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View From the Capitol - Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler's Newsletter for the Week of November 17-21, 2014

December 21, 2014

Good Day,

This week, the House approved important legislation to ease the Environmental Protection Agency burdens on American job creators by reducing red tape and increasing accountability. We passed three bills: the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act, H.R. 1422, to establish board member qualifications; the Secret Science Reform Act, H.R. 4012, to prohibit the EPA from finalizing a regulation unless the public has access to the data used; and the Promoting New Manufacturing Act, H.R. 4795, which would bring much-needed transparency to the EPA permitting process.

These bills will aid American job creators by allowing businesses to grow without fear of overregulation from environmental extremists. The EPA continues to burden small businesses with red tape, and I am pleased to work toward stopping these unnecessary and unjustified regulations that hamper job creation and wage growth.

The Environmental Protection Agency needs accountability, and these common sense bills will work toward that end. These bills ensure transparency by making all scientific and technical information used by the EPA available to the public before agency action. Americans have the right to know the information used to make these burdensome rules, and Congress has a responsibility to make sure all agencies operate in a way that serves the best interests of all Americans. I now call on the Senate to take up and pass these important bills.

I am a firm believer that the federal government’s primary role should be to provide for a strong national defense. In that light, I recently had the chance to speak with CNN’s Carol Costello about the administration’s response to the threats coming from ISIL and the Middle East.

I also had the opportunity to attend the Reagan National Defense Forum last weekend. This forum brings together leaders in the defense community – including Members of Congress, civilian officials, military leaders, and Department of Defense officials – to address the health of our national defense and discuss policies that strengthen our military for the future. I was privileged to be one of a handful of Representatives to attend with such defense leaders as Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, former Secretaries of Defense Leon Panetta and Robert Gates, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah James, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral James Winnefeld, Jr., and many others. I was grateful to hear such esteemed voices discuss important issues such as the ongoing threats abroad, reform measures to reduce red tape in the Pentagon, and the role of cyber in 21st Century warfare.

At the same time, it was a real honor to attend such a forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. President Reagan was a true leader who believed, as I do, that peace is achieved through strength – that a strong military is key to deterring conflict around the world. This principle is extremely relevant now as we find ourselves facing numerous national security threats while still binding the hands of our military through disastrous defense cuts from sequestration. Our current path is unacceptable. I will continue to work to make defense a key priority in the new Congress and beyond.

On another note, I am disappointed that President Obama has chosen to bypass Congress in his rush to implement immigration reform. Our Constitution requires that Congress write the laws and the President execute those laws. Americans are divided on how to address immigration reform, but President Obama’s action can only harm efforts to bring Americans together to reach consensus on this important matter. In the coming weeks, the House will be discussing options to reinstate Congressional authorities. I welcome your feedback on how our nation should proceed on this important issue.

Meanwhile, I am always happy when constituents come to visit me in Washington and I am pleased that I had a visit this week from a senior-level agriculture policy class from the University of Missouri. The students were in Washington for three days to meet with legislators, Agriculture Committee staff, officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and agriculture industry officials.

We discussed a number of important issues ranging from the effects of the 2014 Farm Bill and well-founded concerns with the EPA’s Waters of the United States rule. The rule would extend Clean Water Act jurisdictional authority over dry creeks and ditches – some of which are wet only when it rains – creating complicated compliance issues for farmers in Missouri and throughout the country. As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, I have been working to stop this onerous rule. The public comment period has concluded with the EPA receiving more than a quarter-million comments. I urge the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, which will work toward finalizing the rule, to exercise common sense when establishing the ground rules for implementing the rule.

I also want to share information on scholarship opportunities with the U.S. Naval Academy, the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC), and commissioning in the Navy and Marine Corps.  An information session is scheduled for Tuesday, November 25th at 5:30 pm at the Liberty Memorial’s National World War I Museum at 100 West 26th Street in Kansas City. Representatives will be on hand to discuss the admissions process, nominations, appointments, prep programs, summer programs, and much more. This is a valuable opportunity for any 8th to 11th grade students interested in attending the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis or attending one of more than 50 NROTC colleges and universities. To RSVP for this event contact: Commander Jack Rush, U.S. Navy (Retired) at jack.rush@1973.usna.comwith name and number of persons attending. I want to extend best wishes to all students who are interested in serving our country.

Finally, as we enter the holiday season, I would like to wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving. This is a wonderful time to gather with family and friends and give thanks to God for all He has given us. Let us thank the brave men and women of our Armed Forces as they fight to preserve our freedoms here and abroad. May we always be a grateful nation.

Happy Thanksgiving!