Mike Kelly

Mike Kelly


Rep. Kelly Hails Victories for Western PA as 113th Congress Concludes


Kelly-sponsored provision to secure retirement benefits included in final FY 2015 omnibus budget; extension of pro-jobs energy tax incentives signed by president; Kelly-sponsored ABLE Act now law

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (PA-03) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – issued the following statement today highlighting three legislative victories for the Third District that were achieved in Washington over this past week.

The first is the inclusion of a bipartisan retirement provision introduced by Reps. Kelly, Jim Gerlach (R-PA), and Ron Kind (D-WI) in the final version of the Omnibus Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2015, which was signed by President Obama on December 16, 2014. The provision codifies the definition of “normal retirement age” as either 30 years of service or the current tax code’s definition of 62 years old. Because the IRS changed its retirement definition to include only the latter description, 10,000 rural electric coop beneficiaries throughout the nation would have otherwise lost their retirement benefits, including 16 in the Third District.

The second is the passage by the U.S. Senate and signing into law of a package of extenders for multiple expiring tax incentives for propane and biodiesel which were included in Rep. Kelly’s Powering American Jobs Act. The incentives were extended retroactively through the end of 2014, which will cover the 2014 tax filing season for this year’s tax liabilities. This package was signed by President Obama this afternoon.

The third is the signing into law of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, also known as the ABLE Act, of which Rep. Kelly is a co-sponsor. The law aims to provide families of a severely disabled child with added peace of mind by allowing them to save for their child's long-term disability expenses in the same way that families of able-bodied children can currently save for college through popular 529 investment plans. 

Statement by Rep. Kelly:

“I am thrilled that our bipartisan retirement provision is now federal law. By working together and putting our constituents’ needs first, we have successfully stopped the IRS from eliminating retirement benefits for more than 10,000 rural electric co-op employees of more than 300 co-ops throughout the nation—including 16 in the Third District.

“I am also very happy to see President Obama sign into law a major portion of the Powering American Jobs Act, which will help keep taxes from being raised and help create jobs in Western Pennsylvania.

“The signing of the ABLE Act, along with its overwhelming popular and bipartisan passage in Congress, should serve as proof that with the right goals and principles leading the way, Washington can still get necessary work done for the American people.”

Statement by National Rural Electric Cooperative CEO Jo Ann Emerson:

"On behalf of our 10,000 members whose benefits were saved with the inclusion of the critical normal retirement age provision in the FY 2015 Omnibus, thank you Representative Mike Kelly for working so diligently on this major accomplishment. Our members are even further blessed this holiday season and have additional reminders to give thanks.”



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Rep. Mike Kelly to Deliver Weekly National GOP Address



WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) has been selected by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to deliver the weekly Republican address to the nation on Saturday, December 20, 2014. Rep. Kelly represents Pennsylvania’s Third Congressional District, and his holiday-themed message will focus on the importance of developing all forms of American energy for the sake of spurring new job creation and robust economic growth.

“I am sincerely honored to be selected by Speaker Boehner to deliver this week’s national address on behalf of our colleagues,” said Rep. Kelly. “My message will echo the American people’s strong support for unleashing our nation’s vast energy potential in order to usher in new jobs, lower energy costs, and a much stronger economy. Especially as Americans gather with loved ones during this season of hope, it’s crucial that we chart an optimistic course for the future that seizes all of the abundant, affordable, and accessible energy resources that we’ve been blessed with. From coal production to the Keystone Pipeline construction, it’s time for President Obama to work Republicans to give the American people the energy future they want and deserve.”       

Learn more about Rep. Kelly by visiting his official website or by following him on Facebook and Twitter.

The Weekly Republican Address will be available starting tomorrow, Saturday, December 20, 2014, at 6:00 am ET on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov.



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Rep. Kelly Announces Annual Nominees to U.S. Military Academies


WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (PA-03) today announced the names of his nominees to the United States Military Academies for the class of 2019. These candidates met all application requirements and were interviewed by Rep. Kelly’s independent Military Academy Advisory Board, comprised of local academy alumni and veterans.

Statement by Rep. Kelly:

“After an extensive application process, we have awarded congressional nominations to 21 distinguished candidates who will now move forward in seeking an appointment to one of the United States Military Academies. It is an absolute privilege to nominate individuals from Pennsylvania’s Third District to these elite academies, and I am confident that these nominees possess the abilities and dedication necessary to become proud American leaders. I sincerely congratulate these fine young men and women and applaud their eagerness to serve our great nation.”


Collin Adamson, West Shamokin High School Thomas Anderton, Conneaut Area High School Richard Arlington, Northwestern PA Collegiate Academy Jonathan Asseff, Seneca Valley High School Lauren Barber, Wilmington Area High School Max Campoli, University of Texas William Drambel, Seneca Valley High School Karita Ford, McDowell High School Derek Gengler, Butler Senior High School Benjamin Learn, Meadville Area Senior High School Alex Madonna, Vincentian Academy Oscar Manjerovic, Mars Area High School Reed McDonough, Mars Area High School Sonya McLaughlin, Shady Side Academy Michael Palaski, Seneca Valley High School Norman Stark, Cathedral Preparatory School George Staudacher, Northwestern Preparatory School Michael Tappe, Aquinas Academy John Timon, Fairview High School Anthony Valenza, Grove City Area High School Mary Wadding, West Shamokin High School

NOTE: Rep. Kelly will honor all nominees during a ceremony in the spring of 2015. Any constituent interested in seeking a congressional nomination in the future (or more information regarding the application process) is encouraged to visit Rep. Kelly’s website or contact Stephanie Stevenson, Academy Coordinator, at Stephanie.Stevenson@mail.house.gov.


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Rep. Kelly Discusses Future of Congress's Fight to Stop Executive Amnesty on Fox & Friends


Rep. Kelly: “January 6th starts an altogether new day for America”


WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – appeared on Fox & Friends Weekend on Fox News Channel yesterday morning to discuss the recently passed Omnibus Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2015 and the future efforts of the upcoming 114th Congress to halt President Obama’s recent executive action on illegal immigration amnesty.

Rep. Kelly on the importance of the upcoming Congress:                        

“Moving forward, we have to get into the next session when we have a majority in the Senate that we can actually work with on a more open basis. … When we get into the next session, we have a much different group to work with. … This is not over. This is not Republicans walking away from a very critical issue. However, we know where we are positioned right now, we’re still a minority. We won’t be that way after the [114th Congress is sworn in]. January 6th starts an altogether new day for America. We’re going to have to govern though, and Speaker Boehner has been very clear about this. These are not Republicans issues, these are not Democrat issues — these are American issues. And if we’re going to govern, we’re going to have to govern as Americans first, and we’re doing what’s right for the American people.”

“After the [new Congress is sworn in], we’ll be able to lay out a plan for America that makes sense, gets our economy up and rising again, gets our people to have faith in this form of government that we have, and [Americans will know] that they’re going to govern in Washington right now; they’re not going to be bumping heads all the time.”

NOTE: In addition to preventing a partial government shutdown, the Omnibus Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2015 – which has now been passed by both the House and the Senate – will achieve the following items through a long list of conservative policy provisions included within the budget (a more extensive list can be viewed here):

  • Reduces federal discretionary spending to pre-President Obama, pre-Speaker Pelosi levels. (With this budget, Rep. Kelly and his colleagues have cut discretionary spending by $165 billion since 2010.)
  • Continues the ban on federal funding for the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, which Rep. Kelly has personally fought to include
  • Protects the unborn by banning the funding of abortion in the District of Columbia, within the federal employee health benefits program, and for federal prisoners
  • Forces all Obamacare plans to inform Americans if they provide any abortion services
  • Prevents the taxpayer bailout of the Obamacare Risk Corridor program
  • Massively cuts funding for the EPA and forces the agency to reduce its staff size to its lowest level since 1989
  • Prohibits the EPA from regulating lead content in ammunition or fishing tackle
  • Stops the Export-Import Bank from blocking any new or existing coal projects
  • Prohibits the Department of Energy from forcing manufactures to stop making certain lightbulbs
  • Bans federal funds from being used to transfer terrorists at Guantanamo Bay to our homeland
  • Slashes the IRS by more than $345 million, bringing its funding to pre-Obama levels ($1.5 billion below the president’s request)
  • Prohibits funding for the IRS to target any organization for regulatory scrutiny – even when ordered by the White House – based on its ideological beliefs or for exercising its First Amendment rights



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Rep. Kelly Champions Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act on House Floor



WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (PA-03) – co-chairman of the Northeast-Midwest (NEMW) Congressional Coalition – delivered remarks on the floor of the House of Representatives today in support of H.R. 5764, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2014, of which he is a co-sponsor. The bipartisan legislation was passed unanimously by the House this afternoon.

Highlights of Rep. Kelly’s floor speech:

“We all understand what it is that makes the Great Lakes great, and I think that’s the whole point of what we’re talking about: this is a gift from God.”

“If you could just close your eyes for one minute and visualize in your mind’s eye the continental United States, the landmass, the volume of freshwater contained in our Great Lakes would cover that landmass by 9 ½ to 10 feet! It is an incredible amount of water. But more importantly, it is an incredible gift from God. We have to protect this area. Why would we not? The statistics that we talk about are overwhelming.”

“We thank a lot of people for being involved with this, but you know who I want to thank more than anybody else? It’s the hardworking American taxpayers. By our Constitution, we are granted the authority to tax them, but we are also given the responsibility to spend their money the right way.”

“One-fifth of the world’s freshwater – not one-fifth of Pennsylvania’s, not one-fifth of the United States’, not one-fifth of North America’s – but one-fifth of the world’s freshwater resides in the Great Lakes.”

“We have an opportunity to do something that just makes sense to each and every one of us. We can get this done. And if I may, just for a minute, to paraphrase Luke 12:48: ‘To whom much is given, much is required.’ Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that this is not an option. This is a moral obligation, on behalf of the people of this great country, to look at one of the assets that we have, a gift from God, and make sure that we preserve it for future generations.”

NOTE: The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2014 (H.R. 5764) amends the Clean Water Act to authorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) for Fiscal Years 2015 – 2019. The GLRI was an inter-agency program launched by President Obama in 2009 to implement a regional collaboration strategy developed in 2005 through a process established by an executive order from then-President George W. Bush in 2004. The GLRI had not previously received congressional authorization. Without increasing federal spending, this bill would authorize the GLRI at $300 million (the amount already appropriated over the past four fiscal years) each year for the next five years.

With the help of GLRI, Presque Isle Bay in Erie, Pennsylvania was removed from the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of Areas of Concern in 2013. Additionally, the GLRI has been instrumental in keeping Asian Carp from invading the Great Lakes and threatening its world class fisheries.  



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Rep. Kelly’s Message of Economic Opportunity Featured by Comcast Newsmakers


Rep. Kelly: “The opportunities for Americans now have never been greater, but we need to have a fix on the future”


WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – was recently featured as a “National Newsmaker” by Comcast Newsmakers, a national news program produced by NBC Universal and distributed via Comcast’s XFINITY On Demand service, as well as its social media and online platforms. The interview was conducted on December 3, 2014, and was based on Rep. Kelly’s unique assessment of the United States as “the world’s next great emerging economy.”

Rep. Kelly explains his optimism regarding America’s economic future:

“I know what the popular narrative is, but I also know what the truth is. And when you look at who we are and the gifts that we have been given — we are awash in so many natural resources that the rest of world covets.”

“One fifth of the world’s fresh water, potable water, is right here in the United States — not just Pennsylvania’s [fresh water], but one fifth of the world’s fresh water.  We have potable water, we have tillable soil; we produce more [food] per acre than anybody else in the world.”

"We talk about energy opportunities … we have an abundance of oil, of coal, of natural gas, and we can extract these very safely, bring them to the surface where they really help us drive an economy that is limitless right now.”

Rep. Kelly on how America can realize its economic potential:

“We do need pro-growth tax reform. There is no one else out there that thinks what we are doing right now [regarding our tax code] makes sense. … I would just suggest to you that we reform taxes and we make it a pro-growth tax reform.”

“When we look at regulations right now — well-intended when they came out, [they] now have become almost to the point of being overbearing and are not allowing us to become who we need to become.”

“We have people here that are the most productive people the world has ever seen. We have the opportunity to educate people for the jobs that are available. People from all over the world come to America. Why do they come to America? They come to our educational institutions because we offer the best product. A lot of them want to stay and they want to help. We need to look at how we address that; we’ve got to grow from the inside out. We’ve got to make our people stronger, and our people need to believe again of who we are and what we are.”

Rep. Kelly on the future of political partisanship and participation:

“I came out of the private sector; I’ve only been here [in Washington] four years. … I’m an automobile dealer, who grew up being able to reach out across the desk and make agreements with people on a transportation need they had.”

“I want you to think about this: every single person that serves in this country – I don’t care if it is your local school board, your towns, your states, whatever – they are all elected people. What we need to do is to look at the tremendous amount of potential we have locally; ask those people to step forward and serve. They’re all elected; they just don’t go in and sit down.”

“The opportunities for Americans now have never been greater, but we need to have a fix on the future and say, ‘This is where we can go.’”



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Rep. Kelly Introduces the Powering American Jobs Act


WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – issued the following statement today regarding his introduction of H.R. 5775, the Powering American Jobs Act of 2014, in the House of Representatives. The bipartisan legislation would extend certain expiring tax incentives for the energy sector, including propane and biodiesel provisions, for at least two years. It is being co-sponsored by Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI). A copy of the bill can be viewed here.

Statement by Rep. Kelly:

“The most important issue to Western Pennsylvanians is job creation, and that remains my number one focus in Washington. This bipartisan piece of legislation will grant much-needed tax certainty and fairness to energy providers important to our District and help them create more jobs while bringing heating costs down. While the temporary provisions within this bill are necessary, Congress must continue to work toward long-term tax reform that makes these extensions permanent. To this day, the United States remains the only nation in the world that allows important parts of its tax code to expire on a regular basis. Going forward, we must pave the way for a better course. When it comes to encouraging economic growth, American businesses both large and small should have the long-term certainty they need to plan, invest, expand, and hire more hardworking Americans.”

Statement by Rep. Kind:

“This commonsense, bipartisan legislation helps create jobs and makes smart investments in alternative fuels to help us become more energy independent. To bolster economic growth, we need to keep looking for ways to provide employers with stability and predictability so they can hire new workers in Wisconsin and around the nation.”

Statement by Dan Gilligan, President, Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA):

“I would like to thank Reps. Kelly and Kind for their efforts to retroactively extend the $1-per-gallon biodiesel blender's tax credit while bringing fairness to all fuel appliance credits under 25(c) of the tax code. The Kelly-Kind bill makes important technical corrections to 25(c) so oilheat consumers can upgrade to the most efficient appliances available in today’s market that will conserve energy and reduce their monthly heating oil bills.”

NOTE: The Powering American Jobs Act of 2014 includes the following tax extension provisions:

Extension and Modification of Credit for Nonbusiness Energy Property.  The bill extends for two years, through 2015, the credit for nonbusiness energy property with certain modifications.  This provision allows a credit of 10 percent of the amount paid or incurred by the taxpayer for qualified energy improvements, up to $500.  A two-year extension of this provision.

Extension of Tax Incentives for Alternative Fuel and Alternative Fuel Mixtures (including liquefied hydrogen).  The bill extends through 2015 the $0.50 per gallon alternative fuel tax credit and alternative fuel mixture tax credit. This credit can be claimed as a nonrefundable excise tax credit or a refundable income tax credit for the blending and sale of alternative fuel mixtures including compressed or liquefied natural gas, ethanol, biofuels, and liquefied hydrogen.  A two-year extension of this provision.

Extension of Credit for Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property (including hydrogen property).  The bill extends for two years, through 2015, the 30% investment tax credit for alternative vehicle refueling property, up to $30,000.  Eligible refueling property includes fuel pumps for ethanol, biodiesel, liquefied hydrogen, and compressed or liquefied natural gas.  A two-year extension of this provision.

Extension of Tax Incentives for Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel.  The bill extends for two years, through 2015, the $1.00 per gallon tax credit for biodiesel, as well as the small agri-biodiesel producer credit of 10 cents per gallon. The bill also extends through 2015 the $1.00 per gallon tax credit for diesel fuel created from biomass.  A two-year extension of this provision.

Equalization of Excise Tax of Liquefied Natural Gas and Liquefied Petroleum Gas.  The bill would amend propane’s excise tax provisions in I.R.C. Sections 4041 and 4081 in order to provide Federal excise tax equivalence to gasoline.  A permanent provision.



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Rep. Kelly Condemns President Obama’s Unilateral Action on Immigration


Rep. Kelly: “President Obama has no right to act like a king just because democracy doesn’t go his way”

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) issued the following statement today in response to President Obama’s unilateral action on immigration.

“Last night’s announcement by the president was 100 percent about politics, not about the best interests of the nation he’s supposed to serve. Unilaterally granting amnesty to 5 million illegal immigrants is not just a slap in the face to the millions of people waiting in line to come here legally, but also to our constitutional system. It sets a dangerous precedent that reduces Congress to a merely ceremonial institution. If this action was truly so urgent, then President Obama would have pushed it through the lawful legislative process when his party controlled both chambers of Congress. Instead, he did nothing because he knew the American people simply do not want this. In fact, on at least 22 previous occasions the president himself denounced the sort of executive overreach that he is now committing.

“President Obama’s repeated justification that ‘Congress won’t act’ is not just pathetic and erroneous, but also chilling. It’s the sort of excuse one hears from a power-grabbing autocrat, not an American president. In our system of government, Congress makes the laws and the president enforces them—period. Having once been a constitutional law professor, it’s stunning that President Obama refuses to understand this. Even when the House and Senate act – or don’t act – in a way that the president disagrees with, it doesn’t change the fact that the legislative branch – not the executive branch – is where our laws are created. President Obama has no right to act like a king just because democracy doesn’t always go his way.”

“I stand with my colleagues in the House of Representatives in complete objection to this radical overreach and am ready to support whatever action must be taken in order to restore integrity to our nation’s laws and Constitution.”

NOTE: On August 1, 2014, Rep. Kelly voted for H.R. 5272, which would ban the use of taxpayer funds for the expansion of President Obama’s deferred action for illegal aliens. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives by a vote of 216-192 with bipartisan support.


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Rep. Kelly & Sen. Rubio Introduce the Keeping American Safe from Ebola Act



Legislation crafted after conversation with Dr. Peter Piot, disease expert & discoverer of Ebola virus

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – delivered remarks on the floor of the House of Representatives today after introducing H.R. 5746, the Keeping America Safe from Ebola Act. The bill would prohibit an alien who is a national of a country with a widespread Ebola virus outbreak from obtaining a visa to enter the United States. The Senate companion of this legislation was also introduced today by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL).

Highlights of floor speech by Rep. Kelly:

“Dr. [Peter] Piot said to me, ‘You know what, Mr. Kelly? I’m glad you called me, because let me tell you a little bit more about Ebola, and let me tell you right now what the world is looking at: Not just your country, but the world, is looking at a dress rehearsal for the next great virus.’”

“Because of who we are today and the technology that we have today, we can be sitting in this wonderful House this afternoon and we can be in Rome tonight. We can be halfway around the world in a very short period of time. It’s not like the old days when these diseases, these viruses, were carried and it took months for them to get from shore to shore, from country to country. It now can travel very quickly. And it mutates very quickly.”

“What else should we do? Number 1: Isolate. Number 2: Quarantine. …You must isolate, you must quarantine. Why? You don’t infect the general population. It is so basic, and yet we’re trying to struggle today to find out how we contain this disease, this lethal disease. What can we possibly do? The answers, my friend, are so obvious.”

“My friends, there is truly no time to lose. The vaccine, I’m told, is…available to us. But it’s not just Ebola I’m worried about, and it’s not just this country I’m worried about, and it’s not just Ebola that the world should worry about. It is what is coming. Believe me—we have not seen the end of infectious disease. We have not seen the end of lethal viruses that will cripple us as a nation and could become the weapon for bioterrorists that would use it at any cost, without any regard to human life.”

“We have the ability, right now, within our hands, within our grasp, to develop a vaccine in order to defeat this horrible virus. All that I would ask is that we come together in this House, the American people’s House – not a Republican House, not a Democrat House, but the American people’s House – to once again conquer a disease that could infect not only our own American citizens but citizens of the world.”

Statement by Sen. Rubio:

“Imposing travel restrictions is a common sense approach to protecting Americans from Ebola. Over the past few months, we’ve seen Ebola’s deadly reach, and air travel has proven to be its gateway to the United States. A temporary visa ban aims to limit the spread of Ebola by placing strict limitations on travel to the U.S. from Ebola-affected countries and protect Americans from any potential threats of an outbreak, but it does not mean that our efforts to combat the virus will stop there. America must remain committed to this international challenge by addressing it at its source and increasing our assistance to countries that continue struggling to contain this deadly outbreak. America will not be completely safe from Ebola until the virus is contained at its source.”

NOTE: The Keeping America Safe from Ebola Act of 2014 accomplishes the following:

  • Suspends new visas and revokes current visas of an individual who is:
    • A permanent resident or national of a country that the CDC has certified is a country for “widespread transmission of Ebola”, and
    • Whose last habitual residence was a country that the CDC has certified is a country for “widespread transmission of Ebola”
  • Exceptions include:
    • Aid workers who need to travel the U.S. and are approved by USAID
    • Foreign military who need to travel to the U.S. and are approved by Department of Defense
  • Requires the President to report to Congress every 30 days on the Ebola outbreak:
    • Status of Ebola outbreak in each designated country and the progress made since last reporting period
    • A description of the U.S. assistance to each designated country
    • Reasons that a complete travel ban is not in the interest of U.S. national security
  • Termination of Act: 60 days after the date the Director of the CDC certified that there is no longer an Ebola outbreak

BACKGROUND: On October 7, 2014, Rep. Kelly sent a letter to President Obama urgently requesting information regarding the administration’s handling of the Ebola virus outbreak and details of a comprehensive strategy to stop the virus from affecting Americans. A copy of the letter can be viewed here.

On October 8, 2014, Rep. Kelly co-signed a bipartisan letter to President Obama urging him to take immediate action to prevent an outbreak of the Ebola virus in America by instituting travel restrictions, enhancing airport screenings, and possibly quarantining individuals who have traveled to or from the affected West African countries. The letter can be viewed here.

On October 9, 2014, Rep. Kelly sent a letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Sylvia Burwell, and the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Tom Frieden, expressing his deep concern about the possibility of the Ebola virus spreading to Pennsylvania. The letter was copied to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, and can be read here.

On October 20, 2014, Rep. Kelly called on President Obama to finalize a rule proposed under the Bush administration in 2005 to update and revise regulations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to “prevent the introduction, transmission or spread of communicable diseases from foreign countries into the United States from one State or possession into another.” According to the federal register, the code of federal regulations that deals with foreign arrivals has not been updated since 1985. According to USA Today, the Obama administration scrapped the proposal in 2010 after objections by the American Civil Liberties Union over “potential passenger privacy rights violations and the proposal's ‘provisional quarantine’ rule.”

On October 21, 2014, Rep. Kelly held a phone conversation with Dr. Peter Piot, who first discovered the Ebola virus in 1976 in the Republic of Congo, about necessary action to stop the virus and protect American citizens. The Keeping America Safe from Ebola Act was crafted as a result of their discussion.



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Rep. Kelly Introduces Defending Internet Freedom Act of 2014


Bill would protect Internet from foreign government control

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – issued the following statement today after introducing H.R. 5737, the Defending Internet Freedom Act of 2014. The legislation would prevent the Obama administration, or that of any future president, from relinquishing the critical functions of the Internet – currently stewarded by the United States – to any other entity without enhanced congressional oversight and until explicit, freedom-protecting requirements are met. It is being co-sponsored by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX), who also serves as chairman and co-founder of the Congressional High Tech Caucus.

Statement by Rep. Kelly:

“Preserving Internet freedom is an American duty. The requirements within this bill will guarantee that the Internet remains unchained and out of the grasp of bad actors and hostile powers that actively limit freedom.

“It is no coincidence that the Internet has been able to safely flourish beyond anyone’s imagination under the stewardship of a nation devoted to democratic principles. These principles – American principles – are indispensable to the free flow of information online, which benefits billions of citizens worldwide. Therefore, our stewardship must never be surrendered to an entity that does not venerate liberty and openness as we do. Whether the Obama administration understands it or not, America has strong interests in ensuring that freedom of speech and commerce remain maximally protected on the Internet for people everywhere, now and into the future.”

Endorsements & praise for the Defending Internet Freedom Act of 2014:

Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel, American Center for Law and Justice: “Nowhere have the power of free speech and the importance of our First Amendment been more evident than in the revolutionary growth of the Internet. Preserving the free and open nature of this exchange is absolutely critical. Congressman Mike Kelly is to be commended for his thoughtful legislation that would ensure the continued freedom and success of the world’s most powerful information technology.”

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., President & CEO, Center for Security Policy: “The Obama administration's abdication of long-standing, exclusive U.S. oversight over ICANN constitutes a threat both to American foreign policy interests and to American First Amendment freedoms.  Although it is our view that such a transfer must not take place – and that a requirement for explicit authorization from Congress is the most effective check on such a move – the Defending Internet Freedom Act imposes at least some measure of congressional oversight over this reckless decision by requiring President Obama to certify to the people's elected representatives in Congress, based on several criteria, that any proposed alternative arrangement regarding Internet governance does not jeopardize American sovereignty or security.”

Eagle Forum: “The Internet has flourished as a forum for open discourse and commerce thanks to American oversight. Surrendering control would only benefit those who think the Internet is too free and too open. Rep. Kelly’s bill ensures that the Obama administration won’t be able to forfeit America’s crucial role as guardian of Internet freedom.”

The Heritage Foundation: “In short, the Internet is too important for the announced transition to occur in a manner that threatens the freedom or vitality of the Internet. Thankfully, there are some Members of Congress who are paying attention to this critical issue. The most recent contribution is the Defending Internet Freedom Act of 2014 introduced by Representative Mike Kelly (R–PA).”

BACKGROUND: On March 14, 2014, the Obama administration announced that it will not renew the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), thereby turning over stewardship of the Internet’s crucial functions to “the global multistakeholder community.”

According to media expert Gordon Crovitz, writing in The Wall Street Journal, “Russia, China and other authoritarian governments have already been working to redesign the Internet more to their liking, and now they will no doubt leap to fill the power vacuum caused by America's unilateral retreat.”

On June 11, 2014, Rep. Kelly authored a guest op-ed for Red Alert Politics describing the stakes of surrendering American stewardship of the Internet to a multinational body or any other entity. The op-ed can be read here.

On July 15, 2014, Rep. Kelly hosted a policy briefing on Capitol Hill on the future of Internet governance in light of the Obama administration’s announcement. The hearing was attended by dozens of Congressional staffers and featured professional analysis by three field experts. Read more about the briefing here.


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Contact Information

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Committee Assignments

Ways and Means

Mike Kelly was born in Pittsburgh and raised in Butler, PA, where he has lived for the past 53 years. After graduating from Butler High School in 1966, Mike attended the University of Notre Dame on a football and academic scholarship. After college, Mike moved back to Butler to work at Kelly Chevrolet-Cadillac, Inc., a company founded by his father in the early 1950s. Mike took ownership of the dealership in the mid-1990s, expanding its operations to include Hyundai and KIA franchises.

Mike currently employs over 100 people from the region, and is a leader in the local and national automotive industry. Mike has served as Chairman of the Hyundai Eastern Region Dealer Council, Vice Chairman of the Hyundai National Dealer Council, and has served on the boards of the Chevrolet Dealers Advertising Association of Pittsburgh and the Cadillac Consultants of Western Pennsylvania. In addition, Mike was Secretary and Treasurer of the Hyundai initiative “Hope on Wheels,” which has donated over $58 million to childhood cancer research institutions nationwide.

Mike was a Butler City councilman, and has sat on the boards of several local and civic organizations, including the Housing Authority of Butler County, the Redevelopment Authority of Butler County, and the Moraine Trails Council of Boys Scouts of America. In recognition of Mike’s extensive volunteer and charitable work, Catholic Charities gave Mike the Mary DeMucci Award and the Mayor of Butler designated October 26, 2001 as “Mike Kelly Day” for his commitment to his hometown.

Dedicated to improving education, Mike founded the Butler Quarterback Club and The Golden Tornado Scholastic Foundation, which provides unique and innovative educational programs for students in the Butler Area School District. Mike and his wife, Victoria, a former elementary school teacher, also established the Mary McTighe Kelly Creative Teaching Grant for elementary educators and the Lighthouse Foundation’s One Warm Coat Program, which helped collect over 500 winter coats for students in need in the Butler community.

Mike and Victoria have four children: George III, Brendan, Charlotte and Colin; and are the proud grandparents to George IV, Vivian, Elizabeth, Helena, Elaina, Maeve and Victoria. Mike’s family and friends were with him on January 5, 2011, when Mike was sworn into office as the U.S. Representative of the 3rd Congressional District of Pennsylvania. Mike looks forward to representing the interests and voicing the concerns of the 3rd District, especially as they relate to Mike’s work on the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Serving With

Scott Perry


Glenn Thompson


Jim Gerlach


Patrick Meehan


Mike Fitzpatrick


Bill Shuster


Tom Marino


Louis Barletta


Keith Rothfus


Charlie Dent


Joe Pitts


Tim Murphy


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