Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4063, the Jason Simcakoski Promoting Responsible Opioid Management and Incorporating Scientific Expertise (PROMISE) Act.
The bill would improve Department of Veterans Affairs opioid safety measures by directing all department hospitals to designate pain management teams, ensuring employees that prescribe opioid drugs receive proper training in pain management and safe opioid prescribing practices, and standardizing safe opioid utilization and tracking practices across the system. The bill also increases accountability by requiring the directors of each VA hospital to certify employees have received the proper training in prescribing opioids. Finally, recognizing the need to ensure safe transition between the Department of Defense and VA, the bill requires an update of joint VA/DoD clinical practice guidelines.
The PROMISE Act is named in honor of Marine Corps veteran Jason Simcakoski, who died of mixed drug toxicity while he was an inpatient at the Tomah, Wis., VA Medical Center. A VA investigation found that hospital staff improperly prescribed his medications.
H.R. 4063 now awaits consideration by the Senate. Following House passage of the bill, Chairman Miller released the below statement.
“A bag of pills is simply not a solution to a veteran’s health care needs. That’s why we must act to reduce VA’s reliance on prescription painkillers and ensure that in instances they are prescribed, VA is doing so safely. Veterans and families shouldn’t have to suffer like Jason Simcakoski and his loved ones have, and if the PROMISE Act becomes law, it will help ensure they won’t.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
Miller Statement on Senate Veterans Omnibus Legislation
WASHINGTON — Following reports of a deal in the Senate regarding an omnibus package of veterans legislation, Chairman Miller released the following statement:
“News of this deal is a positive development. If what Sens. Isakson and Blumenthal are working on passes the Senate, I look forward to immediately engaging in conference committee negotiations in order to move a VA reform package to the president’s desk.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
Miller Statement on Sharon Helman’s Guilty Plea
WASHINGTON — Today Chairman Miller released the below statement regarding former Phoenix VA Medical Center Director Sharon Helman pleading guilty to a felony.
“While I’m pleased Sharon Helman is now facing some consequences for her criminal activity, I’m extremely puzzled as to why the Department of Justice chose to coddle her with a sweetheart plea deal that amounts to nothing more than a weak slap on the wrist. Such extraordinary leniency is an insult to the many veterans who suffered from the malfeasance and mismanagement of the Phoenix VA Health Care System. It’s also a reminder that to this day not a single Phoenix VAHCS employee has been successfully disciplined for wait-time manipulation and the department still refuses to punish two high-level Phoenix VA managers who it found to have retaliated against whistleblowers. Enough is enough. It’s time for VA and the Senate to get in step with veterans and taxpayers and get behind commonsense proposals like the House-passed VA Accountability Act, which would enable the department to quickly purge corrupt and incompetent employees from the payroll and prevent convicted felons from sneaking out the back door with full taxpayer-funded pensions. Until then, VA’s accountability problems will only continue.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
The VA Accountability Act would give the VA secretary the authority to swiftly fire or demote any employee for poor performance or misconduct while protecting whistleblowers and limiting the agency’s ability to place misbehaving employees on paid leave. It would also give VA the ability to recover annuities on pensions of VA employees convicted of felonies committed on the job. It passed the House in July of 2015 and is pending in the Senate.
The Washington Post, Dec. 16, 2015
In the News
President Obama's Final Budget Request
Miller Media Clips
Upon the release of the President's budget proposal, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held hearing last week to review the Department of Veterans Affairs FY17 budget request. VA is requesting $182.3 billion for FY 2017, including $78.7 billion for discretionary spending, an increase of $3.6 billion from FY 2016. This request for additional resources comes despite the fact that the department has a history of leaving vast sums of money unspent, including $43 million uncovered in June that VA had “no need” for, according to the VA Inspector General.
Over the past year, VA has repeatedly failed to keep its financial house in order. In Denver, a botched construction project is more than $1 billion over budget. The department has routinely wasted millions on lavish art projects, exorbitant relocation benefits and bonuses for failing employees. And last July, VA threatened to shut down hospitals within weeks due to an unforeseen budget shortfall, forcing Congress to give the department access to an additional $3 billion. In classic VA fashion, not a single employee has been held accountable for these monumental failures. The purpose of last week's hearing was to examine the details behind VA’s budget request and determine how the department would use its budget to improve the quality, efficiency and timeliness of services to veterans while increasing accountability and transparency across the organization. To view my opening remarks and the full hearing, click on the image below.
Meeting with GAO Comptroller General Gene Dodaro
Meeting with Jewish War Veterans
Wounded Warrior Project Meeting
Meeting with Institute for Human and Machine Cognition CEO Dr. Ken Ford
Edward Jones Grassroots Task Force Team Advisor John Peacock
Northwest Florida NAIOP Meeting
Meeting with American Federation of Government Employees Local President Chris Delbaugh
Special Olympics Meeting
Military Child of the Year
MILLER TO DISCUSS THE VA CRISIS ON FOX NEWS
---8:15 a.m. Central / 9:15 a.m. Eastern---
Washington, D.C.— Congressman Jeff Miller (R-FL-01) will appear TOMORROW on Fox and Friends on Fox News Channel to discuss the VA crisis and his recent editorial in The Wall Street Journal. Miller is expected to be interviewed at approximately 8:15 a.m. Central Time / 9:15 a.m. Eastern Time.
Who: Congressman Jeff Miller
Congressman Jeff Miller (R-FL-01) issued the following statement today:
“Once again, the president has shown that when he cannot gather enough support for a proposal, even from members of his own party, he will attempt to get his way by edict and executive order. This administration clearly loathes the Second Amendment, and by attempting to circumvent Congress, President Obama has revealed that he is more concerned with advancing the gun-grabbing agenda than with listening to the American people."Read More
MILLER STATEMENT ON THE RELOCATION OF SYRIAN REFUGEES TO THE U.S.M
“As a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, it is abundantly clear to me that this Administration has no plan for screening Syrian refugees coming into this country through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. This creates a gaping hole in our homeland security and presents an imminent danger for Americans here at home.
Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris highlight the difficulty in defending against a well-organized enemy intent on killing and maiming. I hope you will join Vicki and me in praying for the people of France and for the victims and families affected by the latest attacks.
We must be vigilant in defending our shores. I will continue to oppose any attempt to relocate Syrian refugees to this country.”
Chairman Miller Statement Honoring Veterans Day
WASHINGTON – Chairman Jeff Miller today released the following statement in honor of Veterans Day:
“The debt we owe our veterans cannot be overstated. It is their courage and sacrifice – exhibited throughout our nation’s history and to this day – that has made America the greatest country on Earth. Veterans Day is a special time to reflect on everything the brave men and women who have worn America’s uniform have done to protect and preserve our way of life. They’ve propelled our military to victory in countless conflicts and served as a source of inspiration and hope to millions upon millions of freedom-loving people around the globe. One day a year is simply not enough time to honor the tremendous efforts and accomplishments of our veterans. As Americans, it’s incumbent upon us to express our appreciation and support for those who have served each and every day of the year. Please join me in this important task – today and every day.” –
Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
54th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
Article I, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution directs the House to choose its Speaker, and the Speaker of the House serves as the presiding officer in charge of the administration of proceedings in the House. Since 1839, the election for Speaker has occurred on the House floor via a roll call vote, and last week the House voted to elect the 54th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, selecting Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin’s First Congressional District as the new Speaker. I voted for Speaker Ryan because he has shown over the course of his Congressional career that he is committed to advancing bold conservative legislative solutions. Under his prior leadership as Budget Committee Chairman, the House passed pro-growth budgets that cut spending, paved the way for reforms to mandatory spending, and, crucially, balanced. As Speaker Ryan now relinquishes his gavel as House Ways and Means Committee Chairman and enters his new office as Speaker of the House, I look forward to continuing to work with him and my colleagues in the House to defend the Constitution and the conservative principles on which our Nation was founded.
|54th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
Bipartisan Budget Act
As a staunch fiscal conservative, I believe we have a moral imperative to rein in out of control spending, institute a balanced budget, and begin the process of paying down our debt so that the economic prospects of our children and grandchildren are not put in jeopardy. As a result, I could not support H.R.1314, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which passed the House last week by a vote of 266-167. While I support the fact that the two-year agreement will provide greater certainty for the defense budget, I did not and do not feel that this bill took sufficient steps to reduce mandatory spending. Furthermore, the bill would raise the debt ceiling through March 2017, thereby allowing for trillions of dollars of additional debt that we simply cannot afford, while also authorizing increases for domestic non-defense spending caps, giving billions of additional taxpayer dollars to wasteful federal bureaucrats. In our current fiscal climate, each item in the budget should receive proper scrutiny so that we can make cuts wherever possible and institute a balanced budget Constitutional amendment. H.R.1314 failed to meet several of these important criteria, and that is why I voted against it.
The Export-Import Bank was established in 1934 by President Roosevelt’s executive order to foster trade with the Soviet Union. A government corporation, the Ex-Im Bank is the U.S. government’s official export credit agency that finances U.S. exports of goods and services to international markets. Last week, the House passed H.R.597, theReform Exports and Expand the American Economy Act, which reauthorizes the Ex-Im Bank through 2019. I opposed the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank when it came before Congress on May 9, 2012 and did so again last week. While proponents of the Ex-Im Bank claim that the Bank corrects market failure, I would argue that it can also disrupt the free market and cause unnecessary government intrusion. Furthermore, by diverting resources away from the private sector, the Bank’s activities produce a less-efficient economy and lower general standard of living than would occur in a free market for export finance. In fact, many economists agree that government subsidized export financing does not significantly affect the overall net jobs, but instead, simply shifts jobs from one sector to another. The bottom line is the federal government shouldn’t be in the business of picking winners and losers, subsidizing export financing programs, and saddling taxpayers with the risk involved.
House Votes to Preserve Access to Affordable Investment Advice
In April 2015, the Department of Labor (DOL) released a proposed rule that would define when a person providing investment advice, with respect to a 401(k) or individual retirement account, is considered a fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The proposed rule, which would be burdensome to both advisors and investors, would ultimately discourage the middle class from receiving investment and retirement advice in the future. In response, the House passed H.R.1090, the Retail Investor Protection Act to prohibit the Secretary of Labor from prescribing any regulation until the SEC is given a chance to properly define the circumstances under which an individual is considered a fiduciary. In addition to voting for this bill, I cosigned letters to Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez requesting that the DOL not bypass Congress or the will of the American people through implementing this new rule.
House Armed Services Hearing on Defense Acquisition
Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee last week on the defense acquisition process, President and CEO of the Institute for Defense Analyses David Chu, Business Executives for National Security Member Joe Pasqua, Director of the Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group's Center for Strategic and International Studies Andrew Hunter, and Paul Francis GAO Managing Director for Acquisition and Sourcing Management provided their invaluable insight from both the governmental and private-sector perspectives offering members of the committee recommendations on acquisition reform. Without question, a major inefficiency of the Defense Department lies in its acquisition process. That is why my colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee and I continue to work very hard to make acquisition reform a top priority in the annual National Defense Authorization Act. Specifically, the defense authorization bill for fiscal year 2016 has important provisions that would allow critical acquisition decisions to be made early in the process to reduce inefficiencies, but much more remains to be done. I look forward to working with my colleagues to provide the best capability possible to the warfighter while protecting the value of the taxpayer dollar.
Meeting with General Ellen Pawlikowski
Last week, I met with General Ellen Pawlikowski, Commander of Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. We discussed the myriad roles Eglin AFB plays in the AFMC mission—from advanced weapons testing to the ability to provide real time Command and Control for high level exercises conducted on the West Coast. In addition to her team’s critical role in the Air Force, we discussed the emerging population of female veterans and the necessary improvements VA must make to deliver quality health care to these female warriors. We discussed my role as Chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee and the Committee’s efforts to infuse a culture of accountability within the VA. I thanked General Pawlikowski for taking the time to stop by, and I commend her for her selfless service to this country over the past 37 years.
|Congressman Miller meeting with General Ellen Pawlikowski
Visit with the New Romanian Ambassador to the United States
The United States and Romania enjoy a strong relationship with common interests. The importance of that relationship is as important today as it has ever been. The emerging threat of Russian aggression in the region—as evidenced by Putin’s lawless actions in Ukraine—serves as a reminder that all NATO members must uphold their strong bond if and when any member state faces potential threats. In that light, I was pleased to visit with the newly appointed Romanian Ambassador to the U.S., His Excellency George Maior and look forward to working with Ambassador Maior as my colleagues and I tackle the many issues facing both of our nations today.
|Congressman Miller and Congressman Mike Turner (right), Co-Chair of the House Congressional Romania Caucus, meeting with Romanian Ambassador to the U.S., H.E. George Maior, and Romanian diplomats (left).
Attempts to Downplay VA Scandal
Whether it’s continued delays in veterans’ medical care, the blatant waste of billions of taxpayer dollars or a rampant lack of accountability throughout every corner of the organization, there is simply no denying that the problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs are indeed widespread. Anyone who would claim the opposite simply isn’t paying attention. The VA scandal was caused by dishonest bureaucrats who chose to whitewash the department’s problems rather than solve them. Those who repeat that same shameful pattern of behavior are only shortchanging veterans while giving failed VA bureaucrats cover for continued malfeasance. The only way to reform VA into an organization truly worthy of the veterans it is charged with serving is to acknowledge the department’s challenges and tackle them head on. Downplaying VA’s problems or denying they exist will only lead to more scandal.
In the News
Miller Media Clips
To read some recent press clips highlighting my work on behalf of Florida's First Congressional District and our Nation’s veterans and servicemembers, visit the following links:
After Clinton Minimizes VA Troubles, Three Reports Expose Shortfalls Across Country
Jeff Miller Takes the Lead in Going After Hillary Clinton's Comments About VA's Problems
Export-Import Bank Factors in Race to Replace Marco Rubio in the Senate
John McCain: Bernie Sanders, Not Hillary Clinton, Has ‘Record of Advocacy’ for Vets
Our View: No, Hillary, VA woes are not overblown
Clinton campaign backtracks on VA claim after widespread criticism
Whistleblower To Sen. Blumenthal: Quit Standing Up For Unions Over Veterans
Veterans' groups fire back at Clinton's VA comments
Hillary Clinton's take on VA crisis spurs backlash
Troubled VA Attracts Some Defenders, Prompting Lawmaker Rebuttal
Hillary’s outrageous effort to whitewash the VA hospital crisis
As always, I welcome your comments. To share your thoughts on legislation, votes or issues, please visit http://jeffmiller.house.gov/ to send an e-mail or call any of my offices.
336 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
United States Representative Jeff Miller serves Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. The Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is responsible for authorization and oversight of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA.) VA is the second largest department in the federal government with over 300,000 employees and a budget of over $150 billion.
Miller also serves on the House Armed Services Committees (HASC.) As a senior member of HASC, Miller has proven to be a strong advocate for our men and women in uniform, and he is one of the leading proponents of Naval Aviation, Special Operations, and Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E.) Miller was instrumental in helping establish Eglin Air Force Base as the joint primary training location for the F-35 Lightning II.
Congressman Miller was appointed to serve on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI). The HPSCI provides policy guidance and sets classified funding levels for the sixteen agencies of the Intelligence Community funded by the National Intelligence Program and the Military Intelligence Program. Recently, the Intelligence Committee has held important hearings on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, U.S. Intelligence Operations against Al Qaeda, and Security Clearance Reform.
Congressman Miller also serves on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA), where he serves as Vice Chairman of the subcommittee on Transatlantic Defense and Security Cooperation.
Since coming to Congress, Miller has established himself as one of the staunchest conservatives in the House. He has championed numerous tax relief and veterans’ measures and fought for less government, less taxes, and more personal freedom.
Mr. Miller was sworn in as State Representative in 1998 and again in 2000 to serve District 1. He has served as Chairman of the Utilities & Telecommunications Committee. He was also a member of the Congressional Redistricting Committee, the Committee on General Government Appropriations, the Committee on Rules, Ethics & Elections, and the Council for Ready Infrastructure. He is the past Chairman of the Escambia County Legislative Delegation for 1999-2000.
In addition to his prior service as a State Legislator, Congressman Miller is active in the community as a board member of the Santa Rosa County United Way, the Pregnancy Resource Center of Milton, the Gulf Coast Council of Boy Scouts of America, and the Florida FFA Foundation. He is a member of the Florida Historical Society and various area Chambers of Commerce. Congressman Miller is a native Floridian and was born in 1959. Prior to serving in elected office, he was a real estate broker and deputy sheriff. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in 1984 at the University of Florida.
Representative Miller is married to the former Vicki Griswold. They are members of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola. They have two children and three grandchildren.
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"It's not enough for veteran suicide rates to remain stable"-- @RepJeffMiller
Roll Call -- Brexit Decision Deals Another Blow to Obama - See more at: http://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/brexit-decision-deals-another-blow-obama#sthash.zXdT3rSg.dpuf
MILLER: PRETENDING RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM DOESN’T EXIST ISN’T GOING TO MAKE IT GO AWAY. The FBI today released a redacted transcript
USA Today: Partial 911 transcripts from Orlando shootings
North Escambia -- BREAKING: Blue Angels Return To The Skies This Mornng
Proud of our Blue Angels