Voting to Protect Veterans and Hold VA Accountable

This week the House voted to hold the Department of Veterans Affairs(VA)accountable after a number of reports surfaced that VA medical facilities were hiding backlogs, reporting inaccurate wait times for appointments and threatening the timely care for veterans across the country and in West Virginia.  More than 40 veterans have died as a result of these delays. 

The reports of mismanagement and downright illegal acts at the VA are sickening. It’s clear that from top to bottom the VA must be held accountable.  Our veterans deserve the best care possible, not secret waiting lists and extended delays. This legislation(H.R. 4031), which I co-sponsored, gives VA Secretary Eric Shinseki the ability to fire or transfer VA employees based on their poor work performance. 

Funding our Military and Reducing Waste

On Thursday the House voted to pass the National Defense Authorization Act(NDAA)to provide necessary resources to America’s military and protect national security. Included in the NDAA were three amendments I offered. The first gives funding for the National Guard Youth Challenge Program, the second creates and on-line tool to help reservists track combat time, and the third prohibits the Defense Department from spending money on climate change policies forced on them by the Administration.

This last amendment is about prioritizing our national security over ideology. We live in a dangerous world and shouldn’t be diverting financial resources away from the primary missions of our military to fund the President’s climate change policies.

The military has been stretched thin by budget cuts and sequestration over the past few years under the Obama Administration. We don’t want to spend money on the President’s controversial climate change plan and put our nation’s security at risk. 

This is the 26th amendment I’ve offered that has passed the House of Representatives since 2011.

Strengthening Medicare for All Seniors

The Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a hearing this week on a bill I introduced with Rep. Tom Price, M.D.(R-GA)to strengthen Medicare, improve care, expand choices for seniors and create significant savings.

Our seniors depend on Medicare, so we have to find ways to make it more efficient. For the past two years, we have been working with various stakeholders to create a program that improve care for seniors without drastic cuts.  This bill will increase efficiency, encourage more choice by putting patients first, and create significant savings in the process.

We are not cutting funding for Medicare; we are encouraging efficiency in services and giving patients more choice. By improving efficiency, we will not only save up to $100 billion but improve patient care and strengthen the Medicare program.

Promoting Civility in Congress

This year I hosted the Second Annual Congressional Night with the Nationals, along with my colleagues Reps. Diana DeGette [D-CO], Jeff Denham [R-CA], and Grace Napolitano [D-CA]. This event was designed to bring Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle together to promote civility across the aisle. This event raised over $6000 for the National Guard Youth Foundation.

In all, more than 800 people from Capitol Hill attended the game along with cadets from the National Guard Youth Foundation Academy.

Wheeling Park High School Freshman Wins Award for Fly Ash Research

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency(EPA)awarded a Wheeling Park High School freshman the 2014 Patrick H. Hurd Sustainability Award. Miriam Terese Demasi was recognized for her project to develop a sustainable, affordable and environmentally sound building material for earthquake-prone areas in the developing world. Her project, titled Safe and Sound Housing: Lime/Fly Ash Papercrete as a Substitute for Adobe in Seismically-Active Regions in Developing Nations, beat out more than 1,700 other students in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair is the world’s largest pre-college science competition. Students advance to it from several levels of local and school-sponsored, regional, and state fairs showcasing their independent research. Congratulations Miriam for this incredible achievement.

Constituent Meetings

This week, I met a number of constituent groups, including members from the WV Dental Association, American College of Emergency Physicians, WV AARP Chapter:

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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