Gregg Harper

Gregg Harper

MISSISSIPPI's 3rd DISTRICT

2,145 days and counting

2014/08/05

Dear Friend,

2,145 days. That’s more than 5 ½ years. Over half a decade - that’s how long President Obama has been reviewing the Keystone XL pipeline application. The Founding Fathers of the United States of America drafted and ratified the Constitution in less than a year.

The U.S. is currently experiencing an energy renaissance. The economies of towns and states across the nation are benefitting from increased production of our natural resources. Private companies, small and large, are investing in big ways around the country. They are capitalizing on fine-tuned technologies that are turning previously unreachable energy reserves into fuel for our cars, homes and manufacturing facilities. We’re on a path to energy independence from Middle Eastern countries, but we need the president’s support.

The Keystone XL pipeline could play an important role in reducing our need for overseas energy sources if the president would just approve the application. Keystone XL would bring nearly one million barrels of oil per day from Canada to U.S. refineries. In addition to being a new source of energy from our largest trading partner, the pipeline would create thousands of jobs during construction. Keystone XL makes sense for so many reasons. Remember January of 2009 when the price for a gallon of gas was $1.84? Approval will help the price at the pump!

The U.S. House of Representatives has acted numerous times over the last 3 ½ years to push this project forward - unfortunately, those efforts have been halted by the Administration and Senate. I’ll continue to support the approval of this project even though others are standing idly by.

God Bless,

Gregg Harper Member of Congress

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A Border Calamity

2014/08/04

Dear Friend,

It’s no secret: I rarely agree with the president on anything. And I have been at odds with the White House on immigration policy since the start of my time in Congress. Not only do the president and I not see eye-to-eye on immigration, I think it’s fair to say we’re on different planets when it comes to the issue.

For nearly six years I’ve opposed President Obama’s immigration policies. I’ve taken a stand against legislation he’s proposed, statements he’s made and policies he’s implemented. Probably my biggest frustration has been his spiritless approach to ensuring that our borders are secure from weapons, drugs and undocumented individuals.

For the last several months we’ve been witnessing a major consequence of the president’s failed immigration policies. His approach has led nearly 60,000 unaccompanied children since October 2013 to believe that entering the U.S. by simply crossing the border is acceptable. For those who are children and are not with an adult, it is not only unacceptable but extremely dangerous. Our country is now facing a humanitarian crisis because the President has sent a message that this is acceptable.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to help address the immediate issue of unaccompanied children currently in the U.S. It also discourages unaccompanied children who might come at a future date by implementing a last-in-first-out protocol. There are resources included to hire more immigration judges and to increase manpower on the border, including a National Guard presence, to deter illegal crossings. There is no amnesty in this bill. In fact, it does the opposite – it amends a 2008 law, making it easier to return the children to their home countries. The bill has offsets, meaning it is paid for and does not create new spending. Additionally, the House passed a measure that will stop the president’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) scheme.

Texas Governor Rick Perry, who has been a leader on border security and has recently mobilized the Texas National Guard to help deal with this problem, when asked about the federal government’s involvement said, “…Congress and the President have a duty to address our border security issues without further delay…” Governor Perry is on the ground and understands how important it was for the House to take action.

The President helped create this crisis through his failed policies. The U.S. House has voted to address those failures and will continue to work on the issue. Now it’s time for the Senate to follow suit.

God Bless,

Gregg Harper

Member of Congress

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Minimal Action by the President

2014/08/04

Dear Friend,

Detached, flat-footed and incompetent - those are words that folks are using to describe how the Obama Administration has handled the crisis along our southern border. It is becoming more and more clear that the problems we are facing along the border could have been stopped years ago had the administration listened to governors in border states.

The President has used this crisis to push for a $3.7 billion funding request but has said on several occasions that these funds had to be passed by Congress before there would be any emergency response to the flood of unaccompanied children crossing the border. That does not resemble a “response” to an acute crisis. Governor Rick Perry, on the other hand, is not sitting on his hands while the president fails to act; he is mobilizing the Texas National Guard.

Instead of demanding billions of dollars from Congress, the President should be engaging with members of the House and Senate regardless of party affiliation. He should be seeking different ideas on how we should address this issue. The President should be working to reunite these unaccompanied children with their families in their home countries while sending a message that crossing the border in this manner is not acceptable and is too dangerous for these children. Instead, in usual fashion, he’s making demands and blaming Congress when he can’t accomplish his goal.

The security of our country and the safety of tens of thousands of young children are at stake, and we need a leader in the White House.

God Bless,

Gregg Harper

Member of Congress

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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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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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