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.
When the framers of the Constitution set up the government, they designed it with three separate but equal branches. They developed a system of checks and balances to ensure that no single branch of the government would ever have too much power. This system has worked for the last 240 years.
Time and time again, the Obama administration has tried to circumvent those checks and balances. The president has attempted to create laws through executive orders, and to put it simply, that isn’t his job. The Supreme Court reaffirmed that in their recent United States v. Texas decision. The President doesn’t make the laws, only Congress has the power to do that.
My colleagues and I in Washington D.C. have been working on ways to rein in the overreach of the executive branch. I was an original co-sponsor for the Separation of Powers Restoration Act (SOPRA) and wrote the POWERS Act; both will help to stop this administration from trying to go around Congress.
SOPRA will help restore the constitutional separation of powers by reining in out-of-control agencies, reasserting the independence of judges to decide the meaning of the law, and incentivizing Congress to write laws with more specific and precise language. The POWERS Act, or the Preventing Overreach Within the Executive Rulemaking System Act, makes sure federal agencies can’t finalize overreaching, unlawful regulations. The bill requires a federal agency to respond to any questions or feedback it receives from Congress during the public comment period for a proposed rule. If the agency doesn’t respond, then the public comment period is stopped and the rule can’t be finalized.
It is our job as Representatives to make sure that the government is run according to our Constitution. I take that job very seriously, and that is why I am going to continue to fight federal overreach every chance I get.
In the last two years, ISIS has been tied to almost 100 terror plots against the West, and out of those, America was the number one target. Terrorism is the biggest threat to our national security today, and I believe that it is up to us to stop it.
Just last month, a terrorist who pledged allegiance to ISIS carried out the largest attack on American soil since 9/11. This attack had nothing to do with the gun laws of Orlando, Fl. It had everything to do with the radical Islamic ideals of the person who walked into the Pulse nightclub and pulled the trigger.
It is time to get tough on terrorism. The Obama administration has allowed our enemies to develop a stronghold in the heart of the Middle East. He has kept our military from being able to engage and destroy the enemy like they are trained to do. Because of this, we are in the highest terror threat environment since 9/11.
We need to ensure that the threat can’t just walk into the United States. I voted for legislation to enforce the strict screening process for any person trying to immigrate to the U.S., including those from places like Syria. The SAFE Act prohibits a refugee from Syria or Iraq from entering the U.S. until the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and our National Intelligence agency can affirm that the individual poses no security threat. The House passed this bill and it is now waiting on action in the Senate.
But the enemy is already here at home, and we have to remain vigilant against homegrown extremists. Since September 11, 2001, there have been at least 157 homegrown jihadist plots in the United States, including attempts to join terrorist groups overseas and execute attacks at home. More than 85 percent of these cases have occurred or been uncovered since 2009. Law enforcement across the country is working against these terrorists, but the threat is growing.
This is a war. It needs to be fought, and it must be won. I will continue to work to make sure that we have legislation in place to protect the people of the United States at home, and a military that is strong enough to defeat any enemy abroad. I will work to empower our law enforcement community, and I will keep trying to improve our immigration controls to keep the wolves outside the door. I will continue to fight to keep America safe.Read More
WASHINGTON—Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK02) released the following statement concerning the shooting in Dallas on July 7th.
“My heart is heavy for the families of the police officers killed and injured in last night’s shooting. I can only imagine how their families and fellow officers must feel today. Over the coming days and weeks, we will learn more about why this happened, but for now I ask that you thank a police officer today for their service and join me in praying for the families of the fallen officers in Dallas.”Read More
WASHINGTON—Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK02) introduced H.R. 5604 June 28th. It is a bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to authorize veterans to use their Post-9/11 Educational Assistance benefits to pursue independent study programs at certain educational institutions that are not institutions of higher learning.
Under the current law, veterans are not allowed to use their G.I. Bill education benefits for vocational programs if even one credit of the class is online or through distance learning. All classes for these programs must be taken in person at the institution.
“I believe that the men and women who put on the uniform to defend our country deserve every benefit we can give them,” said Mullin. “The best thing we can do for them is give them access to an education so they can get better jobs, and make a better life for themselves and their families.”
Institutions from across Oklahoma support the legislation. Wade Walling, superintendent of the Wes Watkins Technology Center in Wetumka, Ok says that without this change many veterans would have to drive extreme distances to attend classes.
“Veterans should not have to drive long distance or relocate when a non-degree accredited post-secondary career and technology school is locally accessible,” says Walling. “Veterans who have often served extended tours of duty should be able to use their vocational training GI Bill benefits close to home and family. Let’s not require them to serve another “tour-of-duty” away from family when using their training benefits. Common sense needs to prevail for our veterans.”
Other lawmakers also support Mullin in targeting this flaw in the current Post-9/11 education benefits. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) recently introduced a similar bill in the Senate to help Oklahoma veterans receive educational benefits.
“Career and technical education centers are vital as a post-secondary education and workforce training option for our veterans," Inhofe said. “Yet recently the Obama administration ended the five-year trend of veterans receiving GI benefits to pursue independent study courses at certain tech centers, blocking access to 200 accredited educational programs in Oklahoma alone. Our veterans deserve access to a full range of accredited educational programs as they transition into civilian life. I commend Congressman Mullin for introducing this important piece of legislation and working with me to ensure that veterans are able to fully use the GI benefits they earned serving our nation.”
Opponents of the bill claim that for-profit and online only institutions could take advantage of this new legislation.
“Only accredited organizations are covered under this bill,” said Mullin. “It is meant for public, non-profit schools that help veterans better themselves. It is not a loophole for those who try to exploit men and women who served their country with honor.”
On June 12th, a terrorist walked into The Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Because of his radicalized ideology, he massacred 49 people and wounded 53 more. The only thing that stopped him from taking more lives was the response by law enforcement officers on the scene.
This week, House Democrats led by Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) tried to use this tragic terror attack as a way to further their liberal agenda and take away our Second Amendment right. They would like people to believe that more gun laws would have stopped this attack from happening.
When liberals try to compare my ability to own a gun to the acts of a terrorist, it makes me angry. In Oklahoma, firearms are passed down from generation to generation as family heirlooms. They are used for sport and providing food for families. Guns can be found in households across the district. I have one hanging in my office in Washington D.C. That is our right guaranteed by the Constitution.
From 2005 to 2014, there were over 43,000 murders committed in the United States using something other than a firearm. Of those, 688 were in Oklahoma. You never hear outrage from these tragedies. You never hear about Democrats staging a sit-in to demand stricter laws against hammers or pocket knives. You only hear about it when it involves a gun. People tend to fear what they don’t understand, and that is especially true when it comes to guns. Democrats try to target those fears.
It is time to call a spade a spade. This was an act of terror carried out by someone who pledged allegiance to ISIS. The 911 transcripts released by the Department of Justice clearly show that the shooter pledged his life to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of the Islamic State. This isn’t a time for more gun laws. This is a time for all of us to come together to stop Islamic terrorists from being able to harm more Americans.
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.
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