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Back in Washington

April 16, 2021
Newsletter

I was in Washington this week after spending a few weeks back in our Fourth District meeting with community leaders and organizations. While it is hard to be away from our beautiful state, we had much to do in DC — with votes as well as hearings on the House Armed Services Committee.

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Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler meets with the Missouri National Guard at the U.S. Capitol.

Fortunately, I had the opportunity to also meet with our heroic Missouri National Guardsmen earlier today that are stationed here at the Capitol. We are ever thankful for their efforts here in Washington and look forward to the near future when they can return home to their families.

Please see below for a complete rundown of this week’s events.

Addressing our Border Crisis

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New reports coming out of our southern border continue to showcase the increasing gravity of our crisis. In March alone, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encountered 172,331 migrants — of which 19,000 were unaccompanied minors. In addition to this surge, drugs continue to be smuggled through underground tunnels across our border. In FY2021, the CBP has already seized 5,586lbs of fentanyl, which is enough to kill 1.2 billion people.

That’s why I introduced the Eradicate Crossing of Illegal Tunnels (EXIT) Act, to target vulnerabilities on our border and expedite the tunnel-filling process. This will give our border patrol much-needed relief in securing our nation by granting the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority to waive Federal, State, and local environmental permits and reviews necessary to remediate unlawful border tunnels as well as allowing for the CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to enter into indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contracts. This bill also amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to clarify that CBP has the authority to search for and remediate all unlawful cross-border tunnels while patrolling the border.

As the border situation gets worse, these alarming numbers are both heartbreaking and maddening. The Biden administration has repeatedly ignored this surge and instituted policies which have exploded these numbers.

More than three weeks have passed since Vice President Harris was called upon to lead our nation’s border efforts and she still refuses to travel to the border. It is past time for our current administration to step up to the plate and address this humanitarian and immigration catastrophe.

Calls to Pack the Supreme Court

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Despite President Biden once calling it a “bonehead idea” in the Senate, House Democrats unveiled legislation Thursday to pack our Supreme Court — increasing the number of justices from nine to 13 seats.

This is a terrible idea, and the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg agreed.  In 2019, she called these attempts a “bad idea” which would “make the court appear partisan.” She’s right. Packing the Supreme Court just because it does not fit a desired liberal agenda is fundamentally wrong and tramples on our nation’s democratic norms.

Let’s be clear: Here in Washington, I will fight to protect the rule of law and our sacred institutions.

Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

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On Wednesday, I was proud to take to the House floor and sign a discharge petition for the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.  By doing so, my colleagues and I hope to bring this bill out of committee directly to the chamber for consideration. Sadly, this petition may fail to receive enough signatures from members to be successful, as Democrats currently hold a slim majority of seats in the House and no Democrat has signed onto this common-sense provision to save lives. The bill should be non-controversial. It simply prohibits a health care practitioner from failing to exercise the proper degree of care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion.

Regardless of the wins and losses we may encounter in our fight for life, I will continue to stand up for the unborn and champion pro-life legislation while in Congress.

Service Academy Information Webinar Recap

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On Thursday, I had the pleasure of hosting a Service Academy Information Webinar alongside representatives from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy and university ROTC programs. With over 50 virtual attendees, it was extremely encouraging to see so many young Missourians eager to serve our nation.

If you were unable to attend this event or would like to apply to one of these esteemed service academies, the 2021 application packet is now available on my website here.

Tackling Social Security Issues

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My office has been contacted by many Missourians regarding their Social Security benefits during this pandemic. An overarching theme is the lack of staffing at these offices, as the Social Security Administration (SSA) released a statement last month that they would only allow 25% occupancy.

I have reached out to SSA Commissioner Andrew Saul regarding the diminished level of customer service many constituents have experienced and asked the SSA to reopen all offices. With over 1.3 million Missourians now vaccinated (including almost 60 percent of our senior citizens), most schools back to in-person teaching, and businesses reopening, our federal offices should follow their lead and fully reopen as well for our citizens.