Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO), along with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), and U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rob Portman (R-OH), today introduced new bipartisan legislation, the Trafficking Survivors Relief Act of 2016, which would clear criminal records of victims of human trafficking. This bill would apply to non-violent crimes committed by individuals as a direct result of human trafficking.
Human trafficking is a modern day form of slavery affecting millions in the United States and abroad. This crime involves either the use of force, fraud, or coercion to exploit a person for labor or commercial sex, or the exploitation of a minor for commercial sex. As a result of being trafficked, victims are commonly charged with crimes such as conspiracy, money laundering, drug trafficking, and related offenses that then follow them throughout the duration of their lives. These charges make it difficult for human trafficking victims to find jobs and housing, leaving them vulnerable to being exploited and trafficked again.
“We have a moral obligation to protect survivors of trafficking who were arrested or convicted for offenses that they were forced to commit,” said Congresswoman Ann Wagner. “No victims of trafficking should be criminalized for the horrific exploitation they have endured. I am proud that with this legislation we are giving survivors a fresh start and an opportunity to recover from trauma, social stigma, and discrimination.”
“Tens of thousands of men, women, and children are victims of human trafficking each year. Too often, they are charged as criminals, thrown in prison, and trailed by a criminal history the rest of their lives instead of getting the care and help they need. The Trafficking Survivors Relief Act will empower human trafficking victims to escape the chains of their past and move forward with their lives,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
“We need to make sure we’re doing everything we can to take care of human trafficking survivors who manage to escape from captivity,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “In many cases, when trafficked people – including children – are forced into slavery, they are tagged with criminal charges that stay with them for the rest of their lives, even though they have absolutely no freedom to say no to their captors, who force them to commit crimes. I urge all of my colleagues to support this legislation to clear non-violent criminal convictions of trafficking victims who were forced to break the law while in captivity. We all have a responsibility to take care of the most vulnerable Americans.”
“Thousands of innocent women and girls have been victimized by human traffickers across our country. I’ve met with a number of brave survivors in Ohio who have told me that after they were forced into sex and raped by strangers, they were charged with prostitution. I think that’s outrageous. They’re not criminals; they’re victims, and these charges come at a time when they are suffering. It’s time to stop punishing these victims and instead help them get their lives back,” said Senator Rob Portman.
The Trafficking Survivors Relief Act of 2016 would require victims to provide supporting documentation in order to get their non-violent criminal records vacated. These documents can include the following:
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO-02) attended a classified briefing held by representatives of the U.S. Departments of State, Justice and Treasury following the Obama Administration’s inability to publicly answer Congressional questions in regard to the recent ransom deal with Iran. After the classified briefing, Congresswoman Wagner released the following statement:
“After a near two-hour classified briefing, I am more certain than ever that the Obama Administration paid a cash ransom to Iran for the release of American hostages. This was a negotiated deal where our leaders caved to the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, despite a long-standing national policy to never pay ransom for hostages. The Administration engaged in a reckless transaction, which sets a dangerous precedent for the future of our country, further weakens relations with our allies, emboldens our enemies, and most importantly, puts American lives in danger around the world.”
Congresswoman Wagner recently questioned officials from the U.S. Departments of State, Justice, and Treasury during a Financial Services Committee Oversight and Investigations hearing focused on the Obama Administration’s deal with Iran.
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO-02) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Prohibiting Future Ransom Payments to Iran Act, with a 254-163 vote:
“Americans, including myself, are outraged that the Obama Administration paid a $1.7 billion ransom payment in unmarked bills to Iran. The Islamic Republic of Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and this Administration carelessly gave them cash that has been reportedly transferred to the Iranian military, funding Hezbollah and other terrorist proxies. This vote tonight will prevent such reckless and unimaginable payments in the future by the United States government.”
Congresswoman Wagner recently questioned officials from the U.S. Departments of State, Justice, and Treasury during a Financial Services Committee Oversight and Investigations hearing focused on the Obama Administration’s deal with Iran. Congresswoman Wagner asked for a classified briefing, saying that the American people deserve more clarity on unknown details related to the ransom payment.
Watch the hearing clip here:
For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO-02) awarded the St. Louis-based Christian Family Services (CFS) with the 2016 Angels in Adoption Award, recognizing the organization for its extraordinary contribution on behalf of children in need of families. CFS provides adoptive care for children, crisis pregnancy counseling, and counseling for families, couples and individuals.
“Christian Family Services earned this prestigious award through their hard work and dedication to the children and families within the greater St. Louis metropolitan region,” said Congresswoman Wagner. “A leading organization dedicated to helping children find homes, while also offering crisis pregnancy and family counseling, Christian Family Services is an incredible asset to our community, and we are delighted to recognize their service with this award.”
For the past 18 years the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) has hosted the Angels in Adoption® Program to celebrate individuals, couples, and organizations from across the nation who have made an extraordinary contribution on behalf of children in need of families.
Christian Family Services has been located in Webster Groves for 43 years, and their mission is to “find homes for children and help families find solutions.”
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Wagner (R-MO-02) questioned officials from the U.S. Departments of State, Justice, and Treasury during an Oversight and Investigations hearing focused on the Obama Administration’s deal with Iran and whether its cash payments to the Iranian government constitute a ransom.
After the hearing, Congresswoman Wagner released the following statement:
“After today’s hearing, it is becoming even more clear that the Obama Administration lied to the American people and sent a cargo plane loaded with $400 million in cash to pay Iran for the release of American hostages and subsequently sent an additional $1.3 billion in cash following the release of the hostages. To believe anything else is inconceivable.
“The Administration on multiple occasions has said they have held up this payment to ensure all of the hostages were on a plane leaving Iran before releasing the cash. While the Administration calls this payment leverage, I call it ransom. Without assurances, they gave Iran a total of $1.7 billion in cash that has reportedly gone into their military budget and perhaps even funded terrorism. While President Obama would like to hide the details behind classified briefings, Congress will get the American people the answers they deserve.”
Watch the hearing clip here:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Accelerating Access to Capital Act (HR 2357), sponsored by Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO-02), with a 236-178 vote. The Accelerating Access to Capital Act amends the Securities Exchange Commission’s registration process for additional capital, reducing this regulatory burden on small companies and allowing them to allocate more resources toward growth and job creation.
“I am thrilled we are continuing to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens on American companies. This legislation will allow small businesses to expand, create jobs, and better compete in the marketplace,” said Congresswoman Wagner. “I talk with small business owners across Missouri’s Second District every day, and it is clear that big government regulations continue to suffocate our businesses and families. We must provide opportunities to restore access to capital that the Obama Administration has spent years trying to block.”
Fuel Performance Solutions, a small business in St. Louis, conducted an internal study and found that instead of filling out a 100-page registration form, which takes about 4-6 weeks to complete, this legislation will allow them to fill out a 20-page form, which only takes 2 days to complete. As a result, they would incur less legal, accounting, and investment banking fees and save $225,000.
Earlier today, Congresswoman Wagner spoke on the positive impact this legislation will have on businesses across the country. Watch her floor speech here:
Congresswoman Wagner’s Floor Remarks, as prepared:
Thank you Mr. Speaker, I’m proud to sponsor the Accelerating Access to Capital Act, HR 2357, and I would like to thank my colleagues Rep. Emmer and Chairman Garrett for their legislation as well. Regulatory burden is one of the reasons why we are still in the slowest recovery of our lifetime since the financial crisis, and small businesses are finding it more and more difficult to find financing in order to grow and expand their business.
Dodd-Frank has made traditional bank lending for small businesses more scarce, and smaller companies that wish to go to the capital markets, are finding the compliance and regulatory requirements to be too extensive and costly.
This legislation builds upon other efforts by this committee to provide simplified disclosure and reduce burdens for smaller companies in order to lower the cost of raising capital.
Specifically, this would extend to smaller reporting companies the ability to utilize Form S-3, a much more simplified registration for companies that have already met prior reporting requirements with the SEC. Allowing small companies to use this form would provide significant benefits with its shorter length, allowing forward incorporation by reference, and the ability to offer securities “off the shelf,” which are all things that larger companies are currently able to enjoy.
Streamlining disclosure will lower compliance costs associated with filing redundant paperwork, which will in turn allow companies to direct more resources to growing their business.
Fuel Performance Solutions, which is a company based out of St. Louis, has spent the past 10 years working on exciting fuel products that could potentially save Americans money at the pump and reduce harmful emissions.
In order to fund this research in breakthrough technology, Fuel Performance Solutions eventually decided to register with the SEC and go public to raise more capital and expand their business.
The company conducted a study and found that instead of filling out a 100-page registration form, which takes about 4-6 weeks to complete, this legislation would have allowed them to fill out a 20-page form, which only takes 2 days to complete. As a result, they would have incurred less legal, accounting, and investment banking fees and saved close to $225,000.
Additionally, under this job growth legislation, they could have received SEC approval in days, rather than months, and thereby obtained certainty in regards to funding their business.
I am proud that the greater metropolitan St. Louis region is the fastest-growing start-up scene in the country, but we must provide opportunities for these businesses and many others to grow and thrive in the marketplace.
Extending these cost saving provisions to smaller companies that large companies are currently able to enjoy is absolutely critical and can make the difference in their ability to issue an additional offering, expand their business, and create more jobs. The Accelerating Access to Capital Act will do just that.
I urge passage of this legislation, and I yield back the balance of my time.
For Immediate Release
Contact:Meghan Burris | (202) 225-1621
BALLWIN, MO – Today, Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO-02) released the following statement after the Supreme Court struck down a Texas law in the case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt:
“I am shocked by the Supreme Court’s failure today to protect the lives of this nation’s unborn children and their mothers. I cannot understand the logic employed by the court in overturning a commonsense Texas law that protects women’s health. As a legislator, but more importantly as a woman and mother, I believe that our courts must consider the consequences for women’s health of negligent standards of care at abortion clinics that do not meet the minimum standards for ambulatory surgical centers. This is why I signed onto an amicus brief supporting the state of Texas in this case. I will continue to fight for improved women’s health and to protect the life of our innocent unborn children.”
For Immediate Release
Contact: Meghan Burris | (202) 225-1621
Today, Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO-02) released the following statement after the Supreme Court ruled against President Obama’s plan to implement executive amnesty, which would grant legal status to an estimated four million illegal immigrants:
“Today, the Constitution won. The Supreme Court’s decision reaffirms the vision of the Founders that the Congress makes law, not the President. For nearly 300 years, our democracy has represented the People, and President Obama’s plan for executive amnesty not only threatened our nation’s security and economic opportunity, but undermined the spirit of self-governance for which our nation was founded.
“Over the past several decades, it has become clear that our immigration system is broken and we must find meaningful solutions to secure our borders and fix the de-facto amnesty we see today. The solution to this issue will be solved only when the President enforces existing law and works with the elected members of Congress. I am pleased the Supreme Court today reminded the President there are three branches of government and he cannot legislate on his own.”
Wagner’s Opposition to Executive Amnesty:
In November, 2014, Congresswoman Wagner was one of 17 cosponsors of the Preventing Executive Overreach on Immigration Act of 2014, which passed the House in December. (113th Congress)
In May 2015, Congresswoman Wagner joined 112 other members of Congress in signing an amicus brief on behalf of Texas v. the United States, challenging President Obama's executive actions on immigration.
Last week, Congresswoman Wagner spoke on the House floor to express her opposition to the President’s plan to grant executive amnesty and his disregard for Article I of the Constitution:
For Immediate Release
Contact: Meghan Burris | (202) 225-1621
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Wagner (R-MO-02) released remarks she was unable to deliver due to House Democrats’ occupation of the Floor of the United States House of Representatives. The remarks were prepared in response to President Obama’s veto of a Joint Resolution to stop the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule but were disrupted by Democrats refusing to allow the House to conduct its business.
In response to today’s House insurrection, Congresswoman Wagner said, “By refusing to debate, or even allow the House to conduct the people’s business, House Democrats have denied America’s average investors the opportunity to be heard. I hope that my colleagues will read these remarks and hear the voices of all the people they are harming.”
Floor Remarks, As Prepared:
Today I rise to urge my colleagues to override the President’s veto of a bipartisan piece of legislation passed this Congress to protect low- and middle-income investors.
By overturning this veto, we are standing up for American families and protecting them from the Department of Labor’s ill-advised fiduciary rule.
I’d like to thank my colleagues, Congressman Roe and Congressman Boustany, for working with me to protect Americans’ freedom to choose how they invest in their future by introducing the Joint Resolution to stop this rule.
The Administration calls it the “fiduciary rule,” but it is really just Obamacare for Americans’ savings accounts, and another power grab by Washington bureaucrats to control our retirement savings.
You see, this rule will make financial advice more costly and less available to millions of middle-income workers and retirees. With a number of organizations already in court making their case why this rule is unworkable, it’s clear that jobs are on the line, and more importantly, families will lose access to sound professional financial advice.
Mr. Speaker, the United Kingdom implemented a similar “fiduciary rule” years ago and evidence shows that confusion, uncertainty, and fees have led financial advisors to drop nearly 300,000 customers. Additionally, research shows that approximately 60,000 people were denied initial advice from an advisor.
Today, more than ever before, Americans are worried about their future. They are struggling to save for their retirement, to put a child through college, to cover an unexpected medical expense, or to fix their broken air conditioning today, the hottest day of the year in St. Louis. And as difficult as that is today – Washington is going to make that even more challenging with this one thousand page regulation.
Simply put, we know these regulations do not work. We’ve seen them fail. We’ve seen them hurt those who can least afford it during this savings crisis.
Both Chambers of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, came together and recognized the harm this rule will have on those looking to save for retirement. But with his veto pen, the President chose to stand with Washington, rather than countless American families.
Congress cannot stand by as this Administration does to America’s savings accounts what it has done to our health care system – raise costs and eliminate choices. We must protect the retirement security of all Americans. We must put families first.
Colleagues, I ask that you vote today to override this reckless veto that will negatively impact every single one of your constituents for years to come.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I yield back.”
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO-02) commended the House passage of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (H.R. 5293). This legislation approves necessary funding for the U.S. Department of Defense, and included in the bill was funding for 16 F/A-18E Super Hornets in the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
“I am thankful that we are another step closer to securing additional Super Hornets for production and maintenance in St. Louis. At a time of increased fear and threats of violent Islamic extremism, these jets are critical in supporting our war fighters abroad and protecting our families at home,” said Congresswoman Wagner. “In addition to addressing the Navy’s tactical aviation shortfall, these 16 Super Hornets will provide 5,000 direct jobs in St. Louis and thousands of jobs across the state, boosting our local economy for years to come.”
The $1.35 billion in funding provided for the Super Hornets will allow for continued production and maintenance of the aircraft through the end of 2018 and into 2019, supporting approximately 5,000 jobs in the St. Louis area and more than 15,000 jobs across the state of Missouri.
As a leading proponent of the Super Hornets, Wagner testified before the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee in April to underscore the shortage of aircraft and need for increased funding.
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Ann Wagner’s career is both deep and broad in service to her hometown, state and nation with over 25 years of work in the private sector, community and public service, and the political arena.
The 2nd District means family for Ann. It is where she and her husband of twenty-five years, Ray, grew up, went to school, raised their children, work, volunteer and go to church. This community has given her extraordinary opportunities to make a difference.
At an early age, Ann started working in the family business, a retail carpet store called Carpetime in Manchester. Working beside her parents she learned the value of a dollar, a strong work ethic, honesty, integrity, and that government ought not be in the way and on the backs of hard-working Americans trying to make a living.
Ann then took her firsthand experience to the University of Missouri-Columbia and received her BSBA from the Business School with an emphasis in Logistics. After college, Ann went to work in the private sector and held management positions at Hallmark Cards in Kansas City and Ralston Purina in St. Louis.
Ann’s most important jobs, however, have always been as a wife and mother. Ann and Ray have three children: Raymond, a recent West Point graduate stationed at Fort Campbell with the 101st Airborne; Stephen, a Client Services Manager for a St. Louis area financial management company; and Mary Ruth, a freshmen at Miami University in Ohio.
Ann Wagner’s public service began at the grassroots level. She served for nine years as a local committeewoman in Lafayette Township and went on to Chair the Missouri Republican Party delivering historic Republican gains. She also served as Co-Chairman of the Republican National Committee during the first term of President George W. Bush.
In 2005, following nomination by President Bush and confirmation by the U.S. Senate, Ann was sworn in as the 19th U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. She served as U.S. Ambassador for four years before returning to her home in Ballwin, Missouri.
In 2010, Ann was asked to serve as the Chairman of Roy Blunt’s successful U.S. Senate campaign in Missouri. Bringing her high energy and political skills to the campaign, Ann helped unite existing and new conservative grassroots activists to produce a landslide victory.
Ann announced her first run for public office on April 26, 2011 and has attended hundreds of events including forums, debates, picnics, meetings and rallies. Her signature grassroots “Table Tops” have been a listening and learning tour in homes all across the district. Her strong connection to her community has helped Ann recruit hundreds of volunteers from every corner of the 2nd Congressional District.
Ann won her 2012 Congressional race with over 60% of the vote and received more votes than any other Republican candidate for Congress in the State of Missouri this cycle.
Ann will serve on the House Financial Services Committee – a key committee for the 2nd District and St. Louis region. St. Louis and its suburbs are national and regional centers for financial services activity. Over 84,000 people in St. Louis and its suburbs are employed in the financial services industry with a total payroll of around $4.57 billion.
The St. Louis area is also home to national investment firms including Edward Jones, Scottrade, Stifel Financial and Wells Fargo Advisors, to name a few, making it one of the largest clusters of brokerage firms and personnel outside of New York.
Ann was also selected by the Freshman Class of the 113th Congress to be their representative on the Elected Leadership Committee.
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