Supporting Our First Responders
On October 29, the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure passed H.Con.Res.37, to designate October 28 as National First Responders Day. We owe the brave men and women who serve across the country as first responders a debt of gratitude for the work they do to keep our communities safe. I proudly sponsored this resolution because I believe first responders deserve to be recognized for their commitment to safety, defense, and honor. This resolution allows Americans to recognize and honor their service and sacrifice for our country. You may read more about this resolution here.
Fighting Baseless Impeachment Inquiry
Last week was the first time the American public was able to see the House Democrats’ witnesses testify in public during the official impeachment inquiry. Over the past six weeks, depositions have occurred behind closed doors with selectively leaked information coming from Adam Schiff, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who has been blatantly misleading the American public.
Interview with Martha MacCallum - watch it here.
The first two public hearings featured Ambassador to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, George Kent, and former Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. The bottom line: none of these witnesses had first-hand knowledge of the phone call between President Trump and President Zelensky. Additionally, the military aid to Ukraine was ultimately released without any commitments from the Ukrainian President.
It is incomprehensible that some in Congress are working to impeach a duly elected president on hearsay alone. As a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, I will continue to listen to the facts and fight for the transparency the American people deserve.
Discussing Impeachment with Laura Ingraham - watch it here.
Fighting for Federal Agency Transparency
I cosponsored H.R.4929, Too Long; Didn’t Read Act of 2019. This bill will improve and expedite the process of reading and filling out paperwork for federal benefits. Far too often, this task places unnecessary burdens on families and individuals with confusing language and lengthy forms. Americans value their time and deserve clear and concise communication with federal agencies.
The bill directs the Office of Management and Budget to require federal agencies to place important action items at the beginning of their letters to Americans. They would also be required to include information such as the deadline for the action item, how to complete it, whether it is required or optional, and how to contact the agency. This will streamline the process of applying for federal benefits and will make rules and regulations easier for Americans to navigate. I am proud to join Rep. Seth Moulton and my colleagues in this bipartisan effort to make the government more efficient for the people it serves. You may read more about the bill here.
Congratulations to C.A.R.E. of Transylvania County
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is taking measures to prevent substance abuse in communities across the nation. As part of that effort, HHS awarded the C.A.R.E. (Community Awareness Recovery Effort) Coalition of Transylvania County Drug Free Communities Project with a $125,000 grant. The C.A.R.E coalition is a grassroots non-profit organization focusing on reducing substance abuse and misuse in Brevard and the surrounding area. I admire their dedication to a healthy and vibrant Transylvania County and am glad their hard work is being recognized.
I encourage you to read more about the work that C.A.R.E. is doing to combat substance abuse in Transylvania County here.
Faith Based Adoption
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on November 1 that the agency will not continue enforcing an Obama-era rule that forced faith-based adoption agencies to go against their religious convictions by affirming gay marriage or else risk being shut down.
This Obama-era practice was a violation of the First Amendment as well as the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, which governs the issuance of certain federal regulations on small businesses and organizations. HHS will continue to comply by applicable Supreme Court decisions and nondiscrimination provisions in the law. The discretion of faith-based agencies when it comes to who they allow to adopt children in need and who become part of their foster care networks is based on religious conviction.
I applaud HHS Secretary Alex Azar for this crucial step forward in the Trump Administration’s effort to uphold religious freedom and the rule of law in America for all people. Any federal regulation that interferes with moral convictions is at risk of violating religious liberty outlined in the Constitution, and impeding the incredible work done by faith-based agencies across the country to alleviate the foster care crisis. You may read more about HHS plans to address the issue here.
Honoring My Friend, Elijah Cummings
Last week, I introduced House Resolution 969, which establishes that the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Hearing Room be named the “Elijah E. Cummings Room.” Mr. Cummings faithfully served as the Chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee. Though we disagreed on many policy areas, we found common ground and we were able to work together on issues that are facing American families. This resolution is an important way to honor my friend and public servant who passed on October 17, 2019. My prayers continue to go out to the Cummings family and the people of Baltimore, Maryland.
Promoting Aviation Safety
The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has been overseeing how the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is implementing several recent safety reforms. In addition to a hearing with the FAA Administrator in September, I joined a letter from the Committee urging the FAA to ensure its safety programs are well staffed and completed in a timely manner. The 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act directed the FAA to identify organization designation authorization (ODA) staffing and oversight needs, update its safety strategy workforce training, and determine the number of aviation safety inspectors that will be needed to fulfill its safety oversight mission. Lessons the FAA learns from implementing these reforms will assist Congress in its response to the Boeing 737 Max accidents. Along with my colleagues, I will continue to prioritize safety in our transportation system and conduct rigorous oversight to maintain safety for Americans while they travel.
Helping Veterans Pursue Careers in Education
In honor of Veteran’s Day, I proudly sponsored H.R.5067 – The Troops Educating and Managing Schools (TEAMS) Act. This bill takes recommendations provided by President Trump’s Department of Education Federal Commission on School Safety report to expand the scope of the Troops-to-Teacher program to help veterans seek careers serving in education after retiring from military service. Under this bill, veterans would be eligible to serve in a wider range of vocations at schools across the country, including as principals, counselors, deans, administrators, nurses, and school resource officers. Our nation is proud to have so many veterans who have faithfully served their country in a military capacity. The Troops Educating and Managing Schools Act provides us the opportunity to give back to our veterans by equipping them with the support and assistance they need in order to succeed in a post-military career. You may read more about this legislation on my website. You may also review the President’s school safety report here.