President Obama’s State of the Union Address: Same Rhetoric, No Results:

On Tuesday, President Obama addressed the nation saying 2014 would be a ‘year of action.’ Unfortunately, his idea of action appears to be going it alone and not working together with Congress.  That’s not how governing works.

Going into the State of the Union address there were three questions I hoped would be addressed: can we do more to turn around the economy? Can we do better on health care?  Can we do more to stop wasteful spending?  Unfortunately, I did not hear solutions but rather the same old rhetoric we have heard over the past six years.

While Wall Street may be thriving, Main Street is still struggling.  Our economy is too weak, with 92 million Americans out of the work force.  Our economy is being held back by burdensome regulations, a broken health care law, and a tax system that is too complicated.

In a divided government, we need to find consensus to get anything done.  For the sake of the American people, we need to work together in a bipartisan manner, find common ground, and find common sense ways to improve the economy and make life better for all Americans.

Bipartisan Farm Bill Provides Certainty for West Virginia Farmers:

This week, the House voted to pass the final agreement of the Federal Agricultural Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 (H.R. 2642)which authorizes federal agricultural programs for an additional five years while making significant reforms.  I was proud to support the bill, which will provide certainty for farmers, ranchers and foresters across West Virginia.

This bipartisan legislation came about by both parties simply finding common ground. While this bill isn’t perfect and there are more reforms needed, it reflects real bipartisan collaboration.  The Farm bill will help create jobs and provide economic certainty for the nearly 16 million Americans working in agriculture today.

The Farm bill also saves taxpayers $16 billion and includes reforms to combat fraud and misuse in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program(SNAP).

Energy and Commerce Committee Passes McKinley Energy Efficiency Bill:

The Better Buildings Act of 2013 (H.R. 2126)passed out of the Committee on Energy and Commerce and is now headed to the House floor.  This is one of three bills I have co-sponsored to promote energy efficiency.

Peter Welch(D-VT)and I co-authored this legislation that allows commercial building owners and tenants to coordinate to lower energy costs. It takes a voluntary “best practices” approach to reducing energy consumption. 

This is an area where Democrats and Republicans can find common ground and work together. As one of two licensed engineers in Congress, with over 50 years in the construction industry, I understand what steps we can take to be more energy efficient. Finding ways to use energy more efficiently is common sense. We ought to be promoting efficiency as a way to save energy, save money, and create jobs.  This legislation is supported by everyone from manufacturers, real estate companies, contractors, labor and environmental advocates.

This bill will save consumers and businesses by $2 billion by lowering energy costs. Watch me give my Committee statement on the legislation by clicking here.

District Meetings:

Last week, we braved the cold and snow to attend meetings in Fairmont, Wheeling, Morgantown, and New Martinsville with local constituents, elected officials, small business owners, and veterans to hear what I can do in Washington to better serve the people of West Virginia.

In New Martinsville, I had the opportunity to meet with a large group of veterans to discuss the impacts of Obamacare, issues with the VA, and a number of other important problems veterans in West Virginia are currently facing.

In Wheeling, I met with homeowners, realtors, bankers, insurance agents, and landlords to discuss the rising costs of flood insurance. We are working to stop these massive rate increases but need to hear from you on how the new flood maps and FEMA regulations are impacting your flood insurance premiums. Please contact my office at 202-225-4172 to share your story.

I look forward to having the chance during to have more meetings with local constituents and sit down and discuss what I can do to continue to better serve the people of West Virginia.

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Washington, DC
412 Cannon HOB | Washington, DC 20515
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