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Addressing a growing crisis

Listening to constituents is one of the most important parts of my job in Congress. This week my staff and I held two roundtable events, in Wheeling and Fairmont, focusing on the drug abuse crisis facing the Mountain State.  Sitting down and meeting with law enforcement, healthcare professionals, government officials, and concerned citizens helps us better understand the complicated issue surrounding the drug abuse epidemic and work towards solutions. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this crisis, we are taking deliberate steps to counter this growing problem and help West Virginian’s in need.

One of the key issues I’ve heard from citizens and officials is the need for more education and awareness about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. Teens and young adults need to know that abusing these substances can lead to a vicious cycle with severe consequences. This Monday marks the beginning of National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week and I encourage you all to take a look and share the resources available to young West Virginian’s to help better educate them about this epidemic in our community. Please visit the National Institute for Drug Abuse to learn more.

Bicameral movement on Coal Ash

Yesterday, the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee announced it will hold a hearing on bipartisan legislation addressing problems with the EPA’s coal ash regulation. For over five years we have been working to protect jobs and ensure coal ash can be recycled and disposed of in a responsible and safe manner.  The House has taken action on this issue six times since 2011, but we have always run into a wall in the Senate, making this latest development all the more important. The Senate legislation is identical to an updated version of my coal ash bill(HR 1734), which passed the House in July 2015. This updated version was crafted to address the Administration’s concerns and allow this issue to finally be resolved.

The EPA’s attempts to label coal ash a hazardous material would have a disastrous effect on 316,000 jobs. Our plan will empower states to manage coal ash themselves, offering certainty to recyclers and producers of coal ash. Congress has been wrestling with this issue for too long and I look forward to bringing closure to this issue.

Sending a message to the Obama Administration

Next week the House is expected to vote to override President Obama’s veto of H.R. 3762, Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act. This repeals Obamacare, which has done nothing but add government bureaucracy to healthcare driving costs up and access to treatment down. Restricting choice and punishing individuals and employers is the wrong way to reform health care. Once repealed, we will finally have the opportunity to pass real health care reform that put the American people back in control.

Additionally, this bill would take a strong stand by defunding Planned Parenthood and diverting the money to women's community health clinics. During my time in Congress I have consistently supported legislation that would defund Planned Parenthood and prevent taxpayer funding for abortion. No person should be forced to compromise his or her conscience on matters of protecting life by having their tax-dollars subsidize such actions.

This issue is especially fitting as today is the 42nd anniversary of the “March for Life” rally in Washington, D.C. The march began on the first anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court Ruling and has become the largest pro-life event in the world. Today thousands of Americans braved freezing temperatures and snow to speak up for those who have no voice. By pursuing this override of the President’s veto Congress, and the American people, send a strong message in support of the right to life.

Sports Update

This week I had the opportunity to celebrate the Wheeling Jesuit Cardinals first-ever national championship. The women's volleyball team were able to bring home the NCAA championship trophy after a resounding fall season. It was an honor to meet the team and I know that all West Virginian's are proud of these fine young women. Go Cardinals!

The WVU men’s basketball team(15-3)broke into the top 10 this week for the first time since 2010. After defeating Kansas and putting up a fight at Oklahoma down to the last second, the Mountaineers showed that they are among the top teams in the country. However, a poor shooting performance saw the Mountaineers fall 56-49 to the Texas Longhorns on just 31-percent shooting and 8 of 23 from the charity stripe. Coach Huggins is determined to motivate the team and get them back on track. 

 

Have a great weekend!

- David

Washington, DC
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