WASHINGTON –Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO-02) released the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s affirmation of commonsense religious freedom in its landmark 7-2 decision in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer:
“The Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ discrimination against Trinity Lutheran Church Child Learning Center—solely because of the center’s religious affiliation—is a clear infringement on the free exercise of religion in Missouri. I applaud the Supreme Court for siding with religious freedom and Trinity Lutheran Church, and I stand with the many faith-based organizations across Missouri that provide valuable services to the community. As stated in Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion of the Court, ‘the exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution…and cannot stand.’”
WASHINGTON—Today, Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO-02), along with lead cosponsor Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY-14) and 26 other cosponsors, introduced the bipartisan Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2017 to improve U.S. efforts to prevent mass atrocity crimes. Named after the courageous Auschwitz survivor, the legislation honors the legacy of Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and his life work to fight evil around the world.
“From the Holocaust to South Sudan, from Burma to Syria, the world has witnessed far too many genocides and mass atrocity crimes,” said Rep. Ann Wagner. “The true horror is that most of these devastating crises are preventable. My heart aches for those whose lives are being torn apart, and the fact that over 65 million people are currently fleeing preventable crises makes clear that the U.S. Government must improve its response to these conflicts.”
“Atrocities and violence committed over the last century and today, make it all the more important that our government and leaders take steps to detect and prevent atrocities before they start in the first place,” said Chairman Joe Crowley. “Once major conflict breaks out it becomes much more difficult to address so developing the structures needed to prevent conflict is essential. We need a framework to stop violence before it spirals out of control and leads to more suffering.”
The Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2017, companion legislation to S. 1158, would establish an interagency Mass Atrocities Task Force to strengthen the U.S. Government’s atrocity prevention and response efforts. The legislation encourages the Director of National Intelligence to include atrocity crime information in his or her annual report to Congress; authorizes training for U.S. Foreign Service Officers on early signs of atrocities and transitional justice measures; and authorizes the Complex Crises Fund to support programs to prevent emerging or unforeseen crises overseas.
Genocide and atrocity crimes—including war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing—include shocking acts of violence perpetrated by governments and non-state actors, resulting in the murders of millions of civilians and other innocent persons across the globe. The legislation establishes that the official policy of the United States is to regard the prevention of genocide and other atrocity crimes as a core national security interest and moral responsibility, and to develop a government-wide prevention strategy.
Rep. Ann Wagner is joined by the following cosponsors: Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY), Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX), Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN), Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY), Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Rep. William Keating (D-MA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA), Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA), Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL), Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Rep. Bonnie Coleman (D-NJ), Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), Rep. Jack Rosen (D-NV), and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD).
WASHINGTON, D.C.- Today, Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO) and Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) introduced H.R. 2803, the Abolish Human Trafficking Act. The bill is a companion to legislation filed today in the Senate by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX).
The legislation reauthorizes programs established and modified under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.
“In order to combat human trafficking, we need to get serious about equipping our health care providers, judges, and law enforcement officials with the tools they need to effectively identify and investigate cases,” said Congresswoman Wagner. “The Abolish Human Trafficking Act reauthorizes important victim services and allows law enforcement to better address organized human trafficking. Together, we can educate stakeholders on the realities of the commercial sex industry and break the cycle of sexual exploitation in America.”
“Congress must take a stand for victims of sex trafficking by reauthorizing these important programs that provide support to human trafficking victims,” said Congressman Poe. “Our goal is to break the cycle of exploitation while restoring the lives of these innocent women and children. Our law enforcement must have the proper tools to prevent dastardly criminals from exploiting others, whether they be the buyer or seller. Modern day slavery has no place in America.”
The Abolish Human Trafficking Act is a continuation of the work done with Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act co-sponsored by Congresswoman Wagner and signed into law in 2015.
Specifically, The Abolish Human Trafficking Act:
Permanently authorizes the Human Trafficking Advisory Council.Read More
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Wagner issued the following statement after her meeting with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and the reintroduction of legislation regarding the West Lake Landfill.
“Yesterday I had a very positive meeting with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and was pleased to hear that cleanup of the West Lake Landfill is a top priority. I trust Administrator Pruitt’s commitment and look forward to working with him. I welcome his efforts to regain the respect of a community neglected by previous administrations. Administrator Pruitt told me:
“Getting to a decision and finally concluding the long saga of the West Lake Superfund site is a top priority for the EPA. We are working with a sense of urgency at an accelerated pace to create an efficient and cost effective solution which protects human health and the environment in West Lake.”
The safety of those living near the West Lake Landfill must come first. I will continue to pursue all avenues, including legislation, to get this community a fix. However it gets done, West Lake must be cleaned up and made safe for everyone in the community."Read More
WASHINGTON—Today, Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO) and Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) held a Special Order on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in recognition of Combatting Trafficking and Child Protection Week. They were joined by their House colleagues Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), and Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI).
Human trafficking has invaded communities and neighborhoods across America. It is currently one of the most profitable crimes in the world—after the drug trade—and its victims have endured horrific trauma, violence, and abuse. Congress must continue to provide tools to empower the fight against this egregious crime, ensure full implementation of anti-trafficking legislation, conduct sustained oversight, and enact victim-centered practices and procedures. It is the most precious duty of Congress to safeguard human rights and protections for the most vulnerable members of our society.
To watch the special order, click HERE.Read More
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO-2) released the following statement after Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City announced that it is leaving the Obamacare exchange, leaving approximately thirty thousand Missourians without health insurance.
“This announcement means thirty thousand Missourians will lose their health insurance next year and 25 counties will have no health insurance option. Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services released a report showing that, because of Obamacare, monthly insurance premiums for Missouri families have skyrocketed 145% since 2013. Obamacare has failed Missouri families, and politicians who continue to defend this broken system are ignoring the needs of Missouri families.”
Wagner continued, “Washington created this nightmare and the solution is not more government health insurance from Washington, DC. The answer is to make the American Health Care Act law and give Missouri families the freedom and control over their own healthcare decisions and needs, not Washington bureaucrats.”
Next year there will be 25 counties in Missouri with no health insurance option. In addition, 77 out of Missouri’s 114 counties will have only one insurer option next year. The Department of Health and Human Services report shows that because of Obamacare, all 39 states using healthcare.gov saw an increase in individual market premiums. Specifically, Missourians saw their monthly insurance premiums skyrocket by 145%. Since 2013 average monthly premiums rose from $197 to $483 today, an annual cost of over $3,400 for Missourians.Read More
WASHINGTON—Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO-02) released the below statement following unanimous passage of her legislation, Put Trafficking Victims First Act of 2017, in the U.S. House of Representatives today:
“Victims of trafficking have endured horrific trauma, violence, and abuse, but they continue to be overlooked and underserved. This must stop. Victims need help to rebuild their lives and that’s what the Put Trafficking Victims First Act does—improves support, identification, and services for victims of this egregious crime. America needs to afford trafficking victims the same justice, protections, and dignity that other crime victims receive.”
This bill, H.R. 2473, advances a survivor-centered approach to addressing human trafficking that ensures the safety, confidentiality, and well-being of victims. It encourages stakeholders to recognize symptoms of trauma that may impact victims’ interactions with law enforcement, the justice system, and service providers. The legislation:
· Trains government agencies, law enforcement, and prosecutors to implement victim-centered approaches to investigating and preventing trafficking.
· Evaluates state “safe harbor laws” that are meant to protect child trafficking victims from being treated like criminals.
· Establishes a working group to develop methodologies to determine trafficking prevalence and trends, and evaluate how to identify victims and address their needs.
· Establishes a survey of survivors so we can better understand how victims access help.
· Directs the Department of Justice to make mandatory restitution for trafficking victims truly mandatory and implement victim-friendly procedures in federal criminal cases.
· Encourages states to improve outreach to victims; screen vulnerable children and foreign nationals who may be trafficked; provide shelter and housing to victims; fully prosecute sellers and buyers; develop emergency response plans; and pass laws to give trafficking victims the ability to vacate criminal records related to non-violent offenses they were forced to commit.
Read the full text here.Read More
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO) introduced the bipartisan Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017, along with Representatives Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Ed Royce (R-CA), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Ted Poe (R-TX), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Martha Roby (R-AL), and Lynn Jenkins (R-KS). This legislation would lift barriers that have prevented the Federal Government, States, and victims of sex trafficking from pursuing justice against America’s modern-day slave markets.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996 has been wrongly interpreted to shield websites that participate in sex trafficking from any criminal liability. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has said that it is Congress’ role to clarify the intersection between Section 230 and sex trafficking laws. This legislation would provide that urgently needed clarification while safeguarding the freedom of the Internet.
As the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found in Backpage.com, LLC, vs. Loretta Lynch in 2016, “there is no doubt” that online advertisements that promote sex trafficking are “not afforded First Amendment protection.” This legislation would make clear that Congress never intended Section 230 to create a lawless internet where bad actors can engage in criminal activity online that they cannot engage in offline. This is already obvious to our State authorities: In 2013, 47 State Attorneys General called on Congress to amend the CDA to restore jurisdiction to State authorities who are tasked with protecting America’s children.
The Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 would:
1) Amend Section 230 to allow State authorities to investigate and prosecute websites that facilitate sex trafficking using State criminal statutes that prohibit sex trafficking or sexual exploitation of children.
2) Amend Section 230 to allow victims of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation of children to exercise civil remedies, such as the private right of action available to sex trafficking victims in the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.
3) Amend 18 U.S.C. § 1591, the sex trafficking statute, to define “participation in a venture” in response to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit’s 2016 decision in Jane Doe vs. Backpage.com, LLC.
4) Amend 18 U.S.C. § 1591 to clarify that it is unlawful for a provider of an interactive computer service to publish information provided by an information content provider, with reckless disregard that the information is in furtherance of a sex trafficking offense.
“I am honored to introduce this legislation on behalf of the countless children, women and men who have been sold into modern slavery and robbed of their dignity. Sex trafficking has no place in a just society, and bad actors who run these websites are criminals who belong in prison,” said Congresswoman Wagner. “Congress never intended for Section 230 to give a free pass to the retailers of America’s children, and we must address the judicial interpretation of the law and provide a voice for the most vulnerable in our society. This legislation gives U.S. law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and victims the tools they need to help dismantle the human trafficking trade in the United States.”
“I am proud to join Congresswoman Ann Wagner in continuing our bipartisan effort to end the scourge of human trafficking. It is unbelievable that in 2017, web developers, digital advertisers and other companies are allowed to sidestep federal and state human trafficking laws and avoid prosecution because of legal ambiguity,” said Congresswoman Beatty. “The Allow State and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 will strengthen and clarify current law, ensuring justice for more victims and holding accountable both the trafficker and those who facilitate sex trafficking. I look forwarding to working with my colleagues to get this important piece of legislation passed and signed into law by the President.”
"Let's be clear: human trafficking is modern day slavery, and it is time for elected officials and each American to do everything in our power to end it,” said Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley. “Halting the sex trade on the web is one important component of this fight, and I urge Congress to act swiftly to empower law enforcement to prosecute websites that are deliberately promoting and profiting from trafficking in persons. I strongly support the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act because it would do just that, removing unnecessary federal barriers to law enforcement action, while providing important safeguards for constitutionally protected free speech. Our state knows firsthand the tragedies of human trafficking, and this legislation is one of many steps necessary to stop this appalling epidemic."
The following organizations support the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017:
National District Attorneys Association; National Association of Police Organizations; Major Cities Chiefs Association; Fraternal Order of Police; National Organization for Victim Assistance; National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE); WIFLE Foundation Inc. (Women in Federal Law Enforcement); Shared Hope; DeliverFund; FAIR Girls; Missouri Police Chiefs Association; Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley; Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys; St. Louis Police Officers Association; Airline Ambassadors International; Courtney’s House; The Covering House; Missouri KidsFirst; Missouri Juvenile Justice Association; Faith & Freedom Coalition; Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention; Focus on the Family; Coalition Against Trafficking and Exploitation-CATE; Friends Committee on National Legislation; Faith & Action in the Nation’s Capital; Cornerstones of Care; Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police; Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM); Crisis Aid International; Ambassador Swanee Hunt; Coalition Against Trafficking in Women International (CATW); Concerned Women for America; National Organization for Women; NEST Foundation; Skagit County Coalition Against Trafficking; Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence; Eastern NC Stop Human Trafficking Now; Foundation for a Slavery Free World; Church of Scientology; She is Rising; Exodus Cry; Innocents at Risk; Saving Innocence; Artists for Human Rights; Enough is Enough; Redeeming Joy; and National Center on Sexual Exploitation.
Click here for letters and quotes in support of the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017.
WASHINGTON –Today, Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO-02) held the first Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing of the 115th Congress. The hearing, “The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection’s Unconstitutional Design,” examined whether the structure of the CFPB violates the Constitution as well as the structural changes needed to resolve any constitutional vulnerabilities.
"Created under the Obama-era, 'Washington knows best' mindset, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is an unconstitutional behemoth that side-steps accountability to Congress and the President,” said Chairman Wagner following the hearing. “With an imperial Director, the CFPB continually expands and overreaches its regulatory authority at the expense of American families who are desperate for economic relief. It is time we hold Director Cordray responsible and restructure the CFPB within the framework of our Constitution."
Congresswoman Wagner’s Opening Statement, as prepared:
For the past eight years, the American people under the Obama Administration have grown complacent with the unchecked power emanating from Washington and its complete disregard for the Constitution. From health care to energy to financial services, Washington has worked to plan every aspect of your life and decide what’s best for you. Now more than ever, we have a new obligation to examine the checks and balances of our federal government and ensure that our Constitution is reflected by it. It’s time to bring accountability back to Washington for “We the People.”
Nothing embodies the “Washington knows best” mindset more than the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by removing choices and making access to financial products more difficult under the guise of consumer protection. Since the creation of the CFPB, we have seen regulations that make it more difficult for consumers to qualify for a mortgage, obtain an auto loan, and access forms of credit.
The super independence of the Bureau has demonstrated how a lack of checks and balances can lead to abuse. In the majority opinion of a case last October, a federal judge ruled that “the director of the CFPB is the single most powerful official in the entire US government, other than the President.” As a result of a lack of safeguards, we have seen examples of widespread discrimination within the CFPB itself under Director Cordray’s leadership, to which this committee has held five hearings on itself.
Additionally, without the ability of Congress and the Executive to carry out proper oversight, the CFPB has become confident in its cloak of unaccountability by pursuing policy and regulating entities outside of its authorized scope to the detriment of consumers.
Without proper checks and balances, the natural tendency of government is always to continue expanding its power and reach, and the CFPB has been a perfect example.
The CFPB is unaccountable to Congress in that it does not rely upon Congress for funding, instead taking its funding stream from the Federal Reserve to be allotted by the CFPB Director with no review by Congress. As a result, the CFPB has grown comfortable in repeatedly ignoring oversight requests made by this committee, including for subpoenaed records.
Additionally, the CFPB is unaccountable to the President as well by being headed by a single Director who can only be removed “for cause” rather than “at will.” The Constitution vests the executive power in an elected “President of the United States of America” and not in various unelected agency and bureau heads.
Lastly, the CFPB is unaccountable to the judiciary, as Dodd-Frank mandated that courts give extra deference to the CFPB’s statutory interpretations, even if they are not granted exclusive interpretive authority. In this way, the CFPB can reinterpret consumer laws that are already on the books with established case law and have been regulated by other agencies for years.
Today, we will be examining the unconstitutional structure of the CFPB and how it has yielded unaccountability to Congress and the executive branch. Additionally, we will look at ways that the CFPB can be restructured in order to make the bureau constitutional, as well as more accountable to Congress and the Executive. Finally, we will be looking at what authority the President currently has to remove the CFPB Director, even before the resolution of ongoing litigation.
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO-02) released the below statement following the U.S. House passage of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017, which includes funding for 14 new F/A 18 Super Hornet jets:
“I am pleased that the House took this important step in securing funding for 14 additional Super Hornet jets, which are critical to ensuring our national security while also protecting vital jobs in St. Louis and across Missouri. At the request of the Navy, I have fought hard every year I have been in Congress to secure funding for these war fighters and strengthen our national defense capabilities. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to do the same.”Read More
435 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Ann Wagner’s career is both deep and broad in service to her hometown, state and nation with over 25 years of work in the private sector, community and public service, and the political arena.
The 2nd District means family for Ann. It is where she and her husband of twenty-five years, Ray, grew up, went to school, raised their children, work, volunteer and go to church. This community has given her extraordinary opportunities to make a difference.
At an early age, Ann started working in the family business, a retail carpet store called Carpetime in Manchester. Working beside her parents she learned the value of a dollar, a strong work ethic, honesty, integrity, and that government ought not be in the way and on the backs of hard-working Americans trying to make a living.
Ann then took her firsthand experience to the University of Missouri-Columbia and received her BSBA from the Business School with an emphasis in Logistics. After college, Ann went to work in the private sector and held management positions at Hallmark Cards in Kansas City and Ralston Purina in St. Louis.
Ann’s most important jobs, however, have always been as a wife and mother. Ann and Ray have three children: Raymond, a recent West Point graduate stationed at Fort Campbell with the 101st Airborne; Stephen, a Client Services Manager for a St. Louis area financial management company; and Mary Ruth, a freshmen at Miami University in Ohio.
Ann Wagner’s public service began at the grassroots level. She served for nine years as a local committeewoman in Lafayette Township and went on to Chair the Missouri Republican Party delivering historic Republican gains. She also served as Co-Chairman of the Republican National Committee during the first term of President George W. Bush.
In 2005, following nomination by President Bush and confirmation by the U.S. Senate, Ann was sworn in as the 19th U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. She served as U.S. Ambassador for four years before returning to her home in Ballwin, Missouri.
In 2010, Ann was asked to serve as the Chairman of Roy Blunt’s successful U.S. Senate campaign in Missouri. Bringing her high energy and political skills to the campaign, Ann helped unite existing and new conservative grassroots activists to produce a landslide victory.
Ann announced her first run for public office on April 26, 2011 and has attended hundreds of events including forums, debates, picnics, meetings and rallies. Her signature grassroots “Table Tops” have been a listening and learning tour in homes all across the district. Her strong connection to her community has helped Ann recruit hundreds of volunteers from every corner of the 2nd Congressional District.
Ann won her 2012 Congressional race with over 60% of the vote and received more votes than any other Republican candidate for Congress in the State of Missouri this cycle.
Ann will serve on the House Financial Services Committee – a key committee for the 2nd District and St. Louis region. St. Louis and its suburbs are national and regional centers for financial services activity. Over 84,000 people in St. Louis and its suburbs are employed in the financial services industry with a total payroll of around $4.57 billion.
The St. Louis area is also home to national investment firms including Edward Jones, Scottrade, Stifel Financial and Wells Fargo Advisors, to name a few, making it one of the largest clusters of brokerage firms and personnel outside of New York.
Ann was also selected by the Freshman Class of the 113th Congress to be their representative on the Elected Leadership Committee.
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