Washington, D.C.-- U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) offered the following statement after meeting with the Russian Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Sergey Kislyak, regarding the search for Highlands Ranch resident Steven Beare:
“I want to thank Ambassador Kislyak for meeting with me this afternoon. I received assurances that his government will do everything possible in the search for Steven Beare. Discussed today was the deployment of specialized mountain search and rescue teams and Russian military helicopters to aid in the search. My office will continue working closely with the Russian embassy in Washington, D.C. and the U.S. embassy in Moscow to resolve this matter and bring Steven home to his wife Olivia & his family.”
It is no secret that I personally did not vote for the ballot initiative in the year 2000 that legalized medical marijuana. Nor did I vote for the initiative to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012. My personal views on marijuana have not changed, and if votes on these two questions were on the ballot today, I would still oppose both of these measures. However, the majority of voters in the State of Colorado did vote to approve them, and as one of their elected representatives in Congress, I believe it’s my obligation to defend Colorado’s right to define its own destiny and to prevent Washington, D.C. from thwarting a decision I believe Coloradans had the legal right to make under the U.S. Constitution.
The Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to “regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States…” These words have been the subject of much debate over the years. An expansive reading of this clause gives the federal government broad power to regulate personal behavior and commerce, while a more conservative reading of the clause limits federal authority solely to activities that cross state lines, exempting commercial activities that occur exclusively within a state. I subscribe to the narrower and more “limited” definition of federal powers because I strongly believe that is exactly what the framers of our Constitution had in mind.
In 2005, the Supreme Court, by a 6-3 vote, held that the Commerce Clause allows Congress to prohibit the personal growth and use of medical marijuana. Justice Clarence Thomas disagreed, writing, “If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything—and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers.” Justice Thomas went on to add that the Commerce Clause does not permit Congress to “Exercise police power of the sort reserved to the States in order to eliminate even the intrastate possession and use of marijuana.”
Justice Thomas was and is absolutely correct – the federal government can and should only regulate commerce that crosses state lines, or interstate commerce. According to the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Between the Commerce Clause and the Tenth Amendment, it is clear to me that the growth, sale, and use of marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes, that occurs solely within a state’s boundaries, is not commerce “among the states” – because it does not cross state boundaries. Therefore, it should not be regulated by the federal government.
In Washington, D.C., I have long fought on three fronts to protect Colorado’s rights on this issue. First, I have worked with my fellow Colorado U.S. Representative Ed Perlmutter, who sits on the Financial Services Committee, to support his efforts (HR. 2215, the SAFE Act of 2017) to lift the federal restrictions on allowing marijuana businesses to have access to federally-regulated financial services. Restricting access to financial services makes marijuana businesses operate on an “all cash” basis, which makes them more prone to criminality and makes it harder to collect the taxes due the government without the audit trail of a banking relationship.
Second , I’ve co-sponsored a recent bill, (HR. 2528 Respect States’ and Citizen’s Rights Act of 2017), by another of my Colorado colleagues, U.S. Representative Diana DeGette, that would direct the federal government to respect and defer to state laws, such as those passed in Colorado, that have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational purposes.
Finally, I am working with a third Coloradan, U.S. Representative Jared Polis, on co-sponsoring an appropriations amendment to the annual funding bill for the Department of Justice that would deny Justice the ability to use any taxpayer dollars to enforce federal drug laws in a state that has legalized either medical or recreational marijuana.
While discussions on this topic continue, we must respect the Constitution as well as the right of Coloradans to make their own decisions on matters that are purely within the jurisdiction to the State of Colorado, and I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure that the federal government will respect our states’ rights and sovereignty.
Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman represents Aurora and the 6th Congressional District.
This article originally appeared in the Aurora Sentinel and can be viewed HERE.Read More
When I drive around the smaller towns of the congressional district that I represent, one of the things I like to spot is what I call "staple businesses." These are often "mom and pop" small businesses that have been around for decades and which you can find sprinkled all across America. Whether it's a local pharmacy that has been filling prescriptions for generations, a family-run dry cleaner, or even a small salon or barber shop, what is never missing from view are local community banks.
Your local community bank, much like local community banks all across the nation, play a significant role in a community's economic development. It's the place where small businesses turn to for financing, where families often turn for consumer loans, and where individual financial needs are addressed in a personal and unique manner - rather than in a large corporate one-size-fits-all banking institution. While the days of closing a loan with a simple handshake and a mutual understanding may be gone, these institutions often better reflect the communities they do business in, not only because they want the repeat business, but because they are an active part of their communities and often are more invested at the local level than are large financial institutions.
If you think you have seen less and less of these community banks over the last few years, it's no coincidence, so have I. Since the passing of Dodd-Frank in 2010, a bill which was intended to promote financial stability and consumer protections after the 2008 financial crisis, small community banks have been under a regulatory siege that has caused many to either close their doors or forced to merge into larger banks - ironically making big banks even bigger or "too big to fail." While the intentions of this legislation may have been initially positive, it has resulted in over 22,000 pages of mind-numbing regulations that all financial entities, regardless of size, must abide by. Community banks and many credit unions don't have the capacity to hire all of the staff needed to comply with all of these layers of complex regulations. They have had to either shift staff to fulfill compliance requirements or eliminated some service products - such as mortgages, lines of credit and even some types of small business loans. This, of course, is contrary to what we as consumers would like to see happen and why action was needed to repeal and replace this deeply flawed law.
So, with my support, the House of Representatives passed the Choice Act in hopes of not only bringing more accountability and transparency to our financial sector but to also help these community banks do business in a manner that reflects the best interest of the our local communities where they do business. By eliminating or streamlining onerous regulations that are currently in place that stifle lending while at the same time guaranteeing that taxpayers will never be on the hook for another bank "bailout," this bill will help stop the regulatory destruction of community banks - and yes, keep these local community banks open for business.
U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman represents Colorado's 6th Congressional District, which includes Aurora, Centennial, Littleton, Highlands Ranch and parts of Adams County, among other areas. This article originally appeared in the Littleton Independent and can be viewed HERE.Read More
WASHINGTON - Led by Chairman Mike Coffman (R-CO), the Committee on Armed Services Subcommittee for Military Personnel today released its proposals for the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Subcommittee will meet at 11:30 AM on Thursday, June 22nd, in Rayburn 2212. The markup will be live streamed on the Committee's website. The subcommittee markup is available here.
The Military Personnel proposal is an integral part of the NDAA, supporting and protecting our warfighters with the care and benefits they need, deserve, and have earned. Specifically, this year's proposal:
Washington, D.C.—U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (CO-06) today was awarded the American Veterans Center (AVC) award for “Service to the Nation as a Member of the United States Armed Forces in the War on Terrorism.” The award recognized Coffman’s’ military service.
“I want to thank the American Veterans Center for all they do in honoring the military service of all veterans. As a marine combat veteran, I am honored to receive this recognition as one of many who have served our country” said Coffman.
AVC President Jim Roberts added, “Congressman Mike Coffman is the very personification of the American spirit of service to country, as a civilian, as a Member of the Armed Forces and now as a Member of Congress.”
For over 20 years, the mission of the American Veterans Center has been to honor the military service of all veterans and to preserve the legacy of service and sacrifice.
The question of sanctuary cities is a topic charged with emotion as the controversy has come to a head with the U.S. Justice Department demanding the cooperation of local law enforcement agencies in enforcing federal immigration laws. Sanctuary cities are those local jurisdictions that have taken a formal stand in refusing to cooperate with federal immigration authorities under any circumstances.
They are constitutionally correct in that the federal government cannot compel them to enforce federal laws but the federal government does have the discretion to withhold federal funds, particularly in the form of law enforcement-related grants, to these self-proclaimed “sanctuaries.”
The argument, from a federal perspective, is not only about enforcing immigration laws but public safety by deporting those with violent histories who are illegally in the United States. No doubt, local law enforcement resources are limited and they should not be expected to do the job of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in ascertaining the immigration status of its residents but when it comes to public safety, they should do what they legally can do to cooperate with ICE.
However, the debate over sanctuary cities is misplaced and ignores the broader question of the need to fix our broken immigration system. Sanctuary cities are only a symptom of a much broader problem brought about by current immigration policies.
No doubt, we need to have secure borders and have rational immigration laws that are uniformly and strictly enforced. I believe that there should be zero tolerance for illegal immigration but I also know that immigration laws have either been completely ignored or selectively enforced for decades. For example, in November 2016, PEW Research published a study that estimated that one out of twenty workers, or 140,000, in the State of Colorado are here illegally.
The magnet for illegal immigration is the ability to find work in the United States. The best way to stop illegal immigration is less about building a wall than simply by mandating an E-Verify system on all employers, with stiff penalties for those who violate the law, to remove the incentive to come to the United States illegally to find work.
Today, only businesses with federal contracts are required to verify the legal status of their workers. Immigration reform must include an effective and efficient federally-mandated E-Verify system for all employers.
In fact, given that illegal crossings on our southern border have dropped to record low numbers, the majority of illegal immigration is now from visa overstays. This is when someone has a visa to come to the United States temporarily (i.e. a tourist visa) but never leaves.
There are no tracking and enforcement mechanisms in place when a visa holder is in the country beyond the expiration of their visa. Reforming our immigration system must include tracking visa overstays to make sure that they leave the country when their visas expire.
However, to get to a system of “zero tolerance” for illegal immigration will require a recognition that we have had immigrants who have lived illegally in the United States for most of their adult lives and that most have not violated laws other than immigration-related ones.
I believe that before we move to a system that strictly enforces the immigration changes that we agree to, we must be realistic in recognizing the need for a transitional period for those who have been residing in the United States illegally and give them a limited window of opportunity to come out of the shadows, undergo a criminal background check, pay a fine for having violated our immigration laws, and then be allowed to remain in the United States with a legal status that removes the fear of deportation and allows them to freely live and work in this country.
Unlike the adults who came illegally, who knowingly broke U.S immigration laws, there are many young people living in the United States who were taken to this country, illegally, when they were children.
They grew up here, went to school here, and often know of no other country besides the United States. They should also be allowed to remain in the United States but have a clear path to citizenship based on military service, work history, or through their education.
Sanctuary cites are only a symptom of a greater problem that requires fixing our broken immigration system and I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress, on both sides of the aisle, to get the job done.
U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman represents Aurora and the 6th Congressional District.Read More
Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) released the following statement upon passage of S. 1094, the ‘Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act.’ This bipartisan legislation will reform the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) by allowing the Secretary to dismiss poorly-performing employees while strengthening protections for whistleblowers.
“The VA has consistently failed to meet our nation’s obligations to the men and women who have made tremendous sacrifices in defense of our freedoms…” Coffman added, “Time and time again, I have called and worked for reforms in the VA—an organization that has been mired in a culture of corruption and bureaucratic incompetence. While there is a lot more to get done, today we took a significant step in the right direction.”
S. 1094 passed the House with a final vote of 368-55 and will now be sent to the White House for the President’s signature. You can view the full text of the legislation HERE.
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) participated in a House Armed Service Committee hearing titled ‘The Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Budget Request from the Department of Defense’.
Hearing witnesses included the Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, U.S. Secretary of Defense, the Honorable James Mattis, and Mr. David L. Norquist, the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and Chief Financial Officer. Representative Coffman’s line of questions (Above Video) dealt with Military Pay, Military Readiness, and the Fiscal responsibility that Congress owes the American taxpayer.
The hearings purpose was to analyze and engage in an open conversation on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Department of Defense budget request to Congress. Members were able to ask their questions prior to considering the FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) later this year. The NDAA bases itself on a suggested request of $603 billion and covers base spending for military operations and personnel costs.
To view the full hearing, click HERE.Read More
Aurora, CO – U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (CO-06) presented the Congressional Award Medal to two outstanding students in Colorado’s Sixth Congressional District.
The Congressional Award, established in 1979 as a bipartisan and public-private partnership, recognizes initiative, achievement, and service in young people.
“I am honored to present the Silver Congressional medals this year to Evelyn and Jason.” Coffman said. “They both have demonstrated an incredible amount of initiative, and achievement in the common good of our community. I am proud that these students have represented the Sixth District of Colorado in the most outstanding of ways.”
Coffman presented Silver Congressional Medals to Evelyn Bodoni of Centennial, and Jason Zhang of Highlands Ranch.
Evelyn, a student at Challenge School, was awarded the Silver Congressional Medal for her over 200 hours of community service and for having expanded and diversified the scope of her non-profit, the Colorado Wheelchair Fencing Foundation. Additionally, she applied for a grant that offered underprivileged children the ability to attend six weeks of full-day fencing summer camps and completed a community service project that aims to deliver toys for hospitalized children.
Jason, a student at Littleton Academy, was awarded the Silver Congressional Medal for his over 200 hours of volunteer service at a local nursing home. This provided him the opportunity to better understand patients with Alzheimer’s, a condition he is interested in. Jason also participated in the Ronald McDonald House program cooking meals every holiday for families of cancer patients. All of this, while finding time to swim daily as a member of the Littleton Academy swim team.
To earn the Bronze, Silver, or Gold Congressional Award, each participant sets and achieves goals in four key areas: Voluntary public service, personal achievement, physical fitness, and expedition/exploration. The participants set out to achieve these goals along with the help of their parents, teachers, club leaders, and other adult volunteers to provide mentorship and encouragement along the way.
Washington, D.C.-- Congressman Mike Coffman (R-CO) released the following statement after receiving notification from the Justice Department pertaining to the Veterans' Affairs Hospital in Aurora, CO:
"I am deeply disappointed with the decision by the Justice Department for not prosecuting the VA leaders responsible for trying to coverup over a $1 billion in cost overruns by continually lying to members of Congress during investigative hearings. It will be impossible for Congress to perform its oversight responsibilities so long as key officials can knowingly give misleading testimony without facing any consequences whatsoever. I will not give up the fight to pursue justice for our veterans and for the American taxpayers until those responsible for these failures are held accountable."Read More
2443 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Mike Coffman began his distinguished career of serving our nation at a very young age. At age seventeen, after finishing his junior year at Aurora Central High School in 1972, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. Through the Army, Coffman was able to earn a high school diploma. In 1974, he left active duty to attend the University of Colorado under the G.I. Bill where he continued his military career by serving in the U.S. Army Reserve. Coffman took a leave of absence from the U.S. Army Reserve and the University of Colorado to attend D.G. Vaishnav College in Chennai, India in 1976 and the University of Veracruz in Xalapa, Mexico in 1977. Coffman graduated from the University of Colorado in 1979 and immediately transferred from the U.S. Army Reserve to the U.S. Marine Corps where he served as an infantry officer.
In 1983, Coffman came back home to Colorado and started a small business, an Aurora-based property management company, that would grow to over 20 employees. He remained the senior share holder of the firm for the next seventeen years until selling his interest in 2000. While in business, he continued serving in the military by joining the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.
In his role as a Colorado small business owner, Coffman saw the need to bring more common sense pro-growth economic policies to state government so he ran and was elected to the State House of Representatives in 1988 and re-elected in 1990. Shortly after his 1990 re-election, Coffman took an unpaid leave of absence from the state legislature and volunteered to return to active duty for the first Gulf War where he served as the executive officer for a light armored infantry company. The battalion that Coffman served in was ordered to attack and defend positions inside of Kuwait, for three consecutive days prior to the main ground attack, as part of a deception and reconnaissance-by-fire operation. Coffman retired from the military in 1994 after having served for seven years between the U.S. Army and the Army Reserve and thirteen years between the U.S. Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Reserve.
In 1994, Coffman was elected to the State Senate where he served as the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. While in the State Senate, he completed the Senior Executive Program for State and Local Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. In 1998, Coffman was elected to the office of State Treasurer and re-elected in 2002. In 2005, the U.S. Marine Corps was under strength in meeting their requirements for the Iraq War and begun to extend Marines beyond their active duty enlistments, recall Marines recently released from active duty, and selectively reach out to retired Marines and request their return to active duty. Coffman resigned his position as the State Treasurer and volunteered to return to the U.S. Marine Corps for an assignment in Iraq. In Iraq, Coffman was a civil affairs officer where he worked in support of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI) in 2005 and in 2006 he was reassigned to help establish interim local governments in the Western Euphrates River Valley.
In 2006, Coffman came home after completing a full tour of duty in Iraq and was appointed by Governor Bill Owens to serve out the remainder of his term as the State Treasurer. In that same year, he ran and was elected to the Office of Secretary of State and served in that capacity until he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008.
Coffman is the only veteran in the Colorado delegation and the only Member of Congress to have served in both the first Gulf War and in the Iraq War. Congressman Coffman represents the 6th Congressional District of Colorado and serves on the Armed Services Committee, the Veteran’s Affairs Committee where he is the Chairman for the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and on the House Committee on Small Business.
Coffman and his wife Cynthia were married in 2005 just before he deployed to Iraq with the U.S. Marine Corps. Cynthia Coffman was the Chief Legal Counsel to Governor Bill Owens before becoming the Chief Deputy Attorney General for the State of Colorado under Attorney General John Suthers. Coffman attends Faith Presbyterian Church in Aurora with his eighty year-old mother, Dorothy Coffman.
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My statement on today's meeting with the Russian Ambassador: https://t.co/kCqhvRZYcz
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I will be joining @710KNUS today at ~5:05MT, hope you can tune in!
My statement on today's meeting with the Russian Ambassador:
I will be joining News/Talk 710KNUS at ~5:05MT today, hope you can tune in!
Markup of HR2810 FY18 NDAA - for the subcommittee I chair, Military Personnel. Watch it #LIVE here:
The VA Reform Bill has been signed in the House.... now onto the White House to become law. goo.gl/WmikWs
Coffman Receives Award from American Veterans Center... Read more about what this organization does here--> https://goo.gl/bwbHrd