Today, our thoughts turn to Las Vegas, where more than 50 people have died and hundreds of victims are still fighting for their lives. Sunday’s horrific shooting, the worst in modern American history, was an act of pure evil. But in the face of this one act of evil came so many acts of bravery and selflessness. First responders acted swiftly and courageously and strangers helped strangers, proving that even in the darkest of times, kindness and humanity can prevail. As we move forward as a nation, we must remember that spirit of selflessness, kindness and community and work together to prevent future tragedies like this one.
The events in Las Vegas have caused many of us to remember a simple truth: life is something to be treasured. On Tuesday, the House of Representatives affirmed this truth, passing legislation that respects and protects life by preventing abortions for unborn babies capable of feeling pain. As a cosponsor of H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, I was proud to join my congressional colleagues in standing up for life by passing this key legislation through the House.
Protecting Unborn Children
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is not just a bill. It impacts real children with real stories. Those children are just like Micah Pickering, who was born at 20 weeks, a bundle of joy the size of a package of M&M’s. At this age, Micah’s bones weren’t fully developed. His eyes were still fused shut. But, like any baby born at full term, he could feel pain. Today, Micah is a healthy, happy 5-year-old full of love, light, and life.
When he was born at 20 weeks, Micah Pickering was the size of a package of M&M’s. Today, he’s a healthy 5-year-old, a testament to the promise and potential inherent in every human life.
I stood with Micah, his family and congressional pro-life leaders at a press conference in support of legislation that would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks—the point at which scientific studies have shown that unborn babies are capable of feeling pain. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36), which passed the House this week, ensures that babies 20 weeks and older—babies like Micah, who can survive outside the womb—will not experience the pain of abortion.
Six in ten Americans support banning abortions after the 20-week mark. Americans know that choosing life means choosing love. Choosing life means choosing compassion. I am proud that the House chose to affirm our nation’s commitment to protecting life by passing this landmark legislation.
Watch my remarks delivered on the House floor in support of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act here.
I joined congressional colleagues and the family of Micah Pickering at a press conference to announce my support for pro-life legislation. H.R. 36, which passed the House this week, would prevent abortions after 20 weeks, when babies begin to feel pain.
Bolstering Our National Security
Another key issue I have been addressing is the continued fight against ISIL. This week, as Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Committee, I led a hearing addressing how we can work to restore stability in Iraq once ISIL is defeated. We discussed the numerous challenges associated with stabilization and rebuilding in Iraq as well as the status of US government efforts to improve the political and security environment in Iraq. We owe it to our men and women in uniform to do all we can here in Congress to ensure a stable Iraq after ISIL is defeated.
To learn more, you can watch the hearing here.
I was also able to ask Secretary of Defense James Mattis and General Joseph Dunford questions about the military forces in Afghanistan at a House Armed Services Committee hearing this week. I was glad to hear from these great leaders of our Armed Forces and look forward to continued work on these issues.
(You can watch my questioning here)
Passing a Smart Budget
In a major step this week, the House passed a budget that responsibly balances in 10 years, strengthens our national defense, addresses the culture of unsustainable spending, and unlocks pro-growth tax reform. The budget balances within 10 years by cutting spending, reforming government, and growing the economy. The budget produces a $9 billion surplus in fiscal year 2027 and achieves $6.5 trillion in total deficit reduction over 10 years.
The budget passage also paves the way for tax reform which will create lower tax rates, a simpler tax code, and more jobs for hardworking Americans. I'm glad we could pass this budget and get one step closer to passing tax reform that will modernize our tax code and energize our economy.
Giving Survivors a Fresh Start
Sex trafficking—the exploitation and abuse of vulnerable women and young girls—is often a hidden crime. It’s happening in hotel rooms, in trucks stops, behind unsuspecting storefronts or in the house down the street. And, sadly, it’s happening in Missouri. This year alone, there have been 59 reported cases of sex trafficking in our state.
For sex trafficking survivors, rebuilding their lives can be a long, difficult journey. My latest bill, the bipartisan Housing for Survivors of Sex Trafficking Act (H.R. 3942), eases survivors’ rehabilitation so they can begin a new life, free from the violence of the past.
My bill expands Transitional Housing Assistance Grant eligibility to victims of sex trafficking so they can have a place to heal, recover and restart their lives. Survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking or sex trafficking deserve a safe haven, and this bill promises to give women a fresh start by improving their access to secure and affordable housing. Joined by cosponsors Rep. Kristi Noem of South Dakota and Rep. Madeleine Z. Bordallo of Guam, I look forward to advocating for women through this bill and continuing the fight against sex trafficking.
Have a great week!
Yours in service,
Member of Congress