Vicky Hartzler2-2016

Taking the safety of americans seriously

Did you know nearly one-third of released detainees from the detention center at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay return to terrorism?

The President has continued sending known terrorists out of Guantanamo, where they are securely detained, and to countries where security measures may be negligible at best. Transferring terrorists with the known risk of them returning to the fight – against our own troops no less – defies logic.

The Administration’s fast-tracking of these transfers puts American lives at risk and jeopardizes our national security. Americans deserve the safety and security Guantanamo affords, our national security requires a more thoughtful management of terrorist detention policy, and our troops need the assurance their Commander in Chief is devoted to them, not to a misguided campaign promise.

Helping middle class families and seniors

Since Obamacare’s passage in 2010, Americans have witnessed an unprecedented expansion of the federal government. It is unfortunate those hit the hardest by this onerous law are middle class families and seniors. Prior to passage of Obamacare, Americans could deduct out of pocket medical expenses that exceeded 7.5 percent of their adjusted annual income. In 2012, over 10 million families – more than half of which brought in less than $50,000 annually – used this tax provision. After the implementation of Obamacare, this threshold increased to 10 percent for most families, meaning they can deduct less and their tax bill increases. If no action is taken, on Jan. 1, 2017, this threshold will also increase for seniors, and this is unacceptable!

In order to save millions of middle class families and seniors from this Obamacare tax hike, Vicky supported legislation on Tuesday that would relieve them from shouldering the financial burden of the unworkable and unsustainable health care law. Vicky has heard from many constituents looking for relief from high health care costs, and this bill does just that by allowing those families who need it most to deduct more of their health care costs from their taxes. Reforms like these are what Americans need to enhance their quality of life and ensure their taxpayer dollars are not being used to pay for failed policy.

Empowering america’s future workforce

Career and technical education (CTE) programs are created and operated by state and local leaders and are aimed at providing necessary skills and education to students who can then go on to fill jobs in critical industries such as health care, IT, welding and engineering. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, during the 2014-15 school year, estimated that over 250,000 Missouri high school students and adults took part in career education training programs in public high schools, area career centers, community colleges and four-year colleges and universities.

As a teacher, Vicky knows first-hand the benefits of strong career and technical education programs which give people the education and training crucial to competing for today’s jobs and in today’s workforce. That is why she supported legislation to reauthorize and reform the current, but outdated law which has provided federal support to state and local career and technical education programs for more than 30 years. Vicky was happy to support this legislation to continue to create opportunities that may not be available otherwise.

Honoring veterans, reforming broken bureaucracy

If there is one thing we can agree on, it’s that our nation’s veterans deserve to be treated with the utmost care and respect. Unfortunately, the VA has been failing our nation’s veterans. As of June 1, 2016, there were almost 457,000 appeals pending at some point in the process, with veterans waiting an average of at least three years for a decision. This type of behavior cannot be tolerated. Our veterans deserve better.

In response to these challenges many veterans are faced with, Vicky took to the House floor in support of legislation to reform the VA’s disability benefits appeal process and put the decision making back into veterans’ hands, allowing them to choose the option best for them when pursuing their appeal. This will make life easier for countless veterans and allow the VA Secretary to manage the VA in a manner that will place our veterans first, where they belong.

Missouri highlights

Over 100 years of service to veterans

Founded in the early 1900s, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is one of the largest advocacy groups in the U.S. for veterans. With over 1.5 million members and a combined annual contribution of over 8 million hours of community service, the VFW fights for improving veteran care services, ensuring veterans receive the care they have earned. The organization has played a significant role in shaping legislation and has raised funds for creating many of the memorials our nation cherishes honoring the sacrifice of our nation’s veterans.

In a meeting with legislative co-chair of the Missouri VFW, Dewey Riehn, Vicky heard many of the concerns they have related veterans’ health care and other issues pertaining to Department of Defense funding. Vicky was able to reiterate her resolve and commitment to ending sequestration, a harmful practice requiring automatic cuts to defense spending. This policy is detrimental to our nation’s military and Vicky is making every effort to reverse these dangerous and irresponsible cuts.

Pork: Gotta love it

This week Missouri Pork Producers joined Vicky in Washington to discuss a number of concerns relating to the pork industry. The conversation focused around streamlining government regulations for farmers and decreasing foreign trade barriers for Missouri pork. As a former pork producer herself, Vicky has a deep interest in making Missouri’s pork industry successful. She truly appreciates the dedication these individuals exhibit in providing safe and delicious meat for Missouri families.

While in Washington…

Vicky was rather busy in Washington this week in addition to the highlights above.

In light of reports of two more former Guantanamo detainees returning to the fight against us, she chaired a classified briefing for members of her Armed Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on the status of all former Guantanamo detainees.

Vicky was honored to be named a “Guardian of Small Business” by the National Federation of Independent Business. The NFIB is the nation’s leading advocate for small businesses. The Guardian of Small Business is NFIB’s most prestigious award, given to lawmakers who vote consistently with NFIB on the key issues identified by small business owners. Vicky is proud to stand for small business and will continue working to make sure they thrive in Missouri.

Vicky had the opportunity to speak to a number of leaders from the American Association of Christian Schools about education, religious liberty and family values. State leaders, school administrators and pastors representing thousands of citizens across the country come to DC as part of their annual National Legislative Conference to hear updates on legislative policies that are important to them and the Christian schools they represent.

Thank you for taking time to read my weekly newsletter. It is my goal to serve you and Missouri’s Fourth by providing accurate and timely updates from our nation’s Capital.

Have a great week

Vicky Hartzler

Member of Congress

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