Standing up for Coal Miners and their Families

In West Virginia we have seen the evidence of the EPA’s war on coal. Just yesterday, we learned about layoffs of 1,100 more miners in Southern West Virginia. The Obama Administration’s EPA rule to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal power plants is killing jobs, raising electric bills, and crushing our economy. This week, I spoke in opposition to the EPA’s proposed job-killing power plant rule at their headquarters.

The Administration and the EPA have shown a callous disregard for hardworking Americans they are hurting with excessive regulations. These families are not statistics, they are people. They are husbands and wives, moms and dads, neighbors and friends.

The coal mines and power plants threatened by these regulations are not in Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles. They’re in small towns like Mannington, Benwood, and Grafton. These are small towns. If you shut down a coal mine or a power plant, you shut down an entire community. In many places these are the only good jobs available. There are real consequences to this anti-coal agenda.

The Administration would have you believe this policy can only benefit America. Nothing is further from the truth. Hundreds of thousands of hardworking Americans will lose their jobs. Seniors on fixed incomes will be paying more for electricity. Manufacturers will move jobs off shore.

With thousands of union workers, coal miners, and others showing up in Pittsburgh to rally against the regulation, the Administration needs to listen. The EPA needs to hear from all Americans, they should come to Appalachia and listen to the voices of those who would be most affected by these new regulations.

Addressing the Crisis at the Border

President Obama’s actions and words have caused the Texas border to be overwhelmed with nearly 90,000 unaccompanied children. Many of these young children have suffered and been abused on their journey to the United States. The question facing Congress has been what to do. The status quo is unacceptable and requires a strong and humane response

Today, the House has stayed in session to work on a solution. The President and Harry Reid’s answer has been to write a check for billions of dollars, but throwing more borrowed money at the problem will not solve it. In contrast, the House has been working on a common sense, affordable solution that will help fix the crisis at the border, without costing the American taxpayers billions.

The House’s proposed plan will increase resources to secure the border, help accelerate processing of unaccompanied children, and require them to be returned to their home countries quickly to be united with their families. Unlike the Senate’s and the President’s plans, the House solution does not add to the deficit and is paid for in part by cutting foreign aid.

After failing to pass a solution, the Senate packed its bags and went home. They should come back and take action to secure the border and help solve this humanitarian crisis. The House showed leadership and did its job. The Senate needs to do the same.

Ensuring Funding for Highway and Infrastructure Projects

With the Highway Trust Fund scheduled to become insolvent as of today, Congress passed the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014 and sent it to the President to be signed into law on Thursday. 

On July 15, 2014, the House voted overwhelmingly to pass the Highway and Transportation Funding Act to ensure that America’s roads, highways and bridges could continue to be upgraded.  The passage of this bill was critical to keeping more than 700,000 construction workers on the job and the Highway Trust Fund solvent until May 2015.  The House successfully identified the necessary money to be used for the fund without raising taxes. 

Holding the VA Accountable and Expanding Access to Care for Veterans

The House this week continued a bipartisan plan to improve access to quality health care and hold the VA accountable for its treatment of patients.

This bipartisan agreement comes in the wake of long delays, unofficial wait lists, and mismanagement at VA hospitals across the country.

After hearing the horror stories of unacceptable mistreatment of veterans in VA facilities, it became clear Congress needed to take action. The need to improve access to care for veterans and we hold the VA accountable was reinforced in discussions and meetings we held with local veterans and VA officials.

This bipartisan solution will help provide our veterans with the best health care in a timely fashion. This is what they were promised and this is what they expect—access to quality health care without waiting months to get an appointment. Long wait-times and mismanagement at VA hospitals are completely unacceptable.

The Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 would:

  • Allow Veterans to receive treatment at facilities outside the VA health care system;
  • Provide $5 billion to hire additional primary and specialty health-care providers and more clinical staff;
  • Allow the VA Secretary to fire or demote senior executives for poor performance and misconduct;
  • Require an independent review of the VA medical system and establish an oversight commission to evaluate care; and
  • Improve educational benefits for Veterans and their dependents.

The VA health care system is broken and must be fixed. The men and women who have served and sacrificed for our country deserve better. While it is clear more needs to be done, this plan is a good first step towards restoring the trust of the American people and our veterans.

Constituent Meetings

Throughout August I will be traveling the First District, meeting with constituents and visiting local businesses. Keep an eye out to see if we're visiting your community. 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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