Celebrating West Virginia Day

Today we celebrate the 151st anniversary of West Virginia’s statehood. On June 20, 1863 West Virginia became the 35th state. It is the only state born during the Civil War, and the only state formed by Presidential decree.

West Virginia has a rich history and its natural resources – coal, oil, natural gas and timber – have helped build American’s economy and power our prosperity.

The Mountain State also can claim many firsts. From having the world’s largest fully steerable single aperture antenna(the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope)to having the only major institutein the world focusing on developing new drugs and diagnostic tools to treat and diagnose neurological and cognitive disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

West Virginia has produced countless veterans, scholars, athletes, public servants and many historical figures, for whom we can be proud. As a 7th generation West Virginia native, I can take special pride in our wild and wonderful state.

Happy Birthday West Virginia.


Recognition for Work to Protect Jobs and Promote Recycling

Earlier this week, the American Coal Ash Associationpresented me with the Champion of Coal Ash Award for working to protect and promote the use of coal ash and stop the EPA from labeling it as a hazardous material.

This recognition is an honor and motivation to continue the fight for the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of hard-working men and women. The EPA’s proposal to designate coal ash as a hazardous material would put 316,000 Americans out of work overnight.

For over thirty years, there had been no progress on this issue. With the help of allies in the recycling business, we have been able to educate Congress and the American people about its importance.

The Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act(H.R. 2218)passed the House with bipartisan support last July. The bill encourages the recycling of coal ash, gives states the authority to set their own standards for the disposal of coal ash with oversight by the EPA, and protects jobs and the environment. Similar proposals passed the House on four occasions in 2011 and 2012.

The coordinated effort appears to have influenced the EPA’s direction on regulating coal ash. But the fight is not over. The public deserves the safeguards in our bill. We need to continue to work together to protect jobs.


Helping Troubled Youth and Funding our Military

This week the House passed the 2015 Defense Appropriations bill by a vote of 340-73. This legislation funds critical national security needs, military operations, and ensures the men and women of the Armed Forces have the tools to do their jobs.

Two amendments I offered were included in the bill. The first was a bipartisan amendment to restore funding for the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program. This amendment added $21 million to the program for at-risk kids after it was cut by President Obama.

By teaching important life skills, instilling discipline and structure, and stressing education, the Youth ChalleNGe program helps steer young people away from drugs, alcohol, and crime and put them on a path to a productive life. In West Virginia we are fortunate to have such a program at Camp Dawson in Preston County

The second amendment prohibits the Department of Defense from spending money on climate change policies forced on them by the Obama Administration. We shouldn’t be diverting financial resources away from the primary missions of our military at a time when we face many threats.

With the passage of these two amendments, I have had 29 amendments pass the House since coming to Congress.


Asking Questions

The Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power this week had a hearing on the recent EPA announcement regarding CO2 regulations. During the hearing I questioned Janet McCabewith the EPA about the Obama Administration’s devastating new rules.

America needs to wake-up to what these regulation mean for our economy and our future. The Obama Administration is pushing us away from coal, cutting funding for clean coal research, and forcing America towards higher cost sources of energy. This is putting our economy at a disadvantage, and costing hundreds of thousands of jobs each year.

This hearing was just the next stepin responding to these damaging regulations.


Vienna Student Wins Congressional Award Gold Medal

Earning The Congressional Award Gold Medal requires a significant commitment. Congratulations to Aarthy Shah of Vienna, who proved her dedication and commitment to service and earned the award this year.

To win the award, each participant must spend two years or more completing at least 400 hours of community service, 200 hours of both personal development and physical fitness activities, and a four-night Expedition or Exploration, which Aarthy traveled to India to complete. For this achievement, Gold Medalists receive the Congressional Award Gold Medal, which is struck by the United States Mint.

Ms. Shah will be continuing her education at WVU this fall as a freshman engineering student. Good luck to Aarthy and her family!


Constituent Meetings

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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