Washington, D.C. — Faith-based organizations play an important role in communities across the country helping children in need. Unfortunately, there are some states preventing faith-based organizations from providing welfare services because of their religious beliefs, according to U.S Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa.
The lawmakers introduced legislation today to ensure faith-based institutions and individuals can continue to provide services for those who need them.
For decades, adoption and foster care providers – secular, government-operated and faith-based – have worked side-by-side to serve infants, expectant mothers, adoptive and foster families, children, teens and families under economic and emotional pressure. The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2015 would prevent providers of child welfare services from being excluded by states from offering these services based on their religious beliefs.
“Whether providing adoption services, foster care work or counseling for children, faith-based organizations shouldn’t have to worry that they will be discriminated against because of their religious beliefs. This type of discrimination hurts the families and children who rely on these organizations most of all,” said Enzi. “This legislation will help ensure faith-based providers and individuals can continue to work alongside other agencies and organizations and that adoptive and foster parents have access to the provider of their choice.”
“Faith-based organizations have always played an extraordinary role in caring for our nation’s most vulnerable children. Millions of Americans are better off today because of their noble work,” said Kelly. “This commonsense bill simply ensures that these child welfare providers can keep doing what they do best and are treated the same as the rest. When it comes to helping kids and making families stronger, all service providers – religious or otherwise – should have a seat at the table. That’s what this bill is about. It is 100 percent inclusive and child-focused. No provider should ever have to forfeit their First Amendment rights in order to create a better life for a child.”
Adoption and foster care is intensely personal and emotional for all those concerned. All participants, infants, children, teens and families involved have benefited from having a range of service options to best suit their emotional, spiritual, and financial needs and circumstances, according to Enzi and Kelly.
Click here to read the legislation.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representatives Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) announced today that they will co-chair the bipartisan House Congressional Automotive Caucus during the 114th Congress. Created in 1983, the House Auto Caucus has a long history of reaching across the aisle to promote a strong and vibrant American automotive industry. Supported by a diverse group of automotive associations, the House Auto Caucus will continue the tradition of working with industry stakeholders to educate Capitol Hill policy makers and advance a legislative agenda that encourages an innovative, competitive, and growing automotive sector.
Statement from Co-Chair Rep. Kelly: “It is truly an honor to serve as the Republican co-chair of the House Auto Caucus. Having spent my entire life working in the auto industry, I know firsthand how crucial this sector is to our local and national economies. In my home state of Pennsylvania, the industry employs more than 250,000 men and women and provides nearly $5 billion in annual state revenues. As a car guy, I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with Rep. Kaptur and a growing group of committed members to help make our auto industry even stronger.”
Statement from Co-Chair Rep. Kaptur: “For many Americans, the auto industry is part of life, part of their community. No other industry drives so many retail jobs and so much commerce or is as closely linked to American manufacturing. In recent years, automotive manufacturing has played a critical role in the U.S. economic recovery and its success or failure is shared by families throughout the nation. In part because it is so central to the work of our nation, the auto industry is vulnerable to global forces and its security requires vigilant and concerted attention. That is why this Caucus is so important.”
At 53 members and growing, the House Auto Caucus will also be led by Representatives Dan Kildee (D-MI) and Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) who will serve as Vice Co-Chairs.
Represented by manufacturers, suppliers, dealers, and the many auto affiliated businesses, the automotive industry employees more than 8 million American workers and generates more than $500 billion in annual compensation. The industry has a strong multiplier effect as it supports many other sectors through the purchase of raw materials, equipment, and services. Historically, the auto industry has contributed 3.5% of America’s total gross domestic product. Under the leadership of Co-Chairs Kelly and Kaptur, the House Auto Caucus will work with members to build upon this tremendous growth and ensure a prosperous future for this vital industry.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) issued the following statement today regarding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington, DC, and his address to a joint meeting of Congress.
“This morning I was extraordinarily privileged to listen to the impassioned words of one of the world’s most courageous leaders. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech was stirring, urgent, and powerfully reflective of the times in which our countries live. He reminded the entire world that no matter the challenges at hand, and no matter where those challenges may come from, the people of Israel can always depend on their friends in the United States of America.
“Simply put, the enemies of Israel are the enemies of democracy and they must be confronted and defeated. Today the Prime Minister spoke with impressive moral clarity about our duty to stand up to the evil of radical Islam. It was refreshing to hear a leader speak so boldly not only about the need to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions but also the resolve that must be summoned to do so. He was especially insightful and absolutely correct when he pointed out that ‘when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.’
“I thank the Prime Minister for addressing Congress and pray that his words will move our nation’s leaders to be strong, united, and relentless in our critical mission to stop a nuclear Iran and secure the survival of the Jewish state. History is all too clear about the consequences of weakness.”
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) issued the following statement today after sending a letter to President Obama co-signed by 34 new members of Congress elected in 2014 to express unified opposition to the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) – which has been signed by the Obama administration but never submitted to the U.S. Senate for ratification – and a firm commitment to deny any federal funding for the treaty’s implementation.
Statement by Rep. Kelly:
“I thank and applaud each of these new representatives for joining the fight to stop this dangerous treaty. They join leaders in both parties and both houses of Congress in not only opposing the ATT but also vowing to use our power as legislators to prevent it from ever being unilaterally implemented by this or any future administration. Together, we will safeguard the Constitutional rights of all Americans and the security of our closest allies abroad by ensuring that the ATT is never permitted to affect our nation’s policies.”
Excerpts of letter to President Obama:
On October 15, 2013, I had the honor to lead 181 members of Congress in a bipartisan letter to you opposing the ratification of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty and its implementation in law. Today, an additional 34 members of Congress elected in 2014 join me in expressing their whole-hearted opposition to this treaty, based on the six concerns set out in that letter, which they fully support.
I note, with deep concern, that the Arms Trade Treaty is now being described as a global and legally binding treaty – whereas in fact it has only been ratified by 62 nations – that has as one of its main objectives the prevention of the diversion of firearms, which implies that treaty supporters seek to use it to impinge on the lawful ownership, use of, and trade in firearms.
As members of Congress, we pledge to support the Senate in opposing the ratification of this treaty, and we give notice that we do not regard the U.S. as bound to uphold its object and purpose.
Further, we regard this treaty as non-self-executing, and we oppose the passage of implementing legislation that is necessary for it to have any domestic effect. Lastly, as members of the House of Representatives, which is particularly invested with the power of the purse, we oppose the use of any funds to implement the Arms Trade Treaty.
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 currently has 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 June 14, 2013, Rep. Kelly introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014 to prohibit federal funding for the implementation of the ATT for one year by the Department of Defense. The amendment was adopted unanimously by a voice vote and included in the final passage of the NDAA by the House of Representatives. The House-Senate compromise NDAA, which included an updated version of the Kelly amendment, was passed by the House on December 12, 2013; passed by the Senate on December, 19, 2013; and signed by President Obama on December 26, 2013.
On July 24, 2013, the House Appropriations Committee approved the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2014 which imposes a one-year ban on the use of federal funds for the implementation of the ATT by the State Department. The ban is based on language from a bipartisan letter which Rep. Kelly authored and submitted to the State and Foreign Operations subcommittee on April 18, 2013. A version of this ban was integrated into H.R. 3547, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, which temporarily funded the government between October 1, 2013 and January 15, 2014.
On April 1, 2014, Rep. Kelly authored and submitted four separate letters 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 requesting updated and strengthened language prohibiting federal funding of the ATT in each of the subcommittees’ respective appropriation bills for fiscal year 2015, including an explicit ban on the use of funds to engage in domestic prosecutions on the basis of the ATT. Each letter was co-signed by more than 80 members of Congress.
On May 30, 2014, the House passed the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2015, which included language requested by Kelly to ban ATT funding by the Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and other related agencies.
On June 20, 2014, the House passed the Department of Defense Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2015 by a bipartisan vote of 340-73, which included language requested by Rep. Kelly to prohibit any funding by the Department of Defense for the implementation of the ATT for one year. On June 24, 2014, the full Appropriations Committee approved language to ban ATT funds in the FY 2015 State and Foreign Ops bill following Rep. Kelly’s letter to the subcommittee.
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 United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) – a UN-backed gathering to shape the future of the ATT – 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 NDAA for Fiscal Year 2015 (H.R. 3979) on December 19, 2014, which included a similar ban.
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 announcing the creation of the Retirement Security Caucus in the House of Representatives, a bipartisan organization that he has officially co-founded with his co-chairman and fellow Ways and Means Committee member, Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA). The Senate Retirement Security Caucus is being co-chaired by Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Ben Cardin (D-MD).
“I am proud to announce this new bipartisan, bicameral caucus to raise awareness about the importance of properly planning ahead for a safe and secure retirement. All Americans deserve to enjoy their later years in comfort and in peace of mind—and wallet. This caucus will heed the concerns of millions of Americans about achieving financial security in their retirement and ensure that federal policies are crafted to make such security as easy to realize as possible.”
NOTE: The primary mission of the House Retirement Security Caucus is to educate policy makers and the public about how national retirement policies can encourage Americans to save more money and plan more responsibly for their retirement. As the retirement income landscape has changed over the past few decades, recent studies confirm that many Americans are not saving enough for retirement, or are not saving at all.
According to the Congressional Research Service, “[a] persistent concern among policymakers is whether households will have sufficient resources to maintain their pre-retirement standards of living throughout retirement.” According to recent census figures, Americans ages 55 to 65 had about $45,000 in savings and assets, not including their homes. In another survey, by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 57 percent of American workers said they have less than $25,000 in total savings and investments. (NPR, March 27, 2013) According to the Gallup Economy and Personal Finance poll taken in April 2014, 68 percent of Baby Boomers aged 50-64 and 50 percent of Millennials aged 18-29 are worried about not having enough money for retirement.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (PA-03) will soon be hosting a special toll-free telephone town hall meeting for constituents of the Third District to communicate with liaisons from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on the basics of filing individual income taxes.
WHAT: A free tele-town hall hosted by Rep. Kelly to help constituents during tax filinf season
WHO: Representative Mike Kelly (PA-03) With special guests: Regis P. Bodnar — Senior Stakeholder Relationship Tax Consultant, IRS Frank Quinn — IRS Governmental Liaison, Pennsylvania
DATE: Tuesday, March 10, 2015
TIME: 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
CALL-IN INFORMATION: To participate, dial 877-228-2184 and enter event ID 19013 at the time of the event.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight – issued the following statement today after introducing H.R. 1026, the Taxpayer Knowledge of IRS Investigations Act, which would amend the tax code to permit the release of certain information regarding the status of ongoing investigations related to the improper disclosure of taxpayer information by employees of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Under Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code, it is currently a felony for an IRS official to disclose such information to the public or to another government agency, which bars victims of wrongful IRS leaks from knowing the status of their no-longer private information.
“The revelation of the IRS’s targeting of innocent American citizens shook the foundation of the American people’s relationship with their government. The scandal took a sharp turn for the worse when we discovered that the private information of many American taxpayers was deliberately leaked to outside organizations. Insult was added to injury when the victims of these leaks were denied access to any information about the agency’s investigations into these criminal matters. The Taxpayer Knowledge of IRS Investigations Act will restore essential accountability to this troubled agency by changing the tax code to grant American citizens the critical transparency that they deserve but have been wrongly denied. With illicit targeting apparently still transpiring, this commonsense legislation is more necessary than ever.”
BACKGROUND: On May 13, 2013, it was revealed that the IRS division headed by now-retired official Lois Lerner shared highly confidential tax-exempt status applications from multiple conservative groups with ProPublica, a private outside organization. In October 2013, it was reported that the agency “shared highly confidential tax information of several Tea Party groups in the IRS scandal with the Federal Election Commission, a clear violation of federal law.”
On February 26, 2015, it was reported that, “Nearly two years after the IRS was exposed for improperly sidetracking requests for tax exemptions from tea party groups, … at least a half-dozen conservative applicants are still waiting for an answer.”
NOTE: Since news of the IRS targeting scandal first broke in May 2013, Rep. Kelly has been a prominent vocal leader in the ongoing pursuit for answers and accountability. After earning a standing ovation for his fierce scolding of then-IRS commissioner Steven Miller at the Ways and Means Committee’s first-ever hearing on the scandal, The Washington Post’s Right Turn blog named Rep. Kelly its “Distinguished Pol of the Week.” The New York Post declared that Rep. Kelly’s words “ought to be emblazoned across the entryway of every IRS office in America.”
In response to the scandal, Rep. Kelly re-introduced the Government Employee Accountability Act, which would grant all federal agencies the power to fire reckless Senior Executive Service employees (such as ex-IRS official Lois Lerner) on the spot, or place them on “investigative leave” without pay. The legislation was passed by the House of Representatives on August 1, 2013, as part of the Stop Government Abuse Act (H.R. 2879) by a bipartisan vote of 239-176. Rep. Kelly re-introduced the bill once again on February 4, 2015.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – issued the following statement today regarding the passage of H.R. 529 in the House of Representatives by a bipartisan vote of 401-20. Rep. Kelly is a co-sponsor of this legislation.
“I am wholeheartedly pleased that the People’s House has passed this bipartisan bill to expand, modernize, and strengthen tax-free 529 college savings plans. These plans make it easier for millions of hardworking American families to send their children to college and pursue the careers of their dreams. With college tuition and student loan debt reaching daunting new heights, it makes perfect sense not only to protect this tool from reckless and misguided attacks but to also build upon its success by updating it to meet today’s realities for students and their parents. I applaud my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for supporting this bill and look forward to it passing in the Senate.”
NOTE: The importance and popularity of 529 college savings plans have grown substantially as more and more middle-income families are using them to save for college. Since the bipartisan creation of Section 529 in 1996, these plans have expanded to nearly 12 million accounts and have resulted in college savings of more than $225 billion for American families. The Pennsylvania 529 College Savings Program consists of 13 different investment plans and helps Pennsylvanians keep pace with increasingly expensive college tuition.
H.R. 529 makes three important improvements to 529 savings plans, enhancing what is a successful model for helping students attend college. It achieves the following:
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) issued the following statement today in response to President Obama’s veto of S. 1, bipartisan legislation to approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
“By vetoing the massively popular and bipartisan legislation to build the Keystone XL pipeline, President Obama has severely embarrassed himself and his administration. He has deliberately turned his back on the will of the American people and the creation of 42,000 American jobs for the sake of pleasing a small, fringe minority. This is the very opposite of statesmanship.
“With today’s action, the president has made it painfully clear that, despite his rhetoric, he is simply not interested in doing what’s best for our country. He had an opportunity to prove his commitment to cooperation and deliver a great bipartisan victory for the entire nation, and he chose to reject it. His selfish preference to instead pander to the extreme left will surely stain his legacy.
“Today it is sadly clearer than ever that while America’s new Congress is here to serve America’s most urgent priorities, President Obama is not. The Keystone XL remains a commonsense plan that will make our economy stronger, and the fight to make it a reality will go on.”
NOTE: On January 31, 2014, the U.S. State Department issued its Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the permit application of the Keystone XL Pipeline Project, confirming the project is safe and will have limited environmental impacts.
WASHINGTON — Today the House of Representatives passed H.R. 644, the America Gives More Act of 2015, a package of charity-related tax bills which includes the text of H.R. 641, the Conservation Easement Incentive Act of 2015, legislation authored and introduced by U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – on February 2, 2015. This provision will provide a permanent tax incentive for farmers and ranchers to preserve their non-developed land for future conservation. H.R. 644 was passed by a bipartisan vote of 279-137.
Excerpt of Rep. Kelly’s floor remarks:
“This is about allowing a landowner to set property aside. So I don’t care if you’re a farmer or a rancher. I don’t care if you’re a hunter or a hiker. I don’t care if you like to look at birds or hunt birds. There are over 65 associations around the country that say, ‘Please do more of this. Set this ground apart.’ … This is so basic to who we are as Americans. Let’s preserve what we have. Let’s just keep what we have. Let’s make sure that our kids can hunt and hike and swim. Let’s make sure that they can fish. Let’s make sure that they can do all of those wonderful things that this land affords us to do. … There are millions of acres that have been said aside now. Why not give some permanency to this? We talk about tax reform—let’s give it some permanency. Let’s do what makes sense for all of America. … Let’s make sure we set ground for the future.”
Praise for Rep. Kelly’s legislation:
“The Lake Erie Region Conservancy unequivocally supports H.R. 641 sponsored by Rep. Mike Kelly and Rep. Mike Thompson. Conservation easement incentives are critical to the continued conservation of open space and farms throughout the U.S. Tax incentives for land donations have been and should continue to provide an important tool in the decision land owners make when protecting their lands for future generations.” — Tom Fuhrman, President, Lake Erie Regional Conservancy
“Conserving land not only protects our natural communities and open space for future generations, it also protects the character of our rural communities. The Conservation Easement Tax Incentive provides a vehicle for landowners to leave a permanent legacy on the landscape and is critical to ensuring that both our heritage and our ecology is protected in perpetuity. The French Creek Valley Conservancy thanks Congressman Kelly for leading the bipartisan effort to make the Conservation Easement Tax Incentive permanent.” — Jim Lang, Board President, French Creek Valley Conservancy
“Congressman Kelly made clear today his conviction that land conservation is good for America and Americans. We thank Congressman Kelly for voting to ensure the land heritage we share with America’s farmers – the land heritage we wish to pass forward to our children – is conserved.” — Rand Wentworth, President, Land Trust Alliance
NOTE: The conservation easement tax incentive was created in 2006 and provides an enhanced income tax deduction to private landowners who voluntarily choose not to develop their land and instead preserve their property for conservation. It has helped America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest land owners conserve hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland, open space, and water sheds in the public interest for future generations to enjoy. The Conservation Easement Incentive Act of 2015 (H.R. 641) will make this tax incentive a permanent part of the nation’s tax code.
The legislation was introduced by a bipartisan coalition on February 2, 2015, including Reps. Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) in the House of Representatives and Sens. Dean Heller (R-NV) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) in the U.S. Senate. It was favorably marked-up by the House Ways and Means Committee on February 4, 2015.
H.R. 641 has been endorsed by a diverse coalition of conservation, agriculture, and sporting organizations including (but not limited to) the Land Trust Alliance, Ducks Unlimited, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the Nature Conservancy, the National Sports Shooting Foundation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Mule Deer Foundation, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the American Forest Foundation, the National Audubon Society, the Wildlife Society, the California Association of Wine Growers, and National Wild Turkey Federation. An extended list of supporters can be viewed here.
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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