McKinley Bill to Prevent Retroactive Permit Vetoes Moves Forward

This week, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee voted in favor of my bipartisan legislation (H.R. 524) that would limit the Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA)veto power over the Army Corps of Engineers permits for “dredge and fill”. This bill will now move to the House floor where it’s expected to be voted on in the coming months.

When the EPA revoked a permit that was issued to the Spruce Mine in southern West Virginia years after it was issued, it sent a chilling signal to job creators all across the country.

If the EPA is allowed to retroactively revoke permits, hundreds of thousands of jobs hang in the balance because it creates uncertainty for all industries from construction to manufacturing. These permits are used in anything from dams and roads, to shopping centers and schools. What bank would loan money to a project knowing the EPA could pull the plug on a whim?  This has to stop.

The Obama Administration continues to create incredible uncertainty in the job market. This bill would help fix part of this ongoing problem.

Budget Bill Passes the House

In the past week Congress voted on several budget proposals that represent differing priorities. The House overwhelmingly rejected President Obama’s budget with only two of 199 Democrats voting in favor. The House Democrat budget was also resoundingly defeated.  The lack of support for these plans makes it clear just how out of touch the Administration’s priorities are.

The plan offered by Rep. Paul Ryan stands in stark contrast. He should be commended for presenting a budget that balances in ten years, makes necessary reforms to welfare programs, repeals Obamacare, and reduces waste and duplication.

While the House Republican budget includes positive aspects, it also includes some proposals that differ from the priorities of West Virginia’s First District.

These concerns with the budget include:   

  • Maintaining Obamacare cuts to Medicare and making changes to the program that could negatively impact older West Virginians;
  • A lack of needed investments in our aging infrastructure;
  • Reducing funding to programs such as Community Development Block Grants that communities across the First District utilize;
  • Cuts to education; and  
  • Phasing out Essential Air Service(EAS), which our airports depend on.

The budget – whether it’s offered by Republicans or Democrats – is a purely political document not binding by law. Rather than seeking partisan battles, Congress should be focused on getting things done by working together. In the coming months I hope we can find areas of common ground to solve our problems.

Farm Bureau

After meeting with members from the West Virginia Farm Bureau this week, I heard their concerns regarding a new EPA rule to greatly expand their jurisdiction to bodies of water as small as puddles and ditches. In response I signed onto a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to revaluate the EPA’s proposed rule.

The EPA’s proposed rule would cause a major expansion of the definition of “navigable waters” under the Clean Water Act. This expansion would cover many different bodies of water, including man-made ponds, causing major problems for our farmers and many other industries. This is yet another example of EPA overreach hurting jobs and families in West Virginia.

Morgantown High School Band to Participate in Cherry Blossom Parade

  • Tomorrow, the Morgantown High School Red & Blue Marching Band will be traveling to Washington, DC to perform in the National Cherry Blossom Parade. This bands impressive list of accomplishments includes:
  • Marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City in 1963 & 2009
  • Playing in the Disney Magic Music Days in 2009
  • Performing in Disneyland, California in 2012
  • Performing in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena California in 2013

Good luck and well done to the 252 students marching in the band, and director Mr. Keith Reed.

Three WVU Students Receive NSF Fellowships

Three students from West Virginia University will continue their education after being awarded National Science Foundation fellowships. The trio, all students at the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, were selected out of more than 14,000 applicants for the awards. This is the third time since 2010 that more than one student from the Statler College has been selected to received these prestigious fellowships.

NSF fellows receive a $32,000 annual stipend for three years, a $12,000 cost of education allowance, opportunities for international research and the liberty to choose their own course of research.

Constituent Meetings

This week, I met a number of constituent groups, including students from the WVU School of Dentistry, representatives from the Association of Nurse Anesthetists, the WV Bar Association, Independent Insurance Agents of West Virginia, and the WV Developmental Disabilities Council:

If you are ever in the Washington D.C. office please drop in and say hello. If you want an appointment just give my office a call at 202-225-4172, or submit a request on my website at www.mckinley.house.gov.

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Washington, DC
412 Cannon HOB | Washington, DC 20515
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