The INequality Act
I was proud to stand with my colleagues in opposition to the #INequalityAct this past week. This bill would inhibit religious freedom and harm women throughout our nation. See my floor speech here.
Last week I voted against H.R. 5, which would provide a universal right to abortion, essentially eliminate women’s sports, obliterate women-only spaces like bathrooms, locker rooms, and battered women shelters and jeopardize parents’ jurisdiction over their child’s health care.
H.R. 5 should be called the IN-equality Act. There is nothing equalizing about it. It hijacks the Civil Rights Act of 1964 erasing decades of progress for women across the country, punishes everyday citizens, silences free speech and discriminates against people of faith. Americans have the right to live and work according to their beliefs, without the federal government mandating how they should view marriage, human sexuality and gender.
The so-called Equality Act would have the following effects:
- Sex-specific domestic violence or homeless shelters, locker rooms at gyms and schools, showering and restroom facilities will be outlawed. Any place of public accommodation and any entity that receives federal funding will be bound by H.R. 5’s new definition of sex. For examples, read about the Downtown Hope Center or the Poverello House.
- Women can no longer expect or request female only hospital rooms, group showers, juvenile detention facilities, or rape crisis centers. For an example, read about Karen White in Wakefield, New Yorkshire.
- Women’s and girl’s athletics will be subverted by men and boys transitioning to female, or even those who might falsely claim to be women. Title IX, the federal civil rights provision guaranteeing girls the same educational opportunities as boys, would become irrelevant under H.R. 5. For examples, read about track runner Selina Soule or mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Tamikka Brents.
- Under H.R. 5, employers would be required to recognize gender identity over biological sex when making employment decisions where sex is considered a bona fide occupational qualification. Employers could no longer base hiring decisions where biological sex is a necessary consideration, such as when hiring TSA agents to administer pat-down searches on female passengers, teacher monitoring locker rooms or bathrooms for elementary girls, guards in women’s prisons, or doctors providing intimate medical exams on women.
- Employers offering health insurance, regardless of the organization’s mission, would be required to cover sex reassignment surgery. Religious charities like Little Sisters of the Poor could not opt out of this requirement or take such a case to court.
- Family-owned businesses, like Jack Phillips’ Masterpiece Cakeshop or Barronelle Stutzman’s Arlene’s Flowers would be required to celebrate same-sex unions and transition procedures.
- “Misgendering” or using the wrong pronouns to describe an individual could be considered harassment and could cost an employee his or her job. For an example, read about Virginia high school teacher Peter Vlaming.
- By amending Title IV of the Civil Rights Act, the “desegregation of public education,” the Equality Act would pressure K-12 schools to teach gender fluid and self-affirming gender identities as part of the sex ed curriculum.
- Under H.R. 5, the medical profession will not have the option to guide kids experiencing gender dysphoria through puberty without prescribing puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, or even surgery. As a result, parents who fail to affirm their child’s gender identity will not be able to find appropriate medical care and may lose custody of their child. This has already happened in Ohio - read about it here.
- Faith-based foster care and adoption care agencies that prefer child placements with a mother and a father will be labeled “discriminatory” and be forced to permanently closed. This is already happening in states and cities that have adopted SOGI laws and ordinances (see Kids Deserve More for ongoing SOGI lawsuits in Michigan and Philadelphia).
- Provides a universal right to abortion, compromises taxpayer safeguards against funding abortion, and eliminates conscience protections for health care providers who do not want to participate in abortion.
- Secular all-female universities would be required to accept male students identifying as female students.
It is time to stand up for women - not for men claiming to be women.
Honoring Sterling Wyatt
What a privilege it was to dedicate the Columbia Post office building in memory of Specialist Sterling William Wyatt.
I was privileged to take part in a dedication ceremony to name the downtown Columbia post office in honor of Specialist Sterling Wyatt, a Columbia native who was killed in action in Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2012. The dedication ceremony was attended by members of the Wyatt family, family friends, representatives of Wyatt’s Boy Scout troop, and citizens who wanted to pay tribute to this hometown hero who graduated from Rock Bridge High School in 2009. A special plaque honoring Wyatt was unveiled at the ceremony, and it now greets visitors walking through the post office’s front door. I also had the honor of presenting the family with a copy of my legislation that President Trump signed in December of 2018, authorizing the dedication of the post office. While Sterling lost his life in selfless service to our country, this dedication will ensure his heroism is never forgotten. As I said to those who gathered to honor him, “His service to our country set an example to the rest of our nation, and he is worth of this ceremony. Having this post office named after him will allow us to commemorate his patriotism forever and inspire future generations.” Sterling - thank you for your service.
A Second Chance
It was a pleasure congratulating the Johnson County Recovery Court today on receiving a $2M federal grant to expand their drug treatment court capacity and services! I’ve been a strong proponent for treatment courts to help give people a 2nd chance at turning their lives around.
It was my pleasure to attend a very special event last week as the Johnson County Recovery Court Team announced a 5-year, $2 million Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant to give a second chance to those fighting substance abuse. This federal grant will nearly quadruple the number of treatment court participants in Johnson County, allowing up to 40 more individuals to receive services. The drug court model, which I have supported for many years, requires treatment for drug abuse, testing, supervision and monitoring with consequences for misbehavior. As those recovering from addiction benefit, so does society. In fact, an extensive review of drug courts by the U.S. Government Accountability Office concluded that adult drug court programs substantially reduce crime. Johnson County was one of only 25 counties, nationwide, to receive this SAMHSA grant. I commend the dedicated team in Johnson County for making this happen and I look forward to hearing the many stories of changed lives that will result.
Banning the Chinese Military from American Research Labs
I joined several of my House and Senate colleagues last week in introducing legislation to halt anyone associated with the Chinese military from receiving student or research visas to come to the United States. Specifically, it would require the U.S. government to develop a list of scientific and engineering institutions affiliated with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to ensure China’s military is not collaborating with U.S. universities and researchers on sensitive information. According to some estimates, China has sent more than 2,500 military engineers and scientists to study in the United States and other countries over the last decade - and these scientists have not disclosed their ties to the Chinese military. I had previously sent a letter to the Department of State requesting more information on the visa vetting process for individuals seeking to conduct research in our country. The Chinese have been using our student visa system for many years as they try to steal our technology and intellectual property. It is time for this practice to stop.
It was my pleasure to vote last week for the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, which I co-sponsored. This stems from the U.S. Armed Forces’ use of chemical defoliants to clear the dense jungle during the Vietnam War. The most widely used of these chemicals was Agent Orange - and there are many veterans who believe exposure to Agent Orange has caused them various diseases, disabilities, and even birth defects in their children and grandchildren. Congress has responded by passing several measures to address disability issues affecting these veterans, but more needs to be done. This common-sense legislation is intended for those who served in the territorial seas of Vietnam for the purpose of extending the presumption of exposure to Agent Orange to service members in the Blue Water Navy.
Standing by Israel
My House colleagues and I brought forward a discharge petition last week designed to force a vote on the Combating BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) Act of 2019. This legislation backs up Congress’s long-standing support for Israel by assuring state and local governments maintain the right not to enter into business with companies that boycott Israel. House-Speaker Nancy Pelosi had refused to bring this bill to the floor. A discharge petition is a special tool that can be used to get a bill to the floor for a vote, whether the Speaker wants it brought up or not. The requirement is that 218 members of the House, a majority, must sign the petition.
I sincerely felt that we would have more Democrats join us in this effort, particularly in light of the recent comments from freshman Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, who claimed that thinking about the Holocaust gave her a “calming feeling.” So far, we haven’t had any Democrats join our efforts to stand with Israel by combating BDS. I urge all Members of Congress, going forward, to put what is right ahead of political partisanship and join our effort.
Holding Government Spending Accountable
I have joined a group of Congressional colleagues in trying to get to the bottom of just how much of your tax money goes to the abortion industry. We’ve sent a letter to the Comptroller of the General Accounting Office (GAO) asking that he update a 2018 study that found Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers received $1.6 billion in government funding over three years (FY2013-2015). We need current information from FY2016-FY2018.
A majority of Americans oppose any taxpayer funding of abortion. Therefore, American citizens should know exactly how many of their hard-earned tax dollars go to support the abortion industry at large, which is why an updated report from the GAO will be so valuable.
Saluting Our Teachers
I was honored to join my Missouri delegation colleague, Congressman Sam Graves, to co-sponsor his House Resolution to recognize the contributions of America’s teachers to building and enhancing the nation’s civic, cultural, and economic well-being. As a former teacher, I understand the important role our teachers play in ensuring young people across the country have the knowledge they need to be successful in life. Thank you, teachers, for investing your lives to educate America’s future.
The Opening Prayer
It was a special treat to welcome my good friend Tom Leuther, Senior Pastor of the Family Worship Center in Columbia, to Capitol Hill to deliver the U.S. House of Representatives’ Opening Prayer. Members are allowed to invite an individual from their respective districts to deliver the prayer once a term that begins our daily activity on the floor, and I was honored to have Tom as our guest pastor.
Photos to Share
I enjoyed meeting with Lawrence Otto, President of US bank, to discuss the bank’s economic growth in Missouri and federal legislation that would affect our state.
Representatives from American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association dropped by my Washington office to discuss issues that affect the transportation sector.
I had an informative discussion with Growth Energy today about the biofuels industry and interesting uses for ethanol co-products.
I had the pleasure of meeting with the United States Army War College Class of 2019 to discuss the legislative process. Military leaders from across the globe attend Army War College to gain a graduate level education on the strategic application of landpower. It was an honor to meet with them!
At our Army Caucus breakfast, I enjoyed discussing modernization initiatives in the Army with Chief of Staff of the Army General Mark Milley, my fellow colleague and co-chair of the Army Caucus, Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, and Sec. of the Army Mark Esper.
I had an informative meeting with the Missouri Association of Insurance Agents to discuss a range of issues from flood insurance to terrorism risk insurance.
I had the pleasure of meeting with Sweetwater Science Labs from Glasgow Missouri. They provide valuable services verifying honey’s purity. Thanks for stopping by!
It was a bittersweet moment for the Clinton community as Christopher Ryan Morton’s name was added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial in DC on May 13th. Officer Morton was a Clinton police officer who was killed in the line of duty in March 2018, leaving all of us too soon but setting an example of service for us to follow. He gave the ultimate sacrifice and his name will not be forgotten.
With planting season underway, I visited with members of the Missouri Farm Bureau to discuss how things are looking for the year, especially with the impact of recent flooding. Missouri farmers are resilient! As a lifelong farmer, it was an honor to be presented the Friend of Farm Bureau Award.
I enjoyed the great discussion I had with members of the Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce. I’m so grateful for our small businesses back home - they are the engines that propel our economy forward and employee so many great people in the Show Me State. It’s a pleasure to represent them.
It was a pleasure to meet with Phil Dooley, of Columbia, MO, and other Missouri realtors to discuss issues that are affecting American home and business owners.
This past week I did an interview with Representative Steve Scalise on the #INequality Act.
I had an informative meeting with the Missouri Coalition for Community Behavioral Healthcare about mental health issues that impact Americans.
Weekly Dose of Good News
It is always great to hear stories of how businesses are booming throughout our country as the economy remains red hot. It is even better when the good news features a company from Missouri’s Fourth Congressional District. Consolidated Electrical Distributors (CED-Phillips) of Sedalia recently moved its location to a larger facility more than double the size of its previous location – increasing from about 7,000 square feet to 17,000 square feet. The expansion was necessary as business expanded. And the success means CED-Phillips will be adding to its current staff of 10, hiring more people, including a new sales team to go to work in areas north of Sedalia. In all, CED-Phillips plans to invest about $1 million in new growth and hire between seven and 10 new employees. Small businesses are the engine of our economy. Congratulations to the folks at CED-Phillips on their success.