(Allentown, PA) – Representative Charlie Dent (PA-15)—who serves as Chairman of the House Military Construction & Veterans Affairs (MILCON-VA) Appropriations Subcommittee—hosted a roundtable discussion today focused on improving veterans’ healthcare within Pennsylvania’s 15th Congressional District. Participants included VA Secretary The Honorable Dr. David Shulkin, who joined other leaders from within the Department of Veterans Affairs as well as several of the community healthcare institutions that serve patients in the district and a number of local veteran advocates and representatives.
“As Americans, we owe our lives to the selflessness and resilience of the men and women who have served in our armed forces. Through my role as Chairman of the MILCON-VA Appropriations Subcommittee, and as a Member of Congress entrusted with representing the tens of thousands of veterans and military families who reside in our local communities, I am grateful to be in a position to advocate for those who have sacrificed on behalf of our nation. These men and women deserve to have access to the highest quality of medical care possible. Productive conversations, like the one today, provide an important starting point for broader debate about the future of the VA and the healthcare services they provide to America’s veterans. The issues confronting the VA, Congress, and our veterans requires an approach that incorporates a broad set of feedback from all those involved. Today’s conversation is one I look forward to continuing.”
Held at Cedar Crest College, the summit discussion addressed specific issues regarding the Veterans Choice Program and other community care programs, with a specific focus on how the program has been working since first established in 2014. Recommendations for improvement were sought to aid the program in its next iteration. The conversation also touched on how Chairman Dent could assist in further improving veterans care through his role on the MILCON-VA Appropriations Subcommittee. Finally, the group looked ahead at some of the issues facing the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations bill.
“A lot of progress has been made in our efforts to improve treatment and access issues within the VA,” Dent added. “However, there are still a number of areas that need additional attention. Secretary Shulkin, and the rest of the dedicated VA employees and healthcare providers here in Pennsylvania’s 15th Congressional District and across the country, are committed to finding solutions that address these areas. I will work to ensure the VA is able to meet our commitment to provide quality care and treatment to America’s veterans.”
CONTACT: Shawn Millan (610) 770-3490Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representative Charlie Dent (PA-15) joined House colleagues Jim Himes (CT-4) and Lou Barletta (PA-11) in introducing H.R. 1732, the Synthetic Drug Control Act of 2017, which would address the dangerous use of synthetic drugs by blocking the sale of the deadly compounds that are used to develop those drugs.
“The devastation that synthetic substances and drugs have caused in my district and across the country is heartbreaking. Protecting our communities from these unnatural compounds has been a longstanding priority, and the Synthetic Drug Control Act will ensure that the dangers posed by these drugs are properly acknowledged and addressed,” Dent said. “As demonstrated by the horrific flakka killing in Bethlehem last year, and by many other incidents of overdoses, synthetic drugs are a public safety threat and should be kept off the streets. This bill will restrict the sale and spread of these lab-produced substances and aid law enforcement in their ongoing work to keep our communities safe.”
Currently, these substances are marketed as innocent products like bath salts, plant food, or incense, and they are sold under brand names familiar to their users, such as K2 or Spice. The fact that these drugs are not illegal contributes to the misconception that they are safe.
If enacted, H.R. 1732 would require the U.S. Attorney General to classify approximately 250 dangerous synthetic substances under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Schedule I substances, drugs, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse, such as heroin and LSD. The ban would prohibit the sale of these drugs in brick and mortar stores and online.
“I am proud to have worked with my friend, Charlie Dent, on this strong, bipartisan legislation,” Representative Jim Himes (CT-4) added. “Communities across the nation are being torn apart by the opioid epidemic and other drug-related crises. Synthetic drugs, which include variations of the extremely dangerous opioid fentanyl, are exacerbating an already out of control problem. This bill bans some of the worst synthetic drugs, which are nothing more than unregulated poison masquerading as a harmless high and marketed toward young people.”
“Protecting our loved ones and our communities from the harmful, and in many cases deadly, abuse of these synthetic substances will require a bipartisan coalition,” Dent concluded. “I’m proud to join Representatives Himes and Barletta in sponsoring this bill, and I truly believe this is a great next step to combat synthetic drugs in our communities.”
(Washington, D.C.) Representative Charlie Dent (PA-15) released the following statement regarding the American Health Care Act today:
“Healthcare reform should be about making care more affordable and accessible for American families. This bill misses the mark. It is time that we step back and focus on enacting durable, sustainable, and bipartisan reform of the American health care system that will lower costs, increase access and ensure quality care for all Americans.”
CONTACT: Shawn Millan (610) 770-3490Read More
(Washington, D.C.) Representative Charlie Dent released the following statement this evening regarding the American Health Care Act:
“The American health care system is in need of reform. The Affordable Care Act, which I voted against seven years ago, has failed to live up to the promises of the previous Administration. Too many Americans have seen their health care costs rise, insurers are fleeing the marketplace, and businesses are struggling under the increased costs and regulations. In Pennsylvania the average 2017 premium increase for all individual market plans was 32%, and 68% of counties have only one or two insurers offering plans on the exchange. Clearly something must be done.
Over the past few weeks, I have diligently reviewed the American Health Care Act and recently proposed Amendments. I have spoken with constituents, leaders in the health care patient and provider community, Republican and Democrat Governors, Senators, the President and many others. After careful deliberation, I cannot support the bill and will oppose it. I believe this bill, in its current form, will lead to the loss of coverage and make insurance unaffordable for too many Americans, particularly for low-to-moderate income and older individuals. We have an important opportunity to enact reforms that will result in real health care transformation--bringing down costs and improving health outcomes. This legislation misses the mark.
I hope that the House can step back from this vote and arbitrary deadline to focus on getting health care reform done right to ensure that American families have access to affordable health care.”
CONTACT: Shawn Millan (610) 770-3490Read More
2455 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Charlie Dent was first sworn in to the United States House of Representatives in January 2005. He represents Pennsylvania’s 15th District, which includes all or parts of Berks, Dauphin, Lebanon, Lehigh, and Northampton counties. Congressman Dent currently serves on two House committees: Appropriations and Ethics.
Born May 24, 1960, Charlie is a life-long Lehigh Valley resident. He was raised in Allentown by his parents, Marjorie and the late Walter R. “Pete” Dent, a Bethlehem Steel employee. Charlie and his wife Pamela live in Allentown with their three children, Kathryn, William, and Jack. Charlie is a 1978 graduate of William Allen High School. He earned a degree in Foreign Service and International Politics from the Pennsylvania State University in 1982 and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Lehigh University in 1993.
Before entering public service, Charlie worked as a development officer for Lehigh University, an industrial electronics salesman, and an aide to then-Representative Don Ritter. Charlie served eight years in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and six years in the State Senate.
In the state legislature, Charlie was Chair of the Senate Urban Affairs Committee and a task force focusing on the state’s children and youth placement services. He also championed significant landlord/tenant legislation and the creation of Adult Basic, a program designed to provide health insurance coverage for low-income, working adults.
Now in his fifth term in Congress, Charlie has developed an expertise in homeland security and transportation issues through his committee assignments in the House, building on his existing knowledge and experiences from 14 years in the state legislature and his educational background. In those areas, he has championed legislation that would: promote the use of the Civil Air Patrol to better secure our borders; develop a comprehensive screening system that will allow border officials to determine that passengers are who they say they are; enhance chemical plant security; expedite and enforce the repatriation of criminal aliens; require notification to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and detention of illegal aliens that are arrested on state felony charges; advance the use of clean energy technology in public transportation applications; and establish reasonable security provisions for large aircraft.
Charlie has also been an advocate on health issues. In 2008, legislation he and his colleague Rep. Mike Doyle (PA-14) introduced to update the Veteran’s Health Administration’s outdated HIV/AIDS testing policy was signed into law. He has been instrumental in providing federal funding for melanoma research, and a staunch supporter of medical research through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Charlie has worked closely with the MPS (Mucopolysaccharidoses) community to draw awareness to this devastating genetic lysosomal storage disease, caused by the body’s inability to produce specific enzymes, and focus the research that is being conducted. He has also been active in advancing legislation aimed at the prevention and elimination of chronic viral hepatitis. Finally, Charlie is one of the leading voices in Congress for commonsense medical liability reforms that will increase patient safety, improve the quality of care, reduce the incidence of defensive medicine, preserve access to highly-skilled medical professionals, and ensure fair compensation for injured patients.
While in Washington, Charlie’s focus is always on the 15th District of Pennsylvania. He has enacted legislation to designate the H. Gordon Payrow Post Office Building in Bethlehem and the Mayor Joseph S. Daddona Memorial Post Office in Allentown. Charlie was instrumental in securing Department of Justice funding for the 222 Corridor Anti-Gang Initiative and has introduced legislation that would establish regional anti-gang task forces — bringing federal, state and local law enforcement together to fight the growing problem of gang violence. In 2009, Congress enacted provisions authored by Charlie and Rep. Paul Kanjorski (PA-11) reauthorizing the Delaware & Lehigh Heritage Corridor, which is a federally designated Heritage Area dedicated to conserving the historic transportation network that brought anthracite coal from the mines to the markets in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Rep. Kanjorski and Charlie also worked together in establishing the Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Monroe and Northampton Counties. Finally, Charlie has introduced a bill to designate a National Museum of Industrial History on the former Bethlehem Steel Plant site.
Charlie has demonstrated leadership in Washington. He is a Co-Chair of the Tuesday Group, a group of center-right Republicans dedicated to promoting fiscal responsibility, personal independence and a strong national defense. In 2005, Charlie joined with three colleagues to form the bi-partisan Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Caucus. Under Charlie’s leadership as a Co-Chair, the caucus plays an important role in promoting and enhancing awareness of hydrogen and fuel cell technology. Since the 110th Congress, Charlie has served as the Pennsylvania Co-Chair of the Delaware River Basin Task Force which is a bipartisan group of members of the U.S. House of Representatives from the four basin states (Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania) that coordinate Congressional efforts to promote the restoration and vitality of the Delaware River Basin and its communities. Representing one of the top cement-producing District in the nation, Charlie also Chairs the Congressional Cement Caucus. In this role, Charlie helps shape policy that impacts one of the Lehigh Valley’s most traditional and vibrant industries.
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