The United States government works on a different calendar than most of the country. We work off of a fiscal year (FY) that starts on October 1st and runs until September 30th. During the current FY, we work to appropriate the funds for the next year. If Congress is unable to pass a budget before the end of the FY, then the federal government shuts down like we saw in 2014.
This year, the House worked together to get all 12 of our appropriations bills out of committee and ready for votes on the floor. We have been ready since July.
Unfortunately the President and his allies in the Senate are holding the appropriations process hostage. By holding the appropriations process hostage for political gains, members of Congress and this Administration are playing with people’s lives.
The people who would be most affected by a government shutdown is our men and women in uniform. They would still be expected to put on their uniform and show up for work every day. They just wouldn’t get paid for it. That means we would be asking men and women in combat to lay their lives on the line for our freedom, for no pay.
I find this unacceptable.
Other services would take a hit as well. During the 1996 shutdown, that meant the hiring of 400 border patrol agents was delayed. Veteran’s services ranging from healthcare to disability payments would be curtailed.
Our only option at this point in the year is to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR). In my opinion it should never happen, because members of Congress should do their jobs by working together and passing a balanced budget and getting through the appropriations process.
Right now, a government shutdown would be nothing but a political stunt. Both sides would be trying to make it look like the other side’s fault to gain a few votes in this year’s elections. This is a dangerous and unnecessary game to be playing with our country’s future. I will continue to urge my fellow members of Congress to work together and come up with a solution.
People across the Second District are receiving calls from someone claiming to be with the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS. These people claim that you owe a large amount of money, and if you do not make a payment to them, you will be arrested. They are very forceful and sometimes rude during these calls, trying to intimidate people into paying them. They can be very believable, speaking with authority, and using phrases that make them sound legitimate. This is a scam.
There is one sure way to identify these phone calls as a scam. The IRS will never contact you by phone. Any attempt from someone who claims to be with the IRS in attempts to make you pay money over the phone is a scam.
This scam has been going on across the country for some time. They target good, hardworking people who just want to do the right thing. If they are told they owe money to the government, they want nothing more than to pay that debt. My office hears from several people each week who have received these calls, and it is heartbreaking to hear when someone falls prey to these scams. Most of the time, the thieves are never caught, and the money is lost forever.
Another IRS scam that is happening now is by email. Again, the IRS will never try to contact you through email. Do not give out any personal information, and alert the authorities if you feel you have been targeted by a scam. You can also report these emails by forwarding them to email@example.com.
When someone is tricked into giving money to these criminals, sometimes they are too ashamed to admit it. That is why it is a good idea to check with your family and let them know that this scam is out there. You may be able to stop someone else from becoming a victim just by making them aware of these scams.
The best way to safeguard against these criminals is knowledge. If you receive a call like this, hang up. If you are concerned about a debt with the IRS, one of my caseworkers will have you fill out a privacy release which allows us to inquire on your behalf, and we will help you find out if there is an actual debt owed.
With the increased use of technology, there will always be someone who tries to exploit people with it. Right now, they are using phones and emails. Unfortunately, this will not be the last scam that we encounter. My office is always ready to help, regardless if it’s dealing with a scam or a problem with a federal agency. Do not let yourself become a victim.
WASHINGTON— Congressman Markwayne Mullin released the following statement in remembrance of the fifteenth anniversary of September 11.
“September 11, 2001 is a day that will forever be a part of our nation’s history. Fifteen years later, we still remember the courage of our first responders, we mourn the lives that were lost that day, and we comfort the friends and family members who experienced a loss so great. To some, it feels like an eternity ago. To others, it feels like yesterday.
But even fifteen years later, September 11 continues to remind us of the evil we face in the world. September 11 serves as our reminder that the fight is not over – and our country’s fight against terrorism cannot cease. The people responsible for the terrorist attack that morning continue to despise everything that our nation stands for – our freedoms, our government, our religions, and our culture. We cannot, and we will not, let evil prevail.
On each and every anniversary of September 11 to come, it is my hope that America will continue the fight against evil, at home and abroad, and for the God-given freedoms that we enjoy. Because at the end of the day, the freedoms and liberties granted to us, are what make America so great.”
WASHINGTON— The U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously on Monday afternoon to pass the Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience (NATIVE) Act (S. 1579). Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) released the following after passage of the bill, which allows tribal communities to be included in federal agencies’ tourism management programs.
“The NATIVE Act will benefit Native American tribes in Oklahoma, as well as increase Native American tourism efforts nationwide,” said Mullin. “With the increasing number of visitors to tribal communities each year, it’s important that these communities have the infrastructure necessary to help share their culture’s food, heritage, and customs with domestic and overseas visitors. This bill does just that at no cost to the taxpayers.”
As a whole, the NATIVE Act facilitates collaboration between tribal communities and Federal Agencies by implementing efficient data collection, building tourism infrastructure, increasing tourism revenues, and creating jobs. The legislation is supported by over a dozen national and regional organizations, including the American Indian and Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA), the U.S. Travel Association (USTA), and the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma (ITC).
“The American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) applauds Rep. Markwayne Mullin for shepherding the NATIVE Act through the House of Representatives,” said Sherry L. Rupert, AIANTA Board President. “This legislation will forever impact the ability of our nation’s tribes to promote their true and authentic selves through tourism. It will strengthen Indian Country economic development, cultural sustainability and accelerate the progress tribes have made in international and domestic tourism.”
According to the National Travel and Tourism Office, overseas travelers who visit Indian country stay in the United States longer, visit more cities and states, use more domestic travel options, and visit more National Parks, small towns, museums, and cultural and ethnic heritage sites in comparison to all other overseas visitors.
“Thanks to the NATIVE Act, tribes in Oklahoma as well as across the nation will be able to better promote their tourism efforts, while simultaneously spurring economic development and creating jobs,” said Mullin. “I’m proud to see the NATIVE Act pass through both Houses of Congress unanimously, and I hope to see President Obama sign this bipartisan legislation in a timely manner.”
Congressman Mullin introduced H.R. 3477, the House companion bill to the NATIVE Act last September. The bill had eight bipartisan cosponsors, and received a hearing in the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs.
Congress is back in session now after the district work period. I had the opportunity to do a lot of traveling around Eastern Oklahoma, and I met with a lot of people to hear about issues that are affecting their lives. I even got the chance to serve people at the drive thru window at the Vinita McDonalds.
I never get to spend enough time with my wife and kids back home in Oklahoma, but while I'm in Washington, D.C., I have a great team back in the district that can solve a wide variety of problems.
My field representatives are out every day in the Second District, talking to people, and finding ways to help out where they can. I have members of my staff that will drive almost a thousand miles a week traveling through multiple counties to make sure they are able to help as many people as possible. In a district that stretches from Kansas to Texas, that is no easy task. They tackle everything from working with FEMA on disaster relief, to assisting people who have misunderstandings with federal agencies. They also help local and state agencies with federal issues when they come up.
Three members of my team are combat veterans who specialize in helping people who are having issues with the Department of Veterans Affairs. If you are a veteran, and are having trouble receiving the medical care you deserve, or the compensation you earned, they can help with your case. We have been able to track down long lost records and medals of veterans who fought all the way back in World War II.
We have caseworkers in both the Muskogee and McAlester offices that specialize in everything from working with the IRS to Social Security. I have seen them work cases that people thought were hopeless, and find a way to work everything out. The only way to find out if we can help with your case is to ask. You never know until you try, and my team in Oklahoma is happy to help however we can.
The biggest honor I have as the Representative for the Second District of Oklahoma is that I get to serve the best people in the country. Unfortunately, some constituents don’t know how we can help them. As your Representative, I serve as a liaison between the people and the Federal Government. I make sure that your voice is heard in Congress and I assist with problems with government agencies. And I have assembled the best team out there to help me do it.
If you have an issue that we may be able to help with, you can contact the Muskogee office at 918-687-2533 or the McAlester office at 918-423-5951.
The old saying goes: “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” I think that is the same mindset we need to have when it comes to our welfare system. In 1996, people on both sides of the aisle formed a plan to make sure that those who needed help could get it, and those who were exploiting the system would be forced to support themselves.
This week marks the 20th anniversary of President Bill Clinton signing welfare reform into law. This was a huge step toward meaningful welfare reform, but two decades later, the welfare system is still broken in many ways. Agencies are overrun with bureaucracy, complicating the system. Some people who are able to work choose not to, because it is easier to stay home and draw a check from the government. Those who grow up in poverty are just as likely to stay poor as they were 50 years ago.
Under the leadership of Speaker Paul Ryan, Republicans have come up with a “Better Way” to reform the welfare system. Under this plan, we will reward work. If you are able to have a job, we will expect you to. If you want to get training to make yourself more employable, you should be able to. There are programs out there to help with vocational training. For example, in Eastern Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation offers assistance with tuition and fees for adults to attend vocational courses and two-year colleges. I know people who have used this program to learn a trade and have improved their quality of life dramatically.
The plan also adapts assistance to people’s needs, instead of setting a one-size-fits-all approach to welfare. We need to understand that not everyone’s situation is the same. A single father may not be able to complete job training on the same timeline as someone with a more stable family support system That single father shouldn’t be penalized for circumstances outside of his control. One way to achieve this is to empower the states to implement their own welfare system and support them with grants. People in Los Angeles need access to different programs than people in Coalgate or Nowata.
We need to do a better job of helping children who grow up in poverty get access to education, leading them into higher paying career fields. This doesn’t always mean access to colleges and universities. It also means supporting vocational programs and teaching children a trade as early as high school.
It is time to do more to help the poor in America. The “Better Way” plan gives us a way to do that without offering costly handouts and helping those who are abusing the system. Growing up in rural Oklahoma, I have seen what the cycle of poverty looks like, and I think it is time to use common sense to help break that cycle.
As a young man, I had the opportunity to take over my family’s small plumbing business. It wasn’t easy, but with the support of my family and years of hard work, we managed to grow a business that continues to be successful today. None of our success would be possible without the hard work and dedication of the team we built over the years.
One of my favorite things about being the representative of Oklahoma’s Second District is the fact that I have the opportunity to help small business owners. Many small businesses fail in the first few years, and even the ones that are passed down from one generation to the next aren’t guaranteed to succeed. Any time I get a chance to vote on a bill that will affect businesses, I ask myself, “What will this do to the little guys? To businesses like mine?”
I got involved in politics because I wasn’t happy with the fact that 40 cents of every dollar in my company was going towards complying with government regulations. Agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set unrealistic and costly standards that strangle business owners until they have no choice but to fold, eat the cost, or pass the cost on to the consumer.
For example, in 2008, the EPA revised an air quality regulation that made changes to county-by-county ozone standards. The final regulation wasn’t published until seven years later in March 2015. In October 2015, the EPA yet again revised the ozone standard. This change requires counties across America to simultaneously implement two separate ozone standards which would cost Oklahomans, and small business owners in Oklahoma, billions of dollars.
I saw what this was going to do to businesses and families in Oklahoma, so I voted in favor of the Ozone Standards Implementation Act (H.R. 4775) to make sure the EPA does not impose a harmful, unworkable regulation on Oklahomans. The bill passed the House by a vote of 234-177, and is now in the Senate, one step closer to being signed into law.
I will continue to vote for legislation that help our businesses because they keep America growing. The jobs created by small businesses inject vital dollars into local economies, and that is especially true in rural Oklahoma. In eastern Oklahoma, you will still find mom-and-pop stores, small town groceries, and men who start their own welding business with nothing more than a single welder and a beat up truck. I hope that when my kids are grown, they will still be able to find all of those small businesses right here in eastern Oklahoma.
This month is a Congressional district work period, so I am home traveling throughout the state. This is a great chance for me to get out and talk with people about the issues that affect their day to day lives. One of the biggest problems I hear about is access to medical care for those who live in rural areas. My team has put in a lot of work lately on legislation that makes sure people who live outside the big cities can still get the care they deserve.
Congress voted on two bills related to healthcare this summer that I strongly support. One is the Patient Access to Durable Medical Equipment, or PADME Act. I am an original co-sponsor of this bill that will delay cuts to providers of durable medical equipment (DME) in rural areas. I want to make sure that people in small towns across Oklahoma can still have access to CPAP machines and oxygen tanks that they need to survive.
The other is H.R. 2646, The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. This bill will help people with mental illness receive the care they need. In Oklahoma, and across the country, mental health patients receive substandard care for various reasons. This bill would ensure that our mental health programs communicate with each other and will consolidate overlapping programs to cut down on unnecessary spending.
This bill also directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to prioritize Native American Youth Suicide Prevention Programs. Many Native Americans who reside on reservations or in rural areas have a high risk or disproportionate burden of suicide. This bill not only prioritizes Native Americans, but it also ensures that tribal populations are eligible for suicide prevention grants.
Both of these bills are a step in the right direction. They ensure that those who need care get it, and that is why I supported both bills. They both passed the House back in July, and are now in the Senate. I hope that soon we can see both of them signed into law.
There is a plague that continues to spread across the district, state, and nation. Opioid abuse has increased exponentially over the last decade and I have made it a top priority to stop the spread of this epidemic.
This isn’t a problem that just pops up in urban areas and big cities. It touches those who live in small towns and rural areas. I have seen what it can do to families and communities across our district. Many times, you don’t know that someone has a problem with pain medication until it is too late. When someone is prescribed a pain medication like oxycodone, they can become addicted in a very short amount of time. After someone is hooked, it isn’t a very big jump to drugs like heroin.
Drug abuse, prescription or not, can be fatal. In 2014, there were over 28,000 opioid related drug overdose deaths in the U.S. And the largest group killed may be surprising to some. It isn’t kids. It is women ages 45 to 54. In Oklahoma during that same time, more people died as a result of opioids than died in car wrecks. That is staggering to me. In 2014, Oklahoma had the tenth highest drug overdose death rate in the nation. That is just unacceptable to me.
I have supported legislation to combat this growing problem. As a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I helped with bipartisan legislation targeted at reducing the amount of drug-related deaths in America. I supported an amendment to ensure that the Attorney General considers the needs of Native American, rural and heavily impacted communities in awarding grants. That bill package was combined with the Senate’s version in conference, and finally made it to the President’s desk. It was signed into law July 22nd.
But that isn’t the end of the fight. There is still more work to be done, both here in the district and across the state. That is why I am going to continue to meet with community leaders to talk about the way forward. I will talk with veterans groups and tribal leaders, doctors and patients, whoever can help shed light onto the issue so we can come up with a way to defeat it, and still allow those who legitimately need the medication to have access to it.
With the first week of August already here, it is almost time for me to drop my kids off for their first day of school. Some schools in Oklahoma start as early as next week. As always, their summer vacation seemed to fly by.
Schools across Oklahoma will start this year facing unique challenges like never before. Budgets have been cut due to a plunge in oil prices, forcing some schools to adopt a 4-day week. Teaching jobs have also taken a hit. On top of that, the Obama administration is trying to force rule changes on schools across the country. I know that our state legislators are working on solutions to the education budget problems, and my colleagues and I in Washington D.C. are working to stop federal overreach.
For high school students who want to continue their education and have an opportunity to serve their country at the same time, military service academies are an option. My office can help with the application process and get you on the right track. The process can be a little intimidating, so I urge you to start early.
Kids aren’t the only ones getting ready to hit the books again. Many adults will start college classes again soon. Eastern Oklahoma is home to some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the state. Vocational programs throughout the district also offer day and night classes for adults looking to better themselves. I whole-heartedly support those who wish to go back to school. I know it can be tough to juggle working, raising a family and going to school, so I applaud those who do it.
I have also talked to a lot of service members who have returned home and are going back to school. I recently introduced a bill to help Veterans who want to continue their education. H.R. 5604 will amend the G.I. Bill education benefit to cover vocational programs that include distance learning or online courses. This will allow veterans to take classes from home instead of driving long distances to attend classes.
Education has always been very important to me. I make sure my kids take school seriously and that they understand that what they learn now builds the foundation for what they do later in life. But for now, we are enjoying the last few days of summer vacation. I hope you are too.
1113 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Markwayne Mullin was elected to serve the people of Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District in November 2012.
Mullin and his wife Christie had three children, Jim, Andrew and Larra, and then on August 21, 2013 they officially became the proud parents of their adopted twin girls, Lynette and Ivy. They raise their children on the family farm where Mullin grew up in Westville, Oklahoma.
Raised in rural Adair County, he learned the value of hard work and self-discipline. The youngest of seven children, Mullin grew up working on the family farm before the sun was up and well before the school day began. When his studies and athletics were finished each day, Mullin would return home and finish his evening chores.
Mullin graduated from Stilwell High School and went to Missouri Valley College on a wrestling scholarship. Shortly after, his father fell ill and the family’s small plumbing company encountered financial troubles. Mullin then returned home and at the age of 20, he and his wife Christie took over the business. At the time the business had only six employees and was in debt.
Mullin resolved for the sake of his family and for their employees, to make the company solvent and ensure it never again fell into those circumstances. For the next three years, Mullin and his wife Christie worked seven days a week, making the difficult decisions necessary to get the business out of debt.
Mullin ultimately returned to college and graduated from Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology in 2010. He was honored to have been invited by his alma mater to deliver the keynote address at the OSUIT 2013 Commencement ceremonies in August.
Today, Mullin Plumbing is one of the largest service companies in the region, employing over 120 Oklahomans. It is only one of several successful companies Mullin owns and operates, including Mullin Environmental, Mullin Plumbing West Division, Mullin Services, Mullin Properties and Mullin Plumbing New Construction.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, Mullin has been the voice of business owners across America and brings their perspective into the national debate on many issues which directly impact the business community. From immigration and tax reforms to transportation issues and overzealous regulation, Mullin provides the much-needed real world perspective that comes from fighting to successfully run businesses in today’s economic and regulatory environment.
An engaging, energetic and servant-hearted individual, Mullin is not a Washington, D.C. insider. Instead, he’s a hard-working family man who is grounded by a deep faith and his love of country. Mullin holds fast to the values of rural Oklahoma – where deals are still closed with a handshake, where neighbors help one another without a moment’s hesitation and where prayer and worship are still important parts of people’s lives.
Congressman Mullin serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Natural Resources Committee. He was one of only 11 Members chosen to serve on the bipartisan Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation, designated by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The panel traveled across the country to examine the current state of freight transportation in the United States and how improving freight transportation can boost the U.S. economy. The panel will release its findings in late October 2013.
Determined that he would always be accessible and available to the people he represents, Mullin has held three rounds of town hall meetings in each of the 26 counties of the 2nd District so far during his first year in office. He has also held six district-wide telephone town hall meetings. Additionally Mullin has held telephone conference calls with different community groups in the 2nd District, including mayors, county commissioners, chamber of commerce officials, dentists, hospital administrators, pastors and technology centers administrators.
Mullin is a proud citizen of the Cherokee Nation. When the 113th Congress convened in January 2013, he became only the second Native American in the House.