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Stopping the Ebola Epidemic from Spreading

In response to the recent spread of the Ebola virus from West Africa to the United States, I am urging the Obama Administration and public health officials to take a more aggressive response, including restricting travel from West African countries where there have been significant outbreaks.

Combating the spread of Ebola requires an aggressive and coordinated plan. Unfortunately the response thus far has been full of missteps and confusion and the American public is losing confidence.

Stopping the outbreak in West Africa is the only way to contain the virus – and the U.S. needs to continue to provide leadership on that front– but there are several common sense steps we need to take to protect the American people. Temporarily banning travel from the West African countries hit hardest by Ebola until this gets under control should be one step.

A travel ban won’t solve the Ebola crisis, but it should be part of a broader strategy, including resources to fight the outbreak in Africa, enhanced screenings at airports, and more intensive training for health care workers. The United States has the best health care system in the world, despite the inadequate response thus far, I am confident we can lead the fight to defeat Ebola with a more aggressive plan.

Yesterday the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of Energy and Commerce held a hearing with leadership from the Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health. The hearing was just the latest action taken by the House to address the threat to public health.

 

Addressing the Natural Gas Utilization Conference

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to speak at the Penn State Natural Gas Utilization Conference, where I highlighted the potential for economic growth in the region as a result of the Marcellus and Utica Shale.

The abundance of natural gas in our region can transform America’s economy and pave the way for a renaissance in manufacturing. We just need to make sure we don’t get in the way. The prospect of thousands of jobs, billions in investment, and lower energy prices should be something we embrace. Unfortunately, there are some in Washington who want to impede this progress.

There are several challenges facing the natural gas industry, including scare tactics about hydraulic fracturing, delays in permitting for pipeline infrastructure, and efforts to stop the export of LNG.

We are sitting on top of the second largest natural gas field in the world, which has the potential to provide a competitive advantage to American manufacturers and attract huge investments like ethane crackers. We need to be vigilant and stop actions that would derail it.

 

Meeting with Volunteer Firefighters

According to the National Fire Protection Association, 69% of firefighters in the U.S. are volunteers. They represent an important entity in our communities, and are supported by their local areas. That is why I met with volunteer firefighters in Marshall County this week, to hear their concerns and learn how I can better support them.

 

In Congress I have also worked to protect VFDs by co-sponsoring a bill that would have protected firefighters from being counted as employees under Obamacare, therefore requiring VFDs to provide health insurance to their volunteers. The Administration heard our concerns and ended up exempting volunteers from Obamacare. I am also currently drafting legislation that would provide tax credits and deductions to VFDs to help them promote recruitment.

 

Nutritious Lunches for Our Children

This past week, October 13-17th, was National School Lunch Week. The National School Lunch program has served our nation admirably for over 60 years, providing lunch and breakfast to students across the country. The lunch program is dedicated to the health and well-being of our nation’s next generation and aids nutrition education and awareness.

The federally-funded National School Lunch Program(NSLP)provides nutritionally balanced, healthy meals to students every day.  The program requires school meals to meet federal nutrition standards like offering fruits and vegetables every day, serving whole-grain rich foods, and limiting fat, calories, and sodium.

My office has heard from concerned parents and teachers across the First District in regards to the importance of healthy food and lunch options in our schools. I will continue to fight for this cause.

 

Constituent Meetings

Throughout October I will be traveling around the First District meeting with constituents and visiting local businesses. Next week I will be in Tyler, Wetzel, Harrison, Pleasants and Wood Counties meeting with business leaders, farmers, and many more. Keep an eye out, I may be visiting your town.

 

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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