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Stemming the tide of Over-Regulation

Last Friday a federal court of appeals blocked the EPA’s controversial “Waters of the U.S.” rule. This proposed rule would expand the EPA’s authority to regulate water and wetlands, many of which are held by private citizens. The rule has previously been used only for “navigable” waters, but the EPA’s rule would apply to what are little more than puddles and streams.

This regulation would have a devastating effect on farmers, coal miners, and homeowners across West Virginia. Over the past months I have joined multiple letters to EPA officials to block and delay this rule. Additionally, in May I voted in support of the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act, which would block this rule and require the EPA to work with local stakeholders to come up with a reasonable solution. While the fight is not yet over, this marks an important step in pushing back against the EPA’s federal overreach.

President Obama to visit West Virginia 

This coming week, President Obama will travel to Charleston to discuss the growing drug epidemic in West Virginia and the United States. West Virginia has the highest rate of drug overdoses in the nation and it shows no sign of slowing down. Battling this growing issue will take the full force of federal and state governments, as well as churches, community groups and the medical community. To address this issue I have cosponsored several bills, including H.R. 1725 which will create a national prescription database to prevent “doctor shopping” and prescription abuses.

While the President’s focus on the drug abuse epidemic is important and appropriate, many of his other policies have had a disastrous effect on our state. It is my hope that during his visit President Obama will take the time to visit with miners, workers, and families who have been affected by his regulations. Many of these families have individuals who have turned to drug abuse due to the economic hardships our state has faced over the past few years. West Virginian’s deserve an honest answer from the President and help battling the social and economic problems in the Mountain State.

Mountaineers Update

This Saturday, the Mountaineers head off to Waco to face the Baylor Bears. WVU is coming off a disappointing homecoming loss to Oklahoma State in overtime. With a 0-2 conference record, WVU needs to double down on their offense to gain an advantage over the Bears and keep them contained.

Baylor is coming into this game with a 5-0 record, including two Big 12 victories over Kansas and Texas Tech. Baylor will be looking for payback tomorrow, after WVU shutdown the Bears and ended their playoff chance in 2014. Hopefully our boys can repeat history and upset Baylor’s streak. Let’s Go, Mountaineers! 

Finishing the Job

This week the Obama Administration announced that current troop levels in Afghanistan will not change through 2016. The U.S. currently has 9,800 troops involved in assisting Afghan forces and conducting counter terror operations. Under the Administration’s plan, these levels will remain constant through 2016 and will be reduced to 5,500 troops by 2017 as President Obama departs office.

The Obama Administration’s decision to remove troops from Iraq in 2009 is one of the main causes of the continued violence we see in the region. We cannot risk the same instability in Afghanistan and allow it to once again become a fertile recruiting ground for terrorists.  President Obama has previously ignored the pleas of top Generals who have cautioned against further reductions. During my trip to Afghanistan in 2014, I saw first hand the hard work the men and women of our armed forces are doing. While President Obama would like to close this chapter before he leaves office, there is still much work to be done and we must ensure our servicemen and women are well led to handle the challenges. 

President Obama plans to maintain current troop levels in Afghanistan through 2016. What is your opinion?

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