Last week I supported legislation to provide much needed funding to address the humanitarian crisis unfolding on our southern border. This emergency bill provides $4.5 billion in funding for the border, including $3 billion in humanitarian aid. This funding will ensure those working in border control get paid as they wage the fight to stop human trafficking and drug smuggling at the border.

I was pleased that House Democrats and Republicans could come together to pass this legislation, after several Democratic attempts earlier in the week fell short of the crucial funding we needed. A lapse in this funding would have seriously damaged our efforts to combat human trafficking and the drug smuggling epidemic at the border.

Helping Veterans with PTSD

I visited the Columbia Vets Center this week to meet with the great people working to help our veterans suffering from PTSD and other service-related problems. This center opened in September of 2010 and works closely with the Truman VA Medical Center to address the readjustment needs of veterans. The Columbia Vets Center has a physical building in Columbia, but it also has a mobile unit that makes its way through 38 Missouri counties. Its mission statement is: “To welcome home and honor those who served, those still serving, and their families by reaching out to them, engaging their communities, and providing them with quality readjustment counseling and timely referral.” I cannot say enough good things about this center and what it is trying to accomplish.

Technology Tackles Autism

While I was in Columbia, I had the opportunity to stop at the University of Missouri’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital to check in on Mizzou’s Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes). Project ECHO connects specialists in Columbia with health care professionals in other parts of the state or country via videoconferencing to allow them to share best practices and techniques. The initiative also provides access to specialists who might not be readily available in some cities or towns.

I am a firm believer in this use of telemedicine. In fact, I recently co-sponsored the Mental Health Telemedicine Expansion Act to bring more mental health services to rural and underserved areas, providing more seniors with better access to mental health care professionals. We can use technology like this to better serve people and even save lives. I am happy to see the University of Missouri embracing telemedicine.

Celebrating America

I hope you all enjoyed celebrating the Fourth of July with food, fun, and fireworks! As we celebrate the birth of our country’s independence, let us all take a moment to reflect on the fact that we live in the greatest nation on earth. As Americans, we embrace the cherished truth that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” We realize that these rights have come at a great cost to those who fought for our freedom. I ask all citizens of MO-4 to join me in being thankful to the men and women in uniform who fought and died to defend our way of life and to the brave Americans who are defending us today. Let us always be thankful for the wonderful things God has bestowed upon our great nation, and may God continue to bless America.

Weekly Dose of Good News

Tyson Foods, which employs over 1,000 residents of Sedalia, has made a $40,000 donation to The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri that will help support Mobile Food Pantries in Sedalia and LaMonte. Mobile Food Pantries are refrigerated box trucks that allow The Food Bank to provide perishable goods to communities that might not have brick-and-mortar pantries. Tyson’s donation will help with the continued distribution of fresh produce, protein, and dairy products to residents of Pettis County. This is a wonderful example of a very successful business giving back to the community in which it operates, making a positive difference for its employees as well as those who live nearby.

Yours in service,

Vicky Hartzler

Member of Congress