Greetings. I know the forecast is calling for a lot of snow and sleet across the District and I would encourage everyone to be safe. Don’t travel unless you have to and be sure to stay tuned to the latest news regarding weather and road conditions.
We had another busy week in Washington, D.C. Today, I participated in the March for Life. We gathered to march on behalf of the rights of the unborn and in support of human unborn life. The crowd was incredibly large. Everyone was enthusiastic in their support of the pro-life movement, friendly and courteous and I can't begin to describe how much I appreciated the energy they brought. (Pictures below)
Earlier in the week, I even had some familiar faces stop by for a visit... my wife, Shelley, and my mother-in-law. (Pictured below) I can tell you that having the support of my family is so important and I was really happy that they came down for a visit. I truly couldn't do this job without their unwavering support and understanding.
In Congress this week, I again spoke on the floor against a Continuing Resolution led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats to reopen government without funding for border security or the wall. The Democrats, including Speaker Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, have openly advocated for border funding years ago, but now with President Trump in office they refuse to negotiate border funding until the government is reopened. That offer is akin to Lucy pulling the football out from Charlie Brown as he runs up for the kick… only their bad politics is causing real harm to real people. The Pelosi-Schumer agenda is risking the safety of our country by allowing our southern border to remain a magnet for illegal immigrants, criminals and illicit drugs and they are hurting Federal employees who are furloughed and struggling without pay.
Something not reported in the media, was that the GOP put forth a measure that House Democrats rejected that would have continued the shutdown but paid federal employees for their work through January 15th. I supported the measure with every member of the GOP Caucus, but it failed on a party line vote with just 6 Democrats joining us in our efforts to pay Federal employees. This was a no-brainer and proves that the Democrats are shamefully using Federal workers as pawns in a larger political game.
In another startling maneuver, Speaker Nancy Pelosi placed Rep. Ilhan Omar on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Rep. Omar has a long history of being anti-Israel and for making anti-Semitic comments. Over the years, Rep. Omar has called Israel an "apartheid regime" and she said that the country had "hypnotized the world" after their "evil doings." These are not the values of our country as we must stand side-by-side with Israel, our strongest ally in the Middle East. The fact that Speaker Pelosi would appoint someone with these hateful views to this important committee says much about the new House Democratic Majority in Washington.
Unfortunately, most of my meetings in the District next week have been postponed due to us being called back into session. It is appropriate that we are in session next week. I just hope that our time will be productive and we can finally pass a budget that allows us to fund border security. The Democrats must stop with the junkets to Puerto Rico and envoys overseas and come to the negotiation table, protect our country by funding a wall, pay our Federal employees and reopen our government NOW.
Last, but certainly not least, I want to acknowledge the loss of a friend and a great Pennsylvanian, Karen Coates. Karen was the Chief of Staff to Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Mike Turzai... the first female chief of staff for a Speaker of the House in our state's history. (Click here for a story about Karen) I worked with Karen when I was Pennsylvania Secretary of Revenue and she was a trailblazer whose knowledge, dedication, work ethic and commitment to Republican principles made our Commonwealth a better place to live and work. She was an excellent public servant and an even better person. I would like to send my heartfelt condolences to her family and friends during this difficult time.
Thank you and I look forward to seeing you soon.