Rural Broadband Funding Now Available
Did you know that over half of rural Missourians still lack access to broadband internet? It’s an issue I have been working hard to address in multiple pieces of legislation during my time in Congress. In the spending bill that I voted for and Congress passed last year, we allocated $600 million specifically to rural communities throughout the country to help close this technological gap.
I am pleased to announce that this funding is now available through the USDA Rural Broadband ReConnect program. The ReConnect Program furnishes loans and grants for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment to provide broadband in eligible rural areas. State governments, local governments, tribes, businesses, and non-profits are eligible to apply for this funding.
The deadline for the first round of applications is May 31. For more information about this great opportunity, please visit the USDA ReConnect website here.
Standing Strong for National Security
On Wednesday morning I spoke with Heather Childers on Fox & Friends First about the President’s authority to reprogram funds to address the crisis on our southern border. Click here or on the image above to watch the clip.
This week, once again, my colleagues across the aisle demonstrated they care more about keeping our border open than keeping drugs out of communities and our kids’ hands. On Tuesday, I voted against their attempt to obstruct the President once again.
Ninety percent of the heroin in our nation comes across our southern boundary, killing tens of thousands of Americans a year. In 2017, we lost over 70,000 Americans to drug overdoses – more than died during the entire Vietnam War. I have been to the border myself and witnessed that, yes - it truly is an emergency, something I talked about during my interview with Heather Childers on Fox & Friends First, on Wednesday morning, here.
The President is fully within his authority to declare an emergency on our southern border, and, as part of that declaration, he is also able to reprogram funds to secure our boundaries. It is disappointing that this issue has been hyper-politicized to the point that it is politically toxic for either side to compromise. However, I still have hope that we can work together for positive change, and I will continue to work to find solutions for our broken immigration system.
After almost two long years, $25 million taxpayer dollars, more than 2,800 subpoenas, and 500 search warrants, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has released his report showing there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump Campaign. This investigation was very thorough, conducted with all the Justice Department resources available to Special Counsel Mueller. He made it clear that while Russian affiliates made multiple efforts to try to reach out to the Trump Campaign, those efforts were unsuccessful. Furthermore, the Justice Department concluded that there is no evidence that the President obstructed justice. This fact is echoed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who served eight years under President Obama, saying there was no case for obstruction. While some in the Democratic Party insist on continuing to chase this non-story, it is time for Congress to focus on the issues that really matter to Americans – investing in economic growth, addressing health care, and fixing our broken immigration system. It is time to move on.
Congress Misses on Equal Pay for Women
Click here or on the image above to learn more about how H.R. 7 does not help women.
Congress passed the Equal Pay Act in 1963 to make it illegal to pay different wages to men and women for the same work. I support the Equal Pay Act and believe women should be paid an equal amount for the same job a man does. Unfortunately the House voted on a bill this week which purported to help women, but actually would help trial lawyers. In fact, H.R. 7 offers no new protections against discrimination and offers false promise to women. The main beneficiaries of the legislation would actually be trial lawyers, who would benefit from frivolous lawsuits. It would make it harder, if not impossible, for job creators to defend against these lawsuits, even when a difference in pay is the result of legitimate factors including experience, education, and performance. This legislation would also prohibit employers from inquiring, during the hiring process, about the wage history of a prospective employee.
As a woman who supports equal pay for equal work, I cannot endorse using women in order to advance the cause of trial attorneys. This bill passed the House and is now headed for the Senate.
Military Academy Information Day
I am excited to invite all middle and high school students living in Missouri's Fourth District to attend my annual Military Academy Information Day on Tuesday, April 23! It will be held from 6-8 p.m. in the Warrensburg High School Library. During the event, students and their families will have the opportunity to visit with representatives from the U.S. Military Service Academies, area university ROTC programs, and students I nominated last year who were selected to attend a service academy.
For more information, please visit the event page here or contact my Harrisonville office at 816-884-3411. I hope to see you there!
Photos to Share
I met with (L-R) Superintendent Dr. Kari Monsees and Ray-Pec School Board members Susan Edmonsond, Ruth Johnson, and Paul Coffman to discuss a number of current issues, including substance abuse, mental health, and support for the teaching profession. Ray-Pec is a great school district and I’m proud to represent it.
Last week I visited the Cass County Public Library Northern Resource Center in Belton to discuss rural broadband concerns with library staff and board members. There are exciting new programs at the federal level to help expand rural broadband. Through the Connect America Fund, $254.7 million will be distributed to Missouri through eleven providers over the next 10 years to expand broadband, with around $90 million coming to Missouri’s Fourth District specifically. On top of that, the USDA’s ReConnect Loan and Grant Program has up to $600 million available to be awarded to entities capable of expanding broadband access to rural areas. I hope Cass County and our libraries will be able to benefit from these new programs. The Cass County Public Library System is an amazing resource for our citizens with programs, resources, books, and internet access for all. With higher speeds and more connectivity, the system could provide even more benefits to Cass County.
At a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday, I got the chance to ask Acting Secretary of Defense Shanahan and General Dunford how America is working to combat China’s global impact and influence. China has utilized economic, military, and political influence to extend its reach and impact the balance of power across the globe. As such, the United States should utilize a similar whole-of-government approach. When I asked Acting Secretary Shanahan and General Dunford who is leading this initiative for the United States, they responded that the Pentagon is leading the charge. Watch a clip of the entire response by clicking here or on the image above.
I had a great meeting with The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Support for Israel and the Jewish people is fundamental to our democratic ideals and is personally very important to me.
This week I had the honor of meeting Abby Johnson at a screening of “Unplanned,” a powerful film that tells of her transformation from a Planned Parenthood clinic director to the pro-life hero she is today. Abby is an incredible lady (and soon-to-be mother of eight!) who is making a huge impact advocating for life and whose personal story will touch even more lives through the movie “Unplanned.”
Canadian Member of Parliament Arnold Viersen dropped by my office for a great discussion on issues of life in Canada and the United States.
Weekly Dose of Good News
Click here or on the image above to see my congratulations to the Bruins on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.
I am thrilled to share some wonderful news from the basketball court: the Rock Bridge High School Bruins Boys Basketball team from Columbia won the Class 5 Missouri State Championship in Springfield. The win was Rock Bridge's first Boys Basketball State title! Congratulations to Coach Jim Scanlon, the players, and all the support staff who played a role in bringing home a state championship to MO-4!