Washington, DC – This morning, Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) and a bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives voted to pass the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by a vote of 344-81. The legislation authorizes $695.9 billion for the Department of Defense (DoD) to fully fund our military so it can protect and defend the United States.
“Over most of the last decade, our military has seen its budget cut by nearly 25 percent while it maintained combat operations in Afghanistan and other areas around the world fighting al Qaeda and ISIS,” Representative Yoder said. “Congress has committed to rebuilding our military and giving our troops the pay, benefits, and resources they need to continue their mission as the greatest fighting force the world has ever seen, and this bill fulfills that commitment.
“Cutting our defense budget as the world became an increasingly dangerous place was always a mistake and sent the wrong signal to our allies that we were no longer ready to lead. This bill takes a major step towards reversing that course and we are meeting the needs of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines. We’re giving them their biggest pay raise in eight years – the pay raise they’ve earned, but had been denied for far too long.
“The men and women of our military sacrifice so much to protect America and our freedoms. Today, we are doing everything we can to protect them.”
Washington, D.C. – This evening, the House Appropriations Committee unanimously adopted language in the manager’s amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2018 offered by Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) that would add the substance of his Email Privacy Act to the bill. The adoption in today’s markup follows February’s unanimous vote in the House of Representatives to pass Representative Yoder’s stand-alone bill, which modernizes federal law with respect to Americans’ digital privacy rights by applying a warrant-for-content standard to obtaining all emails, text messages, or data stored on the cloud.
“Combined with the Senate’s lack of urgency on digital privacy issues, the disturbing news that the SEC has begun subpoenaing emails in contravention of US v. Warshak means we have to act,” Rep. Yoder said. “Americans have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their emails and text messages, and if the Senate and the SEC refuse to recognize that, Republicans and Democrats in the House will work together to force their hand by adding this language to our must-pass spending bill.”
In February of this year, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sought to obtain email content from Yahoo stored in an account owned by a defendant in a securities fraud case using only an administrative subpoena. This goes against the legal precedent established by a Sixth Circuit decision, United States v. Warshak, and the House-passed Email Privacy Act, which both establish the principle that internet users have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their email content and that the government must obtain a warrant to access email content.
By attempting to subpoena these emails and attempting to exploit outdated digital privacy laws, the SEC is breaking with recent practice at the Commission under former-Chairwoman Mary Jo White who testified before Congress that the SEC was adhering to Warshak under her leadership. In April 2015, former-Chair White revealed to Rep. Yoder during a line of questioning in a Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee hearing that the SEC was no longer subpoenaing Americans’ email content.
“The SEC’s recent attempt to get around the Fourth Amendment demonstrates the urgent need for serious reform of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act,” Chris Calabrese, Vice President for Policy at the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), said. “The Email Privacy Act would provide the strong privacy protections Americans deserve for their electronic communications such as email.”
“Congressman Yoder's Amendment to the Financial Services Appropriations Legislation will prevent the IRS, CFPB and SEC from using funds to attempt to read Americans emails and other digital content without a warrant,” Katie McAuliffe, Federal Affairs Manager for Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), said. “Until the Electronic Communications Privacy Act is updated by passage of the Email Privacy Act, the ECPA has a loop hole that some government agencies claim allow them to dig into a person's private documents without a warrant. This is not what was intended by the Fourth Amendment. Americans for Tax Reform & Digital Liberty support the inclusion and passage of Congressman Yoder's Amendment.
“Though the Fourth Amendment was written before the Internet was invented, it applies no less to Americans’ sensitive digital information,” Neema Singh Giuliani, Legislative Counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) , said. “We applaud the committee for making clear that covered government agencies, like the IRS, can only demand email and other content information from providers with a warrant. We urge Congress to pass this provision and other reforms, such as the Email Privacy Act, to ensure that Americans’ privacy is protected in the digital age.”
Washington, DC – Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) has become the lead sponsor of the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act. The bill was previously introduced by former-Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), with Representative Yoder as an original cosponsor. Currently, 230 Members of Congress are signed on as cosponsors of the bill, with more than 100 Members from each party in support.
Rep. Yoder issued the following statement after becoming the bill’s lead sponsor:
“I’ve always said that our nation is a nation of immigrants, as well as a nation of laws. This legislation strikes the perfect balance by achieving significant reforms of our employment-based green card system, helping American companies hire high-skilled immigrants to help grow our economy.
“Importantly, our bill helps them do it through the proper legal channels – the right way – which are all too often forgotten in debates over border security and illegal immigration. And it helps the many immigrants who are already living and working here on temporary visas obtain permanent residence they’ve earned through hard work and dedication to our country and its values, raising their families and children as Americans right here in our communities.”
The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act reforms our legal immigration system by eliminating the existing, arbitrary per-country percentage caps that have caused backlogs in the employment-based green card system.
Under the existing per-country percentage caps, large nations like India and China, which account for more than 40 percent of the world’s population, receive the same amount of visas as Greenland, a country that accounts for one-one thousandth of a percent of the world’s population. With about 95 percent of the employment-based green card applicants already living and working in America on temporary visas, the vast majority of applicants are simply waiting in line to get approved for permanent residence. But high-skilled immigrants from large countries are forced wait two to three times longer under existing law.
The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act would correct this problem and leave in place a system where all equally-qualified, highly-skilled employees will receive green cards in the order they apply and based solely on the skills they are bringing to America.
Washington, DC – This afternoon, Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives in favor of Kate’s Law, which would empower law enforcement to keep violent criminals out of our communities by increasing mandatory penalties for illegal immigrants who re-enter the United States after previously being convicted with a crime. The bill passed the House of Representatives by a 257-167 bipartisan vote, with Rep. Yoder’s support.
To watch a video of Yoder's remarks, click here.
The following are Yoder’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the rule of law, of strengthening the enforcement of our immigration system, and of improving the security of our nation’s borders.
“The safety and security of our constituents should be our absolute top priority in Congress.
“Sanctuary cities are a direct threat to that safety. It’s why I led an effort to defund sanctuary cities through the appropriations process. It’s why we are here today.
“What happened to Kate Steinle was a tragedy. No parent should have to go through the anguish of losing their child, especially when it could have been avoided.
“Unfortunately the deadly toll of sanctuary cities is not limited to Kate.
“Just last year, in my own community back home in Kansas, Master Deputy Brandon Collins, a Johnson County sheriff’s deputy with nearly 21 years of service, was struck and killed by a drunk driver while he was preforming a routine traffic stop.
“Deputy Collins was a devoted and caring husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend whose life was tragically cut short.
“The drunk driver, who fled from the scene after the crash, was an illegal immigrant that had a prior conviction for DUI in California in 2001, and was also arrested for driving without a license in 2013.
“He never should have been behind the wheel of the car when he killed Deputy Collins!
“Despite his prior offenses, the man was able to remain in the country.
“He was able to be here to commit this crime because of the failure to enforce the law, and it ultimately led to Deputy Collins’ death.
“No nation of laws should tolerate this.
“Mr. Speaker, for these reasons – for Deputy Collins and the many other victims and their loved ones dealing with an unspeakable loss – for them, I support this bill and urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in its passage.”
Washington, DC – This afternoon, the House Appropriations Committee unanimously passed Chairman Kevin Yoder’s (R-KS) Fiscal Year 2018 Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill. The bill provides funding for the House of Representatives, security and police forces, services for visitors, Congressional support agencies, and Capitol operations and maintenance, and now heads to the House floor for a vote.
Overall, the bill maintains funding on the House more than 12 percent below 2010 levels and continues the policy of preventing any pay increases for Members of Congress for the eighth fiscal year in a row. In total, the bill adequately funds legislative branch operations at a level $228 million below the President’s request.
“We are leading by example by tightening our belts and spending taxpayer dollars wisely, and we are continuing the policy of preventing any pay increases for Members of Congress,” Chairman Yoder said.
A bipartisan majority of the Committee defeated an amendment proposed by Representative Betty McCollum (D-MN) that would have stripped provisions to promote transparency in Congress by making Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports open to the public.
“It’s more important now than ever that Americans have access to clear-cut, accurate information on the issues being debated in the halls of Congress,” Yoder said. “CRS reports are a great non-partisan resource put together at the taxpayers’ expense. It’s the fair and right thing to do to let the public have access to them.”
In response to last week’s shooting at the GOP practice for the Congressional Baseball Game, the bill also provides funding and makes structural changes that will improve security at the Capitol and at congressional events in Members’ districts.
“Our bill provides the US Capitol Police with the resources they need to meet their mission in today's increasingly polarized climate, as well as resources to provide enhanced security at constituent events in House districts across the country,” Yoder said.
Washington, DC – This afternoon, Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) issued the following statement in response to the announcement that the Environmental Protection Agency’s withdrawal of the Obama Administration’s Waters of the United States rule:
“This is a big win for Kansas farmers, ranchers, energy producers, and small business owners alike. The withdrawal of this burdensome rule – in tandem with the billions in regulatory relief already provided by Congress and the Trump Administration – will go a long way towards jump starting our economy on the whole, and especially help our farmers who have seen their income slashed in half over the last four years.”
According the United States Department of Agriculture, net farm income has fallen from $123 billion in 2013 to $62.3 billion in 2017.
Rep. Yoder serves on the Agriculture Subcommittee on House Appropriations.
Washington, DC – This morning, Chairman Kevin Yoder (R-KS) introduced the Fiscal Year 2018 Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill, which provides funding for the House of Representatives, security and police forces, services for visitors, Congressional support agencies, and Capitol operations and maintenance. The Legislative Branch Subcommittee will markup the bill tomorrow morning.
In response to last week’s shooting at the GOP practice for the Congressional Baseball Game, the bill provides funding and makes structural changes that will improve security at the Capitol and at congressional events in Members’ districts. Overall, the bill maintains funding on the House more than 12 percent below 2010 levels and continues the policy of preventing any pay increases for Members of Congress for the eighth fiscal year in a row. In total, the bill adequately funds legislative branch operations at a level $228 million below the President’s request.
The bill also makes several policy changes to promote transparency and efficiency in Congress, including making Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports open to the public, directing the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to publish Inspector General reports on Congress, and encouraging additional franchise branded concepts for cafeteria food services and exploring feasibility of elimination of food waste through charitable donations.
It continues to make Congress more family and veteran-friendly by prioritizing a cost-effective expansion of Child Care Center services at the Capitol and increases the amount of available slots in the House’s Wounded Warrior Program that helps Congressional offices hire veterans.
Chairman Yoder issued the following statement this morning:
“Crystal Griner and David Bailey’s heroism showed the country and the world what Members of Congress see every day – the bravery of the United States Capitol Police as they put their lives on the line protecting the Capitol Complex and its roughly nine million visitors every year. We owe it to them to ensure they have the necessary resources to meet their mission in an increasingly polarized climate. After additional meetings with Chief Verderosa, I believe this bill appropriately prioritizes those needs, in addition to provisions that will ensure Members can enhance their constituents' safety at events in their districts.”
“Our bill also continues the principle of Congress leading by example by maintaining funding on the House well below 2010 levels and continues the pay freeze on Members of Congress in place since Republicans gained the majority. I appreciate Chairman Frelinghuysen’s leadership and look forward to the bill’s passage.”
We will remain unified in Thursday's baseball game and in Friday's debates
By Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS) and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO)
June 14, 2017 | To view online, click here.
"I'm right and you're evil."
Too many arguments these days, whether at kitchen tables across America or in the well of the House of Representatives, revolve around that premise.
Early Wednesday morning, Rep. Steve Scalise, congressional staffer Zach Barth, and former staffer Matt Mika were injured when an extremist attacked congressional Republicans at a regularly scheduled practice for the charity Congressional Baseball Game.
Thankfully, special agents David Bailey and Crystal Griner, two brave Capitol Police officers on House Majority Whip Scalise's protective detail, took down the attacker, after suffering injuries themselves, and prevented him from doing any more damage.
Thanks to the heroism of the Capitol Police, all those injured are expected to fully recover.
But this horrific tragedy, in which the shooter's motive appears to have been his political beliefs, has shed light on a fact that we all know to be true: Our nation is deeply divided.
Now, we must be clear -- the blame for this violence and bloodshed lies solely with the attacker. No political rhetoric in America, no matter how heated, advocates or condones violence.
But if our political arguments are based on the premise that one side is right and the other is evil, it makes it much easier for twisted minds to justify violence.
And we cannot deny that coming together to find compromise solutions to our nation's biggest problems is much harder if we take this approach.
How can you compromise with evil?
We've always believed that civility is a vital element of our democracy, but in today's heated climate, we need it more than ever. It is this belief that has motivated us as chairmen of the Congressional Civility Caucus.
You may not find two members of Congress who disagree more on issues. We represent neighboring districts in Kansas and Missouri as Republicans and Democrats, but if you ask our constituents at home about the nature of our relationship, you'll hear that we are great friends.
We often spend our periods of district work doing joint events, promoting the idea of civility and bipartisanship.
For us, it's the norm. For too many, it's shocking.
In light of Wednesday's attack, now is the time to prioritize civility and tone down our rhetoric. If people are resorting to violence, we've clearly gone too far.
America is at its greatest when Republicans and Democrats are working together to move our nation forward, because at the end of the day we all pledge allegiance to the same flag and sing the same national anthem before every baseball game.
And that is what we will do Thursday night at the Congressional Baseball Game. We will not be deterred by this hateful act. The game will go on, as it has every year since 1909.
The game is one of the best things we have in Congress. It's a night where we all come together --people who may be at odds during the day in the hallways of the Capitol -- and head a few blocks down the road to Washington Nationals Park to work together for a good cause.
We hope the bipartisan, unified, and civil sentiment at Thursday's baseball game will carry into Friday's debates. And we will continue to bring that message to Congress and the American people.
Rep. Kevin Yoder and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver are the bipartisan co-chairmen of the Congressional Civility Caucus. Kevin Yoder plays outfield for the Republican congressional baseball team.
Washington, DC – This afternoon, Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives about the importance of passing the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, legislation that creates a new streamlined process to remove, demote, or suspend any VA employee for poor performance or misconduct.
The House passed the VA Accountability Act by a 368-55 vote, with Rep. Yoder’s support. Last week, the bill passed the Senate unanimously and now heads to President Trump’s desk for signature into law.
To watch a video of Yoder's remarks, click here.
The following are Yoder’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to highlight Congress making more important strides on behalf of our nation’s veterans.
“The last few years, we’ve all heard stories about employees at the VA who’ve failed in their duty to serve and protect our veterans.
“It’s true that most VA employees are hard-working and dedicated, but as we’ve come to find out, there are bad actors who must be removed.
“Strangely, as the VA has tried to fire or discipline these bad actors, the existing bureaucracy and red tape has stymied Secretary Shulkin’s ability to do so.
“That’s why the House will pass the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act today to create a more efficient and effective system to remove, demote, or suspend any VA employee for poor performance or misconduct.
“Our bill still ensures due process and actually expands protections for whistleblowers. But importantly it will let the VA Secretary do his job and clean up the department.
“Mr. Speaker, protecting our nation’s veterans isn’t a political issue. It’s a cause we all must champion, and I encourage a bipartisan vote on today’s bill.”
Republican Congressman: Socialized medicine is knocking on the door, America
By Rep. Kevin Yoder
June 11, 2017 | To view online, click here.
The Obamacare status quo is unacceptable.
It’s become so obvious that politicians on both sides of the aisle are acknowledging it and proposing solutions to fix it.
The majority of House Republicans voted to pass the American Health Care Act in May, which currently awaits debate in the Senate.
The majority of House Democrats have proposed an alternative fix called the Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act, otherwise known as "single payer." This should send shivers down the spine of any tax-paying, Constitution-loving American.
Socialized medicine in America is no longer a hypothetical. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) won 12 million votes in the 2016 Democratic primary with a single payer platform, and the DNC is encouraging Democrats to campaign on the issue in 2018.
But what would the single payer reality look like?
First, the cost. The nonpartisan Urban Institute studied Sanders’ plan, determining it would cost taxpayers an additional $32 trillion over the next decade. Essentially the federal government would have to double the $3.2 trillion in tax receipts it collected in 2016 each year to pay for it.
Doubling the size of the federal government would take massive tax increases. An across the board doubling of rates would drive the top bracket from 39.6 percent to a whopping 79.2 percent tax of their income. Individuals making $38,000 a year would see their marginal rate grow to 50 percent from the current 25 percent.
In return, every American would be forced onto a socialized health care system to receive insurance from central planners in Washington. Every single American who has a private health insurance policy - some 178 million Americans - would immediately be forced off of their current insurance.
In America, we value choice, competition, and access to care. In socialized medicine, those luxuries would be gone.
For a real world example, look to Great Britain, where think tanks, universities, and government officials say its National Health Service (NHS) is at its breaking point. “Financial strain, staff shortages, and unprecedented demand” are leading to rationing of care.
Long wait times would worsen our already existing emergency room overcrowding because Medicaid patients can’t find primary care doctors who will accept their insurance.
Eventually, our emergency rooms could face a 50 percent doctor shortage.
In addition to the overcrowding, severe doctor shortages would be exacerbated as doctors would flee the system rather than be forced to take inadequate reimbursements for their services as set by the government.
Eventually, a two-tiered system based on wealth status would emerge here as it has in other socialized systems.
Private doctors would allow wealthy patients to jump the line for same-day appointments for a price. The rest of us would be forced to wait months for a visit with the government.
The Democrats' single payer dream would double every American's’ taxes to pay Washington bureaucrats to manage government-run hospitals. Wait times would increase exponentially and access to life-saving care would shrink. It would be a nightmare for the American people.
Thankfully, it’s not too late.
To stop socialized medicine from becoming reality, Congress must continue its rescue mission. We must bring insurers back to the marketplace so we can lower costs and increase access to care.
The House has laid out one pathway to save American health care. As the Senate appears poised to vote on a bill soon, one thing remains true: our country must unite in our opposition to the nightmare of socialized medicine.
215 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Kevin is a 5th generation Kansan who grew up on a grain and livestock farm in rural Kansas near a town called Yoder. It was on the farm where Kevin learned the true value of hard work and where he saw first-hand the ingenuity and prairie spirit that makes Kansas such a special place.
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I greatly appreciate the outpouring of support - unfortunately for my sparring partners in Congress, I'll be back soon, so stand-by!
Brooke and I join the nation in praying for John McCain. He's an American hero, role model for all of us in Congress, and he will beat this.