Susan Brooks

Susan Brooks

INDIANA's 5th DISTRICT

Brooks Statement on Declaration of Opioid Crisis as a National Emergency

2017/08/10

Carmel, IN – Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN05) issued the following statement after President Trump verbally declared the opioid crisis a national emergency:

“I am in strong agreement of the President’s declaration of the opioid crisis as a national emergency. Too many lives have been lost to this sweeping epidemic in Indiana and across the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), recent data estimates the opioid epidemic is taking the lives of 142 Americans every single day. That number of lives lost is devastating.”

“Today’s declaration will further put a spotlight on an issue that deserves urgent attention and ensures that combatting this epidemic is a national priority for the country.”

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Brooks: The Anderson Fire Department Is Filled with Hoosier Heroes

2017/08/01

Carmel, IN – Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN05) issued the following statement after the Anderson Fire Department received a grant that will be used to purchase new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA):

“Firefighters are often the first to respond to burning buildings or explosive accidents. They are constantly putting their lives at risk in order to save the lives of others and need access to equipment that ensures their safety. The Anderson Fire Department is filled with Hoosier heroes, and I am pleased they will soon have new equipment to further support their efforts to fight fires and perform search and rescue missions in areas where access to oxygen is limited.” 

Anderson Fire Department Receives Grant of $281,781

July 28, 2017

ANDERSON – IN – Mayor Thomas Broderick, Jr. and Anderson Fire Chief, David Cravens announced today that the City of Anderson Fire Department has been awarded a grant of $281,781 from the Federal Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program that is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), an agency of the Department of Homeland Security.

The announcement of the award was made through the offices of Senator Joe Donnelly and Congresswoman Susan Brooks.  The city will provide $28,000.00 as a match to the award. The grant award and match will be used to purchase new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) that will replace older equipment that is at the end of its useful life. Chief Cravens explained that, “SCBA is among the most important and widely used tools in fire service today.”

Its use gives expanded capabilities to firefighters when fighting fires, performing searches or performing HAZMAT or technical rescue operations.”  The device worn by firefighters, provide breathable air during such operations.  Mayor Broderick stated, “Chief Cravens and I agreed early on to make it a priority to replace aging fire equipment to ensure that our firefighters have safest equipment possible.  Our firefighters risk their lives to protect ours. We owe to them to have safe equipment.”

Cravens stated, “Because of the age and condition of the equipment we were going to have to replace the SCBA this year, and now because of this grant we can replace the equipment while saving local tax dollars. This shows the continued commitment from the administration toward the safety of our frontline firefighters, while demonstrating the fiscal responsibility from our front office to do more with less using federal money instead of local tax dollars.”

The grant process started in February and took several months to be awarded. Mayor Broderick stated, “I am proud of Chief Cravens and his staff who worked hard on applying for and securing this grant.  I am also grateful for the support of Senator Donnelly and Representative Brooks for their efforts made on our behalf.”

To read online, click here.

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Brooks and Murphy Introduce Bill that Prioritizes Better Access to Care for Female Veterans

2017/07/28

Washington, D.C. – Today, Representatives Susan W. Brooks (R-IN) and Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) introduced H.R. 3558, the Improve Access to Care for Our Female Veterans Act. This bill, a product of efforts by the Bipartisan Working Group, ensures that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is better equipped and prepared to provide female veterans with the care and services they have earned and deserve.

“Since first elected to serve the Fifth District in Congress, I have heard from men and women in different branches of the military and from different veterans service organizations (VSOs) that when it comes to access to care, our female heroes face far greater challenges than their male counterparts,” said Brooks. “More women are joining the military, and therefore, we need to ensure the services and standards at the VA are capable of properly supporting the increasing number of female veterans. Access to mammograms, maternity care and routine gynecology visits are crucial for ensuring the overall health and wellbeing of our female vets.”

According to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, women are the fastest growing population among the entire veteran community. The VA currently has policies in place to help ensure the privacy, safety, and dignity of women veterans when they receive care at its medical facilities, yet there have been many instances where the VA has not respected such policies. This bill provides accountability standards, instructing the VA to improve their services to better reflect the needs of not only men, but women. Members of the Bipartisan Working Group met with officials from GAO to discuss hundreds of reports on how the VA can improve.

“As a member of the Bipartisan Working group, I have met with the GAO and discussed the findings in their reports. One report that caught my attention specifically focuses on what we can do to provide our female veterans with appropriate care and better access to services that could save their lives,” continued Brooks. “We need to act on these recommendations from the GAO to ensure the VA works more efficiently. I am encouraged by Secretary Shulkin’s efforts to improve the VA, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House on a bill that prioritizes the best care for our female veterans.”

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Brooks Emphasizes the Importance of Rebuilding Our Healthcare System

2017/07/28

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN05) issued the following statement after the Senate’s attempt to rebuild our broken healthcare system:  

“This is not the end of our work. Obamacare is failing our country, and, if left untouched, will continue to drag Americans down with it. Our current healthcare system is leaving hardworking Fifth District Hoosiers and their families with fewer and fewer options for care."

“We must find a new approach that provides Hoosiers with solutions. If members of Congress on both sides of the aisle come together, we can strengthen our healthcare system and provide Hoosiers with more options of care. I am committed to working on resolving these issues so the American people have access to what they deserve: a healthcare system that works for them and their families’ healthcare needs.” 

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Expanded GI Bill passes House on unanimous vote

2017/07/25

The U.S. House voted unanimously Monday evening to approve legislation that would expand the GI Bill for military veterans.

The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 would remove the 15-year limit on using GI Bill education benefits, extend full eligibility to Purple Heart recipients who do not serve at least three years on active duty and improve benefits for members of the National Guard and Reserve.

The legislation passed by a 405-0 vote. Companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate.

“The original GI Bill transformed our country and provided a generation of veterans with important educational opportunities. This legislation invests in a new generation of veterans and ensures no veteran gets left behind,” Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, a member of the Navy Reserve, said in a statement.

The Colmery act, named for an American Legion national commander who wrote what in 1944 became the GI Bill of Rights, includes provisions introduced by Banks and other Indiana members of the House.

The proposal sponsored by Banks would make permanent a pilot program called VetSuccess on Campus, which places Department of Veterans Affairs counselors on university and college campuses to assist students who are veterans.

A provision from Rep. Luke Messer, R-6th, would retroactively restore education benefits to veterans attending schools that close mid-semester. His proposal targets more than 7,000 veterans who were attending Carmel-based ITT Technical Institute when it shut down last year.

A provision by Rep. Susan Brooks, R-5th, would stop counting against GI Bill eligibility the reimbursements veterans receive for testing expenses related to licensing, certification and college admission.

The bill also includes provisions similar to legislation filed by Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-2nd, that would ensure benefits for World War II veterans exposed to mustard gas during the military's secret chemical weapons tests on American troops.

In another vote, minority Democrats defeated legislation to shift $2 billion in VA funding to the Veterans Choice Program. Several veterans advocacy groups had opposed the bill, calling it a privatization effort. The Veterans Choice Program reimburses non-VA physicians who care for veterans.

The final vote of 219-186, largely along party lines, was well short of the two-thirds majority the bill required to advance under House rules.

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Brooks’ Veterans TEST Accessibility Act Included in GI Bill Legislative Package PASSES the House

2017/07/25

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Veterans To Enhance Studies Through (TEST) Accessibility Act, a bill Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN05) introduced earlier this year, passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support as a part of the #ForeverGIBill package, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017.

This bill provides veterans better access to the GI Bill benefits they have earned. It ensures our vets are provided with the tools they need to join the workforce upon returning home from their deployment, so they can better provide for themselves and their families. For more information on the legislative package, click here


To watch Brooks speak on the House Floor in favor of the #ForeverGIBill, click here.

Remarks As Prepared:

I rise today to speak in support of H.R. 3218, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, a bipartisan package that will extend and ultimately improve our veteran’s access to GI Bill benefits. This package includes over 28 provisions and brings forward countless enhancements that veterans groups have requested for years.  We owe a debt of gratitude to the brave men and women who served our country, and I’m proud that my bill, the Veterans TEST Accessibility Act, is included in this package.

The Veterans TEST Accessibility Act does just what the title implies – it gives our veterans simpler, fairer access to tests, like the SAT and GRE, as well as licensing and certification tests, like certifications for mechanics, firefighters, and realtors.

Current law requires veterans to use a full month of eligibility to be reimbursed for such tests. Given the relatively low cost of many tests, it often simply isn’t worth it for veterans to lose potential reimbursement for an entire month of other educational expenses, like tuition. This provision fixes that—veterans will be reimbursed for the amount of the test and can still utilize remaining eligibility to cover other educational expenses incurred that month.

Our vets have the skills and experience that universities and employers are looking for, but face challenges that their civilian counterparts do not. This commonsense provision will give our veterans the tools they need to compete in the job market and help address veteran under- and unemployment. It allows them to take what they learned prior to and during service and use the benefits they have earned to advance their education and career.

I’d like to thank Chairman Roe, the VSOs, and all of my colleagues who have contributed to this important piece of legislation. As the number of post-9/11 veterans continues to grow, I am pleased the House is taking up this measure that will empower our veterans to achieve and make a life for themselves after returning to civilian life.

 

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GI Bill reform to help veterans after ITT Tech shutdown

2017/07/24

NDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A bipartisan proposal to help veterans impacted by school closures unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday as part of a landmark GI Bill reform package.

U.S. Rep. Luke Messer, a Republican from Indiana, and U.S. Rep. Mark Takano, a Democrat from California, spearheaded the proposal. The Takano-Messer proposal retroactively restores GI Bill benefits to veterans who were attending Carmel, Indiana-based ITT Technical Institute and California-based Corinthian Colleges, both of which closed abruptly impacting tens of thousands of students nationwide, including thousands of veterans.

The Takano-Messer proposal passed the House as part of the Harry Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, which improves and modernizes several aspects of the GI Bill. 

“Today’s bipartisan GI Bill reform package is a big win for our veterans. Among many improvements, the bill helps thousands of veterans who lost their GI Bill benefits when ITT Tech closed,” Messer said in a news relesae. “Our military men and women count on their GI Bill benefits to build a career and life after serving our country. This bill will make sure they get that chance.”

The reform package also advanced a measure from U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks, a Republican from Indiana. The Veterans TEST Accessibility Act allows veterans to be reimbursed for approved licensing, certification and national tests, while still eligible to use their remaining GI Bill benefits for additional education expenses in the same month.

“The Veterans TEST Accessibility Act does just what the title implies – it gives our veterans simpler, fairer access to tests, like the SAT and GRE, as well as licensing and certification tests, like certifications for mechanics, firefighters, and realtors,” Brooks said in a statement read on the House floor.

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Technologies Behind 911 Have Advanced for Broadband Era, But Not Far and Fast Enough

2017/07/24

WASHINGTON, July 24, 2017 – Even though People are now streaming emergencies on Facebook, but there is not yet a way to stream videos to 911, said Patrick Halley, executive director of the NG911 Institute, on Capitol Hill on July 17.

The NG911 Institute is a nonprofit organization that promotes advanced 911 services. The event was focused on “Internet of things” devices into the emergency calling environment.

Halley gave a brief history of 911 service. The first 911 call was in 1968 in Alabama on a landline telephone, and 911 calls later included a callback number and an address, he said.

Halley said in the late 1990s and early 2000s, 911 service was updated to handle wireless 911 calls with an estimated location, and in the mid-2000s, the service was updated to handle voice-over-internet-protocol 911 calls. Now texts can be delivered via 911.

Even though all that progress has been made, Halley said the 911 service is still very limited because most of the systems still require a voice, and the technology hasn’t kept up because videos can’t be streamed to 911.

There is an increasing amount of data sources with machines now, and technologists are trying to figure out how to harness that data for emergencies, he said.

Connected cars are producing information about crashes, and connected homes are collecting information from censors, he said. He also added that data for people’s health can even be monitored from their smartwatches.

Karima Holmes, director of the D.C. Office of Unified Communications, also said 911 has not kept up with technology, and the key problem is that 911 is still getting information by voice.

When calling 911, she said, people may not have the answers and may not remember even basic details, such as what a child was wearing.

She said data is faster than just someone’s voice, and sometimes people don’t even have the ability to speak.

“If you can’t talk, you really don’t have any information other than your telephone number and sometimes your address,” Holmes said.

Bill Mertka, senior product manager and product consultant for Motorola Solutions Inc., said this problem is about taking technologies already operative in some areas, such as broadband and censors, and using them to predict what will happen.

Phones now have 20 to 30 sensors that are barely used, Mertka said. He also said most of the 911 system in place has been used for almost 50 years, and it is now time to embrace change.

Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Indiana, addressed AT&T’s launch of its 5G network in Indianapolis last week. Putting small cell towers into use for 5G deployment into communities where they had not previously been located was controversial, she said.

Brooks said one out of six citizens in Indiana live in areas without broadband access, and she experienced it when disconnecting from a call with her mother-in-law three times in the hills of her district.

Policy makers need to make sure that they don’t create rigid rules that stifle innovation, she said. She added that Indiana is one of only eight states that allows wireless calls anywhere in the state to connect to 911.

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Burgess leads review of Brooks, Reed bill to ensure access to diabetes supplies

2017/07/24

Legislation introduced by U.S. Reps. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Tom Reed (R-NY) to strengthen Medicare beneficiaries’ access to diabetes supplies was the subject of a subcommittee hearing convened by U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) on Thursday.

Burgess, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, examined the Protecting Access to Diabetes Supplies Act, H.R. 3271, and 10 other bills that aim to protect and enhance Medicare during the hearing.

“Each of these policies exemplifies our shared commitment to strengthening the Medicare program for current beneficiaries, and improving it for future generations,” Burgess said.

H.R. 3271 would ensure that Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes are able to continue receiving the glucose meters and diabetes test strips that they prefer through the National Mail Order Competitive Bidding Program (CBP).

“Medicare beneficiaries who live with the daily challenges associated with diabetes need access to test strips that work best with their bodies to monitor their glucose levels,” Brooks said. “Prevention and proper testing is key when managing a chronic condition like diabetes. This bill will help seniors access supplies that allow them to best control their diabetes. Testing with mismatched or incorrect supplies can have detrimental, even deadly consequences.”

The measure, which Reed and Brooks introduced with U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), would enhance a requirement that diabetes product suppliers include at least 50 percent of the different types of test systems that were on the market before CBP was implemented. It would enhance a number of beneficiary protections.

“Seniors who are on Medicare need access to the proper health supplies in order to manage their diabetes,” Reed said. “I am happy to see that the Subcommittee on Health is reviewing the bill and that it is moving forward in the legislative process.”

Reed and DeGette are the co-chairs of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus and Brooks serves as its vice-chair.

The subcommittee also reviewed a bill introduced by Burgess, H.R. 3120, to strike a requirement that the Secretary of Health and Human Services continue to ramp up electronic health records meaningful use standards over time, which could create hardship for medical providers.

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TIS17: 'Confused' Public Needs Help on Net Neutrality, Rep. Brooks Says

2017/07/24

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana Republican congresswoman Susan W. Brooks told a packed room of small and mid-sized cable operators here that the government should back away from burdensome internet regulation, and called on the crowd to help explain to consumers how the current rules could hurt. 

Congress is currently wrestling with many volatile issues under a new administration, including the new health care bill, investigations into Russia’s election tampering, infrastructure and taxes, she said onstage to moderator and ACA president Matt Polka, but one big focus for lawmakers is internet regulation. 

“We have to provide a framework that offers a guardrail,” said Brooks, who sits on the energy and commerce committee and represents most of northern Indianapolis. “But we can’t be so restrictive that we are impeding all the innovation and all the advances in technology.”

She took particular aim at the FCC’s attempt, under former chairman Tom Wheeler, to reclassify internet service providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. Current FCC chairman Ajit Pai is leading an effort to reverse that course as the best way to ensure net neutrality.

Brooks said she agreed with Pai that “we shouldn't be regulating the Internet and your industry the way that the telephone industry of the ‘30s and ‘40s were regulated, that we shouldn't put the internet under Title II. We need to work to roll that back.” Her words were met with applause from the room including from cable operators, many of whom own their own businesses. 

Part of the problem with building momentum for the changes is public support, and the fact that the true definition of “net neutrality” has been hijacked by some groups to fit their own point of view — and business strategy, Brooks said.

“We do believe in an open internet,” she said, “and we don’t believe in throttling or blocking customers’ signals for any reason."

But, she said, “There is no subject more confused in the mind of the pubic than net neutrality.”

“We need to figure out a way to talk about this differently,” she said, with more simplicity. “We get thousands of calls and letters on this issue. People do not understand.”

“We’re going to continue to push on deregulation of your industry,” she declared. “But please help us educate our members on the other side of the aisle about how this impacts affects you, your customers, your information. Whether it’s through public service announcements, or in their bill, help us educate the public about this issue. We need to clarify.”

She reassured the group that she was optimistic about rolling back Title II rules. “I like chairman Pai,” she said. “I think he's a terrific FCC chairman. I think we’re going to get it right. But we've got to have this discussion with the other side of the aisle to bring it along.”

The Independent Show, organized by the ACA and the National Cable Television Cooperative, runs until Wednesday.

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Contact Information

1505 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-2276
Fax 202-225-0016
susanbrooks.house.gov

Committee Assignments

Ethics

Congresswoman Susan Brooks represents the 5th District of Indiana, which spans eight diverse counties throughout the central part of the Hoosier State. As a new member of Congress, she currently serves on the Education and Workforce, Homeland Security and Ethics Committees. She is also the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications.

Her strong background in both the public and private sectors includes experience as a proven difference maker in areas such as public safety, homeland security, counter-terrorism and economic development.

Before joining the House of Representatives, Susan served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Ivy Tech Community College. Collaborating with a wide network or stakeholders, she implemented workforce development strategies aiming to enhance job training and placement for thousands of Hoosier residents.

In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Susan as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. Serving as the chief federal law enforcement officer for a majority of the Hoosier state, she received bi-partisan acclaim for efforts to battle mortgage fraud, gun violence, drug trafficking, gangs, child exploitation and identity theft.

Susan also earned recognition as Deputy Mayor of Indianapolis during the Steve Goldsmith administration, where she provided oversight on public safety operations and drove community dialogue on vital civic issues. Over her tenure, she managed police, fire and emergency response efforts while serving on boards related to criminal justice, community corrections, violence reduction and race relations.

Susan practiced law at the Indianapolis firm of Ice Miller and also served as a criminal defense attorney for Indianapolis based McClure, McClure and Kammen.

After receiving her undergraduate degree from Miami University of Ohio, Susan pursued a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. In May of 2013, Susan was awarded an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from Marian University in Indianapolis. She resides in Carmel, Indiana with her husband David and they have two young adult children.


Serving With

Jackie Walorski

INDIANA's 2nd DISTRICT

Jim Banks

INDIANA's 3rd DISTRICT

Todd Rokita

INDIANA's 4th DISTRICT

Luke Messer

INDIANA's 6th DISTRICT

Larry Bucshon

INDIANA's 8th DISTRICT

Trey Hollingsworth

INDIANA's 9th DISTRICT

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