I enjoyed speaking to MO Employment Supports and Advocacy clients and families about my support of them, sheltered workshops, and the need to preserve choices for disabled workers and their families.
Recently in Missouri, voters voted on the state level to increase the minimum wage to $8.60 in 2019. The change in minimum wage will be gradually phased in, eventually reaching $12 in 2023. The people of Missouri spoke on this as was their right.
However, when the federal government comes in and tries to pass down a one-size-fits-all solution, for every single state – the outcome is often not so good.
This week, House Democrats passed a bill to mandate a one-size-fits-all federal minimum wage. This bill is yet another overreaching power grab from Washington. Missouri voters already decided to raise their minimum wage last year. Now the federal government believes it knows better than the states and wants to force its solution on all Americans. Unfortunately, this policy will:
Cost up to 3.7 million jobs nationwide (CBO);
Cause nearly half of families with a minimum wage earner to see a reduction in household income (CBO); and
Cause Missouri to possibly lose over 48,000 jobs (Employment Policies Institute).
Additionally, this bill would decrease work choices for families of disabled individuals by phasing out sheltered workshops. Sheltered workshops provide the necessary tools for those with disabilities to succeed in their jobs and can help these individuals acclimate to the workforce, and even learn and hone their life and social skills. I offered an amendment to preserve these spaces which offer valuable training and support, but House Democrats refused to let my amendment come to the floor for a vote. I am disappointed that we couldn’t at least come together on this common-sense amendment.
“This sheltered workshop provision would have assisted individuals and families by continuing a broad selection of available options to individuals with disabilities as they seek employment,” said Kit Brewer, Legislative Chair of the Missouri Employment Supports and Advocacy (MESA). “Elimination of such options places additional barriers to the employment success of some men and women with disabilities, and additional burdens on they and their families. We support open communication and information on an array of employment choices.”
House Democrats’ minimum wage bill, H.R. 582, passed the House by a vote of 231-199. It now heads to the Senate for further consideration.
Advocating for Disaster Aid
President Trump’s recent formal disaster declaration for Missouri listed 20 counties that are eligible for individual assistance. Among the MO-4 counties not yet on the list and needing assistance are Barton, Cooper, Dallas, Hickory, Howard, and Laclede. Several of these counties were seriously impacted by the recent flooding and storms, including Barton County, which saw three of its citizens killed in a devastating tornado that tore through our state.
This week I petitioned President Trump and the Acting Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), asking that FEMA complete a thorough review of the counties not initially selected for individual assistance (IA). I will continue to advocate for aid to residents of these counties who are trying to get their lives back on track following the severe weather.
Protecting Christians in China
This week I was pleased to join one of my Democrat colleagues, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), to introduce a bipartisan resolution condemning the persecution of Christians in China. The fact is that Christians in China are being targeted simply because of their faith. The Chinese government is closing and destroying churches, detaining those who practice their faith, and restricting minors from attending services. This resolution calls on the U.S. government, international community, and faith leaders to support those who are being targeted for their faith. It also encourages the President to impose sanctions on Chinese officials accountable for their complicity in the egregious violations of human rights.
On a related note, I am pleased to share that I have been selected to serve as a commissioner on the Congressional Executive Commission on China (CECC). The CECC was created by Congress in October 2000 with the legislative mandate to monitor human rights and the development of the rule of law in China, and to submit an annual report to the President and Congress. The CECC works to encourage the Chinese government to respect the human rights outlined in its own constitution as well as international human rights standards. The Commission consists of nine Senators, nine Members of the House of Representatives, and five senior Administration officials appointed by the President.
Learn about Service Academies
Previously, I shared that the application process for students considering attending a U.S. Service Academies is open and runs through October 4th for the 2020-2021 academic year. Those wanting to attend one of these fine schools must apply through their Congressional offices as well as directly through the service academies. The application form and information can be found on my website here.
If you would like to meet some of the representatives of the various academies to ask questions, I will be holding an information session at the Lebanon-Laclede County Library on Saturday, September 7th – mark your calendar and stay tuned for the exact time of day we will meet. I look forward to seeing many future officers at this information session!
Weekly Dose of Good News
Great news – the Open Door Food Pantry in Sedalia has been given a large freezer valued at about $100,000 to aid the organization in its goal of feeding hungry people of the Sedalia area. The 12 X 24 foot freezer was a gift from CSC Steel of Sedalia. Refrigeration equipment and installation have been provided by other interested members of the community who wanted to be a part of this gesture. Open Door was established in 1972 as a Christian faith-based ministry and has served the Sedalia area ever since. The freezer will be of great benefit to Open Door as it continues to achieve its goal of supplying food to hungry families and individuals in Pettis County.
Yours in service,
Member of Congress