs for working and middle-class New Yorkers. Through his work on the House Budget Committee and House Judiciary Committee, he has been an active supporter of legislation to spur innovation, grow the economy and help small businesses succeed.
Hakeem is a strong progressive voice in Washington budget discussions. He has pushed Congress to invest in transportation and infrastructure, to protect unemployment benefits and to raise the federal minimum wage. In 2013, he sponsored legislation to protect students from higher interest rates on their college loans, allowing graduates to more successfully enter the labor market and contribute to the economy.
Hakeem also strongly supports President Obama’s jobs plan, which will increase America’s exports and manufacturing, promote a highly skilled workforce, prevent public sector layoffs and expand job opportunities for low-income youth and adults.
As an attorney, Hakeem knows that a strong economy also depends on strong legal protection for entrepreneurs in the copyright protection and intellectual property arena. IP protection safeguards the creativity and ingenuity of our business community, and allows us to sustain our global competitive advantage. Consequently, Hakeem played a vital role in passing the 2013 Innovation Act through the House, a patent reform bill designed to protect investors, start-up companies and tech entrepreneurs from abusive patent infringement tactics. In a deft political maneuver, Hakeem proposed an amendment that garnered broad bipartisan support, ultimately propelling the legislation to passage. He looks forward to continuing this work in the 114th Congress and beyond.