VICKY'S VIEW: Ready the Troops!
Ready the Troops!
I am pleased to announce that the House Armed Services Committee, of which I am a senior member, passed the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Wednesday. The bill has now advanced to the House floor for consideration.
Each year, the NDAA determines policies and funding levels for the U.S. Department of Defense and our other national security entities. This year’s bill takes significant steps to address the serious readiness crisis our country faces by ensuring our troops have the resources, training, and capabilities they need to face the growing threats our enemies present. Providing for the common defense is the primary obligation of Congress, and as a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee and Chairwoman of the Oversight & Investigation Subcommittee, I take this role very seriously.
As Missouri has played a vital role in our national security for many years, I was also pleased to see several of my provisions regarding Missouri included in the final bill.
This year’s NDAA would authorize 24 additional F-18 Super Hornets to address the Navy’s strike fighter shortfall, while fully funding the B-21 program (which will eventually replace the B-2 at Whiteman Air Force Base). It also ensures funding is available to maintain the long range strike capability of the B-2 until the B-21 is operational.
Also, the bill provides funds to modify the A-10 fleet, including those at Whiteman, to guarantee that it continues to be operational. It also includes a provision that will allow the Missouri Air National Guard to fill much needed positions, while increasing the Army’s active duty end strength by 4,000, which will allow more soldiers to be trained at Fort Leonard Wood.
This year’s NDAA also funds development of the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency complex in St. Louis while supporting engine upgrades for the C-130H fleet, which includes the 139thAirlift Wing at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base. It also supports the Army’s Ammunition Production Plant like the one at Lake City.
I look forward to working with my colleagues as we advance this important bipartisan defense bill.
Small Business on the Move
Last week was Small Business Week, and we had the opportunity to recognize a few of our very own small businesses in Missouri’s Fourth District on my Facebook page.
David and Brandy Von Holden talk about their small business and how it will be affected by tax reform. Click here or on the image above to see what they said.
First, we talked to the Von Holdens, who own the Von Holden Ranch in Mora. The Von Holden Ranch has an event barn, outdoor wedding area, horse trails for trail riding, covered stalls, boarding services, camping, and an arena.
The ranch has been in the Von Holden family for 112 years, but when David and Brandy bought it, it had not been lived on since 1979. Therefore, the couple had to sell their previous property, cash in on retirements, and take on loans to restore the area. As a result, they explained in the above videothat any savings on taxes from tax reform would be highly beneficial to their operation.
Machie and Annalisa Limas talk about their flower shop and tax reform. Click here or on the image above to see what they had to say!
Next, we spoke to Machie and Annalisa Limas in Sedalia. Machie and Annalisa own State Fair Floral, located at 520 South Ohio Avenue, where they proudly carry on the shop’s long tradition of providing beautiful fresh flowers, plants, and gifts to Sedalia and the surrounding areas.
In the video above, the Limas explained how lowering the corporate tax rate will help them expand, renovate, and upgrade their flower shop so they can better serve customers in the years to come.
Casey Lund talks about his small business, Warrensburg Collision, and how it is affected by tax reform. Click here or on the image above to see what he said.
Thirdly, we spoke to Casey Lund at Warrensburg Collision in Warrensburg. Casey was excited about tax reform because he said it would allow him to pay his employees more and they will be able to spend the money locally and grow the economy. His operation has grown by over six times in the last five years.
See Casey talk more about his small business here or by clicking on the image above.
Stephanie and Jay Rehagen talk about their small business and how tax reform affects them as business owners. See what they said by clicking here or on the image above.
Lastly, we spoke to Stephanie and Jay Rehagen in Warsaw, where they own Dan’s RV Sales.
The Rehagens spoke about their desire to be debt-free small business owners, and how every little bit they can get from tax reform savings will help them accomplish that goal. See them speak by clicking here or on the image above.
I am proud of these small businesses and the important role that every small business plays in our District’s economy. I am glad the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act will be helpful to them.
Additionally, the House worked this week to pass nine measures to help small businesses like the ones we featured. The bills we passed in the House will help small businesses nationwide confront the growing cybersecurity threat, expand financial assistance to small businesses so they have a greater opportunity to succeed in the marketplace, and provide special assistance to women-led businesses so they can grow and positively impact their communities. To read more about these bills, click here.
Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy and our local communities, providing almost half of America’s private sector jobs. I am hopeful the bills we advanced this week will help our small businesses everywhere succeed.
Pulling out of the Iran Deal
On Tuesday, the President announced that the United States would withdraw from its current nuclear agreement with Iran. His decision demonstrates the severe flaws of the deal. The current agreement does not stop Iran’s aggressive ballistic missiles program, fails to require “anytime, anywhere” inspections, temporarily restricts Iran’s nuclear program, and released $100 billion of revenue previously frozen in offshore accounts to Iran. Iran has since used this money to support terrorism and inject further instability into the Middle East.
The United States’ withdrawal from this agreement provides an opportunity to establish a more stable, equitable solution to ensure Iran does not develop and possess nuclear weapons. The current agreement fails to accomplish this goal. The President is re-establishing tough sanctions that were in place prior to the deal and calling on Iran to cease its march to nuclear capability. I am hopeful they will do this and stability and security in the Middle East will prevail.
Honoring Those Who Teach Our Children
Standing with the School Bell Award recipients after the Laclede County Retired School Personnel’s Annual School Bell Award banquet. As someone who started her teaching career in Lebanon, it was special to honor these outstanding educators. School Bell Award recipients (L-R): Sue Lewis (wife of the late Don Lewis), Mary Beth Gilby, me, Tamera Hicks, and Dave DeMuth.
As a former school teacher for eleven years, it was my great pleasure to be the keynote speaker at the Laclede County’s Fourth Annual School Bell Banquet, honoring teachers and other school personnel for their career accomplishments in education. This year’s honorees were science teacher Don Lewis (whose was represented by his widow, Sue Lewis), administrative assistant Mary Beth Gilby, language arts teacher Tamera Hicks, and mathematics teacher Dave DeMuth.
The theme of this year’s program was “Teachers Plant the Seeds of the Future: If you want a child’s mind to grow … you must first plant a seed.” I enjoyed thanking these individuals for their dedication and honoring them as “Lifetouchers” who have impacted countless lives and made a difference.
I appreciate the commitment of this year’s honorees. No doubt their efforts are appreciated and will impact generations to come.
A Day at Fort Leonard Wood
I discussed our national defense with members of the United States Marine Corps at Fort Leonard Wood last week.
Last week, it was my great honor to spend the better part of my Thursday with our service members at Fort Leonard Wood. During my time on post, I was able to attend a Military Police graduation ceremony, meet with Army Chaplains, spend time with the Marine Corps detachment, and tour the Waynesville-St. Robert Regional Airport.
I had the opportunity to talk to Military Police graduates after attending their graduation ceremony.
The graduation ceremony was an event I had looked forward to attending. I got to see more than fifty young men and women advance to the rank of military police officers as their families looked on proudly. After their graduation, this class will be sent to military installations throughout the globe to serve and protect our nation.
After the ceremony, I had the opportunity to spend time with the Marine Corps detachment. While Fort Leonard Wood is known primarily as an Army post, some don’t know that it is also home to almost 2,000 Marines. During my visit, I had a chance to tour the Marine Corps Military Police training station. I also had the opportunity to speak to a contingent of Marines and take some of their questions regarding national defense and what Congress is doing to ensure they have all the equipment and resources they need to go into battle.
I was pleased to tell them about the latest defense bill we marked up and passed out of Committee this week. The bill is a step in the right direction to get these men and women the tools and training they need to protect our country.
I met with Army chaplains to discuss the critically important work they do. (L-R): Maj. Ferrell, Cpt. Rondon, me, and Cpt. Cech.
After that meeting, I met with a group of Army chaplains stationed at Fort Leonard Wood who told me about the spiritual guidance they provide to our service men and woman. I am so thankful for these selfless chaplains who minister to our troops.
Finally, I concluded my time on post with a tour of the Waynesville-St. Robert Regional Airport. This airport serves a valuable service to our troops and to the local community.
However, it has outgrown its current terminal space and needs to expand. It recently received a grant from the federal Airport Improvement Program (AIP) for a new taxiway, but it did not receive money for a new terminal. I am hopeful that the recent omnibus, which I voted for earlier this year, will help. The spending package provided an additional $1 billion in discretionary funding for smaller airports like this one. The Waynesville-St. Robert Regional Airport is a huge asset to the community and the military, so we will continue to explore all options alongside city and military officials.
North Korea Releases 3 Americans
On Wednesday, President Trump announced that North Korea had released three American prisoners to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after Pompeo’s meeting with Kim Jong Un. This move by North Korea was not only the humane thing to do, but also a positive gesture before talks occur between Kim Jong Un and President Trump himself. I hope that it bodes well for North Korea’s willingness to disband its nuclear program and its “death camps,” where innocent people are tortured and die.
North Korea’s nuclear weapons program poses a threat to the stability and security of Pacific region and the world. The United States not only has an obligation to protect our allies in the region, but also has a responsibility to protect the thousands of Americans who call the Pacific home.
There is also important work to be done when it comes to North Korea’s human rights violations. I am a cosponsor of a resolution in the House censuring the country for its brutal practices, as it tortures its civilians in so-called “labor camps” — even pregnant women, causing them to lose their unborn children. Infants who survive to birth may be fed to wild animals or suffocated to death. Men and women are imprisoned for their faith and Christians, in particular, are severely persecuted. Our resolution calls for the dismantling of these camps and for the United States to pursue sanctions against those responsible.
We must use our power as a country to stand up for those who are powerless. I am hopeful we will make progress as we continue to move forward in our talks with North Korea.
Photos of the Week
John Cruickshank, a Canadian Consul General, came to my Washington office to discuss the future of Canada-MO trade relations. Thank you for this important discussion!
On Tuesday, I had the pleasure to talk with Herb Kuhn of the Missouri Hospitals Association about health care.
I had a great meeting Tuesday with representatives from the Kansas City Chamber to discuss trade and workforce development. Thanks for coming to visit!
Back home on my farm, our baby corn has just come up. It looks like a good stand so far. While it’s a long way until harvest, I’m thankful that the corn is planted and coming up. Now it just needs a rain. Maybe next week!
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