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Weekly Update - 6.14.19

Michael --

Good evening and welcome to our Week End Update.

First of all, I want to wish all of you a patriotic Flag Day!

I also want to wish the U.S. Army a happy 244th birthday. 

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Weekly Update - 6.7.19

Good afternoon and welcome to our Week-End Update.

On Thursday, we paused to observe the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. This is the day when over 160,000 Allied troops, most of them Americans, landed in Normandy to free Europe from the Nazis.

These brave soldiers fought to bring freedom to those living under Nazi tyranny. Many of them died on those shores fighting for the freedoms we all enjoy today.

It is up to us to assure that all those who made the ultimate sacrifice did not die in vain. We must continue to keep our great country a Constitutional Republic with limited Constitutional Government, free markets and individual rights.

 

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Weekly Update - 5.31.19

Good evening and welcome to our Week End Update.

In honor of Memorial Day, I attended services at Fort Indiantown Gap and at the Veterans of Vietnam War Post 29 Joseph C. Cappella Home in Port Carbon as well as parades in Dallas and Harvey’s Lake. As I stated last week, Memorial Day is about paying our respects to those brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms and our nation. Below are pictures I took with veterans and local elected officials, including State Senator Lisa Baker and State Representatives Karen Boback, Sue Helm and Frank Ryan.

   

 

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Weekly Update - 5.24.19

Honor and enjoy Memorial Day weekend and welcome to our Week End Update.

Please take time to remember our brave fighting men and women of the American Armed Forces who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation. I will be attending a memorial service on Sunday at Fort Indiantown Gap and another service on Monday in Port Carbon.

On Tuesday, the entire nation was watching an important Special Election taking place in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District, just west of our District. In that election, voters elected Fred Keller in a landslide. Fred will be an excellent Congressman as he shares our conservative values and is a strong ally of President Donald Trump. I joined President Trump, Fred Keller and thousands of others for a get-out-the-vote rally in Montoursville. As with every Trump Rally, there were thousands in attendance and many hundreds waiting to get in to the venue. It was a clear sign that the work President Trump is doing to grow our economy by reducing taxes and eliminating unnecessary regulations, renegotiating unfair trade deals and keeping our country safe is resonating with Pennsylvanians.

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Weekly Update - 5.17.19

Good evening and welcome to our Week End Update.

As many of you are aware, next Tuesday is Primary Election Day and I want to wish all of our local candidates well. It is important that everyone get to the polls and vote, especially for our Republican Superior Court candidates. In addition to the statewide and local elections on our Primary ballots, we have a Special Election in Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District. Our nominee is Fred Keller and he is a strong conservative who will do an excellent job supporting the President. If you live in Pennsylvania's 12th District, I urge you to vote for Fred on Tuesday. President Donald Trump is also pitching-in to ensure we win this Special Election. He will be holding a pre-election rally on Monday at 7pm in Montoursville. If you go, I will see you there as I will be in attendance. For details and to get tickets, click on the link below.

On Monday, we held our first 9th Congressional District Artist Discovery Contest at Penn State Schuylkill. The winner of the contest was Cassidy Heckler, a senior at North Schuylkill. There were many outstanding pieces of art and our community can be proud that we have such creative young people residing in the District. Cassidy’s artwork will be displayed in the halls of the U.S. Capitol for the next year. Congratulations to Cassidy, her family and to all those who participated.

 

 

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Weekly Update - 5.10.19

Good evening and welcome to our Week End Update.

First of all, I want to wish my mother, my wife Shelley and all the mothers across the 9th Congressional District a Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday. In that spirit, I joined in a press conference with Gold Star moms, who are American mothers who lost sons or daughters in service of the United States Armed Forces. I am pictured with President Trump Senior Advisor Kellyanne Conway, Congresswoman Liz Cheney, Gold Star mom Debbie Lee and other members. Debbie's son, Petty Officer 2nd Class Marc Alan Lee, was the first Navy SEAL killed in Iraq on August 2, 2016 at 28 years of age. Debbie was the first Gold Star mom in U.S. history to visit the combat zone where her son was killed. She visited Iraq in 2007 and 2010. She founded America's Mighty Warrior, a nonprofit organization that supports U.S. troops and their families. Debbie is an amazing woman and mother and I was honored to stand alongside her at this event.

On Saturday, my wife Shelley and I attended the annual Pennsylvania AG Republicans Kentucky Derby Party in Myerstown. I was pleased to join with so many close friends from Lebanon and Berks counties. I also got to see my good friends, Congressman G.T. Thompson, State Senator Dave Argall, Pennsylvania AG Republican Chair Mike Firestine and his wife Martene, among many others.

 

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Weekly Update - 5.3.19

Good evening and welcome to our Week End Update.

This week, I was in Washington, D.C. as the United States House of Representatives returned to session. I was pleased to start the week discussing issues with some of my colleagues, including Congressmen Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14), Dan Crenshaw (TX-2) and Kevin Hern (OK-1). We were joined by Medal of Honor recipient, Marine Sergeant Dakota Meyer. In 2009, he rescued 36 soldiers under heavy fire in Afghanistan. Click here to watch a video of Sgt. Meyer detailing his story. He is an incredible American hero.

On Monday, I joined a bipartisan group of Congressional members at a press conference highlighting the issue of veteran suicide. Our brave fighting men and women put their lives on the line to protect our nation and our freedoms. If we don’t put their needs and issues first, then shame on us. We must address this issue and work with the VA to provide treatment for these brave veterans.

On Tuesday, as a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I participated in a hearing on veteran suicide prevention. As I discussed earlier, this is an issue that is very important in our District, especially when you consider that we are home to Fort Indiantown Gap National Guard base and 50,000 veterans. Click here to watch my comments.

On Wednesday, I served as the ranking member at a Veterans’ Affairs Health Subcommittee Hearing: Cultural Barriers Impacting Women Veterans' Access to Healthcare. We had an in depth discussion on VA women concerns, including healthcare as well as harassment. Currently, 10% of all veterans and nearly 20% of our active military are women. These great women veterans have served our country and we must continue to create a culture in the VA that is free of harassment and provides excellent coverage for ALL of our veterans. We are very fortunate to have two women veterans on our district congressional staff.

As a member of the Education and Labor Committee, I attended a hearing with Department of Labor Secretary Alexandra Acosta. We spoke about the economic success we are having across the nation, access to healthcare which is affordable, and workforce development across Pennsylvania.

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Weekly Update - 4.26.19

Good evening and welcome to our Week End Update.

I hope everyone had a Happy Passover and Happy Easter. Like me, I hope everyone was able to enjoy some quality time with family and friends.

On Easter, we did pause to mourn the innocent victims of the senseless and brutal attack on Christians that took place in Sri Lanka. This again proves the threat of Islamic extremism remains as serious as ever.

The United States House of Representatives was not in session again this week; allowing me to travel the District talking to real people about real issues affecting the 9th Congressional District.

I attended many meetings with constituents in our District offices, including with the Concerned Veterans of America. As a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, we discussed the many ways we must improve services for our veterans in the District and our country. We had an excellent meeting and they are tremendous patriots.

 

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Weekly Update - 4.19.19

Welcome to our Week End Update.

The United States House of Representatives was not in session this week and every day my team and I travelled throughout the District attending great meetings with constituents and visiting local businesses. I was thankful to take a break from Washington, D.C. and visit with real people and talk about the real issues facing the 9th Congressional District.

I joined U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, State Senator John Gordner and others for a briefing on the expansion of the flood wall in Bloomsburg. The Columbia County Commissioners and some state legislators could not attend the meeting as they were out dealing with the damage caused from the severe storms that hit us on Sunday evening. The local officials thanked Senator Toomey for his support and gave us an update on the status of the project. After experiencing record flooding a year ago, we must do all we can to protect our communities and farms from the scourge of flooding. Last year’s excessive rain had a major impact on our safety, communities, homes, and the entire economy, particularly the agricultural industry.

Later, I accompanied Senator Toomey to the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce luncheon. It was great to see so many business and community leaders, friends and supporters.

I traveled to Camp Hill for an interview with Larry Kaspar from the Pennsylvania Cable Network. We discussed a variety of issues that we are currently navigating in Congress. Click here to watch.

I had a highly productive meeting with the USDA who are an important partner in our revitalization efforts throughout the District. I met with Curt Coccodrilli, the USDA Rural Development PA Director, (Pictured below) to discuss rural broadband and a host of other issues important to our rural communities.

I met with various businesses throughout the District, big and small; including two cigar manufacturers and distributors in the District… Best Cigars in Luzerne County and Cigars International in Berks County. I visited with staff at the St. Luke's Hospital and had a very detailed discussion on their plans to improve healthcare in Carbon County and our area. They were tremendous hosts.

 

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Weekly Update - 4.12.19

Good evening and welcome to our Week-End Update. 

Before I begin this week’s update, I want to take a moment to recognize the three Marines killed in a Taliban attack on Monday in Afghanistan. Two of those brave young men, Staff Sgt. Christopher Slutman and Sgt. Benjamin S. Hines were reservists assigned to the 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, in Harrisburg. These brave young men made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedoms, liberty and nation. My heartfelt prayers and thoughts are with their families, loved ones and their brave souls during this difficult time.

As many of you know, the 9th Congressional District is home to Fort Indiantown Gap, the nation’s largest National Guard training center by training volume. That is why I knew my appointment to serve on the Veterans' Affairs Committee was so important. On Thursday, I again visited the Gap, something I have done often, and each time I visit I am in awe of the brave young men and women who selflessly serve our country and protect our families. If you get an opportunity to come across one of these brave soldiers or veterans out in public, please thank them for their service. We can never do that enough.

Last weekend, I enjoyed the beautiful spring weather at the Seltzer Gun Club Block Shoot with my good friend Schuylkill County Clerk of Courts Maria Casey. It was a great day to shoot and I was lucky to be surrounded by so many great supporters.

On Monday, I visited the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, for a briefing and tour. I also was honored to meet a handful of the many midshipmen from Pennsylvania. 

On Tuesday, I spoke on the floor in opposition to the Socialist Democrats’ latest big government plot to take-over control of the internet. The Democrat legislation would stifle economic growth and innovation - and cost hardworking Americans their jobs. The United States is the birthplace of the internet and the center of this booming industry because we keep government out of the way. Please click here to watch my comments.

It was great to join my House colleagues in passing bipartisan legislation that reforms and modernizes the IRS for the first time in decades. It puts taxpayers first and improves the IRS’ ability to protect our identities - particularly those of seniors - and combat fraud.

As a member of the Budget Committee, I attended a hearing during which Committee Democrats - instead of agreeing to and introducing a budget - considered legislation to increase spending caps. A spending cap increase is not a budget. A budget includes revenue, offsets, planning, is bipartisan, and has input from the White House… none of this happened. Nevertheless, their spending plan did not have Democrat Caucus votes for Speaker Pelosi to bring the bill to the floor. The Democrats could not even come to a compromise among themselves.

The Democrat Caucus was split… many in the Democrat Caucus wanted to reduce defense spending and others thought that increases to discretionary spending weren't enough... and when their Caucus is offering budget-busting legislation like the gan-Green New Deal, how could they ever agree on how much to increase spending?

On Wednesday, as a member of the House Education and Labor Committee, I attended a hearing with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. I highlighted the need to increase opportunities to offer education to prepare our students for careers in the trades and technical professions. I highlighted the Ben Franklin Science Research Institute program at Conrad Weiser School District to foster STEM education. Click here to watch the clip.  

 

On Thursday, I was able to visit with constituents across Lebanon and Northumberland Counties. After spending lunch visiting Ft. Indiantown Gap, I made a trip to Northumberland County to conduct a series of meetings with Rep. Kurt Masser. I joined Rep. Kurt Masser at the Shamokin-Coal Township Joint Sewer Authority for a discussion on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unfunded mandates and the fact that these requirements and the costs associated with them far exceed their ability to pay for them. Rep. Masser and I also visited with Nate Richard at Richard's Scattered Acres Farms to discuss workforce issues and visited with Arcos, Inc. As much as Rep. Masser is a great legislator, he is a great friend to his constituents and to me.

Later, I attended a Northumberland County Meet the Candidates night. There were many committed and impressive candidates in attendance. Remember, there is no such thing as an off-year election, especially when your name is on the ballot. The individuals we elect for Judge, County Commissioner, County Row Office, Township Supervisor and School Board can have big influences on your daily lives. Study up on the candidates and choose wisely. I want to thank Northumberland County Chairman Caleb Shaffer for organizing such a tremendous event and for all those who attended for a great evening. I also would like to recognize State Senator John Gordner and Representatives Kurt Masser and Lynda Schlegel Culver for attending.

Today, before attending a Pennsylvania Society Lunch in Philadelphia, I started the day by appearing on Fox Business with Stuart Varney to discuss the House Democrats first 100 days. Today marks the 100th Day of Democrats controlling the House. Click here to watch my interview.

As for the Democrats' first 100 days, while some have described them as disappointing, I will describe them as the ultimate confusion of activity over accomplishment.

There has been lots of activity, but no accomplishment.

  • For example, we started the year with a government shutdown all because Speaker Pelosi insisted on not spending one dollar to secure our borders. They said for months that there was not border crisis. Clearly they were wrong and because of their inaction it is now worse.

  • The Democrat Caucus voted to support their signature piece of legislation, H.R. 1. As we updated you before, this legislation is a complete government takeover of the election process… federal, state and local.

  • The Socialist Democrats have proposed the gan-Green New Deal. This is a plan that they talk a lot about, but when the vote came up in the U.S. Senate, and when the time came to put their money where their mouth was, Senate Democrats voted "present."

  • During these 100 days, the House Democrat majority spoke openly about a complete government takeover of healthcare rather than coming to the table and working on solutions to lower premiums and deductibles. 

  • After spending years praising Robert Mueller’s acumen and thoroughness, they completely dismissed the findings of his two-year investigation, which exonerated President Donald Trump. Although the full details of the report are expected to be released next week, Democrat Congressman Adam Schiff, Chair of the Intelligence Committee, now wants to conduct his own investigation into the President. Seeing as Robert Mueller had unlimited and unfettered access to information, it would be impossible for Adam Schiff to put together as thorough of an investigation. Regardless, Congressman Schiff is still planning an investigation, one with an ending and conclusions, which I am sure he has already written. Such an investigation will have no credibility, except of course on Morning Joe.

Again, as I have expressed, there has been a lot of activity, but no accomplishments.

Unfortunately, if you really look objectively at what the House Democrat leadership has brought to the House floor in the last 100 days, what you will see it is a plan that can be defined as very socialistic. Each policy is about the consolidation of power for their Majority and increasing the size and scope of the Federal government.

The Republican leadership and the White House are focused on making our country great for as many people as possible. We are focused on building a stronger economy where wages continues to rise. We are committed to providing our service members with resources they need to ensure we remain the strongest military in the world, which benefits hundreds of other countries. We are focused on pro-growth policies, deregulation, and increasing transparency so that our government is more accountable to the people. 

And "We the People" is what our government is supposed to be all about... we are a government of the people, by the people, for the people. The last 100 Days of Democrat control of the U.S. House has contradicted this idea. We the people must weigh in with our Democrat colleagues in the House and let them know that we expect accomplishment, not activity. In 2020, Americans will vote for candidates based upon who’s working on the right things for the people of our country.

The American people are watching - and with a Democrat House majority increasingly ignoring their needs, I believe we can take the keys and work with the Trump administration to produce results. 

As a weekly update, our work on the stormwater fee issue continue throughout the District. We are continuing to work with the EPA to come to us to provide reasonable solutions. I am committed to this fight and continue to work in the interest of property owners.

Tonight, I am off to my son's lacrosse game and I am looking forward to spending some time with my family. Go Dallas High School Lacrosse!

Thank you for your continued support and see you soon,

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