WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) issued the following statement today in tribute to the late Rev. Billy Graham, who died this morning at the age of 99.
“Today I join millions of fellow Christians and people of all faiths worldwide in mourning the passing of the Rev. Billy Graham, yet also in celebrating his joyous entry into the kingdom of Heaven. Through his decades of ministry in service to the Gospel, minds were opened, souls were saved, and hearts were transformed. The good news of his impassioned crusades crossed oceans and transcended continents, while intimately affecting each person who heard them. Whether preaching to stadiums, counseling world leaders, or reaching the faithful through his books and TV and radio sermons, through Rev. Graham, God's message of love, hope, and redemption was powerfully spread in a way that made His world better. May we all be grateful for Rev. Graham's lifetime of leadership and service and let his example inspire us always.”
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) issued the following statement today regarding the newly released memo by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) detailing controversial use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) within the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) under the previous administration. The memo can be read here.
“The content of this memo is extremely disturbing. Americans are right to be alarmed. I believe that every citizen deserves to see this information and I encourage it to be read. In order to draw informed conclusions about this entire troubling situation, and to fully understand its potential ramifications, the American public must have access to all of the facts. An informed citizenry is indispensable to our democratic system. Today’s release is a victory for government transparency and the values that make our country great. I thank Chairman Nunes for his diligence in producing this memo, and commend President Trump for properly declassifying it.”
BACKGROUND: On January 19, 2018, Rep. Kelly joined more than 60 Members of Congress in sending a letter to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) requesting the immediate release of the classified memo. On January 29, 2018, he co-sponsored the introduction of a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 717) calling for the memo's public disclosure.
Toll-free call will feature tax experts from the IRS
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (PA-03) will be hosting a toll-free telephone town hall meeting next Tuesday evening for constituents of the Third District to ask questions and receive answers about filing their individual income taxes. The call will feature expert guidance from special guests at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
WHAT: A free tele-town hall hosted by Rep. Kelly to help constituents during tax-filing season
WHO: Representative Mike Kelly (PA-03)
With special guests:
WHEN: Tuesday, February 6, 2018
TIME: 6:05 PM – 7:05 PM
CALL-IN INFORMATION: To participate, dial 877-228-2184 and enter event ID 19013 at the time of the event.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) issued the following statement tonight in response to President Donald J. Trump’s 2018 State of the Union Address, the first of his presidency.
“Tonight’s address was a celebration of the state of our union, and rightly so. As President Trump made clear, by every measurement, the United States is racing full force in the right direction again. Our economy is roaring and American confidence is soaring. The stock market has reached an all-time high and unemployment is at a 17-year low. Thanks to the historic enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, hundreds of billions of dollars are being brought back to our country and more than three million American workers are already receiving four-figure bonuses, pay raises, benefit increases, and more. Overseas, thanks to a bold new foreign policy and military strategy, the Islamic State’s deadly caliphate has been obliterated. Once far-fetched goals are now a reality. The state of our union is truly as strong as Pittsburgh steel.
“President Trump’s vision for the year to come, and beyond, is ambitious, essential, and fully achievable. His words tonight were a challenge to every member of Congress to put the strength, safety, and economic security of our country and its citizens before petty political differences. It’s a challenge I intend to meet head-on. I particularly look forward to playing a pivotal role in devising and delivering, in the president’s words, ‘the safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve.’ If the past year’s examples of shattered records and surpassed expectations are any indication, the stronger, prouder, and more prosperous America that our president envisions will be realized.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Rep. Kelly delivered remarks on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives this morning to commemorate President Trump’s first year in office and to promote this evening’s State of the Union address. He highlighted the new policies enacted over the past year and the historic results being realized because of them. WATCH HERE
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Peter Roskam (R-IL), Ami Bera (D-CA) and Mike Kelly (R-PA) – co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Korea – introduced a resolution recognizing and supporting the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.
“The 2018 Winter Olympics will serve as an international symbol of sportsmanship and fair play, and we hope will provide a real contribution to peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula, in Northeast Asia, and beyond,” said the chairmen. “As co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Korea, we are proud to offer the support of the U.S. House of Representatives to the people and government of the Republic of Korea as they prepare for a successful Olympic Games in PyeongChang.”
The full text of the resolution can be found here.
Recognizing the importance of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, and for other purposes.
Whereas from February 9–25, 2018, the 23rd Winter Olympic Games will be held in PyeongChang, located in the Gangwon Province of the Republic of Korea (South Korea);
Whereas the Winter Olympic Games PyeongChang 2018 represent South Korea’s second Olympic Games in 30 years since Seoul hosted the Summer Olympic Games in 1988;
Whereas the Winter Olympic Games PyeongChang 2018 will feature 102 events across 15 sport disciplines with the qualified participation of 89 National Olympic Committee Teams;
Whereas the United States team at the Winter Olympic Games PyeongChang 2018 is expected to consist of up to 240 athletes from all across America competing in all 15 sport disciplines;
Whereas PyeongChang will also host the 12th Paralympic Games from March 9–18, 2018, which will feature 80 events in 6 sports with approximately 42 nations competing;
Whereas the theme of the Winter Olympic Games is ‘‘Passion. Connected.’’ and refers to South Korea’s vision of a world in which everyone is connected through a shared passion for winter sports;
Whereas on November 13, 2017, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the resolution ‘‘Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal’’ by consensus;
Whereas the United Nations General Assembly resolution expresses ‘‘its expectation that PyeongChang 2018 will be a meaningful opportunity to foster an atmosphere of peace, development, tolerance, and understanding on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia’’;
Whereas on January 3, 2018, South Korea and North Korea reopened a telephone hotline ‘‘to normalize the Panmunjom communications channel’’ at the Joint Security Area (JSA) located within the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ);
Whereas on January 4, 2018, President Donald Trump and President Moon Jae-In of the Republic of Korea held a call to discuss recent developments on the Korean Peninsula and agreed that ‘‘The United States and the Republic of Korea are committed to a safe and successful 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang’’;
Whereas President Trump conveyed to President Moon that ‘‘the United States will send a high-level delegation to the Olympics’’;
Whereas the two leaders further agreed to ‘‘de-conflict the Olympics and our military exercises so that United States and Republic of Korea forces can focus on ensuring the security of the Games’’;
Whereas on January 9, 2018, South Korean and North Korean representatives held their first official talks in more than two years with the aim of discussing cooperation during the Winter Olympic Games PyeongChang 2018 and improving their overall relations; and
Whereas on January 10, 2018, it was announced that Vice President Michael Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence would lead the United States delegation to PyeongChang and that ‘‘in addition to showing support for our U.S. athletes, the Vice President will show his confidence in and appreciation for our U.S. military stationed in the region’’: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives—
(1) reaffirms the strong and unwavering commitment of the United States to its ally—the Republic of Korea—to support, participate in, and help ensure the safety and security of the Winter Olympic Games PyeongChang 2018;
(2) recognizes the importance of the Winter Olympic Games PyeongChang 2018 as a leading international sporting event of genuine sportsmanship and fair play that can contribute to peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula, in Northeast Asia, and beyond; and
(3) wishes the Government and people of the Republic of Korea as well as the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games (POCOG) every success in their preparation for and execution in hosting the Winter Games.”
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) issued the following statement today regarding the ongoing lapse in fiscal appropriations for the federal government.
“As every honest observer knows, this is a shutdown that Senate Democrats chose to make happen. They’re in a truly indefensible position. The House passed a bipartisan funding bill with nothing controversial in it. President Trump is ready to sign it. But because it doesn't contain an unrelated far-left demand, Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Bob Casey are abusing Senate rules to block it. By recklessly insisting that a short-term funding bill include a separate measure to give legal status to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants, Senate Democrats are showing their true colors as a party on the fringe. They are literally putting the interests of non-citizens before the needs of millions of American children and troops. This kind of obstruction may please their liberal base, but it is wrong, radical, and dangerous. Senator Schumer was right back in 2013 when he said that ‘shutting down the government’ over immigration reform ‘would be governmental chaos.’ Five years later, he should reverse his stunning hypocrisy and lead his party to do the right thing for America. The future of the DACA program – created only by an unconstitutional executive order – deserves to be thoroughly debated in open hearings and careful discussion considering its dramatic size, scope, and ramifications. Rushing it through the process to jam it into a CR is just plain irresponsible. For now, it’s time to end the Schumer Shutdown.”
BACKGROUND: Rep. Kelly’s latest official statement on DACA can be viewed here.
NOTE: Rep. Kelly has formally requested that his pay be fully withheld for the duration of the shutdown. His official letter to CAO can be viewed here.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) delivered remarks on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday evening in support of H.R. 4712, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which will require that life-saving medical care be given to infants who survive failed abortions. The legislation is expected to be passed tomorrow morning. Rep. Kelly used his address to also pay tribute to the overall efforts of the pro-life movement and to highlight the upcoming 45th annual March for Life, which will take place all-day tomorrow in Washington, D.C. The congressman will personally attend the march and co-host a reception for participants from Pennsylvania in the Rayburn House Office Building following the festivities.
Highlights from Rep. Kelly’s floor speech:
“We are talking about the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. This is such a commonsense issue. It protects our children. … I think what’s more chilling than anything is that in the United States of America, the biggest defender of life and liberty and freedom in the world – that is our history – that we have to pass a law that protects children who survive an attempted abortion. These are children who are born alive. It is incredible that we have to have this discussion in the People’s House, especially in the United States of America. … It is unbelievable that we have to come to this house, on this floor, and defend those lives.”
“The United States is one of only seven countries in the world that allow elective abortions after five months. … Who’s included in that group? North Korea, Vietnam, and China. What a wonderful group to be part of.”
“On Friday, hundreds of thousands of Americans from all over our country will come to Washington, D.C., and will march for life. They have done this for 45 years. For 45 years, their passion has never diminished. For 45 years, they have made the trip to Washington, D.C.. so that our country’s political leaders understand the sanctity of life. … For 45 years, they have showed up in droves. Millions and millions of Americans talking about life and protecting life. We have another chance this Friday for all of us to show up and for all of us to be there. And I will tell you, 90 percent of life is showing up because then people know you care. Thank you so much for showing up for 45 years.”
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (PA-03) released the following report today, to be e-mailed to his constituents throughout the Third Congressional District of Pennsylvania, to serve as a year-end overview of his office’s legislative achievements and constituent relations throughout 2017. *CLICK HERE FOR A PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.*
As we begin this new year, I would first like to thank you for the honor and privilege of serving you in the U.S. House of Representatives, or as I prefer to call it, the People’s House. I also hope you enjoyed a safe and joy-filled Christmas season with family and loved ones.
Last year was undeniably a transformational year for our entire country and government. With a new chief executive in President Donald J. Trump came an entirely new national agenda based on a very different vision from that of his predecessor. First among the president’s many ambitious goals has always been the rejuvenation of our economy so that new family-sustaining jobs can flourish, communities can grow stronger, and Americans can build more prosperous lives for themselves and brighter futures for their children. It is a goal I wholeheartedly share.
For the first time in more than a decade, the nation is once again being led by a unified Republican government in Washington, which has brought a new wave of productivity to both the legislative and executive branches. As of today, the 115th Congress has seen 544 bills passed out of committee (132 more than average) and 478 bills passed by the House (87 more than average, and more than were passed during the first year of any of the last four administrations). A total of 104 bills have been signed by President Trump and enacted into law so far.
This sort of progress has meant good news for America, as each piece of legislation has been authored and advanced with the purpose of making life easier and more secure for every American. Some of the results of this new era are already visible: the entire stock market (Dow, S&P, Nasdaq) is at an all-time high; unemployment is at a 17-year low; consumer confidence is the highest it has been since 2000; and national GDP is on track for three straight quarters of 3% economic growth for the first time in 12 years. According to The Washington Post, “Between January and December of last year, the country added 184,000 manufacturing jobs, the third-most of the presidents for whom data is available after Carter and John Kennedy.”
These figures are worth celebrating, but they are not an excuse for those of us in Washington to rest—far from it. Both Congress and the president have a responsibility to build on the momentum from last year and keep delivering results. While this annual report will exclusively focus on congressional achievements, it is important to note that many of the year’s most historic policy milestones directly came from within the Trump administration. (A comprehensive list of presidential actions on everything from judicial appointments to energy/environmental policy to national security matters can be found here.)
With every new challenge that 2017 brought us, there came even more successes. Week after week, my staff and I worked diligently on every issue to produce the best results for you and your neighbors. The following report is meant to provide you with an overview of the most important legislative business that we conducted on your behalf over the course of last year.
Meeting the Needs of Our Constituents All Year Round
Here is a summary of how our four offices directly assisted and communicated with our constituents throughout 2017. We…
· Attended 96 constituent outreach meetings with different individuals, groups, schools, hospitals, etc. throughout the Third District;
· Toured 12 local businesses and factories to meet with employers and employees about issues affecting their industries;
· Helped 1,642 constituents with navigating the federal bureaucracy;
· Corresponded with 32,956 constituents in response to 50,215 phone calls, pieces of mail, e-mail, and faxes;
· Maintained 3 full-time constituent offices throughout the Third District;
· Hosted 5 tele-town hall meetings to address concerns and answer questions from constituents, including one to assist specifically with Medicare Open Enrollment; each event included an average of 3,612 participants from the Third District (with 18,059 participants overall);
· Hosted 2 naming dedications at Department of Veterans Affairs facilities;
· Sent 881 American flags to constituents;
· Nominated 21 constituents to the elite United States Service Academies, following an extensive application and evaluation process, for the graduating class of 2022;
· Presented 237 Congressional Commendations to officially recognize constituents for various outstanding public achievements;
· Assisted hundreds of families with 491 official tours, including 205 tours of the U.S. Capitol; 156 tours of the White House; 110 tours of the U.S. Supreme Court; 20 tours of the Library of Congress; and 48 tours of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts;
· Expanded my online constituent communication, ending the year with 14,825 fans on Facebook (625 added since last year) and 10,320 followers on Twitter (3,120 added since last year); and
· Engaged in hundreds of interviews with local, regional, and national newspapers, radio shows, websites, and television programs.
Pro-Growth Tax Reform: Defying the Odds, Making History
“Trust the people.”
That was Ronald Reagan’s prized motto throughout his presidency which, by inspiring him to empower individuals over government, helped the United States revive our economy and win the Cold War. It was also the underlying principle beneath the transformative legislation turned into law last month known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
This new law, which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives my full support and signed by President Trump on December 22nd, reformed our nation’s outdated tax code for the first time since 1986. As its name suggests, it cuts taxes on individuals, families, and businesses in the spirit of “trusting the people” to handle more of their own hard-earned money.
Why was it necessary? Because after three decades our 70,000-page tax code had become too long, too complicated, and much too costly for American taxpayers. It was holding back our economy, shrinking paychecks, forcing jobs overseas, and letting other countries take advantage of us. Simply put, the code was broken and the status quo was unacceptable.
Since 2011, my colleagues and I on the House Ways and Means Committee held more than 40 hearings under three different chairmen on how to properly craft tax reform in a way that modernized our tax system, made it fairer and simpler for every citizen, and grew our entire economy in the process.
In order to achieve to these goals, we listened to countless testimonies by dozens of economists, business owners of every shape and size, and, most importantly, everyday hardworking taxpayers. We studied their recommendations and assembled various drafts, blueprints, and frameworks that were vigorously debated. The resulting product was a commonsense bill that was pro-growth, pro-worker, pro-family, and altogether pro-American.
What exactly does this new law do? It lowers tax rates across the board to let you and your family save, spend, or invest more of your own hard-earned money as you see fit. It nearly doubles the standard deduction to let you protect more of your earnings, as well as doubles the Child & Dependent Care Tax Credit. It also fully preserves the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Mortgage Interest Deduction, and the Historic Tax Credit, which will help grow jobs and repair infrastructure in our local communities.
Thanks to the inclusion of bipartisan legislation I previously introduced with Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) and Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Angus King (I-ME), the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act also creates the first nationwide paid family leave policy in U.S. history. For the next two years, a tax credit will be available to employers who provide paid family and medical leave. I look forward to our original bill, the Strong Families Act (H.R. 3595), being passed and enacted separately so that this important provision can become permanent.
As the co-chairman of the House Small Brewers Caucus, I was also glad to push for the successful inclusion of the bipartisan Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (H.R. 747), which lowers the federal excise tax for breweries, wineries and distilled spirits producers. With Pennsylvania being ranked the largest craft beer producer of all 50 states, the provision is a win not just for the hundreds of Keystone manufacturers and entrepreneurs in this industry but especially the thousands of workers and livelihoods they are able to support—with more jobs to come!
Perhaps above all, I was enormously proud to help lead the fight within the Ways and Means Committee to make sure that this new law also preserves the Adoption Tax Credit, which ensures that our country’s tax code firmly supports all children, the families who love them, and a strong culture of life.
The president of the National Council For Adoption, Chuck Johnson, had these kind words to say after the Adoption Tax Credit was successfully restored in the bill:
“National Council For Adoption thanks the House of Representatives for preserving the adoption tax credit in the Chairman’s markup of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. … We are especially grateful to Congressman Kelly, who has been a true champion for this cause, taking a firm stand for children and families and insisting that the adoption tax credit remain a national priority. With 75,000 children adopted in 2014 by non-relative American parents and thousands more kinship adoptions, we know that the tax credit makes a huge, tangible difference, particularly for children in foster care.”
According to Forbes magazine in 2016, the United States was ranked the 23rd best country in the world in which to do business. Frankly, it was an embarrassing distinction for “the land of the free.” The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is already improving our standing by cutting the corporate tax rate – previously the highest in the industrialized world – from 35 to 21 percent, as well as reducing the rate on small businesses to 25 percent, the largest reduction since World War II.
By ending the tax assault on our own economy, American companies will finally be able to compete on a level playing field with the rest of the world. Struggling businesses will grow, new ones will form, and good-paying jobs will come home to America where they belong.
In addition to the first major update of our tax code in 31 years and each of the aforementioned provisions, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act also includes two major conservative policy victories that not long ago seemed impossible.
First, the law repeals Obamacare’s unpopular and ineffective individual mandate. By eliminating this unfair tax, Americans will no longer be forced to buy government-dictated health insurance they don’t want, don’t need, and oftentimes can’t afford to use. Instead, families will have the freedom to buy a health care plan that is right for them, if they choose. Second, it finally opens the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) of Alaska and its abundant oil reserves for energy exploration and development. By lifting the drilling ban, we can reduce our dependence on foreign oil and help keep energy affordable for American families and businesses.
The bottom line is this: major tax relief, more take-home pay, a fairer tax code, and a much stronger economy with new family-sustaining jobs for Americans are on the way, and there’s no turning back. In fact, according to the most recent analysis by the non-partisan Tax Foundation, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will reduce taxes for average-size middle-income American families by $2,059. That’s major savings!
Of course, as I’m sure you’ve seen in the news, more than 100 U.S. companies have already publicly announced that they are giving their employees new bonuses, more retirement fund cash, and/or increases in pay directly because of this new law. As of right now, companies have spent more than $936 million on bonuses and at least $1.5 billion in new investments in our nation’s economy. More than 1 million workers nationwide (and counting!) will receive these bonuses, with many residing in Pennsylvania’s Third District. (To keep track of the growing list of companies that are positively responding to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, visit this page.)
Everywhere I travel throughout our district, from Butler to Erie, constituents like you have told me that they are sick and tired of a government that overtaxes them and an economy that underperforms for them. They want lower taxes, bigger paychecks, and more job opportunities in their communities. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is an answer to their rightful demands, and now, it’s a law on the books.
Undoing Overregulation, Unleashing Our Economy
In addition to overtaxation, the other Washington-imposed burden halting our economy from realizing its full potential is the overregulation of our private sector. I hear it all the time from businesses of every shape and size. Under the last administration, new regulations reached an all-time high, with more than 20,000 new rules and an increase in total annual costs of $100 billion. However well-intentioned many of these regulations may have been when written, the fact of the matter is that too much red tape has strangled economic growth, killed good jobs, and forced many companies to relocate to other countries. When the federal government encroaches too far beyond its proper bounds and puts various special interests and ideological ambitions first, unintended consequences run amok, freedom recedes, and everyday Americans pay the price.
Fortunately, last year was the year that Washington’s regulatory swamp began to be drained.
Thanks to the Congressional Review Act (CRA), Congress has the ability to override and repeal harmful regulations by federal agencies within 60 legislation days of a rule being issued. Resolutions to overrule these regulations, before being signed by the president, can be passed by a simple majority vote. Since some of the most onerous and unpopular rules by the Obama administration were ordered near the end of his presidency, the CRA proved especially advantageous as Congress was able to implement historic deregulation.
The following is a full list of the CRA resolutions that my colleagues and I passed last year and were then signed by President Trump for what he rightly called “the most far-reaching regulatory reform in American history.”
1. H.J. Res. 36 to repeal the Bureau of Land Management Venting and Flaring Rule, which would have further capped methane emissions in the oil and gas industry at a time when the industry is already dramatically reducing emissions, potentially wiping out family-owned marginal wells and costing an estimated $1 billion.
2. H.J. Res. 37 to repeal the Federal Contracts Blacklisting Rule, which would have unjustly blocked many businesses accused of violating labor laws from federal contracts before they’ve even had a chance to defend themselves in court.
3. H.J. Res. 38 to repeal the Stream Buffer Rule, which would have saddled mines with unnecessary regulations, putting up to 64% of America’s coal reserves off limits and threatening between 40,000 to 70,000 mining jobs.
4. H.J. Res. 40 to repeal the Social Security Service’s Second Amendment Restrictions, which would have increased scrutiny on up to 4.2 million law-abiding disabled Americans attempting to purchase firearms, potentially depriving people of their constitutional rights without proper due process protections.
5. H.J. Res. 41 to repeal the SEC Disclosure Rule for Resource Extraction, which would have put an unreasonable compliance burden on publicly traded American energy companies, putting them at a disadvantage to foreign-owned businesses.
6. H.J. Res. 42 to repeal the Unemployment Insurance Drug Testing Rule, which would have severely restricted states’ ability to limit drug abusers from receiving unemployment benefits even if the drug users are not able and available for work, as the law requires.
7. H.J. Res. 43 to repeal the Title X Abortion Funding Rule, which would have forced states to administer Title X health funding to abortion providers, even if states want to redirect those funds to community health centers and hospitals that offer more comprehensive coverage.
8. H.J. Res. 44 to repeal the Bureau of Land Management Planning 2.0 Rule, which would have reduced local authority over large swaths of land out west, massively expanding the federal government’s control over more than 175 million acres of land — about 4,000 times the size of Washington, D.C. — in 11 western states.
9. H.J. Res. 57 to repeal the Education Accountability Rule, which would have been an unfunded mandate imposing Washington’s standard for how to assess schools on state and local governments.
10. H.J. Res. 58 to repeal the Teacher Preparation Rule, which would have forced states to use Washington’s standards to determine whether a teacher preparation program is effective, undermining local control over education and potentially exacerbating the shortage of special education teachers.
11. H.J. Res. 66 to repeal the State Retirement Plan Rule, which would have treated employees unequally by allowing states to force some workers into second-tier government-run retirement accounts that lack the same protections as private-sector accounts.
12. H.J. Res. 67 to repeal the Local Retirement Plan Rule, which would have treated employees unequally by allowing certain localities to force some workers into second-tier government-run retirement accounts that lack the same protections as private-sector accounts.
13. H.J. Res. 69 to repeal the National Wildlife Hunting and Fishing Rule, which would have infringed on Alaska’s right to sustainably manage fish and wildlife by overregulating hunting—a move that could set the stage for the federal government to undermine local control across the entire U.S.
14. H.J. Res. 83 to repeal the OSHA Power Grab Rule. The law explicitly states that employers can only be targeted for failing to keep proper health and safety records within a six-month time period. The rule we repealed would have extended that to a full five years.
15. S.J. Res. 34 to repeal the FCC Internet Service Provider Rule, which would have put the Internet at risk of regulation, created confusion, and harmed competition without any tangible benefits.
Serving Our Veterans, Honoring Their Service
Defending those who defend us overseas and caring for them when they return is an absolute moral duty. That is why I proudly joined my colleagues on both sides of the aisle last summer to pass a major bill known as the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 (S. 1094). This bipartisan legislation will implement extremely important reforms at the VA to ensure that those who have protected our country are themselves protected in every conceivable way. Among these many reforms, it finally makes it easier for the VA Secretary to fire employees for misconduct (such as manipulating wait lists, poor conditions at hospitals, etc.) and encourages whistleblowers to call attention to wrongdoing.
On June 23rd, President Trump signed this bill into law, rightly calling it “one of the largest reforms to the VA in its history.”
Protecting the rights and well-being of our nation's veterans has always been at the forefront of my priorities. They deserve the highest quality medical care and the most efficient delivery of benefits. Unfortunately, in recent years, we've seen the revelation of numerous inefficiencies (and worse) within the VA. Each one is totally unacceptable and intolerable.
Fortunately, the Third District is blessed with two dedicated VA hospitals that serve their patients very well. Sadly, in many other parts of America, there have come heartbreaking stories of so many veterans unfairly struggling with their health care. But with the enactment of this new law, I am hopeful that new means to remove, demote, or suspend any VA employee for poor performance or misconduct will help make these stories a thing of the past. No longer should we hear of a single veteran suffering because of our government's tangled bureaucracy or systemic neglect.
The VA at large works hard to protect veterans, and with more streamlined processes to handle bad actors, the VA will be stronger in every community.
Last year I had the very special honor of helping memorialize the service of two distinguished veterans from our district by introducing two bills to name respective federal properties after each of them.
The first piece of legislation was H.R. 609 to designate the VA health care center in Center Township, Butler County, as the “Abie Abraham VA Clinic.”
Sgt. Abraham – who passed away in 2012 – was an awe-inspiring American hero whose entire life personified bravery, selflessness, and resilience, all in service to the United States both abroad and at home. He fought valiantly in World War II, during which he was captured and forced to endure the Bataan Death March. As a prisoner of war for three and a half years, he was beaten, stabbed, and shot, and then survived malaria and starvation until he was eventually rescued by the 6th Rangers. That was only the beginning.
As he entered his later years, into his 80s and 90s, Sgt. Abraham would visit Butler’s VA center every single day to help fellow veterans. His sole purpose in life was to bring a little light into the lives of his fellow American citizens. Overall, he spent more than 40,000 hours of service at that VA center! He could have spent his time doing other things, but he didn’t. Instead he chose to continue to serve, even in his retirement, the nation that he loved so much.
H.R. 609 was co-sponsored by all 18 members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation and was passed by the House of Representatives with unanimous support on February 13th. The Senate passed it soon after and President Trump signed it on March 13th, making it the eighth bill of his presidency to become law.
In late August, I had the incredible joy of serving as keynote speaker at the official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Abie Abraham VA Health Care Center. It was a beautiful morning that saw countless people come out to celebrate not only the opening of this fantastic new facility for our veterans, but also the legendary Sgt. Abraham. Among the many special guests in attendance was his loving wife Christine.
(You can read much more about Sgt. Abraham at GhostOfBataan.com)
The second piece of legislation was H.R. 2210 to designate the VA community living center in Butler Township, Butler County, as the “Sergeant Joseph George Kusick VA Community Living Center.” This bill was also co-sponsored by the entire Pennsylvania congressional delegation and was unanimously passed by the House on July 17th. President Trump signed it into law on August 16th.
Sgt. Kusick was assigned to the U.S. Army’s Command and Control Detachment of the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) during the Vietnam War. On November 8th, 1967, Sgt. Kusick distinguished himself while serving as the radio operator of a Special Forces reconnaissance team on a combat mission deep in hostile territory. Although seriously wounded during an enemy ambush, he refused aid and radioed the forward air controller to advise him of the critical situation. While the team leader led a withdrawal to a landing zone, Sgt. Kusick maintained contact with the controller and requested emergency extraction for the reconnaissance team.
Sgt. Kusick realized the importance of having a radio operator on the ground to direct landings, and so he refused evacuation by the first helicopter. After the second helicopter was shot down, he continued to maintain radio contact in the midst of enemy fire and called for a hoist extraction of the men still remaining on the ground. Sgt. Kusick finally boarded the last helicopter, which was shot down by intense Viet Cong fire and crashed in flames, resulting in the death of this great American hero.
On December 22nd of the same year, Sgt. Kusick was posthumously awarded the Silver Star Medal for gallantry in action. The citation to accompany the award of the Silver Star Medal stated that his “gallantry in action, at the cost of his life, was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.”
It is truly fitting that these two facilities in our district will forever honor the service and sacrifices of heroes like Sgt. Abraham and Sgt. Kusick. May they always provide the best care and treatment to their fellow veterans who continue to live among us as our family, friends, and neighbors.
Protecting Presque Isle’s Beaches
In February, I joined Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Bob Casey, Jr. (D-PA) in sending a joint bipartisan letter to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (for Civil Works) to insist that beach nourishment at Presque Isle State Park in Erie remains a high priority project in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) work plan and budget for fiscal years 2017 and 2018 respectively. In May, I sent a follow-up letter to emphasize its urgency
By the end of May, the USACE announced that $1.5 million in federal funds had been secured for sand replenishment on Presque Isle’s beaches.
These beaches are a precious natural resource and a powerful economic driver for our entire region. Stretching along seven miles of Lake Erie’s shoreline, they require proper care and nourishment every single year. I expect the USACE to always recognize the importance of maintaining this treasure and to provide the necessary replenishment that millions of families and tourists – and the jobs they support – depend upon.
The following is a list of major bills introduced in and (at minimum) passed by the House of Representatives over the past year:
· The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018 (H.R. 2810), compromise legislation with the Senate which fully funds our Armed Forces and ensures that American troops have the resources required to successfully defend the homeland and achieve their missions abroad. The bill included the largest pay raise for our troops in eight years, as well as my annual amendment to prohibit funding for the Department of Defense for the implementation of the dangerous U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). [Passed by the House on November 14th; Signed into law on December 12th]
· The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (H.R. 38), which would allow law-abiding citizens with a state-issued concealed carry license or permit to carry a handgun in any other state that also has concealed carry laws as long as the individual follows the laws of that state. [Passed by the House on December 6th]
· The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36, also known as “Micah’s Law”), which would ban almost all abortions from being performed beyond the 20th week of a pregnancy, when the unborn child is able to feel pain, with an exception for instances of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at stake. The U.S. is currently one of only seven countries to permit elective abortion after five months; others include China, North Korea, and Vietnam. [Passed by the House on October 3rd]
· The Make America Secure and Prosperous Act (H.R. 3354), which combined 12 individual appropriations bills to fund the government and guarantee that proven and effective federal programs can continue serving the American people. The package included commonsense measures to cut wasteful spending, roll back job-killing regulations, enforce pro-life policies, protect Second Amendment rights, and combat crime and illegal immigration, along with other conservative priorities. It also included an amendment I introduced to re-start the Infant Adoption Awareness Training Program. [Passed by the House on September 14th]
· The Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act (H.R. 3697), which would ensure ensures that criminal alien gang members are not eligible for immigration benefits, such as asylum, special immigrant juvenile status, and temporary protected status. It also includes provisions to detain and remove criminal gang members or those who participate in gang activity. [Passed by the House on September 14th]
· The No Sanctuary for Criminals Act (H.R. 3003) to combat dangerous “Sanctuary City” policies by withholding federal money from cities that ignore federal law by preventing their police from working with federal authorities to arrest illegal immigrants. [Passed by the House on June 29th]
· Kate’s Law (H.R. 3004), which would increase penalties for immigrants who commit felonies, get deported, but then illegally return. The bill is named after Kate Steinle, who was murdered in San Francisco by an unlawful immigrant who had previously been deported five times and was convicted of multiple felonies. [Passed by the House on June 29th]
· The Financial CHOICE (Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs Act) (H.R. 10) to rein-in the Dodd-Frank Act's job-killing complexity and hold both Washington and Wall Street fully accountable. This commonsense and long-needed bill would end taxpayer-funded bailouts, protect consumers, punish bank fraud, and help unleash brand new jobs and economic growth for Main Street America. [Passed by the House on June 8th]
· The American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628), which would repeal and begin replacing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) with a more affordable, choice-filled, patient-centered system. [Passed by the House on May 4th] (I also co-sponsored corrective legislation, H.R. 2192, which was passed that same day to ensure that H.R. 1628 and all its amendments applied equally to members of Congress and our staff.)
· The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017 (H.R. 7) to prohibit any taxpayer dollars from being used to fund abortion services. [Passed by the House on January 24th]
· The Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017 (H.R. 5), which combined six previously passed reform-minded bills to eliminate overbearing regulations in order to lift unnecessary burdens on hardworking Americans and to promote jobs, innovation, and economic growth. [Passed by the House on January 11th]
· The Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2017 (H.R. 26), which would curb unnecessary major regulations by the federal bureaucracy by requiring congressional review and approval of each new regulation costing the economy more than $100 million. [Passed by the House on January 5th]
Bills Awaiting Action
Here is a full list of individual bills that I personally introduced in Congress over the last 12 months—almost all of them with bipartisan support—that are currently making their way through the legislative process in the House:
* * * * *
As I have said many times before, representing you and your neighbors in the People’s House has been the honor of my lifetime. Any time that my staff in Pennsylvania or in Washington can be of service to you with a federal matter in any specific way, please do not hesitate to contact us via the information and locations listed below.
I look forward to having your back in Congress throughout 2018 and continuing to work closely with President Trump and his administration to make our country greater, stronger, and more prosperous than ever before. As the president said to a joint session of Congress last winter:
“Each American generation passes the torch of truth, liberty, and justice in an unbroken chain all the way down to the present. That torch is now in our hands. And we will use it to light up the world.”
May God bless you and the country we love! Thank you again for the opportunity to serve you!
BUTLER DISTRICT OFFICE
101 East Diamond St
Butler, PA 16001
Phone: (724) 282-2557
Fax: (724) 282-3682
ERIE DISTRICT OFFICE
208 E. Bayfront Parkway
Erie, PA 16507
Phone: (814) 454-8190
Fax: (814) 454-8197
SHARON DISTRICT OFFICE
33 Chestnut Street
Sharon, PA 16146
Phone: (724) 342-7170
Fax: (724) 342-7242
WASHINGTON, DC OFFICE
1707 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5406
Fax: (202) 225-3103
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA-03) released the enclosed video today as his annual Christmas greeting to the constituents of the Third Congressional District of Pennsylvania.
Rep. Kelly: “It is truly the most special time of the year. Now I want to wish all of you and your families the merriest Christmas of all and the happiest of holidays, and thank you so much for allowing me to represent you in Washington, D.C.. So God bless, and merry Christmas to everyone!”
The full video message can be viewed via YouTube here.
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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RT if you agree → more is better. More tax cut bonuses. More everyday American workers getting benefits. More take-… https://t.co/lDcZUtl5Lr