Steve Stivers

Steve Stivers


Legislation would provide headstones for veterans' unmarked graves


CLEVELAND, Ohio – The recent introduction of a bipartisan bill by U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Jon Tester (D-Montana) to provide headstones for historic unmarked veterans graves came as welcome news to state and local historians.

The "Honor Those Who Served Act of 2014" would enable veterans service agencies, military researchers, historians or genealogists to request a free headstone or marker from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for a veteran's grave.

Until 2012 the VA provided headstones for unmarked veterans' graves based on documentation of that vet's identity and service provided by these groups or individuals.

That policy was then changed, limiting headstone requests to a veteran's next-of-kin or authorized family representative – a difficult requirement when dealing with graves dating back 100 years or more, and unknown family descendants. (The policy does not apply to replacement of worn, illegible or damaged markers.)

The Portman-Tester bill matches a similar measure introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last year by Rep. Steve Stivers, a Columbus Republican.

Portman said in a news release, "This bipartisan legislation is a common-sense way to honor the men and women who have worn the uniform throughout our nation's history with the official recognition they have earned and deserve."

Todd Kleismit, director of community and government relations at the Ohio History Connection, also commented in the release, "Prior to the VA's policy change, organizations like ours had been working diligently to research and recognize military veterans buried in unmarked graves.

"We hope that this legislation can help us get back to that important work that has been postponed now for the past couple of years," he added.

Last year the VA said the policy is intended to discourage someone from marking a veteran's grave in a way that the descendants may not want or even know about. A spokesperson added that the VA was reviewing that policy.

But Bill Stark, a volunteer archivist with the Cleveland Grays and member of the Woodland Cemetery Foundation who has documented and obtained nearly 200 headstones for veterans' graves in area cemeteries, said the next-of-kin requirement still stands. "The VA hasn't moved on this at all," he said.

There are dozens of unmarked veterans graves in the area that he could request headstones for, but "I haven't tried because I know it (the request) would be rejected," he said.

Stark noted that in a section of Cleveland's Woodland Cemetery containing the graves of black Civil War veterans, there are a number of unmarked graves.

"There's nothing we can do about it unless a descendant wants to sign a form, but we don't know who they are, if there are any at all," he added.

He was encouraged by introduction of the Portman-Tester bill. "It's an excellent sign. I'm glad now because it's covered in the Senate," Stark said. "Both of these legislators seem to be very interested in getting this done. At this point, I'm optimistic."

However, being a self-described "pessimist by nature," Stark added, "If we're still talking about this next year, it wouldn't surprise me."

He told a story illustrating how seriously this matter can still be viewed by some veterans' families.

He was contacted last year by a man in South Dakota whose great-great grandfatrher had fought in the Civil War, then came to Cleveland where he died and was buried in the Monroe Street Cemetery.

Stark said the man was a serious genealogist – "as tenacious as a pit bull" -- and was able to provide the VA with documentation showing his family relationship, and obtain a VA headstone for the grave.

He drove to Cleveland to see the grave marker installed. Stark said the man stood there, then addressed his distant relative by his first name, saying, "John, you couldn't hide from me."

It's that important.

"Oh, definitely," Stark said.
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Congress may expand who counts as homeless


One way or another, Deonna Jones finds a place to stay. She doesn’t sleep on the streets or turn to emergency shelters.

So should the 19-year-old, who has struggled through two years of house-hopping and instability, be considered homeless?

A bill introduced last month in Congress has advocacy groups squaring off over the answer.

The Homeless Children and Youth Act would expand the definition of homelessness used by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a change supporters say would allow some 900,000 young adults and families with children to become eligible for federal assistance programs.

Ohio Republican Rob Portman and California Democrat Dianne Feinstein are sponsoring the bill in the Senate. Rep. Steve Stivers, a Republican from Upper Arlington, and Rep. George Miller, a San Francisco-area Democrat, introduced similar legislation in the House.

“This has been a top priority of ours for many years,” said Barbara Duffield of the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth. “Anyone who works with homeless youths knows they go from place to place to place. They’re going to be adults on the street if we don’t act now.”

The bill would bring HUD’s definition of child and family homelessness in line with the Department of Education’s, which counts people living in motels, doubled-up households and other precarious situations because they have nowhere else to go.

A HUD report to Congress says a point-in-time count showed 222,197 people in families — 130,515 of them children — homeless in 2013. Data from the Department of Education for the 2011-12 school year, however, showed 1.1 million homeless children.

Critics say the bill’s good intentions would create problems for an already overwhelmed and underfunded system. The legislation does not provide new money.

“We definitely feel that anybody who’s homeless should be included in the definition and counted, and there may be some fixes that need to be made to make sure that happens,” said Nan Roman of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. “But this goes too far.”

Bill Faith, the executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, said scant resources are best directed at the needy who are “literally homeless.”

“What’s being done is grossly inadequate now,” Faith said. “But I don’t want to back a false promise by making the universe of eligibility much greater. It doesn’t mean you’re going to get help.”

Others — the National Coalition for the Homeless and the Columbus-based Youth Empowerment Program among them — say the change would help reveal the extent of youth homelessness and aid people who often cannot meet HUD’s definitions and documentation requirements.

They say that population, which also includes many youths who have aged out of foster care, has long been underserved.

“Saying this population doesn’t exist, or is just poorly housed, is, quite frankly, disgraceful,” said Angela Lariviere, the director of the Youth Empowerment Program. “Pimps and drug dealers don’t ask for eligibility. Gang leaders don’t ask for documentation of your secondary barriers. They’ll house you. And then you’ll owe them.”

Linda Kramer of Daybreak, a Dayton shelter and housing agency for youths, said the legislation would not mandate communities to serve youths and families who are not on the streets.

“It just gives flexibility,” she said. “Right now, when you’re dealing with homeless youths, the different definitions from federal agencies make it difficult. They know that to get housing they have to go to the streets or live in a car.”

Jones, who has an infant daughter and just started a new job, is staying with a cousin in Whitehall and trying to save for an apartment.

Her mom died when she was 8, and her father, who abused drugs and alcohol, later abandoned her, she said. Jones doesn’t want to take her baby to a shelter and has tried to get a Section 8 voucher, but the rental-assistance program has thousands of people on years-long waiting lists.

To be homeless, “you don’t necessarily have to be sleeping on the corner,” she said. “I feel like the government doesn’t acknowledge that.”
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How veterans received long overdue honor


DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN)– A journey that’s more than just another mission came to and end Tuesday for 15 veterans.

The road they’ve traveled has been a long one filled with many steps and the different paths life offers.

“They’re forgotten for a lot of reasons,” says Steve Ebersole with the Ohio Missing in America Project.

But now those 15 veterans will get in death, the honors that they didn’t always find in life.

“It’s important for all our veterans that we appreciate the sacrifices they make,” says Ohio Senator Rob Portman.

The effort started when Ebersole saw a picture on the Internet of veterans remains sitting unclaimed in another state.

“That just stirred my blood thoroughly,” Ebersole says.

Eventually the efforts of Ebersole, Portman and Representatives Pat Tiberi and Steve Stivers led to a federal law, The Missing in America Act.

It allowed the VA to find the unclaimed remains of veterans and give them a proper burial.

“These folks have earned the right to be buried with full honors,” Ebersole says. “They served the nation honorably.”

The 15 veterans being honored served in everything from World War I to Vietnam.

Their remains were with other unclaimed ones at Woodland Cemetery.

“These were stored nicely in a cemetery but in some cases they were just stored in the basements of funeral homes,” Ebersole says.

Now the 15 will get a headstone like the others there and a place among their brothers and sisters in arms.

“They’ve never had a flag flown over their grave site on Memorial Day,” Ebersole says. “When we get done that will never happen again.”

Officials say another ceremony will be held next month to transfer more unclaimed veterans remains to the Dayton National Cemetery.
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Legislation would require DoD to document service member incidents


A bipartisan group of legislators rolled out legislation on Thursday that would help armed service members track events and situations that could lead to later health issues.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) were among the original co-sponsors of the Mental-health Exposure Military Official Record (MEMORy) Act, which was introduced in both the House and Senate, according to a press release.

“Too often, our nation’s heroes suffer from unseen wounds linked to traumatic events during military service, without a way to prove or document the cause of their injuries,” Blunt said. “This bill would make it easier to document exposures to significant events so we can better develop service members’ and veterans’ claims and work to improve treatment for the increasing number of post traumatic stress and mild traumatic brain injury cases.”

Approximately 300,000 veterans experience post-traumatic stress, and 25,000 veterans suffer mild traumatic brain injuries. Without proper documentation under the current system, it may be difficult for veterans to connect their time in the service to health conditions that surface later.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), one of the bill’s original co-sponsors, said veterans should be able to focus on recovery rather than having to prove how they suffered their injuries.

“When veterans seek claims for war-related injuries like post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury, the burden for establishing the connection should be on the Department of Defense, not on the veteran,” Brown said.

Under the MEMORy Act, the DoD would document events that individual service members experience that could be connected to post-traumatic stress, mild traumatic brain injuries or other injuries. The information would then be forwarded to the Department of Veteran Affairs to ensure better treatment for veterans and faster processing of claims.
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After Border Bill Passage, Conservatives Crow About New House Leadership


By 10:15 p.m. local time Friday night, the gavel was struck and the House Republican celebration over, the chamber silent after hours of backslapping, hugging and cries of “Have a happy August!” The House had passed two bills to address the border crisis and conservatives crowed that their leadership had finally heard them.

“From the time I’ve ever been here … I’ve never seen them as responsive to the, I would call them the ‘No votes,’” said Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas), who calls himself “very, very conservative” but “not always categorically a ‘No.’”

“Right now it looks really good,” said Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), of conservatives’ relationship with its leadership. “We’ve got a lot of very smart people in our conference and when you sit down and work with them and you unleash that talent you end up with a better product. And you end up with people who have ownership that want to promote it, rather than those that feel essentially asked to go along.”

When asked if that is a change from the past, King replied, “It feels like that now.”

On Thursday—the day House Majority Leader Eric Cantor stepped down from his post—House Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and House Whip Steve Scalise had to pull their original bill from the floor and regroup under a backlash from the right. Later that night, around 7 p.m. ET, Scalise and his chief deputy, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), called a meeting and went point by point through the legislation with around 20 “Hell No” members, according to Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.).

“What I saw in the last 24 hours is nothing short of remarkable,” said Bachmann. “I couldn’t believe it. Leadership was like [point] one is reasonable, number two is reasonable. It gutted the bill, changed the bill.”

“In a very short time we saw everyone drop off their haunches and meld together on this issue,” Bachmann added. “Conservatives were willing to go home without a bill. So we needed the moderates to say, ‘We’re not going home.’ We needed the conservatives to say ‘This is what we need to make the bill better.’”

The leadership’s proposal, set to cost around $1.5 billion as of last week, shrank to $694 million by Friday morning in response to conservative spending complaints. On Thursday night, leadership tightened up language regarding the adjudication process for unaccompanied minors. Many Republicans argue that to fix the backlogged immigration courts, Border Patrol has to treat the thousands of unaccompanied minors from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador the same way it treats Mexican minors, who are more quickly screened and deported. Democratic leaders in the House and Senate oppose this policy change.

The leadership also granted conservatives a separate vote aimed at blocking an expected move by President Barack Obama to expand deportation relief to undocumented immigrants in the U.S. The changes paid off and on Friday night, the border bill vote passed 223 to 189 with only four Republicans voting in opposition; the second vote passed 216 to 192 with 11 Republican noes. (Neither vote needed 218 to pass because 20, then 23 Congressmen didn’t vote.)

“I thought it was important the way that our entire team came together and said we’re not going to leave until we got our job done,” said Scalise after the votes. “I don’t think anybody would have predicted 223 votes in favor of this bill.”

Democrats saw the tally and steps to the right and argued that the hardline conservatives had taken over the new leadership—same as the old.

“They lost control of their own caucus again,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.). “It’s not new. That’s what has been going on for the last four years … this is the crowd that shut down the government against the wishes of leadership.”

Democrats also charged that the votes mattered more in a political sense than a practical one. The Senate won’t pick up the House bill; indeed members are now back home for a five-week recess, as the Senate left the Capitol after failing to pass its own $2.7 billion border proposal. Scalise’s whip operation showed that it could pass something with almost the full support of the House Republican conference, but it remains to be seen whether or not it can pass legislation that goes through the Senate and onto the President’s desk.

The shift to the right could also hurt Republicans’ image within the Hispanic community. According to Democrats and even some Republicans, the second vote, limiting the President’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program granting two years of deportation relief to qualifying illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as a minor, could resonate more deeply with the Hispanic community than the border bill.

On the House floor, Rep. Luis Guiterrez (D-Ill.) asked the Republicans, “Is there no one in your conference who can stand up and talk sensibly when others in your party want to demonize children at the border and deport the DREAMers?”

“You are so frozen in fear of your own voters—so frozen in fear of your own colleagues—and the nation needs you to be courageous,” Guiterrez added. “Only cowards scapegoat children, and only those who are ashamed of themselves do it after hours on a Friday night.”

Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) acknowledged that DACA is popular, but says that the program, created through an Obama Administration executive order, has been “abused” and has helped incentivize child migrants to come to the U.S.

“We’ll see what happens with the DACA,” Stivers said. “It’s really a question of what kind of incentive it created for this crisis at the border … Hopefully folks will be understanding that there was a crisis that was created by incentives that were pushed a little too far by the Administration. We’re compassionate but at the same time, when something’s helping create a crisis and fuel a crisis, we have to figure out how to address it. And I think temporarily freezing it is the answer.”

With Congress at home, the Administration will be left to redirect funds within the budget to aid the cash-strapped Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Administration expects to apprehend as many as 90,000 unaccompanied minors by the end of September, an increase of more than threefold compared to last year.
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Normally warring lawmakers unite to help veterans claim military service injury benefits


On any normal day, US Sens. Sherrod Brown and Roy Blunt and US Reps. Tammy Duckworth and Steve Stivers would be squabbling over a long list of issues that taken together create a political chasm so wide that no bridge could span it.

Brown and Stivers both represent Ohio constituencies, but Brown is an unapologetic progressive-liberal and Democratic with no military service, while Stivers is a conservative Republican and veteran who did a tour of duty in Iraq. Blunt also is without military service, but he would fall-in and march in sync with Stivers on nearly all issues of the day. Duckworth, a veteran who lost limbs in service to the nation, would sign on with Brown to take on Republican opposition.

But they united Thursday, announcing their sponsorship of a bill that almost 300,000 American veterans struggling with Post Traumatic Stress and another 25,000 veterans facing mild Traumatic Brain Injuries want them to fight for.

Their new bill—The Mental-health Exposure Military Official Record Act —is designed to help active duty service members better track potential exposures during deployment that could be later connected to mental health injuries and mild TBIs. Lack of proper documentation and no visible, physical injuries make it hard for veterans to establish a connection between injuries and military service. Poor or no documentation leads to improper medical care, which no veteran wants, while increasing the backlog of disability claims.

Sen. Brown, the sponsor of Significant Event Tracker Act, the bill that MEMORy is modeled on, said veterans should be able to focus on their recovery without having to prove the cause of their injury. "When veterans seek claims for war-related injuries like post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury, the burden for establishing the connection should be on the Department of Defense, not on the veteran,” Brown said in prepared remarks.

Blunt was blunt. “Too often, our nation’s heroes suffer from unseen wounds linked to traumatic events during military service, without a way to prove or document the cause of their injuries." Blunt believes the legislation will make it easier to document exposures to significant events. Doing so, he observes, can advance servicemembers’ and veterans’ claims and work to improve treatment for the increasing number of veterans suffering from war-related mental health conditions.

Duckworth, a Democrat from Illinois just like President Barack Obama, stressed the nation's commitment to providing veterans with the care they need.

"That means reducing barriers to care however we can," Duckworth said. An average of 22 veterans commit suicide every day, she said, declaring "we must be able to identify those with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries with ease and accuracy."

Duckworth, the first Asian American woman elected to Congress in Illinois, is also the first disabled woman elected to the US House. The first female double amputee from the war, having lost both of her legs and suffering damage to her right arm, Duckworth knows from personal experience how difficult it can be for injured war veterans to reintegrate into civilian life.

“Our service members risk their lives and safety to protect our country and its freedoms,” Iraq War veteran Stivers, a lead cosponsor of the MEMORy Act, said, He said the country shares a moral obligation to care for veterans when they return home. "The MEMORy Act improves the reporting process and alleviates the burden of proof our veterans must undergo in order to secure the care and support they deserve for service-connected injuries, like PTSD and TBI," he said.

Stivers tweeted "Voted for the #Veterans Access to Care legislation last night to repair and improve our #VA care system."

How will MEMORy work? Unit commanders would document events that individual service members are exposed to which might later be connected to PTSD, mTBI or other injuries. The Department of Defense would then furnish these Significant Event entries to the VA to ensure better treatment for veterans and faster processing of claims. Unit commanders and their delegates would be able to report unit and individual exposures to traumatic events. By creating an individualized SET, injuries that are not currently documented through physical injuries, awards or other service-related means will now be included on an individual’s medical history.

How it works now: Currently, veterans who file compensation and disability claims, or seek medical care, must provide the US Department of Veterans Affairs with evidence that connects their claim to previous military service. In cases and conditions such as PTS and mTBI, veterans must provide either a written testimony from another service member who witnessed the accident, submit relevant medical documentation that supports the claim, or possess military orders that prove the veteran was in a unit or location that supports the claim. These types of documentation, however, provide only a secondary account of the claim and may not fully illustrate the veteran’s claim of service connected PTS and mild TBI.
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Portman bill would expand HUD’s definition of a homeless child


Bipartisan legislation recently introduced by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) would expand how the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) identifies homeless children.

The Homeless Children and Youth Act would provide approximately 900,000 homeless children and families across the country access to federal assistance programs, according to a press release.

HUD counted 247,178 families with at least one homeless child in 2012 — while the Department of Education counted 1.1 million homeless children nationwide during that same time.

“This commonsense reform opens up access to federal assistance programs to thousands of homeless children and youth, including those who have aged out of the foster care system here (in) the United States,” Portman, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, said. “Persistent poverty takes children who have nothing but their future ahead of them and drains away their hope and their faith. Washington has to ensure that it is playing the right role in helping these vulnerable children, and I believe this bipartisan bill is an example of just that.”

The expanded definition of homelessness would make vulnerable children eligible for federal homeless assistance programs, including children who reside in motels or doubled up households.

Reps. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) and George Miller (D-Calif.) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
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Stivers, Duckworth Introduce Bill to Improve Veterans' Access to Service-Connected Care and Support


WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) joined Rep. Tammy Duckwoth (D-IL) to introduce The Mental Health Exposure Military Official Record (MEMORy) Act to establish an online Significant Event Tracker (SET). The SET will document a veterans’ individual exposures to traumatic events, such as a significant injury in a combat operation, which are currently not documented in traditional ways. 

Currently, veterans seeking to file claims for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and mild Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) often times lack the documentation necessary in describing the service-connected incident that triggered conditions.  This often leads to the denial of claims and appeals of disability status – adding to the increased VA claims backlog and hindering the ability of a veteran to obtain the service-related care and support they have earned.

“Our service members risk their lives and safety to protect our country and its freedoms,” said Rep. Steve Stivers, a lead cosponsor of the MEMORy Act and an Iraq War veteran.  “As a country, we share a moral obligation to care for our veterans when they return home.  The MEMORy Act improves the reporting process and alleviates the burden of proof our veterans must undergo in order to secure the care and support they deserve for service-connected injuries, like PTSD and TBI.”

This legislation is a concrete first step to addressing a continuing problem that our veterans face when they return home.  Rep. Tammy Duckworth is the lead Democratic sponsor of the MEMORy Act and is also a veteran of the Iraq War.  Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) have introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

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Two Ohio lawmakers push bills to better track PTSD


Reps. Steve Stivers and Tammy Duckworth introduced a bill today that would help track veterans’ exposures to traumatic events in order to help veterans who need treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Traumatic Brain Injury.

Stivers, R-Upper Arlington, and Duckworth, D-Ill., want the federal government to create an online Significant Event Tracker that would document a veterans’ exposures to traumatic events, such as injury during combat. Such incidents aren’t currently documented, which can complicate veterans who want to file claims for PTSD or traumatic brain injury, and make it harder for them to receive claims and a disability status. Stivers and Duckworth also argue that it has helped contribute to the VA claims backlog.

Stivers said the bill “improves the reporting process and alleviates the burden of proof our veterans must undergo in order to secure the care and support they deserve for service-connected injuries.”

Earlier this month, Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio and Roy Blunt, R-Mo., introduced a companion bill in the U.S. Senate, but have revised it.

“Veterans should be able to focus on their recovery, not have to prove the cause of their injury. When veterans seek claims for war-related injuries like post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury, the burden for establishing the connection should be on the Department of Defense, not on the veteran,” Brown said.

Duckworth and Stivers are military veterans.


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SEC CorpFin Director Talks JOBS Act on the Hill During Financial Services Committee Hearing


Last Thursday (July 24) Keith Higgins, Director of the Division of Corporation Finance, gave his testimony on the Division’s recent “activities and responsibilities” to the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services’ Capital Markets Subcommittee. Among the topics addressed by Mr. Higgins during his testimony were the Division’s activities and responsibilities in relation to JOBS Act rulemaking and the definition of “accredited investor.”

Higgins’ published testimony with respect to the current status of JOBS Act rulemaking (and many other matters) amounted to little more than “we’re working on it.”  He noted that the SEC has received numerous comment letters to date with respect to its final/proposed rules under Titles II, III and IV of the JOBS Act (particularly with respect to Title II where over 860 letters have been received). Higgins went on to say that the Division is Jumpstart Our Business 2012 JOBS Act currently preparing recommendations for the SEC with respect to these rules.

The most interesting part of this testimony however came during the “Question and Answer” portion. Several representatives took this opportunity to voice their frustrations and/or suggestions regarding the status of JOBS Act rulemaking and the SEC’s review of the “accredited investor” definition. Among the highlights are:

Representative Robert Hurt, who voiced his concerns over the slow pace of JOBS Act rule making (particularly at a time of high unemployment) and asked when we would see the remaining JOBS Act reforms being implemented. Higgins could only respond that the SEC was still preparing recommendations with respect to such implementation.

Representative Ann Wager, who noted that “savings and loans” were inadvertently not addressed in the JOBS Act and asked what the SEC was doing to remedy this oversight. Higgins responded that the issue was being addressed and that he expects a proposal to be issued by year end. Representative Wagner also asked Higgins what the Division plans to do with the recent recommendations it collected from its Small Business Forum on Capital Formation (for some of the highlights of these recommendation click HERE). Higgins responded that none of the recommendations had a “high priority” attached to them but that several of the recommendations were currently being taken into consideration.

Representative Steve Stivers, as a follow up to Wagner’s comments, who asked Higgins how many of the forum’s recommendations had been acted on in the past. Higgins could not specify other than to say that a number of them made it into the JOBS Act in some form. Stivers rebutted that he felt the only reason those recommendations made it into the JOBS Act was to fill the holes caused by the SEC’s failure to act and urged Higgins to listen to the forum’s recommendations.

Representative Mick Mulvaney, who expressed his frustration over the fact that the SEC worked to issue final rules regulating “conflict minerals” under the Dodd Frank Act before completing JOBS Act implementation, referring to it as “patently absurd” and a “case of misplaced priorities.” Mulvaney also asked Higgins whether he felt that the current $500,000 capital raise “audit” threshold would positively or negatively impact access to capital through crowdfunding. Higgens responded that the current threshold was suggested by Congress and that SEC was considering raising the amount.

Representative John Carney, who asked whether the initial public offering (IPO) “onramp” process included in the JOBS Act (and the ability of emerging growth companies (EGCs) to “test the waters” by issuing reports to potential investors) was actually being used. Higgins responded that implementation of the process was slow at first due to investor apprehension but that he believes the process is now being used regularly and without issue.

Representative Stephen Fincher, who reported hearing that the SEC did not like the JOBS Act (particularly because it was a Congressional rather than an SEC action) and asked if Higgins felt that some SEC staffers had “turned a cold shoulder” to the Act. Higgins responded by saying that, to date, none of the SEC staffers had expressed such a sentiment to him.

Representative Randy Hultgren, who addressed the SEC’s review of the definition of “accredited investor,” saying that linking the definition solely to income/net worth is “antiquated and counterproductive.” He also went on to ask Higgins if the SEC is considering letting people demonstrate their competence and investor sophistication in a manner similar to what is currently being done in the United Kingdom. Higgins only responded that the option was being considered by the SEC but gave no insight as to whether any such test would be adopted and/or what such test might look like.

While the testimony did little to answer any of the current burning questions or concerns regarding the status of JOBS Act rulemaking or the SEC’s position on modifying the definition of “accredited investor,” the Q&A segment made it clear that those of us in the industry are not the only ones becoming frustrated with the SEC’s lack of action. Maybe the comments of the representatives will help to inspire the SEC to act … as usual we will have to wait and see.
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Committee Assignments

Financial Services

Raised in Ripley, Ohio, Steve Stivers learned from his mother and father the importance of family, hard work and public service, which have been the values he has carried with him through his life, whether as a student at The Ohio State University, a soldier serving overseas, as a State Senator, or as a Member of Congress.

Stivers is currently serving his second term as a Member of Congress and represents Ohio’s 15th Congressional District, which is made up of 12 counties including: all of Athens, Clinton, Fairfield, Hocking, Madison, Morgan, Perry, Pickaway, and Vinton counties, and parts of: Fayette, Franklin, and Ross counties.

Stivers has been tapped to serve on the Financial Services Committee, which oversees the banking, insurance, real estate, public and assisted housing, and securities industries. Members who serve on the committee also work on housing and consumer protection legislation and oversee Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Reserve Bank.

Throughout his career, Steve Stivers has led the way supporting programs and initiatives to encourage job creation, promote economic development, and put our country’s fiscal house in order. As he wrapped up a successful first term in office, two of Stivers veterans bills, the HIRE at Home Act and TRICARE for Kids, were rolled into the National Defense Authorization Act and signed into law by the President.

Prior to running for Congress, Stivers served in the Ohio Senate and before that worked in the private sector for the Ohio Company and Bank One, where he focused on promoting economic development and encouraging job creation.

A career soldier, Stivers has served 28 years in the Ohio Army National Guard and holds the rank of Colonel. He served the United States overseas during Operation Iraqi Freedom in Kuwait, Iraq, Qatar and Djibouti where he led 400 soldiers and contractors and is proud that each and every one returned home safely to the United States. Stivers received the Bronze Star for his leadership throughout the deployment.

Stivers received both his bachelor’s degree and his MBA from The Ohio State University and resides in Columbus with his wife, Karen, and children, Sarah and Sam.

Serving With

Steve Chabot


Brad Wenstrup


Jim Jordan


Bob Latta


Bill Johnson


Bob Gibbs


John Boehner


Michael Turner


Pat Tiberi


David Joyce


Jim Renacci


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