Tim Walberg

Tim Walberg

MICHIGAN's 7th DISTRICT

Walberg Votes to Promote Manufacturing and Create More American Jobs

2014/11/20

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Walberg voted in favor of H.R. 4795, the Promoting New Manufacturing Act, to encourage investment in American manufacturing. The legislation passed with bipartisan support by a vote of 238 to 172.

"If our country is to remain globally competitive in the manufacturing sector with nations like China, Washington must provide clear guidelines to industry instead of the current onslaught of unpredictable, arbitrary regulations.  This legislation cuts federal red tape, holds the EPA accountable and lays out a transparent construction permitting process so hardworking Americans can get back to work and help grow a healthy economy." 

Read More

Walberg Votes to Move Forward with Keystone XL Pipeline

2014/11/14

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Walberg voted for H.R. 5682 to provide immediate authority for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, an energy infrastructure project that has been delayed for over six years. H.R. 5682 passed on a strong bipartisan vote of 252-161.

“Bipartisan support for the pipeline continues to grow while the Obama Administration and the Senate have blocked every effort over the last six years to pass this important energy infrastructure and boost our economy.  The Senate and President are out of excuses – let’s approve the Keystone pipeline and begin construction on this project that will create jobs and lower energy costs,” said Rep. Walberg following the vote.   Read More

The Washington Post: VA restructuring plan draws virtually no outside enthusiasm

2014/11/12

The Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday unveiled a restructuring plan to regain the public’s trust and ensure smoother operations after the agency’s recent scheduling scandal, but veterans groups and key members of Congress have expressed little enthusiasm for the proposals.

The American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars have said nothing about the plans, which is unusual for a major initiative. Meanwhile, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America expressed cautious optimism, mixed with a dash of criticism.

“After years of failure, missed deadlines and disappointment at VA, our veterans will only celebrate when we see results,” IAVA chief executive Paul Rieckhoff said Monday. “We’re all rooting for Secretary McDonald and the VA, but IAVA members won’t be satisfied until the mission is accomplished and we see a measurable difference in local communities nationwide.”

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald speaks about his efforts to improve services during a news conference at the National Press Club on Nov. 7. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) didn’t address any specifics of the VA plan in a statement about the initiative Monday. Instead, he applauded the department’s recent efforts to hire more health professionals who can help deal with increasing demand.

“That’s the senator’s major focus and the subject of his meetings with [VA Secretary Robert McDonald] on VA reform,” said Jeff Frank, a Sanders spokesman.

House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), one of the department’s staunchest critics, suggested in a statement Monday that nothing will appease him like seeing quick firings of employees who were responsible for the scheduling scandal, which involved widespread falsification of appointment data to cover up treatment delays.

“New plans, initiatives and organizational structures are all well and good, but they will not produce their intended results until VA rids itself of the employees who have shaken veterans’ trust in the system,” Miller said. “So far, VA hasn’t done that — as evidenced by the fact that the majority of those who caused the VA scandal are still on the department payroll.”

Last month, the department implemented its first official firing under new rules that Congress and President Obama approved this summer for removing senior executives over wrongdoing and performance issues.

All told, the agency has proposed terminations for four senior executives, and McDonald, who took office in the wake of the scheduling scandal, has said that he has proposed disciplinary action for about 40 employees, with the possibility of 1,000 more to come.

But many Republicans, especially Miller, have accused the VA chief of moving too slowly. In particular, the chairman takes issue with the department giving employees five days’ notice before initiating the firing process to give them time to answer the charges against them.

Miller has also complained that VA executives have a chance to retire or accept other federal jobs before the agency has a chance to finalize their removals.

McDonald has argued that he is holding employees accountable as fast as he can while allowing for due process. He said during a media breakfast last week that he can’t just “walk into a room and simply fire people,” even with the new law in place for removing bad actors.

The legislation that was approved this summer shortened the appeal process for senior executives who are proposed for removal, but it does not allow the VA to oust employees without a chance to respond.

“No one doubts that reforming VA is a tough job,” Miller said. “But getting rid of failed executives should be the easiest part — not the most difficult.”

To read the original article at the Washington Post, click here.  Read More

Walberg Statement on President’s Support for Regulating the Internet

2014/11/11

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Tim Walberg issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s announcement of his support for regulating the Internet as a utility under Title II of the Communications Act:

"The President's recently announced support for regulating the Internet as a utility is bad for consumers, entrepreneurs, and the future of our economy.  The Internet has served as an engine for economic growth precisely because of its freedom from undue government regulation and interference. The FCC is an independent body and should resist this political pressure from the White House to regulate the internet in a way which will increase online censorship, kill jobs and limit future innovations." 

 

Read More

Jackson Cit Pat: Take time to reflect on the many sacrifices our nation's veterans have made for our country

2014/11/11

As we take time this week to pay tribute to our military men and women who have returned home from the battlefield, I hope you will make the day more personal by reflecting on individuals in our community – whether a relative, neighbor or friend – who volunteered to put on a uniform and serve in defense of our great nation.

I've been personally inspired by the story of Samuel MacDonald Worthington, a 1934 graduate of Jackson High School who left his position as a draftsman and tool designer to enlist in the Navy. 

Although older than most in training, he was determined to excel as a pilot, and served in World War II as a flight instructor and a patrol plane commander. When his overseas tour ended, Lt. (jg) Worthington re-enlisted to ensure that all of his crew members returned home safely. 

During his second deployment, Worthington's plane came upon the wreckage of the U.S.S. Indianapolis (CA-35), in the Pacific Ocean – one of the worst at sea naval disasters in history.

Just after midnight on July 30, 1945, the U.S.S. Indianapolis with almost 1,200 crew members on board, was hit by two torpedoes from a Japanese submarine.

The ship was split into three parts, and it sank within 12 minutes. Three-quarters of the crew died in the attack, making it the largest loss of life at sea in the Navy's history.

While on patrol from Saipan to Jinamoc, Worthington and his crew noticed a flash and a large oil slick.

They saw the survivors of the tragedy, with sharks around the perimeter, and the crew began dropping all survival gear – including their own life jackets and rafts - but their request for permission to land and pick up survivors was denied.

Worthington's daughter Dee-Dee says, "My precious father has passed to his heavenly home, but I still have contact with the radioman. My mother and I were honored to represent my father at the opening of an exhibit at the National Military History Center in Auburn, Indiana.

The exhibit included a U.S.S. Indianapolis display with a picture of my dad/crew and an informative write-up. We also were humbled to meet some of the survivors."    

On Veterans Day, we will pause to reflect on the many sacrifices our nation's uniformed men and women have made for our country.

Here in the House of Representatives, I've worked to honor those sacrifices by supporting a number of veterans' bills, including legislation to address the disability claim backlog at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), improve vocational and educational opportunities, and to help vulnerable disabled veterans maintain housing.

In May, I introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure living Medal of Honor recipients receive timely access to their health benefits.

We have a duty to make sure these heroes have access to the VA when they need it, and the Medal of Honor Priority Care Act will ensure that this select group of individuals is guaranteed high-quality care.

I've also spearheaded efforts to assist service members as they end their military service and transition back into civilian life.

The Service Members Transition Improvement Act is a bipartisan bill I've introduced to strengthen the connection between separating soldiers and veteran service organizations by providing a more accessible and up-to-date copy of their information to state veterans agencies. 

The legislation was later included as an amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act which passed in the House of Representatives earlier this year.

For those heroes who are no longer with us, such as Lt. Samuel Worthington, we will forever be grateful for their heroic military service and defense of our nation's freedoms.

For those who are still living in our community, we will continue to demonstrate our gratitude and work to provide the benefits and care they have earned and deserved. 

Read More

Thomson Reuters | IRS clarifies its position on civil forfeitures in uncharged structuring cases

2014/10/29

Following a slew of recent negative press involving IRS’s use of civil forfeiture laws, IRS’s Chief of Criminal Investigation (CI) has issued a statement stating that the agency would no longer pursue the seizure and forfeiture of funds associated solely with legal source “structuring” cases unless there are exceptional circumstances that warrant such seizures or forfeitures. This article provides background on the banking laws implicated in these cases and on the Justice Department’s asset forfeiture program, the facts of a recent high-profile case that brought this issue into the public eye, and proposed legislation to combat perceived civil forfeiture abuses.

Background. Under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), financial institutions generally must report each deposit, withdrawal, exchange of currency or other payment or transfer which involves a transaction in currency of more than $10,000. Multiple currency transactions must be treated as a single transaction if the financial institution has knowledge that the transactions are by or on behalf of any one person and result in either cash in or cash out totalling more than $10,000 during any one business day. (31 CFR §103.22)

A taxpayer may not “structure,” or assist in structuring, his deposits (e.g., by keeping a series of deposits under the $10,000 threshold) in order to avoid BSA requirements. (31 USC 5324(a)(3)) A fine of not more than $250,000, or imprisonment for not more than five years, or both, may be imposed on a person who willfully violates this anti-structuring provision. (31 USC 5322(a))

According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) website, the DOJ’s Asset Forfeiture Program “encompasses the seizure and forfeiture of assets that represent the proceeds of, or were used to facilitate federal crimes. The primary mission of the Program is to employ asset forfeiture powers in a manner that enhances public safety and security. This is accomplished by removing the proceeds of crime and other assets relied upon by criminals and their associates to perpetuate their criminal activity against our society. Asset forfeiture has the power to disrupt or dismantle criminal organizations that would continue to function if we only convicted and incarcerated specific individuals.”

Recent scandal. A recent New York Times article (“Law Lets I.R.S. Seize Accounts on Suspicion, No Crime Required” (Oct. 25, 2014), by Shaila Dewan) profiled Carole Hinder, a restaurant owner who, for 38 years, deposited the earnings from her cash-only establishment at a local bank. According to the article, last year, without charging Hinder with any crime, IRS seized her checking account because of the less-than-$10,000 pattern in deposits—which, by itself, was apparently a sufficient basis to obtain a seizure warrant despite the facts that valid business reasons may exist for keeping deposit levels under $10,000 and that doing so isn’t illegal absent an intent to evade the BSA reporting requirements. (The article indicates that IRS is one of several agencies that investigates cases then refers them to the DOJ.)

According to a press release by the Institute for Justice (IJ), Hinder and the IJ are bringing a lawsuit challenging the forfeiture. ( http://www.ij.org/iowa-forfeiture-release-10-27-2014 ) Larry Salzman, an IJ attorney, called civil forfeiture “one of the most serious assaults on property rights in America today.” The IJ says that unlike criminal forfeiture (which generally follows a criminal conviction), with civil forfeiture, a property owner can have his or her property permanently taken without ever being convicted of or even charged with a crime. The IJ also alleges that IRS made 639 seizures in 2012, up from 114 in 2005—a more-than-550% increase.

RIA observation:Weekly Alert readers might remember the Institute for Justice from their representation of the plaintiffs in the Loving case (Loving, et al, v. IRS, et al, 113 AFTR 2d 2014-867113 AFTR 2d 2014-867), which successfully challenged IRS’s authority to regulate tax return preparers who prepare and file tax returns for compensation.

IRS’s response. Richard Weber, chief of IRS-CI, provided the following statement to the New York Times: “After a thorough review of our structuring cases over the last year and in order to provide consistency… I.R.S.-C.I. will no longer pursue the seizure and forfeiture of funds associated solely with “legal source” structuring cases unless there are exceptional circumstances justifying the seizure and forfeiture and the case has been approved at the director of field operations (D.F.O.) level. While the act of structuring — whether the funds are from a legal or illegal source — is against the law, I.R.S.-C.I. special agents will use this act as an indicator that further illegal activity may be occurring.”

Political response. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee and senior member of the Finance Committee, commented in response that “[t]he IRS plays a role in fighting money laundering and other criminal activity, but it has to treat business owners fairly. If the pendulum has swung too far in favor of the government and against fairness for innocent people, then it’s time to reform civil asset forfeiture laws and procedures.”

Legislative proposals. There have been a number of recent bills introduced regarding civil asset forfeiture (which has become an increasingly prevalent issue over the past few years, with alleged abuses occurring at the state and local levels in addition to misuse by federal agencies) prior to this latest scandal. S.2644, the “Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration (FAIR) Act of 2014,” was introduced by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) back in July. The bill would make the federal government’s standard of proof in civil forfeiture proceedings be “clear and convincing evidence” and would require the government, in addition to showing a substantial connection between the seized property and the offense in a forfeiture proceeding, to establish by clear and convincing evidence that the owner of any interest in the seized property intentionally used the property (or knowingly consented or was willfully blind to the use of the property by another) in connection with the offense.

H.R. 5212, the “Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2014,” was also introduced in July by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI). The bill would similarly make the government’s standard of proof be “clear and convincing evidence,” require the government to notify all owners of forfeited property of the possibility of using a public defender to argue their case, and expand the criteria to consider when weighing the proportionality of the amount of the forfeiture against the connected crime.

To read the original article at Reuters, click here. 

Read More

Hillsdale: Walberg introduces legislation to reform civil asset forfeiture laws

2014/10/28

HILLSDALE — Civil asset forfeiture is a practice by which the government can seize and sell a person’s property without the individual ever being charged with a crime. If a person’s property is suspected of being used for criminal activity, then it is subject to seizure; this includes cash, vehicles and even homes.

On July 28, Rep. Tim Walberg introduced H.R. 5212 – the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act – which, according to a release, seeks to restore personal property rights under the Fifth Amendment and ensure due process of law by reforming long-standing civil forfeiture policy.

In the release, it’s reported current law allows agencies like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to take property suspected to be connected with a crime without charging, let alone convicting, the property owner of a crime.

The Federal Asset Forfeiture Fund collected more than $2 billion in 2013 from civil and criminal forfeitures policy.

Cases of civil asset forfeiture have occurred in Michigan. Longtime grocer Terry Dehko, of Fraser, had his bank accounts seized by IRS because they suspected him of being a money launderer. The charges were never filed, but Dehko had to prove his money was not used in a criminal enterprise.

In cases throughout the country there have been instances of law enforcement agencies seizing property and using the money for extravagant purchases. Some police agencies have been found to have spent the money on outlandish items like margarita machines or vacation trips for friends of the force.

With more and more instances being reported on throughout the country, there has been increased pressure on lawmakers to make a change. This has ultimately led to the pending legislation.

In 2012 local police agencies in Hillsdale County reported zero asset forfeiture funds. However, according to the state of Michigan, the Hillsdale County Sheriff and Hillsdale County Prosecutors reported $7,866 in forfeiture funds – that number is up $4,192 from 2011 when $3,674 was reported.

For comparison, Branch County reported $3,960 in 2012. That number is up $3,152 from $808 in 2011. Similarly, Lenawee county reported $3,100 in 2012 – that reporting increased $2,097 from $1,003 in 2011.

Hillsdale’s northern neighbor, Jackson County, comes in much higher with $20,833 reported in 2012. That number is down $31,041 from the $51,874 reported in 2011.

“In a country founded on principles of due process and property rights, we should not be promoting a system where an individual’s property may be seized without a finding of guilt,” Walberg said in his press release. “Reform to our civil asset forfeiture laws is necessary to ensure the federal government can no longer profit from the unjust seizure of property.”

According to Walberg’s office in Washington D.C, the proposed legislation was introduced in direct response to several recent stories involving innocent property owners having their property seized by federal officials.

 “This legislation provides commonsense reforms to restore the balance of power away from the government and back to protecting individual rights and due process," Walberg said. "We cannot abide a system where citizens fear that law enforcement can seize, forfeit and profit from their property."

Walberg was in Hillsdale last week and said the bill is gaining bipartisan support; he said there may be enough support by next term to get it passed. Walberg said that when a piece of legislation has both liberal and conservative media outlets supporting it, it has a very good chance of becoming law.

On July 27 the bill was referred to the house judiciary committee, and then on Sept. 25 the legislation was referred to the congressional subcommittee on crime, terrorism, homeland security and investigations.

To read the original article at the Daily News, click here

Read More

Washintgon Post: Congress expresses doubt about U.S. Ebola precautions

2014/10/24

Lawmakers voiced skepticism on Friday about Obama administration assurances that government measures are likely to succeed in protecting the United States, and U.S. soldiers overseas, from further spread of the Ebola virus.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, characterized the administration’s response to the disease so far as “bumbling.”

“I think we all know that the system is not yet refined to where we could say it is working properly,” he said during a hearing on government management of the disease.

Issa and other members of Congress questioned measures the administration had taken to prepare for a possible pandemic before Ebola appeared in U.S. hospitals, and their recommendations to health-care workers and the public since then.

The hearing came the morning after a New York doctor who recently returned from West Africa was confirmed to have Ebola. He was the fourth person to be diagnosed with the disease in the United States.

Officials from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Defense Department detailed plans for preventing the spread of Ebola at home and among U.S. troops being sent to the disease’s epicenter in West Africa.

Earlier this year, President Obama ordered up to 4,000 U.S. soldiers be sent to West Africa to train local health workers, build treatment facilities and help coordinate the international response to the disease.

But lawmakers pointed out that the government’s own guidelines for quarantine, travel safety and the protection of medical workers appeared to have evolved in the weeks since Ebola was first diagnosed in a U.S. hospital.

“Lately, when a government agency comes before this committee, especially, and tells me, ‘There’s nothing to worry about. We got this,’ that’s when I start to worry,” said Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-Mass.).

Nicole Laurie, a senior official at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said the risk of a significant Ebola outbreak in the United States is “remote.”

“Based on the first U.S. cases, HHS has already made adjustments to minimize the spread of Ebola,” she said. “These include tightened guidance for the use of personal protective equipment, an expanded aggressive national education campaign for health-care workers, and screening and active monitoring of passengers entering the United States, now funneled through five airports.”

She said it was natural that procedures had changed after the disease appeared in the United States.

But Deborah Burger, co-president of National Nurses United, told lawmakers that American health-care workers remained at risk. She said nurses had gotten inconsistent instructions, were often left to make decisions about proper precautions for themselves and at times had been forced to improvise their own protective gear.

She said only new, legally required guidelines would ensure medical facilities will provide workers the protection they need.

“The response to Ebola from U.S. hospitals and governmental agencies has been dangerously inconsistent and inadequate,” she said.

John Roth, the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general, told lawmakers that the administration had mishandled a nearly $50 million program to prepare for pandemics.

The Department purchased coveralls and surgical masks, for example, that may have been unneeded, while other gear, such as respirators, had expired, Roth said. Officials are now working to address those problems, he said.

“I think it’s evident by the hearing today and hearings that will go on that you’re not bringing us a sense of security,” said Tim Walberg (R-Mich.).

Lawmakers also probed officials about plans for protecting troops sent to West Africa.

“The safety of our service members . . . is absolutely paramount, and while you can never mitigate risk to zero, I think we’ve taken all the steps to mitigate the risk,” said Michael Lumpkin, assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict.

Officials acknowledged the U.S. government would currently only be able to bring less than 10 symptomatic soldiers home per week. The military is working to develop isolation pods that could move up to 15 sick patients by air at a time.

Defense officials explained some guidelines for keeping soldiers safe in West Africa. For example: asking soldiers to stand three feet from local nationals and washing their hands with chlorine. Soldiers’ temperatures will be taken twice a day.

To read the original article at Washington Post, click here.  Read More

Forbes: Federal Forfeiture Program: What's It Funding?

2014/10/22

Cops are increasingly looking and acting more like soldiers. How are they paying for all this militarized equipment? One source of funding is particularly disconcerting for Americans’ constitutional rights: equitable sharing.

Under this federal forfeiture program, local and state law enforcement can seize—and keep—cash, cars and other property they suspect have links to crime. Yet the taken property overwhelmingly came from people who have done nothing wrong. According to a new investigation by The Washington Post, the government never charged property owners with a crime in 81 percent of equitable sharing cases. Since 2008, 5,400 police departments and task forces have spent $2.5 billion in federally forfeited property.

These off-budget funds are a driving force behind the militarization of America’s police forces, giving rise to “warrior cops.”  A Georgia town of 8,000 people spent nearly $80,000 on weapons and protective gear, including 27 M-4 rifles. Another department in Georgia purchased an eight-ton BearCat armored personnel carrier for $227,000. Police in Prince George’s County, Md. obtained a “mobile command bus” worth $1.2 million. Nationwide, police have spent over $175 millionin equitable sharing funds on weaponry.

While these procurements are helping transform Officer Friendly into G.I. Joe, other police purchases uncovered by the Post were more lavish. Or just plain ridiculous. To paint kids’ faces at an Easter party, police in Reminderville, Ohio hired “Sparkles the Clown” for $225. One Texas sheriff’s department spent $637 on a coffee maker, and over $5,000 on “banquets, luncheons and fundraisers” and expenses for the “Smokin Pigs Cooking Team.” The Sheriff’s Office in Mesa County, Colo. paid over $8,400 to send 20 lawyers to a conference at a ski resort in 2009. Agencies around the country have bought dozens of “new and used sports and luxury cars, including at least 15 Mercedes, a dozen Mustangs, a handful of BMWs and two Corvettes.”

Other police and prosecutors have infamously used forfeiture funds to buy Hawaiian vacations and a margarita machine. Or as John Oliver put it, “They were literally using this money as their own personal slush fund.”

Meanwhile, more altruistic causes are getting short shrift. Less than one percent of all equitable sharing funds, or about $20 million, has funded “community-based programs.” According to the Justice Department, these programs can include “a drug treatment facility, job skills program, or a youth program with drug and crime prevention education.” Yet even this paltry figure may be inflated: Hiring Sparkles the Clown was listed as a “community-based program.”

Moreover, there is an appalling lack of oversight and accountability. The Department of Justice has only been able to audit 25 out of the 5,400 police departments and task forces that partake in equitable sharing. While the Justice Department’s guidelines admonish that “agencies should not ‘spend it before you get it’ or budget anticipated receipts,” that hasn’t stopped 100 departments and task forces from receiving the equivalent of at least 20 percent of their budgets from equitable sharing. For one Maryland police department, asset forfeiture is used both “in tight budget periods, and even in times of budget surpluses.”

The weak safeguards don’t stop there. In callous disregard for federalism, police can routinely evade state restrictions and cash in through civil forfeiture, so long as they collaborate with a federal agency. For instance, Missouri and North Carolina are two of just eight states that ban law enforcement from keeping any forfeiture proceeds, according to the Institute for Justice’s report, “Policing for Profit.” But these laws don’t apply to property seized under equitable sharing. So if local and state law enforcement partner with an agency like the DEA, they can take property under federal law, and keep up to 80 percent of the proceeds.

In Missouri, instead of padding police budgets, any revenue generated from forfeiting property is supposed to fund public schools. But equitable sharing completely undermines that arrangement. In 2010, the Missouri State Auditor reported that of $5.7 million seized that year, “less than $26,000 went to Missouri public schools.” In contrast, over $4.2 million was transferred to a federal agency through equitable sharing, and then funneled back to local law enforcement.

Similarly, North Carolina is the only state in the country that essentially does not have civil forfeiture, instead requiring a criminal conviction before the government can take someone’s property. Yet law enforcement still spent over $90 million in federally forfeited assets since 2008. In fact, according to The Washington Post, North Carolina and Missouri are the seventh and tenth largest spenders of equitable sharing funds respectively.

Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Tim Walberg haveintroduced new legislation that would either end or curb equitable sharing, thereby stemming the flow of military-grade equipment onto our nation’s streets. As local police departments continue to metastasize into paramilitary units, civil forfeiture reform is vital to reverse this disturbing trend.

Read More

The Blade: Star-spangled assembly kicks off students’ D.C. trip

2014/10/20

DUNDEE, Mich. — A Dundee High School special assembly last week promoted an upcoming student trip to the nation’s capital, featured a congressman as keynote speaker, and celebrated George Washington with the dedication of a portrait of the first president that came from his Mount Vernon estate.

About a dozen students will spend the week before Thanksgiving in Washington catching the sights and learning how government works, said history teacher Paul Walters, who will accompany them.

The assembly kicked off with a performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by the school choir, with piano accompaniment by music teacher Haley Sulisz, that earned applause from the audience in the school gym.

Mr. Walters then explained Project Close Up, a national nonprofit program that helps finance field trips to Washington. The students, he said, “get out of school for a week, but it’s not a vacation.”

Jon Vogt, another history teacher, who wore a George Washington T-shirt, spoke more about the project, and the choir launched into “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.”

Seniors Holly Harnica and Kaitlin Symanns then recalled their experiences on the field trip to D.C. last year. Holly said she would remember the trip all her life and recalled visiting the Supreme Court. But the most memorable part, she said, was interacting with students from around the country.

Mr. Vogt then spoke of Mount Vernon and George Washington, telling the students “there’s no one who exemplifies American history” more than the first president. Mr. Vogt promised a box of candy to students who could explain five points from Washington’s Farewell Address, delivered in 1796.

The extemporaneous keynote address was given by U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg (R., Tipton). He described the 7th Congressional District, which he represents and which includes Monroe County, as “the gateway to Pure Michigan” and a place of rich history, including the War of 1812. He told the students they were as American as George Washington was, “as American as anyone who came before you,” and that this status carried responsibilities.

Then the portrait of George Washington was unveiled. Mount Vernon also donated an American flag that flew over the estate.

To read the original article, click here

Read More

Loading legislation ... one moment please
Loading votes ... one moment please

Contact Information

2436 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-6276
Fax 202-225-6281
walberg.house.gov

Tim Walberg is currently serving his third term in Congress as the representative of south-central Michigan.  The diverse constituency of Michigan’s 7th District encompasses Branch, Eaton, Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee, and Monroe Counties, along with parts of Washtenaw County.  Since first taking office, Tim has hosted hundreds of coffee and town hall meetings to better understand the thoughts and concerns of the district.

Prior to his time in public office, Tim served as a pastor in Michigan and Indiana, as president of the Warren Reuther Center for Education and Community Impact, and as a division manager for Moody Bible Institute.  He also served in the Michigan House of Representatives from 1983 to 1999, and is proud to bring his reputation as a principled legislator, fiscal reformer, and defender of traditional values to Washington.

In the 113th Congress, Tim serves on the House Education and the Workforce Committee as Chair of the Workforce Protections Subcommittee.  In addition, he serves on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

He and his wife, Sue, have been married for over 39 years, and enjoy spending time outdoors and riding on their Harley. They live in Tipton, Michigan, where they raised their three children: Matthew, Heidi and Caleb.


Serving With

Dan Benishek

MICHIGAN's 1st DISTRICT

Bill Huizenga

MICHIGAN's 2nd DISTRICT

Justin Amash

MICHIGAN's 3rd DISTRICT

Dave Camp

MICHIGAN's 4th DISTRICT

Fred Upton

MICHIGAN's 6th DISTRICT

Mike Rogers

MICHIGAN's 8th DISTRICT

Candice Miller

MICHIGAN's 10th DISTRICT

Kerry Bentivolio

MICHIGAN's 11th DISTRICT

Recent Videos