WASHINGTON—Today, the House passed H.R. 5509, legislation introduced by Rep. Susan W. Brooks (R-IN) to rename the Veterans House of the Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Administration Medical Center in Indianapolis in honor of Dr. Otis ‘Doc’ Bowen, former Secretary of Health and Human Services, Indiana Governor and member of the Army Medical Corps during World War II. The Veterans House is a home away from home for veterans receiving outpatient medical care and family members of hospitalized veterans at Roudebush. The bill must now be considered by the Senate.
“Whether it was in the trenches of war, in political office, or at the doctor’s office, Doc Bowen had a clear passion for serving others,” Brooks said. “His experiences as a combat physician and as a family doctor built a strong foundation for his efforts first as Governor of our great state of Indiana and then later as Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Ronald Reagan. Doc Bowen recognized that the love and support of family and friends are critical components to recovery, and so it’s only right that when Hoosier veterans and their families are in need of a home away from home to find support, to find comfort and to heal, they can find it in a building that bears his name. I’m proud that the Dr. Otis Bowen Veterans House will be a living legacy to honor and continue the life’s work of this great Hoosier.”
From 1985 to 1989, Bowen served as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) under President Ronald Reagan. The first doctor to serve as Secretary, he spearheaded the federal government’s response to the spread of AIDS, promoted public awareness of the dangers of the disease and worked towards its eradication.
As the Governor of Indiana from 1973 to 1981, Bowen restructured the state’s tax system to reduce reliance on property taxes, instituted major improvements to state park facilities, developed a statewide emergency medical services system, and adopted a medical malpractice law that became a national model. He first won elected office in 1956 as a member of the Indiana House of Representatives, and was reelected again for seven consecutive terms between 1960 and 1972, serving as Speaker during four legislative sessions.
Before his career in public service, Bowen established a successful family medical practice in Bremen, Indiana, that remained open for 26 years. He served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps from 1943 to 1946, and he was with the first wave of Allied troops in the invasion of Okinawa in 1945. Bowen earned both B.A. and M.D. degrees from Indiana University, and was born in Richland Center, Indiana. He died in 2013 in Donaldson, Indiana.
The Veterans House, located at 2669 Cold Springs Road in Indianapolis, features 28 fully furnished guest suites with private baths, a common kitchen and dining area, laundry and recreation rooms. The Veterans House was established to provide temporary lodging for veterans and their families, many of whom are unable to incur extra costs associated with a long medical stay away from their home. There is no cost to the veteran or family members to stay at the Veterans House. Funding to build the Veterans House was provided by a generous grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. At the time of the grant, Bowen was a member of the Endowment’s board of directors and encouraged its support of veterans’ causes. In addition to the Lilly Endowment grant, the donations of many service and community organizations are making the project possible.
Rep. Brooks spoke in honor of Dr. Bowen on the House floor before H.R. 5509 passed. Her remarks are available online at: https://youtu.be/rGywKIO1hMY.
Washington, DC – Last night, Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN) voted in favor of H.R. 5931, the Prohibiting Future Ransom Payments to Iran Act, to make it clear that the Obama Administration violated longstanding U.S. policy by paying ransom for the return of American held hostages by Iran in untraceable currency, and prohibiting such action in the future. The bill passed the House by a vote of 254-163. Following the vote, Brooks released the following statement:
“Ransom payments to countries like Iran – the largest state sponsor of terrorism – only serve to fund terrorist activities and encourage Iran to take more hostages, further endangering American citizens abroad. The Administration deliberately misled Congress and the American people, and we are already witnessing the effects. In fact, since the deal, Iran has detained three more Iranian Americans and four other Western dual-nationals. We can’t allow this practice to continue, and in the best interests of the security of our country and our citizens, we must prevent any future ransom or cash payments to Iran.”
In January, the Administration revealed that it paid a $1.7 billion “settlement” to Iran coinciding with the release of five unjustly detained Americans. Last month, Congress learned that the payment, made in unmarked foreign cash, was airlifted to Iran, and hostages were only freed once the money was secured. Currently, no law prohibits this from happening again, which is why H.R. 5931 is so important. These payments are dangerous and will only fund more terrorism and put Americans travelling abroad at risk.
Specifically, H.R. 5931:
WASHINGTON, D.C. —On Thursday, Reps. Todd Young (IN-09), Susan Brooks (IN-05), and Larry Bucshon (IN-08) requested answers from Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson after an Inspector General report found as many as 1,811 individuals with deportation orders may have been erroneously granted citizenship.
The Indiana lawmakers said they are focused on immediate actions needed to mitigate the security risks which arose from the mismanagement within the Department of Homeland Security.
“The failure to robustly review and vet individuals for naturalization allowed several aliens with prior final deportation orders or with criminal histories to be granted security clearances and sensitive public positions,” their letter states.
Rep. Young also issued a statement Wednesday which said a breakdown of this magnitude between homeland security and immigration agencies “identified an alarming flaw in our immigration system. … “ [click to read Young’s full statement].
The lawmakers called on the DHS Secretary to clarify the extent of the problem and actions being taken to “prevent such lapses from endangering U.S. homeland security.”
September 22, 2016
The Honorable Jeh Johnson
Secretary of Homeland Security
Washington D.C. 20528
Dear Secretary Jeh Johnson:
This month, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General found that as many as 1,811 individuals failed to receive appropriate vetting by the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) due to failure to properly maintain records within the Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT). We are writing to clarify the extent of this problem and the intended actions to mitigate the security risks that arose from this negligence.
Beginning in 2012, the Department of Homeland Security began the process of digitizing hardcopy records of fingerprints from the hundreds of thousands of aliens with prior deportation orders and criminal records. However, this crucial task was seemingly abandoned after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) completed only half of the fingerprint digitization effort.
The agency’s failure to properly maintain a robust electronic record of deportation orders resulted in the naturalization of 858 individuals who had previously been ordered to be deported or were removed under alternate identities. An additional 953 individuals have been identified by the DHS Office of Operations Coordination (OPS) team for further review due to inaccurate recordkeeping. This failure to robustly review and vet individuals for naturalization allowed several aliens with prior final deportation orders or with criminal histories to be granted security clearances and sensitive public positions.
We respectfully request that you provide responses to the below questions by no later than October 3rd, 2016:
Thank you in advance for your prompt response. We look forward to working with your department moving forward to prevent such lapses from endangering U.S. homeland security.
Todd C. Young
Washington, D.C. – In response to a pervasive lack of legal assistance for domestic violence survivors, Congressman Joe Kennedy III today introduced the bipartisan POWER Act, which would help connect victims with legal representation. Studies have shown that survivors who can afford or access a lawyer successfully obtain restraining orders in 83% of cases, compared to 32% without a lawyer. The bill is co-sponsored by Congressman Don Young (R-AK), Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Congresswoman Susan Brooks (R-IN).
“For the victims of domestic violence, our justice system should be a safe haven,” said Congressman Kennedy. “Instead, too many survivors show up in court and face the very same fear and intimidation they are trying to escape. Without access to legal assistance, many confront their abuser alone in court, victimized once again. The POWER Act will help restore the promise of equal protection for the millions of domestic violence victims across our country.”
“Approximately one in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, and domestic violence survivors are not guaranteed a lawyer. As a result, many of these survivors are trapped in a cycle of abuse with no way to escape,” said Congresswoman Susan Brooks. “Civil legal aid has been proven to reduce domestic violence, because it helps survivors secure protective orders and get out of abusive situations. As a former U.S. Attorney, I am hopeful that U.S. Attorney offices across the country can play a role in raising awareness for the need of pro bono legal services, connecting victims of domestic violence with legal aid, and ultimately, empowering survivors.”
“No community or state is immune to the devastating impacts of domestic violence and sexual abuse. As a nation, we must do all we can to stem the tide of this growing epidemic,” said Congressman Don Young. “The POWER Act is only one small step in these efforts, but an important tool to empower victims with the necessary legal resources to seek justice. I’m proud to join Representative Kennedy and Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan in this effort to end the evils of domestic violence.”
“The frequency of domestic violence is more prevalent than most realize—nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the U.S. This staggering statistic will not change and could become worse if we don't empower survivors with the support they need to move forward,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. “In Hawaiʻi, 575 domestic violence survivors seek support from local programs and services every single day, and too often, their needs go unmet. The POWER Act will give domestic violence survivors in Hawaiʻi and across the country access to affordable legal services as well as the protection that is often needed for themselves and their families.”
The POWER Act would require each U.S. Attorney’s office to annually host a public event supporting pro bono legal services for survivors of domestic violence. The U.S. Attorneys would report to the Department of Justice which will then compile a single report to Congress each year summarizing the events and discussing their effectiveness.
Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), introduced a companion version in the Senate, which passed with unanimous support.
“Domestic violence and sexual assault are scourges that we must work to eliminate,” said Senator Dan Sullivan. “One of my priorities as Attorney General for Alaska was to tackle the unacceptably high rates of domestic violence and sexual assault in my state. Among other initiatives, I put on a pro bono summit that gathered lawyers from all across the state and saw firsthand how effective such efforts can be. I’m grateful that many lawyers in my state continue to provide much-needed legal services to victims on a pro bono basis. And I am grateful to Congressman Kennedy for introducing this bill in the House of Representatives. We were sent to Washington, D.C. to make a difference. This bill will help make a difference.”
“Too often, victims of domestic violence are unable to seek permanent refuge because they lack the protective legal services that keep them safe from their abusers – but our bill aims to change this,” said Senator Heidi Heitkamp. “We can make sure domestic violence victims – especially those living in Indian Country – can access affordable legal services that can help them escape the often cyclical abuse they experience. Last fall, the Senate unanimously passed the bipartisan bill Senator Sullivan and I introduced to help make those services more available, and it’s great news that Congressman Kennedy is building on that momentum by introducing our bill in the House of Representatives today with a bipartisan group of cosponsors. As North Dakota’s former Attorney General, I understand the many legal needs of victims of domestic violence – and how difficult access to those services can be. By asking our U.S. Attorney’s to take the lead in prioritizing increased access to legal protections for victims of these crimes, with a particular focus in states like North Dakota on our most vulnerable populations including women in Indian Country, this bill helps make sure those critical defense tools are available to victims who need them most.”Read More
INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - The Indiana Fever honored the 16 year WNBA career of Tamika Catchings during a one hour postgame ceremony Sunday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The retirement celebration followed an 83-60 blowout win over the Dallas Wings. Catchings scored 16 points with seven rebounds, two steals and an assist in her final regular season game.
Catchings checked out of the game with 1:33 left, receiving a rousing standing ovation from the 17,704 fans wearing "#24 Forever" white t-shirts. Nearly the entire crowd, which included Pacers legend Reggie Miller, stuck around for Tamika's retirement ceremony.
The house lights were brought down and chairs on the court were filled with Catchings' family, current and former teammates, coaches, politicians and executives from NIKE, USA Basketball and Pacers Sports and Entertainment. The speakers list included Congresswoman Susan Brooks, Mayor Joe Hogsett and WNBA President Lisa Borders.
Former Fever head coach Lin Dunn, who led the franchise to its only WNBA title in 2012, received the loudest ovation among the guest speakers.
"You are a giver like I have never seen before," Dunn told Catchings. "The other thing that you will be remembered for is how you made other players better. You're simply the best. You're better than all the rest."
Many of the speakers talked about Tamika's many contributions off the court through her Catch the Stars foundation that promotes literacy, fitness and youth development.
"She decided from day one that she wanted to make a difference," said Fever head coach Stephanie White. "Boy, has she ever made a difference in the state of Indiana and the Indianapolis community."
White played with Catchings then coached her as an assistant and head coach.
"I was lucky to be your teammate," White told Catchings, pausing and choking back her emotions. "I'm honored to be your friend. I am so proud, so proud of who are. We thank you for gracing us with your presence every day for making us better people."
Pacers Sports and Entertainment presented Tamika with a $100,000 check for her Catch the Stars foundation and a Lexus SUV for her to drive into retirement. NIKE presented Catchings with two armchairs upholstered in her Fever and USA Basketball uniforms. She also received a portrait of herself in her basketball uniform.
After all the gift presentations, Catchings took the microphone.
"Wherever I go, whatever I do next, whatever that looks like - I can't thank you enough for supporting my family and I, for welcoming us in to Indiana, a place that all we did know was that they played basketball," Catchings told the crowd. "But it's so much more. I’ve lived here longer than I've lived anywhere in my whole entire life and literally this is home. This is home for us."
The often emotional Catchings remained composed, telling the crowd she has given every ounce of energy to being the best player she could be for the past 16 years.
"When you give that much, my tears have already been shed," said Catchings. "So whatever happens next, just know each one of you guys lives right here in my heart. I'm so thankful that this journey ends here on this court."
The journey is not over yet. The Fever host the Phoenix Mercury in a one-game first round of the WNBA playoffs Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.Read More
Ahimsa Parmodharam (non-violence is the supreme religion). Our common call to Protect God's Creation unites us together. Love for all and Hatred for Non. Some of these banners clearly explain the importance of unity in religious diversity. Religious leaders of different faiths --- Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Jews, Islam and other faiths shared the same platform on the occasion of 4th Indy Festival of Faiths. Indianapolis today transformed into a 'Mini World' of all religions.
Center for Interfaith Cooperation (CIC) on Sunday organized the Fourth Annual Festival of Faiths at the Veterans Memorial Plaza, Downdown, Indianapolis. It was an opportunity to increase interfaith understanding and highlighting religious history of Indiana throughout the year.
In a message Governor of Indiana Michael R Pence wrote "This event is celebration of different religious communities within Indiana and their contributions that make up the fabric of our state. I appreciate the many hours of hard work that went into planning this event, which will expand the cultural and religious understanding of your Hoosiers unity in Indiana....."
Indianapolis Mayor Joseph Hogsett in his message said "...It is encouraging to know that citizens like you are continuing to build strong communities through hospitality and appreciation of religious diversity..... It is important to offer opportunities for citizens to embrace our cultural diversity and to serve as a welcoming community to all."
Procession of Faith Congregation was led by 2016 Interfaith Ambassador Kanwal Prakash Singh, who is a world renowned artist and Sister Stella Sabina. After welcome by Master of Ceremonies Maninder Walia, words of welcome were by Indianapolis Faith leaders Rabbi Shelley Goldman, Imam Mikal Saahir, Maria Pimentel Gannon, Dr Vimal Patel and Reverend Marilyn Gill marked the opening ceremony.
Various programme were arranged. Program by Guitarist Michael Glenn Bell, Mormon Choir, guided meditation with Dr Unissa Nava, Taiko Drumming with the Soka Gakkai Buddist Community, Dance troupe from Philippines, Sikh Sacred Hymns of Praise, Thanksgiving and Unity by Ragi Joginder Singh Jatha, Giani Pritam Singh and members of theSikh Community.
Led by Congresswoman Susan Brooks table conversations modeled civil discourse and authentic inter-faith dialogue as community leaders facilitated conversations about challenging contemporary issues.
With a goal to brining East and West closer internationally Billbord Top-10 charting artist Denish singer Anita Hjorth Lerche sang Hindu devotional Bhajans and Punjabi songs. Anita, who is also known as Heer from Denmark, was sponsored by Sikh's Political Action Committee.
Importance of a turban in Sikh's life was demonstrated at a vendor which provided an opportunity for a visitor to learn how to tie and wear it. The visitors showed overwhelming response. After getting the turban tied, the participant took photos by selfy. A three-month old Lincoln remained calm while Gurinder Khalsa Singh was tied a blue turban on his head. "Lincon was a prince and now he is a crowned prince," remarked Gurinder Singh.
Gurinder Khalsa Singh, founder and current chairman of Sikhs Political Action Committee (a voice for Diversity and Humanity) and Rupal Thakker Thanawala were among those present participated on the occasion. CIC vice chair Gehlausen and CIC Executive Director Charlie Wiles were looking for all arrangements.Read More
Washington, D.C. – Today, the House passed H.R. 5351, a bill introduced by Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN02) to prohibit the transfer of any individual detained at Guantanamo Bay. Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN05) voted in favor of this legislation and released the following statement:
“I’m proud to have supported Rep. Jackie Walorski’s legislation that would halt transfers of these dangerous individuals and that is in the best interest of our national security. With nearly one third of detainees returning to terrorism after their release, it’s clear that that a more thorough vetting process must be established before any more transfers are granted. This is about keeping our country safe, and this bill couldn't be more necessary. Especially when many of these countries do not have the resources to monitor and secure these individuals to prevent them from engaging once more in terrorist activity. I will always put the security of our nation and the safety of our citizens first, and this legislation is one way that we can better secure our homeland.”Read More
Six of Indiana’s U.S. representatives filed legislation Tuesday to help veterans regain their GI Bill education benefits after the closure of ITT Technical Institute.
Carmel-based ITT Educational Services Inc. shut down all of its ITT Tech campuses on Sept. 6, leaving more than 1,000 Hoosier students without degrees.
While current federal law allows students to have their federal student loans discharged if they are unable to complete a degree program due to the closure of a school, there is no similar provision for veterans who used the GI Bill to cover costs.
“Thousands of veterans invested their time and educational benefits to attend ITT Tech, and now they are left without a degree or path forward,” U.S. Rep. Luke Messer, a Republican from the 6th District, said in a written statement.
The legislation would let veterans recover their benefits if they were using them at a college or university that closes, preventing them from graduating. The new legislation would apply to all veterans who were enrolled at ITT Tech at the time it closed.
Messer filed the legislation along with fellow Republican U.S. Reps. Todd Young, Jackie Walorski, Susan Brooks, Larry Bucshon and Todd Rokita.
In addition to the effort in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Indiana state agencies and representatives from five Indiana colleges announced actions to help former ITT Tech students.
Indiana Wesleyan University said it will let ITT Tech students transfer up to 90 credits into its non-residential programs and offer them a 10 percent tuition discount.
However, many colleges, including Ivy Tech Community College, do not accept ITT Tech credits. Instead, the community college is waiving some course test-out fees to help students earn credit for the education they gained while at ITT Tech.
Oakland City University, Harrison College and WGU Indiana are also taking some steps to ease the transition. A complete list of the assistance can be found on the Indiana Commission for Higher Education’s website.Read More
1505 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
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.
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Joined community members and leaders in Anderson, Indiana, for the Reconciliation March this morning to promote harmony and understanding.
Great to meet so many strong women leaders from the Wabash Valley Leadership Institute today while they're visiting Capital Hill to learn more
The House passed legislation that would ban synthetic fentanyl and other compounds that mirror the effects of heroin and other drugs. This legislation
Tonight, the House passed my bill to honor former Indiana Governor and Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Otis "Doc" Bowen. I gave remarks
Great meeting with my Youth Advisory Group this morning! Thanks to everyone who joined us at the Zionsville, Indiana, Public Library. The group