WASHINGTON (Sept. 27, 2016) — Legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives to ban additional synthetic drugs, including deadly fentanyl, will give law enforcement more tools to fight the drug abuse and overdose crisis plaguing Indiana, Rep. Luke Messer (IN-06) said.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3537 yesterday, which would add 22 synthetic substances to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The substances include various versions of the synthetic opioid fentanyl and other compounds that mirror the effects of heroin and other illegal drugs.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), fentanyl is 50 times more powerful than heroin. The synthetic opioid caused 75 overdose deaths in Indiana and Ohio in the span of one week in August.
“Synthetic drugs continue to flood into our communities, taking Hoosier lives as our state battles widespread addiction,” Messer said. “These cooked-up, laboratory concoctions are often deadlier than the drugs they are trying to mimic, and the results are disastrous. Indiana has been aggressive in passing state legislation to outlaw these lethal substances, and an improved federal ban will bolster those efforts and hopefully save lives.”
Indiana’s state law, enacted in 2012, bans synthetic drugs and their look-alike compounds.
H.R. 3537 would also criminalize the sale, manufacture, import and distribution of these drugs. The legislation must now pass the U.S. Senate and be signed by the president to become law.Read More
WASHINGTON (Sept. 15, 2016) — Congressman Luke Messer (IN-06) offered the following statement today on the passing of Indiana philanthropist and business leader, Dean White:
“The entire state of Indiana mourns the loss of Hoosier icon Dean White,” Messer said. “Dean was an extraordinary business man and philanthropist who, despite his many accomplishments, never lost his Hoosier humility and common sense. He will be missed.”
Dean White is credited with playing a critical role in the development of downtown Indianapolis, making it a tourism and convention hub. He made similar investments to improve other areas of the state, including his home in Northwest Indiana.Read More
WASHINGTON (Sept. 13, 2016) — Reps. Luke Messer (IN-06), Todd Young (IN-09), Jackie Walorski (IN-02) and other members of the Indiana congressional delegation filed legislation today to assist veterans harmed by the recent closure of ITT Technical Institute.
ITT Tech ceased operations last week, closing 130 campuses nationwide and impacting an estimated 40,000 students, including nearly 7,000 veterans.
While current federal law allows students to have their federal student loans discharged if they are unable to complete a degree program due to the closure of an institution, there is no similar provision for veterans who used GI Bill educational benefits to pursue a degree.
“Thousands of veterans invested their time and educational benefits to attend ITT Tech, and now they are left without a degree or path forward,” Messer said. “As part of our enduring commitment to America’s veterans, we must be ready to assist the servicemen and women who use their benefits to pursue a degree at an institution that has failed.”
H.R. 6003 would allow veterans to recover their GI Bill educational benefits if they were using their benefits at a college or university that closes, preventing them from completing their degree. The bill would apply to all veterans who were enrolled at ITT Tech at the time it closed.
“The veterans impacted by ITT Tech’s closure deserve an immediate resolution,” Young said. “The first item on our Congressional checklist must be to make these veterans whole, with no justification for delay. It is my hope to see our legislation move swiftly to passage, as it guarantees every single veteran receives, in full, the education they earned.”
“Our veterans fought to defend the American Dream for all of us – we can’t let them lose their own shot at the American Dream,” Walorski said. “We have a responsibility to help veterans who, because of circumstances beyond their control, have been left without the degree they were working toward. This bill ensures they can make full use of the benefits they earned.”
Indiana Reps. Susan Brooks (IN-05), Larry Bucshon (IN-08) and Todd Rokita (IN-04) are also sponsoring the bill.
“GI bill education benefits are a promise that we make to the brave men and women who serve our country, and it’s one that our nation must keep,” said Brooks, in whose district ITT Tech was formerly based. “The opportunity to further your education and develop the skills and expertise for a career after the military is an opportunity that our veterans earn through service. This bill makes sure that every veteran has this opportunity, and protects our veterans when an institution of higher education closes. We owe it to our servicemen and women.”
Student Veterans of America voiced its support for H.R. 6003.
"Student Veterans of America fully supports Congressman Messer's Bill to reinstate lost GI Bill benefits due to a school closure. It is incomprehensible that a veteran would lose this benefit due to an institution's collapse. We at SVA applaud Congressman Messer in leading the way to protect student veterans across the nation," said Derek Fronabarger, Director of Policy with Student Veterans of America.
Messer also sent a letter to the Department of Education last week demanding more information about the potential sale of ITT Tech’s campuses, other proposals offered by ITT Tech to reimburse students, and what actions are being taken by the Education Department to protect taxpayers.
The Department of Education created a webpage to provide information and assistance to ITT Tech students here.Read More
WASHINGTON (Sept. 9, 2016) — Congressman Luke Messer (IN-06) is working to ensure students and American taxpayers aren’t completely on the hook for an estimated $500 million in unpaid federal loans taken out by students of the now defunct ITT Technical Institute.
On Tuesday, Carmel, Ind.-based ITT Tech announced it discontinued operations and plans to close its 130 campuses across the country. The announcement followed an Aug. 25 decision by the Education Department to prohibit the institution from enrolling new students using federal student aid due to financial accountability concerns.
Messer, who serves on the U.S. House Education and Workforce Committee, sent a letter to the Education Department demanding more information about what the Department and ITT Tech plan to do about these outstanding loans.
Under current law, students who are defrauded by an educational institution or are unable to complete a degree program due to the closure of an institution can apply to have their federal student loans discharged.
“My first priority is making sure we offer help to the students who borrowed thousands of dollars to invest in their futures, thinking they would walk away with a valuable education and degree,” Messer said. “But this will come at a high cost, and American taxpayers should not be stuck with the entire bill.”
In his letter, Messer asked the Education Department for information about the potential sale of ITT Tech’s campuses, other proposals offered by ITT Tech to reimburse students, and what actions are being taken by the Education Department to protect taxpayers.
Messer is also working on legislation that would specifically assist veterans who used their GI Bill educational benefits at ITT Tech, or institutions facing similar circumstances. ITT Tech is known to have aggressively recruited veterans into its degree programs.
“Many veterans rely on GI Bill benefits to help them secure a livelihood after service,” Messer said. “If they used their benefits to pursue a degree at a failed institution, we must be ready to assist those service men and women and make them whole as part of our enduring commitment to America's veterans.”
The Department of Education created a webpage to provide information and assistance to ITT Tech students here.Read More
For centuries, scholars have said "knowledge is power." In the computer age, we say "information is king." Both phrases highlight the importance of knowing the facts before making big decisions.
The same principals unequivocally apply to student borrowing. As education costs continue to rise, students must know precisely the cost of education when deciding whether and where to go to college.
Average student loan debt tripled over the last two decades. According to the U.S. Department of Education, in 1992-93, about half of bachelor’s degree recipients graduated with total debt averaging slightly more than $10,000. This year, more than two-thirds of college graduates will graduate with total debt exceeding $35,000. In fact, total student loan debt now exceeds $1 trillion nationally and accounts for more personal debt than credit cards or auto loans.
The results are changing the living patterns of an entire generation. Millennials are being forced to forgo or postpone home ownership, and they are delaying marriage and child bearing like never before.
Worse yet, a recent study by the Brookings Institute found that roughly half of all first-year students in the U.S. seriously underestimate how much debt they have. About 14 percent of students who have loans think they don’t have any debt at all.
This lack of information is unacceptable. While current federal law requires colleges and universities to provide financial counseling to borrowers at the beginning and end of their studies, there are no requirements for counseling while students are in school – when they are actually taking out loans.
Recognizing this problem, Indiana University (IU) launched a program in 2012 to educate its students about their debt and its post-graduate implications. The University sent annual letters to every student estimating their total loan debt and future monthly payments. Four years later, officials at IU say federal student loan borrowing by its students has dropped by 23 percent.
Inspired by this success, Indiana, Wisconsin and Nebraska passed state laws requiring institutions within their states to send similar letters to students.
All U.S. students deserve this information. That’s why I introduced the Letter of Estimated Annual Debt for Students Act otherwise known as the “LEADS Act.” Modeled after the IU program, the bipartisan bill requires higher education institutions that accept federal aid to send an annual letter to every student estimating their total loan debt and future monthly payments.
Knowledge is power. And, it’s past time to empower students to make better-informed decisions about their education, finances and future. IU's program shows that if you warn students about the dangers of borrowing, they borrow less.
Millennials are smart and savvy. They deserve information to make the best decisions possible. And, in the end, less student loan debt is a better result for almost everybody.Read More
WASHINGTON (July 25, 2016) - Congressman Luke Messer (IN-06) recently introduced H.R. 5867, the National Strategy for School Security Act of 2016. This bill would require the Departments of Homeland Security and Education to create a national strategy to help schools protect themselves against acts of terrorism and other emergencies.
Sadly, schools across our country have become a soft target for disturbed individuals seeking to attack vulnerable populations. And, with the growing influence and reach of terrorist organizations like ISIS, our elementary and secondary schools are increasingly susceptible to terrorist threats. Yet astonishingly, the federal government has yet to put forth a standardized security strategy to help protect schools against these horrific acts.
In fact, according to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, collaboration between federal agencies to prevent and mitigate attacks on American schools has been wholly inadequate. The report recommended a higher level of interagency cooperation on school emergency preparedness to help schools prepare for and mitigate disasters, including natural disasters, school shootings, and acts of terrorism. Messer's bill is an attempt to address these concerns.
"We shouldn’t wait for ISIS to attack an elementary school before we put in place a viable, national strategy for school security that could help prevent a catastrophe,” Congressman Messer said. “While senseless tragedies like those in Newtown and Columbine have few easy answers, there are legitimate policy changes that could help prevent similar attacks in the future. Crafting a strategy that puts everyone on the same page is an important first step.”
WASHINGTON (July 20, 2016)—Today, Congressman Luke Messer (IN-06) announced two job fairs to take place in Indiana’s 6th Congressional District this summer.
The first job fair will take place on Wednesday, August 3, 2016, in Muncie at Ball State’s Worthen Arena. The second fair will take place in Lawrenceburg at Ivy Tech Community College on Thursday, August 4, 2016. Both job fairs are open to veterans only from 1 to 1:30 p.m. and open to the general public from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
“Indiana’s unemployment rate continues to improve,” said Congressman Messer. “Unfortunately, many of the jobs gained over the past several years aren’t the kind needed to get Hoosiers back on their feet. That’s why I’m glad we’re able to partner with some great local organizations to host two job fairs this summer with more than 60 regional employers looking to hire.”
Admission to both 6th Congressional District job fairs is free. No pre-registration for attendees is required. For those who need transportation to the Muncie job fair, Muncie Indiana Transit Systems (MITS) is providing FREE rides to anyone who presents a job fair flier when boarding a bus from 1 to 4:30 p.m. on August 3rd. You can pick up a flier at Congressman Messer’s office in Muncie located at 107 W. Charles Street or at WorkOne located at 201 E. Charles Street. You can also print the flier by clicking here.
Employers scheduled to attend Muncie job fair:
Atlas Collections, Inc.
AEP – Indiana Michigan Power Company
Westminster Village Muncie, Inc.
Hillcroft Services, Inc.
Holland Colours Americas, Inc.
Com Net, LLC
Dot Transportation, Inc.
Ball State University
Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp)
LifeStream Services, Inc.
Motivate Our Minds
Kleenco Maintenance & Construction
Vocational Rehabilitation Services
Willowbend Living Center
Innomark Communications, LLC
U.S. Small Business Administration
Eaton EMTs, Inc.
Bridges Community Services, Inc.
Primerica Financial Services
Indiana Department of Corrections
Morrison Woods Health Campus
Hickory Creek at New Castle
Youth Opportunity Center
Employers scheduled to attend Lawrenceburg job fair:
Indiana Department of Child Services
Dearborn County Hospital
SCSI-NSI Voice Data
Proctor & Gamble
Interim Healthcare of Southeast Indiana
Advantage Home Health Care
Community Mental Health Center, Inc.
Indiana Michigan Power
Toyota Motor Sales
SIILC Home Care Services
The Waters of Dillsboro
Rising Star Casino
Developmental Services, Inc.
McLane Food Services
CTS Driving School Academy
God’s Bright Treasures Ministry, Inc.
Benchmark Human Services
Home Care Home, Inc.
Stedman Machine Company
Polycraft Products, Inc.
Deufol Sunman, Inc.
Proximo Distillers Indiana
ClearPoint Federal Bank and Trust
Greene Respiratory Services
Total Quality Logistics
Global Atlantic Financial Group
WASHINGTON (July 19, 2016) — Today, Congressman Luke Messer (IN-06) announced his team will be in Richmond for a “Constituent Services Workshop” on Wednesday, July 27, 2016.
This workshop is an opportunity for Sixth District residents to receive information and assistance with any federal matter. Caseworkers will be on-site to help with Social Security, VA and Disability claims, identity theft, and to answer any other questions regarding government agencies. Details on the “Constituent Services Workshop” are below:
Richmond Senior Center
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
1600 South 2nd Street
Richmond, IN 47374
More “Constituent Services Workshops” are to come! If you have any questions or concerns in advance of the workshop, please feel free to contact one of Congressman Messer’s offices in Shelbyville, Muncie, or Richmond.
WASHINGTON (July 18, 2016)—Last week, Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN), Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), and Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) introduced the bipartisan Retirement Savings Lost and Found Act (H.R.5805) to protect Americans’ retirement savings.
The U.S. job market is changing and Americans move jobs more often today than ever before. Some researchers predict today's youngest workers will hold twelve to fifteen jobs over their lifetime. And with significant changes to our workforce, come significant changes in how Americans plan for retirement. As employers have shifted from away from defined benefit pensions and into individualized retirement plans such as 401(k)s, workers have become responsible for managing these accounts as they change jobs.
However, it can be difficult for employees to keep track of these accounts during job transitions. A survey by the investment management firm TIAA found that 30% of Americans have left an account at their previous employer, resulting in tens of millions of Americans with one neglected account and millions more with two or more accounts.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) allows employers to transfer former employees’ “orphaned” retirement accounts off their books and into Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). Unfortunately, because of how these transferred accounts must be invested, the fees on these IRAs can outstrip the earnings—meaning that employees are actually losing money on these accounts. In a recent report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that an unclaimed IRA with a $1,000 balance could be reduced to $0 in 9 years because of investment fees.
“We must protect these employee retirement accounts in a responsible way that ensures they aren’t losing money,” Congressman Messer said. “The Retirement Savings Lost and Found Act will ensure that their money is invested wisely and that they’re able to easily locate these accounts whenever they need to.”
The bill uses the data employers are already required to report to create a national, online, lost and found for Americans' retirement accounts. This means that any worker can locate all of their former employer-sponsored retirement accounts in a simple online portal.
“Protecting low and middle-income workers retirement savings remains one of my top legislative priorities. Far too many Americans are putting their retirement at risk because a job change often results in a loss of savings. I believe this bipartisan bill can dramatically improve their post-employment years and help avoid a retirement crisis. By making it easier for workers to save, millions of Americans will enjoy their golden years secure and content,” said Congressman Neal, a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
H.R. 5805 allows employers to more easily invest abandoned accounts into a target date retirement account rather than a money market fund. According to the GAO, if a $1,000 account were invested into a target date account it could grow to $2,700 over thirty years; whereas a $1,000 account in a money market fund would be reduced to $0.
“Starting a new job shouldn’t put workers at risk of losing their hard-earned retirement savings,” said Congresswoman Bonamici, a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. “This bipartisan legislation will help working families be more secure when they retire by providing the tools necessary to keep track of their retirement savings when they move from job to job.”
WASHINGTON (July 14, 2016)— Yesterday, Congressman Luke Messer (IN-06) introduced bipartisan legislation, H.R. 5755, the Letter of Estimated Annual Debt for Students (LEADS) Act to help deal with the student loan debt crisis. The bill provides college students with clear information about their student loans to protect them from inadvertently over-borrowing.
According to a recent Brookings Institute study, about half of all first-year undergraduate students in the U.S. seriously underestimate how much student debt they have. Worse yet, 14 percent of students who have student loans think that they do not have any student debt at all. Federal law requires colleges to provide financial counseling to borrowers at the beginning and end of their studies (typically referred to as entrance and exit counseling). But, there are no requirements for counseling while students are in school—when they are actually taking out loans.
Recognizing this alarming problem, Indiana University (IU) launched a program in 2012 to educate their students about their debt and what their debt means after graduation. IU began sending annual letters to every student estimating their total loan debt and future monthly payments. Four years later, officials at the University say undergraduate borrowing has dropped 18 percent, or $44 million.
Inspired by the results of the program, the Indiana General Assembly enacted bipartisan legislation in 2015 that required all colleges that accept state aid to send similar letters. Wisconsin and Nebraska followed with similar laws this spring.
“Student loan debt has eclipsed $1 trillion and is handcuffing a generation of young people. But Indiana University has proven that if you warn students about what their borrowing means for their future, they will be less likely to over-borrow,” Rep. Luke Messer said. “That’s why I am introducing the LEADS Act, to protect students from inadvertently over-borrowing. The bill will provide students with an easy-to-understand breakdown of how much debt they’ve accumulated and empower them to make informed decisions about their future.”
The LEADS Act will require higher education institutions that accept federal aid to send annual letters to students to inform them about their debt in three key ways: (1) provide information on loan debt incurred to date, (2) provide an estimate on future monthly repayments upon graduation, and (3) provide an estimate of how much loan debt would be incurred if borrowing continues at a similar rate. The bill also ensures that the Department of Education assists colleges and universities in complying with the bill and ensures confidential student information is kept secure.
This bipartisan bill is being supported by several members of the Indiana Congressional delegation, including Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-IN), Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN), Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), Rep. André Carson (D-IN), Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN), and Rep. Todd Young (R-IN).
“The LEADS Act fills a void in student loan counseling to ensure that students have the information they need to avoid inadvertently taking on debt they can’t repay after graduation,” Messer continued. “This simple bill will go a long way in ensuring students know the ramifications of borrowing and should help reduce overall student loan borrowing in the long run.”
For the full text of H.R. 5755, please click here.
508 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Luke Messer is the Congressman for Indiana’s 6th Congressional District, a 19 county region of east-central and southeastern Indiana comprised of manufacturing and agricultural communities. Elected President of the Freshman Class by his peers, Messer serves on the House Committees on Budget, Foreign Affairs, and Education & the Workforce.
Congressman Messer is a 6th-generation Hoosier and national advocate for limited government, fiscal discipline, a strong national defense, and traditional values. Messer opposes bailouts, government takeovers and runaway federal spending.
Prior to his service in Congress, Luke Messer gained experience as a lawyer and former two-term State Representative working with Governor Daniels on budget issues as a Member of the Indiana House Ways & Means Committee. Messer is an accomplished education reformer: authoring nationally recognized high school drop-out reform legislation in the Indiana Statehouse and serving in the private sector as the President and CEO of the Hoosiers for Economic Growth Network & School Choice Indiana.
Raised by a single-mom who still works at a factory in Greensburg Indiana, Luke Messer was taught the value of hard work at an early age. He worked his way through school with jobs that included collecting garbage, mowing lawns, waiting tables, telemarketing and umpiring baseball games. Eventually, Messer graduated summa cum laude & Phi Beta Kappa from Wabash College. Luke earned his law degree at Vanderbilt University where he also served on the Law Review.
Luke and his wife Jennifer have two daughters, one son and three dogs. Luke has also served as an elder at his church and is the author of a children’s book about Indiana entitled “Hoosier Heart.”
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Jim was most influential Hoosier political reporter of his generation. Tough but fair. May God bless him in his nex… https://t.co/md3xXYHtd1
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