WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security – issued the following statement today in response to the final release of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) long-anticipated rule on fiduciary standards. Rep. Kelly is the Republican chairman of the House Retirement Security Caucus.
“Washington bureaucrats seem to think they know what’s best for American families when it comes to planning for retirement. This administration’s misguided attempt to regulate Main Street financial advisers will backfire, leaving more hardworking families without access to quality, affordable retirement advice. With increased compliance costs and regulations, these smaller advisers will be unable to provide workers and seniors with a full range of options to help save for a secure retirement. As I have done in the past, I look forward to working with my colleagues to avert unnecessary hardship for Americans caused by this unfair rule.”
BACKGROUND: As founder and co-chairman of the House Retirement Security Caucus, Rep. Kelly has long warned of the negative consequences of the DOL’s fiduciary rule.
On October 6, 2015, Rep. Kelly co-authored a joint letter with Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) to DOL Secretary Thomas Perez to express concerns that the fiduciary rule would “severely disrupt the availability of affordable financial education and investment advice while also restricting product choice and retirement security for many American families” and to urge the secretary to implement “substantial changes” to fix the rule’s shortcomings. The letter was co-signed by 103 members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
On November 4, 2015, Rep. Kelly introduced H.R. 3922, the Retirement Choice Protection Act of 2015, with Chairman Johnson. The legislation will provide a workable “best interest” standard to DOL’s rule.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) issued the following statement today regarding four letters he authored and submitted to the bipartisan leaders of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, the Subcommittee on Homeland Security, the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, and the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies. Each letter requested updated language prohibiting federal funding of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in each of the subcommittees’ respective appropriation bills for fiscal year 2017.
Statement by Rep. Kelly:
“The power of the purse is a critical weapon in our fight to stop the ATT from ever being implemented. The sovereignty of our country and the rights of our people are far too precious to be left vulnerable to this dangerous treaty. Especially with this president’s appetite for unilateral, unconstitutional action overwhelmingly apparent, our vigilance matters more than ever.
“The ATT is an outrageous agreement that would force the United States – the world’s most important defender of peace and democracy – onto equal footing with the world’s worst dictatorships and terror-sponsors. It can be easily politicized by bad actors to try to stop America from providing arms to our friends and allies, including Israel. Ominously, the treaty excludes any specific protection for the fundamental right of individuals to keep and bear arms, which opens the door to domestic gun control impositions.”
NOTE: Signatories of Rep. Kelly’s letters include 6 committee chairmen: Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX), Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX), Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL), as well as Republican Study Committee Chairman Bill Flores (R-TX).
BACKGROUND: Rep. Kelly is a national leader of the movement to stop the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). On March 15, 2013, he introduced H. Con. Res. 23, a bipartisan concurrent resolution expressing opposition to the treaty on behalf of members of Congress. The resolution earned 149 co-sponsors in the House and 36 supporters in the Senate. On May 30, 2013, Rep. Kelly submitted a bipartisan letter with 130 co-signers from Congress to both President Obama and Secretary Kerry urging them to reject the treaty. He sent a similar bipartisan letter to the president following Secretary Kerry’s signing of the treaty on October 15, 2013, which was signed by 181 members of Congress, including multiple committee chairmen. A follow-up letter was sent to the White House on April, 20, 2014.
On September 5, 2014, Rep. Kelly submitted a letter to President Obama voicing opposition to the planned First Conference of State Parties (CSP) to the ATT – a UN-backed gathering to shape the treaty’s future – due to its exclusion of any organizations critical of the treaty.
On December 16, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Omnibus Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2015, which includes a ban on federal funding for the ATT’s implementation. The president signed the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015 (H.R. 3979) on December 19, 2014, which included a similar ban.
On March 2, 2015, Rep. Kelly sent a letter to President Obama co-signed by 34 new members of Congress elected in 2014 to express unified opposition to the ATT and a firm commitment to deny any federal funding for the treaty’s implementation.
On May 15, 2015, the House passed H.R. 1735, NDAA for Fiscal Year 2016, which once again included an amendment introduced by Rep. Kelly to continue the annual ban on funding by the Department of Defense for the implementation of the ATT. The amendment is the strongest version to date, updating the language of Rep. Kelly’s previous amendments that were enacted into law in previous NDAAs.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – participated in this morning’s hearing by the Subcommittee on Oversight on “Protecting the Free Exchange of Ideas on College Campuses” to determine whether tax-exempt colleges and universities are using the tax code to avoid upholding their commitment to create an open marketplace of ideas on campus. The hearing followed nationwide reports of increasingly widespread assaults on free speech rights in academia by radical student activists.
Highlights of Rep. Kelly’s remarks:
“I want to read something because I think this goes to the very essence of what the meeting is about today. It goes to a speech that was given in 1944 by Judge Learned Hand … This is what the judge said:
‘What do we mean when we say that first of all we seek liberty? I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws, and upon courts. These are false hopes; believe me, these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it. While it lies there, it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save it.’”
“Isn’t it stunning that you have to come, Mr. Zuckerman and Mr. Atkins, to Congress? Your right to free speech — whether I agree with what you say or whether I don’t agree with what you say — that is the beauty of who we are as Americans. That goes to the very fabric of what this country was founded on, and especially in our universities.”
“You should never ever feel that you don’t have the ability to do this and to speak out, especially on a university campus, especially in the United States of America.”
“I think it is absolutely chilling that we have to have this kind of a hearing to expose what’s going on. And I think, when I look back on my college days, that if we ever were suppressed or not able to express the way we felt, you would have to go to the very depths of who it is we are as a people.”
“These are great things about America. We know that enshrined in the very Bill of Rights, the very First Amendment to the Bill of Rights allows us to have free speech. But what you had to go through is absolutely ridiculous. And I don’t care what college it is, private or public; all these folks are influenced in some way or another by the tax code. So I don’t want anybody to ever be confused about why we would hold this today. If not, ask who? Who would hear you? Who would stand up for you? Who would defend you in the public place?”
“When [liberty] dies in who we are, when it dies in the fabric of who America is, then we’re no longer America. So you can forget the red, the white, and the blue and all the things that we talk about all the time. If we can’t defend who we are, if we can’t protect the freedom of speech, then we have no business serving in this House.”
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) joined 170 other Members of Congress and 34 U.S. Senators in submitting an amicus brief to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday in support of the plaintiffs in the case of State of West Virginia, et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency, et al. The brief supports petitions filed by 27 states seeking to overturn the regulatory plan devised by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce carbon emissions, also known as the “Clean Power Plan.” Reports indicate that the plan will have a catastrophic impact on the nation’s coal industry and cause harm to the economy.
Statement by Rep. Kelly:
“The Obama administration’s war on coal is a war on American jobs, families, and communities. In Pennsylvania alone, coal is responsible for 40,000 jobs and 40 percent of our electric power. The Associated Press rightly calls it ‘the workhorse of the US power system.’ The EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan is a cruel attack on the needs of so many people – especially in Western Pennsylvania – who depend on coal's benefits every day. Whether it’s lost livelihoods for families or higher energy bills for senior citizens, the pain of this president’s radical plan will be felt long after he leaves office. We must use every tool at our disposal to fight it and stop it.”
Excerpt of amicus brief:
The Final Rule goes well beyond the clear statutory directive by, among other things, requiring States to submit, for approval, state or regional energy plans to meet EPA’s predetermined CO2 mandates for their electricity sector. In reality, if Congress desired to give EPA sweeping authority to transform the nation’s electricity sector, Congress would have provided for that unprecedented power in detailed legislation. Indeed, when an agency seeks to make “decisions of vast ‘economic and political significance’” under a “long-extant statute,” it must point to a “clear” statement from Congress. … EPA can point to no statement of congressional authorization for the Final Rule’s central features, precisely because there is none.
Nor has Congress authorized EPA to make the policy choices that are reflected in the Final Rule—a rule that imposes enormous costs on States and the public without achieving meaningful climate benefits. Because of the Final Rule, States will face unprecedented new regulatory burdens, electricity ratepayers will be subject to billions of dollars in compliance costs, and American workers and their families will experience the hardship of job losses due to power plant shutdowns, higher electricity prices, and overall diminishment of the nation’s global economic competitiveness. Choices of this nature are inherently Congressional decisions. … Congress has not authorized EPA to make the central policy choices in the Final Rule and, in many respects, has affirmatively rejected those policies, as it certainly did with respect to cap-and-trade programs for CO2 emissions from power plants.
Accordingly, the Final Rule that has been properly stayed by the Supreme Court should now be vacated by this Court.
NOTE: Thirty-nine lawsuits seeking review of the Clean Power Plan (the Final Rule) have been consolidated in the D.C. Circuit. The Final Rule was stayed by the Supreme Court on February 9, 2016. The D.C. Circuit is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the consolidated cases on June 2, 2016. An amicus brief, or “friend of the court” brief, can be filed in order to address concerns and advise the Court on a matter of law that directly affects the case at hand.
BACKGROUND: On June 8, 2016, Rep. Kelly re-introduced the Coal Country Protection Act (H.R. 2637) in the House of Representatives. The legislation would halt any new regulation or guidance by the EPA to limit carbon emissions from new or existing power plants until specific, economy-protecting criteria are met.
On August 4, 2014, The Wall Street Journal published a guest op-ed written by Rep. Kelly on the economic danger of the EPA's anti-coal regulations proposed under President Obama titled, “Pushing Back Against Obama's War on Coal.”
On July 29, 2014, Rep. Kelly formally invited President Obama to visit a coal mine in Western Pennsylvania. The visit would be personally arranged by Rep. Kelly and is designed to give the president an opportunity to meet the workers whose jobs are most directly threatened by the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The invitation, since re-iterated, has thus far been declined by the White House.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – addressed U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew at yesterday’s full committee hearing on President Obama’s budget proposals for the Department of Treasury for fiscal year 2017.
Excerpts of Rep. Kelly’s remarks to Secretary Lew:
“I think sometimes we become confused as to who it is we work for. I don’t really view you as working for the administration; I view you as working for the American people.”
“I know people at home, where I’m coming from, if they were watching this they would have fallen into this coma because of the Washingtonese where nobody understands what’s actually being said. … But the mission statement for [Treasury Department is]: ‘Maintain a strong economy and create economic and job opportunities by promoting the conditions that enable economic growth and stability at home and abroad, strengthen national security by combating threats and protecting the integrity of the financial system, and manage the U.S. Government’s finances and resources effectively.’”
“A budget is … exactly where you need to be going. It’s a road map. Now, we may call it visionary of where we’d like things to go, but where I’m from, in Western Pennsylvania, it’s more kitchen table economics where a husband and a wife sit down to figure out what do they have to work with revenue-wise, and that dictates what they can spend. In Washington, we dictate what we’re going to spend, and don’t come anywhere close to being able to pay for that.”
“And the other conversation on inversions—this is terrible. I mean honestly, we need to put that poster up that says, ‘The beatings will continue until morale improves.’ We keep accusing these people [business owners]: ‘Tax cheats.’ ‘These people are terrible.’ … When we talk about these people going overseas, they don’t go overseas because they hate America; they’re going overseas because we’re making it impossible for them to be profitable here.”
“You can’t borrow your way out of debt. And we’re continuing to build this debt and it’s going to capsize this entire country. There is no difference between kitchen table [economics] and what we are talking about. The only difference here is we can raise taxes, or can print our own money. You can’t do that at home. And that’s where the big separation is. I must tell you, the American people have lost confidence in the way we run this country.”
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 in support of the Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act (H.R. 3442), of which he is a co-sponsor. The legislation establishes a new debt limit framework that enhances accountability, reduces disruptive risk, and ensures integrated debt reduction solutions. It requires the Secretary of the Treasury to appear before Congress prior to each potential debt limit increase and provide testimony and detailed reports on: the national debt and its key drivers; explicit short, medium, and long-term debt reduction proposals; and progress on debt reduction. The House is expected to consider the bill tomorrow.
Highlights of Rep. Kelly’s remarks:
“Responsibility is not a political issue. It is a moral issue. Irresponsibility is the problem that we have, and I wish we could go away from making political talking points and into making solid policy positions.”
“Once you have authority and once you have responsibility, you’ve got to be accountable. Not just to that person in the mirror, but in my case, to 705,687 people that I represent in Western Pennsylvania. They’re not all Republicans; they’re not all Democrats; they’re not all libertarians; they’re not all independents. But they are all hardworking American taxpayers.”
“I don’t care who’s in the White House. I care about sound, fundamental fiscal policy that protects this country going forward. Not only those that are with us right now but those who came before us and those who are going to come after us. We are putting ourselves in a position that is totally going to be unrecoverable.”
“Debt will eliminate you. I don’t care if it’s a person. I don’t care if it’s a business. I don’t care if it’s a state or a country. We are quickly approaching the point of no return, and to sit here and try to make it a political battle instead of survival for the United States of America is totally irresponsible and, more importantly, it is immoral.”
“This is not a political battle. This is a fight for the future of our country. This is a fight for sustainability in the greatest country the world has ever known, and I do not think that any of us should ever turn our back on our responsibility because it just wasn’t politically right for them.”
NOTE: If enacted, H.R. 3442 will require the Treasury Secretary to appear before the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee not more than 60 days and not less than 21 days prior to any date on which the Treasury Secretary anticipates that the nation will reach the debt limit (not the expiration of extraordinary measures). Before the Committees, the Treasury Secretary shall present the following:
1. Debt Report to Congress on: (i) the state of the national debt; (ii) the historical levels of the debt, current amount and composition of the debt, and future debt projections; and (iii) the Administration’s plans to meet debt obligations in the event that Congress agrees to raise the debt limit.
2. Statement of Intent on: (i) how the Administration proposes to reduce the debt in the short-term (the current and following fiscal years), medium-term (three to five years) and long-term (ten years and beyond), and proposals to adjust the debt-to-GDP ratio; (ii) the impact that an increased debt limit would have on future government spending, debt service, and position of the U.S. dollar as the international reserve currency; and (iii) projections of fiscal health and sustainability to major direct spending entitlement programs (including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid).
3. Progress Report on the implementation of the Statement of Intent proposals by the Administration to reduce U.S. debt levels. A Progress Report is not required upon the Administration’s initial debt limit increase request.
The Department of Treasury shall also place on its website the Debt Report, Statement of Intent, and Progress Report to serve as a repository of information made available to the public in understanding U.S. government debt.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – issued the following statement today in response to President Obama’s federal budget proposal for fiscal year 2017.
“President Obama’s latest and final budget confirms that he is no longer interested in governing in reality and has left serious leadership to other people. For the eighth time in a row, his budget proposal sinks our nation further in debt, threatens our economy with higher taxes, and never even comes close to balancing—ever. By the end of this presidency, our national debt burden will be doubled and millions of American families will be left badly bruised from a disappointing economy that was constantly kept from growing to its full potential. Considering all of the challenges that lay before us, only in a left-wing fantasy world does $2.5 trillion in new spending and $3.4 trillion in tax increases – including a costly new oil tax – make any sense.
“Western Pennsylvanians and hardworking Americans all across our country see budgets like this for the scams they are. They know that a budget that permanently spends more than it takes in is utterly unsustainable. They know an unbalanced checkbook only puts a family or any individual’s financial well-being in severe jeopardy. They know that in the private sector, a budget approach like this president’s would only lead to lost jobs, widespread bankruptcies, and blocks full of ‘out of business’ signs.
“The American people deserve so much better than a president who writes the nation’s budget with his ideological pen. Yet again, where President Obama failed, Congress will lead. My colleagues and I will soon present a responsible budget that reduces our debt, grows our economy, protects our country, and paves the way for a much stronger future.”
NOTE: This week Rep. Kelly will be participating in two separate hearings hosted by the Ways and Means Committee to assess President Obama’s FY 2017 budget featuring testimony by Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, respectively.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representatives Mike Kelly (R-PA), Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA), and U.S. Senators Bob Casey, Jr. (D-PA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) issued the following statements today in regard to a joint bipartisan letter they sent yesterday to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) in which they requested that Presque Isle State Park remain a high priority project in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) budget for fiscal year 2016.
Statement by Rep. Kelly:
“Presque Isle State Park’s beaches 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. I expect the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to once again recognize the importance of maintaining this treasure and provide the necessary replenishment that millions of families and tourists – and the jobs they support – depend upon.”
Statement by Rep. Thompson:
“People from across the Commonwealth travel to Erie to enjoy Presque Isle State Park’s beaches. This beach nourishment project is essential to fighting the constant erosion of the beaches and preserving them for future generations. It is my hope that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will continue to support replenishment of this vital resource for the Erie region.”
Statement by Sen. Toomey:
“More than 4 million people visit Presque Isle State Park each year—making it Pennsylvania’s most visited state park,” said Sen. Toomey. “Presque Isle is woven into the social fabric of the region and plays a vital part in Northwestern Pennsylvania’s economy. With these factors in mind, I hope that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will continue to prioritize beach replenishment at the park, as it has in previous years.”
Statement by Sen. Casey:
“The Presque Isle State Park plays an important role in Erie’s tourism and economy, bringing over four million visitors annually and providing jobs across Northwestern Pennsylvania,” Senator Casey said. “Presque Isle also helps to reduce potential flood damage and is essential to sustaining and protecting a unique ecosystem. I am hopeful that the Administration and the U.S. Army will dedicate the necessary resources to this project.”
Excerpt of bipartisan letter:
The Presque Isle State Park beaches are among the most important natural resources in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. We commend the USACE’s judgement in past years to ensure the park’s beaches have been replenished in time for the summer tourism season.
While the ‘Beach Nourishment Project’ is critical to maintaining the park’s shoreline for economic purposes, the sand replenishment also serves vital environmental objectives. The project protects Presque Isle State Park from the lake’s constant erosion and helps sustain the many unique habitats found throughout the park.
We will continue to work with state and local officials to maintain the integrity of the beaches at Presque Isle. In accordance with the federal, state and local agreement, we respectfully request you again prioritize the beach replenishment at Presque Isle State Park as you finalize your FY2016 Civil Works Budget.
WASHINGTON — The Butler Eagle today published an extended feature on the constituent services operation of U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA), with a particular focus on the congressman’s handling of wide-ranging constituent correspondence.
Excerpts from “Responding to queries big job”:
Butler’s U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-3rd, is no stranger to constituent communications. Kelly’s office says it receives more than 1,000 e-mails, calls, letters and faxes each week.
Most of the communication — about 85 percent — comes via e-mail, said Thomas Qualtere, Kelly’s communications director.
The office holds a full staff meeting each week to review all its correspondence, update the congressman and make those decisions.
Many times the responses are handled by staffers, Qualtere or Kelly’s chief of staff Matt Stroia. Sometimes, though, a particular issue or topic catches Kelly’s eye and motivates him to spend personal time getting involved.
Kelly pointed to three cases — two veterans he helped replace or obtain missing service medals in 2014, and a 2011 letter from a grandmother that moved him to help author a bill helping pediatric cancer patients — as examples of that.
“When you get into this job, you start to be able to touch peoples’ lives in different ways than any other (position),” Kelly said.
He said he doesn’t see it as a choice or a trade-off, and doesn’t accept the conventional wisdom that members of Congress have to choose between being authentic and personal, and reaching out to their constituencies en masse.
“I think you’re either authentic or you’re not,” Kelly said. “It’s just an expanded family, and I’m really in a position of ‘my gosh, we can really help some of these folks.’”
But the job is so big that Kelly employs a full-time staffer, legislative correspondent Brendan Fulmer, in Washington who handles all the office’s incoming correspondence. Fulmer sorts it and assigns a response letter based on the writer’s topic.
The congressman also employs five full-time “caseworkers” who are based throughout the 3rd District and deal first with correspondence that is sent to Kelly’s district offices in Sharon, Butler and Erie.
Kelly said his approach — “build the best customer service team in the country” — comes from his years running car dealerships in Butler County.
Fully invested is just what Kelly is. The congressman says he won’t shy away from the online exchanges, which can often be anonymous and brutal.
“I would be a fool to say ‘I only want to hear good news.’ That’s a Pollyanna attitude and that is not reality,” Kelly said. “The one thing I really appreciate is when it’s a civil remark.”
Qualtere said the congressman has more than 15,000 “friends” on Facebook and more than 5,000 followers on Twitter — numbers he says put Kelly among the most engaged federal officials on social media.
Stroia and Brad Moore, Kelly’s district director, say the office’s plan to grow Kelly’s online presence has been simple.
“It’s simply the congressman being the congressman,” Stroia said.
WATCH NEWS REPORTS: WKBN | WYTV
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) hosted a ceremony yesterday at his district office in Sharon, PA, at which he awarded the Bronze Star and other distinguished medals to Mr. Chester “Chet” Burger of Hermitage, PA, for his service in World War II.
It has been more than 70 years since Chet Burger left the service, but on Wednesday, the 92-year-old from Hermitage finally received some long-overdue recognition.
On Wednesday, Valley Congressman Mike Kelly, R-Pa., presented Burger with eight service medals and pins, including the Bronze Star Medal, for his service.
Burger said he spent Christmas Eve of 1943 on a ship going to Africa, where he was trained. At 19, he was captured in Italy and spent 12 months in a German P.O.W. camp.
Last fall, Burger’s daughter Darlene learned from the local Veterans Affairs director that her dad was eligible for the medals.
“He said contact Congressman Kelly’s office, and he said he’s a man that will work as a liaison,” Darlene Taylor explained.
After much paperwork and months of waiting, the awards finally arrived. Burger said he will split them among his three children — the Bronze Star will go to his son, Chet Burger, Jr.
“Words don’t explain it. It’s like, they didn’t give out a whole lot of Bronze Stars,” Chet Burger, Jr. said.
Chester M. Burger’s family finally got the World War II Army veteran to apply for the Bronze Star, Combat Infantry Badge, Prisoner of War and several other medals he earned during his service in North Africa and Italy.
The Hermitage man, surrounded by his children, a grandson and several cousins, received the medals Wednesday during a ceremony in Sharon. When he was discharged from the Army, he received two Purple Heart medals and a Rifleman badge.
Darlene Taylor, Burger’s daughter, learned about his eligibility for eight other medals through the Veterans Administration. She got information from her dad and applied with the help of staffers in the office of U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly. Kelly presented the medals Wednesday at his Sharon office.
Chet Burger weighed 205 pounds when he was taken prisoner by the Germans in 1944.
His body had dwindled to 123 pounds when the Allies liberated his camp a year later.
On Wednesday, he will receive a Bronze Star, a Combat Infantry Badge and other medals of distinction — 70 years after the war ended. U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly will host the pinning ceremony at his district office in Sharon.
There is a lot of paperwork involved in applying for a medal, Kelly's spokesman, Tom Qualtere said. …
Someone contacted Kelly's office and told the congressman's aides about Burger's time as a prisoner of war, Qualtere said.
Kelly's staff called Burger a few months ago and told him he would receive several medals.
“I'm lucky I didn't die before they gave them to me,” Burger joked.
1519 Longworth HOB
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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.