Working Hard in the District
I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July earlier in the week as this year’s festivities were a much-needed change of pace from last year’s limited celebrations. We have much to be grateful for living in the greatest nation on earth.
This week was also a district work period for Congress, which means I had the opportunity to be in our great state and meet with so many wonderful Missourians who are positively impacting their communities each day.
Please see below for a snapshot of my week.
Standing Strong Against China
As the threat of China continues to endanger our national security, Congress must pass common-sense legislation to help ensure China’s military is not collaborating with America’s universities and researchers on sensitive information.
That’s why I teamed up with Rep. Mike Gallagher to introduce the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Visa Security Act in the House. This bill would require the U.S. government to develop a list of scientific and engineering institutions affiliated with the PLA and would prohibit individuals employed or sponsored by these Chinese military institutions from receiving student or research visas to the United States.
We must remain steadfast in our commitment to combating the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) exploitation of our free society and protecting our nation’s education institutions from improper foreign influence. If you have not yet seen my video series documenting these attempts by the CCP, it is available to watch here.
City of Warsaw and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
This week, I was in Warsaw, MO and met with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). It was an honor to speak with the new commander of the USACE for the Kansas City District, Col. Travis J. Rayfield, and discuss the importance of maintaining funding for the Truman Lake Visitor’s Center, which brings in 50,000 visitors each year and is vital to the local economy.
The city of Warsaw has also been working very hard to continue developing commercial and recreational amenities for tourism. Benton County depends heavily on this industry for local revenue and that often means working closely with the USACE. This partnership between the county, city, and USACE should be commended for their cooperation and hard work.
Strengthening this great collaboration will ensure local communities like Warsaw and Benton County can expand commercial opportunities for economic expansion.
Village of Cross Timbers
On Thursday, I spent time conversing with local residents in the village of Cross Timbers.
Like so many rural municipalities throughout our district, the village has struggled with the high cost of maintaining their municipal water system. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to increase the number of unfunded mandates each year, adding additional costs and burdens to rural communities that already struggle to conserve basic infrastructure. Every five years, all cities (large and small) must renew their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to be able to operate their municipal water system. The EPA will only renew permits that comply with all new regulations.
Many rural communities need more time for compliance because of limited resources and the high costs of maintenance, which is why I sponsored legislation in Congress to increase the NPDES permit from 5 years to 10 so rural Missouri municipalities will have more time and resources to meet these standards.
Cross Timbers has done a tremendous job recovering from the financial challenges of the village water system as Mayor Terri Gillette and the diligent Board of Aldermen have cut city debt in half. The Hickory County Commission has also assisted the city with equipment needs. I’m so proud of city and county officials for working together to resolve challenges through local partnerships and resurrecting the city from financial calamity.
Macks Creek Senior Center
Macks Creek Senior Center was kind enough to host a local community forum for me to address residents and listen to their concerns. I was thrilled to see our seniors happy and engaging again after so many were isolated over the past year and unable to visit their friends at the senior center.
Understandably, this was frustrating and difficult for both seniors and their loved ones, but I’m proud of Macks Creek for doing all they could to make the best of the unfortunate situation and serving local seniors during the pandemic through home delivery meals.
I also had the opportunity to meet with Becca Nowlin from the Central Missouri Area Agency on Aging. We discussed ways to improve the Older Americans Act which was originally passed in 1965 and could use some revisions to meet the contemporary needs of our seniors. Many local seniors in Macks Creek and the lake area are employed and do not have time for congregate meals mandated by the law, contrary to when the legislation was first passed.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Macks Creek engaging with our seniors and hearing their concerns about critical issues facing them so I can go back to DC and work to help them.
Missouri Agribusiness Association
As a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee, I was honored to speak with a wide range of small and large agribusiness leaders from across the state at the annual MO-AG Summer Meeting. Agribusinesses are the lifeline across rural America relying on a strong economy and reliable infrastructure – both of which this Administration sadly seems to be seeking to destroy.
Amongst a wide variety of topics, we discussed how we are fighting against Biden’s regulatory overreach proposals including rolling back the Navigable Waters Protection Rule that sought to clarify Waters of the U.S. jurisdiction and the harmful tax proposals repealing stepped-up basis, increasing the death tax, and increasing the capital gains tax payable upon death. These tax proposals, should they become law, would negatively impact many family farms and in some cases, force family members to sell the farm or small business when their loved ones die. I will continue to do all I can to stop these onerous proposals.
As we continue these discussions and fight in Congress for our agriculture industry, I will be sure to keep important conversations such as these in mind with every vote I take.