Bill returns flyovers to the flight pattern; no additional cost to the taxpayer
Washington D.C. – U.S. Representative Sean Duffy (WI-07), introduced the “Sound of Freedom Act” this morning. This bill would cut the red tape and give National Guard commanders on the ground, not a bureaucrat in Washington D.C., the ability to approve military flyovers, which have no additional cost to the American taxpayer, into existing training missions and help pilots practice for real-life scenarios in which timing and precision are critical. In a video message released to his facebook and email subscribers during Sunday’s Super bowl, Rep. Duffy said:
“One of the coolest parts of going to a football game – other than the game – is to see those jets approaching the stadium and hear tens of thousands of fans erupt into cheers. These flyovers are a great symbol of our country’s military strength and give fans, and the entire country, an opportunity to show our extreme gratitude to the men and women who have raised their hands to serve and protect our freedom. However, I have noticed that the flyovers have become less frequent and I wanted to figure out why.
“They are being held-up by bureaucratic red tape: simply put, it’s really hard to get a flyover approved. The ‘Sound of Freedom Act’ allows the National Guard commanders on the ground – not in an office in Washington D.C. - to approve flight plans that would include flyovers at sporting events. There is no additional cost to the taxpayer, as they would be in conjunction with previously planned training flights.
“This would be a big win in the constant battle against big government bureaucracy and would also be a win for American patriotism and those of us who look for any opportunity to show our support for the men and women who serve this great nation.”
Click on the image below to watch his video message, or click here.
Read the full text of the Sound of Freedom Act here:
More than 2,000 miles from my home in Wausau, Wis., three and a half million Americans reside on the island of Puerto Rico. They are looking to their northern neighbors for help.
Years of financial and economic mismanagement coupled with a global recession from which Puerto Rico has never really recovered has left the island $73 billion in debt — more than 100 percent of its gross national product. At more than 12 percent, the island's unemployment rate is double the average of the 50 states.
Almost half of the island's population is living in poverty, and nearly one in 10 of its residents has packed his bags in search of economic opportunities on the mainland. Central Florida alone welcomes nearly 1,000 Puerto Rican families each month.
All of us should welcome Puerto Ricans, who desire to come to the mainland to provide a better life for their families, but it should not be because of a lack of opportunities in Puerto Rico. In my own community, I've seen too many children leave their hometowns in search of job opportunities in the bigger cities. From Puerto Rico to Wisconsin, Americans shouldn't have to choose between their families and economic opportunity.
The Obama administration and Democrats in Congress have proposed throwing billions of taxpayer dollars at Puerto Rico's crisis as a symbolic and costly gesture of concern. However, a TARP-like bailout will not address the root causes of the problem or provide a sustainable long-term path to recovery for the millions of Americans in Puerto Rico.
U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, a Republican, represents Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District. He is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight & Government Reform.
Instead, Congress should give Puerto Rico the tools it needs to restructure a meaningful portion of its debt and improve the way San Juan manages its budgets, tax collection and finances.
Like the ancient Chinese proverb says, "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime." My legislation, the Puerto Rico Financial Stability and Debt Management Choice Act, does that by empowering the island with a choice.
The bill would allow Puerto Rico's democratically elected leaders to choose the same Chapter 9 debt-restructuring authority that states like Wisconsin and Florida have (and Puerto Rico had until the 1980s). This is if — and only if — it accepts a federally appointed Financial Stability Council comprised of Puerto Ricans with knowledge and expertise in finance and management to temporarily oversee the Puerto Rican government's budgeting, financial planning and tax collection.
This approach treats the people on the island fairly without spending one taxpayer dime on a costly bailout. It also avoids a chaotic and disorderly legal battle between investors and bond issuers. It has garnered considerable support from top officials in Puerto Rico's government and countless comments of support from people who currently live, or once lived, on the island. It is in the best interests of all Americans to support this approach as well.
Failure to respond to the very real crisis on the island would not only be an abdication of leadership; it would also have a devastating effect on the people of Puerto Rico and countless Americans throughout the states who stand to lose billions in the bond markets.
If today's debt crisis is ignored, the problem could quickly turn into a humanitarian calamity. Puerto Rico already defaulted on a small portion of its debt in December; we have a moral and financial obligation to work together to prevent a larger default from happening in the future. We must also acknowledge the root causes of this economic crisis in Puerto Rico and improve fiscal oversight to ensure this never happens again.
For too long, Puerto Rico has been treated differently than the 50 states. While this has not caused the current crisis, it is making it harder to get out of it. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Republicans in Congress are committed to working with Puerto Rico over the next few months to help the island get past this rough stage and unshackle itself from its cycle of poverty, mismanagement and stagnation.
As fellow Americans, we have a duty to support our neighbors and empower Puerto Rico with the choice to grow its future: a strong Puerto Rican economy means a stronger, more competitive, American economy.
Milwaukee, WI — U.S. Representative Sean Duffy (WI-07) met with Mexico’s Undersecretary for North America, Carlos Perez-Verdia, in Milwaukee today to discuss the impending plan to open a Mexican consulate in our state. For more than a year, Rep. Duffy and Sen. Ron Johnson have led the charge to bring a consulate to Milwaukee. The two lawmakers shared statements of strong support after today’s meeting:
Rep. Duffy offered: “This day has been a long time in the making. I thank Senator Johnson, and everyone involved, for recognizing this great opportunity and working together to make it happen. The consulate will serve as a resource and a liaison, not just for the Mexican-American community in our state, but also for a wide range of Wisconsin businesses. Mexico is Wisconsin’s second largest export market and America’s third largest trading partner with more than a billion dollars of trade across our shared border each day. From 2013-2014, Wisconsin exports to Mexico increased by more than 12% and on average, 40% of the products we import from Mexico contain materials made in the U.S.A. We share many common Western values with Mexico. We have a natural incentive to bolster trade with our southern neighbor and focus more of our attention on building these type of relationships versus working with those who don’t share our values or play by the same set of rules.
"I’m grateful to the undersecretary for taking the time to visit our beautiful state and I look forward to building on our friendship and mutual trade cooperation."
Sen. Johnson praised the effort as well adding: “I am pleased to see that this consulate in Milwaukee will open soon. It will mean more convenience for Wisconsinites who have business with the government of Mexico and will be a tremendous help to the Mexican community of Wisconsin. It will also help Wisconsin businesses better engage in trade. That means Wisconsin farms and manufacturers will have better access to customers abroad for the world-class output of our great state. Facilitating business for individuals and companies will make for a more robust economy, enhancing the economic security of America. It’s been a privilege to play a part in this.”
Formally request drug cartel leader’s extradition to United States
Rep. Duffy delivers extradition request letter to Undersecretary for North America, Carlos Pérez Verdía, during a meeting in Wisconsin on Thursday.
Washington D.C. – U.S. Representative Sean Duffy (WI-07), House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul and House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce made a formal request to the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, to extradite notorious drug cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán to the United States.
Congressman Duffy, who is also the Vice-Chair of the U.S. – Mexico Interparliamentary Group, hand-delivered the letter to Mexico’s Undersecretary for North America, Carlos Pérez Verdía, during a meeting in Wisconsin today. In the letter, the three lawmakers congratulate the President on the joint Mexico-U.S. effort to re-apprehend Guzman, but cited his 2015 escape from Mexican prison among the chief reasons for his extradition to the United States. They write, in part:
“We value close security and law enforcement cooperation between our two countries and are committed to working with you and your government to ensure that criminals violating laws across our shared border are dealt with swiftly and appropriately. Once again, we commend you on re-capturing Guzman, and look forward to continuing to work with you and others in the Mexican Government to bring him to the United States for trial.”
Read the lawmakers full letter to President Peña Nieto here:Read More
Washington D.C. – U.S. Representative Sean Duffy (WI-07) again sought answers from the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert McDonald regarding the latest allegations of Veteran abuse at the Tomah VA medical facility.
In a letter delivered to the Secretary on Friday, he notes the latest incident of alleged Veteran abuse when a Tomah employee was arrested for sexual assault against a female patient. In addition to questions about this specific incident, Rep. Duffy urged the Secretary to use his authority to ensure that victims of sexual crimes at VA facilities be given the choice to seek treatment elsewhere in their community; be it at a VA or private facility.
Read Rep. Duffy’s full letter to Sec. McDonald, here:
This letter comes on the heels of Rep. Duffy’s second follow-up letter to Deputy Inspector General Lina Halliday in which he inquired about KARE 11 TV’s investigation which found that Tomah, and other VA facilities, have allowed Veterans to be seen by improperly credentialed physicians. Read that letter, here:
“This bill empowers the Government of Puerto Rico with the choice to partner with the Federal Government and put the island on a path towards balanced budgets and a return to fiscal security. If Congress does not act, it would have a devastating effect on the people of Puerto Rico and countless Americans throughout the states who stand to lose billions in the bond markets.
He continued, “This is a multi-pronged approach and a long-term solution. It cannot happen without adoption of legislation by the Puerto Rico Legislative Assembly which must be signed by the Governor. We know bailouts do not change spending habits. We need all sides to be fully committed to changing the way Puerto Rico manages its budgets, tax collection and finances.”
Puerto Rico’s Choice
Respecting the democratic process and the political leadership elected by the people of Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rico Financial Stability and Debt Restructuring Choice Act gives the island’s leadership a choice: through the adoption of legislation passed by the Assembly and signed by the Governor, the Government of Puerto Rico will have access the same chapter 9 bankruptcy process that America’s States do if it also agrees to an independent Financial Stability Council to oversee the island’s path toward balanced budgets and a return to financial stability.
Prior to the 1980s, Puerto Rico was treated like a state for the purposes of allowing its municipalities and political subdivisions to access the bankruptcy courts. After a rewrite of the bankruptcy code, Puerto Rico lost access to chapter 9. The Puerto Rico Financial Stability and Debt Restructuring Choice Act will restore Puerto Rico’s access to an orderly debt restructuring process, without which the result would be disorderly litigation which is neither good for the island or its bondholders.
Puerto Rico Financial Stability Council
In order to restore investor confidence and improve tax collection and budgeting practices, the Government of Puerto Rico may choose to accept the establishment of a 5-member Financial Stability Council with the authority to oversee the island’s financial planning and annual budgets. Unlike the D.C. Control Board of the 1990s, this Council will not be imposed on Puerto Rico – the island’s elected leaders in San Juan must agree to accept the Council. The Council’s duration will also be limited and it will not have the blanket authority to impose changes to Puerto Rico’s government. Rather, the Financial Stability Council will focus on just that: restoring financial stability to Puerto Rico.
Read the full text of Rep. Duffy's bill here.
Holiday hits are taking over radio stations, homes are being adorned with lights, the smell of fresh cuts Christmas trees are igniting our senses and as boys and girls around the world complete their lists for Santa, Congress is checking items off its year-end to-do list as well.
Energy Independence: One such item was the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act which passed the House of Representatives by a bipartisan vote of 249 to 174 this past week. This bill seeks to harmonize energy security planning in North America and maximize our ability to utilize our country’s resources. Included in that bill is my amendment to hold the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the same standard that it holds American businesses.
During debate on the bill, I offered: “Let the American people see the impact of the rules that are being proposed. Just like in every other government agency. The E.P.A. shouldn't get special treatment. Transparency, good government, and involving the American people in the process is what this amendment is about.”
Click on the image to watch my full remarks, or click here.
Move that Bus… the omnibus that is. In the coming week, you may hear about something policy folks like to call the “omnibus”. This is an end-of-year piece of legislation that wraps together the remaining Appropriations bills that have been debated, but Congress has yet to hold a vote. While legislation that is this large in nature is never my preference, an “omnibus” at least gives businesses the ability to plan for an entire year, as opposed to having to bow to the whim of short-term spending bills (Continuing Resolutions). Of course, I will stand by my pledge to you to read the bill before voting on it to ensure that it falls in line with the needs of the 7th District. Keep an eye on my facebook and this weekly newsletter for more updates on that.
Untimely, but necessary, business: This week’s terrorist attack in San Bernardino and last month’s terrorist attacks in Paris have ignited a conversation in Congress and across the country about our refugee procedures and current visa-waiver program. This is a broad issue that will require a multi-pronged approach. In the absence of leadership from the White House, Congress has resolved to take the lead. This week the House will begin consideration of a visa-waiver reform bill that will put necessary safeguards in place that will go a long way towards ensuring that terrorists cannot continue to take advantage of our outdated system. I spoke with Fox Business anchor Trish Regan about this first phase. Click on the image to watch my conversation with her:
In other news: Is there an app for that? If not, now's your chance! All 7th District high schoolers, this is your invitation to show-off your STEM skills and take part in the Congressional App challenge. Click on the image for full contest details. Good luck!
I will continue to keep you informed as Congress moves ahead with all of the legislation I mentioned above; in addition to these, please keep me up-to-date on the burning issues on the home front. Until next week…
Have a great week,
Washington D.C. – U.S. Representative Sean Duffy (WI-07) made the following statement in response to the President’s address to the nation:
The President proved yet again how tragically out of touch he is tonight. Days after the FBI, the media and the American public recognized San Bernardino as the second deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9-11, the President calls for a late night Oval Office address to finally admit that he has come to terms with the fact that this was not another case of "work place violence". He also took the opportunity tonight to finally call the 2009 Fort Hood shootings terrorism. Again, this is not breaking news for the victims, their families and the American people.
Nonetheless, the nation hoped the events in Paris and San Bernardino would finally compel the President to present a comprehensive plan to defeat ISIS and its evil ideology. Instead, President Obama is using the tragedy to push his left-wing agenda to restrict 2nd Amendment rights. Never mind that California has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country and that the gun control measures he is proposing would have done nothing to prevent the massacre in San Bernardino.
The President offered nothing new to combat terrorism. Even the plan he outlined to reform the visa waiver program has already been developed by Congress and will be voted on this week.
The president's lack of seriousness when it comes to our national security is the reason why during his tenure, the world has gotten more - not less - dangerous. It's time for a Commander-in-Chief who is ready to confront and defeat our enemies wherever they hide.
Washington D.C. – U.S. Representative Sean Duffy’s (WI-07) amendment to hold the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the same standard that it holds American businesses was included in the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act which passed the House of Representatives by a bipartisan vote of 249 to 174 on Thursday.
During debate on the bill, Rep. Duffy offered: “Let the American people see the impact of the rules that are being proposed. Just like in every other government agency. The E.P.A. shouldn't get special treatment. Transparency, good government, and involving the American people in the process is what this amendment is about.”
To watch Rep. Duffy’s full remarks, click on the image below or here.
The North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act harmonizes energy security planning in North America and maximizes our ability to utilize our country’s resources; find quick facts on the bill here.
“Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” An iconic question Ronald Reagan posed to the American people in 1980. Are you safer now than you were four years ago…or even one week ago? A fair question that all Americans should be asking ourselves right now.
While Russia’s neo-Czar Vladimir Putin and France’s socialist President Francois Hollande take-up the fight abroad, President Obama is waging a full scale PR battle to increase the number of Syrian refugees allowed into the U.S. However, as we saw after the Paris attack - where at least one terrorist infiltrated Europe posing as a refugee - as much as he might like to make us believe that all of the people yearning for our shores have honest intentions, the threat against us is very real.
Our first priority must be the safety of Americans. If that cannot be guaranteed, then we cannot allow a mass influx of refugees into our country.
We now average one ISIS related arrest per week in this country, and have witnessed horrific ISIS inspired attacks like in Gardland, Texas and Chattanooga, Tennessee. We know that 30% of released detainees from Guantanamo Bay return to the fight and ISIS has already pledged their intention to infiltrate the refugee process. To that point, FBI and counterterrorism officials have testified before Congress that we don’t have the proper human intelligence and databases to ensure that a terrorist couldn’t slip through the system.
We are a compassionate people; it is one of the things I love most about our country, but when terrorists threaten to exploit our compassion, we have a responsibility to protect the American people from threats and vulnerabilities to our homeland.
That is why the House voted this week to require the Administration to produce new security assurances for every refugee we admit from Iraq and Syria, which has become the largest breeding ground of jihadists the world has ever known. The House has also passed the FTO Passport Revocation Act, which will broaden the State Department’s authority to revoke the passport of any U.S. citizen who joins a foreign terrorist organization. Additionally, Speaker Ryan signed the National Defense Authorization Act this week which will provide our military with the tools they need to keep us safe. That bill also requires the President to finally devise a real strategy to defeat ISIS, which now controls more territory than al Qaeda could have ever hoped to possess.
Rather than bring in more refugees who may pose a threat to the United States, a compassionate approach would be to devote our resources to creating safe zones for refugees near their home countries. Of course, the most compassionate thing our nation and our president can do is take a lead: to defeat ISIS and end the four-year-old civil war in Syria so these displaced men, women and children can return to their homes.
Where the President has faltered, we must take a stand. As your congressman, I will always stand up for your safety and the security of the United States. We live in dangerous times but I am committed to defending our shores from the terrorists who wish us harm.
In other news….
The threats abroad demand that we maintain a strong force at home. Gen. Dunbar and I remain in contact and I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that we retain a strong National Guard force in Wisconsin. Click on the image to watch my interview with KBJR about the situation:
KARE 11's recent investigation unearthed the disturbing finding that an untold number of our Veterans are being seen by doctors who are not currently qualified to treat patients. I discussed my efforts to resolve this issue, but the real question: Should it take an act of Congress for the VA and doctors to be honest with our Veterans? Click on the image for the full story.
Despite these uncertain times, as we begin this Thanksgiving week, I am reminded that we still have much to be grateful for in America. As Rachel, the kids and I gather around our table this Thursday, we will offer an extra prayer of thanks to the men and women in uniform who ensure our safety and safeguard our freedom. To them, and to all of you, our family wishes you a safe and blessed holiday.
Until next week…
1208 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Sean Duffy was born and raised in Hayward, Wisconsin. His great, great grandfather was one of the state’s early pioneers and a laborer for the Northwestern Lumber Company. His great grandfather, one of Hayward’s founding settlers, was a sawyer for 27 years.
Congressman Duffy has never strayed far from his roots, becoming a nationally recognized professional lumberjack athlete. He is a two-time world champion in the 90-foot speed climb, three-time champion in the 60-foot and an accomplished log-roller. Sean has been a color commentator for ESPN’s Great Outdoor Games, as well as a Badger State Games Honorary Athlete and takes pride in bringing national attention to a sport with vital roots in Wisconsin’s proud history.
The tenth of eleven siblings, Congressman Duffy worked his way through law school by performing in lumberjack shows and exhibitions across the state of Wisconsin and around the country. After graduating from law school he practiced law for two years in Hayward before becoming a special prosecutor in Ashland, Wisconsin. Shortly thereafter, he became the acting assistant D.A, and later the District Attorney of Ashland County. He is most proud of his dedication to prosecuting child sex crimes. Working together with law enforcement, Congressman Duffy helped make Ashland County one of the first counties in the state to investigate and prosecute child Internet sex crimes.
Congressman Duffy met his wife Rachel Campos-Duffy, an Arizona native, through the MTV show, “The Real World,” Together, they are the proud parents of six children: Evita, Jack, Lucia-Belen, John-Paul, Paloma, and MariaVictoria.
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He runs a marathon in three hours, bowls well over 100 (every time!) and is a force to be reckoned with on the flag football field. It was awesome
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In addition to funding the Coast Guard for the next two years, this bill also allows for the the much needed (and long awaited) heavy ice breaker.
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We interrupt this football game to bring you... the Sound of Freedom. I was talking with one of our military commanders recently when our conversation