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Barbara Lee

Barbara Lee Statement on Completion of U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan

“In a world where the threat of terrorism cannot be ignored, hopefully we will learn the lessons from the past two decades and not repeat our mistakes.”

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Apache attack helicopter in approach, Sep 2020, Photo courtesy of Andre Klimke via Unsplash

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) released the following statement Monday on the completion of U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan:

“Today’s final withdrawal is a sobering moment. As we reflect on the ultimate sacrifices made by our troops over the years, and most recently lost in the tragedy in Kabul, we owe an immeasurable debt of gratitude to our courageous armed service members.

“They made the ultimate sacrifice and did everything that was asked of them over the last two decades.

“Today marked the end of America’s longest war—20 years of lost lives and failed nation building. President Biden made the correct decision to leave Afghanistan, saving another generation from the tremendous loss felt over the last two decades.

“There has never, and will never, be a military solution in Afghanistan. If anything, the events of the last few weeks clearly affirm that.

“As Secretary (of State Anthony)  Blinken assured earlier, this opens a new chapter in which we will lead the continued coordination with international partners to ensure safe passage for any Americans, Afghan partners, and foreign nationals who want to leave Afghanistan—fulfilling our moral obligation to the Afghan people.

“As Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, I remain committed to providing the State Department with the resources they need to achieve this goal.

“Twenty years ago, it was clear that rushing into war without a clearly defined mission and exit strategy would risk perpetual war. The Special Inspector General of Afghanistan Reconstruction clearly illustrated in recent reports that ‘U.S. officials rarely had even a mediocre understanding of the Afghan environment, much less how it was responding to U.S. interventions,’ and that this ignorance often came from a ‘willful disregard for information that may have been available.’

“In a world where the threat of terrorism cannot be ignored, hopefully we will learn the lessons from the past two decades and not repeat our mistakes. It is time for a new approach to our foreign policy and national security—one that utilizes all the tools at our disposal. While military solutions are always available, we should also be willing to invest in diplomacy, development, and the needs of the people.”

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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Congresswoman Barbara Lee Sworn in to U.S. House of Representatives

Congresswoman Lee is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations. She serves as Co-Chair of the Steering & Policy Committee, former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Chair Emeritus of the Progressive Caucus, Co-Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Health Task Force, and Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus. She also serves as Chair of the Majority Leader’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.

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As a member of the Steering and Policy Committee, Congresswoman Lee is the highest-ranking Black woman appointed to House Leadership.
As a member of the Steering and Policy Committee, Congresswoman Lee is the highest-ranking Black woman appointed to House Leadership. 

Congresswoman Barbara Lee was officially sworn in as United States Representative for California’s 12th Congressional District, representing the people of the East Bay in the 118th Congress.

“I am honored that the people of the East Bay have entrusted me with the great responsibility of representing them in Congress, and deeply grateful to have such engaged and enlightened constituents. As a result of the 2020 Census and redistricting, our beautiful 13th district’s number is now 12.

“After four days, thousands of votes, 15 ballots, and the longest Speaker election since 1858, during the Buchannan presidency, we can finally begin legislating in the 118th Congress. I was honored to serve as one of two official Democratic tellers for the Speaker’s race and I’m looking forward to continuing the work of putting people over politics. I will continue fighting for safer communities; ending poverty; affordable housing; combatting homelessness; climate action; reproductive freedom; racial justice; global peace and security, an equitable health care system; an economy that works for all, and so much more. We have work ahead of us, but with our most diverse and committed House Democratic Caucus yet, we’ll resist the right-wing’s extremist agenda and improve the lives and livelihoods of our communities.”

Congresswoman Lee is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations. She serves as Co-Chair of the Steering & Policy Committee, former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Chair Emeritus of the Progressive Caucus, Co-Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Health Task Force, and Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus. She also serves as Chair of the Majority Leader’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity. As a member of the Steering and Policy Committee, she is the highest-ranking Black woman appointed to House Leadership.

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Barbara Lee

Rep. Barbara Lee Inquiring About Barriers to Capital for Minority Cannabis Businesses 

“As momentum for marijuana decriminalization continues, FinCEN data could help shed light on the state of minority-owned and small cannabis businesses (which constitute businesses with revenues under $40 million) seeking financial services,” the lawmakers wrote. “Existing disparities in access to capital and financial services for individuals and businesses increase financial barriers and exacerbate the racial wealth gap, further harming those most harmed by the failed War on Drugs.

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Rep. Barbara Lee and Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer. (Congress.gov photos)
Rep. Barbara Lee and Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer. (Congress.gov photos)

By Sean Ryan

Representatives Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) sent a letter on Wednesday to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) requesting recent data on the financial services offered to minority cannabis businesses in an effort to better understand the barriers faced by minority cannabis businesses owners.

Minority cannabis entrepreneurs often cite a lack of access to capital and financial services as a major barrier to entering the legal cannabis industry. A 2021 Brookings Institution report revealed that Black-owned businesses faced more disparities in access to banking services and deposits, mortgage credit, and small business loans than their white counterparts.

These alarming findings were further substantiated by a 2021 Federal Reserve report that found that Black and Latino-owned businesses were less than half as likely as their white counterparts to be fully approved for loan applications.

“As momentum for marijuana decriminalization continues, FinCEN data could help shed light on the state of minority-owned and small cannabis businesses (which constitute businesses with revenues under $40 million) seeking financial services,” the lawmakers wrote. “Existing disparities in access to capital and financial services for individuals and businesses increase financial barriers and exacerbate the racial wealth gap, further harming those most harmed by the failed War on Drugs.

They continued, “Given the increasing momentum of cannabis legalization and much-needed clarity from the federal government, Congress must devise a federal solution to equitably end the cannabis prohibition and encourage industry growth.

As we work to invest in the communities disproportionately harmed in the failed War on Drugs, FinCEN data on access to financial services could help promote equitable access to financial services for small and minority-owned cannabis businesses.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with FinCEN to ensure Congress is equipped with the critical data needed to effectively address equity concerns when crafting solutions to end the federal cannabis prohibition.”

Representatives Lee and Blumenauer serve as the Democratic co-chairs of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus.

Sean Ryan is the communications director in the media relations office of Rep. Barbara Lee.

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Barbara Lee

Rep. Barbara Lee Releases Statement on Nancy Pelosi’s Retirement from House Leadership

“As the first woman Speaker to lead Congress, Speaker Pelosi’s career was one of transformational leadership. From passing the Affordable Care Act and presiding over some of the most consequential legislation in modern history to leading the charge to protect our democracy after January 6th, Nancy Pelosi is truly the greatest speaker to ever serve.

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Congresswomen Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Lee pay tribute to the life, legacy, and leadership of Shirley Chisholm – the first African American women elected to Congress - at the unveiling of the U.S. Postal Service’s Shirley Chisholm Forever stamp and discussed the House Democrats’ women’s economic agenda: “When Women Succeed, America Succeeds” at Mills College in Oakland. / Nancy Pelosi/Flickr
Congresswomen Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Lee pay tribute to the life, legacy, and leadership of Shirley Chisholm – the first African American women elected to Congress - at the unveiling of the U.S. Postal Service’s Shirley Chisholm Forever stamp and discussed the House Democrats’ women’s economic agenda: “When Women Succeed, America Succeeds” at Mills College in Oakland. / Nancy Pelosi/Flickr

As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to shift to Republican leadership in the next session of Congress, longtime Speaker of the House, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, announced on Thursday that she would step down from the leadership although she would continue to serve.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), Speaker Pelosi’s longtime friend and colleague, released the following statement on Thursday after learning of Pelosi’s decision to retire from House leadership:

“As the first woman Speaker to lead Congress, Speaker Pelosi’s career was one of transformational leadership. From passing the Affordable Care Act and presiding over some of the most consequential legislation in modern history to leading the charge to protect our democracy after January 6th, Nancy Pelosi is truly the greatest speaker to ever serve.

“I consider Speaker Pelosi a dear friend, a congressional neighbor, and a fierce leader. I congratulate her on an incredible career in House leadership and look forward to continuing to serve the Bay Area alongside her in Congress. I wish her beloved husband, Paul, a speedy and full recovery and wish Speaker Pelosi and her family the best of luck in this next chapter. Her legacy will live on forever.”

From Sean Ryan, communications director of Rep. Barbara Lee’s media relations office.

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