It’s the Law!

Earlier this week, President Obama revealed his plan to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. His promise ignores the reality that there is no safer place to hold hardened terrorists and enemy combatants, like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks. In fact, on Tuesday, Spanish police arrested a former Guantanamo detainee planning to commit terrorist attacks in Spain, highlighting the danger of releasing these criminals.

Protecting the homeland is the number one priority of elected officials which is why I have consistently voted to prevent transfer of detainees to the United States. Since 2009, President Obama has repeatedly signed into law legislation that prohibits any terrorists from being transferred from Guantanamo to American soil. His move now is simply an attempt to fulfill a failed campaign promise in the twilight of his presidency.

The position of Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces should be used to defend our nation, not to score political points. Closing Guantanamo was a bad idea then, and it’s a bad idea now. We will do everything in our power to ensure the President abides by the law and stop this plan from moving ahead.  


Protecting Correctional Officers

This Tuesday, the House passed S.238, the Eric Williams Correction Officer Protection Act, which allows corrections officers to carry pepper spray for self-defense. The bill is named after Eric Williams, a Federal Correctional Officer who was brutally murdered by an inmate in February 2013. As author of the House version of this bill, my office is thrilled that this legislation will now go to the President’s desk for a vote.

This legislation will make permanent a Federal Bureau of Prisons pilot program that allows correctional officers to carry non-lethal pepper spray for protection and expands availability to medium and higher security facilities.

At the time of his murder, Eric was carrying only his keys, handcuffs, and a radio. This legislation will make permanent a Federal Bureau of Prisons pilot program that allows correctional officers to carry non-lethal pepper spray for protection and expands availability to medium and higher security facilities. Corrections officers deserve to have a fighting chance and this bill is a small step in ensuring this never happens again. Watch my floor speech here.


Cruising through Committee

This week the House Energy & Commerce Committee was hard at work clearing through 15 pieces of legislation. These bills help to protect and create jobs, modernize our energy infrastructure and keep energy accessible and affordable. These bills include:

·         H.R. 3797, the SENSE Act, which would ensure that the coal refuse-to-energy industry continues to provide affordable and reliable energy

·         H.R. 1268, the Energy Efficient Government Technology Act, a bill that would require federal data centers to utilize energy efficient and saving technologies to save tax payer dollars.

·         H.R. 4557, the BRICK Act, which would prevent costly EPA regulations from further damaging the American brick industry, costing thousands of jobs.

The committee also passed H.R. 4416, a bill I put forward to extend a permit for the hydroelectric power project at the Jennings Randolph Dam in Mineral County. This legislation would extend the license for the dam, creating job opportunities and maintaining affordable electricity for the area.


Supporting Our Heritage

Hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities play an important role in growing West Virginia’s economy. Hundreds of thousands of men and women come to West Virginia each year to hunt, fish, and our state’s great outdoors. These activities provide over $250 million to our economy and help fund our efforts to preserve and protect these wild spaces.

That’s why today, I voted to pass H.R. 2406, the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement(SHARE)Act. This bipartisan package contains multiple provisions to help fund conservation programs on federal and private lands, as well as supporting sportsmen’s access to hunting and fishing grounds. In addition, this bill will help strengthen our 2nd Amendment rights by offering funding for target ranges and allowing law-abiding citizens the right to transport firearms across state lines.

As a member of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, rest assured I will continue to support access to our parks and wildlands.


The First District in Washington

After a visit to Mineral County on Monday, and a quick stop at Keyser High School, it was back to Washington for another busy week.

On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of meeting with the President of West Virginia University, Dr. Gordon Gee. Dr. Gee and I had a productive time, discussing funding priorities for WVU and pathways to turn the university into a research powerhouse.

On Wednesday, the West Virginia Farm Bureau stopped by to discuss their plans to strength opportunities for farmers. These hard working men and women help to put food on our tables and we need to support them.


To wrap up the week, my staff and I met with members of West Virginia’s Civil Air Patrol. As the official civilian auxiliary to the U.S.. Air Force, the Civil Air Patrol plays a vital role in protecting our skies and keeping Americans safe.


Mountaineers Update

It was another up and down week for the Mountaineers on the basketball court. Unfortunately, they were unable to pull out a victory at the Coliseum on Saturday, falling to No.3 Oklahoma by a final of 76-62.

However, the Coach Huggins’ squad bounced back nicely Monday with a high scoring home victory over No.17 Iowa State 97-87. The Mountaineers, along with Baylor, are the only two teams in the Big 12 to sweep the season series against Iowa State. West Virginia enters the home stretch with only 3 games remaining.

This week they will head to Oklahoma State on Saturday and then return home to face Texas Tech at the Coliseum on Wednesday. Heading into the final 3 games of the regular season West Virginia is tied for second place in the Big 12, so let’s hope they can keep it up – Lets Go Mountaineers! 


Have a great weekend!

- David McKinley

Washington, DC
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