Rebuilding our National Defense!
America’s national defense is on its way to getting a well-deserved and long overdue funding increase. I was pleased to join my House colleagues in voting this week for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019. This bipartisan legislation authorizes $717 billion for our national security to protect America from growing threats we face around the world.
The NDAA provides our troops with the equipment they need to take on our enemies and nations that want to harm us. Additionally, our men and women in uniform will benefit from a 2.6 percent pay raise. These brave servicemen and women have earned this pay increase, and I was happy to vote to give it to them.
The FY 2019 NDAA not only ensures that our nation is protected against global threats, but also is good for the military installations of Missouri’s Fourth Congressional District.
It fully funds the B-21 program, which will eventually replace the B-2 force at Whiteman Air Force Base – and it supports funding for critical B-2 modernization programs to maintain long range strike capability until the B-21 is up and running. It also provides funding for A-10 modifications to guarantee the A-10 fleet at Whiteman and elsewhere will continue to be operational.
Fort Leonard Wood benefits, as well, with an increase in the Army’s active duty end strength by 4,000 for a total of 487,500 soldiers – many of whom will be trained at Fort Leonard Wood.
Additionally, I am pleased with provisions of this bill relating to the House Armed Services Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, which I chair. The NDAA contains provisions to combat efforts by our adversaries to gain unauthorized access to highly sensitive military technology. These provisions include an extra layer of vetting for dual-nationals wishing to work at the Department of Defense or the National Nuclear Security Administration.
Providing our military with the funding needed to fully protect our homeland, coupled with pay increases for our men and women in uniform, is a winning combination that should make all Americans proud. I look forward to the NDAA making its way through the Senate and getting to President Trump’s desk as soon as possible.
Opening Access to Experimental Treatments
Click here or on the image above to see Rep. Hartzler speak in support of the Right to Try Act.
This week the House approved common sense legislation that could actually save lives. S. 204, the Right to Try Act of 2017, would open access to experimental treatments to any patient who has been diagnosed with a life threatening disease or condition and who has exhausted approved treatment options. This bill is directed primarily at children, adolescents, and young adults. I am a cosponsor of the House version of this bill and spoke in support of it last year.
This legislation does not create any new regulations or directives. It does, however, expand the scope of individual liberty among patients whose treatment options are limited. And, it establishes national standards and rules by which investigational drugs and treatments may be provided to terminally ill patients.
I have long said that we must do what we can to speed up the Food and Drug Administration’s drug approval process. While this bill does not force quicker approval, it does relieve government regulations that could otherwise be a roadblock to investigational treatments for chronically ill patients. Furthermore, it does not encroach on state or local authority. I look forward to President Trump, who has said this is one of his priorities, signing this bill.
The House also approved the Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research Act of 2018. I am pleased to say this bill is the most comprehensive childhood cancer bill ever taken up by Congress. It would make it easier for the National Institutes of Health to research childhood cancer and it would also allow states to better track incidents of childhood cancer. Additionally, the bill would help survivors suffering secondary side effects from their initial fight with cancer. It’s a great step forward.
This bill, alongside the Right to Try Act, is also on its way to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
Banking on Regulatory Relief
This week, the House approved the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, to provide relief from the Dodd-Frank Act for consumers and community financial institutions. Dodd-Frank was passed after the 2008 mortgage crisis with the intention of putting more regulations on the “big banks.” Sadly, it has most onerously impacted small community banks and we are losing one a day as a result.
The bill we passed this week will help alleviate some of these compliance mandates by raising the threshold for which banks are required to comply with Dodd-Frank’s strictest standards. Many of Dodd-Frank’s regulations lead to higher cost of capital, which ultimately evolves into higher costs for consumers. Under the new bill we passed, smaller banks would no longer have to participate annually in Federal Reserve stress tests and they would operate under a streamlined capital structure.
America’s smaller institutions play an important role in our financial system, facilitating lending and retail banking services. I’m pleased that we worked quickly to pass this bill and that the President signed it into law on Thursday.
Photos of the Week
On Tuesday I was blessed to have my pastor, Mark Goeglein, deliver the opening prayer of the House. We're blessed to be a nation that still believes in the power of prayer and thankful to have prayer over our workings here in the U.S. Capitol.
I am so proud of Ambassador Sam Brownback and the good work he is doing defending religious freedom around the world. I appreciated him being a special guest at our VAT Team Breakfast Tuesday morning.
On Wednesday I had a former foster youth, Jasper Gain, shadow me for the day! She also took over my Facebook and Twitter for the morning while she attended meetings with me.
Later Tuesday morning, Jasper got to sit in on a meeting I had with the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors to discuss health insurance.
Wednesday afternoon I met with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to discuss the implementation of a bill I passed into law last year, H.R. 1117. My legislation fosters better communication between FEMA and communities after disasters.
A Dose of Good News
I firmly believe that the actions of Congress and the White House are changing America for the better and making Americans more optimistic about the future. Now, a new Gallup Poll indicates we are on the right track.
“67 percent of Americans believe that now is a good time to find a quality job in the U.S., the highest percentage in 17 years of Gallup polling. Optimism about the availability of good jobs has grown by 25 percentage points since Donald Trump was elected President. Optimism rises among all age, income education groups.”
The Good News about Tax Reform
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