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 H.R. 4719, the America Gives More Act, which was passed by a bipartisan vote of 277-130. The legislation includes a package of five bipartisan charity-related bills reported out by the Ways and Means Committee, including the text of H.R. 3134, the Charitable Giving Extension Act, which Rep. Kelly introduced on September 19, 2013. The bill extends the yearly deadline for making deductible charitable contributions from December 31 to April 15 of the following year.
Highlights of Rep. Kelly’s floor remarks:
“According to the World Giving Index, America is the most big-hearted nation in the world. In the world! All this is, is an affirmation of who we are as Americans. Believe me, my friends, this charitable virtue we have is not a Republican issue, or a Democrat issue. This is who we basically are as Americans.”
“I want you to think about any time there is any time of a crisis or tragedy in the world. Who is the first responder? America — always America. It is just who we are. It is the very fabric of this nation and what has been given to us. We have been so blessed by God.”
“Now, this is not chest-thumping ‘I’m proud of America.’ This is a humble pride. It says, ‘I thank our Lord and God for putting us in a position where we can actually share that which we have.’ Too much has been given, much is required. I understand that, but please don’t turn this into a political argument when it comes to good policy. You know in the depths of your heart where the American people are. You know what they’ve done for year after year, in good times and in bad times … when we talk about policy that’s good not just for every single American, but for every person they help.”
“I came here for one reason, and that was to serve the people from Pennsylvania’s Third District that sent me – both Republicans and Democrats, some that vote and some that don’t vote – and to serve the needs of the American people. Have we gone so far from those goals that we decide to make everything political?”
“I would hate to be in the position where I tell every American, ‘You know what? We know how to spend the money better than you. We’ll make the decisions of how it gets doled out. In your heart of hearts, when you want to give to a charitable organization, forget it—we’ll make that decision. Send the money to Washington, because we’ve done such a wonderful job with it.”
“No, my friends. That’s not America, that’s not who we are, that’s not who we’ll ever be. That’s not the fabric of this great nation. So I ask you to look past your political ambitions, and beating each other up, and look at what’s good policy for every single American.”
Statement by Lisa Scales, Chief Executive Officer of Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank: “This bill provides valuable incentives for businesses, retailers, restaurants and farmers to make donations of wholesome food to Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Passage of this bill is needed to maximize food donation opportunities at a time of great need throughout Western Pennsylvania.”
NOTE: The America Gives More Act (H.R. 4719) is supported by more than 800 charitable organizations throughout the United States. A full state-by-state list of these organizations can be viewed here.
A joint statement from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Feeding America, Independent Sector, Land Trust Alliance, and YMCA of the USA in support H.R. 4719 can be viewed here.
According to Independent Sector, Pennsylvania is home to more than 68,500 non-profit organizations which employ 727,200 people (almost 13.3% of the state’s workforce); generate $96.8 billion in annual revenues; and hold assets of $208 billion. Pennsylvania foundations give $1.3 billion annually.
Today Rep. Kelly joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives in taking major action to crack down on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for its unjust overreach and abuse of powers against the American people.
By a bipartisan vote of 228-195, the House passed the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2015 (H.R. 5016). The bill provides annual funding for the Treasury Department, the Judiciary, the Small Business Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and several other agencies. It includes the following policy provisions:
1) Seriously Reduces IRS funding – H.R. 5016 cuts IRS funding nearly $1.5 billion below last year's level and nearly $3 billion below its request. In total, the bill brings IRS funding below 2003 funding levels.
2) Prevents the IRS from Implementing new 501(c)(4) Regulations – H.R. 5016 prevents the Treasury from using any funds to revise, or finalize any regulation related to 501(c)(4) organizations.
3) Prevents the IRS from Implementing Obamacare – H.R. 5016 prevents the IRS from using any funds to enforce Obamacare’s individual mandate. Moreover, it prevents the IRS from transferring funds from HHS to the IRS for Obamacare uses.
4) Prohibits IRS Targeting – H.R. 5016 prohibits any funds from being used to subject organizations to additional scrutiny based upon ideological beliefs.
5) Protects the First Amendment – H.R. 5016 prohibits the IRS from using any funds to target individuals for exercising their First Amendment rights.
6) Prohibits funding for IRS bonuses – H.R. 5016 prohibits the IRS from awarding any bonuses to its employees unless tax compliance and conduct are given consideration.
7) Prevents Destruction of Records – H.R. 5016 prevents any funding from being used to destroy, deface, or dispose or records, regardless of their form or characteristics, in contravention with the Federal Records Act.
8) Stops Unnecessary Waste – H.R. 5016 prohibits any funding from being used by the IRS to create inappropriate videos and hold frivolous conferences.
9) Protects and Serves Taxpayers – H.R. 5016 requires the IRS to institute and enforce policies that safeguard the confidentiality of taxpayer information and protect taxpayers from identity theft.
10) Improves IRS Accountability – Finally, the bill requires the IRS to establish an employee training program that covers issues such as taxpayers’ rights, ethics, and applying tax law impartially.
It is now up to the Senate to pass and President Obama to sign this crucial legislation. The American people have waited long enough for a permanent end to all IRS threats to their liberty. This bill is a major step toward that must-reach goal.
Read more about the bill here.
Full bill text here.Read More
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – issued the following statement today regarding H.R. 5021, the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014, sponsored by Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI). The bill was passed by the House of Representatives today by a bipartisan vote of 367-55.
“I am glad that the House has taken bipartisan action to secure the Highway Trust Fund and carry on the construction of our nation’s roads and bridges in time for summer travel for countless American families. Our efforts must now focus on a long-term solution to strengthening our nation’s infrastructure while preserving all of the jobs that go with it. I am committed to a deliberative and open debate about the work ahead for our nation’s highways, while protecting the American people from any tax hikes.”
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) hosted a policy briefing on Capitol Hill today on the future of the Internet’s governance in light of the Obama administration’s abrupt announcement that it does not intend to renew the contract of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, 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.” The hearing was attended by dozens of Congressional staffers and featured expert analysis by three field experts: Paul Rosenzweig, Visiting Fellow at The Heritage Foundation; Eli Dourado, Research Fellow at the Technology Policy Program at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University; and Philip S. Corwin, Founding Principal of Virtualaw LLC. Rep. Kelly is the sponsor of legislation – the Internet Stewardship Act of 2014 – which prohibits any transfer of the Internet’s critical functions without congressional approval.
Statement by Rep. Kelly:
“America has strong interests in ensuring that freedom of speech and commerce remains maximally protected on the Internet, for the benefit of American citizens as well as for people worldwide. That’s why the Obama administration’s decision to end the U.S. stewardship role and to urge the ‘global multistakeholder community’ to develop a transition proposal warrants serious scrutiny.
“Thus far the National Telecommunications and Information Administration has failed to explain how this transition proposal will be structured or how the U.S. will prevent this new plan for Internet governance from being controlled by a foreign government or group of governments, including authoritarian regimes, or by the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
“But it’s not just the authoritarian regimes. Even France recently joined with the authoritarians in calling for such a one-country, one-vote model, after its failed proposal at the ICANN conference in London to limit allocations of domain name suffixes, in a naked attempt to protect the French domestic wine industry from free and fair global competition.
“Furthermore, America is not alone in raising concerns with ICANN and the continued freedom of the Internet. ICANN’s Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) recently issued a unanimous statement, on behalf of Internet stakeholders, criticizing ICANN for its lack of transparency and accountability. The GNSO called for the creation of an independent accountability mechanism so that ICANN is not merely accountable to itself.
“Under America’s care, the web has been able to safely expand to unthinkable horizons, enabling new ideas to spread and new markets to grow all over the world. Keeping the Internet free and safe from hostile powers around the globe who by their very nature despise freedom is not just a moral responsibility, but a thoroughly American duty.
“These are difficult challenges. But it is imperative that we as the people’s Congress continue our work to safeguard the freedom of the Internet.”
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – co-chairman of the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition – delivered remarks on the floor of the House of Representatives yesterday in support of an amendment he introduced to H.R. 4923, the Energy and Water Appropriations Act, 2015. The amendment ensures that H.R. 4923 complies with a provision within the recently-enacted Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA) which requires that 10 percent of federal dollars allocated for harbor maintenance funding be prioritized for the Great Lakes Navigation System (GLNS). The amendment, co-authored by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), was passed unanimously by a voice vote. The House passed H.R. 4923 yesterday evening by a bipartisan vote of 253-170.
Excerpts of Rep. Kelly’s floor remarks:
“This amendment simply requires that the harbor maintenance funding provided in [H.R. 4923] complies with the recently-enacted WRRDA law and that the 10 percent funding requirement for the Great Lakes will be met. The Water Resource Reform and Redevelopment Act of 2014, which this body passed by a 412-4 vote, includes an allocation for the Great Lakes Navigation System of 10 percent of harbor maintenance funding provided above the 2012 baseline.”
“This is a bill that really dwells on the Great Lakes, and what a great gift from God this nation was given with the Great Lakes. One-fifth of the world’s fresh water – not one-fifth of Pennsylvania’s fresh water, certainly not one fifth of America’s fresh water, but one-fifth of the world’s fresh water – is in our Great Lakes.”
“There’s also a commerce element there. Now where does that fit in and why do we talk about that? Here’s why: We’re talking about jobs. We’re talking about jobs in our Great Lakes. We’re talking about 128,000 American jobs. Over 33.6 billion dollars in annual revenue. And it’s three percent of our nation’s gross domestic product.”
“This commonsense amendment just directs the Army Corps of Engineers to use the allocated funds as directed. We talk about the Great Lakes and we talk about it an awful lot and I think sometimes we forget how great this gift is and what our responsibility is to maintain it. Sure, it’s a gift from God, but it’s up to men to maintain it. In this great body, looking at this opportunity we have right now to actually direct funding — that makes sure that we can still navigate through our Great Lakes, that we can dredge our harbors, that we can do breakwater maintenance, that we can do jetties; all those things that are necessary to keep that line open.”
“The Great Lakes are truly our door to the world. It is our responsibility and it falls on our shoulders right now to support that. … I urge our colleagues to support this amendment and keep open our Great Lakes door to the world.”
Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI): “I’d like to thank my friend Rep. Kelly for joining me in offering this amendment to strengthen commerce and recreation on the Great Lakes. Inadequate harbor funding and maintenance has resulted in a severe backlog of dredging needs from the Port of Duluth-Superior in my district, to the Saint Lawrence Seaway. We must ensure our Great Lakes receive the funding they need to keep industries and economies moving.”
Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH): “I commend Representative Kelly for offering this important effort in highlighting the importance of the Great Lakes. … It’s just so great to have someone with your commitment to the Great Lakes. … So to have this kind of work, by yourself, by the chairman of our subcommittee Mr. Simpson, by (Congresswoman) Candice Miller (R-MI), by Congressman Visclosky (D-IN), and so many others that work on Great Lakes issues, it’s wonderful to have this team put together and to see that we’ve done a better job for our Great Lakes in this bill and in past bills. … I just wanted to commend [Rep. Kelly] … and I know the people who are listening from the Great Lakes region appreciate the attention and what we do in this bill to make sure that those lakes are maintained.”
James H.I. Weakley, President of Great Lakes Maritime Task Force and Lake Carriers’ Association: “We deeply appreciate that Congressman Kelly has kept the effort to end the dredging crisis on track. This amendment leaves no doubt that Congress fully intends for the Corps to allocate 10 percent of the increased expenditures from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to the Great Lakes Navigation System.”
NOTE: H.R. 4923 – the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015 – provides funding for the Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers, and vital national defense nuclear weapons activities. The legislation provides a total of $34 billion in discretionary funding, which is $50.5 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $326.9 million above the President’s request. The bill prioritizes funding for national security, providing increases for nuclear weapons programs above fiscal year 2014, and protects funding for critical national and regional waterways.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce – delivered remarks on the floor of the House of Representatives today in support of H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, of which he is a co-sponsor. The legislation will modernize and improve existing federal workforce development programs, help workers attain skills for 21st century jobs, and foster the modern workforce on which evolving American businesses rely to compete. The House passed H.R. 803 this evening by a bipartisan vote of 415-6
Rep. Kelly’s floor remarks:
“I’m so glad to be here today talking about the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act … as we congratulate each other on this great work, this bipartisan work, and bicameral … because what we’re really trying to do is get people back to work.”
“But you know who the biggest winner in this program is? The hardworking American taxpayers who fund every penny of these programs. I think sometimes we forget about who it is that does this; we think it actually takes place in this House. It doesn’t — it takes place in houses. But it’s the homes around the United States — it’s these hardworking American taxpayers that deserve a much better return on their investment. It’s just that simple.”
“So if we’re going to get people ready for the labor market, let’s redirect those funds, let’s make sure that it’s more effective, and more efficient, and something that people look at and they say, ‘You know what? I didn’t mind putting money in those programs because there was a positive result from it.’”
“So, from the standpoint of congratulating each other, and patting each other on the back … what I really want to do is take this moment to thank the hardworking American taxpayers who fund every single penny of these programs. I thank you all for your work on it.”
NOTE: The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act represents a compromise between the SKILLS Act (H.R. 803), which was passed by the House of Representatives in March 2013 with bipartisan support, and the Workforce Investment Act of 2013 (S. 1356), which was passed through the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee with a bipartisan vote of 18-3 in July of 2013.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) issued the following statement today regarding Operation Protective Edge currently being carried out by the State of Israel against Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza.
“As destruction and terror once again threaten the people of Israel, it is critical that the United States stands in proud, unwavering defense of our greatest ally and dearest friend in the Middle East. The enemies facing Israel are the enemies of civilization and free societies everywhere. While the Israeli people seek only to live in peace, radical forces like Hamas and others sickeningly crave the Jewish state’s total annihilation. No nation anywhere should be expected to tolerate the indiscriminate violence which torments our Israeli friends every day. Against such evil, Israel not only has an absolute right to defend herself but a moral duty, and it is a task which America should be ready to assist in every way possible.”
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) issued the following statement today in response to the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that the federal government cannot force religious owners of “closely-held” corporations to pay for drugs or services that violate their religious beliefs. The cases, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, involved a challenge by two family-owned businesses to the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department’s mandate under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) which requires employers to provide employees with insurance coverage for contraceptive services, including birth control pills, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs.
"The highest court in our land has spoken loud and clear: the core religious freedoms of the American people are not subordinate to this president or his disastrous health care law. With this monumental ruling, religious liberty prevails and Obamacare’s oppressive mandate loses."
"No government program or politician must ever be permitted to punish an American citizen for following his or her faith. Freedom of conscience – without government-imposed consequence – is not a Republican right or a Democrat right but an ironclad American right. Today’s decision should serve as a permanent reminder that our Bill of Rights is not negotiable and that the God-given liberty of the American people will never be taken without a fight.”
NOTE: Rep. Kelly is a member of the House Pro-Life Caucus and a co-sponsor of H.R. 940, the Health Care Conscience Rights Act, which would amend the Affordable Care Act to protect rights of conscience with regard to requirements for coverage of specific items and services.
In February 2012, he co-signed a letter with 153 Members of Congress to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius seeking suspension of the health care law’s contraceptive mandate. Rep. Kelly had also sent Secretary Sebelius an earlier letter in September 2011 in which he called for the federal mandate to be rescinded.
In August 2012, Rep. Kelly signed 12 amicus briefs submitted by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) on behalf religious organizations challenging the mandate.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (PA-03) delivered remarks on the floor of the House of Representatives today in honor of Ryan Sekerski, Battalion Chief of the Cochranton Volunteer Fire Department in Cochranton, Pennsylvania, who heroically rescued a trapped driver from a burning gasoline tanker truck earlier this month.
Rep. Kelly’s floor speech:
“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a brave young man from back in my district, Ryan Sekerski. He’s a 29-year veteran of the [Cochranton] Volunteer Fire Department. … This is a picture of Mr. Sekerski with his family. We celebrated his act of heroism that day. … I have no idea how he’s registered or how he votes — but I do know where his heart is.”
“What you’re looking at is a tanker truck. … Mr. Sekerski, on his way home from work, heard on the radio that a tanker truck, a gas tanker truck, had swerved to avoid being in a collision. It hit a utility pole, was on its side, and seeping gas out that was on fire. When he arrived at the scene, his question was, ‘Is the driver OK?’ Nobody knew the answer. When he found out the driver was still inside this truck, he went to his trunk, got on his volunteer fireman’s gear, went inside this burning inferno, with no regard for his own life and his own safety, but more regard for the person who was trapped inside.”
“What a remarkable act of heroism, at a time when our country is looking for strong Americans. People like Ryan Sekerski are ordinary people doing extraordinary things every day, and why? Because they’re truly Americans. And, especially on the weekend we have coming up, we celebrate these types of people and what they’ve done.”
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) issued the following statement today regarding the unanimous decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that three of President Obama’s appointments to the National Labor Relations Board were unconstitutional and invalid since the appointments were made while the U.S. Senate was not in full recess but “pro forma” session.
“Today’s ruling is a victory for the Constitution and a reminder that no president is above the law. Time and time again President Obama has deliberately chosen to ignore the limits of the Constitution and circumvent Congress in order to achieve his political goals. This sort of brazen power abuse is unacceptable and undermines how our government is meant to operate. This is not a Republican view or a Democrat view but a fully American view, and I am thrilled that the highest court in our land unanimously agrees.”
NOTE: Rep. Kelly is the sponsor of H.R. 557, the Advice and Consent Restoration Act, which he introduced on February 6, 2013, in response to President Obama’s unprecedented “recess appointments” which Rep. Kelly believed to be illegal.
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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.
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