Edward John Markey (born July 11, 1946) is an American politician serving as the junior United States Senator from Massachusetts since 2013. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the U.S. Representative for Massachusetts's 7th congressional district from 1976 to 2013. Between the House and Senate, Markey has served in Congress for more than four decades. He was also a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1973 to 1976. He is running for reelection in 2020.
Markey has focused on energy policy and was Chair of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming from 2007 to 2011. In 2013, after John Kerry was appointed United States Secretary of State, he was elected to serve out the balance of Kerry's sixth Senate term in a 2013 special election. Markey defeated Stephen Lynch in the Democratic primary and Republican Gabriel E. Gomez in the general election. When he left the House, he was its eighth most senior member. In 2014, Markey was elected to a full term in the senate. He is the dean of the Massachusetts congressional delegation and the second longest-serving current member of Congress from New England, behind Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont.
Markey has said that he believes he should not impose his religious beliefs about abortion on others. He has said that "decisions about a woman's reproductive health should be left between the woman, her family, her doctor, and her faith."
Antitrust, competition and corporate regulation
In June 2019 Markey was one of six Democrats led by Amy Klobuchar who signed letters to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice recounting that many of them had "called on both the FTC and the Justice Department to investigate potential anticompetitive activity in these markets, particularly following the significant enforcement actions taken by foreign competition enforcers against these same companies" and requesting that each agency confirm whether it had opened antitrust investigations into each of the companies and pledge that it would publicly release any such investigation's findings.
In 2019 Markey and 34 other senators introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act, a bill that created 770,000 new child care jobs and ensured that families making less than 75% of the state median income did not pay for child care, with higher-earning families having to pay "their fair share for care on a sliding scale, regardless of the number of children they have." The legislation also supported universal access to high-quality preschool programs for all 3- and 4-year-olds and changed child care compensation and training.
In 2019, after the Federal Communications Commission announced changes to the Childrenâ€™s Television Act of 1990, Markey and eight other Democratic senators signed a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai that expressed concern that the proposed changes "would limit the reach of educational content available to children and have a particular damaging effect on youth in low-income and minority communities" and asserted that the new rules would decrease access to valuable educational content through over-the-air services.
Senator Markey speaks on a Green New Deal in front of the Capitol Building in February 2019
In November 2018 Markey was one of 25 Democratic senators to cosponsor a resolution in response to findings of the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change report and National Climate Assessment. The resolution affirmed the senators' acceptance of the findings and their support for bold action to address climate change.
In February 2019 Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez released a 14-page summary of their Green New Deal plan to address climate change. It calls for implementing the "social cost of carbon" that was part of the Obama administration's plans to address climate change and transitioning the United States to 100% renewable, zero-emission energy sources, zero-emission vehicles, and high-speed rail systems. It also aims to provide new jobs and alleviate poverty. On March 26, in what Democrats called a "stunt," Republicans called for an early vote without allowing discussion or expert testimony. Markey said Republicans were trying to â€œmake a mockeryâ€ of the Green New Deal debate and called the vote a "sham." In protest, Democrats, including Markey, voted "present" or against the bill, resulting in a 57â€“0 defeat on the Senate floor.
In March 2019 Markey was one of 11 senators to sponsor the Climate Security Act of 2019, legislation to form a new group within the State Department to develop strategies to integrate climate science and data into national security operations as well as to restore the post of special envoy for the Arctic, which President Trump dismantled in 2017. The envoy would advise the president and the administration on the potential effects of climate on national security and be responsible for facilitating all interagency communication between federal science and security agencies.
In April 2018 Markey was one of five Democratic senators to sign a letter to FEMA administrator Brock Long calling on FEMA to enter an agreement with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development that would "stand up the Disaster Housing Assistance Program and address the medium- and longer-term housing needs" of evacuees of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The senators asserted that "FEMA's refusal to use the tools at its disposal, including DHAP, to help these survivors is puzzlingâ€”and profoundly troubling" and that hundreds of hurricane survivors were susceptible to being left homeless in the event that FEMA and HUD continued not to work together.
In August 2018 Markey was one of eight senators to sign a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency charging the agency with not assisting displaced homeowners in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria under the Individuals and Households (IHP) program at "alarming rates."
In December 2016 Markey was one of 17 senators to sign a letter to President-elect Trump asking him to fulfill a campaign pledge to bring down the cost of prescription drugs, stating their willingness "to advance measures to achieve this goal", and calling on Trump "to partner with Republicans and Democrats alike to take meaningful steps to address the high cost of prescription drugs through bold administrative and legislative actions."
In December 2018 Markey was one of 21 senators to sign a letter to Commissioner of Food and Drugs Scott Gottlieb stating their approval of the actions of the Food and Drugs Administration to hinder youth access to e-cigarettes and urging the FDA "to take additional, stronger steps to prevent and reduce e-cigarette use among youth."
In February 2019 Markey was one of eight senators to sign a letter to the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice asking that regulators prohibit a proposed $26 billion merger between T-Mobile and Sprint because American enforcers have understood for the last 30 years "that fostering robust competition in telecommunications markets is the best way to provide every American with access to high-quality, cutting-edge communications at a reasonable price" and the merger would result in a return "to the dark days of heavily consolidated markets and less competition, with all of the resulting harms."
In March 2019 Markey was one of six senators to sign a letter to the Federal Trade Commission requesting that it "use its rulemaking authority, along with other tools, in order to combat the scourge of non-compete clauses rigging our economy against workers" and saying that incomplete clauses "harm employees by limiting their ability to find alternate work, which leaves them with little leverage to bargain for better wages or working conditions with their immediate employer." The letter added that the FTC had the responsibility of protecting both consumers and workers and needed to "act decisively" to address their concerns over "serious anti-competitive harms from the proliferation of non-competes in the economy."
In October 2017 Markey condemned the genocide of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar.
In 2018 Markey was a cosponsor of the Countering the Chinese Government and Communist Partyâ€™s Political Influence Operations Act, a bill introduced by Marco Rubio and Catherine Cortez Masto that would grant the U.S. Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) the authority to create an interagency task force with the purpose of examining Chinese attempts to influence the U.S. and key allies.
In October 2018 Markey was one of eight senators to sign a letter to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats requesting a classified briefing on what the American intelligence community knew about threats to U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi so that the senators could fulfill their "oversight obligation" as members of Congress. In March 2019 Markey was one of nine Democratic senators to sign a letter to Salman of Saudi Arabia requesting the release of human rights lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair and writer Raif Badawi, women's rights activists Loujain al-Hathloul and Samar Badawi, and Dr. Walid Fitaih. The senators wrote, "Not only have reputable international organizations detailed the arbitrary detention of peaceful activists and dissidents without trial for long periods, but the systematic discrimination against women, religious minorities and mistreatment of migrant workers and others has also been well-documented."
In November 2018 Markey joined Senators Chris Coons, Elizabeth Warren and a bipartisan group of lawmakers in sending the Trump administration a letter raising concerns about the People's Republic of China's undue influence on media outlets and academic institutions in the United States. They wrote: "In American news outlets, Beijing has used financial ties to suppress negative information about the CCP. ... Beijing has also sought to use relationships with American academic institutions and student groups to shape public discourse."
In February 2019, ahead of the 2019 North Koreaâ€“United States Hanoi Summit, Markey said that it was "pretty clear that Kim wants to have a personal meeting with Trump with hopes that he can, in fact, elicit concessions from President Trump that might not otherwise be possible if it was just our diplomats talking one-on-one" and that the US "could run the risk that Kim is given concessions which are not accompanied by real concessions that the United States is receiving in return from Kim and his regime." Markey called for Trump to receive commitments on denuclearization from Kim Jong-un before making commitments in return.
In April 2019 Markey was one of 34 senators to sign a letter to President Trump encouraging him "to listen to members of your own Administration and reverse a decision that will damage our national security and aggravate conditions inside Central America", asserting that Trump had "consistently expressed a flawed understanding of U.S. foreign assistance" since becoming president and that he was "personally undermining efforts to promote U.S. national security and economic prosperity" by preventing the use of Fiscal Year 2018 national security funding. The senators argued that foreign assistance to Central American countries created less migration to the U.S. by helping to improve conditions in those countries.
In March 2019 Markey and 38 other senators signed a letter to the Appropriations Committee opining that contractor workers and by extension their families "should not be penalized for a government shutdown that they did nothing to cause" while noting that there were bills in both chambers of Congress that if enacted would provide back pay to compensate contractor employees for lost wages. The letter urged the Appropriations Committee "to include back pay for contractor employees in a supplemental appropriations bill for FY2019 or as part of the regular appropriations process for FY2020."
Markey supports gun control, including improved background checks, ending illegal gun trafficking, and closing loopholes on gun purchases. In 2015 he proposed a "smart gun" bill that aimed to equip handguns with technology making them usable only by the purchaser.
In January 2016 Markey led 18 senators in signing a letter to Thad Cochran and Barbara Mikulski requesting that the Labor, Health and Education subcommittee hold a hearing on whether to allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to fund a study of gun violence and "the annual appropriations rider that some have interpreted as preventing it" with taxpayer dollars. The senators noted their support for taking steps "to fund gun-violence research, because only the United States government is in a position to establish an integrated public-health research agenda to understand the causes of gun violence and identify the most effective strategies for prevention."
After the Orlando nightclub shooting, Markey called for more gun regulations and supported the Feinstein Amendment, which would have made it illegal for suspected terrorists to buy guns. He also supports universal background checks.
In response to the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, Markey said, "This Congress has the responsibility to make sure the NRA stands for 'not relevant anymore' in American politics, and we have to begin this debate now." He co-sponsored a proposal to ban bump stocks, which make a semi-automatic weapons act like automatic weapons.
In November 2017 Markey was a cosponsor of the Military Domestic Violence Reporting Enhancement Act, a bill to create a charge of domestic violence under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and stipulate that convictions must be reported to federal databases to keep abusers from purchasing firearms within three days in an attempt to close a loophole in the UCMJ whereby convicted abusers retain the ability to purchase firearms.
In January 2019 Markey was one of 40 senators to introduce the Background Check Expansion Act, a bill that would require background checks for either the sale or transfer of all firearms, including unlicensed sellers. Exceptions to the bill's background check requirement included transfers between members of law enforcement, loaning firearms for either hunting or sporting events on a temporary basis, giving firearms to members of one's immediate family, firearms being transferred as part of an inheritance, or giving a firearm to another person temporarily for immediate self-defense.
In January 2019, during the 2018â€“19 United States federal government shutdown, Markey was one of 34 senators to sign a letter to Commissioner of Food and Drugs Scott Gottlieb recognizing the efforts of the FDA to address the shutdown's effects on public health and employees while remaining alarmed "that the continued shutdown will result in increasingly harmful effects on the agency's employees and the safety and security of the nation's food and medical products."
In June 2019 Markey was one of eight senators to cosponsor the Territories Health Equity Act of 2019, legislation that would remove the cap on annual federal Medicaid funding and increase federal matching rate for Medicaid expenditures of territories along with providing more funds for prescription drug coverage to low-income seniors in an attempt to equalize funding for American territories Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands with that of U.S. states.
In August 2019 Markey was one of 19 senators to sign a letter to United States Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin and United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar requesting data from the Trump administration in order to help states and Congress understand the potential consequences of the Texas v. United States Affordable Care Act lawsuit, writing that an overhaul of the present health care system would form "an enormous hole in the pocketbooks of the people we serve as well as wreck state budgets".
In April 2019 Markey was one of 41 senators to sign a bipartisan letter to the housing subcommittee praising the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development's Section 4 Capacity Building program as authorizing "HUD to partner with national nonprofit community development organizations to provide education, training, and financial support to local community development corporations (CDCs) across the country" and expressing disappointment that President Trump's budget "has slated this program for elimination after decades of successful economic and community development." The senators wrote of their hope that the subcommittee would support continued funding for Section 4 in Fiscal Year 2020.
In July 2019, following reports that the Trump administration intended to cease protecting spouses, parents and children of active-duty service members from deportation, Markey was one of 22 senators led by Tammy Duckworth to sign a letter arguing that the protection gave service members the ability "to fight for the United States overseas and not worry that their spouse, children, or parents will be deported while they are away" and that its termination would both cause service members personal hardship and negatively affect their combat performance.
Also in July 2019 Markey and 15 other Senate Democrats introduced the Protecting Sensitive Locations Act, which would require, except in special circumstances, that ICE agents get approval from a supervisor before engaging in enforcement actions at sensitive locations, and that agents receive annual training in addition to reporting annually on enforcement actions in those locations.
In February 2019 Markey, Richard Blumenthal, and Josh Hawley sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about Project Atlas and its relevance to "longstanding concerns that Facebook has used its products to deeply intrude into personal privacy."
On October 27, 2006, Markey called for the arrest of security researcher Christopher Soghoian for creating a website to generate fake boarding passes. At 2AM on October 28, 2006, FBI agents raided Soghoian's home to seize computers and other materials.
On October 29, 2006, Markey issued a statement revising his previous comments, stating that the Department of Homeland Security should instead "put him to work showing public officials how easily our security can be compromised". The statement was critical of Soghoian's disclosure methodâ€”deeming it "ill-considered"â€”but also said that "he should not go to jail for his bad judgment".
In May 2018 Markey led 11 senators in signing a letter to Chairman of the Federal Labor Relations Authority Colleen Kiko urging the FLRA to end efforts to close its Boston regional office until Congress debated the matter because the closure would place staff farther away from the federal employees whose rights they protect.
In May 2017 Markey was one of 46 senators to introduce the Equality Act of 2017, described by Representative David Cicilline as ensuring "that every LGBT person can live their lives free from the fear of discrimination. Above all, it's about honoring the values that have guided our nation since its founding. It's critical that Congress pass the Equality Act into law."
In October 2018 Markey was one of 20 senators to sign a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging him to reverse the rolling back of a policy that granted visas to same-sex partners of LGBTQ diplomats who had unions that were not recognized by their home countries, writing that too many places around the world have seen LGBTQ individuals "subjected to discrimination and unspeakable violence, and receive little or no protection from the law or local authorities" and that refusing to let LGBTQ diplomats bring their partners to the US would be equivalent of upholding "the discriminatory policies of many countries around the world."
In June 2019 Markey was one of 18 senators to sign a letter to Pompeo requesting an explanation of a State Department decision not to issue an official statement that year commemorating Pride Month nor to issue the annual cable outlining activities for embassies commemorating Pride Month. They also asked why the LGBTI special envoy position remained vacant and asserted that "preventing the official flying of rainbow flags and limiting public messages celebrating Pride Month signals to the international community that the United States is abandoning the advancement of LGBTI rights as a foreign policy priority."
In August 2013 Markey was one of 23 Democratic senators to sign a letter to the Defense Department warning that some payday lenders were "offering predatory loan products to service members at exorbitant triple digit effective interest rates and loan products that do not include the additional protections envisioned by the law" and asserting that service members and their families "deserve the strongest possible protections and swift action to ensure that all forms of credit offered to members of our armed forces are safe and sound."
Markey speaks at a rally on Net Neutrality in 2017
In May 2014, days before the FCC was scheduled to rewrite its net neutrality rules, Markey was one of 11 senators to sign a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler charging Wheeler's proposal with destroying net neutrality instead of preserving it and urging the FCC to "consider reclassifying Internet providers to make them more like traditional phone companies, over which the agency has clear authority to regulate more broadly."
In September 2017 Markey was one of nine senators to sign a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai that charged the FCC with failing "to provide stakeholders with an opportunity to comment on the tens of thousands of filed complaints that directly shed light on proposed changes to existing net neutrality protections."
In March 2018 Markey was one of ten senators to sign a letter spearheaded by Jeff Merkley lambasting Pai's proposal to cut the Lifeline program during a period where roughly 6.5 million people in poor communities relied on it for access to high-speed internet, writing that it was Pai's "obligation to the American public, as the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, to improve the Lifeline program and ensure that more Americans can afford access, and have means of access, to broadband and phone service." The senators also advocated that "Lifeline reaches more Americans in need of access to communication services."
In July 2019 Markey was an original cosponsor of the Sensible, Timely Relief for Americaâ€™s Nuclear Districtsâ€™ Economic Development (STRANDED) Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Susan Collins and Tammy Duckworth that would give local government entities economic impact grants to offset the economic impact of stranded nuclear waste, form a task force to identify existing funding that could be used to benefit communities, and form a competitive innovative solutions prize competition to aid those communities in their search for alternatives to "nuclear facilities, generating sites, and waste sites."
In February 2017 Markey and 30 other senators signed a letter to KalÃ©o Pharmaceuticals in response to an increase of the opioid-overdose-reversing device Evzio's price from $690 in 2014 to $4,500. They requested the detailed price structure for Evzio, the number of devices KalÃ©o Pharmaceuticals set aside for donation, and the totality of federal reimbursements Evzio received in the previous year.
In March 2017 Markey led 21 senators who signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that said that 12% of adult Medicaid beneficiaries had some form or a substance abuse disorder, that one-third of treatment for opioid and other substance use disorders in the United States is financed by Medicaid, and that the American Health Care Act could "very literally translate into a death spiral for those with opioid use disorders" due to inadequate funding, often resulting in individuals abandoning substance use disorder treatment.
In October 2016 Markey was one of five senators to sign a letter to President Obama requesting the administration halt work on the Dakota Access Pipeline until the permitting process of the Army Corps was transparent and would "include public notice and participation, formal and meaningful tribal consultation, and adequate environmental review", and stating their support for the "tribes along the pipeline route in their fight against the Dakota Access pipeline project."
In June 2019 Markey was one of ten senators to cosponsor the Safe Freight Act, a bill that would require freight trains to have one or more certified conductors and a certified engineer on board who can collaborate on how to protect the train and people living near the tracks. The legislation was meant to correct a Federal Railroad Administration rollback of a proposed rule intended to establish safety standards.
In September 2018 Markey was one of five senators to sign a letter to United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging him to employ more multifactor authentication measures to secure the State Department's information systems and seeking answers on how the department would boost its security following the Office of Management and Budget's designation of the department's cyber readiness as "high risk", what the department would do to address the lack of multifactor authentication required by law, and statistics on the department's cyber incidents over the last three years.