WASHINGTON, D.C.—In recognition of Hunger Action Month, this week Representatives Don Young (AK-At Large) and Rick Larsen (WA-02) are highlighting bipartisan legislation they have introduced to fight childhood hunger and expand access to summer meal programs throughout the country.
“Hunger Action Month is a very real reminder that we have a long way to go in addressing food security and hunger in the United States,” said Congressman Don Young. “This month we’re highlighting the important work of the Summer Meals Act, legislation we’ve proposed to maximize the impact of summer meal programs and eliminate red tape for local non-profit organizations that run them across the country. As a former teacher – who personally saw the plight of childhood hunger in my classroom – I did everything in my power to ensure my students had a nutritious meal in front of them each day. As a Congressman, my passion and advocacy for these issues is even stronger. This legislation is only one small step in expanding child nutrition programs, but will make an important difference for our nation’s youth who don’t have proper access to meals throughout the summer.”
“Hunger does not abide by the school calendar, and Hunger Action Month recognizes that acting to address hunger, especially childhood hunger, is needed year-round,” said Congressman Rick Larsen. “The Summer Meals Act would be a major step forward in the fight to combat hunger by making sure kids get regular, healthy meals regardless of the season.”
“Summer meals programs are effective partnerships between USDA, state agencies, local school districts, and private service providers,” said Christina Wong, Public Policy Manger at Northwest Harvest. “The Summer Meals Act offers smart, bipartisan, and common-sense solutions that will break down barriers for service providers, including many of our over 360 food pantry partners, so that they can do the good work of getting more meals to every child in need.”
Nearly one in five people in Washington state and one in seven people in Alaska suffer from food insecurity. Across the nation, approximately 13 million American children live in food-insecure households. A further 6.5 million children in the U.S. live in areas where there is limited access to supermarkets, which reduces their ability to maintain a varied and nutritious diet. As a result, many families struggle with hunger at some point during the year.
The Summer Meals Act of 2017 strengthens access to summer nutritional programs that reduce child hunger over the summer months, when low-income children lose access to free and reduced-price school meals. The bill would expand eligibility so that more students are able to participate in summer meals programs, better empower local organizations to help feed children year-round, and support transportation needs in rural areas where accessing summer meal programs is often more difficult.
The full bill text of The Summer Meals Act of 2017 can be found HERE.
The Summer Meals Act currently has 47 cosponsors: Reps. Rick Larsen (WA-02), Steve Cohen (TN-09), David Loebsack (IA-02), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Raul Grijalva (AZ-03), Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Grace Meng (NY-06), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Peter Welch (VT-At Large), Paul Tonko (NY-20), Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01), Nydia Velazquez (NY-07), Timothy Walz (MN-01), Alcee Hastings (FL-20), Marc Veasey (TX-33), Niki Tsongas (MA-03), Sanford Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Lucille Allard-Roybal (CA-40), James Langevin (RI-02), Jose Serrano (NY-15), James McGovern (MA-02), Tim Ryan (OH-13), Mark Takano (CA-41), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Louise Slaughter (NY-25), Bobby Rush (IL-01), Terri Sewell (AL-07), Bill Pascrell (NJ-09), Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (FL-23), Sander Levin (MI-09), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Joseph Kennedy III (MA-04), Janice Schakowsky (IL-09), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08), Matt Cartwright (PA-17), Brenden Boyle (PA-13), John Katko (NY-24), John Sarbanes (MD-03), and Cedric Richmond (LA-02).### Read More
Washington, D.C. – Alaska Congressman Don Young today shared the following on the passing of former Alaska first lady Ermalee Hickel:
“Today, I join Alaskans from across our state in mourning the loss of Ermalee Hickel – a truly remarkable lady and champion for our state. Wally Hickel often spoke of coming to Alaska with only 37 cents in his pocket, but he struck gold when he met and married Ermalee. She was an exceptional person – a fantastic partner and even more remarkable mother. As saddened as I am to know she’s gone, I’m happy to know that she’ll be with the Lord and with Wally. Ermalee was a true gift to the state she helped build; she was an Alaskan through and through and I’m honored to have called her a friend.”
Washington, D.C. – Today the U.S. House of Representatives successfully approved H.R. 3354, the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act, a 12-part appropriations package that outlines the nation’s spending priorities for Fiscal Year 2018. The bill, which included the consideration of hundreds of amendments, represents movement towards returning to regular order and completing consideration of annual appropriations legislation before the beginning of the new fiscal year.
“For years, our nation’s fiscal and economic policies have moved us further and further away from the path to prosperity and closer to financial ruin,” said Congressman Don Young. “With numerous patch-work deals and last minute spending agreements, we have made little progress in dealing with our staggering level of debt. This package – a complete appropriations package that takes a serious look at our nation’s spending while reining in often wasteful or overgrown government programs, represents only a small step in better serving the American people. Although there can always be improvements, I commend the House for working with me to include a number of Alaska-focused priorities and initiatives, including those that support our many strategically located military missions, prevent the implementation of economy-killing rules and regulations, create certainty for new economic development, and eliminate needless and harmful bureaucracy. As the Senate considers its own annual appropriations bill, I call on them to put forward a plan and policies that can continue the House’s efforts to reform our nation’s spending."
Included in the package were a number of Alaska-focused priorities championed and supported by Congressman Don Young:
Overturning National Park Service (NPS) Rule for Alaska:
Congressman Young successfully offered an amendment to strike-down an Obama-era rule by the National Park Service that seized fish and wildlife management authority away from the State of Alaska on national preserve lands within the State – a violation of both the Alaska Statehood Compact and the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. Young’s amendment, which was accepted 215 to 196, would prohibit funds from the Act from being used to enforce the October 23, 2015 final rule issued by the National Park Service.
“Overturning this unlawful taking by the Obama administration continues to be an issue of great importance to me and the people of Alaska,” said Congressman Don Young. “Many, including some of the nation’s most extreme interest groups, continue to make false claims and accusations about what we’re trying to achieve here – but that doesn’t deter us. The facts are clear, federal law grants the State of Alaska – with very limited exception – the authority to manage fish and wildlife upon all lands within our state. My amendment is a unified effort by our delegation and the State of Alaska to overturn an illegal rulemaking by the National Park Service and restore Alaska’s management authority as it was intended to be.
BLM Placer Mining Regulations
Young successfully offered an amendment to provide relief to placer miners in the 40 Mile Mining District, who currently face insurmountable new hurdles from a change in existing mining management plans by the Bureau of Land Management as they pertain to mitigation and re-vegetation.
“Alaska is one of the very few places left in the United States where placer mining is still being conducted, however, under the previous administration these small mom and pop family miners were targeted with unobtainable regulations under the falsehood of protecting the environment,” said Congressman Don Young. “My amendment secures their way of life and makes sure the people of Alaska’s historic mining communities such as Chicken, Eagle, and Boundary are protected from the heavy thumb of Washington, DC’s over regulation.”
Maritime Administration (MARAD) Small Shipyard Grant Program:
Congressman Young co-sponsored a bipartisan amendment offered by Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) to restore federal funds (from $3 million to $10 million) for the MARAD Small Shipyard Grant Program – a program established in 2009 to provide grant assistance to small shipyards to make capital improvements in or near maritime communities.
“With more than 44,000 miles of coastline in Alaska, our communities are ever reliant on a robust maritime infrastructure,” said Congressman Don Young. “This amendment – championed with bipartisan support – restored critical funds currently being used in Alaska and across the country to expand our nation’s maritime fleet. As a former tug boat captain and advocate for the work being done at the Alaska Shipyard and Drydock – a recent recipient of a MARAD grant – I was proud to help lead this fight."
For additional information on Congressman Young’s efforts within the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations bills, click here.
Washington, D.C. – Representatives Don Young (R-AK) and Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rob Portman (R-OH) today introduced the Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act of 2017 to help remove barriers and provide support to help homeless and foster kids access and succeed in higher education.
“Access to higher education should be available to each and every student that has the desire and determination to do so, regardless of their background or their means,” said Congressman Don Young. “As a former teacher and proud grandfather of children who joined my family through the foster system, I strongly believe in the work being done through this legislation to empower our nation’s youth with the knowledge and skills to live up to their potential. This commonsense, bipartisan legislation is only one small step is better serving our homeless and foster youth, but certainly an important one to ensuring they can aspire to any level of education and success.”
“Every day, our homeless and foster youth overcome challenges that remain largely invisible to their communities,” said Representative Katherine Clark. “The sad, pervasive reality is that too many students don’t know where they will get their next meal or where they will sleep tonight, but they know good grades and hard work are their best shot at a brighter future. Their hard work to better their lives shouldn’t be deterred by policies and paperwork,” said Clark. “Our bill is a simple, common sense way Congress can help students who face unique and significant challenges chart their path to success.”
“The skyrocketing costs of college impact all students, but for homeless and foster students, the challenges they face far too often put higher education out of reach,” said Senator Patty Murray. “I’m proud to introduce this legislation to provide support for homeless and foster students to access, afford and graduate from college, and I will keep fighting so every student who wants to join the middle class through higher education has the opportunity to do so.”
“Kids in foster care face an uphill battle when they pursue higher education. It is in all of our interests to help these kids who have aged out of the foster care system or have experienced homelessness and ensure that services for them are a priority in existing federal programs,” said Senator Rob Portman. “This common-sense legislation will remove unnecessary barriers and make college more affordable these youth. It will support college retention, and greater success in higher education to allow these youth people to graduate, pursue their dreams, and achieve their God-given potential.”
The Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act of 2017 asks colleges and universities and the federal government to work together to improve outreach to and resources for homeless and foster youth, including streamlining the FAFSA, clarifying eligibility for financial aid, providing housing options between terms, and designating a single point of contact to help provide services for these vulnerable students. It also requires the U.S. Department of Education to help resolve questions about a student’s independence, publish more transparent data on the number of homeless and foster youth served, and ensure its grant programs identify, recruit and prepare homeless and foster students for college. The bill also asks states to grant in-state tuition rates for those students who haven’t had stable residency.
Text of the Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act can be found HERE.
Fact sheet on the Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act can be found HERE.
Organizations supporting the Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act: Alliance for Excellent Education, American Psychological Association, Advocates for Children and Youth, American School Counselor Association, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, Building Changes, California Coalition for Youth, Center for Public Interest Law, Center for the Study of Social Policy, Child and Family Policy Center, Child Welfare League of America, Children Awaiting Parents/DCAA, Children First for Oregon, Children's Action Alliance, Children's Advocacy Institute, Children's Defense Fund, Children's Home Society of America, Coalition for Juvenile Justice, Community Connections Youth Project, Covenant House International, Covenant House New York, Education Law Center, Family Focused Treatment Association, First Focus Campaign for Children, First Star Institute, Inc., FosterAdopt Connect, Girls Inc., Harmony Family Center, Healthy Teen Network, Journey House, Juvenile Law Center, Kansas Appleseed, Lutheran Services in America, Michigan's Children, MomsRising, NAACP, National Association for Children's Behavioral Health, National Association of Counsel for Children, National Center on Adoption and Permanency, National Coalition for the Homeless, National Network for Youth, Nebraska Appleseed, National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, Nebraska Children and Families Foundation - Connected Youth Initiative, New Mexico Voices for Children, Northwest Resource Associates/Oregon Post Adoption Resource Center, PACE Center for Girls, SchoolHouse Connection, Single Stop, Southwest Human Development, Inc., Spaulding for Children, StandUp For Kids, Voice for Adoption, Wisconsin HOPE Lab, Youth Villages, Western Regional Advocacy Project, and Youth Advocate Programs, Inc.### Read More
Washington, D.C. – Alaska Congressman Don Young shared the following statement on House-passage of H.R. 601, the READ Act (Hurricane Supplemental, Debt Limit, Continuing Appropriations, and Flood Insurance Package) as amended by the U.S. Senate:
“With relief efforts underway in Texas and Hurricane Irma barreling its way towards the Florida coast, this was the right thing to do to assist our fellow Americans. On the broader package, which included a three month suspension of the debt ceiling and temporary funding for the federal government, I wasn’t entirely pleased with the process or the deal the President hatched. I believe we were making good progress on a long-term deal to address our nation’s debt limit, but unfortunately Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s ploy to keep Congress at a stalemate worked.”
H.R. 601, which was signed by the President moments ago, includes:
Washington, D.C. – Alaska Congressman Don Young today shared the following statement on the Trump administration’s decision to rescind the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“The Obama administration’s unilateral actions on immigration, including DACA, undermined the role of Congress and were in complete violation of the Constitution. President Obama stated on numerous occasions that he did not have the power or authority to take additional actions on immigration, yet he did so after Congress chose not to deliver what he wanted, when he wanted.
“Rewriting our immigration laws through Executive Order, as was done under DACA, is not acceptable. These decisions must receive the approval of Congress. Now that President Trump has overturned this Obama-era order, I believe it’s Congress’ responsibility to address our nation’s broken immigration system, including the legal status of those who were brought to our nation through no fault of their own. Regardless of your viewpoint on the underlying policy, all Americans’ should agree these decisions need to be made by Congress and not by the Executive Branch.”
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, the House approved H.R. 3219, the Make America Secure Appropriations Act, a bipartisan package that includes the Fiscal Year 2018 Defense, Military Construction-VA, Energy and Water Development, and Legislative Branch appropriations bills.
“For years, this process has eroded away from regular order into a series of late hour, multi-package efforts to fund the government. It’s no way to do business, but it was necessary as we look to prioritize spending as we approach the end of the fiscal year,” said Congressman Don Young. “Largely, this bill makes a number of important improvements and reforms to address the size and scope of our federal agencies, begin rebuilding our military – including readiness, construction and equipment for Alaska-based missions – support our nation’s veterans and servicemembers, and strengthen energy and infrastructure programs important to Alaska and the nation. Although there’s always room for improvement, and areas this bill fell short, I believe it was an important step in the appropriations process and averting a year-end crisis.”
Of particular interest, Congressman Young worked throughout the appropriations process to protect and fund a number of Alaska specific programs and priorities, including F-35 procurement, $168.9 million for military construction at Eielson Air Force Base, increased funding for Alaska-based missile defense, water and infrastructure projects, services for Alaska-based veterans, and numerous programs of state and national priority.
“We worked extremely hard during the appropriations process to protect the integrity of Alaska-based programs and projects, including those that were slated for cuts in the President’s budget,” said Congressman Don Young. “As I’ve said before, Congress has a responsibility to set spending, not the President, and I’m pleased to see my colleagues work with me to ensure Alaska’s concerns were addressed. This bill takes a particular focus on defense and supporting our military, including the addition of new equipment and infrastructure within Alaska. As we prepare for the beddown of the F-35 at Eielson, it’s imperative these projects are funded and on schedule – which this legislation prioritizes.”
Congressman Young took important steps to protect the Denali Commission – which received a $1 million increase from previously appropriated House levels, but a $4 million reduction from enacted FY17 levels – by authoring an amendment that would restore funding to four regional commissions. Young came to an agreement on the House-floor with the Chairman of the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee to work within Conference to “ensure the Denali Commission is provided sufficient funds to support their efforts for his State.”
Congressman Young working to protect Denali Commission funding on the House Floor (click here to watch)
“My proposal would have restored funding for the Denali Commission to its FY17 level to continue the great work that it does to support my constituents of Alaska…., “ said Congressman Don Young. “The Denali Commission, started in 1998, is an independent federal agency designed to provide critical utilities, infrastructure, and economic support throughout Alaska… To date, more than 240 Alaska Native Villages and over 100 communities have been served by the Denali Commission and as a result have seen reduced energy costs and increased access to health services... The Denali Commission is a force multiplier in terms of funding improvements and I look forward to working with you on funding levels for this Commission to continue its amazing work.”
H.R. 3219, includes a number of priorities of Alaskan interest, including:
*A state by state military construction project list can be found here (Alaskan projects are found on page 102).
Eielson Air Force Base Military Construction: $168.9 million in total Mil-Con funding
Veterans Administration Programs and Initiatives of Alaskan Interest:
§ Kotzebue Small Boat Harbor – $370K
§ Lowell Creek Tunnel Flood Diversion - $950K
§ Saint George Harbor Improvement - $362K
§ Unalaska (Dutch) Harbor - $950K
o Operations and Maintenance:
§ Port of Anchorage – $10.26 M
§ Chena River Lakes – S8.038M
§ Chignik Harbor – $150K
§ Dillingham Harbor– $850K
§ Douglas Harbor– $300K
§ Homer Harbor – $600K
§ Inspection of Completed Work, AK – $200K
§ Ninilchik Harbor – $550K
§ Nome Harbor – $2.365 M
§ Project Conditions Survey, AK – $750K
### Read More
Washington, D.C. – In response to questions regarding ongoing healthcare negotiations in the Senate, particularly as they pertain to Alaska-specific priorities, Congressman Don Young shared the following statement:
“Very simply, Obamacare is a broken law that continues to fail Alaskan families, workers and small businesses. My position has been and continues to be that it must be repealed and reworked. As for discussions on Alaska-specific priorities, I’ve known from the beginning what’s at risk. However, I’ve never been one to panic just because someone says ‘fire’. My job is to serve the Alaskan people and work with the administration to ensure it gets done. That’s what I’m going to do.”
Congressman Young has been in direct communication with senior administration officials on the issues of healthcare and resource development as recently as yesterday. He remains closely involved in discussions and negotiations pertaining to healthcare reform, particularly as they relate to Alaska.
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved H.R. 3364, the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanction Act, legislation authorizing additional sanctions on North Korea, Iran, and Russia for recent actions that undermine the national security of the United States and its allies. Alaska Congressman Young, who joined 418 of his colleagues in support of the legislation, shared the following statement:
“This legislation is an important and appropriate step to holding bad actors accountable for their misguided and aggressive actions,” said Congressman Don Young. “By approving these sanctions, we send a very clear message: the United States will not tolerate these types of hostile acts, including the support of state-sponsored terrorism, repeated human rights violations, the development and testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), and threats to U.S national security and global stability. I believe sanctions can and will continue to serve an important role in deterring future threats –especially in light of new aggression by North Korea – and encourage the Senate and President to move forward on these important issues of national security.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources unanimously approved legislation introduced by Alaska Congressman Don Young to settle a long-standing claim by the Alaska Natives from Alexander Creek, Alaska. The legislation, H.R. 1418, would amend the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) to recognize Alexander Creek, Alaska as an Alaska Native Village – entitling them to the same benefits entrusted to other Native Village Corporations established pursuant to the law.
Congressman Young providing speaking in support of H.R. 1418, the Alexander Creek Recognition Act (click here to watch).
“Congress passed ANCSA in 1971, and the legislation provided for the formation of Alaska Native Regional and Village Corporations. These Corporations received land and benefits to support the well-being of their respective Native shareholders. In order to form a Village Corporation, a community was required to have 25 shareholders,” Congressman Young said before the House Natural Resources Committee. “When BIA developed the shareholder roll for Alexander Creek, residents were mistakenly undercounted and the community was not allowed to form a Village Corporation.
“For over 45 years, families from Alexander Creek have lacked the foundation for social and economic support afforded to other villages. It is time we right this injustice before more elders pass away. My bill would open a negotiation between Alexander Creek and the Department of Interior to fairly and equitably settle Alexander Creek’s claims. My bill does not prescribe any benefits but ensures that the settlement will be in rough value parity with other Village Corporations, given consideration for the time that has passed since the enactment of ANCSA. Mr. Chairman, this is a simple bill that takes care of an injustice that happened in 1971. I strongly encourage its passage.”
Click here to learn more H.R. 1418.
2314 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Don Young was re-elected to the 113th Congress in 2012 to serve his 21st term as Alaska’s only Representative to the United States House of Representatives. First sworn in as a freshman to the 93rd Congress after winning a special election on March 6, 1973, Congressman Young is today the 1st ranking Republican member and the the 4th ranking overall member of the House of Representatives.
Congressman Young served as Chairman of the House Resources Committee from 1995 to 2001 and then as the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee from 2001-2007. In the 110th Congress, Representative Young returned to the helm of the Resources Committee to lead his fellow Republicans as the Ranking Member. In the 112th Congress, he was chosen to serve as the Chairman for the Subcommittee on Alaska Native and Indian Affairs. Rep. Young currently serves as a senior Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and House Natural Resources Committee.
Congressman Young calls Fort Yukon, Alaska home; a remote village of approximately 700 people located 7 miles above the Arctic Circle in Alaska’s central interior region. Born on June 9, 1933 in Meridian, California, he earned his associate degree at Yuba Junior College in 1952, and his bachelor’s degree in teaching at Chico State College in 1958. Between earning these degrees, he served in the US Army’s 41st Tank Battalion from 1955 to 1957.
When he first moved to Alaska, Congressman Young made a living in construction and tried his hand at commercial fishing, trapping, and in the search for gold. In Fort Yukon he taught in a 25-student, 5th grade elementary class in the Bureau of Indian Affairs school. Constructed of logs, the school had a wood stove that kept his Alaska Native students warm in the sub-freezing, arctic winter. With the annual spring break-up of the river ice, he captained his own tug and barge operation to deliver products and supplies to villages along the Yukon River. Even today, he remains the only licensed mariner in Congress.
It was in Fort Yukon that Rep. Young met and married a young bookkeeper named Lu. Lu was always at the Congressman’s side and supported him throughout his public service career. Lu and Don were married for 46 years, they were blessed with and raised two daughters, Joni and Dawn, and 14 grandchildren. Mrs. Young passed away on August 2, 2009.
Congressman Young first entered public service in 1964 when he was elected Mayor of Fort Yukon. Two years later, Alaskan voters elected him to the State Legislature in Juneau where he served in the State House from 1966 to 1970, and later in the State Senate from 1970 to 1973. Just hours after being sworn in to United States House of Representatives in 1973, he found himself leading the historic battle for approval of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline. Often citing this as the single most important achievement in his career, Congressman Young stated, “Next to statehood itself, the most historical legislation passed that affected every Alaskan then, now, and in the future, was the passage of the pipeline legislation.”
That same year, his colleagues honored him as the “Freshman Congressman of the Year.” He went on to gain a key appointment on the then Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee where he pushed through the 200-mile fishing limit critical to Alaska’s fishing industry. He fought against federal control of lands and resources to which Alaskans are rightfully entitled – a battle he continues today with the same vigor. In 1997, he passed by a 419-1 vote, the National Wildlife Improvement Act, which sets guidelines for the nation’s 500-plus wildlife refuges.
Congressman Young proudly serves as the “Congressman for All Alaska” and loves his role as the only Alaskan Representative in Congress. Renewed by the challenges and goals of the 111th Congress and his committee positions, Congressman Young will continue to champion legislation and funding for programs benefiting Alaska and the nation. His vision remains the same – to provide citizens with the opportunity for a better life not just for today, but also for tomorrow and the future.
Ermalee Hickel was a true gift to the state she helped build; she was an AKn through and through & I’m honored to have called her a friend.
We honor our veterans who experienced unthinkable hardships as prisoners of war & those who remain missing in actio… https://t.co/nB26Z4OaYF
Between votes & meetings w/ AKns, Anne & I took some family - Anne's brother, sister-in-law &niece - down to meet a… https://t.co/nBOptIqhBU