HARPER, COCHRAN, WICKER ANNOUNCE $10 MILLION GRANT TO UPGRADE NATCHEZ RAILWAY
Natchez Railway Bridge Upgrades Could Spur Economic Growth in Southwest Mississippi
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), with Representative Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), today praised the award of a $10 million federal transportation grant to the City of Natchez to upgrade bridges on the Natchez railway.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded the City of Natchez the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) funding to upgrade five structurally-deficient bridges along the Natchez railway between Natchez and Brookhaven. Cochran, Wicker and Harper supported the Natchez application for federal funding.
“Improved service along the railway would stimulate economic development at the Natchez-Adams County Port and Industrial Park, in neighboring Franklin and Lincoln Counties, and across Southwest Mississippi,” said Cochran, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “There is intense competition for TIGER grants, and I am very pleased that Natchez has successfully secured this funding.”
"South Mississippi will see substantial benefits from this TIGER grant,” Wicker said. “Increasing the productivity and safety along the Natchez railway promises to boost economic growth throughout the entire region. I am pleased that these grants are being used to address critical gaps in rail service in our state.”
“This grant is an investment in Southwest Mississippi that will increase the traffic base, boost production and provide additional job opportunities,” said Harper. “More importantly, this grant assures cost effective, reliable and safe rail service for the citizens and businesses of Adams, Franklin and Lincoln Counties.”
The bridge repair work would represent a major step toward maximizing the potential of the railway. The improvements would permit railcars that meet the 286,000 pound industry standard and allow trains to travel at 25 mph over the repaired bridges. Trains are currently limited to lighter loads and must travel at 10 mph over the bridges.
The Natchez award is funded through FY2016 transportation appropriations, including $500 million overall for TIGER discretionary grants or National Infrastructure Investments. Under Cochran’s leadership, the Senate Appropriations Committee in April approved $525 million to support TIGER grants in FY2017.
As you know by now, FBI Director James Comey announced this week that the FBI did not recommend criminal charges to the Department of Justice (DOJ), and that the DOJ will not pursue charges in connection to the existence of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s private email server that contained classified information.
I have taken a few days this week to contemplate this important issue, its impact on our country, and to give Director Comey the opportunity to explain his decision to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Director Comey’s decision is disappointing. The findings released by the FBI investigation on Tuesday make it clear that Secretary Clinton has consistently misled the American people since the news of her private email server came to light in the Spring of 2015. For more than a year now, she has time and time again lied to the American people. Director Comey’s news conference clearly described her very poor judgment, and it’s clear to me that her actions were illegal.
FBI investigators found 110 emails in 52 email chains on Hillary Clinton's server that were classified at the time that they were sent or received. Previously, she had denied that she had sent or received classified emails.
Like most Americans, I struggle with the idea that a public official can be given a free pass for the reckless handling and transmission of national security information and putting our country’s very safety at risk, when other public officials and members of the military have been held responsible for breaking the law in this manner. I have signed on to a letter requesting that the Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, pursuant to her authority under federal law, appoint a Special Prosecutor to formally investigate this matter. A Special Prosecutor should make the decision on whether or not Secretary Clinton should be prosecuted.
No American, regardless of position, wealth, or status, should be above the law.
God Bless, Gregg Harper Member of CongressRead More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) issued the following statement in response to the news that law enforcement officers were ambushed in Dallas late last night, killing five, and wounding seven other police officers:
“I am sickened and heartbroken by last night’s cowardly, senseless act of violence against law enforcement officers who were protecting the rights of those who wished to peacefully protest in downtown Dallas, marking the deadliest day for law enforcement since 9/11,” said Harper. “Sidney and I send our thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families, first responders, law enforcement and the entire city of Dallas.”
InsideGov, a government research website that provides detailed information on national and state-level politics and government activities, has named Congressman Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) as the 5th most influential Member of Congress for 2015. He was ranked #5 out of the top 21 Senators and Representatives.
InsideGov ranked all current members of Congress in terms of their committee leadership positions and subcommittee leadership positions.
Rep. Harper, along with Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.), ranked first among all Representatives when it comes to a committee leadership score. Rep. Harper served as chairman of the Joint Committee on the Library and vice chairman of the Joint Committee on Printing (two of the oldest committees in U.S. history), and vice chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy (Energy and Commerce Committee).
Among others acknowledged were Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas), Senate Committee on Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch, and Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). Senator Wicker serves as Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Seapower (Senate Armed Services Committee), and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet (Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee).
Washington D.C. – Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) released the following statement after joining an Amicus Brief signed by 34 Senators and 171 House Members that was filed today in the case of State of West Virginia, et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency, et al.
“Mississippians are aware that the Clean Power Plan will have a negative impact on the entire country, but many aren’t aware that it affects Mississippi even more severely than most states,” said Harper. “Utility companies and electric power associations in Mississippi have made significant financial investments to reduce CO2 emissions over the last several years. These investments have resulted in our state being ranked as the 13th best CO2 emission state in 2012, with no credit being given for that progress. In fact, we’re punished for the progress that we have made. The EPA wants Mississippi to make a cut so drastic that we’ll have nearly the highest cost recovery in the country - a cost that will be paid for by Mississippians. I won’t be satisfied until it is no longer a threat to Mississippi families and businesses.”
The amicus brief is in support of petitions filed by 27 states seeking to overturn the EPA final rule identified as the Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units, EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0602, 80 Fed. Reg. 64,662 (Oct. 23, 2015), also known as the “Clean Power Plan.”
The Supreme Court recently hit the pause button on what could be the single most costly government regulation in the history of our country. In a 5-4 decision, the justices ordered that implementation of President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan stop until a lower court determines whether the president’s signature environmental agenda item is in fact legal. While the legality of forcing the plan on every state in the nation is in question, the rule itself is just plain bad policy for Mississippi.
How does the Clean Power Plan negatively affect Mississippi families? It’s simple: by raising our electric bills. From a more technical aspect, the plan threatens electricity reliability and affordability by impacting Mississippi’s current power plant mix (think shutting down coal plants) through further regulation of carbon dioxide emissions. Imagine that — the Environmental Protection Agency wants to place more restrictions on us.
It’s not that we shouldn’t be concerned about our environment; we absolutely should. As Mississippians, we have a proud history of taking care of our environment and being conservationists. We all want clean air and water and we want to preserve our environment for the future of our children, but we also have to use common sense to balance a clean environment with economic development and the cost of keeping our lights on. It seems that every time the EPA finalizes a rule or regulation, it sets out to expand it. That makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for Mississippi business and industry to comply and plan for the future. It’s hard to hit the bullseye when the target is constantly moving.
Although the Clean Power Plan will have a negative impact on the entire country, it affects Mississippi even more severely than most states. Utility companies and electric power associations in Mississippi have made significant financial investments to reduce CO2 emissions over the last several years. These investments have resulted in our state being ranked as the 13th best CO2 emission state in 2012. No credit was given for that progress. In fact, we’re punished for the progress that we have made. The EPA wants Mississippi to make a cut so drastic that we’ll have nearly the highest cost recovery in the country — a cost that will be paid for by Mississippi families.
Twenty-seven states have sued the federal government over the Clean Power Plan. Last year, Mississippi’s congressional delegation made our objections known to the Obama administration. The U.S. House and Senate passed Senate Joint Resolution 24 last December to block the plan. Obama vetoed the resolution in an effort to save his agenda item. And while a veto might have stalled our progress, there are still battles to be fought.
So while the Supreme Court ruling to pause the implementation of the Clean Power Plan is good news, I won’t be satisfied until it is no longer a threat to Mississippi families and businesses. That might take an act of Congress with a Republican in the White House to approve it.
Gregg Harper is a fourth-term Republican lawmaker for the 3rd Congressional District of Mississippi.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), David Loebsack (D-Iowa), Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), Trent Kelly (R-Miss.), and Collin C. Peterson (D-Minn.) introduced H.R. 4553 – the Critical Access and Rural Equity (CARE) Act of 2016. The bill establishes a baseline of what is considered an allowable cost under Medicare – ensuring coverage of the most common diagnostic tests and services and removing barriers to care so that Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) can continue providing high quality healthcare in rural communities.
Critical Access Hospitals are paid based on each hospital’s reported costs for outpatient, inpatient, laboratory, and therapy services. As CAHs operate in communities with low patient volumes, they are reimbursed at 101% of allowable costs. However, there is variation between regions and auditors regarding what is considered a “reasonable” or “allowable” cost. This often results in an immense administrative, legal, and financial burden for these small providers.
“Rural communities in Mississippi and across the country depend on Critical Access Hospitals,” said Harper. I am proud to work with this bipartisan group to bring much-needed certainty to rural hospitals. Each of these hospitals plays a central role by maintaining access to inpatient and outpatient services, 24-hour emergency care, and economic viability to our rural communities. I have visited multiple CAHs across my Congressional District that struggle every day with small margins and this important legislation will provide them with the certainty that they deserve.”
“One of my top priorities has been to improve Iowans’ access to quality health care no matter where they live. Critical Access Hospitals play a key role in our rural communities by providing access to primary, emergency, and acute care services,” said Loebsack. “The Critical Access and Rural Equity (CARE) Act is a commonsense, bipartisan bill that will help bring certainty to these hospitals that serve as a resource for rural Iowans. I have visited Critical Access Hospitals across Iowa and I am proud to help introduce this bill to ensure they can continue to deliver quality, accessible care to all communities.”
“Critical Access Hospitals provide quality healthcare to residents who live in rural communities across Mississippi. However, many of these hospitals are struggling to keep their doors open due to the burden of unnecessary rules and regulations brought on by this administration. This bill cuts through some of that red tape and allows Critical Access Hospitals to continue providing healthcare services vital to our communities in South Mississippi and across our state,” said Palazzo.
Harper and Langevin Praise Committee Passage of Kirk Bill to Improve NIH Research
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressmen Gregg Harper (R-MS) and Jim Langevin (D-RI), co-chairs of the House Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, today praised passage of the Enhancing the Stature and Visibility of Medical Rehabilitation Research at NIH Act by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP). As the lead sponsors of companion legislation in the House, they commended Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) for championing this effort in the Senate.
“I am very encouraged to see progress being made on legislation that will advance the state of rehabilitation science at the National Institutes of Health, and improve the care provided to people with disabling injuries, illnesses and conditions,” said Langevin. “Millions of people across the country require medical rehabilitation to restore, maintain, or prevent deterioration of function, and this legislation will play an important role in the provision of that care. I look forward to its swift passage in the Senate and subsequent consideration in the House.”
“Rehabilitation research is absolutely essential in order to improve care and the quality of life for individuals with disabilities, chronic medical conditions and debilitating injuries,” said Harper. “This legislation will lay the foundation for a national network of partnerships between the NIH and clinicians. I applaud my colleagues in the Senate for their urgency in moving Senator Kirk’s legislation through the HELP Committee and look forward to its immediate passage in both the Senate and the House.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) issued the following statement in response to the news that the Mississippi State Legislature approved a $275 million incentive package for two major economic development projects, including a $1.45 billion Continental Tire plant in Hinds County, as well as an expansion of shipping operations by Topship, LLC, at the State Port of Gulfport:
“I applaud the incredible work by Governor Bryant and the Mississippi Development Authority in continuing to demonstrate why Mississippi has a trusted reputation for business. Companies from across the globe recognize and have confidence in our skilled and dedicated workforce,” said Harper. “This is a great development for Hinds County and for the Mississippi Gulf Coast. These are good-paying jobs that will help strengthen Mississippi and will ensure that our State remains internationally competitive. These companies could have chosen to expand at other locations, but the fact that they plan to grow in Mississippi speaks volumes about our business climate.”
“I thank the Mississippi State Legislature for their leadership and acting quickly to approve this agreement. When companies choose to expand or locate in our State, they show other companies around the world that we are open for business. Continental Tire and Topship, LLC, are valued members of our business community, and we look forward to having them in Mississippi for years to come.”
Washington DC - U.S. Representative Gregg Harper (R-Miss) released the following statement this afternoon after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a Congressional Review Act Resolution to disapprove of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule:
“The WOTUS rule is yet another example of federal overreach by the Environmental Protection Agency. WOTUS is opposed by many, especially our nation’s farmers, who justifiably fear federal regulation of their land. Additionally, thirty-two states are suing the federal government over the rule’s legality. The joint resolution passed by the U.S. House and U.S. Senate would void the WOTUS rule, ensuring that water regulation remains in the hands of the states where it belongs.”
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Dak Prescott's first drive in Dallas Cowboys' Stadium and he goes 4 for 4, 76 yards and a TD! Amazing!
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Great event earlier this month at the Grand Opening of Fort Rosalie National Historic Park in Natchez. Thanks to my friend Kathleen Bond for
So proud of these outstanding Mississippi College students who went down to Denham Springs, Louisiana to help with the cleanup from the flooding.
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It was my honor to speak at lunch today to the Mississippi Mortgage Bankers Association in Jackson. This great group of folks works tirelessly
Got to speak today at the Key ceremony for the new home presented by "Homes for Our Troops" to one of our Heroes, Army Sgt. John Vail, and his