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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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Weekly Update - 4.5.19

Dear Friend,

Good evening and welcome to our Week-End Update. 

Last weekend, I had a great time at the Girardville St. Patrick’s Day parade. The weather, crowds, and community spirit were outstanding - and to top it off, I was able to walk with my good friend State Senator Dave Argall. It truly was a wonderful event and I want to thank everyone who was able to come out.

I kicked off my week in Washington, D.C. with an appearance on Fox Business’ Mornings with Maria Bartiromo. We discussed the ongoing illegal immigration crisis, the national debt, and healthcare reform. Click on the link below to watch my interview.

Also on Monday, we received some news on progress on the war on opioids. China has fulfilled it’s a promise to President Donald Trump by banning all types of the powerful opioid fentanyl, which can help slow the supply of the deadly drugs in our nation. Fentanyl has caused tens of thousands of overdose deaths all over the United States. This is an important step in the war on opioid addiction. Click here to read more.

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Weekly Update - 3.29.19

Greetings, welcome to our Week-End Update. 

Before I recap my activities this past week, I want to address the conclusion of the Mueller Report. This whole episode began with an investigation of Russian collusion and it ended with a clear and emphatic statement that there was no Russian collusion against President Trump. ZERO. The President has been completely vindicated of any Russian collusion. That is a fact. This entire investigation, which spanned two years, was based on a false premise. 

No matter how Socialist Democrats and the talking heads attempt to spin it… and they are desperately trying… after two years of an incredibly in-depth investigation, the President has been vindicated – No Russia collusion.

I addressed this issue on the floor of the United States House this week, click here to watch.

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Facts Regarding the Mueller Report

Mueller Report Shows No Collusion, No Obstruction

  • For years, Democrats and many in the media promised us there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Today, they were proven totally wrong and President Trump has been completely exonerated.
  • Special Counsel Mueller’s report reaffirmed what President Trump, members of the campaign team, and the White House have repeatedly said, there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and there was no obstruction of justice.
    • As Attorney General Barr noted: "The Special Counsel's investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election."
  • The Special Counsel’s report also noted that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation will go down in history as one of the widest ranging, longest, and most expensive investigations ever.
  • This exhaustive investigation included devotion of resources, staff, and taxpayer dollars:
    • The investigation went on for 675 days.
    • The total reported cost of the Mueller investigation through September 2018 was over $25 million.
    • The cost per day was $50,230.00  – the second most expensive in history.
    • There were 19 attorneys on Robert Mueller’s staff – 12 more than the Starr investigation.
    • Approximately 500 individuals testified or interviewed with the Special Counsel’s team.
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Weekly Update - 3.22.19

Dear Friend,

Greetings and welcome to our Week-End Update.

This week, our team and I were working hard, traveling around the District, attending events, and meeting with constituents.

On Monday morning, I met with a few conservative leaders in Lebanon County. Their ideas and input are invaluable. Later, I paid a visit to a local company, PRL, Inc., which manufactures sand castings for military, primarily submarines, and commercial use. It was great to meet with PRL employees and see first-hand how a great local company can achieve international success and create quality jobs here in the 9th Congressional District. Thanks to all the people at PRL. Later, I taped an appearance on Berks County GOP Chairman Clay Breece's Radio Show The Point, which airs on WFYL.

On Tuesday, I visited one of the largest employers in our area, Navient Solutions. They employ over 1,000 hardworking Pennsylvanians, many of whom reside in the 9th District. These are great paying jobs and we are lucky to have this employer in our region. Meeting the CEO, senior staff, and many of their employees was also a great pleasure and their hospitality was truly appreciated. Later that day, I visited the Wilkes-Barre VA and met with their Director Russell Lloyd. As a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I was pleased to sit down and discuss ways to improve services and efficiencies, so as to always ensure that our veterans receive the best care possible.  

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Weekly Update - 3.15.19

Dear Friend,

Good evening. The following is our Week-End Update.

As I wrote last week, I spoke on the floor against H.R. 1, or what I have come to refer to as the "Democrat Politician Protection Act".  My remarks highlighted the absurdity of an amendment that would require all polling places to remain open for ten hours over a 15-day period. Such an unfunded mandate isn't just costly to local municipalities, but highly impractical - especially when you consider the size of certain precincts in our district. Take, for example, a polling place in Lenhartsville Borough in Berks County - which averages only 60 voters - to tell borough officials to expend the resources to fulfill this Washington mandate, simply isn't reasonable. WFMZ highlighted my remarks in a story you can view by clicking here.

As a reminder, H.R. 1 would:

  • Force states to allow felons to vote.
  • Remove safeguards to prevent voter fraud.
  • Create a system where taxpayer dollars are redirected to political candidates the taxpayer doesn’t necessarily support.
  • Allow 15 days for voting in every state, which would cost taxpayers more money to conduct elections.
  • Create a new voucher pilot program that grants eligible voters $25 of government money to donate to a political campaign of their choosing.
  • Institute Federally-mandated universal voter registration with same-day registration which is literally impossible to prevent fraud.
  • Require a 6-1 taxpayer match for donations of $200 or less... so if a candidate were to receive a $200 donation, the taxpayers would be on the hook for $1,200.

In News you won’t hear in the mainstream media… As part of their vote on H.R. 1, nearly all House Democrats voted against a GOP-backed Amendment that would have added language to H.R. 1 stating that “allowing illegal immigrants the right to vote devalues the franchise and diminishes the voting power of United States citizens.” All but six Democrats voted against adding this language.

As a reminder...in just two-and-a-half months, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Socialist Democrats have driven a far-left agenda. Folks, they are revealing an immensely different vision and plan for America than the values and principles that make our country great. They oppose a free market economy, freedom of speech, and many of the policies that make us a land of opportunity for all people, regardless of age, race and creed.  We are going to continue messaging based upon the facts and the truth, so the people can make informed decisions about who they are electing into office. Just today, a group of local Democrats at a St. Patrick's Day event in the District said to me, "I don't know what's going on down there, that's not my party"... and they are right.

On Sunday, I attended the First District Republican Party event at the Genetti Hotel in Hazleton. It was a great event and you could feel the excitement for our Party. We are 100% united behind President Donald Trump and his America First Agenda. Below is a picture with former Congressman Lou Barletta, District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis, and State Representative Tarah Toohil from that event.

 

On Monday, I met with State Senator John Yudichak and State Representative Doyle Heffley to discuss the Schools and Homes In Education (SHINE) Afterschool Program, which is administered by the Lehigh Carbon Community College. SHINE is modeled on best practices, with the mission to link schools and homes in education to build a strong academic and social foundation for kids.

On Tuesday, as a member of the House Budget Committee, I attended a hearing where I discussed my great concern for our nation’s rising debt. I spoke about how the President's tax cuts helped decrease the burden on government spending by creating jobs that moved people off of public assistance and Obamacare. Click here to watch.

On Wednesday, C-SPAN released an interview I conducted with them as part of their New Member series. I spoke about my background, my family, education, helping to build a small business into a major employer and my desire to pass an agenda that promotes prosperity, ensures our nation's safety and Keeps America Great. Click here to watch the interview.

This week also saw the introduction of the JOBS for Success Act, legislation that would reform our country's cash-for-work welfare program, help more Americans find good-paying, career jobs, and provide more opportunities for families to realize the American dream.  I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this legislation, and will continue to champion common-sense policies that help all Americans find long-term work and achieve upward mobility.  We have a booming economy thanks to the President's pro-growth policies - and we have employers all across our district looking to fill great jobs.  This legislation is one step towards ensuring individuals, who are able to work, have the help and resources they need to find the job and career they deserve.  

On Thursday, we celebrated National Ag Day and the important contributions agriculture makes to our economy and our communities. Agriculture is Pennsylvania’s largest industry. We are very appreciative of our hardworking farm families in the 9th Congressional District and we want to wish them a profitable growing season this year.

Last night, after wrapping up a week of legislative work on Capitol Hill, I attended the Pottsville State of the City Address. I want to thank Mayor James Muldowney for his leadership and his update on the city. The Mayor and his team put together a tremendous event for the community.

Today, I attended events supporting the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Lunch and Irish Fair at Sharp Mountain. We then had several meetings in our Pottsville District Office. I want to wish everyone, especially all of my friends celebrating their Irish-heritage, a Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Lastly, you may have read that the U.S. Senate voted on Thursday to overturn President Trump's national emergency declaration.  As you may recall, Speaker Pelosi brought this resolution to the House floor on February 26, and while it passed the House, I was one of 182 Republicans to stand with the President and support his efforts to secure the border. What is happening at our southern border is an emergency and a crisis. President Trump vetoed this measure, and it is expected that Speaker Pelosi will attempt to override the President's veto when we come back in session at the end of March. When this comes back up for a vote in the House, I will hold fast and stand in support of President Trump's and our shared commitment to border security.

As a weekly update, our work on the stormwater issue is continuing. We are continuing to work to get answers and fight these fees, and are very hopeful to have more news to release on this important issue in the coming weeks.

Thank you for your continued support and see you soon,

 

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Weekly Update - 3.1.19

Dear Friend,

Michael --

I hope everyone is very well. The following is our Week-End Update.

On Monday, I was in Washington, D.C. for meetings at the Pentagon. I met with the Acting Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joseph Dunford, among other military officials to better understand our current military operations, and learned first hand the vision and challenges of each branch of our military.  

On Capitol Hill this week, the Education & Labor Committee reviewed legislation regarding public school infrastructure. As part of the Committee's review of this legislation, I introduced and offered an amendment to allow Opportunity Zones to be utilized for school projects. This amendment passed with bipartisan support. I did however vote "No" on the underlying bill that called for billions of dollars of new spending. However, the bill did pass the committee because the GOP is in the minority. This was a very expensive new spending bill. I did believe that if the bill did get passed it would have at least one element that included the private sector that was removed from public sector spending. With the Republican majority in the U.S. Senate and because of the White House, the odds are very low that this bill will become law.

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Weekly Update - 2.22.19

Good evening. This was the first week, as a Congressman, where I was not required to go to Washington, D.C. for votes and it provided me a great opportunity to spend much-needed time in the District.

One of the main issues I am working on concerns storm water fees in our District and throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. I personally met with the Environmental Protection Agency, sent a letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and am working with local government leaders to resolve this issue. We are making progress and I am hopeful that we are working towards a resolution to this issue. In a recent editorial from the Wilkes Barre Times Leader, they acknowledged my efforts on this issue. I certainly appreciate their recognition, but my goal is to get this resolved for the hardworking people of the 9th Congressional District.

On Tuesday, before meeting with constituents, I appeared on Fox Business' "Mornings with Maria Bartiromo" to discuss the U.S.-China trade talks. President Trump is working hard to erase the trade inequities that have existed between our two nations. China has been taking advantage of our nation for years and I applaud the President for working for free, but fair, trade. Click here or on the image below to watch.

 

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Weekly Update - 2.15.19

As you may know, Congress reached a deal and sent a spending bill to President Trump’s desk. I opposed the bill because it fell far short of providing the necessary resources to secure our homeland and stop the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs over the border. Our border security and law enforcement leaders said we needed $5.7 billion to secure our border. The funding in this bill? Not even in the same ballpark. In fact, I am concerned that the insufficient resources provided in this bill will only exacerbate the crisis at our southern border and jeopardize our ability to address other immigration issues - DACA, extended work visas for agricultural workers – in a timely manner. Simply put, I could not vote for a bill that does not fund Congress’ core national security function of securing our citizens.

President Trump has signed the spending bill and is looking to secure other funding to secure the border. The strategy employed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat leadership was to obstruct, put politics in front of our national security, and leave the President with no choice but to declare a national emergency. Speaker Pelosi and her supporters refused to do their jobs and they are hurting our country.

Make no mistake about it, the situation at the border is a crisis. Each month 60,000 people attempt to enter our country illegally, more than 2,000 a day. And despite the rhetoric from the other side, walls work. In 2009, after a comprehensive barrier was constructed in and around El Paso, TX, illegal immigration apprehensions in that area decreased nearly 67%.

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Weekly Update - 2.8.19

Good afternoon. The major event in Washington this week was hearing from President Donald Trump at the State of the Union speech. My wife, Shelley, accompanied me to the speech. I believe the President made a clear and compelling case for his agenda and also took time to reflect on just how far our nation has come in the short two years since he took power.

Here is a picture of Shelley and I with Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture before the State of the Union address.


I released the following video regarding the President’s speech. Click here to watch.

The economy is growing at a historic rate. We have seen job growth for a record 100th consecutive month. Unemployment is its lowest rate in 50 years and at historic lows for African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and Asian-Americans. There are more women in the workforce than ever before and we have added 600,000 new manufacturing jobs.

This is proof that lowering taxes and eliminating job-killing regulations grows the economy.

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