Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3877, the Bipartisan Budget Act, a two-year budget agreement brokered by the White House and Congressional leaders. Concerned by House Democrats’ rejection of modest proposals to offset higher spending by cutting wasteful and excessive spending elsewhere, Representative Mike Kelly, R-Pa., voted against the measure.
America is driving toward a fiscal cliff and this deal puts more pressure on the gas pedal, said Kelly. While the deal makes necessary investments in America’s military and the VA, Democrats refused to even consider modest reductions in spending elsewhere to offset those costs. As our national debt rapidly approaches $23 trillion without a hint of slowing down, we must acknowledge that this cannot continue forever.
The White House offered $574 billion in potential offsets, most of which Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats refused to consider. Instead, during negotiations they held hostage necessary funding to rebuild America’s military and care for veterans to secure domestic spending increases and raise the federal debt limit.
Washington, D.C. – On July 23, Representatives Mike Kelly (PA-16), Glenn Thompson (PA-15), and Conor Lamb (PA-17) wrote a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary Elaine Chao in support of Butler County’s application for funding through the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) Discretionary Grant Program. The funds would be used by the county and PennDOT to complete the final four segments of the Gateway 228 project.
Completing the Gateway 228 project means more jobs and better economic connectivity for Butler, Beaver, and northern Allegheny Counties, said Kelly. It will also improve safety, traffic congestion, and environmental issues while making western Pennsylvania’s infrastructure more suitable for 21st century economy. I proud to support the county’s application and thank my colleagues Representatives Thompson and Lamb for joining me in this effort.
Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 397, the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act, a bill that attempts to address the ongoing private-sector union pension solvency crisis. Representative Mike Kelly, R-Pa., voted against the bill and issued the following statement explaining his vote:
Let’s be clear: the American workers who are the victims of the union pension solvency crisis did absolutely nothing wrong. These men and women negotiated and were promised life-long benefits in exchange for decades of their hard work.
Sadly, the pension funds were poorly managed by their trustees. I am firmly committed to addressing the problem, but the bill we voted on today doesn’t fix it. It offers no accountability for the risky and unsustainable decisions those trustees have made in the past, does not put pension funds on a path to long-term solvency, and puts millions of non-union taxpayers on the hook for the cost. That is bad policy.
Washington, D.C. – Today, House Democrats passed H.R. 582, the Raise the Wage Act, legislation that would more than double the federal minimum wage for hourly workers over a five-year period. Representative Mike Kelly, R-Pa., voted against the bill and released the following statement after the vote:
Nobody comes to America comes for the minimum wage. They come to America for maximum opportunity! Like so many things, raising the minimum wage might sound good, but in practice will produce unintended consequences. It will lead to fewer jobs available and more Americans sitting at home rather than working to provide for themselves and their families. Two years ago, Republicans passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act without the support of a single Democrat. Since then, millions of jobs have been created and wages have risen significantly. The best economic policies for our country are those that let Americans keep their hard-earned money.
The independent Congressional Budget Office analyzed the potential effects of raising the minimum wage, and determined that it would result in 1.3 million fewer employed Americans and an $8.7 billion reduction in family incomes by 2025.
Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 748, the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2019 on a bipartisan vote of 419-6. If enacted, the bill would repeal the excise tax on high cost employer-sponsored health insurance plans, more commonly known as the “Cadillac Tax.” Representative Mike Kelly, R-Pa., who authored the legislation with Representative Joe Courtney, D-Conn., issued the following statement after the vote:
Today, we acted to fully repeal the Cadillac Tax, a provision of Obamacare that never made sense for the American people. This tax has nothing to do with fancy cars or extravagant health plans — it has everything to do with punishing hardworking Americans and their families. What we did today is a crucial step toward protecting employer-sponsored health insurance for all Americans.
The Cadillac tax, enacted as part of Obamacare, is a 40 percent excise tax on employer-provided health insurance plans exceeding $10,200 in premiums per year for individuals and $27,500 for families that was originally scheduled to take effect in 2018. Since then, Congress has voted to delay its implementation multiple times, and it is currently scheduled to take effect in 2022. Approximately 42% of American employers and their employees will be negatively affected if this tax is not repealed.
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Kelly, R-Pa., sent a letter to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the ever-increasing cost of insulin, a scenario that is harming the over 30 million diabetics in the United States. Kelly, a member of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus and a diabetic himself, said in the letter that the price increase has been caused by, at least in part, a lack of generic insulin on the market.
“The average annual cost of insulin for a person with type 1 diabetes has reached $5,705, a 600% increase since 2001,” he wrote. “As insulin prices rise, Americans struggle to find affordable alternatives.” He continued: “American diabetics, tens of thousands of whom live in Pennsylvania’s 16th Congressional District, would benefit from the availability of a generic insulin.”
Kelly requested information from the FDA on what issues may have contributed to the agency not listing insulin as a peptide drug product eligible for generic production in ANDA (abbreviated new drug application) guidance issued by the agency in October 2017. Had the FDA done so, it could have opened the door to the domestic production of generic insulin, resulting in unprecedented competition in the insulin market, making it more accessible and affordable for all Americans.
The full letter can be read here.
Insulin was first discovered in 1921. After nearly a century, there are only three companies that manufacture the drug while the number of people requiring it has increased exponentially. In recent years, U.S. generic drug manufacturers have developed the technology and expertise to synthesize exact copies of insulin to be offered as a cheaper generic alternative, but regulatory limitations have been a roadblock to these companies entering the market. Further complicating the issue is implementation of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009. In accordance with that law, insulin will be removed from the FDA’s list of approved drug products (the Orange Book) and reclassified as a biological product (in the Purple Book) on March 20, 2020, which will render it impossible for manufacturers to obtain approval for generic insulin and force the FDA to reject all such products already in the approval pipeline at that time. After the 2020 transition, companies wishing to make generic insulin will instead have to enter an altogether new application process for “biosimilar insulin,” a different product under an entirely new system.
Washington, D.C. – On Friday, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2500, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), legislation to set the policy prerogatives of the Department of Defense for Fiscal Year 2020. Representative Mike Kelly, R-Pa., voted against the measure, noting that House Democrats advanced a partisan bill with provisions that threaten U.S. national security and create obstacles to achieving its military goals.
Making sure that our men and women in uniform are equipped with the tools to fight and win America’s wars is one of our top jobs as members of Congress, said Kelly. The detailed request sent to us by the Department of Defense was promptly ignored by House Democrats, who chose politics over the well-being of our troops and the American people. The bill does not provide enough funding to modernize the military or deter our adversaries like China and Russia. It would, however, move terrorists to the U.S. mainland by closing Guantanamo Bay, and block President Trump from constructing barriers to secure our southern border. The American people and our volunteer servicemembers deserve better from their legislators.
H.R. 2500 would provide a topline budget of $733 billion, much lower funding than the president, the Department of Defense, and military leaders believe necessary. The proposed level of funding would undermine our military’s readiness to fight 21st century wars, pay military personnel, renovate and maintain aging military facilities, and deter aggressive foreign regimes.
The United States Senate passed its own version of the NDAA that provides a top line figure of $750 billion on an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 86-8.
Communities throughout America, including Erie, would greatly benefit from this plan.
In 1964, I walked into the visitors’ locker room at Academy High School in Erie on a Friday night to suit up for one of western Pennsylvania’s greatest traditions, a high school football game. Fast-forward to 52 years later to 2016 when I walked into that same locker room as a member of Congress.
While the name on the building had changed to Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy, the locker room looked much the same, except that the physical condition had deteriorated. It is in desperate need of renovations long put off by strained budgets. I went back to Washington, D.C., with a question: How can we improve our public buildings and other infrastructure without raising taxes?
The result was the Public Buildings Renewal Act, a plan I authored with Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, which would permit state and local governments to access private activity bonds (PABs) to finance critical infrastructure projects for qualified public buildings. In simple terms, our bill makes private-public partnerships to upgrade schools like Collegiate Academy, hospitals, courthouses, universities and police stations possible.
As I say often, there aren’t Republican roads, Democratic bridges, or independent buildings. Everyone on the political spectrum from President Donald Trump to Speaker Nancy Pelosi knows we need to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. Acknowledging that is the easy part. Anyone can see that just by looking outside. The harder problem to solve is how to pay for these upgrades and improvements, which requires outside-the-box thinking from all of us. We need ideas to move the ball forward. Right now, the House Ways and Means Committee has numerous bills ready for consideration, including the Public Buildings Renewal Act.
I authored another plan last year, this time with Rep. Lacy Clay, D-Missouri, called the Generating American Income and Infrastructure Now (GAIIN) Act, which would provide revenue to pay for infrastructure in low-income communities and reduce the national debt. It sounds too good to be true, but I’m glad I can say that it isn’t. Here’s how it would work: Federal agencies hold more than $2 trillion in non-performing debt and lease assets that, if sold, could raise a significant amount of money.
Upon learning this, I worked with members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the conservative House Freedom Caucus to produce the GAIIN Act, which would require the Department of Agriculture to sell its distressed assets on the open market. The Treasury Department would then distribute half of the money to communities below the poverty line for infrastructure projects, and the other half to pay down the national debt. Combined, that improves the economic viability of communities in need and our entire nation. Communities throughout America, including Erie, would greatly benefit from this plan. We’re currently working on minor changes to last year’s bill before re-introducing it in this Congress.
We consider the revival of America’s forgotten cities and towns to be a moral, fiscal and economic imperative — one that can uniquely unite conservative Republicans and progressive Democrats. This is truly a win-win. We can create jobs and infrastructure in areas that most need it without raising taxes on hardworking Americans while paying down the debt. Who can’t get behind a plan like that?
Public buildings, drinking water and transportation infrastructure require upgrades, and so do our ports. We know very well that the Port of Erie is critical to western Pennsylvania’s economy, and it requires investment. That is why I co-authored the Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Act. Over several decades, the trust fund has had plenty of money to dredge and upgrade our aging ports, but prior Congresses have used the money for other purposes. The bill would unleash those dollars and ensure that America’s ports are ready and able to receive cargo and cruise ships for decades to come and aren’t forced to “light load” in sand-filled harbors. This bill was passed by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unanimously and is ready for consideration on the House floor.
As Congress works to produce a broad infrastructure package, I will fight to include these plans and others in the deal. We must be creative to get this done for the Americans who have waited decades for their elected representatives to responsibly use their hard-earned money, taken through taxes, for projects that benefit them.
China, India and other countries have overtaken our lead in infrastructure planning and are making robust investments as their economies and populations grow. We must do the same. If we don’t put our foot on the gas and retake our global leadership, we may find ourselves unable to compete in the global economy. That’s a grim prospect, so let’s take ourselves off auto-pilot, turn the wheel and rev the engine in a new direction that will make America’s infrastructure the envy of the world again.
Mike Kelly, a Republican from Butler, represents the 16th Congressional District, which includes Erie and Erie County.
This op-ed was published in the Erie Times News on June 26, 2019.Read More
Washington, D.C. – Today, House Democrats passed H.R. 3401, a supplemental appropriations bill they claim would address the crisis at our southern border. Representative Mike Kelly, R-Pa., opposed the measure, and released this statement following the vote:
President Trump and Congressional Republicans have repeatedly called on Speaker Pelosi and the House Democrats to take seriously the humanitarian and security crisis on our southern border. Instead, they again chose politics over good policy for all Americans, preferring to message to their base rather than find common ground with House Republicans, the Senate and the president. Until Speaker Pelosi finds it more important to solve this crisis than score political points, migrants and the American people will continue to suffer the consequences of her choices.
H.R. 3401 offers no additional funding to the Department of Justice for additional courts to process immigration cases. Nor does it provide for additional beds for migrants. These and other provisions will make it harder for the Department of Homeland Security to catch up and effectively manage the crisis. President Trump indicated that if H.R. 3401 were to be presented to him for signature, he would veto the legislation, signaling it has no chance of becoming law.
The Senate Appropriations Committee passed a bipartisan $4.59 billion plan by a vote of 30-1, which indicates it likely has enough support to pass the chamber. Speaker Pelosi and her caucus have so far refused to consider that legislation.
Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 6, the so-called American Dream and Promise Act of 2019. The legislation, which combines two Democrat sponsored immigration measures, does not address the ongoing and growing crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and offers amnesty to millions illegally present in the United States. Representative Mike Kelly, R-Pa., voted against the measure.
America’s immigration system is a mess, and the ongoing crisis on our southern border is evidence of that fact, said Kelly. Unfortunately, House Democrats are more focused on providing amnesty to illegal immigrants and political messaging than serious immigration reform that makes it easier to come to America legally and secures our border. We have been sitting at the table waiting for them to come to us with legitimate proposals. Instead, we were presented with legislation that prioritizes illegal aliens over Americans and legal immigrants.
Though H.R. 6 is being sold as a permanent fix for persons eligible for the Obama era program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), it would in fact offer legal status and a path to citizenship to significantly more people than the original program. The bill lacks appropriate safeguards against fraud in the application process and would allow a significant number of criminals to obtain green cards because of how it defines criminal activity. Democrats rejected multiple Republican amendments to fix loopholes that would allow illegal immigrant criminals legal status, including misdemeanor firearms convicts.
Rep. Kelly supports legal immigrants, including the over one million people the United States admits each year. He has called for legislation that provides the necessary resources to secure our southern border, ends chain migration, ends the visa lottery program, and makes it easier to enter legally and obtain U.S. citizenship.
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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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The Left likes to say it doesn’t happen. But state records confirm babies are in fact being born alive during abort… https://t.co/9JxJgm6Lky