Vicky Hartzler2-2016

Curbing Wasteful Spending

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was established by the burdensome Dodd-Frank Act. Since its inception, the CFPB has shown itself to be irresponsible with its spending as well as politically motivated with its choice of advertising firms. Reports show the CFPB contracted with an advertising agency with strong ties to the Obama and Clinton campaigns, spending tens of millions of our tax dollars for internet ads placed by a single agency with questionable ties. It was clear that the agency needed to come into a more scrutinizing light. This type of irresponsibility cannot be tolerated.

A government agency should be serving the people, not itself. That is why I offered an amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act of 2017, to cut funding for this online advertising. It passed with bipartisan support. This is an important provision that will help ensure tens of millions of your hard earned tax dollars are not being spent on frivolous or politically-motivated advertising.

Protecting Your Rights of Conscience

As a member of the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives and co-chair of the House Values Action Team, I proudly co-sponsored and supported the Conscience Protection Act of 2016. This bill gives legal protection to those who choose not to participate in abortions and upholds our most fundamental rights. There is no nobler goal. The government should not be picking and choosing our beliefs for us. Those who have had this happen to them deserve their day in court. This bill will give them that day.

It is unthinkable that the government could and would force a person to act against their personally held beliefs. Yet that is what is happening. In light of recent events in California in which religious employers are being forced to violate their beliefs by purchasing health coverage for their employees that includes elective abortion, and as stories surface of nurses being forced to participate in abortion procedures for fear of losing their job or worse, the time to correct this injustice is now.

I spoke on the House floor about the bill which protects all Americans’ deeply held beliefs and the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Fixing Our Broken Mental Health System

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, mental illnesses affect tens of millions of people each year. In 2010, it was estimated that around 223,000 adults live in Missouri with serious mental illnesses, and close to 65,000 children live with serious mental health conditions. Of the adults effected, Missouri’s public mental health system provides services for around 25 percent of adults suffering mental health illnesses. It is clear more needs to be done to ensure patients have access to the appropriate services needed.

With that in mind, we passed a bill I a proud to co-sponsor, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. This bill makes a number of changes to current federal mental health laws and helps patients get treatment well before their illness escalates into crisis. The bill would create an appointed Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Abuse as well as authorize a Medicaid reimbursement for institutional care of mentally ill patients. In addition, the bill improves safety by changing HIPAA to allow health care professionals to communicate with the caregivers of a mentally ill person when necessary.

Caring for our Veterans

Members of Congress have a responsibility to ensure that all the brave men and women who have served our country are receiving the benefits they so justly deserve. I’m pleased to report we passed the Veterans’ Compensation COLA Act of 2016 which  directs the VA to increase the rates (as of Dec. 1, 2016) of veterans’ disability compensation, additional compensation for dependents, the clothing allowance for certain disabled veterans, and dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children. I applaud the House in passing this important bill to ensure those who have sacrificed so much for our country are taken care of.

Combating Terrorism

The House also passed a series of bills to increase U.S. efforts in combating the threat terrorism poses to our national security. The legislation develops a strategy to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, enhances the Treasury Department’s ability to fight against the financing of terror, and updates certain risk assessments related to security at airports like points of access to secure areas and perimeters. The measure requires the Department of Homeland Security to develop and conduct an exercise to evaluate the nation’s preparedness against the threat of foreign fighters and terrorists.

A Better Way

Tax Reform:  Simple and Fair

Ever wondered why filing your taxes has to be so complicated? I don’t believe it has to be this way. My colleagues and I recently unveiled an ambitious tax reform proposal as part of theBetter Way agenda. We believe that filing your taxes should be easy. In fact, the blueprint of this plan will ensure that most Americans will be able to file their taxes with a form so simple it couldfit on a postcard. We make important reforms to spur economic growth and ensure that you, an American taxpayer, have an IRS that serves you.

In three words, this plan makes the tax code:  Simpler. Fairer. Flatter.

I encourage you to read more about our tax plan and the ways it works to put you first and provide you the peace of mind needed at critical moments in life. You may view the plan

Missouri Highlights

Prioritizing Whiteman Resources

I was privileged to meet with Colonel Brian K. Borgen, Commander of the 442nd Fighter Wing stationed at Whiteman Air Force Base as well as the 442nd Wing Executive Officer Major Keith Yersak. We discussed the importance of their mission and the strategic role the unit plays at Whiteman. As a leader on the House Armed Services Committee, I was happy to discuss what needs to be done to maintain the readiness of the 442nd, and the other units at Whiteman Air Force Base. It is critical to ensure they have access to the resources they need to train and deploy.

Education in Missouri

As a former school teacher, I am a strong advocate for education and welcome input into how to best address the educational needs of our children. I was encouraged by my recent meeting with a number of school board members from Missouri. We had a positive conversation on the importance of public education and the progress made through the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Save the Date

Lastly, I wanted to make you aware of a Job Fair I will be hosting in the district on Aug. 23.

Many of us know a friend or family member who has lost a job or would like to advance their career. The purpose of this event is to connect job seekers with businesses that are hiring or plan to hire in the near future. It is anticipated that the experience and education levels of attendees will be diverse. We hope to provide a one-stop employment shopping experience for employers and potential employees alike. Throughout the day I will be meeting with participating employers so they can share ideas on how to grow the job market and the economy.

Thank you for investing your time in reading 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