At the end of last year, Tracy Vedder from KOMO News reached out to me with a story about a veteran named Spike George who is terminally ill with a debilitating disease called scleroderma. While Mr. George was receiving medical care from the VA, he was not receiving disability benefits and he worried he would leave his family with nothing. Fortunately, the VA decided to give Mr. George full disability benefits only days after I spoke with VA officials. A father, a husband, and a Marine Corps veteran who sacrificed for our country, Mr. George and his family will now get the care they deserve.
To watch KOMO’s story about Mr. George, click HERE.
Expanding Access to Education Across the Globe
Right now, millions of children, especially in conflict-affected states and sub-Saharan Africa, are desperate for an education but are denied that opportunity through no fault of their own. I am proud this week my colleagues in the U.S. House passed a bill I sponsored with Rep. Nita Lowey, the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development (READ) Act, which works to reduce these numbers by improving children’s access to school around the world and the quality of education for those currently enrolled. Helping these children receive a basic education is not only the right thing to do, but will also give them skills to care for their families, improve their own health outcomes, contribute positively to their communities, and foster more stability in conflict-prone regions. I am hopeful that with this bill, we can better coordinate our efforts with global partners to reach the 124 million children around the world who are not in school.
Calling for Help Should be as Simple as Dialing 9-1-1
In December 2013, Kari Hunt was killed by her estranged husband in a motel room in Texas. In an effort to save her mother, Kari’s young daughter repeatedly attempted to dial 9-1-1 from the motel room, but was unable to reach emergency responders because the motel’s phone required users to dial “9” to reach an outside line.
Kari’s tragic death was preventable. On Monday, the U.S. House took action to make it easier for victims or bystanders to call for help by passing the Kari's Law Act of 2017. This bill will make sure individuals trying to reach law enforcement simply need to dial 9-1-1, regardless of where they are.
Protecting Seniors from Fraud
We have all heard those heartbreaking stories about a senior whose retirement savings were stolen by a criminal posing as an IRS agent. These scammers often take advantage of some of the most vulnerable members of society by falsifying the information transmitted to an individual’s caller ID display in order to hide their true identity –a practice commonly referred to as “spoofing.” They then either tell a lie or make a threat to persuade the person on the line to give away sensitive personal information, which can result in identity theft. With the growth of mobile phones and Internet-based apps, scammers are increasingly using these same tactics to trick individuals through text messages as well.
The Anti-Spoofing Act of 2017 would give the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the authority to fine these “spoofers” up to $10,000 each time they falsify their caller ID information, including through text messaging or calls made using Internet services like Skype. I am pleased this bill easily passed the U.S. House on Monday.
Bringing Solutions to American Families
This week, House and Senate Republicans, Vice President Pence, and President Trump met in Philadelphia to discuss our agenda focused on improving our tax code, reining in government regulations, strengthening our national security, and restoring people’s control over their own health care. I am looking forward to working with you, my colleagues, and the White House to put forward a bold and solution-oriented agenda that will keep our communities safe, create jobs, and give Americans the health care choices they deserve.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve. Have a safe weekend and I’ll speak with you next week!