Gregg Harper

Gregg Harper

MISSISSIPPI's 3rd DISTRICT

Imperial presidency

2014/07/01

Dear Friend,

Remember when the President said, "I've got a pen and I've got a phone?"

On one matter after another during his presidency, President Obama has circumvented the Congress through executive action, creating his owns laws and excusing himself from executing statutes he is sworn to enforce -- at times even boasting about his willingness to do it , as if daring the American people to stop him.

Well, last week House Speaker John Boehner announced that he intended to bring legislation to the House Floor that would authorize the House of Representatives to sue the President in efforts to compel him to follow his oath of office and faithfully execute the laws of our country.

Presidents have traditionally been granted a degree of latitude with respect to the enforcement of the law. At various points in our history when the Executive Branch has attempted to claim for itself the ability to make law, Congress has responded in a manner rebuking the sitting President.

Republican Speaker Joseph Gurney Cannon, famously complained of Theodore Roosevelt: "That fellow at the other end of the avenue wants everything from the birth of Christ to the death of the devil," in response to Roosevelt's overreach into Congress' regulatory powers. Likewise, when Franklin Delano Roosevelt announced his plan to "pack" the  Supreme Court, it was a Democrat, Henry Ashurst, who labeled it a "preclude to tyranny."

President Obama's aggressive unilateralism in rulemaking and enforcement has significant implications for our system of government. That it why it is necessary in this moment to involve the Judicial Branch and remedy the continuing failures by President Obama in the execution of our laws (i.e. immigration, climate control, Obamacare). When there is a failure on the part of the President to faithfully execute the law or to overreach in his powers, the House has the authority to challenge in the Judicial Branch by filing suit in federal court.

The President was once skeptical of the aggresive use of presidential power. During his 2008 campaign, he accused President George W. Bush of regularly circumventing Congress. Yet as President, Obama has grown increasingly bold in his own use of executive action, at times to controversial effect.

Our third branch of governmemt is charged with the power to resolve disputes between the Executive and Legislative Branches, and it is imperative that the House compels this President to cease from ignoring some statutes altogether, selectively enforcing others, and at times, creating laws of his own.

This past week, the Supreme Court reined in the President in a 9-0 vote ruling that President Obama overreached in utilizing his presidential powers, when he filled senior government posts without Senate approval.

In this crucial time we must continue to combat this imperial presidency and defend the constitutional principles upon which our system of government is built. Stay tuned.   

God Bless,

Gregg Harper                                                                                                                                                        Member of Congress  

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Subminimum wage must end

2014/06/06

Subminimum wage must end By Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.)Originally appearing in The Hill.

Minimum wage has become a more common conversation around dinner tables. From the State of the Union address to the president’s recent executive order concerning federal workers, folks are paying attention to pay stubs.

Regardless of where one falls on the issue, a topic that is outrageously absent from this discussion is the legalized payment of subminimum wages to disabled workers. Let me repeat that. The federal government allows companies to pay disabled employees below minimum wage, leaving some making as little as 3 cents per hour.

How can this confused moral perspective continue? The answer is a 1938 labor law allowing employers to receive special wage certificates. Some of these companies would shock you. Like Goodwill Industries — a company whose mission, in part, claims “… to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families.” Even so, some Goodwill employees earn pennies on the hour while the company spends millions of dollars per year on executive compensation. Those who utilize the subminimum wage generally enjoy nonprofit, tax-free status, and have guaranteed access to government contracts.

This model may have provided opportunities to disabled workers in 1938. But in 2014, it is simply not the most appropriate strategy for creating real training and employment scenarios.

Plus, this waiver program leaves hundreds of thousands of individuals perpetually dependent on social programs. By authorizing subminimum wages, the federal government is in essence forcing the disabled to rely on public benefits.

This is why I authored the Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act, a bill to provide fair and moral pay to workers with disabilities in sheltered, segregated workshops.

This issue is not about increasing the minimum wage. It is about reversing years of discrimination and backward thinking about the capacity of workers with disabilities.

As a parent of a child with a disability, I have come to understand that techniques evolve every day that make the seemingly impossible, possible. My wife, Sidney, and I have observed our son Livingston, who has Fragile X syndrome, overcoming challenges that we never thought he would. We have witnessed the perseverance and dedication he has displayed in going after his dreams. We have full faith in his potential to be a productive member of society and contribute greatly to improving his community.

Although many feel that there are those who are too severely disabled to work in a competitive integrated work environment, strategies are being developed every day to make it possible for individuals just like Livingston to obtain and maintain gainful employment. But if our government continues to support a model that believes it is impossible, we will continue to impede the development of these groundbreaking strategies.

The recognition of the employment capacity of this disenfranchised population of people with disabilities is a necessary evolution of our society. Our understanding of the employability of those with disabilities continues to grow. The types of jobs and skills to perform these tasks expand every day. Even more, assistive technologies empowering workers with disabilities to be productive are constantly being developed. In order to provide real opportunities for every individual to reach their full potential, the tools and tactics for employment must perpetually move forward.

Some may still feel that it is not the right time to change this employment model. My view is that this antiquated system has not significantly changed since 1938, pushing the unemployment rate for people with disabilities above 75 percent. If we do not work to modernize this system now, then when should we do it?

In order to ensure that we become the best America, we must ensure the full participation of every citizen. This includes our friends and neighbors with disabilities. If we are going to turn things around, we must create opportunities for individuals to become beneficial contributing members of our society, not create generation after generation of public beneficiaries.

I have weighed this issue from a variety of perspectives, reviewing data about the employment of people with disabilities and holding meetings with many stakeholders and employment professionals. I am convinced that although some may feel that this issue is complicated, it is simply the right thing to do.

Our country must shift the paradigm of low expectations to one of full participation. Meaningful work deserves fair pay. We must invest in the full participation of every citizen, including Americans with disabilities.

Harper has represented Mississippi’s 3rd Congressional District since 2009. He sits on the Energy and Commerce and the House Administration committees.

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#VAScandal

2014/05/29

Hello,

Two weeks ago, U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and I toured the Jackson VA Medical Center and met with officials in our regional office. Our goal was to ask tough questions and obtain commitments from VA leadership that veterans are receiving the proper care that they deserve.

It has become very clear since our visit in Mississippi that the VA is broken across the country.

A report released yesterday by VA inspectors found 1,700 veterans were waiting to get appointments with doctors at a facility in Phoenix, Arizona.

Late into last night, members of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs blasted the VA officials, who were forced to explain why the department didn’t do more to stop medical centers around the country from toying with patient lists to cover up delays in getting veterans in to see doctors.

Veterans deserve better.  I am committed to holding VA officials accountable.  Today I signed a letter to Secretary Eric Shinseki asking for the VA to extend immediate care through private-sector doctors to any veteran who has waited too long for medical care. This letter also seeks to ensure that local and regional VA managers have no incentive to deny veterans access to care from private-sector doctors.

The vast majority of employees in the VA health system are committed to ensuring that our veterans receive the best care possible. But we have to make certain that the bad apples are weeded out.

Mississippi was blessed to be represented by one of the greatest veteran advocates this country has ever seen -- Sonny Montgomery. It is my aim to help end any and all mistreatment of veterans, and to continue to uphold his legacy as we move forward.   God Bless, Gregg Harper Member of Congress

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common defense

2014/05/22

Hello--

Earlier today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. This marks the 53rd year in a row that the House has advanced a defense authorization bill.

Mississippi has a rich history of patriotism. Year after year, our state is voted amongst the top five states as having the most National Guardsmen per capita. During a time when less than one percent of Americans are volunteering for military service, Mississippians constantly stand up and answer the call.

This is one of many reasons why Congress should provide support for our service members.

The House-passed bill ensures that we have at least 11 aircraft carriers operating and blocks the retirement of some of America’s most capable Navy cruisers. The legislation also authorizes funds to build another amphibious assault ship for the U.S. Marine Corps that will be built on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

By focusing on our military, veterans, and their families, Congress continues to fulfill its duty to provide for a common defense. It is my hope that the Senate acts swiftly so that Congress can get a final bill to the president’s desk.

God Bless, Gregg Harper Member of Congress

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Benghazi

2014/05/09

Good evening--

Yesterday, I voted to establish a select House committee to investigate the actions related to the September 11, 2012, attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi that left four Americans dead, including our ambassador.

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and many other House and Senate panels have carried out commendable investigations. They sought the truth and they produced stunning findings.

But last week, the American people learned that the White House withheld information from Congress.

You deserve transparency. Congress deserves answers. This select committee – responding as one institution on behalf of the House – has been created with America’s common interest in mind: To once and for all seek and find the truth to this horrific attack.

Our focus must be on transparency and accountability, not politics or pageantry. In launching this select committee, the speaker said, “This doesn’t need to be, shouldn’t be, and will not be a partisan process.” I couldn’t agree more.

I look forward to this full and complete investigation.

God Bless, Gregg Harper Member of Congress

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renew our communities

2014/05/02

Hello--

The devastation that I witnessed when Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker as well as Rep. Alan Nunnelee and I surveyed storm damage with local and state officials was overwhelming.

Twenty-three counties have reported damage. At least 1,200 homes were destroyed, with roughly 2,500 total homes impacted. Eighty-seven businesses were demolished. And tragically, 14 of our fellow Mississippians – daughters and sons, wives and husbands, mothers and fathers – have been confirmed dead.

My heart breaks for the families who experienced loss of life and property. I remain steadfast in my commitment to heal our communities.

I applaud the president’s swift approval of Gov. Phil Bryant’s request for disaster assistance. This action unlocks resources for families, businesses, and entire communities that have been distressed by these storms. The current declaration provides help to Itawamba, Lee, Lowndes, Madison, Rankin, Wayne, and Winston counties. But ongoing damage assessments may lead to an expansion of recovery aid.

Individuals and business owners impacted by this week’s severe weather are encouraged to report damage to emergency officials by visiting www.msema.org/local-ema.

Mississippians have once again demonstrated heroic resilience in the face of adversity. As we continue to rebuild, restore, and renew our communities, I will exercise all of my authority to provide federal assistance.

God Bless, Gregg Harper Member of Congress

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Miss. Delegation Pledges to Aid Disaster Recovery

2014/05/01

WASHINGTON – Mississippi’s congressional delegation expressed appreciation for the President’s prompt approval of Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant’s request for an expedited federal disaster declaration for areas of the state wrecked by tornadoes and severe storms this week.

U.S. Senators Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss., with U.S. Representatives Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., Gregg Harper, R-Miss., Alan Nunnelee, R-Miss., and Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., today issued the following statement regarding the disaster designation, which was approved late Wednesday evening:

“The significant losses and hardships caused by the deadly storms in Mississippi this week make this federal disaster declaration more than appropriate.  We appreciate the President’s prompt approval of Governor Bryant’s request to make assistance available to families, businesses and whole communities hurt by these storms.  We will be working with the administration and federal agencies helping the resilient people of Mississippi recover and rebuild.”

On Wednesday, the delegation sent a letter to President Obama requesting full consideration of Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant’s request for an expedited federal disaster declaration in the wake of devastating weather events across the state.  The letter supported Governor Bryant’s request for direct federal assistance for Itawamba, Lee, Lowndes, Madison, Rankin, Wayne and Winston counties, and Hazard Mitigation statewide.

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Miss. Delegation Requests Federal Disaster Declaration in Aftermath of Devastating Storms

2014/04/30

WASHINGTON – Mississippi’s congressional delegation, which includes U.S. Senators Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and U.S. Representatives Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., Gregg Harper, R-Miss., Alan Nunnelee, R-Miss., and Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., today sent a letter to President Obama requesting full consideration of Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant’s request for an expedited federal disaster declaration in the wake of devastating weather events across the state.

The delegation’s letter specifically supports Governor Bryant’s request for direct federal assistance for Itawamba, Lee, Lowndes, Madison, Rankin, Wayne and Winston counties, and Hazard Mitigation statewide.

The full text of the delegation’s letter:

Dear President Obama:

In the wake of devastating weather events across the Southeastern United States this past Monday, we are writing to request your full consideration of Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant’s request for a federal disaster declaration for Itawamba, Lee, Lowndes, Madison, Rankin, Wayne, and Winston Counties as well as hazard mitigation statewide.

We understand that the State of Mississippi and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) jointly continue to assess the damage across the state.  Should Governor Bryant request federal disaster declarations for other counties, we are hopeful you will also give these requests your full consideration.

We have been encouraged by the efforts of FEMA to deploy rapidly to Mississippi to assist state and local officials in estimating the severity of the initial damage caused by a series of at least 14 tornado touchdowns across our state, one rated as devastating as EF-4.  Citizens have lost loved ones, homes, and their livelihoods.  Much of this destruction has occurred in parts of our state that have been particularly affected by our nation’s current economic situation.  Many of these counties also have poverty levels that are more than double the national average.

We know from our ongoing recovery in Mississippi from the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Isaac as well as destructive tornados in Smithville in 2011 and Hattiesburg area in 2013, that significant resources and cooperation are necessary to recover fully from natural disasters as quickly as possible.  We stand ready to face this new challenge by supporting the local communities, the State, and your administration as we work together to rebuild and renew areas destroyed by this major storm.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.  Please do not hesitate to contact us should you need further assistance in this effort.

Sincerely,

Thad Cochran Roger Wicker Bennie Thompson Gregg Harper Alan Nunnelee Steven Palazzo

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quick storm update

2014/04/29

Good evening--

Yesterday’s severe weather devastated many communities across our state, including areas of Lee, Rankin, and Winston counties.

Sidney and I grieve for the families who have lost loved ones. Mississippi families continue to mourn with those who directly experienced this tragic loss of life and property and extensive damage to homes and businesses.

We owe our first responders and local officials a great deal of gratitude. Our brave leaders at the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, the Mississippi National Guard, and the Mississippi State Department of Health – along with the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s MEDCOM unit – have demonstrated enormous courage in quickly dispatching area response coordinators and medical teams to care for folks who were injured.

If you or your neighbors need immediate assistance, I urge you to visit MEMA’s website – www.msema.org. They have already established shelters at the following locations:

  • Columbus: Southside Baptist Church, 100 Nashville Ferry Road East
  • Louisville: First Methodist Church, 300 W. Main Street
  • Louisville: First Baptist Church, 305 S. Church Avenue
  • Pearl: Pearl Community Center, 2420 Old Brandon Road
  • Tupelo: BancorpSouth Building, 375 E. Main Street

My staff and I have begun coordinating with federal, state, and local officials who are organizing disaster assistance efforts. And while the rebuilding and the healing of our communities will continue for months and years to come, I will not rest until we do everything in our power to help restore the lives that were so tragically disrupted in yesterday’s storms.   God Bless, Gregg Harper Member of Congress

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Harper Awards 2014 Art Competition Winners

2014/04/17

PEARL, Miss. – U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper (R–Miss.) today awarded Germantown High School junior, Avery Roberson, as the overall winner of Mississippi’s Third Congressional District 2014 Congressional Art Competition. Roberson’s entry entitled, “Date Night,” will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year beginning in June.

Harper announced the overall and divisional winners during a reception for participants, teachers, and family members held at the Pearl Public Library.

“Mississippians are surrounded by inspiration for cultural expression. From the mighty Mississippi River to the farmland spread across the Magnolia State, and innovative industries along the way, our state is an artistic crossroads,” Harper said.

As the overall winner, Roberson is eligible for a $1,500 per year scholarship to the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Ga. She will receive two roundtrip tickets to Washington, DC, compliments of Southwest Airlines.

The Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 to provide an opportunity for members of Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of high school students.

This year’s competition was judged by a three-member panel comprised of local accomplished artists. A complete list of divisional winners by place can be found below.

Avery Roberson

Germantown High School

Drawing

Overall Winner

Noel Teaster

Starkville High School

Computer Generated Art

First Place

Carys Snyder

Starkville High School

Computer Generated Art

Second Place

Janiece Pigg

Starkville Academy

Computer Generated Art

Third Place

Shelby Russell

Germantown High School

Drawing

First Place

Allie Roberson

Germantown High School

Drawing

Second Place

Carys Snyder

Starkville High School

Drawing

Third Place

Taylor Thrasher

Germantown High School

Mixed Media

First Place

Alexa Stamey

Germantown High School

Mixed Media

Second Place

Rebekah Fondren

Starkville Academy

Mixed Media

Third Place

Mittie Field

Germantown High School

Painting

First Place

Mallory Fisher

Germantown High School

Painting

Second Place

Mittie Field

Germantown High School

Painting

Third Place

Breland Anderson

Starkville High School

Photography

First Place

Breland Anderson

Starkville High School

Photography

Second Place

Haydon Hester

Starkville Academy

Photography

Third Place

Ashley McDavid

Germantown High School

Print

First Place

Caitlyn Gardner

Germantown High School

Print

Second Place

Lea Fuller

Germantown High School

Print

Third Place

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Gregg Harper is a third-term Republican lawmaker from Mississippi.

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Contact Information

307 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-5031
Fax 202-225-5797
harper.house.gov

Congressman Gregg Harper has lived in Mississippi’s Third Congressional District since 1972 and currently resides in Pearl with his wife of 29 years, Sidney, and their two children, Livingston and Maggie. The Harper’s are active members of Crossgates Baptist Church where Gregg serves as a deacon and a college Sunday school teacher.

A conservative man of faith and integrity, Gregg was elected in November, 2008 to serve the citizens of Mississippi’s Third Congressional District. Soon after the election, his peers elected him as the only freshman member of the Republican Steering Committee in the House of Representatives. This key leadership group, which is made up of fewer than 30 members of the 435-member House, makes decisions about which Congressmen serve on all of the legislative committees.

Prior to being elected to Congress, Gregg practiced law for twenty-seven years, including serving as the prosecuting attorney for the cities of Brandon and Richland. Committed to his state and country, Gregg is active in his community as a member of both the Pearl and Rankin County Chambers of Commerce.

During the past eight years, Gregg has served as the chairman of the Rankin County Republican Party. Throughout his involvement in Republican politics, he has helped advance the conservative agenda by assisting in local, county and statewide elections as well as volunteering as a Republican Observer during the Bush-Gore recount in Florida.

The son of a former petroleum engineer and an 85-year-old mother who still works two days a week, Gregg learned at a young age the value of hard work and the importance of education. Gregg and Sidney are both graduates of Mississippi College, where Gregg studied Chemistry. The couple then moved to Oxford, Mississippi, where Gregg earned a degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1981.

In taking the Congressional Oath of Office on January 6th, 2009, Gregg committed to improve his state and country, and desires to accomplish this goal through the restoration of true conservative values in his work in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Serving With

Alan Nunnelee

MISSISSIPPI's 1st DISTRICT

Steven Palazzo

MISSISSIPPI's 4th DISTRICT

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