WASHINGTON – On Thursday, the House of Representatives voted to pass the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019. Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA) voted ‘NO’ on the measure, highlighting a process more focused on politics than sound fiscal policy. He also lamented the fact that the 1,169-page bill was released near midnight and scheduled for a vote the next day without adequate time for the American people and their legislators to review.
I could not in good conscience vote for this bill, said Kelly. President Trump has been fighting to do what’s best for our country—that is, secure our nation’s borders. Unfortunately, Democrats were more concerned with preventing the President from keeping his promise to the American people to stop illegal immigration. Democrats have repeatedly treated the safety and security of Americans as a political football. This so-called compromise was not enough to accomplish these important security needs and this bill contains far more than just border security provisions. It is our job as lawmakers to read and understand the legislation we are asked to pass on behalf of our constituents. All that we can determine with less than 24 hours’ notice is that the process is broken and that the bill would continue our reckless spending.
The bill, which includes funding for several federal agencies totaling approximately $333 billion, has lingered over Congress for several months. It has done so as the U.S. national debt surpassed $22 trillion for the first time. Failure to enact a sensible spending package in December led to the 35-day partial government shutdown, which caused thousands of federal workers to be furloughed and miss paychecks. Congress, rightfully, later voted to provide back pay to those affected.
Make no mistake, I am glad that hardworking federal employees will no longer be caught in the middle of this partisan fight. Particularly the fine men and women of the Coast Guard, who selflessly served without a paycheck for over a month. This shouldn’t happen, but that incident aptly illustrated the problem: it is good policy to secure our border, but Democrats believe it is good politics to prevent it. That dynamic overshadowed our need to make hard decisions about Americans’ safety and our country’s fiscal health.
WASHINGTON – Today, Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Representative Ron Kind (D-WI) introduced the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act along with several of their colleagues. Similar legislation, S. 362, was introduced in the Senate by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Roy Blunt (R-MO). Kelly is co-chair of the House Small Brewers Caucus with Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR).
The bill would make permanent the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s (TCJA) excise tax reduction on breweries, wineries, and distilled spirits producers. TCJA, a landmark tax reform bill passed during the 115th Congress, has led to unprecedent economic growth and job creation. This legislation will build on the success of TCJA by ensuring these small businesses can continue growing, hiring, and producing American made products.
Pennsylvania has a long history in the craft beverage industry, particularly in the production of beer, said Kelly. The Commonwealth produces more barrels of beer than any other state. These small businesses throughout America exemplify the American dream and our country’s spirit of entrepreneurship. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act gave them much needed relief from our previously burdensome tax code. When I toured many of our local breweries last year, I saw first-hand the how these small businesses are using their tax savings to upgrade their equipment and hire additional staff. The bipartisan Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act will ensure these pillars of our local communities continue to benefit from tax reform.
This bill has wide bipartisan and bicameral support. During the 115th Congress, it had 303 co-sponsors, signaling strong potential for passage in the House and Senate during the 116th Congress.
Bob Pease, President and CEO, Brewers Association: Today there are small and independent brewers in all 50 states, and 282 in Pennsylvania alone. The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act saves this rising industry significant money each year the calibration is in place and provides these integral small businesses with additional capital enabling them to further invest and grow. The Brewers Association greatly appreciates the support from our champions in Congress, including Rep. Kelly, who along with Rep. Ron Kind, is leading the charge and reintroducing this important legislation today.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA) this week announced the introduction of two bills that, if enacted, would greatly enhance the ability of Americans to save for their retirement.
Kelly introduced H.R. 1084, the Family Savings Act of 2019 and co-authored the H.R. 1007, the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act of 2019, which was introduced by Representative Ron Kind (D-WI). Both bills were authored by Kelly during the 115th Congress. The Family Savings Act, a pillar of Tax Reform 2.0, passed the House of Representatives last year.
Rep. Kelly will continue highlighting the importance of retirement savings as he did this week during a hearing of the full Ways and Means Committee. Kelly and Kind will also re-launch the House Retirement Security Caucus next week.
We must update the tax code to strengthen the financial security of Americans during their retirement years, said Kelly. These bills are aimed at making it easier for our people to generate enough income to enjoy that period of their lives by expanding access to private-sector workplace retirement plans. The legislation would help empower future retirees and relieve subsequent generations from some of the financial burden associated with the care of their parents and grandparents.
Representative Kelly, a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means and Ranking Member of the Oversight Subcommittee, has made retirement security one his highest legislative priorities so that all Americans can one day enjoy the fruits of their labor and live free of financial strain during their golden years.Read More
WASHINGTON – On Thursday, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight held a hearing regarding legislative proposals and tax law relating to the tax returns of the President and Vice-President of the United States.
Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA), Ranking Member of the subcommittee, expressed concern about the potential use of Section 6103, a power held by the chair of the full committee, to release President Trump’s tax returns. Kelly argued this action would set a precedent that this provision of tax law could be used as a weapon against any U.S. citizen both during the hearing and in a letter to Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA). The letter was co-authored by the Ranking Member of the full committee, Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX).
Whether you are the President of the United States or a steel worker from western Pennsylvania, you must be assured that politicians cannot use your tax returns against you for partisan political purposes, said Kelly. Tax returns contain a significant amount of personal information that is not suitable for publication, and tax law requires that tax return information be kept confidential. “As Members of Congress, our role is oversight, not overreach. All U.S. citizens have a right to privacy and freedom from political targeting by government employees and elected officials.”
In 1978, Congress established a process for Presidential candidates and other high-ranking government officials to report their personal financial information and potential conflicts of interest through the Federal Election Commission and the Office of Government Ethics.
I would support a sincere effort in evaluating areas for increased transparency in a presidential candidate’s personal financial disclosure. However, legislating is the proper way to achieve that goal. Using the tax code for such a purpose would be a violation of the public trust and a lazy way to avoid the hard work of lawmaking.Read More
WASHINGTON – Following President Donald Trump’s address to the nation Tuesday night, Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA) released the following statement:
Tonight, President Trump once again affirmed his commitment to choosing greatness for our country. During his first two years in office, we have experienced unprecedented economic growth, and the quality of life for Americans has significantly improved. We now turn to the next chapter to build on those successes. The president outlined a bipartisan policy agenda and asked us to work together. This speech was an urgent call to action.
I look forward to working with my colleagues and the president to fix the crisis on our southern border, protect American workers in trade deals, rebuild our nation’s dated infrastructure, lower the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs, and enhance U.S. national security.
Inclusion Act protects faith-based care providers facing discrimination
WASHINGTON – Faith-based providers who work across the country to find children loving homes are finding their services in jeopardy because of their religious beliefs, according to U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and U.S. Representative Mike Kelly, R-Pa.
The lawmakers introduced legislation today that would ensure that faith-based institutions and individuals can continue to provide child welfare services for those who need them.
For decades, adoption and foster care providers – secular, government-operated and faith-based – have worked side-by-side to serve infants, expectant mothers, adoptive and foster families, children, teens and families under economic and emotional pressure. There are some states, along with Obama-era federal regulations, that are preventing faith-based organizations from providing welfare services in a way that does not conflict with their faith.
The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2019 would prevent providers of child welfare services from being excluded from offering these services based on their religious beliefs.
“The decision to adopt or foster a child isn’t always an easy decision, but it is one of the most loving choices a family can make,” Enzi said. “That is why it is so important that adoptive and foster parents have access to the provider of their choice. The government should not be in the business of forcing faith-based child welfare providers to abandon their sincerely held religious beliefs, especially at the expense of finding a new home for a child in need.”
“Faith-based adoption and foster care providers have historically played an unrivaled role in caring for our country’s most vulnerable kids,” said Kelly. “They are the very providers that we should be encouraging and promoting, not punishing. Hundreds of thousands of innocent children depend on them being able to do their jobs without hindrance by agenda-driven activists in and out of government. The discrimination must end. All service providers – religious or otherwise – should have a seat at the table when it comes to giving kids loving families to call their own. The more groups providing these crucial services, the better. This is what the Inclusion Act is all about.”
Earlier this month, the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services granted an exemption requested from the state of South Carolina to protect the religious liberty of its state faith-based foster care providers. The governor of South Carolina, Henry McMaster, asked for the exception in light of the discrimination against faith-based organizations arising from the December 2016 grants regulation issued by the Obama Administration, which became effective in January 2017.
Cosponsors of the legislation in the Senate include U.S. Senators James Lankford, R-Okla., Mike Lee, R-Utah, James Risch, R-Idaho., Ben Sasse, R-Neb., James Inhofe, R-Okla., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Steve Daines, R-Mont., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Tim Scott, R-S.C., Bill Cassidy, R-La., John Kennedy, R-La., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Josh Hawley, R-Mo.
Cosponsors of the legislation in the House include U.S. Representatives Collin Peterson, D-Minn., Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., Tom Cole, R-Okla., Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., John Carter, R-Texas, James Comer, R-Ky., Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., Bill Flores, R-Texas, Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, Glenn Grothman, R-Wis., Jody Hice, R-Ga., Mike Johnson, R-La., Walter Jones, R-N.C., Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., Mark Meadows, R-N.C., Alex Mooney, R-Va., Gary Palmer, R-Ala., Bill Posey, R-Fla., Phil Roe, R-Tenn., Francis Rooney, R-Fla., Chris Smith, R-N.J., Chris Stewart, R-Utah, Mark Walker, R-N.C., Randy Weber, R-Texas, Joe Wilson, R-S.C., Rob Wittman, R-Va., Ralph Norman, R-S.C., Chris Collins, R-N.Y., Rick Allen, R-Ga., and John Rutherford, R-Fla.
Click here to read the legislation.
WASHINGTON – Today, every member of the Pennsylvania Republican Congressional Delegation supported an amendment to pay Department of Homeland Security employees for their work to date. This includes Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) employees and members of the U.S. Coast Guard, essential employees working without pay during the partial government shutdown.
Pennsylvania Republicans voted on three separate occasions over the past week to pay federal employees the paychecks they are owed, but the measures were blocked by Democrats.
Pennsylvania is home to nearly 60,000 federal civilian workers, many of whom have gone without pay since the shutdown began last month.
“It was disappointing that Speaker Pelosi directed a majority of her members to vote against this commonsense measure and therefore ignore the hardworking men and women who are doing their jobs but not getting paid,” said Rep. Thompson, Dean of the Republican Delegation.
“Rather than playing politics and rejecting offers by the President before they’re even delivered, or canceling the State of the Union, Nancy Pelosi should come to the table and negotiate for the good of this country and the men and women who keep us safe in Pennsylvania every day,” Rep. Thompson continued. “I am pleased to see that House Democrats continue to join Republicans on these commonsense votes. This represents a path forward with or without the support of Mrs. Pelosi.”
Members of the Pennsylvania Republican Delegation include: Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-15), Mike Kelly (PA-16), Scott Perry (PA-10), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Lloyd Smucker (PA-11), John Joyce (PA-13), Dan Meuser (PA-9), and Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14).
VOTES TO PAY FEDERAL WORKERS:
Thursday, January 24, 2019: An amendment to H.J. Res. 31, The Pennsylvania Republican Delegation supported this measure to pay Department of Homeland Security workers through today, Thursday, January 24, 2019. Only 13 Democrats voted in favor of this motion.
Thursday, January 17, 2019: An amendment to H.J. Res. 28, The Pennsylvania Republican Delegation supported this measure to extend federal funding from December 22, 2018 through January 15, 2019 to ensure federal workers are paid. Only six Democrats voted in favor of this motion.
Wednesday, January 16, 2019: An amendment to H.R. 268, The Pennsylvania Republican Delegation supported this measure to ensure federal employees impacted by the shutdown receive pay through January 15, 2019. Democrats unanimously rejected this amendment.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Representatives Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Joe Courtney (D-CT) introduced legislation today (H.R. 748) to repeal a 40% excise tax on certain employer-sponsored health insurance plans known as the “Cadillac Tax.” They were joined today by a bipartisan coalition including Rep. Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ-01), and Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04).
The “Cadillac Tax” would impact employers and families whose health insurance plans cost more than $11,100 for an individual, and $29,750 for family coverage. In the 115th Congress, more than 300 Members of Congress from both parties cosponsored legislation to repeal this harmful 40% tax. Although the tax was originally a provision in the Affordable Care Act, implementation has been delayed numerous times by bipartisan coalitions in Congress, most recently to 2022.
“By taxing the benefits that employers generously offer their employees to help keep them healthy and financially secure, the Cadillac Tax needlessly cuts into ever-tightening family budgets while making health care less accessible,” said Congressman Kelly. “As we know it, the employer-sponsored health care system is stable, efficient, and effective in covering more than half of all Americans. Employers are on the cutting edge of innovation, leveraging new technologies and systems to reduce health care costs and produce better outcomes. The Cadillac Tax threatens this time-tested system as it would lead many employers to forgo investments in the health care solutions of tomorrow. Now is the time to fully and permanently repeal the Cadillac Tax.”
“The American people have made it clear that they want Congress to address the rising cost of health care,” said Congressman Courtney. “Out of pocket costs are unaffordable for growing numbers of families, even those who have insurance. If the 40% excise tax goes into effect, we know this affordability crisis will dramatically worsen. Actuarial experts have repeatedly warned that this tax will disproportionately and unfairly impact older workers, women, and working families in expensive geographic areas. My legislation to repeal the 40% tax has wide and unified support from a range of stakeholders, patient groups, employers, and labor organizations. It’s my belief that the legislation will receive the same broad support in this Congress, and that we will scrap the Cadillac Tax once and for all.”
“The Cadillac Tax hits working families due to factors beyond their control such as age, geography, or job occupation,” said Congresswoman DelBene. “Simply put, it’s an unfair tax against families who get their health insurance through their employers. Repealing the Cadillac Tax in bipartisan fashion would be a win for families in my district that depend on high quality, affordable health coverage.”
“I am a staunch opponent of unnecessary taxes and a staunch supporter of employer-sponsored health insurance coverage,” Congresswoman Stefanik said. “My constituents in the North Country already pay far too much for their health insurance – the looming Cadillac Tax forces them to pay even more out of pocket costs. Repealing the Cadillac Tax is one commonsense fix to the Affordable Care Act, and I’m proud to join my colleagues in ending it once and for all in a bipartisan fashion. There is absolutely no plausible reason this oppressive tax was ever a part of the law in the first place.”
“In New Jersey, working families, women and older workers could see a huge increase in health care costs if we don’t act to repeal the Cadillac Tax,” said Congressman Donald Norcross, a former IBEW and SJ AFL-CIO leader who spent years negotiating workers’ benefit packages. “Congress has been continually delaying this policy instead of enacting an outright repeal, which means workers and negotiators are unable to properly plan or bargain during three-to-five year wage and benefit negotiations. That’s just not right, and it leaves workers with reduced healthcare benefits. The American people have been rightfully demanding lower healthcare costs and we must answer that call.”
The legislation has gained support from a host of organizations, including the American Benefits Council and AFL-CIO:
“Employers provide health coverage to more than180 million Americans. We applaud the strong bipartisan support to repeal the Cadillac tax and commend Congressman Joe Courtney for sounding the alarm – even before the tax was enacted – about the burden it will place on working families and employers. The tax hits plans that are not ’overly generous’ but, rather, are expensive for reasons beyond the control of employers and families who need coverage to protect themselves from financial ruin. We proudly stand with Congressman Courtney who has worked tirelessly to protect employer-provided health coverage by advocating repeal of the Cadillac tax,” said James A. Klein, President of American Benefits Council.
“Working families have waited too long for repeal of the 40% health benefits tax," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. "It's a shame that health care remains out of reach for millions across the country because they can’t afford to see their doctor. It’s time to end this tax that drives up deductibles and copays that empty workers’ wallets.”
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – Ranking Member of the House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Oversight – issued the following statement today in praise of the decision by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to grant a request by the state of South Carolina to protect the religious liberty of its faith-based foster care providers.
Statement by Ranking Member Kelly:
“I applaud the Trump administration’s decision to grant South Carolina’s request to protect the religious liberty of its faith-based foster care providers. However, there is still an urgent need to fully protect all faith-based adoption and foster care agencies in every corner of our country from unfair discrimination by states and localities. In Pennsylvania, faith-based agencies are currently being told to change their sincerely-held religious beliefs or shut down. I thank the administration for taking this important first step to protect the tremendous work done by faith-based agencies. This is about putting children first.”
Statement by Ways & Means Committee Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX):
“Faith and family are bedrocks of American society, and our policies need to promote and protect these important institutions. I applaud this Administration for standing up for these principles by continuing to ensure religious groups can continue to help our country’s most vulnerable find safe and loving homes. We know there is still work to do, and I stand committed to fighting for every foster and adoptive child and those parents seeking to grow or start a family.”
NOTE: Governor Henry McMaster’s (R-SC) statement on the HHS announcement can be viewed here. A copy of the letter from HHS’s Administration of Children & Families granting his waiver request can be viewed here.
BACKGROUND: Rep. Kelly and Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) have introduced the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act (also known as “the Inclusion Act”) in each of the last three Congresses to prohibit government discrimination of faith-based adoption and foster care agencies because of their religious beliefs. On May 23, 2018, he sent a letter to President Trump with 79 other Members of Congress requesting federal protections for these agencies.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) participated in festivities today revolving around the 46th annual March for Life throughout Washington, D.C.
Statement by Rep. Kelly:
“It was a wonderful day to march for life! The pro-life cause is one of the most compassionate and inspiring movements in our country's history. On this day for the past 46 years, it has brought tens of thousands of devoted Americans to our nation's capital to give a voice to the unborn and defend the most defenseless among us. It is always especially heartening to see so many students and young people eagerly involved. I couldn’t be prouder to march with them.”
Photos from annual Pennsylvania Open House reception, co-hosted by Rep. Kelly:
1519 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Mike Kelly was born in Pittsburgh and raised in Butler, PA, where he has lived for the past 53 years. After graduating from Butler High School in 1966, Mike attended the University of Notre Dame on a football and academic scholarship. After college, Mike moved back to Butler to work at Kelly Chevrolet-Cadillac, Inc., a company founded by his father in the early 1950s. Mike took ownership of the dealership in the mid-1990s, expanding its operations to include Hyundai and KIA franchises.
Mike currently employs over 100 people from the region, and is a leader in the local and national automotive industry. Mike has served as Chairman of the Hyundai Eastern Region Dealer Council, Vice Chairman of the Hyundai National Dealer Council, and has served on the boards of the Chevrolet Dealers Advertising Association of Pittsburgh and the Cadillac Consultants of Western Pennsylvania. In addition, Mike was Secretary and Treasurer of the Hyundai initiative “Hope on Wheels,” which has donated over $58 million to childhood cancer research institutions nationwide.
Mike was a Butler City councilman, and has sat on the boards of several local and civic organizations, including the Housing Authority of Butler County, the Redevelopment Authority of Butler County, and the Moraine Trails Council of Boys Scouts of America. In recognition of Mike’s extensive volunteer and charitable work, Catholic Charities gave Mike the Mary DeMucci Award and the Mayor of Butler designated October 26, 2001 as “Mike Kelly Day” for his commitment to his hometown.
Dedicated to improving education, Mike founded the Butler Quarterback Club and The Golden Tornado Scholastic Foundation, which provides unique and innovative educational programs for students in the Butler Area School District. Mike and his wife, Victoria, a former elementary school teacher, also established the Mary McTighe Kelly Creative Teaching Grant for elementary educators and the Lighthouse Foundation’s One Warm Coat Program, which helped collect over 500 winter coats for students in need in the Butler community.
Mike and Victoria have four children: George III, Brendan, Charlotte and Colin; and are the proud grandparents to George IV, Vivian, Elizabeth, Helena, Elaina, Maeve and Victoria. Mike’s family and friends were with him on January 5, 2011, when Mike was sworn into office as the U.S. Representative of the 3rd Congressional District of Pennsylvania. Mike looks forward to representing the interests and voicing the concerns of the 3rd District, especially as they relate to Mike’s work on the House Committee on Ways and Means.
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