Good evening and welcome to our Weekend Update. Yesterday was Armed Services Day, and I want to thank all those in the military and our brave veterans for their service.
This has been a tough week in a difficult year for our nation. Gas shortage and rising prices, record numbers of illegal immigrants crossing the border; our trusted ally Israel is under attack and the Biden Administration has been anything but resolute in support of our trusted ally, and our nation’s economic situation is worsening.
The Biden Administration's first 100 Days have not gone well. Biden's talk of working in a bipartisan manner has proven to be empty words. Click here to read my recent op-ed on that subject.
The shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline has been the most disruptive cyberattack on record. This pipeline feeds the nation's fuel supply from Texas to New York. Despite the $5 million ransom payment and assurances from the Biden Administration that fuel supplies would return to normal, gas shortages and high gas prices remain. The average price of gasoline nationally is $3.14, the most expensive since October of 2014. Note, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were in office at that time. In D.C., 88% of gas stations were without fuel on Friday afternoon. The Biden Administration finally admitted that pipe is the best way to transport fuel. That is an infuriating admission knowing that the Biden Administration canceled the Keystone XL pipeline. See below.
Biden has overseen the most anti-energy agenda in our nation’s history. Between rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, he has killed millions of jobs, hurt American families and made our nation less energy independent…. All in about four months.
Israel Under Attack:
President Donald Trump does not get near enough credit for the work he did to promote peace across the world, particularly his administration’s success in the Middle East. He achieved that by promoting peace, the idea that we can all prosper, and did so while being unapologetically pro-Israel. Fast forward a few months, and Biden has returned our nation to the same failed foreign agenda of yesteryear.
Appeasement is not an effective strategy. Worse yet, many in his own party are condemning Israel for defending its own citizens. I want to make this clear… Israel is under attack by Hamas, an extremist terrorist group funded by Iran. Hama uses their own women, children and seniors as shields as they lob thousands of bombs at innocent Israeli citizens. I support diplomacy, but that can only begin after Hamas, a radical terrorist group, stops attacking Israel. If you listened to some on the far left, they would tell you that Israel should stop defending themselves and just allow these attacks and innocents to die. Want an example of this logic? Click here or below to watch CNN anchor Becky Anderson have her ignorant arguments destroyed by former Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett.
We must stand with our ally Israel. I unequivocally condemn these indiscriminate attacks directed towards Israel by Hamas. It is not debatable; Israel has every right to defend itself and its citizens from these acts of terrorism. The United States must immediately act to provide continued support and security assistance to Israel.
Border Catastrophe Grows
In all, CBP encountered 178,622 people attempting to enter the United States, a three percent increase from March, and the most encounters in a single month since April of 2000, when 182,613 illegal immigrants were apprehended. The April increase was driven by an 11.2 percent increase in the number of single adults attempting to enter the US. A total of 111,301 were stopped by CBP in April, up from 100,104 in March.
The Biden Administration stopped construction of the wall on the southern border and announced to the world that our borders are open. With those actions, are we surprised illegal immigrants are streaming across the border? I recently traveled to the southern border, and I can tell you the situation is getting worse by the day. Our brave U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, National Guard and law enforcement officers are putting their lives on the line to protect our nation’s border, and we owe each of them thanks. The best way to show them our appreciation would be by reinvesting in building a wall and reimplementing the “Remaining in Mexico” policy.
Killing American Jobs:
The April jobs report clearly shows that Joe Biden has squandered the economic recovery he inherited. Under the leadership of President Trump and Republicans in Congress, the economy recovered 56% of the jobs lost in the pandemic. Biden is not nurturing the recovery; he is stifling it…
The unemployment rate ROSE in April to 6.1 percent. This is the first the unemployment rate has gone up during the recovery.
The economy added back just 266,000 jobs, well below economists’ expectations of 1 million jobs. This is “the biggest miss, relative to expectations, in decades.”
The Labor Department revised the number of jobs added in March down by 168,000.
The deeper you dig, the worse this report gets. The Biden recovery slowdown is especially hurting minorities and workers:
- Black unemployment rate rose to 9.7 percent.
- The unemployment rate for Black men spiked to over 10 percent.
- The unemployment rate for Latinos failed to decrease.
- 18,000 manufacturing jobs were lost in April.
- No construction jobs were added in April.
- Working-class Americans with wages in the middle of the spectrum lost jobs in April.
- The number of unemployed workers rose in April, and there are still 9.8 million unemployed Americans.
I spoke with Fox 56 about the poor April jobs report. Click here or below to watch my interview.
In Congress, I am pleased to announce that a bill I co-sponsored, H.R. 433, the Family Support Services for Addiction Act, passed the U.S. House.
This legislation would create a $25 million grant program over five years to help national and local nonprofit organizations provide services for families impacted by addiction. The plight of addiction continues to affect communities across the country and Pennsylvania, especially during the pandemic. The Family Support Services for Addiction Act would provide grants to community organizations that offer critical support to families navigating complex insurance coverage and treatment options, better allowing them to assist their loved ones on the road to recovery. Click here to read a story regarding the bill in the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader.
This week, I attended the Lebanon County Law Enforcement Memorial Service. Lebanon County District Attorney Pier Hess Graf delivered inspirational comments in support of our brave law enforcement officers. She also delivered a touching memorial to former State Senator and District Attorney Dave Arnold. Dave dedicated his career to law and order. The people of Lebanon County and the 48th District miss him dearly. In addition to our brave law enforcement officers, State Representatives Frank Ryan and Russ Diamond, County Commissioners Bob Phillips and Bill Ames, and other local elected officials were in attendance.
On Thursday, I joined Leader McCarthy and other Republican colleagues on a bike ride to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, where we honored our fallen police officers. There I met Acting Assistant Chief Sean Gallagher of the United States Capitol Police, a Northeast Pennsylvania native.
We owe our continued support and gratitude to all of our men and women in blue who wake up, put on their uniforms, and go to work protecting and serving our communities every day, especially those who have never returned home.
Before I discuss the importance of voting in the upcoming election, I want to address my support for removing Rep. Liz Cheney from GOP caucus leadership and supporting Rep. Elise Stefanik as Chair of the House Republican Conference. First, I believe Rep. Cheney is a dedicated public servant and someone I have enjoyed working with. I actually voted to retain her after her impeachment vote, despite strongly disagreeing with her position. But it became clear that we must move on from Liz's leadership as her positions were divisive and not uniting our caucus. With that being said, the mainstream media has attempted to paint her ouster as the Republicans attempt to kick people out of the party or support a smaller tent party. In many ways, this move was made to expand our Party and be more inclusive.
The mainstream media is perpetuating this narrative to hurt the GOP. We must not allow them to create controversy to divert attention away from the important issues facing our nation, which I outlined in detail above. I am proud to support Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and look forward to supporting her in her new leadership position.
Additionally, I attended an event in support of Chris Gebhard, Republican candidate for the 48th District. Chris is an outsider and has spent his career in the private sector. Having a similar background before entering public service, I know firsthand that we need more people with Chris’s background in Harrisburg. I am proud to endorse Chris, and I encourage you to support him in his Special Election on Tuesday.
We have several important reasons to head to the polls on Primary Election Day. First, we must elect our qualified slate of Republican judicial candidates. I would strongly encourage you to join me in voting for Judge Kevin Brobson for Supreme Court, Megan Sullivan for Superior Court, and Judge Drew Crompton and Stacy Wallace for Commonwealth Court. They have my full and unwavering support:
When voters head to the polls on Primary Election Day, May 18, they will have the chance to make amendments to the constitution. The Governor's office has been accused of wording these questions in a prejudicial and intentionally misleading way.
The first question asks whether the General Assembly should be allowed to terminate an emergency declaration if a governor continues to use emergency powers after a disaster has passed. By voting YES, the General Assembly will have a check on a governor's power during an emergency to protect Pennsylvanians' rights.
The second question asks whether future emergency declarations should be limited to 21 days unless extended by the General Assembly. A YES vote would remove a governor's ability to unilaterally control for an indefinite period of time during an emergency.
I would encourage you to vote YES on both of these constitutional amendments. It is important to have checks and balances on executive power…whether they are Republican or Democrat, for the sake of our constitutional government... especially when they infringe upon our rights as Americans.
Thank you, and I look forward to seeing you soon,