Please join me in continuing to send your thoughts and prayers to all those who were present at the Alexandria ballfield Tuesday morning, their families, and those who are still being treated or in recovery, including my friend and colleague Steve Scalise. We are all incredibly grateful for the brave and swift action of the Capitol Police officers, who sacrificed their own safety to protect all those participating in the morning practice.
To honor the heroism of our Capitol Police, I was proud to lead a bipartisan group of my colleagues in recognizing their tremendous sacrifice, bravery, and professionalism through a congressional resolution. The U.S. Capitol Police do not see red or blue and they do not hesitate to act swiftly and take fire when someone’s safety is at risk. In an environment where the airwaves are filled with headlines of political feuds, they are a steady, unbiased source of comfort and security to the Capitol Hill community. Their commitment to serving and protecting Members of Congress, congressional aids, and visitors from around the world is party-blind and unwavering.
Strengthening Home Visiting Programs
I was humbled to receive an award this week from the Home Visiting Coalition in recognition of my support for the Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, better known as MIECHV. From my experience in law enforcement and now as a member of Congress and senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, I know that innovative methods are often the most powerful solutions to challenging problems. Abuse and neglect is no exception. Voluntary, evidence-based home visiting can reduce child abuse and neglect, in turn preventing crime and increasing public safety. In short, it makes communities safer.
To read more about the difference MIECHV programs can make for young people and families and why they deserve our strong support, read my OpEd in the Issaquah-Sammamish Reporter.
Honoring an Elite Group of Vietnam Vets
Earlier this week, I was proud to introduce a bipartisan bill with my Washington colleague, Derek Kilmer, that would award an elite group of Vietnam veterans with the Congressional Gold Medal. “Dust Off” crews, as they were known by their radio call sign, flew unarmed air ambulances into hostile areas to rescue the wounded and provided critical medical treatment as they evacuated troops during the Vietnam War. Committed to never leaving one of their fellow soldiers behind, American Dust Off Crews of the Vietnam War risked and put their lives on the line - often flying into enemy fire in high-casualty war zones – to come to the aid of wounded American soldiers. Over the course of the war, their bravery and experience led to the rescue of nearly 900,000 American soldiers. The Dust Off Crews of the Vietnam War Congressional Gold Medal Act is just a small way to express our gratitude for their unwavering patriotism against the toughest of odds.
One of Our Region’s Young Bright Minds
I had the privilege of sitting down with one of our region’s finest young minds. Cedar Heights Middle School’s Kelsey Ballard was invited to Washington, DC as a National History Day winner. Her project about the first females to compete in the Boston Marathon is being displayed at the Smithsonian. As the first student ever from the Kent School District to make it to this level of the competition, she has made her family, teacher, and our region very proud.
Giving Children of All Abilities a Quality Education
Children of all abilities have the same right to a quality education. We have made a promise and have a moral responsibility to make sure all children are given the resources necessary to learn and grow. As godfather to a child with special needs, I have seen just how much of a difference special education programs can make in a young person’s life and for their family. I joined a bipartisan group of my colleagues in introducing the IDEA Full Funding Act. This important legislation lets our children know that they are all worthy and that we are committed to ensuring they reach their full potential by finally meeting our promise to fully fund special education.
Expanding Medicare Coverage and Increasing Mobility
Individuals who have been paralyzed or who have severe spinal injuries often times have difficulties finding a job and going about daily life because of limitations to their mobility. There have been remarkable innovations to help address this issue, including high-tech specialized wheelchairs and accessories. I am working with my colleagues to ensure Medicare properly covers these complex rehab wheelchairs and specialized components so that patients’ specific and unique medical needs are met. It was a pleasure to meet with members of the United Spinal Association to discuss updates to Medicare that would help patients live fuller, more productive lives.
Strengthening Trade Relations
New Zealand is a friend, ally, and strategic trading partner. This week, I had the pleasure of meeting with the New Zealand Minister of Trade, Todd McClay. We discussed our common interests, the importance of high-standards and abiding by them, and how further engagement in the Asia-Pacific region will benefit our business owners, consumers, and workers.
The Legacy of Teddy Roosevelt Lives On
President Theodore Roosevelt, the father of our national park system, distinguished himself as an early conservationist. His commitment to preserving our natural treasures for future generations lives on in his great-grandson, Teddy Roosevelt IV. I had the privilege of meeting with him this week to discuss the importance of maintaining the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which I have been proud to champion, and furthering his great-grandfather’s message of environmental stewardship.