Today, Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) issued the following statement after last night’s health care vote in the Senate:
“Despite the political drama in the Senate, we must not lose sight of the fact that Obamacare premiums continue to rise and health insurance providers are dropping out of exchanges across the country, leaving many Americans with just one option. The House acted to replace Obamacare with a system that would lower premiums and give Americans access to a broad array of quality plans.
This problem is far too big to ignore. I urge Congress to continue working and find a path forward in order to provide Americans the relief they need and deserve.”
Today, Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) delivered remarks on the House floor in support of H.R. 3219, the Make America Secure Appropriations Act. H.R. 3219 includes the appropriations bills for defense, military construction and veterans, energy and water, and the legislative branch.
“Our greatest responsibility as Members of Congress is to provide the resources necessary to the men and women of our Armed Forces,” said Rep. Calvert. “We are at crossroads. Right now, our military continues to operate at a high-tempo to carry out the national security interests of the U.S. However, in order to meet the next challenge – whatever that may be – we must invest now.”
Below are Rep. Calvert’s full remarks as prepared for delivery:
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 3219, the Make America Secure Appropriations Act.
First, I would like to commend Chairman Frelinghuysen for his tireless work to report out all 12 appropriations bills from the Appropriations Committee. He did it in record time and deserves a great deal of credit for getting us to this point today.
The four bills included in H.R. 3219, reflect hours of hearings, staff work, Member input and bipartisan cooperation. I would also like to express my gratitude to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Defense; Energy and Water; Military Construction and Veterans Affairs; and Legislative Branch Subcommittees.
In particular, the Energy and Water division provides robust funding for water infrastructure -- over $67 million to create much needed water storage in the west. I want to thank Chairman Simpson and his staff for their hard work.
As a Member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, I would like to specially thank Chairwoman Kay Granger for her leadership and her unwavering support of our men and women in uniform. I would also be remiss if I did not mention the professional staff of the subcommittee who dedicated countless hours to craft a bill that meets the needs of the Department of Defense and reflects the will of the Congress.
Our greatest responsibility as Members of Congress is to provide the resources necessary to the men and women of our Armed Forces. This bill includes $584.2 billion in base defense funding and $73.9 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations. It provides for a 2.4% military pay raise and additional funding to increase end strength.
The bill provides robust funding for shipbuilding, aviation, combat vehicles and more. It invests in our greatest asset – the men and women who wear the uniform – through increased funds for training, equipment and the best health care.
We are at crossroads. Right now, our military continues to operate at a high-tempo to carry out the national security interests of the U.S. However, in order to meet the next challenge – whatever that may be – we must invest now. We know the situation we are in:
Today we have a chance to correct the course we have been on for the last eight years. The U.S. Constitution creates a government of the people to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” This bill fulfills the promise enshrined in our constitution to secure the blessings of liberty by providing for the defense of our nation.
Thank you and yield back the balance of my time.
The House also approved H.R. 282, the Military Residency Choice Act, which permits the spouse of a service member to elect to use the same residence as the service member for purposes of taxation and voting, regardless of the date on which the marriage of the spouse and the service member occurred.
Today, Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) hailed the passage of H.R. 3218 by the House Veterans Affairs Committee. H.R. 3218, comprehensive legislation to improve and extend GI Bill benefits granted to veterans, contains the legislative text of H.R. 925, which was introduced by Rep. Calvert on February 7, 2017.
“Our veterans and reservists should have the peace-of-mind of knowing that they can obtain the benefits they have earned without complications,” said Rep. Calvert. “The important reform included in this bill will provide a common sense fix to the Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits our reservists receive. I appreciate Chairman Phil Roe, M.D. for including my bill in this important legislation for our veterans.”
Under current regulations, an individual who is released from active duty status may begin receiving the Post-9/11 GI Bill Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) on the first day of the month following the date the individual is discharged. In addition, an individual who is released from active duty status may begin receiving their tuition and fees benefit on the first day of the enrollment period following the date the individual is discharged and begin receiving their books and supplies stipend on the first day of the month following the date the individual is discharged.
However, there are cases in which a Guard or reservist’s required monthly active duty would disqualify those individuals for the MHA benefit. Many reservists are required to routinely perform their jobs in a Title 10 status due to their specific job requirements and functions. These commonly include aircrew, intelligence personnel, and UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and Remote Piloted Aircraft operators. While not in a drill status, or if in a drill status under Title 38, an individual is entitled to their MHA and book allowance. When in a drill status under Title 10, the individual is entitled to the housing allowance, but only for the first portion of the month up to when they entered active duty under Title 10. Therefore, if an individual goes on active duty on the first day of the month for three days, the individual does not receive any housing, or book allowance payments for the rest of that entire month. Just one day of Title 10 service can result in forfeiture of MHA and book allowance for all or most of the month.
In order to maintain a Combat Mission Readiness state and proficiency at their job, some have to commit to a minimum of four training days a month in a Title 10 status. Many Guard and Reservists using their GI Bill benefits will be reluctant to volunteer for three to four day missions to ferry troops, equipment, and supplies into an Area of Responsibility knowing they will lose all or a portion of that month’s MHA. Many reservists are full-time students and rely on their MHA to pay rent, but as a result of the current rules they are denied their full MHA causing many members to incur thousands of dollars of debt. This is compounded by the fact that members of the reserve component are used more frequently due to the increased tempo of operations around the world.
The legislation introduced by Rep. Calvert essentially prorates the MHA for the portion of the month the service member is not on active duty. The bill amends Title 38, United States Code, to clarify the eligibility for monthly stipends paid under the Post-9/11 Educational Assistance Program for certain members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces. By easing restrictions on volunteers, it will increase the number of volunteers and the frequency of volunteerism while limiting the potential for personnel financial issues to arise. Most importantly, this bill seeks to enhance reserve components’ military readiness during high tempo operations.
“I would also like to thank my constituent, who is a Reservist at March Air Reserve Base, that brought this issue to my attention. This small, common-sense fix will impact countless reservists across the country and again I thank the Chairman, and his staff, for including this vital language in the larger veterans package,” said Rep. Calvert.
Today, Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) praised the Homeland Security Appropriations bill inclusion of report language addressing the rise in visa fraud for the purpose of having children in the United States. The growth of so-called birth tourism has resulted in a number of raids and arrests throughout southern California over the past few years. More recently, the city of Eastvale has reached out to Rep. Calvert about the growth of suspected birthing homes in the city.
“While we continue to welcome people to our country through legal means, it’s critical that we crack down on individuals who fraudulently come to America for the sole purpose of obtaining U.S. citizenship for their child,” said Rep. Calvert. “It is against the law to apply for a visa under false pretenses, yet we continue to see indications that foreign nationals are exploiting our immigration system. The growth of birthing homes in Eastvale is a concern for many of its residents. I was pleased to work with the Chairman on this language and I’m certain that it will draw the attention of Homeland Security officials to this problem.”
According to Eastvale city staff, there are 19 single family homes (12 on the same street) and 22 nearby apartment units which have been reported as suspected maternity homes reported. Earlier this year, the city established an ad hoc committee to explore potential solutions to the issue.
The language in the fiscal year 2018 Homeland Security Appropriations bill states:
The Committee is concerned by a reported increase in individuals fraudulently entering the United States on non-immigrant visas in order to give birth in this country. While individuals are welcome to come to the U.S. on a tourist or other visa, it is against the law to apply for admission under false pretenses. The Committee is also concerned with reports that different ports of entry may not be consistently applying CBP guidance in this area, allowing individuals seeking to exploit the visa process to direct pregnant women to specific ports of entry with more lenient admission practices. The Committee directs CBP to investigate these fraud allegations and take steps to ensure that admission criteria are applied uniformly across ports of entry.
Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) voted along with a majority of the Appropriations Committee to advance the Fiscal Year 2018 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations bill.
“The first step in fixing our broken immigration system has to be securing our borders and restoring the rule of law,” said Rep. Calvert. “The DHS funding bill will increase the security of our borders by expanding and improving on the physical barriers we currently have in place along the southern border. The bill also provides the resources necessary to hire additional Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to better enforce our visa and other immigration laws. I strongly support the boost in funding to increase the capacity of the E-Verify system in preparation for a potential transition to mandatory use in the future. I authored the creation of E-Verify to ensure American jobs went to people who are legally in our country and I continue to believe its use should be mandatory.”
Today, Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) released the Fiscal Year 2018 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill. Rep. Calvert serves as the Chairman of the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee.
“The agencies funded in the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill do important work protecting public lands, the air we breathe and the water we drink,” said Rep. Calvert. “Our Subcommittee prioritized proven programs that have a meaningful impact to achieve these goals while also ensuring our economy can continue to grow. I’m particularly pleased that we were able to provide significant funding for our increasingly popular National Parks, the Clean Diesel program, and ensure that the development of the USGS earthquake early warning system will continue.”
Fiscal Year 2018 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill Highlights:
(Provided by the House Appropriations Committee)
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) – The bill includes $1 billion for the USGS, $46 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. Funding is targeted to programs dealing with natural hazards, streamgages, the groundwater monitoring network, and mapping activities. The bill includes $10.2 million for an earthquake early warning system to help save lives during natural disasters, and provides the $8.3 million increase necessary for support of “Landsat 9” – a satellite program that provides land use measurements that are important to local communities for agriculture, forestry, energy and water resource decisions.
Wildland Firefighting and Prevention – In total, the bill funds wildland firefighting and prevention programs at $3.4 billion – fully funding the 10-year average for wildland fire suppression costs for both the Department of the Interior and the Forest Service. This is $334 million below the fiscal year 2017 level. Most of this reduction is the result of the transfer of the Forest Service’s hazardous fuels reduction program to its National Forest System, as requested by the Administration. The legislation also includes $575 million for hazardous fuels management, which is $5 million above the fiscal year 2017 level.
Federal Payments to Local Communities – The bill provides $465 million for the “Payments In Lieu of Taxes” (PILT) program. PILT provides funds for local governments in 49 states to help offset losses in property taxes due to nontaxable federal lands within their counties. Without congressional action, many rural communities would face huge budget shortfalls impacting public safety, education, and other local government responsibilities.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – The bill funds the EPA at $7.5 billion, a reduction of $528 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $1.9 billion above the Administration’s request.
The legislation supports the President’s proposal to reshape the agency’s workforce by providing resources requested to offer buyouts and voluntary separation agreements to employees.
This bill also reflects the Administration’s goal to rein in outdated, unnecessary and potentially harmful regulations at the EPA. For example, it includes language authorizing the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Secretary of the Army to withdraw the Waters of the United States rule.
Native American Programs – The Bureaus of Indian Affairs and Education are funded at $2.9 billion – an increase of $10 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. This includes necessary increases for schools, law enforcement, road maintenance, economic development, realty, and water settlements.
Indian Health Care Improvement Fund - The Indian Health Care Improvement Fund is funded at $130 million to address the shortfalls in the allocations of base funding across the Indian Health Service system. The funding is particularly important to rural California tribes.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) –The bill contains $1.2 billion for the BLM, a decrease of $46 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level, including a $20 million decrease for federal land acquisition.
The bill provides $68.9 million, which is equal to the fiscal year 2017 level, for on-the-ground sage grouse conservation to protect the species and to preserve federal lands for public and private uses, such as energy development, ranching, recreation, and military training.
National Park Service (NPS) – The legislation contains $2.9 billion for the NPS, a decrease of $64 million below the fiscal year 2017 level. Much of the reduction is in land acquisition activities. Within the total, the bill retains $55 million targeted to park operations and maintenance to help reduce the deferred maintenance backlog.
U.S. Forest Service – The bill includes $5.2 billion for the Forest Service. Approximately half of this funding – $2.5 billion – is targeted to wildland fire prevention and suppression. The bill also includes a provision prohibiting the Forest Service or BLM from issuing new closures of public lands to hunting and recreational shooting, except in the case of public safety.
For the subcommittee draft text of the legislation, please visit:http://docs.house.gov/meetings/AP/AP06/20170712/106242/BILLS-115HR-SC-AP-FY2018-Interior-FY2018InteriorAppropriationsBill-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf
2269 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Ken Calvert, a lifelong resident of Riverside County and 17-year small business owner in the restaurant and real estate industries, represents the 42nd Congressional District of southern California. Calvert was born on June 8, 1953 and attended neighborhood public schools, graduating from Corona High School in 1971. He attended two years at Chaffey College, in Alta Loma, and then enrolled at San Diego State University, where he graduated in 1975 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. Ken is a Protestant and is involved in several local community volunteer organizations.
The 42nd District encompasses the western edge of Riverside County including the cities of Eastvale, Norco, Corona, Lake Elsinore, Wildomar, Canyon Lake, Menifee, Murrieta and a portion of Temecula. Rep. Calvert was first elected to the House in 1992 and was part of the historic “Contract with America” class in 1994 that swept the House to Republican control for the first time in 40 years.
In the 113th Congress, Rep. Calvert continues to serve on the House Appropriations Committee where he is the Chairman of the Interior and the Environment Subcommittee. Rep. Calvert is also a member of the Defense Subcommittee and the Energy and Water Subcommittee. He also serves on the House Budget Committee. Rep. Calvert was also selected to serve as the Chairman of the California Republican Delegation.
Rep. Calvert has been the California Republican Delegation’s voice on the House Steering Committee, which determines House Republican committee assignments, since 2003.
In the 113th Congress, Rep. Calvert’s legislative priorities includes: enacting pro-growth policies that will help our struggling economy; reducing our national debt; reforming our tax code; supporting our military around the world and supporting the mission in Afghanistan; strengthening our borders and making the use of E-Verify mandatory for all employers in the U.S.; creating long-term solutions to California’s energy and water problems; working towards the implementation and funding of new transportation corridors vital to Riverside County’s future; reducing the time it takes to build infrastructure projects by making common sense, bi-partisan reforms to our environmental laws; and, much more.
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Keeping those injured, missing and all affected by the #USSJohnMcCain accident in my thoughts and prayers.
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It’s always great to see and spend time with my fellow Corona Rotarians. https://t.co/kMbI2jW2Hm
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Editorial: A water-storage plan worth funding https://t.co/IHvtOvYBOL
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We stand with Spain in the wake of another evil, horrific terror attack. We pray for the victims and all affected.