WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX), Chairman of the House Committee on Rules, and U.S. Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) introduced bipartisan legislation to address one of the most troubled sectors of the American pension system:
"Job creators and employees across the country are being forced to the edge of the cliff as the threat of insolvency of their pension plans looms. This legislation is a common sense solution that provides sponsors of multi-employer pension plans the flexibility they need to provide incentives to retain their currently contributing employers as well as protects newly contributing employers. While this bill does not solve all predictable pension problems, it does remedy one specific type by forcing the government to approve or deny proposals in a reasonable time frame to keep these plans solvent and ensure hard working Americans have access to the benefits that they were promised," said Congressman Sessions.
"If we make promises to workers, we must keep them. The pension system needs much work in order to keep those promises, and this bill makes incremental changes necessary to reach that goal. Employers and employees need assurances that pensions systems can meet the needs and allow for adjustments as the economic landscape shifts. Whether you are a retired or active employee, a business owner or corporate CEO, this bipartisan fix creates those assurances," said Congressman Pascrell.
H.R. 2117, the Multi-Employer Pension Plan Partnership Act of 2017, allows employers, unions, and multiemployer pension plans to work together to allow the sponsors of multi-employer pension plans the flexibility to provide incentives to retain their currently contributing employers and protections for newly contributing employers, so these plans can maintain or even improve their source of funding. These bipartisan policy changes will empower plans to extend their lives and more importantly continue to provide the pension benefits promised to their participants and beneficiaries, at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Congressman Pete Session (R-TX), Chairman of the Committee on Rules, released the following statement upon passage of a short term measure to fund the government through May 5, 2017:
"Today's measure shows the American people that we are making a good faith effort to keep our government open. While this is not ideal, I support this effort to provide our colleagues with more time to reach a final agreement on legislation to fund the government through the fiscal year. I applaud the hard work of Chairman Frelinghuysen, Ranking Member Lowey, and the members of their Committee and thank them for their commitment to effectively and efficiently funding our government."
To learn more about H.J. Res. 99, Making further continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2017, and for other purposes, click here.
DALLAS, TX – U.S. Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX) congratulated the winners of the 2017 Congressional High School Art Competition during an awards ceremony at The Art Institute of Dallas on Monday.
The Congressional High School Art Competition is an annual, nationwide art competition initiated by Members of Congress in their respective districts. The competition for the 32nd Congressional District of Texas, organized by Congressman Sessions, is open to all high school students in the district. This annual competition provides an opportunity for local students to showcase their individual talents and receive national recognition.
Uriel Lopez, a senior at John Leslie Patton Academic Center, was awarded the Grand Prize for his pencil work entitled “Preserving Patriot’s Dream.” His artwork will be showcased in the corridor leading to the U.S. Capitol building for the next year. As the Grand Prize recipient, Uriel will join the national winners in Washington, DC for the Congressional High School Art Competition award ceremony in June.
Congressman Pete Sessions with Grand Prize winner Uriel Lopez
“Uriel’s depiction of the famous image of our men and women raising the flag in Iwo Jima beautifully captures our nation’s spirit of patriotism,” said Sessions. “His piece is nothing short of exceptional and I am delighted that visitors from across the country and other Congressional members will be able to see this moving piece each and every day in the United States Capitol building.”
This year’s competition included 11 entries from students representing five local schools and was once again sponsored by The Art Institute of Dallas. Prior to the awards ceremony, the Grand Prize winner and Runners Up honors were chosen by art instructors from The Art Institute. The People’s Choice Award winner was chosen by Congressman Sessions’ constituents through online voting on his website.
Runners Up honors were presented to Raven Breaux, a junior at Lakeview Centennial High School, for her color pencil work entitled “Purity of Justice” and to Kimari Hodges, a senior at Lakeview Centennial High School for her watercolor painting “America in Blue.” The People’s Choice Award was presented to Javier Castillo, a sophomore at Garland High School, for his acrylic painting entitled “American Light.” The two Runners Up and the People’s Choice Award artworks will be displayed in Sessions’ Dallas District Office for the next year.
“The award-winning art produced by Uriel, Raven, Kimari, and Javier showcased their outstanding talent, and I am very proud of their work,” said Sessions. “All of the pieces submitted from students in this year’s competition highlight their dedication, creativity and passion. I wish them the very best as they continue their education and further develop their artistic abilities.”
Students and schools interested in participating in next year’s Congressional Art Competition may contact Rachel Wong in Congressman Sessions’ Dallas District office at 972.392.0505 for more information.
Photos of other winning artists below.
Congressman Pete Sessions with Runner Up winner Raven Breaux
Congressman Pete Sessions with Runner Up winner Kimari Hodges
Congressman Pete Sessions with People’s Choice winner Javier Castillo
It is always an honor to meet with North Texans across the district to learn how I can help them with issues they are facing personally or issues that are impacting all of us on the national stage. During this District Work Period I had the opportunity to attend the opening of thenew hospice center in North Dallas, discuss tax reform and other issues at the Airlines for America conference, discuss veterans issues with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America, and more. It was a busy week at home so please read the rest of the newsletter to learn more about thehighlights from these meetings.
T. Boone Pickens Hospice Grand Opening
On Tuesday I had the pleasure of speaking at the grand opening of thefirst independent and residential hospice care center in Dallas, the T. Boone Pickens Hospice and Palliative Care Center. Thanks to theleading support of my dear friend, T. Boone Pickens, this facility will provide around the clock care to our senior citizens, give our loved ones a comfortable, accessible place to live, and lastly, provide an unparalleled facility and resource for our medical professionals and families to have on site educational experiences. I am proud to have this amazing care center in the32nd District of Texas.
|Congressman Sessions speaking at the grand opening of the T. Boone Pickens Hospice Center in Dallas|
Texas Trees Foundation
On Tuesday I was delighted to meet with leadership of the Texas Trees Foundation. For 35 years, theFoundation has endeavored to preserve, beautify, and expand parks and other public natural green spaces, as well as educating our community on the importance of building and protecting the urban forest today as a legacy for those who come after us. As one of the fastest growing areas in thecountry, it is imperative that our city planners understand the impact of the urban heat island effect and I applaud the work the Texas Trees Foundation is doing in conjunction with stakeholders throughout the region to mitigate this effect and improve the livability of Dallas.
|Congressman Sessions with Bobby Lyle, Dan Patterson, and Janette Monear the Executive Director of the Texas Trees Foundation|
Turtle Creek Breakfast
On Wednesday I was thrilled to join my friends in the Turtle Creek Breakfast Club yet again for a morning of coffee and camaraderie. As Republican Members of Congress, we have set high goals for what we would like to achieve for the American people, and I understand how important it is to have a consistent dialogue with those we represent about what we are working on and why. I am grateful for the opportunity to have a conversation with these leaders in the Dallas community and hear their concerns and look forward to continuing to engage with constituents across the 32nd District of Texas.
Airlines for America’s Airport Affairs Conference
The Airlines of America's Airport Affairs Conference in Dallas graciously hosted me on Wednesday for a discussion with young professionals in our well respected airlines service business. These professionals understand the day to day processes that affect members of our community as well asthe overall need for a strong and organized infrastructure. I will continue to work with this organization to better serve the Dallas community and enable our interconnected world.
|Congressman Sessions talking at the Airlines for America's Affairs Conference in Dallas|
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America
Thursday afternoon I was honored to spend time with members of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. As one of the leading and fastest growing Veteran Empowerment Organizations in thecountry, IAVA plays a crucial role in supporting our fighting men and women as they return home. Their support for our veterans ranges from transition assistance to employment and educational support to advocacy for policies that help make it easier for our veterans to smoothly return to civilian life, and I appreciate them coming to speak with me about their legislative priorities. These men and women have earned our respect and support, and I am proud to continue to stand up for them in Congress.
|Congressman Sessions and his Deputy District Director Travis Reynolds meeting with members of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America|
DALLAS, TX – U.S. Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX), Chairman of the House Committee on Rules, released the following statement in response to President Trump’s strategic decision to hold President Bashar Al-Assad accountable for the use of chemical weapons that led to the death of dozens of civilians in Syria:
“Yesterday the President made it clear that we will not stand idly by while Bashar al-Assad barbarically uses chemical weapons to take the lives of innocent men, women, and children. President Trump’s decision to launch a targeted airstrike on the airfield where Assad launched the deadly chemical attack on Monday shows a strength and responsibility that we have not seen in eight years. While the complexity of the situation in Syria grows daily, I believe this is a solid first step and I look forward to working with the President and my colleagues in Congress to hold the Assad regime accountable for its heinous actions.”
WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX), Chairman of the House Committee on Rules, released the following statement in support of a measure to amend the Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 701 to increase the threshold amount for requiring issuers to provide certain disclosures relating to compensatory benefit plans from $5 million to $10 million and indexes the amount for inflation every five years:
"As a part of our pro-growth agenda, House Republicans have taken active measures to get people back to work and encourage free market based solutions that stimulate budding industries. Recently my hometown of Dallas was named one of the top 25 cities for tech innovation. In 2016, Texas’ technology industry added more than 11,000 new jobs and employed an estimated 593,000 workers. While this industry has been booming, the laws on the books are hindering their ability to prosper. Currently, these small businesses face immense challenges raising capital since traditional lenders have greatly reduced their lending programs for small business. That is why I proudly supported today’s measure to eliminate obstacles that have hampered the ability of employers to attract and retain employees. There is so much talent and opportunity in this budding marketplace and this bill allows us to harness this opportunity and encourage businesses to grow and thrive."
To learn more about H.R. 1343, Encouraging Employee Ownership Act of 2017, click here.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX), Chairman of the House Committee on Rules, along with Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Chris Smith (R-NJ), and Jim Langevin (D-RI) today introduced a package of bills to enhance the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014. The package includes the ABLE to Work Act, the ABLE Financial Planning Act, and the ABLE Age Adjustment Act.
“As the proud father of the Down syndrome young man I worked tirelessly with my colleagues to get this critical piece of legislation signed into law,” said Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX). “While this law was a monumental step for individuals with disabilities, today’s package will strengthen the existing law to ensure individuals with disabilities, like my son, Alex, have the opportunities they need to break through the glass ceiling and achieve a bigger, brighter future.”
“A job is so much more than a paycheck. It’s what gives you purpose and dignity. It’s the opportunity for a better life, and that’s what we’re doing with ABLE 2.0, specifically the ABLE to Work Act,” said McMorris Rodgers, the bill’s lead. “Too often, people with disabilities live in poverty because the current system forces them to make a choice between disability benefits and work. This legislation empowers people with disabilities to save the money they earn from work while remaining eligible for the critical disability safety net. At the end of the day, this is about empowering people with disabilities, like my son Cole, to live their fullest, independent life.”
“ABLE accounts already help thousands of Americans with disabilities live a fuller life,” said Congressman Tony Cárdenas (D-CA). “This legislation builds on that progress and eases the financial burden that many of these families face. ABLE 2.0 expands opportunities for families to save for the future and support their children’s dreams. I’m proud to help introduce this bipartisan legislation.”
“As the founder and co-chair of the Coalition for Autism Research and Education, I understand the financial demands of raising a child with support needs,” said Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ). “Education, housing, transportation, employment support, medical care and other life expenses can quickly add up for persons with disabilities. I urge quick passage of this legislation.”
“The ABLE Act has promoted greater financial independence by protecting people with disabilities from losing the very services and supports they rely on to live productive and fulfilling lives in their communities,” said Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing these bills to strengthen the current law and enable people with disabilities to find employment, save their hard-earned money, and achieve higher levels of financial empowerment.”
NOTE: The ABLE 2.0 package includes three bills. The ABLE to Work Act allows individuals and families to save more money — up to the federal poverty level — in their accounts if the beneficiary works and earns income. The ABLE Financial Planning Act allows families to roll over savings in a 529 college savings plan into an ABLE account and prevents these funds from being trapped or fined if a child is born with a disability or acquires one later in life. The ABLE Age Adjustment Act raises the age limit for ABLE accounts from 26 to 46, helping people whose disability or disease develops later in life.
In the past two weeks I have heard from more than 3,000 constituents about the direction of our country. As a country we have to decide if we want to keep the status quo, or if we want to work together to move our country forward and create a better life for all Americans. With this united government we have an historic opportunity to make a difference. We have an opportunity to reform and fix our broken health care system, reinvigorate our economy, and create more jobs for hard working Americans. I believe that we can achieve these goals and I stand firm in my resolve to do just that.
Meetings With Texans
Texas Cattle Feeders
I was delighted to meet with the Chairman and other members of the Texas Cattle Feeders to discuss the important role that agriculture plays in our vibrant state economy. These dedicated Texans are hard at work across our state to create jobs and preserve family farms and ranches. Unfortunately, their very existence is being threatened through no fault of their own. One-size-fits-all regulations from the USDA and EPA fail to recognize the unique nature of family farms and ranches and as a result, are crushing them with regulations that aren’t designed to achieve any benefit and come at an astonishing high cost.
National Lumber and Building Materials Dealers Association
I always look forward to the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Walter Foxworth from the Foxworth-Galbraith Lumber Company and discuss the challenges and opportunities facing our domestic lumber industry. There is important work to be done to strengthen small businesses and protect the many multi-generational family-owned businesses in the industry. We discussed the need to renew the U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement and do so in a way that reflects the impact that price fluctuations have on our US lumber industry and also the industries that rely on softwood lumber to grow our economy. We also discussed our shared support for The Regulatory Accountability Act and the Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act. Both these pieces of legislation, if signed into law, would reduce the $12,000 per employee annual cost imposed on small businesses by excessive regulations.
NTCA The Rural Broadband Association
I was pleased to meet with fellow Texans who visited Washington DC to advocate for changes to federal policies impacting small rural telecommunications providers. I support the work that Governor Abbott is doing in Texas to expand broadband access to all Texas students by 2018, and believe our federal regulations should promote innovation and investment in our telecommunications infrastructure. Connectivity drives the engine of our state and has a far-reaching impact including K-12 education, telemedicine, workforce development, and small business growth.
National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals
This week I met with representatives from the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, including Diana from Mesquite. She provided me with a copy of the 2016 State of Hispanic Homeownership Report that details the incredible growth in Hispanic homeownership rates and the important role that sustainable homeownership plays in stabilizing our economy and promoting strong families and strong communities. I’m proud of the work Diana is doing in Mesquite and appreciate her advocacy.
National Restaurant Association
North Texas members of the National Restaurant Association, including Nikky Phinywanta, Creator and CEO of Asian Mint Restaurant, sat down with me in my Washington office this week to discuss a number of issues important to their ability to create jobs and growth our Dallas economy. I was particularly touched by the impact Nikky is having through not only the jobs she is creating, but for her work investing and mentoring youth in our community.
Congressional Art Competition
Each year I am always delighted to host the Congressional Art Competition in the 32nd Congressional District. This competition invites North Texas high school students to submit a piece of artwork that best reflects their idea of “America the Beautiful” and have their piece displayed in the United States Capitol. I am always deeply impressed with the skills and creativity in the pieces submitted each year and look forward to seeing this year’s talent. If you would like to participate in this year’s competition, click here.
Service Academy Forum
On Saturday April 29, 2017, a representative from my office will be joining my North Texas colleagues in hosting a Service Academy forum. This event provides interested students and their parents with the opportunity to learn more about our nation’s exceptional Service Academies and the important role they have in shaping the future leaders of our community, state, and nation.
Date: Saturday, April 29, 2017
Time: 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
Registration Begins at 7:30 a.m.
Download the event flyer here.
Location: Mansfield ISD Center for the Performing Arts
1110 W. Debbie Lane
Mansfield, Texas 76063
2233 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
A conservative community leader, United States Congressman Pete Sessions has combined hard work, innovative thinking, and common-sense principles to successfully represent the 32nd Congressional District of Texas.
Congressman Sessions was born on March 22, 1955 and grew up in Waco, Texas. He graduated from Churchill High School in San Antonio and went on to graduate from Southwestern University in 1978, where he now serves on the Board of Trustees. He worked for then-Southwestern Bell Telephone Company for 16 years, retiring as District Manager for Marketing in Dallas. As a businessman, he served as Chairman of the Northeast Dallas Chamber of Commerce.
Thanks to this private sector experience, Congressman Sessions understands the need to fight bureaucracy and to utilize market-driven solutions to effectively solve problems in our communities and in government.
In 1996, the people of Dallas and the 5th Congressional District sent Congressman Sessions to Washington, DC to represent them in the United States House of Representatives. In 2002, Congressman Sessions began representing the 32nd Congressional District, created from redistricting. In 2012, the people of the 32nd Congressional District called him back to Congress for his ninth term.
Congressman Sessions is a stalwart defender of U.S. homeland and national security interests, as well as the men and women who defend them. As the parent of a child with Down syndrome, he is a passionate advocate for people with disabilities. Congressman Sessions also believes that taxpayers deserve results from their government, and he has pursued common-sense, market-based reforms to help government operate more efficiently.
Congressman Sessions pursues his goals on these and other issues through his work on various Congressional committees and caucuses. He serves as the Chairman of the powerful House Committee on Rules, which is best known for its role as the legislative gatekeeper. In 2008 and 2010, he was elected by the House Republican Conference as Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Congressman Sessions is an Eagle Scout and a former Scout Master for 13 Eagle Scouts. He is a recipient of the National Distinguished Eagle Scout Award and is a member of both the National Eagle Scout Association’s national committee and the Executive Board of the Circle Ten Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
Congressman Sessions is married to Karen Sessions. He is the proud father of two sons, Bill and Alex, and three stepsons, Conor, Liam and Nicholas. Congressman Sessions resides in Dallas, Texas and continues to be active in his community where he is an Adopt-A-Shoreline Team Leader in the effort to maintain White Rock Lake in Dallas and an Advisor to the President of Special Olympics Texas.