Fighting for Women’s Rights and Basic Freedoms
While Washington faced legislative votes of great magnitude and cost (more on that below), I have good news to share from inside our district. One of the greatest honors I have as a member of Congress is to nominate young leaders to our prestigious U.S. Service Academies. It is my privilege to announce that Camdenton High School senior Eli Griffin has been appointed to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy!
Graduates of this academy can choose to work five years in the United States maritime industry with eight years of service as an officer in any reserve unit of the U.S. Armed Forces, or they can serve five years on active duty for any branch. Merchant Marine Officers are vital to both commercial and military transportation in peace and war as 95 percent of the world’s products are transported over water.
I am so happy to share the great news that Eli’s desire to attend this Academy is being realized.
President Biden’s Relief Plan Barely Deals with COVID
For the sixth time in less than a year, Congress considered relief legislation with a massive price tag. Sadly, a mere nine percent of this package actually tackles COVID-related challenges Americans are facing -- while a staggering 91 percent is shuffled to special interests.
This package contains $112 million to Speaker Pelosi's Silicon Valley tunnel project, $135 million for the National Endowment for the Arts, $135 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities, $200 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services and $12 billion in foreign aid spending. None of these items actually tackle this pandemic.
By pushing this spending spree through Congress in the name of “relief,” we are recklessly gambling with our future while expanding our national deficit by trillions.
The facts are clear: Our schools can be safely reopened now and America is increasingly heading back to work. Let’s continue to move forward.
Fighting for Women’s Rights and Basic Freedoms
On occasion, Congressional leaders will purposely misname a piece of legislation to disguise its true intention. The Equality Act is the epitome of this misrepresentation. This legislation is an affront on women’s rights and forces individuals to recognize biological males as females decimating decades of women’s advancements and civil rights. Should this bill become law the wellbeing of our children, the role of parents, the privacy and safety of vulnerable women, the competitive edge of female athletes, the livelihoods of charities and businesses, and the integrity of our healthcare system will all be jeopardized. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Unfortunately, this legislation passed in our chamber on Thursday. Despite this setback, I will continue fighting for women’s rights and America’s children.
For our society to grow stronger, we need to embrace the traits that make each of us unique, not walk back decades of progress to minimize our differences. America’s children deserve better than to become victims of the Equality Act.
Helping Missouri Farmers Through Difficult Times
Mental health resources are often scarce in rural communities and inaccessible to many farmers and ranchers. As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, I am proud to support funding for the USDA’s Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN).
FRSAN was established by Congress over a decade ago but without funding until 2019. The University of Missouri was recently awarded a $28.7 million federal grant through this program to expand mental health services to farmers throughout our district and the state.
MU is part of a consortium of 12 states and the North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Center. It will develop this project with partners throughout the region. MU extension specialists will receive training and provide outreach programs within local communities. Their objective is to reach at least 800 farmers throughout all 99 rural Missouri counties by the end of this year. MU will collaborate with a wide variety of partners to reach more rural communities, including the Missouri Farm Bureau, the Missouri Hospital Association, and the USDA.
If you’re struggling or know someone who is in need, resources are available as well as the local MU extension office.
House Democrats passed legislation in the House this week to eliminate the Section 14(c) alternative wage program, a federal statute that allows nonprofits to employ over 5,800 individuals with disabilities in Missouri and thousands more across the country. This harmful mandate was inserted into the $1.9 trillion spending bill which was supposed to be about COVID relief. The proposal would require sheltered workshops to increase employee wages beyond what most nonprofits can afford to pay, potentially leading to the shuttering of these worthy enterprises and the unemployment of thousands of our most vulnerable citizens.
That is why I offered an amendment to protect the choices and voices of these Missourians. With only 35% of individuals with disabilities employed in the competitive market, it is our duty to look for ways to expand employment opportunities, not diminish them. Unfortunately, this effort was not successful. I will continue to fight for our disabled citizens and plan on introducing legislation to address this injustice.
These citizens deserve a government that supports their efforts – not one that runs them out of business.