WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – was recently included in a list compiled by the Washington Examiner of eight of President Donald Trump’s “earliest allies and point-people on Capitol Hill, compiled based on sources with knowledge of the transition team's thinking.”
Excerpts from the article:
President Trump began his campaign with zero support on Capitol Hill. But as his candidacy gained momentum, a handful of House members gravitated to the real estate mogul's message. He has rewarded those lawmakers by bringing them into his circle of trust and delegating surrogate powers to them.
Here are eight of Trump's earliest allies and point-people on Capitol Hill, compiled based on sources with knowledge of the transition team's thinking. All of the lawmakers who are quoted spoke to the Washington Examiner unless otherwise noted.
First elected in 2010, Rep. Mike Kelly is one of three Pennsylvanians in the group, and he became a staple on the campaign trail with Trump in the Keystone State. As the owner of a successful chain of auto dealerships in western Pennsylvania, he relates to Trump as a businessman and innovative leader.
"I just thought his approach was so unique … he was a change agent," Kelly said. "He has a businessman's view of the world and how things should be run."
Hailing originally from Pittsburgh, Kelly said Trump's stance on trade was a big draw for him and his constituents.
"We've already seen companies responding" to Trump's tough talk on trade, Kelly said pointing to Hyundai, one of Chevrolet-Cadillac's marquee brands, which just announced it will build a new factory in the U.S.
"They see the trend … that you gotta make it in America," he said.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – issued the following statement today regarding the inauguration of Donald J. Trump and Michael R. Pence as President and Vice President of the United States.
“Today begins a better and brighter era for our entire country. The energy and enthusiasm I felt firsthand on the campaign trail last year with our new president is being relived today as we witness the peaceful transfer of power that is a hallmark of our democracy. Donald Trump is taking office with wind at his back and an unmistakable mandate to put everyday hardworking Americans first again. I offer my sincerest congratulations to both the Trump and Pence families as they begin this historic journey and will pray for their success and well-being every day.
“Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘If you want to test a man’s character, give him power.’ To my deepest regret, President Obama used his executive power to divide Americans and denigrate the legislative process in pursuit of an aggressively partisan agenda—all despite campaigning on an inspirational promise to do the very opposite. I am confident that President Trump has learned the lessons of his predecessor and will govern in a spirit of national unity, faithful to our Constitution and guided by an unapologetic belief in American exceptionalism.
“With a unified Republican government now leading America forward, the opportunities at hand are tremendous, as are the responsibilities. I commend President Trump’s desire to get to work right away in order to correct our country’s course, at home and in many arenas abroad. As a member of the Ways and Means Committee, where health care and tax reform remain our shared priorities, I look forward to working with him toward a future with lower, simpler taxes and more affordable and accessible health care insurance that is choice-filled and patient-centered.
“I wish President Obama and his family well in their future endeavors. I call on all of my colleagues in Congress to now put country before party and help President Trump and his administration make America greater, safer, stronger, and more prosperous for all Americans.”
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – issued the following statement today in support of S. Con. Res.3, a budget resolution to provide for reconciliation, the first procedural step toward repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Specifically, the resolution instructs the House Committee on Ways and Means, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Senate Committee on Finance, and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions to achieve at least $1 billion each in deficit reduction over the 2017-2026 period. The resolution was passed this afternoon by the House of Representatives by a vote of 227-198.
“Today’s resolution paves the road to the ultimate repeal and replacement of Obamacare. As the reconciliation process now begins, Americans from coast to coast can rest assured that relief from President Obama’s failed health care law is closer than ever. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Ways and Means Committee to keep our promise to the American people and chart a better way for our country’s health care system.
“From the very beginning, Obamacare was a legislative disaster built on dishonesty, deception, and devastating partisanship. It represented precisely how health care reform — or any major government initiative — should never be done. The stories from families and workers in Western Pennsylvania and elsewhere who’ve been hurt by Obamacare’s higher costs and broken promises have been heartbreaking to hear, but have nevertheless steeled my commitment to resolving this law’s consequences, no matter how challenging it may be. The work to responsibly repeal and replace this failed law will continue until cost-lowering, patient-centered health care reform for our citizens is finally achieved.”
NOTE: On January 3, 2017, Rep. Kelly introduced H.R. 173, the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2017, which will repeal Obamacare’s so-called “Cadillac Tax” provision. The widely unpopular provision would impose a 40 percent excise tax on all employer-provided health insurance plans valued at more than $10,200 for individual coverage and $27,500 for families. H.R. 173 is co-sponsored by Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT). U.S. Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) have introduced identical legislation in the U.S. Senate.
A comprehensive look at the Republican "Better Way" for health care reform can be viewed here.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – appeared on Fox & Friends Sunday on Fox News Channel to discuss plans by Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), as well as his recently introduced bill to repeal the law’s controversial Cadillac Tax on employer-covered health plans.
Highlights of Rep. Kelly’s remarks:
“First is the repeal, and then the replacement, of Obamacare. That’s the mission that we’re on right now, and you’re going to see it happen very quickly.”
“We’ve had a plan [to replace the health care law]. It’s something called the Better Way that we’ve had in place for a long time now. But I want people to understand one thing, and this is really clear: The plan that you’re on right now—you’re not going to lose it on January the 21st because Mr. Trump was sworn into office. This idea that somehow the rug is going to pulled out from under you is another one of those whoppers.”
“The Cadillac Tax was aimed at those employers that provided what the Obama administration said was ‘overly generous’ health care packages for their associates. … Nothing is more un-American then telling people, ‘Look, you’re treating your employees too good, you’re treating your associates too good.’ … Why would you take away from hardworking people a health care package that’s picked up by their employer, not by hardworking American taxpayers? It just doesn’t make sense.”
“We’re going to do something that’s thoughtful. It has to be affordable, it has to be accessible, and it has to be sustainable. That’s the key to it. We believe that competition is what drives a better product and a lower price and makes it better for the American people.”
NOTE: A comprehensive look at the Republican "Better Way" for health care reform can be viewed here.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (PA-03) congratulated Washington’s Trail – 1753 today on a technical assistance grant awarded by the National Park Service under its Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) program. Washington’s Trail 1753 is a non-profit in Butler County that maintains a driving route in commemoration of George Washington’s journey through Western Pennsylvania at the beginning of the French and Indian War. The RTCA will work with Washington’s Trail 1753 on community outreach as well as specific project goals during Fiscal Year 2017, which began October 1, 2016, and ends September 30, 2017.
“I congratulate Washington’s Trail on the grant once again awarded to them by the National Park Service, and thank the Service for awarding it. Washington’s Trail is an integral part of our country’s early history. I am very proud to represent a district with such a rich connection to our nation’s first president, and I believe this grant will go a long way toward preserving his legacy.”
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – delivered remarks on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives today in support of H.R. 26, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2017. The legislation will curb unnecessary major regulations by the federal bureaucracy by requiring congressional review and approval of each new regulation costing the economy more than $100 million. It is expected to be considered and passed by the House this evening.
Highlights of Rep. Kelly's remarks:
“All we are talking about is scrutiny—scrutiny of any executive order [or regulation] that comes out that is going to have an impact of $100 million or more on the economy. Now around here, $100 million sounds like nothing. Where I’m from, it is unbelievable that even $100 million should be the point that we look at. What could be more commonsense than to look at the heavy burden we’re putting on everyday Americans?”
“Why in the world would Congress cede its power to the Executive Branch and to unelected bureaucrats to determine what the American people are going to be burdened with?”
“I invite you to please go home to your districts, walk in those shops, walk in those little towns, talk to those people and find out the two things that really inhibit them from being successful are overtaxation and overregulation. We can handle both of those things right here in the People’s House.”
“Let’s talk about what’s good for the American people. That’s who sent us, that’s to whom the responsibility is that we burden—that we have on our shoulders. If we can’t do that, we ought to go home.”
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – issued the following statement today regarding the introduction of H.R. 173, the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2017, which will repeal the so-called ‘Cadillac Tax’ provision within the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The controversial provision would impose a 40 percent excise tax on all employer-provided health insurance plans valued at more than $10,200 for individual coverage and $27,500 for families. H.R. 173 is co-sponsored by Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT).
“As President Obama comes to Capitol Hill to try to save his failed health care law, I am proud to take one of the first steps in repealing and replacing this law in order to save the American people from its harmful consequences. The widespread pain of Obamacare’s higher costs and broken promises is already being felt by countless families and workers, yet with the law’s looming Cadillac Tax, in many ways the worst is yet to come.
“The Cadillac Tax is a major reason why the so-called Affordable Care Act will make health care even less affordable and accessible for so many households across America. Sensible health care policy should encourage employers to offer a full range of health plans to their associates, not punish them with an unfair tax for doing so. The sad result will be higher deductibles and fewer services for hardworking Americans. With most Pennsylvanians covered by employer-sponsored health insurance, this Obamacare tax will be a disaster felt especially close to home.
“As our next Vice President Mike Pence reminded me and my colleagues this morning, we have a duty to fulfill our promise to the millions of Americans who are awaiting and demanding relief from Obamacare. As the new Congress and incoming administration begin the process of achieving real health care reform that actually lowers costs and is patient-centered, both Republicans and Democrats agree that this onerous tax should be repealed immediately. Doing so would mark a promising and productive start to the new year.”
NOTE: The Cadillac Tax is currently scheduled to take effect in 2020. (Its original implementation under the Affordable Care Act was to begin in 2018; the bipartisan Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 delayed it for two years.) According to analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the tax will impact approximately 42 percent of American employers and their employees.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (PA-03) released the following report today, to be e-mailed to his constituents throughout the Third Congressional District of Pennsylvania, to serve as a year-end overview of his office’s legislative achievements and constituent relations throughout 2016.
As we embark on an exciting 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.
Much was decided about our country’s future over the last few months. Since the start of this year, my House colleagues and I have been planning for the 115th Congress and the new windows of opportunity that will be opened by the incoming administration. Many policies and reforms that were, until recently, unachievable are now not only possible, but are sitting at the top of our agenda and very likely to be realized.
Just last week, while Congress was out of session, my colleagues and I on the Ways and Means Committee went back to work in Washington to plan the first overhaul of our nation’s tax code in three decades and the responsible repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. Our goals for the new year are crystal clear: a fairer tax code, a stronger economy with new jobs, and long-awaited relief from Obamacare’s higher costs and broken promises. With the right principles guiding our work, you and your family can look forward to a future with lower, simpler taxes and more affordable and accessible health care insurance that is choice-filled and patient-centered.
Throughout every bit of planning for the future, I made sure to stay focused on my most important duties: representing Western Pennsylvania’s best interests, bringing your voice to Washington, and making sure the federal government is properly delivering you the services you depend upon. Each day I stepped foot inside the U.S. Capitol, I was guided by our shared values of hard work, common sense, and straight talk. As I begin my fourth term in Congress, my commitment to you and your family will remain unwavering.
With every new challenge that 2016 brought us, there also came many great successes. Week after week, my staff and I worked diligently on every issue to produce the best results for you and your neighbors. The following report is meant to provide you with an overview of the most important legislative business that we conducted on your behalf over the course of this year.
Meeting the Needs of Our Constituents All Year Round
Here is a summary of how our four offices directly assisted and communicated with our constituents throughout 2016. We…
Turning Solutions Into Law
Throughout this year, despite having a divided government, my congressional colleagues and I were able to successfully turn multiple good ideas into not just good bills, but good laws.
In July, the House passed major legislation to combat the ongoing nationwide opioid epidemic by an astounding bipartisan majority of 407-5. The bill – the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (S. 524) – tackles this crisis from every angle through specific, targeted solutions. It authorizes the Attorney General and Secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants to address addiction to heroin and prescription opioids, and make various other changes to federal law to combat opioid addiction and abuse. It was passed in the U.S. Senate by an overwhelming vote of 92-2 and then signed into law on July 22nd.
This legislation is strongly supported by such Pennsylvania-based organizations as the Bridge to Hope Family Support Group, the Center for Youth & Community Development, the Pennsylvania Recovery Organizations Alliance, National Family Dialogue, and more than 200 other public health groups in communities nationwide. Its enactment is a victory for bipartisanship, for cooperation, for Western Pennsylvania, and for countless of our fellow citizens. I invite you to read more about this new law here, here, and here.
Last month, the House passed the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 34) by a bipartisan vote of 392-26. The legislation is a medical innovation package to improve patient treatments by promoting advancements in technology, eliminating regulations that stifle competition, providing resources to combat the growing opioid epidemic, ensuring critical support for those struggling with mental health, and supporting cutting-edge research and the next generation of scientists. The package includes the Medicare Advantage Coverage Transparency Act of 2015 (H.R. 2505), which I introduced in May of last year and which was passed unanimously by the House last June. The bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide an annual report on the program's enrollment data to Congress.
The Cures Act is wide in its reach and dramatic in its impact yet squarely focused on a singular goal: helping American patients beat their diseases and become healthy again. Thanks to this historic package, the future of American health care and medical innovation is brighter than ever. Our moms and dads and sons and daughters who face illnesses, along with the family members who care for them, can take heart that their fight is receiving brand new life-changing and, we pray, life-saving support. President Obama signed this bill into law on December 13th.
I was particularly proud that this powerful legislation included my bill to make Medicare Advantage coverage more transparent for the benefit of our nation’s seniors. The bill will bring key Medicare enrollment details into public view and equip lawmakers with important information so that we may make better decisions on behalf of our elderly constituents. I was also very glad to see my friend Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA)’s transformational mental health reforms included in this package and applaud him for his tireless work in helping carry it past the finish line.
Earlier this month, the House passed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act (S. 612) by a bipartisan vote of 360-61. The legislation is a House-Senate compromise version of the previously passed Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016. Like that bill, the WIIN Act authorizes the key missions of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and addresses the needs of American harbors, locks, dams, flood protection, and other water infrastructure critical to the nation’s economic competitiveness. It accomplishes these tasks in a fiscally responsible way by establishing sunset dates for new authorizations as well as de-authorizing $10 billion in unnecessary projects, which will fully offset the same amount in new authorizations contained in the legislation.
The WIIN Act is a win for American workers and a win for the Great Lakes. In fact, the WIIN Act represents one of the most important pieces of Great Lakes legislation in generations. Among its vast benefits, the bill will ensure the maintenance of waterway infrastructure essential to the construction of the upcoming ethane cracker facility in Western Pennsylvania and the 6,000 jobs it’s expected to create. On December 15th, this bill became law.
Standing Up for Religious Liberty
At the beginning of this year, I joined with Representative Diane Black (R-TN), Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Senator James Lankford (R-OK) to submit a bipartisan amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, signed by 207 members of Congress, in support of each religious nonprofit and charity challenging Obamacare’s HHS mandate, including the Little Sisters of the Poor. The challenge was heard in the case of Zubik vs. Burwell.
The Little Sisters and six other religious non-profit organizations finally took their fight against Obamacare's unjust contraceptive mandate to the highest court in the land and argued, in essence, for the exact same exemption that the Obama administration has already given to non-religious organizations like Exxon Mobil and Visa.
Frankly, I found it disgraceful and unacceptable that the Little Sisters had to take time to come to their nation's capital to argue for their God-given constitutional rights against this administration. The contraceptive mandate was a hideous component of a disastrous law that puts government's power above people's rights. It puts this administration on the wrong side of our nation's long and cherished history of religious liberty and tolerance.
Thankfully, in May, the Supreme Court delivered good news to the Little Sisters.
According to the American Center for Law and Justice, “the Supreme Court unanimously ordered lower courts to help the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious organizations work out a compromise with the Obama administration. ... The high Court also made clear that because the government was aware of the objections made by the religious organizations from the outset of the litigation, no taxes or penalties may be applied against the organizations. In other words, the abortion-pill mandate is delayed until the parties have sufficient time to resolve any issues at the lower courts.”
The Court’s announcement is a win for these nuns and all those whom they so nobly serve. In the words of Sister Loraine Marie Maguire, Mother Provincial for the Little Sisters of the Poor: “All we have ever wanted to do is serve the neediest among us as if they were Christ himself. We look forward to serving the elderly poor for another 175 years to come.”
Protecting Presque Isle’s Beaches
In February, I joined Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) and Senators Bob Casey, Jr. (D-PA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) in sending a joint bipartisan letter to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (for Civil Works) to insist that Presque Isle State Park in Erie remains a high priority project in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) budget for fiscal year 2016.
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 USACE to always recognize the importance of maintaining this treasure and to provide the necessary replenishment that millions of families and tourists – and the jobs they support – depend upon.
Restoring Fiscal Responsibility
Last winter, I was very proud to co-sponsor the Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act (H.R. 3442), which passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 267-151. This commonsense 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.
For me, this is not a political battle—this is a fight for the future of our country. This is a fight for the sustainability of the greatest nation the world has ever known, and our ability to leave it in proper fiscal condition for our children and grandchildren.
Helping Western Pennsylvania Hospitals
Last month, I introduced the Fixing Medicare Hospital Payments Act of 2016 (H.R. 6399) with Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA). The legislation would create a Medicare wage index floor for hospitals in metropolitan areas with populations of two million or more, which would increase Medicare payments to hospitals in the Greater Pittsburgh area.
The current Medicare wage index is an unfair deal for Western Pennsylvania hospitals and their workers. Because the federal government currently assigns hospitals in our area a low wage index, employers throughout the region have to pick up the cost through increased insurance premiums for their employees. With this commonsense bill, a new wage index floor would be created, insurance premiums would decrease, hospital wages would increase, and Western Pennsylvania’s economy would become stronger. Those who provide life-saving care to our neighbors, friends, and loved ones deserve nothing less.
Stopping the War on Coal
The Obama administration’s regulatory war on coal has been 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 U.S. 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 Obama’s radical agenda will sadly be felt long after he leaves office.
This is why I joined 170 other members of the House and 34 U.S. Senators in February in submitting an amicus brief to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the plaintiffs in the case of State of West Virginia, et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency, et al. The brief supported petitions filed by 27 states seeking to overturn the EPA’s controversial regulatory plan.
Thirty-nine lawsuits seeking review of the Clean Power Plan were consolidated in the D.C. Circuit Court. The Plan was stayed by the Supreme Court in February, and the D.C. Circuit Court heard oral arguments in the consolidated cases in June. In all likelihood, the Circuit Court won’t decide this case until next year.
Defending Americans’ Retirement Security
As co-chairman of the House Retirement Security Caucus and a member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security, I was especially disturbed by the Department of Labor’s long-anticipated rule on fiduciary standards.
It seems to me that Washington bureaucrats think they know what’s best for American families when it comes to planning for retirement. I believe the Obama 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.
In anticipation of this rule, last November I joined Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) in introducing the Retirement Choice Protection Act of 2015 (H.R. 3922), which would provide the rule with a workable “best interest” standard, which will in turn ensure that families can continue to receive affordable investment guidance for a secure retirement while making it easier for small businesses to provide retirement benefits to their employees.
Providing Relief for Working Families
In May, right before Mother’s Day, I was very proud to work with Representative Linda Sánchez (D-CA) to introduce the Working Families Relief Act (H.R. 4867).
This legislation would increase the maximum amount that employees can set aside or employers can provide to the Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP), a flexible spending account which can be used to pay for childcare on a pre-tax basis. It would raise the cap from $5,000 to $10,500 and index it for inflation, and would also provide tax credits to employers who match the DCAP contributions in order to encourage them to offer this benefit.
Early education is critical for a child’s healthy development and for giving him or her a fair opportunity to succeed in life. Unfortunately, working families often struggle to cover costs for quality childcare in today’s economy, which can reach more than $10,000 a year. This bipartisan, bicameral bill will help parents overcome that difficulty by expanding and modernizing DCAP accounts, which currently help more than 1.3 million families pay for child and dependent care annually.
The companion piece to this pro-family, pro-common sense bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).
Rebuilding Our Nation’s Schools & Infrastructure
Over the summer, I had the opportunity to visit three different public schools in the City of Erie to evaluate the schools' ongoing infrastructure crisis. After the trip, I went back to Washington and introduced the Public Buildings Renewal Act (H.R. 5361, also known as “the Renewal Act”) to help resolve the situation. The bill would permit state and local governments to access private activity bonds (PABs) for the financing of critical construction and infrastructure projects for qualified public buildings such as schools, hospitals, court houses, universities, police stations, and prisons.
It is a matter of fact that our county’s public buildings are in a historic state of disrepair. This crisis cannot be solely addressed through traditional forms of public financing and project delivery options. Just like the qualified PABS authorized for transportation projects, private activity bond financing is needed for the nation’s public buildings.
In the transportation sector, PABs are used to attract private investment for projects that have some public benefit. PABs leverage private financing to fund public projects through the creation of public private partnerships (P3s). In turn, P3s advance transportation and infrastructure projects in an efficient way that creates jobs and saves taxpayer money by streamlining project delivery, design, and construction.
My bill would expand eligibility beyond just transportation projects so that state and local governments can have access to more streams of potential financing for critical construction and infrastructure projects. Similar to today’s P3s in the transportation sector, the Renewal Act would create $5 billion in PABs for eligible public buildings for states to access through the Treasury Department.
Preserving Internet Freedom
Since 2014, I have voiced serious objections to President Obama’s reckless plan to transfer the Internet’s critical functions to a multinational body like the United Nations. This year, after the administration began moving forward with its plan, I worked with my staff to take action.
Among my many concerns, I strongly believe that ensuring the sole, exclusive, and permanent American ownership of the .gov and .mil domains must be fully resolved before any transition in our stewardship over Internet functions can happen. By relying on a non-binding exchange of letters to keep existing policies in place, the Commerce Department is regrettably putting its trust in ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers)’s mere promise not to take any action adverse to our nation’s interests, without a legally enforceable contract that gives our government the right to hold ICANN to its promises.
As a small businessman, I can say that I may exchange letters with my wife, but I write contracts with my business partners. This is why, in June, I introduced the Securing America's Internet Domains (SAID) Act (H.R. 5329) which requires our government to certify that it has secured .gov and .mil through a contract. The SAID Act is crucial for our long-term cybersecurity and for preserving Internet freedom.
In September, as the Obama administration’s transfer of the Internet drew nearer, I introduced a resolution authorizing the Speaker of the House to sue the administration for unlawfully circumventing Congress with its plan, despite clear prohibitions against the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) using taxpayer funds to do so before 2017.
As the world’s sole superpower, we have a duty to preserve Internet freedom for Americans and for the world. As a governing body, Congress has a duty to uphold our Constitution’s separation of powers and to protect our own “power of the purse” as intended by our founders, as well as our sole power to dispose of federal property. My resolution would help achieve all of these objectives, and help prevent the Internet from falling under the influence of bad actors abroad who despise the free flow of information.
Keeping America Safe
As you know full well, the dangers to our homeland are growing, not shrinking, especially from radical terrorist organizations like the Islamic State (ISIS). Over the course of this year, I was proud to introduce, sponsor, and support many pieces of legislation to increase our national defense, strengthen our armed forces, and make sure our foreign policy is aimed at defeating our enemies and keeping Americans safe.
In June, my House colleagues and I unveiled a detailed plan to protect Americans that included more than 65 policy recommendations, including several specifically focused on defeating radical Islamists at home and abroad. It discusses the importance of countering extremist ideology by amplifying countervailing views from former radicals and the need to push back against the surge of online radicalization.
Also in June, I joined Representative Peter Roskam (R-IL) in introducing the No Ex-Im Financing for Iran Act (H.R. 5608), which will prohibit American taxpayer money from being used by our government's Export-Import Bank to directly or indirectly support the Islamic Republic of Iran or any company it owns. According to a senior research fellow in regulatory policy at the Heritage Foundation, “In its [nuclear] deal with Iran, the Obama administration has dramatically increased the risk of death and destruction by the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism. … Lawmakers must ensure that the Export-Import Bank doesn’t help Boeing and other U.S. companies become tools of Tehran.”
In September, the House passed the No More Cash Ransoms to Iran Act (H.R. 5931). Many of you called me about this important bill, and I'm glad to let you know that I strongly supported it.
On the day his flawed nuclear deal with Iran was implemented, President Obama announced that the United States and Iran had agreed to a prisoner exchange that would see Iran release several innocent American hostages in exchange for the United States granting clemency to and releasing seven Iranians serving sentences or awaiting trial for serious crimes, such as aiding Iran's illegal weapons programs.
In that same speech, the president announced that the United States would pay Iran $1.7 billion to settle a dispute over an aborted arms sale that had dragged on since the radicals that rule Iran seized power in 1979. The White House rejected concerns that this settlement amounted to a ransom for the release of the American hostages and refused to answer questions from Congress.
When news broke that the United States secretly paid Iran the first part of this settlement – $400 million in cash – just as the hostages were released, it became clear that the president had rejected the advice of his own Justice Department and ignored a longstanding U.S. policy not to release prisoners or pay ransom in exchange for the return of Americans held hostage abroad. Not surprisingly, Iran has since taken several more Americans hostage and continues to fund terrorist groups that threaten U.S. interests and destabilize the Middle East.
H.R. 5391 will officially affirm that the Obama administration violated longstanding U.S. policy by releasing prisoners and paying ransom; prohibit all cash payments to Iran; and require transparency on any future settlements with Iran in order to ensure they are not used to pay future ransoms.
In late September, history was made when both the House and the Senate overwhelmingly voted to override President Obama’s veto of S. 2040, the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which will allow the families of American victims of terrorist attacks to sue foreign states that aid and abet acts of terror that occur on U.S. soil.
Earlier this month, the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2017 (S. 2943), compromise legislation with the Senate which will fully fund our Armed Forces and ensure that American troops have the resources required to successfully defend the homeland and achieve their missions abroad. The bill included my annual amendment to prohibit funding for the Department of Defense (DoD) for the implementation of the dangerous U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
Additionally, here is a list of bills passed by the People's House over the last 12 months aimed at strengthening our counter-terrorism tools to help prevent homegrown and overseas terrorism:
Serving Those Who Served Us
In January, I hosted a special ceremony at my district office in Sharon at which I had the immense honor of awarding multiple medals of distinction, including the Bronze Star, to Chester “Chet” Burger of Hermitage for his military service in World War II. Mr. Burger is a U.S. Army veteran and a former prisoner of war.
In May, I introduced a bipartisan bill to designate the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care center in Center Township in Butler County as the “Abie Abraham VA Clinic.” Mr. Abraham – who passed away in 2012 – was a man who exemplified extraordinary valor and lifelong service to the United States, both abroad and at home. He fought valiantly in World War II, during which he was captured, endured the Bataan Death March, and, as a prisoner of war for three and a half years, was beaten, stabbed, and shot, and then survived malaria and starvation until he was eventually rescued by the 6th Rangers. My legislation to name the VA clinic after him (H.R. 5317) was approved by the House unanimously.
Also in May, the House passed H.R. 4974, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017, by a bipartisan vote of 295-129.
In October, I was privileged to help present the Ambassador of Peace Medal to 11 veterans of the Korean War in Meadville. The medal is a tribute from our allies in South Korea, given in endless appreciation for the heroic service of such great Americans in defense of freedom. The ceremony was co-hosted by the office of Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA).
Last month, the House unanimously passed five pieces of legislation to support American military veterans and reform the VA. I was very proud to see Congress take such strong and united action for our nation’s veterans. Each man and woman who serves our country in uniform deserves the fullest respect and appreciation from every single American. Lawmakers in particular have a sacred duty to defend those who defended us in the legislation we pass, whether it’s to protect their benefits, improve their health care, or help them find work on the homefront. These commonsense bills meet all these objectives and make sure the VA is supporting veterans with the utmost care and accountability.
Rolling Back Job-Killing Regulations
Over the past eight years, the Obama administration has issued more than 20,000 new regulations which have cost our economy more than $100 billion each year. This kind of radical red tape has indisputably harmed small businesses and killed jobs and wages for millions of hardworking American families.
Even after the results of the historic presidential election, President Obama has made it clear that he is determined to push through more rules and regulations until the last minute of his presidency. These kinds of regulations are commonly known as “Midnight Rules” and, frankly, presidents in both parties have made a historic habit of issuing them.
According to the House Judiciary Committee, Midnight Rules issued during this period are typically rushed through and not properly vetted by agencies. They impose high costs on taxpayers and ignore the will of voters who just elected a new Congress or president. As a small-businessman, I am personally familiar with how crippling these rules (issued when almost no one is paying attention) can be.
Last month my House colleagues and I passed the Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2016 (H.R. 5982) which will amend the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to allow Congress to disapprove (and therefore stop) entire sets of regulations submitted for review within 60 legislative days of the end of a presidential term. Under current law, Congress can only use the CRA to disapprove one regulation at a time. This commonsense bill can help prevent serious damage to our economy while also bringing an all-new level of transparency to the rule-making process.
Earlier this month, I called on President-elect Donald Trump to use his executive authority, once in office, to cancel, rescind, and undo those of President Obama's executive orders which have negatively affected American energy, gun rights, health care, immigration, religious liberty, small businesses, and the right to life. The result will be a stronger economy, rescued livelihoods, and reaffirmed rights. I believe such decisive leadership would herald a long-awaited new era in Washington and, ultimately, a brighter future for our entire country.
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As I’ve wholeheartedly said so many times, representing you and your neighbors in the People’s House has been the honor of my lifetime. Any time my staff in Pennsylvania or 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 in 2017 and working with President-elect Trump and his administration to make our country greater, stronger, and more prosperous for every American. Thank you again for the opportunity to serve you.
Have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
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-03) released the enclosed video today as his annual Christmas greeting to the constituents of the Third Congressional District of Pennsylvania.
The full video message can be viewed via YouTube here.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – issued the following statement today regarding the conclusion of a two-day policy planning retreat hosted this week by the committee’s Republican members at the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
“This week, while Congress was out of session, my Republican colleagues and I on the Ways and Means Committee went back to work in our nation’s capital to plan the first overhaul of our nation’s tax code in three decades and the responsible repeal and replacement of Obamacare. Our goals are crystal clear: a fairer tax code, a stronger economy, and long-awaited relief from Obamacare’s higher costs and broken promises. With the right principles guiding our work, the American people can look forward to a future with lower, simpler taxes and more affordable and accessible health care insurance that is choice-filled and patient-centered. As we look ahead to the new year, we are committed to working with President-elect Trump to fulfill our promises and govern with the mandate given to us by the American people.”
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.
Retweeted by MikeKellyPA