WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – Ranking Member of the House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Oversight – issued the following statement today in praise of the decision by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to grant a request by the state of South Carolina to protect the religious liberty of its faith-based foster care providers.
Statement by Ranking Member Kelly:
“I applaud the Trump administration’s decision to grant South Carolina’s request to protect the religious liberty of its faith-based foster care providers. However, there is still an urgent need to fully protect all faith-based adoption and foster care agencies in every corner of our country from unfair discrimination by states and localities. In Pennsylvania, faith-based agencies are currently being told to change their sincerely-held religious beliefs or shut down. I thank the administration for taking this important first step to protect the tremendous work done by faith-based agencies. This is about putting children first.”
Statement by Ways & Means Committee Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX):
“Faith and family are bedrocks of American society, and our policies need to promote and protect these important institutions. I applaud this Administration for standing up for these principles by continuing to ensure religious groups can continue to help our country’s most vulnerable find safe and loving homes. We know there is still work to do, and I stand committed to fighting for every foster and adoptive child and those parents seeking to grow or start a family.”
NOTE: Governor Henry McMaster’s (R-SC) statement on the HHS announcement can be viewed here. A copy of the letter from HHS’s Administration of Children & Families granting his waiver request can be viewed here.
BACKGROUND: Rep. Kelly and Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) have introduced the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act (also known as “the Inclusion Act”) in each of the last three Congresses to prohibit government discrimination of faith-based adoption and foster care agencies because of their religious beliefs. On May 23, 2018, he sent a letter to President Trump with 79 other Members of Congress requesting federal protections for these agencies.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) participated in festivities today revolving around the 46th annual March for Life throughout Washington, D.C.
Statement by Rep. Kelly:
“It was a wonderful day to march for life! The pro-life cause is one of the most compassionate and inspiring movements in our country's history. On this day for the past 46 years, it has brought tens of thousands of devoted Americans to our nation's capital to give a voice to the unborn and defend the most defenseless among us. It is always especially heartening to see so many students and young people eagerly involved. I couldn’t be prouder to march with them.”
Photos from annual Pennsylvania Open House reception, co-hosted by Rep. Kelly:
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) issued the following statement today regarding his new role as Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, in which he will serve as the lead Republican on the prestigious panel.
“I am enormously honored to become Ranking Member of the Oversight Subcommittee and serve with new authority as a guardian of America’s precious taxpayer dollars. During the last Congress, our full committee made history with the passage and enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which has successfully revived our economy, driven down unemployment to record lows, and put more money back in every hardworking taxpayer’s pocket. I look forward to working with Ranking Member Brady and the rest of my colleagues to preserve and strengthen this monumental law while making sure it’s being implemented the right way. From my new position, I also intend to hold the IRS fully accountable for its practices and its treatment of the American people, along with that of every other federal agency in our jurisdiction.”
Courtesy of the Ways and Means Committee:
The Oversight Subcommittee assists the full Committee in carrying out its general oversight responsibilities of matters within the scope of the full Committee’s jurisdiction. The Oversight Subcommittee works with the full Committee and other Subcommittees to determine whether the laws within the jurisdiction of the Committee (including select revenue measures, trade, health, Worker & Family Support, and Social Security laws) are being implemented and carried out efficiently and in accordance with Congressional intent. The Oversight Subcommittee also provides oversight of the federal agencies (such as the Internal Revenue Service) responsible for implementing laws within the full Committee’s jurisdiction.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (PA-16) released the following report today, to be e-mailed to his constituents throughout the 16th Congressional District of Pennsylvania, to serve as a year-end overview of his office’s legislative achievements and constituent relations throughout 2018. A printer-friendly version of the report can be viewed here.
As we begin this new year, I would first like to thank you for the honor and privilege of serving you in the U.S. House of Representatives, or as I prefer to call it, the People’s House. I also hope you enjoyed a safe and joy-filled Christmas season with family and loved ones and that you’re staying warm through this winter weather.
This report is meant to provide you with an overview of the most important legislative business that my staff and I conducted on your behalf over the course of last year.
As you know, my overarching priority since first coming to Congress eight years ago has been the full-scale rejuvenation of our economy so that new family-sustaining jobs can flourish, communities can grow stronger, and Americans can build more prosperous lives for themselves and brighter futures for their children. An ambitious goal to be sure, and one strongly shared by President Trump since his election in 2016. To meet that goal and keep our promise, a unified legislative branch spent the last two years working with the president to enact pro-growth policies to reduce the size of government and allow our economy to breathe, rise, and thrive.
It is now more than 12 months since the enactment of the centerpiece of that agenda – the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act – and the results are undeniable. With each passing week, more and more good news about our economy and its benefits for hardworking American families and jobseekers has come out. It was a year that saw typical headlines proclaim things like “US workers see highest wage growth since 2008” (The Hill), “Trump has set economic growth on fire” (CNBC), and “We Ran Out of Words to Describe How Good the Jobs Numbers Are” (The New York Times).
By the end of last year, a writer for the Wall Street Journal assessed the constant stream of positive news for the American people and concluded that my colleagues and I “can justly say that their policies have yielded exceptional results.” He added: “The economic revival they promised in 2016 has come to pass. Tax cuts and deregulation have sparked faster economic growth, and the winners are not just investors in U.S. stocks.”
Western Pennsylvania and America are Winning Again
Here is a more in-depth look at how Americans in Western Pennsylvania and across our country are better off today:
One of the most underreported features of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act was the establishment of the Opportunity Zones program to incentivize private investors to make long-term investments in communities that have struggled with economic hardships and a slower recovery. According to the New York Times, “The provision is the first new substantial federal attempt to aid those communities in more than a decade. … If the zones succeed, they could help revitalize neighborhoods and towns that are starved for investment.” Fortunately, of right now, 15 different zones have been approved in our district, including 1 in Butler County, 2 in Mercer County, 4 in Lawrence County, and 8 in Erie County.
Meeting the Needs of Our Constituents All Year Round
It has been heartening to see how commonsense conservative policies are making a helpful difference in the lives of so many Western Pennsylvanians. Just as important to me is the way that my team has been able to provide accessible and responsive service to the constituents of the 16th District. For our efforts, last year our office was selected as one of six finalists for the non-partisan Congressional Management Foundation’s Democracy Award for Excellence in Constituent Service.
The foundation’s President and CEO Bradford Fitch has these very kind words to say:
“As a finalist in Constituent Service for a Democracy Award, Rep. Kelly’s office is clearly one of the best in Congress. This designation demonstrates that Rep. Kelly has made a significant commitment to being the best public servant for his constituents in Pennsylvania. Rep. Kelly and his staff are to be congratulated for not only being a model for colleagues in Congress, but for helping to restore trust and faith that our democratic institutions can work.”
“Rep. Kelly and his staff not only value service in themselves, but in others. They recognize a ‘Third District Community Champion’ four times a year to honor a constituent for community service. They use regular telephone town hall meetings and a comprehensive annual report to educate constituents on the assistance they can provide. Additionally, they bring federal agency officials into their town halls to answer constituent questions on topics ranging from Medicare Open Enrollment to tax filing. The Chief of Staff and District Director regularly switch duty stations to increase collaboration and understanding between the Washington and Pennsylvania offices.”
My staff and I were honored to receive such wonderful recognition for our efforts. Week after week, we work diligently to produce the best results for you and your neighbors. The following is a summary of how our four offices directly assisted and communicated with our constituents throughout 2018. We…
Helping Families Save for the Future
As I noted above, the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – the first reform of our nation’s tax code in 31 years – was a legislative milestone and a historic victory for the American people. Last September, I was proud to help my colleagues on the House Ways & Means Committee introduce “Tax Reform 2.0,” the logical next step for us to build on the success that our country has been seeing. Among this commonsense package’s three pillars, I was the lead sponsor of H.R. 6757, the Family Savings Act, to help families of every background better prepare for their future. The bill was first passed by the House of Representatives on September 27th.
Real financial security is measured not by how much one makes but how much one saves, and currently, we’re a nation of spenders and not savers. The Family Savings Act contained numerous provisions to change that trend and help Americans better prepare for retirement and whatever life may throw their way. Simply put: just as tax reform was about putting more money in every hardworking taxpayer’s pocket, Tax Reform 2.0 was about helping them save that money earlier and easier.
By the end of the year, the House passed an even larger package that included key elements of all three retirement reform bills that I proudly authored, introduced, and championed over the last two years. The package was called the Retirement, Savings, and Other Tax Relief Act of 2018 and the Taxpayer First Act of 2018, also known as H.R. 88. In addition to the Family Savings Act, it also contained the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act of 2018 (H.R. 5282) and the Rightsizing Pension Premiums Act of 2017 (H.R. 3596).
As a good rule, Americans should be able to rely on three main sources of income to ensure full financial security during their retirement years: #1. Social Security, #2. Personal savings, and #3. Employer-sponsored savings plans. When it comes to that third source, an alarming number of Americans do not have access to an employer-provided 401(k) plan. And among those who do, a recent study found that 42% of them have less than $10,000 in their plan. Specifically, H.R. 88 would make it easier for small employers to pool together and offer retirement plans to their employees. This would help bridge the divide between the benefits that large employers might offer to their employees, and those that smaller employers only wish they could offer until now.
While H.R. 88 did not ultimately receive a vote in the U.S. Senate, I fully intend to keep working to advance similar legislation in a bipartisan manner in this new Congress. A secure retirement for every American should not be a partisan issue.
Combating America’s Opioid Epidemic
The ongoing opioid crisis is a national crisis. It is devastating families and communities in Western Pennsylvania and all over our country, killing 116 people every day. I have witnessed its awful impact up close and personally. This is all why, in an era of such intense political polarization, I was very grateful that Congress came together last year to pass bipartisan solutions to help our family members, friends, and neighbors defeat their addictions and stay protected from abuse.
The culmination of our efforts was H.R. 6, the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act. This comprehensive legislation included two bills that I originally sponsored: the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act (H.R. 5788) and the Protecting Seniors from Opioid Abuse Act (H.R. 5684), which was added to H.R. 6 as part of the Preventing Addiction for Susceptible Seniors (PASS) Act (H.R. 5773).
The STOP Act halts mail shipments of synthetic opioids like fentanyl into the United States. It requires the U.S. Postal Service to obtain electronic data on incoming packages from overseas, which will enable U.S. Customs and Border Protection to better target high-risk mail shipments of opioids and then take action at the border to confiscate them. This is a massively important step to ridding our communities of this horrible poison.
The Protecting Seniors from Opioid Abuse Act (as part of the PASS Act) helps vulnerable seniors manage their medications and avoid prescription drug abuse by giving those who are at-risk for prescription drug abuse access to Medication Therapy Management (MTM). This successful program allows seniors to sit down with a pharmacist or other health professional and receive expert advice on how to manage their prescriptions. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has already confirmed that this approach works to reduce opioid overuse and avoid dangerous drug interactions. Expanding access to MTM for at-risk beneficiaries will ensure that these dangerous drugs are used properly before dependency and addiction can develop.
As a package, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act is the most far-reaching congressional action against a single drug crisis in American history. On October 24th, I was proud to attend a ceremony at the White House and watch President Trump sign this historic bill into law. This entire fight, which will continue, is about nothing less than saving lives.
Helping Needy Communities Gain New Infrastructure
Last June, I was excited to join Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO) and Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) in introducing a bipartisan bill to help fund critical infrastructure projects in the poorest areas of our country The bill was called the Generating American Income and Infrastructure Now (GAIIN) Act (H.R. 6104), and it was designed to achieve its objectives without any new taxes or spending while simultaneously helping to pay down our record-high national debt. It was win-win-win.
Even in this moment of historically strong economic growth, 46 million Americans still live in poverty. Reps. Clay and Budd and I were struck by research by the Brookings Institute that showed that roughly 75% of the nation’s poorest congressional districts are represented by members of Congress’ black, Hispanic, and conservative caucuses. It’s no wonder that that’s where congressional support for the GAIIN Act came from.
A proper infrastructure renaissance throughout America should include the construction of world-class airports, bridges, broadband, highways, railways, and more. But with sky-high debt and deficits, Congress cannot ignore the consequences of the nation’s long-term budget crisis, which hundreds of billions of dollars in new federal spending would only accelerate.
In 1986, President Reagan and the Democrat-controlled Congress faced a similar dilemma when they passed major tax reform legislation. To help cover the budget shortfall, they turned to a bipartisan plan that required federal agencies to monetize their debt by selling it to the private market.
Twenty-two years later, federal agencies hold more than $2 trillion in debt and lease assets. The sale of a portion of these assets, if expedited, could raise a significant amount of money for infrastructure projects. Rather than languishing in Washington, this money could be used for the good of our constituents and fellow citizens throughout our country.
The GAIIN Act would take the first step toward making optimal use of these assets by directing the Office of Management and Budget to identify all distressed debt currently held by the Department of Agriculture and then directing the Treasury Department to package it for sale to the private market. It would then require that 50% of the revenue received be spent on infrastructure projects in communities below the poverty line and the other 50% be applied toward reduction of the national debt.
By building new highways, byways, and bridges near factories, farms, and inner cities, my co-sponsors and I believe we can begin the long, necessary process of ensuring that all Americans have an equal opportunity to succeed.
Reviving America’s poorest cities and towns is a moral, fiscal, and economic imperative. It is rare than one piece of legislation can meet this objective on its own, let alone bring together conservative Republicans and progressive Democrats from minority communities. Even rarer is a bill that attracts the co-sponsorship of lawmakers in the House Freedom Caucus, the Black Congressional Caucus, and the Progressive Caucus during a hotly contested midterm election cycle. But the GAIIN Act was that kind of bill.
In October, then-House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) endorsed our bill. With his continued support, I look forward to re-introducing in this new Congress.
Strengthening Our Criminal Justice System
On May 7th, I joined a bipartisan majority in the House in passing a criminal justice bill known as the First Step Act of 2018 (H.R. 5682). This monumental piece of legislation – supported by both parties in Congress and dozens of organizations from across the political spectrum – was designed to pave a new pathway for our criminal justice system, reforming decades of policies that have failed the American people. It focused on reducing rampant recidivism among federal prisoners, reforming select sentencing laws, and increasing community safety.
On December 21st, after many months of back and forth debate in Congress to make the bill as strong as possible, President Trump signed it into law.
The First Step Act creates a risk and needs assessment system that will ensure each prisoner's risk of re-offending is assessed. It provides evidence-based recidivism reduction programming for federal prisoners, as well as incentives to federal prisoners for participating in First Step programming, including the earning of time credits towards a pre-release custody at a halfway house or home confinement. Importantly, it bans the use of time credits by violent and high-risk criminals, including fentanyl traffickers.
Under the First Step Act, sentencing is made fairer through narrow reforms. Namely, it clarifies that enhanced penalties for using a firearm during a crime of violence or drug crime should be reserved for repeat offenders of such crimes; it reduces the three-strike penalty for non-violent drug offenses from life imprisonment to 25 years; it broadens mandatory penalties for serious violent offenders; it expands the existing federal safety valve to include more low-level, non-violent offenders and maintains safeguards to prohibit violent criminals from potentially benefiting from reduced sentences; and it allows for the retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 for drug offenders sentenced under the so-called “crack disparity” who petition for a reconsideration of their sentence.
By preparing inmates to successfully rejoin society and enacting commonsense sentencing reforms, the First Step Act will make our justice system fairer for all Americans. Much more information about this historic new law can be found at www.FirstStepAct.org.
Protecting Presque Isle’s Beaches
The beaches at Presque Isle State Park in Erie are a precious natural resource and a powerful economic driver for our entire region. Stretching along seven miles of Lake Erie’s shoreline, they require proper care and nourishment every single year.
On March 8th, I sent a personal letter to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) to once again formally request that sand replenishment for Presque Isle remains a high-priority project in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) FY 2018 work plan and FY 2019 budget. On April 20th, I followed-up by submitting a joint bipartisan letter co-signed by Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA), and U.S. Senators Bob Casey, Jr. (D-PA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA). On June 11th, the USACE officially granted $1.5 million for beach nourishment in the USACE’s work plan for fiscal year 2018.
In October, during President Trump’s visit to Erie, I personally described to him the importance of preserving Presque Isle and directly asked him to help secure the federal funding we need ahead of time. In response, President Trump made a public commitment to me and to our district that Presque Isle's beaches would get fully replenished—and one month later, that promise was made good! Earlier than ever before, the USACE confirmed: sand replenishment for Presque Isle will officially begin in May 2019, ahead of the busy summer tourist season!
Here’s an excerpt from an Erie Times-News report summarizing this victory for our district:
The sand is on its way. Guaranteed.
The federal government has already allocated $1.5 million for sand replenishment at Presque Isle State Park in 2019.
The allocation, which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced on Tuesday, represents a break from federal funding practices of previous years, when the park did not learn until spring or summer that the $1.5 million in federal funds was secured for that year.The waiting had caused the Army Corps to undertake sand replenishment well into the swimming season, which starts on Memorial Day weekend. In 2017 and 2018, work on the erosion-control project did not start until August.
“Having it early like this really benefits Presque Isle,” Andrew Kornacki, a spokesman for the Buffalo District of the Army Corps, said on Tuesday.
I am enormously proud to see this treasure be maintained for the countless families who enjoy it!
More Local Wins
May 17th: The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) announces that it will be requiring a monthly credit on customer bills for 17 major electric, natural gas, and water and wastewater utilities, totaling more than $320-million per year. On March 9th, I joined fellow Pennsylvania Reps. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) and Bill Shuster (R-PA) in sending an official letter to PUC insisting that the Commission “act expeditiously to ensure that, in light of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, utility customers receive the full benefits of the newly reduced federal tax rate.”
June 20th: After hearing from me and my staff, the Trump administration announces that it will keep the National Backgrounds Investigations Bureau intact and shift it entirely to the Defense Department, thereby protecting the 1,500 federal jobs at the Iron Mountain mine in Boyers.
October 1st-November 30th: The Trump administration negotiates and signs a new trade deal to replace NAFTA known as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). I personally advocated for the inclusion of a provision in the USMCA to let home shopping channels distribute into Canada, which will directly help companies in our district like Turbie Twist and Pittsburgh Plastics Manufacturing in Butler (who sell their products via QVC) reach brand new markets and grow. Thankfully, this provision was included in the USMCA’s final text. As a member of the President's Export Council, I look forward to Congress working with the Trump administration to guarantee that this deal fully puts American jobs, workers, and businesses first.
October 2nd: A new study reveals that every federal dollar spent on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative – which I’ve fought to keep fully funded each year – will generate $3.35 in additional economic activity in our region through 2036.
October 3rd: The U.S. Justice Department awards $442,000 to the Erie School District in safety grants, largely through the Threat Assessment and Technology Reporting Program under the STOP School Violence Act, which I proudly helped pass.
December 6th: The U.S. Department of Transportation awards $20,000,000 to Butler County for Gateway 228 capacity and safety improvements. My staff and I helped the county apply for a the BUILD Transportation Discretionary grant.
December 13th: The Office of Rural Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture launches the ReConnect Program to build broadband infrastructure and expand e-connectivity to rural communities in need.
December 20th: President Trump signs into law the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (also known as “the Farm Bill”), which will protect our natural resources, develop new trade opportunities, level the playing field for producers, and help millions of Americans access the nutritious foods they need to keep their families healthy.
More Bills Become Law
Here is a select list of key legislation that I proudly supported that was also signed into law by
President Trump last year:
o On a related note, on October 18th I proudly hosted a public forum with U.S. Attorney Scott Brady and personnel from the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) for local school administrators to learn the latest expertly-developed best practices for increasing school safety and implementing targeted violence prevention plans. The event was held at the Passavant Center at Thiel College in Greenville and was attended by administrators from numerous school districts in (and outside of) our district, as well as many local law enforcement officials.
Older Bills, Future Projects
Here is a full list of individual bills that I personally introduced in Congress over the last 24 months—almost all of them with bipartisan support—and plan to re-introduce during this new Congress:
* * * * *
As I have said many times before, representing you and your neighbors in the People’s House has been the honor of my lifetime. Any time that my staff in Pennsylvania or in Washington can be of service to you with a federal matter in any specific way, please do not hesitate to contact us via the information and locations listed below.
I look forward to having your back in Congress throughout 2019 and continuing to work closely with President Trump and his administration to make our district and our country greater, stronger, safer, and more prosperous than ever before.
May God bless you and the nation we love! Thank you again for the opportunity to serve you!
BUTLER DISTRICT OFFICE
101 East Diamond St
Butler, PA 16001
Phone: (724) 282-2557
Fax: (724) 282-3682
ERIE DISTRICT OFFICE
208 E. Bayfront Parkway
Erie, PA 16507
Phone: (814) 454-8190
Fax: (814) 454-8197
SHARON DISTRICT OFFICE
33 Chestnut Street
Sharon, PA 16146
Phone: (724) 342-7170
Fax: (724) 342-7242
WASHINGTON, DC OFFICE
1707 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5406
Fax: (202) 225-3103
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (PA-16) today announced the names of the young men and women he has nominated to the elite U.S. Service Academies for the graduating Class of 2023. These 18 individuals completed a highly competitive application process and were interviewed by an independent Service Academy Advisory Board, whose members include local academy alumni and prestigious veterans. All candidates were meticulously evaluated on factors such as academic record, extracurricular achievements, leadership potential, character, and motivation.
Statement by Rep. Kelly:
“One of the most rewarding duties of this office is the honor to nominate bright young men and women to our nation’s prestigious service academies. These elite institutions provide a world-class education and offer unique opportunities for students to excel in both military and civilian life. With great schools and remarkable families, our district is full of high-caliber students, which makes this a very difficult and selective process.
“These 18 young men and women who earned nominations displayed an extraordinary level of patriotism and an overall commitment to excellence. They are eager to learn, motivated to serve, and capable of absolute greatness. I am proud of their accomplishments and inspired by their courageous characters. I am confident these nominees will represent our district and country honorably, and I look forward to supporting them throughout their journey.”
“In addition, I would like to thank the members of my Service Academy Advisory Board for their expertise and recommendations. Their first-hand experience serving our country in uniform is invaluable to our nomination process, and I am grateful for their time and efforts.”
The following individuals have been nominated to at least one of the U.S. Service Academies:
Joseph Bornes, Sharpsville Area High School*
Noah Bowser, University of Pittsburgh
Brett Brady, Purdue University*
Max Bredl, Seneca Valley Senior High School
Christian Fortin, Cathedral Preparatory School
Michael Lamothe, Mars Area High School
Luke Madonna, Marion Military Institute*
Joseph McCollum, Neshannock High School
Caiden Mooney, Northwestern High School*
Alexander Nestor, Mercyhurst Preparatory School*
Samuel Parini, U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School
Andrew Pierre, Mars Area High School*
Samuel Purchase, Penn State University*
Erik Richardson, Wilmington Area High School
Marissa Slupe, Portersville Christian School*
John Paul Stark, Cathedral Preparatory School
Braiden Wills, North Catholic High School
Maya Wirtz, Penn State University*
* Received more than one nomination from Rep. Kelly
NOTE: Rep. Kelly, along with his advisory board, will honor all nominees and their families during a celebratory ceremony in the spring of 2019. If you are interested in seeking a congressional nomination in the future and would like more information regarding the application process, please visit Rep. Kelly’s website kelly.house.gov or contact Stephanie Stevenson, Academy Coordinator, at Stephanie.Stevenson@mail.house.gov.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (PA-16) today sent an official letter to the U.S. Department of Labor to help ensure a speedy resolution to recent paycheck problems for employees at Ellwood City Hospital in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania.
Text of Rep. Kelly’s letter:
Dear Deputy Administrator Davidson,
I would like to follow up on conversations between our staffs regarding the Department of Labor’s (DOL) investigation of chronic paycheck delays at Ellwood City Hospital. I hope the DOL will act swiftly to ensure these employees are fairly compensated for their work.
Ellwood City Hospital is located in Lawrence County and has been serving the local community since 1913. The hospital was acquired in 2017 by Americore Health, LLC, which is based in southern Florida. Since then, the hospital has delayed or issued bounced paychecks on at least six occasions, even after laying off 25 percent of its staff in September 2018.
In addition, my office has received numerous complaints from hospital employees that their health insurance coverage has lapsed because of non-payment. I request that the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration also act to guarantee that their health insurance coverage is in good standing.
This situation is making it difficult for hospital employees, vendors, and contractors to pay their own bills. My hardworking constituents deserve financial certainty, so I urge you to ensure that they receive their paychecks and benefits in a timely manner.
Thank you for your consideration.
Member of Congress
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) issued the following statement tonight in response to President Donald J. Trump’s televised address to the nation.
“Tonight, President Trump showed strong leadership and told our entire nation the harsh truth about the crisis at our southern border and the real consequences of illegal immigration. He made his case directly to the American people, who care about defending our country from crime, drugs, and terrorism just as much as he does. A sovereign nation has a right to secure its borders.
“It is clear to me and to most Americans that constructing a wall along portions of our southern border is not only justifiable but long overdue. The recent murder of Officer Ronil Singh in California – a heroic immigrant to our country who not only followed our laws but devoted his life to enforcing them – by an illegal immigrant gang member is just the latest example of why an intrusion-stopping wall is so necessary. To be very clear: there is nothing controversial about enhancing our security by building a border wall—there are currently 700 miles of border barrier already in place along our southern border. As a candidate, President Trump passionately campaigned on this issue and won.
“As the president emphasized, the ongoing partial government shutdown is totally unnecessary and can be ended tomorrow. The House passed a responsible funding bill that the president is ready to sign; at least half the Senate supports that bill. In fact, more than 150 congressional Democrats voted for steel wall funding as recently as last spring.* Democrats who supported a border wall in the past with their words and their votes need to get over their personal hatred of President Trump and put the safety of the American people first.”
NOTES: Despite Democratic leaders declaring "not one cent" for a border wall, many Democrats in the House and Senate have already voted to fund 122 miles of it.
* H.R. 244, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 – provided FY17 funding for 40 miles of steel bollard wall along the southern border. 35 miles have already been completed.
* H.R. 1625, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 – provided FY18 funding for 82 miles of steel bollard wall along the southern border. Construction is expected to begin within the month.
Courtesy of the Office of Minority Whip and the Department of Homeland Security:
President Trump asked career law enforcement agents what they need to do their job and secure our border. His resulting request for 234 miles of new steel wall is a serious plan to stop crime, drugs, and violence pouring over our border from overwhelming our communities. We are facing a humanitarian and national security crisis on our southern border. As outlined in Whip Scalise's recent op-ed, according to the Department of Homeland Security:
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) issued the following statement today after being sworn-in as Representative of the new 16th Congressional District of Pennsylvania. This will be the congressman’s fifth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he will continue to serve on the House Committee on Ways and Means.
“I am tremendously honored to begin my fifth term in the People’s House. As with my past four terms in office, all of my work in Congress going forward will be guided by what is truly best for every hardworking family in Western Pennsylvania. They can rest fully assured that their deeply held values, concerns, and priorities will be represented each day I come to work.
“The 115th Congress saw historic legislative achievements and results for all Americans, from pro-growth tax cuts and commonsense deregulation to rebuilding our military and combating the opioid crisis, along with much more. As we embark on the 116th Congress, divided government will look different and present new challenges, but my job will remain exactly the same: passionately bringing Western Pennsylvania’s voice to Washington, and never the other way around. It is my sincere hope that the House will work with the Senate and President Trump to build on the success of the recent past. Together, we owe it to the American people to stay focused on smart policies that make our country prosperous, job-filled, safe, and free.”
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (PA-03) released the enclosed video today as his annual Christmas greeting to the constituents of the Third Congressional District of Pennsylvania. Effective January 3, 2019, Rep. Kelly will represent Pennsylvania’s 16th District.
“I just want to wish you all the merriest Christmas you can possibly have, a happy and healthy new year, and the best of everything that life has to offer!”
– Rep. Kelly
The full video message can be viewed via YouTube here.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives this evening passed the Retirement, Savings, and Other Tax Relief Act of 2018 and the Taxpayer First Act of 2018 (also known as the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 88). The package includes major parts of legislation previously introduced by U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) — founder and co-chairman of the House Retirement Security Caucus and a member of the House Ways and Means Committee — during the 115th Congress. These include the Family Savings Act of 2018 (H.R. 6757), the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act of 2018 (H.R. 5282), and the Rightsizing Pension Premiums Act of 2017 (H.R. 3596).
Floor statement by Rep. Kelly on H.R. 88 (as prepared for delivery):
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for bringing this incredibly important legislation to the floor for consideration. I rise in strong support of H.R. 88, a comprehensive package that will, in many different ways, help millions of American families save more of their own money for their future.
“Among H.R. 88’s many features is a section that includes key elements of the three retirement reform bills that I have been proud to author, introduce, and champion over the last two years.
“One of those bills — the Family Savings Act — stood as one of the three pillars of Tax Reform 2.0, which this House passed with bipartisan support in September. With the passage of H.R. 88, much of that bill — along with my bipartisan Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act and my bipartisan Rightsizing Pension Premiums Act — will be one giant step closer to becoming law.
“In short, this package is a wonderful Christmas present for the American people that cannot come soon enough.
“As we know, Americans should be able to rely on three main sources of income to ensure full financial security during their retirement years: #1. Social Security, #2. Personal savings, and #3. Employer-sponsored savings plans. When it comes to that third source, an alarming number of Americans do not have access to an employer-provided 401(k) plan. And among those who do, a recent study found that 42% of them have less than $10,000 in their plan. Combined with the fact that more than 60% of Americans don’t have enough cash to cover a $1,000 emergency expense, the passage of today’s package is especially critical.
“Specifically, H.R. 88 will make it easier for small employers to pool together and offer retirement plans to their employees. This would help bridge the divide between the benefits that large employers might offer to their employees, and those that smaller employers only wish they could offer until now. Overall, this will help ensure that the next generation of Americans don’t outlive their savings in retirement.
“One of the things I remember so clearly from growing up is my parents saying to me and my siblings, ‘We never want to be a burden to you kids.’ And I thought as a young person that I could never think of my parents as a burden to me—not after everything they did for me. But just think about that for a minute: That generation – the ‘Greatest Generation’ – was telling us they never wanted to be a burden to the next generation.
“What we’re talking about today is relieving the burden on the next generation by making it easier for people to go into retirement feeling that they have enough income to enjoy their golden years. H.R. 88 will accomplish this goal by giving Americans the tools they need to help them save for the future and build a secure retirement.
“A secure retirement for every American should not be a partisan issue. So today, let us come together as a unified body and send this bill to the Senate for the sake of every American’s peace of mind during this season of peace.
“Before I conclude, I also want to highlight this bill’s inclusion of two important tax credit provisions that will specifically help my constituents in Western Pennsylvania: H.R. 88 will make permanent the Railroad Track Maintenance Tax Credit for short-line railroads, and will extend the Biodiesel Tax Credit. Each of these actions will directly support local economic growth and job creation in rural communities across America, including our district.
“Last December, Congress came together to pass historic tax reform that put more money back in the American people’s pockets. Twelve months later, let’s pass another historic bill to help them save that money for the years when they need it most! Let’s pass H.R. 88!”
General Summary of Provisions:
Organizations supporting H.R. 88:
60 Plus Association
Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America
American Association of Christian Schools
American Business Defense Council
American Council of Life Insurers
American Federation for Children
American Fraternal Alliance
Americans for Prosperity
Americans for Tax Reform
Archdiocese of New York
Archdiocese of Washington, DC
Arizona School Choice Trust
Association of Christian Schools International
Association of Mature American Citizens
Assurity Life Insurance Co.
AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc.
Boston Mutual Life Insurance Company
Boy Scouts of America
C.U.R.E. – Center for Urban Renewal & Education
California Catholic Conference
Campaign for Liberty
Canada Life Reinsurance
CAPE – Council for American Private Education
Catholic Education Partners
Center for a Free Economy
Center for Individual Freedom
Center for Worker Freedom
Cetera Financial Group
Children’s First Foundation
Children’s Scholarship Fund
Christian Schools International
Coalition for Jewish Values
Concerned Women for America LAC
Connecticut Catholic Conference
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
Faith & Freedom Coalition
Family Business Coalition
Family PAC Federal
Family Research Council – Key Vote
Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company
Florida Faith & Freedom Coalition
Genworth Financial, Inc.
Girl Scouts of the USA
Gleaner Life Insurance Society
Hannover Life Reassurance Company of America
Hawkeye Insurance Association
Hispanic Leadership Fund
Home School Legal Defense Fund
Independent Women’s Forum
Independent Women’s Voice
Insured Retirement Institute
Invest in Education Coalition
Jackson Holdings LLC
Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago
Lincoln Financial Group
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company
Medico Insurance Company
National Association for Fixed Annuities
National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors
National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
National Life Group
National Rural Electric Cooperative Assoc.
National Taxpayers Union – Key Vote
NCEA – National Catholic Education Association
New York Family Research Foundation
New York Life Insurance Company
NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association
Oxford Life Insurance Company
Pan American Life Insurance Group
Principal Financial Group
Protective Life Insurance Company
Royal Neighbors of America
Sammons Financial Group
Securian Financial Group
Security Benefit Life Insurance Company
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council
Symetra Life Insurance Company and Affiliates
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Texans for Education Opportunity
Texas Public Policy Foundation
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
The Jewish Federations of North America
Tradition Family Property, Inc.
UJA—Federation of New York, Inc.
United Benefits Group
Universal Guaranty Life Insurance Company
US Council of Catholic Bishops
USA Workforce Coalition
USCCB – U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
1519 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
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.
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