WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – voted this week in support of a series of bills to reform the practices and policies of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), also known as the “Taxpayer First” IRS Reform Package. Among the bills passed this evening by the House of Representatives were H.R. 5444, the Taxpayer First Act, and H.R. 5445, the 21st Century IRS Act. Yesterday the House unanimously passed H.R. 5443, a bipartisan bill introduced by Rep. Kelly and co-sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) to change IRS policy to require all non-profit charitable giving organizations to electronically file their 990 forms — the forms used annually by tax-exempt organizations — and require the IRS to make these electronic filings available to the public in machine-readable format.
Statement by Rep. Kelly:
“When it comes to charitable giving, the United States is the most generous nation on Earth. That makes it all the more important to ensure that Americans are protected from scammers who despicably steal well-intended donation money from the people and causes that actually need them. By instituting an e-filing policy for all charitable giving organizations, we can help reduce fraud and increase accuracy, efficiency, and accountability throughout the giving community. This will also help eliminate paperwork, reduce IRS administrative costs, and ultimately save taxpayer money. I thank my colleague Rep. Murphy for working with me on this bipartisan bill to use the joint power of technology and transparency to more easily crack down on bad actors and punish those who shamefully abuse charity for personal gain.”
Statement by Rep. Murphy:
“Millions of Americans contribute to charitable organizations every year, and they deserve assurance that their hard-earned money will be used the way it was intended. Charity scams hurt the ability of legitimate organizations to raise funds and awareness for important causes. This bill will make it easier for the government to identify, shut down, and prosecute scam organizations that use charitable contributions for their personal benefit, rather than to help those in need. I’m proud to file this bipartisan bill with Congressman Kelly to help charitable donations fulfill their important missions.”
Statement by National Association of State Charity Officials President Karen Gano:
“Having electronic data for all Form 990 filers is necessary in order to fully realize these potential savings for charities, and to ensure that the states have ability to identify and stop fraudulent activity that harms charities and donors more quickly and effectively.”
Excerpts of Rep. Kelly’s floor speech:
“In my own congressional district in Western Pennsylvania, we have many wonderful organizations that demonstrate the power of giving each and every day. In Erie, Pennsylvania, we have the Erie Community Foundation, the United Way of Erie, and the Black Family Foundation. A businessman in the energy sector, Pat Black started a small private foundation in 1993. He is just one individual who took it upon himself to create a charitable organization to give back to his community. And we have many other good corporate citizens in Erie such as Erie Insurance. More than a half century ago, Erie Insurance’s founder, H.O. Hirt, had a lifelong concern for others less fortunate. Today, Erie Insurance and its employees have continued his tradition of giving through food and clothing drives, among other things.”
“Since it’s tax filing week, all these charitable organizations must file their  tax forms. … Our bill would make it mandatory that 990s be filed electronically going forward. … A readable, searchable format will help improve efficiency and accuracy—and reduce fraud. E-filing has served as a highly effective tool in exposing scam charities. And it will make it easier to catch those few bad actors who are using tax donations only for personal gain. … Charges could then be brought sooner against these scam charities in less than one year instead of four if the return information is available electronically.”
“The state of Michigan is a great model for just how valuable access to machine-readable data is. To date, Michigan has shut down the most number of scam non-profits out of all 50 states. This is because of the Michigan Attorney General’s ability to manipulate and analyze searchable data. Our bipartisan bill would help expose these scams nationally by ensuring nonprofits are e-filing annual returns.”
The Taxpayer First Act
The Taxpayer First Act will shift the balance of power back to the taxpayer. It creates an independent appeals process to review taxpayers’ disputes so they know their issues are being considered fairly and ensures equal access to information throughout the process. It provides enforcement reforms to rein in the IRS’ abuse of property seizure, and requires the agency to develop a detailed plan on how to redesign its structure by 2020. The bill also permanently extends the Free File and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance programs, which are valuable tools for low- and moderate-income Americans.
The 21st Century IRS Act
The 21st Century IRS Act will strengthen the security of the agency’s information technology systems, which date back to the 1960s. The bill will help the IRS better work with states and the private sector to confront cyber threats, and provides better support for identity theft victims by identifying a single point of contact to resolve their cases. Americans deserve the assurance that their personal information is being handled carefully and securely.
Since news of the IRS targeting scandal first broke in May 2013, Rep. Kelly has been a prominent vocal leader in the ongoing pursuit for answers and accountability. After earning a standing ovation for his fierce scolding of then-IRS commissioner Steven Miller at the Ways and Means Committee’s first-ever hearing on the scandal, The Washington Post’s Right Turn blog named Rep. Kelly its “Distinguished Pol of the Week.” The New York Post declared that Rep. Kelly’s words “ought to be emblazoned across the entryway of every IRS office in America.”
In response to the scandal, Rep. Kelly introduced the Government Employee Accountability Act, which would grant all federal agencies the power to fire reckless Senior Executive Service employees (such as ex-IRS official Lois Lerner) on the spot, or place them on “investigative leave” without pay. The legislation was passed by the House of Representatives on August 1, 2013, as part of the Stop Government Abuse Act (H.R. 2879) by a bipartisan vote of 239-176. Rep. Kelly re-introduced the bill on February 4, 2015. On February 26, 2015, Rep. Kelly introduced H.R. 1026, the Taxpayer Knowledge of IRS Investigations Act, which the House unanimously passed on April 15, 2015.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – participated in yesterday’s full committee hearing on “the Effects of Tariff Increases on the U.S. Economy and Jobs,” which featured witness testimony by Roger Newport, Chief Executive Officer of AK Steel Corp., which operates a manufacturing plant in Butler, Pennsylvania. Mr. Newport was invited to testify at the hearing by Rep. Kelly.
Excerpt of remarks by Rep. Kelly:
“One of the things I’ve marveled at is that for decades now we’ve complained about our loss of market shares, somehow thinking that there is an honor system out there, that people will just stop doing bad things to us because we’re nice to them. … Being in the automobile business and watching the loss of market share has been incredible. You don’t get it back once it’s gone.”
“Last week, during our district work week, [my staff and I] actually went down to AK [Steel] to watch them make electrical steel. … We also were up in Sharon at Wheatland Tube and we were … looking at the crankshaft business up there, Sharon Crankshaft. … I watched the hardworking men and women of AK and what they’re doing, and I’ve been there my whole life so I know what they do. And I would really suggest to members of Congress: instead of talking about it, go look and see what these people do—actually see what it is we’re talking about.”
“You [AK Steel] are the last producer of electrical steel in the United States. I am constantly told about how fragile our power grid is. We could lose that [power grid], and if we were to lose that, what would the effect be on our national security? And I understand the concern about what’s going on now… ’Free trade, as long as it’s fair trade.’ So what do you do when you find that it’s not fair trade? You go to the WTO. How many years does it take to get a ruling on it? Sometimes three, sometimes four… That ship sailed. You win the case, you lose the market. I wish we would stop talking about it as ‘unfair trade practices’ and [instead call it] ‘illegal trade practices’.”
“I really do believe that at some point you’ve got to just not talk the talk, you’ve better walk the walk. And for us to sit back and allow the rest of the world to pick our pocket and say ‘I wish they wouldn’t do it,’ somewhere along the line, we’re going to get caught up with this. … Us losing our base, our manufacturing base, puts us in one hell of a bad position in a global economy right now and in a situation where everything is just so fragile.”
Excerpt of testimony by AK Steel CEO Roger Newport:
“I think it is important to put into context what some are calling a ‘new’ trade war. Our experience is that China has been fighting to undermine the American steel industry for many years, and our electrical steel business provides a good example. Before 2009, exports to China represented a significant part of AK Steel’s sales of GOES. In 2009, however, China imposed unnecessary and illegal duties on GOES manufactured in the United States, effectively barring AK Steel and other producers from selling in the Chinese market. In response, the United States Government, at the urging of AK Steel, filed a case at the World Trade Organization (WTO) challenging China’s baseless implementation of duties. In 2015, after five long years of litigation, the WTO ultimately determined that China did not meet its obligations under the WTO agreements when it imposed these duties on U.S.-produced GOES. Unfortunately, by that point the damage had already been done to U.S. exports of GOES. China used the five-year period during which U.S.-made GOES was excluded from the market to dramatically increase Chinese electrical steel production capacity. China achieved this rapid expansion through state-sponsored subsidization of the Chinese GOES industry, which allowed Chinese producers to sell their newfound capacity at prices so low that no other producers could compete.”
“We encourage the Committee and Congress to support the actions of the Administration toensure the President’s steel Section 232 tariffs are effective, and that the U.S. maintains the ability to produce all products critical to our national security interests, including the electrical infrastructure supply chain. In the case of a natural disaster or a cyber- or physical attack on the country’s electrical grid, the United States’ national security cannot be put in jeopardy due to the absence of a domestic supply chain that supports the key components of the electrical grid. If the U.S. ends up being reliant on foreign suppliers to repair a catastrophic failure of the electrical grid, the disruption to the nation’s businesses and citizens’ way of life would be unnecessarily long and burdensome. While the steel industry has taken the brunt of the unfair trade practices over the last several decades, no industry is immune, as we have seen with washing machines, solar panels and other manufactured products. It is only a matter of time before others are afflicted by unfair trade. This is why this Administration is to be commended and supported for its efforts to stand up for American workers and say enough is enough! We will no longer sit idly by and be taken advantage of! We must fight back to defend our industry and make American manufacturing stronger, given how critical manufacturing is to U.S. economic growth, and ensuring that Americans have jobs with family-sustaining wages that contribute to the health of our local communities across this great country.”
“We’ve already taken on the trade wars. We’ve already faced it. It’s been going on for decades. What we want is fair trade. We’ve seen it, as I gave examples, on electrical steel. And [just] because people were unfairly and illegally trading electrical steel, it doesn’t give them the right to buy that steel. What we want is fair trade, and if we can’t compete, that’s fine. I have no problem with that.”
BACKGROUND: Last week Rep. Kelly toured multiple factories in Pennsylvania’s Third Congressional District, including Sharon Crankshaft in Sharon, Wheatland Tube Co. in Wheatland, and AK Steel in Butler.
BUTLER — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – spent the past week traveling throughout Pennsylvania’s Third District to visit numerous local businesses and meet with both staff and management about how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the Trump administration’s latest trade policies are affecting their operations.
Rep. Kelly: “From Butler to Erie, from steel mills to chocolate factories, this most recent district work period allowed me to travel all over Western Pennsylvania to visit the people and places that help make our district proud and prosperous. In every measurable way, thanks to the combination of lower taxes, commonsense deregulation, and a tougher trade posture that’s putting American workers first, our nation’s economy is thriving as new jobs, wages, and confidence continue to climb. As a representative, my duty is to make sure that this economic growth is being felt by everyone in every corner of our district. This past week at home was a perfect opportunity for me to check in with some our region’s most fascinating companies and hear firsthand how Congress can help them stay strong. I was glad to take full advantage of it.”
* * * Below are some snapshots from just a few of the places visited by Rep. Kelly! * * *
- Sharon -
Rep. Kelly with David Smith, owner of Sharon Fence
- Sharon -
Rep. Kelly with David Barensfeld, Chairman, President, and CEO of Ellwood Group, Inc., and Brian Taylor, President of Ellwood Crankshaft Group
Wheatland Tube Co.
- Wheatland -
Rep. Kelly with Barry Zekelman, Chairman & CEO of Zekelman Industries
Rep. Kelly discusses operations with Mr. Zekelman and Mike, a 26-year employee of Wheatland Tube and former U.S. Marine
- Erie -
Rep. Kelly with Romolo owners Tony, Jennifer, Anthony, and Roman Stefanelli
- Erie -
Rep. Kelly speaks with LORD employees during a town hall-style Q&A session
Reynolds Services, Inc.
- Greenville -
Rep. Kelly with John R. Frangakis, Chairman & CEO Reynolds Services, Inc.
- Butler -
Rep. Kelly with Aaron Steinheise, General Manager of Butler Works, and Beth DeBrosse Ludwig, Corporate Manager, Government & Public Relations for AK Steel
WASHINGTON — More than a dozen organizations from across America have endorsed new bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and co-chairman of the House Retirement Security Caucus. The bill – the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act of 2018 (H.R. 5282, also known as RESA) – will modernize and strengthen the employer-provided, private sector pension system to expand retirement savings options for working Americans to help prepare for their future. Rep. Kelly introduced the bill in the House on March 14, 2018, with Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI). The Senate companion was introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) earlier this month. A previous version of the bill was unanimously advanced out of the Finance Committee in September 2016.
Statement by Rep. Kelly:
“I am very grateful that so many prominent organizations are strongly supporting this bipartisan bill to make retirement saving easier and more accessible. Far too many Americans face challenges in saving for their future because they don’t have access to a private sector workplace retirement plan. To ensure full financial security during their golden years, Americans should have multiple sources of retirement income—including Social Security, personal savings, and employer-sponsored savings plans. RESA would expand opportunities for workers to save through workplace retirement plans and go a long way toward helping families overcome the obstacles they face in properly preparing for their future. This is about helping every American enjoy full retirement security and peace of mind in the years when they deserve it most.”
Here’s a sample of what national organizations are saying about RESA:
“AARP is pleased to support the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act of 2018. … RESA is an important step to improving retirement policy. RESA includes provisions to encourage employers to offer retirement plans with automatic enrollment and adequate deferral amounts. It also will permit employers to join together and create what are known as multiple employer pension plans – a single plan in which a pooled provider will assume the primary fiduciary duties, making it easier for smaller employers to sign up and offer automatic savings and low cost investment savings to workers and their families.”
American Council of Life Insurers:
“The need for this legislation is clear. Every day 10,000 Americans will reach age 65, and half will live to age 85 or older. Without help, many people throughout the country and across the economic and political spectrum will be unprepared for retirements that could last 20, 30 years or more. Through the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act, more American workers will have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan to help them save for their retirement. Enacting RESA will help to increase savings and provide important retirement planning information to workers.”
American Retirement Association:
“The Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (RESA) includes several provisions that when taken together will make it easier for small businesses to adopt and maintain a workplace retirement savings plan. … All these provisions are sorely needed because small business owners face real challenges when deciding to provide retirement benefits for their workers and these new policies will help business owners make that critical decision with more certainty, clarity, and confidence.”
Bipartisan Policy Center:
“This bill represents a grab bag of overdue changes to today’s retirement savings system. The reforms would improve retirement security prospects for millions of Americans. Bipartisan efforts like this show a real desire to improve America’s savings and retirement system, which currently leaves far too many people at risk of running out of money during what are supposed to be their golden years.”
The Church Alliance:
"On behalf of the more than one million clergy and church lay workers who rely on Church Alliance members’ denominational benefit plans to save for retirement, thank you for introducing the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (“RESA”), H.R. 5282. In particular, we would like to thank you for including a provision, Title I, Section 113, that would make an important clarification to the retirement income account rules relating to church-controlled organizations. We urge that this legislation be advanced at the earliest opportunity."
Hispanic Leadership Fund:
“We have moved into a new economy, and there are projections that this movement will continue and accelerate. Our private retirement system needs to be updated to address this new economy to make sure that workers have viable options to save for a secure retirement. … In addition to having passed the Senate Finance Committee unanimously, many of the provisions in RESA either originated in House bills or have been subsequently introduced on the House side on a bipartisan basis. RESA is a completely bipartisan way to open the door to increased savings for workers in the new economy.”
Insured Retirement Institute:
“Americans today face many challenges in saving for retirement because they do not have the opportunities or access to do so through a private-sector workplace retirement plan. The enactment of RESA would go a long-way in helping Americans to overcome the obstacles they now face in saving for their retirement. RESA’s common-sense measures will help Americans by expanding opportunities to save for retirement; increase access to lifetime income products; help savers make more-informed decisions about their finances for retirement and enhance features of workplace retirement plans.”
Society for Human Resource Management:
“RESA includes many retirement provisions that enjoy bipartisan and bicameral support. The bill encourages small employer retirement plan coverage, increases retirement savings, enhances worker participation and education, and facilitates retirement income security. … Taking steps to improve the current employer-based retirement system is more important now than ever before. Every day, between now and the year 2030, 10,000 people will reach age 65. RESA is a proactive approach that will enhance the current system.”
RESA is also supported by the following organizations:
Boy Scouts of America
Girl Scouts of the USA
Christian Schools International
The Church Alliance
Financial Services Roundtable
Financial Services Institute, Inc.
Hawkeye Insurance Association
The Jewish Federations of North America
The Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago
National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association
Plan Sponsor Council of America
United Benefits Group
NOTE: A section-by-section summary of RESA can be viewed here.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representatives Mike Kelly (R-PA), Ron Kind (D-WI), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), and Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA) announced today the creation of the new bipartisan Health Care Innovation Caucus. Supported by a diverse group of health care organizations from throughout the nation, the caucus will advance a legislative agenda that encourages innovative policy ideas to improve the quality of care and lower costs for consumers.
With the health care industry rapidly transforming from a volume-driven system to one that rewards value and outcomes, it is vital that we maintain this acceleration by encouraging a marketplace of multiple payment models and using lessons learned to improve care for consumers. The main focus of the Health Care Innovation Caucus will be to explore and advance successful, innovative payment models as well as the technologies needed to support these models. – The Health Care Innovation Caucus Founding Co-Chairs
Rep. Kelly: “With the highest cost of care per person in the world, we as a country need to think critically about how we can control costs while improving quality for Americans. The Health Care Innovation Caucus is a great opportunity for Members of Congress from both parties to come together and advance new ways of paying for and coordinating health care. I look forward to working with my colleagues to encourage new ideas and spur new technology throughout this entire field."
Rep. Kind: “For too long, our health care system rewarded the volume of services, regardless of the outcome. I am proud to launch the bipartisan Healthcare Innovation Caucus and look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to explore models of care that are coordinated, integrated, patient-centered, and produce great results at a much better price.”
Rep. Mullin: “Innovation is the driving force behind the evolution of today’s health care industry. The industry improves almost daily with the introduction of electronic health care records, groundbreaking cures approved by the FDA, and medical devices that create possibilities we never imagined. However, old and outdated payment models stand in the way of innovation and quality care. We need to make sure that the federal government doesn’t stand in the way as medical innovation brings health care into the 21st century. I’m proud to be a part of the Innovation Caucus which will serve as a bridge for the novel developments of the medical field as they navigate the pre-digital age laws of Congress.”
Rep. Bera: “As a doctor, I know that health care is rapidly changing and it’s important Congress understands new innovations and ideas that can improve patients’ lives and lower costs. The Health Care Innovation Caucus will provide a bipartisan space for these important conversations. I am glad to join my colleagues in this effort to accelerate promising strategies to improve the health care system and ensure patients have access to cutting edge innovation.”
Jeff Micklos, Executive Director, The Health Care Transformation Task Force:
“The Health Care Transformation Task Force (HCTTF) welcomes the launch of the Health Care Innovation Caucus. At this critical moment in the healthcare industry, the Caucus will bring much needed leadership on the issues facing the U.S. healthcare system. As the industry continues to transition to value-based care models, the Caucus’s leadership will be paramount in exploring and advancing federal policies promoting successful patient-centered innovative payment models and technologies and outcome measures that support these models. As leading voices on value-based payment and care delivery transformation, HCTTF members recognize all too well the need for a sweeping revolution of the health care system. It’s our hope that the Caucus will be a guiding force in leading that revolution.”
John Rother, President and CEO, National Coalition on Health Care:
“There’s little more important to long-term health care affordability than moving beyond today’s costly, volume-centered paradigm. The leadership we expect from the new Health Care Innovation Caucus could be key to achieving that. Representatives Kelly, Kind, Mullin, and Bera are starting something special today. A long-time champion for bipartisan delivery innovation legislation, including MACRA and the Chronic Care Act, NCHC has urged the Administration to make expansion of Advanced Alternative Payment Models opportunities the top priority for the CMS Innovation Center.”
“With Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar embracing the call for ‘bolder action’ on value-based care, this Caucus can help engage their colleagues and educate Congressional staffs--on both sides of the aisle--at this crucial juncture for our health care system,”
Blair Childs, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Premier Inc.:
“We commend U.S. Representatives Mike Kelly (R-PA), Ron Kind (D-WI), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA) for their bipartisan leadership in the creation of the Healthcare Innovation Caucus, which is focused on informing lawmakers and other stakeholders on needed reforms to advance a 21st century healthcare delivery system.
“For more than 15 years, Premier has been a stalwart supporter of the national move away from perverse incentives in today’s fee-for-service system in favor of new, value-based, alternative payment models.
“Policy changes and payment model improvements are critical to strengthen and expand this movement, which is already generating significant returns in cost and quality. As members of the Healthcare Innovation Caucus advance their legislative agenda, it is our hope that they will prioritize the development of meaningful, transparent measures of provider performance; access to timely, accurate and complete claims data to better facilitate care management; the creation of additional payment models that support high-value services at a reduced cost; deregulation of the fee-for-service legal and regulatory requirements that increase costs and impede collaboration and innovation; and ensure alignment between private and public sector programs, which is critical to a sustainable value-based payment marketplace.”
Kelly continues to stand up for Lake Erie in Congress
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and a former chairman of the Great Lakes Task Force – delivered remarks this morning at the annual Great Lakes Congressional Breakfast Reception to celebrate Great Lakes Day 2018 and promote congressional action taken to support Lake Erie.
Rep. Kelly: “The Great Lakes are an environmental treasure and an undeniable economic engine for our entire district, region, and country. I will never hesitate to take proactive action to protect them, especially Lake Erie, and strongly encourage all my colleagues to do the same.”
Since taking office in 2011, Rep. Kelly has worked with lawmakers in both parties and both houses of Congress to ensure the maintenance, protection, and economic success of Lake Erie’s beaches and port in Pennsylvania’s Third Congressional District.
FIGHTING FOR SAND REPLENISHMENT AT PRESQUE ISLE
This afternoon, Rep. Kelly sent an official letter to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) to formally request that beach nourishment at Presque Isle State Park remain a high priority project in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) budget for fiscal year 2019.
Excerpt from Rep. Kelly’s letter:
Presque Isle is an essential economic and natural resource for Northwestern Pennsylvania and this region of our country. According to a study by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, it supports more than 1,000 jobs and attracts roughly four million visitors who bring more than $60 million into the local economy each year. Needless to say, it is critical for the region that the beach remains a popular attraction and that the shoreline’s integrity is fully maintained.
SUPPORTING THE GREAT LAKES RESTORATION INITIATIVE
Rep. Kelly has co-signed a joint letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies to formally request that the committee provide $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) for fiscal year 2019. This bipartisan letter will be sent in the week to come.
Excerpt from letter:
The federal government commits significant resources each year to address the challenges the Great Lakes face. In particular, GLRI resources have supplemented agency budgets to fund coordinated efforts to protect and restore the Great Lakes ecosystem, and we must ensure that this important work continues. Halting this commitment would reverse years of progress, dramatically reduce the GLRI’s impact, and jeopardize the environmental and economic health of the region.
To that end, we urge you to continue this vital investment in the economic and environmental health of the Great Lakes by including $300 million for the GLRI in the Fiscal Year 2019 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.
WORKING TO COMBAT TOXIC ALGAL BLOOMS
Rep. Kelly has also co-signed a soon-to-be released joint letter to the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee requesting the preservation of FY2017 funding levels to combat harmful algal blooms at the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
Excerpt from letter:
As the occurrence and severity of harmful algal blooms (HABs) increases throughout our country, more communities are facing threats to their drinking water, waterways, and economies. Our understanding of HABs, their toxicity, location, and increasing frequency, is not keeping pace with the rate at which they occur. As you develop the fiscal year 2018 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, we write to urge strong appropriations for the research programs on HABs within the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
In order to effectively combat HABs and address the threats they pose to public health and our economy, we respectfully ask that you prioritize research on HABs and maintain fiscal year 2017 funding levels for the Toxic Substances Hydrology Account within the USGS.
Earlier this year, Rep. Kelly introduced the Investing in America: Unlocking the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Act (H.R. 1908), a bipartisan bill to guarantee that the Port of Erie and other national ports, harbors, and channels are dredged, maintained, and kept fully operational
A video of Rep. Kelly’s initial floor speech in strong support of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2014 (of which he is an original co-sponsor) can be viewed here.
What others have said about Rep. Kelly’s efforts:
“U.S. Reps. Glenn Thompson, R-5th Dist., and Mike Kelly, R-3rd Dist., joined with Erie Senators Pat Toomey and Bob Casey and other Great Lakes lawmakers in bipartisan fashion to ensure Great Lakes funding remained intact after Trump first sought to slash it in 2017. We expect they will restore the funding again. We credit them for their advocacy.”
— Editorial, Erie Times-News, 2/27/2018
“A local supporter of protecting the GLRI is Rep. Mike Kelly (R-3rd Dist). As a member of the Congressional Great Lakes Task Force, a bipartisan working group, he has signed two letters to President Trump supporting the continuance of the $300 million GLRI in the 2018 budget.
“He also signed on to two letters to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior. The first, dated March 30, requested continued full funding of GLRI; the second, more pointed letter says that the task force members are “united in carefully monitoring programs that are integral to the Great Lakes environment and waterborne commerce.” It goes on to detail how losses in each program of the EPA could affect the Great Lakes.
“A spokesperson in Kelly’s office also stated that Kelly does not support House Bill 861, which proposes terminating the EPA entirely, and that he is not in favor of using $50 million of the 2017 GLRI budget to fund a border wall.”
— Mary Birdsong, “Sailing on Choppy Waters,” The Erie Reader, 4/12/17
“On behalf of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition and our over 145 member organizations, thank you for signing onto the Great Lakes Restoration Fiscal Year 2018 letter. Your support is critical for our region to continue the momentum that is building in the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes.”
— Todd Ambs, Coalition Director, Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, 3/30/17
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – issued the following statement today regarding the introduction of H.R. 5138, the Bipartisan HSA Improvement Act, in the House of Representatives. The legislation would improve Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) for millions of Americans by expanding access and increasing benefit flexibility, thereby making health care more affordable. It was co-authored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and is being co-sponsored by Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Ron Kind (D-WI), Terri Sewell (D-AL), and Brain Fitzpatrick (R-PA).
“More than 20 million Americans are enrolled in HSA-qualified plans. These plans put people in the driver’s seat of their health care, helping them save money and stay healthy. With so many people increasingly choosing HSA plans, it is important that federal rules allow employers to provide the best benefits possible for their employees. By modernizing HSA policy, this bipartisan bill will promote flexibility, encourage innovation, and expand access to these cost-saving plans for many more Americans.”
“By expanding access to affordable care, promoting wellness, and strengthening innovation, this legislation will help Americans stay healthy while saving money.”
The Bipartisan HSA Improvement Act includes the following reforms:
· Allows HSA plans to offer pre-deductible coverage of health services at onsite employee clinics and retail health clinics.
· Allowing HSA plans to offer pre-deductible coverage for services and medication that manage chronic conditions.
· Permitting the use of HSA dollars toward wellness benefits, including exercise and other expenses associated with physical activity.
· Clarifying that employers can offer “excepted benefits”, like telehealth and second opinion services to employees with an HSA plan.
· Technical changes to correct the definition of “dependents”, streamline FSA conversion, and fix the prohibition on a spouse using an HSA.
The legislation is supported by numerous organizations:
James A. Klein, President, American Benefits Council:
"Health savings accounts are popular and effective tools for employers striving to provide affordable coverage to working families. On behalf of these employers, the American Benefits Council strongly supports legislation that would allow for continued HSA innovation and we look forward to working with Representatives Kelly and Blumenauer on this promising new bill."
Annette Guarisco Fildes, President and CEO, ERISA Industry Committee:
“ERIC strongly endorses the Bipartisan HSA Improvement Act of 2018. Representatives Kelly Blumenauer have produced a significant and much-needed bill that would expand and modernize HSA policies, improving health care options for more than 20 million Americans.”
Mary R. Grealy, President, Healthcare Leadership Council:
“Rising incidence rates of multiple chronic diseases represent the greatest challenge our healthcare system is facing. We applaud and support this bipartisan effort to not only strengthen access to health savings accounts, but to expand the flexibility of these consumer-directed plans to cover wellness and disease prevention services.”
Neil Trautwein, Vice President for Health Care Policy, National Retail Federation:
“We share the goal of improving HSAs to meet the needs of working families, a goal deserving of the bipartisan support it enjoys. Meeting the day-to-day needs of those with chronic health care conditions and bringing care closer to home in retail clinics are important, consumer-friendly reforms.”
Tom Cove, President & CEO, Sports & Fitness Industry Association:
“HSA’s are a major component of our healthcare system, and making them more consumer friendly will give Americans more options to use these accounts to suit their individual needs. These HSA improvements will promote prevention and wellness and encourage all Americans to make good decisions about their health.”
Sally S. Johnson, Executive Director, National Council of Youth Sports:
“Youth sports is the foundation for a healthy life and modifying HSAs to help families with activity costs will lead to more active children. Culture change starts with young people and we need to do all we can to give them a platform for lifelong fitness.”
NOTE: HSAs were established by the Medicare Modernization Act in 2003. Currently more than 20 million Americans are covered by HSAs, which has more than doubled in the past five years.
BACKGROUND: In May 2017, Rep. Kelly introduced the Faith in Health Savings Accounts Act (H.R. 2310, also known as the Faith in HSAs Act), which would allow members of Health Care Sharing Ministries (HCSMs) to use HSAs to save money on medical expenses without having to purchase a high deductible health insurance plan. The legislation is co-sponsored by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), and was previously introduced by Rep. Kelly in April 2015. According to U.S. News & World Report, “the one-sentence Kelly bill would allow millions of people of faith to save tax-free for their medical expenses. … In uniting the two concepts, Kelly has done something astonishing. He has come up with a non-partisan, non-ideological, non-controversial health care reform that would actually make the world better.”
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) has been selected as a finalist for the 2018 “Democracy Award” for Constituent Service by the non-partisan Congressional Management Foundation (CMF). The Democracy Awards program was created by CMF to “recognize non-legislative achievement and performance in congressional offices and by Members of Congress.” The Constituent Service category honors offices for “their outstanding practices or achievements acting as ombudsmen with the federal government or responding to constituent requests and inquiries.” The finalists for all four categories – overall including 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans – were officially announced on February 23, 2018.
Rep. Mike Kelly:
“Our entire team is incredibly proud and excited to be selected as a finalist for CMF’s Democracy Award for excellence in Constituent Service. We are honored to serve Western Pennsylvania each and every day in the People’s House and are truly grateful to receive such wonderful recognition for our efforts. Providing the very best constituent service for our district has been our top priority since Day One, and that is what it will remain.”
CMF President and CEO Bradford Fitch:
“As a finalist in Constituent Service for a Democracy Award, Rep. Kelly’s office is clearly one of the best in Congress. This designation demonstrates that Rep. Kelly has made a significant commitment to being the best public servant for his constituents in Pennsylvania. Rep. Kelly and his staff are to be congratulated for not only being a model for colleagues in Congress, but for helping to restore trust and faith that our democratic institutions can work.”
In announcing Rep. Kelly as a finalist, CMF explained why his office was selected:
“Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA-03) and his staff not only value service in themselves, but in others. They recognize a ‘Third District Community Champion’ four times a year to honor a constituent for community service. They use regular telephone town hall meetings and a comprehensive annual report to educate constituents on the assistance they can provide. Additionally they bring federal agency officials into their town halls to answer constituent questions on topics ranging from Medicare Open Enrollment to tax filing. The Chief of Staff and District Director regularly switch duty stations to increase collaboration and understanding between the Washington and Pennsylvania offices.”
The CMF Democracy Awards program was initiated with the following stated goals:
The distinct categories include:
A full list of the finalists in each category can be viewed here.
Criteria for the Constituent Service award, courtesy of CMF:
This award focuses on how an office interacts with and serves constituents, especially how it utilizes and leverages specific, methodical and consistent processes for achieving measurable results in constituent service. This is independent of legislative work, and emphasis is on effectiveness not efficiency (e.g. use of, and adherence to, metrics and outcomes rather than simply measuring the time it takes to resolve a constituent case request or respond to an e-mail). We would expect to see that an office demonstrates excellence in constituent service through specific practices which are thoroughly integrated into the office's work. For example:
More information about each Constituent Service award finalist – including three Democrats and three Republicans – can be viewed here.
NOTE: A committee comprised primarily of former Members of Congress and former congressional staffers will select the two winners (one Democrat and one Republican) for each of the categories. Winners will be announced in mid-May. An awards ceremony to honor finalists and winners will be held on July 12, 2018.
BACKGROUND: The Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan, non-profit organization established with the mission to build trust and effectiveness in Congress. Since 1977, CMF has worked internally with Member, committee, leadership, and institutional offices in the U.S. House and Senate to identify and disseminate best practices for management, workplace environment, communications, and constituent services. CMF also is the leading researcher and trainer on citizen engagement, educating thousands of individuals and facilitating better relationships with Congress. More information can be found at www.CongressFoundation.org.
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.
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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