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Rep. Kelly Releases Year-End Report for Constituents
WASHINGTON — Representative Mike Kelly (PA-03) released the following letter today, to be e-mailed to his constituents throughout Pennsylvania’s Third Congressional District, to serve as a year-end overview of his office’s legislative achievements and constituent relations throughout 2013.
Over the past twelve months, I have had the enormous privilege of continuing to represent you in our nation’s capital during the first session of the 113th Congress. As with my first term in office, all of my work in the House of Representatives is guided by your values, your voices, and your priorities.
Your goals are my goals, and every day I work hard to accomplish them. The most important of these, of course, is creating an environment that strengthens our economy and generates more jobs with family-sustainable wages for our region and our country. I’ve proudly supported every measure to secure this outcome, and opposed any obstacle to reaching it. You can learn more about every jobs bill passed in the House and follow their status here.
With every new challenge that 2013 brought us – and there were many – there also came many opportunities. My staff and I worked diligently to meet all of them head-on.
Fighting the IRS, Restoring Trust & Accountability in Washington
When the news broke that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was targeting and harassing Americans based on their political leanings, I joined the nation in outrage. As member of the House Ways and Means Committee (and member of the Subcommittee on Oversight), I made it my personal responsibility to get answers about what went wrong and hold those responsible fully accountable for abusing the American people’s trust in such an unthinkable manner. Watch my remarks at two memorable committee hearings here and here.
As a result of this scandal, during the summer I re-introduced the Government Employee Accountability Act. The legislation would give all federal agencies the power to effectively deal with delinquent Senior Executive Service employees (such as disgraced former IRS official Lois Lerner), including the ability to conduct “investigative leave without pay” and to carry out immediate termination. In other words, no more paid vacations for violating the taxpayers’ rights. The House eventually passed the legislation by a bipartisan vote of 239-176.
Stopping Asian Carp, Protecting Jobs & Families in Western Pennsylvania
Back home in the Third District, the threat of Asian carp are constantly on everyone’s minds — and rightly so. This 70-pound invasive species threatens our regional economy, the fishing industry, and the wellbeing of all of us who rely on the water for work or recreation. This is a fish that is so aggressive and voracious that it can sometimes eat up to four times its own weight. When it emerges out of the water – flies, is more like it – it can inflict serious physical harm upon anyone it strikes, especially toddlers and young children.
As the co-chairman of the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition, and as a grandfather to eight beautiful young grandchildren, I take this threat extremely seriously. This is not a Republican or a Democrat issue. This is an American issue, and the stakes are dangerously high.
If drastic action is not taken, this invasive species will utterly devastate the Great Lakes and Western Pennsylvania waterways and thereby cripple a $7 billion commercial and recreational fishing industry — along with all the jobs and livelihoods that go with it.
That is why this past fall I was proud to offer a bipartisan amendment to the Water Resources Reform & Development Act of 2013 (WRRDA) which will establish a multiagency effort to slow the spread of Asian carp in the Upper Mississippi and Ohio River basins and tributaries, including the assistance of the Army Corp of Engineers. In a stunning display of people before party, the House passed WRRDA – with my amendment attached – by an astounding bipartisan vote of 417-3.
Protecting Americans from Obamacare, Standing up for a Patient-Centered Alternative
Even before the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) became law, most Americans had a bad feeling about the federal government taking over one sixth of our economy. Now, after the first few months of its horrific implementation, and after hearing personal stories from countless constituents, there is no mistaking it: Obamacare is a national disaster.
As you know, since coming to Congress in 2011, I have seized every opportunity to repeal or at least reduce Obamacare so that fewer Americans are harmed by its mandates. I have also sought to shed light on areas surrounding the law that are uncertain, if not downright murky. That’s why I’ve sent the Obama administration two separate letters demanding to know why the construction process for Obamacare’s official website was so poorly overseen and executed. American taxpayers, whose hard-earned money funded the website, deserve to know.
At the same time, I have long believed that effective health care reform is indeed a national imperative that, with the right guiding principles, can and should still be achieved. After all, the mantra “repeal and replace” only holds water if “replace” has a meaning. That is why I am co-sponsoring the American Health Care Reform Act, a patient-centered alternative to Obamacare that would make health insurance more accessible and affordable to the most vulnerable among us — and do so in a way that wouldn’t damage the economy or disrupt anyone’s existing plans. You can read more about this commonsense bill here.
Defending the Second Amendment & National Sovereignty
All year long, I was proud to lead the congressional opposition to the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), an outrageous agreement which forces the United States – the world’s most important defender of peace and democracy – onto equal footing with the world’s worst dictatorships and terror-sponsors. Ominously, the treaty excludes any specific protection for, or even mention of, the fundamental right of individuals to keep and bear arms, which only opens the door wider to future gun control impositions.
Earlier this year, I introduced a concurrent resolution (existing in both houses of Congress) to oppose the ATT and helped it earn the co-sponsorship of more than a third of the House and the Senate. We later sent two letters to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry explaining our opposition and vowing to block ATT with every tool at our disposal.
In anticipation of the treaty being signed by the Obama administration (which ultimately occurred), I introduced an amendment to prohibit any federal funding for the implementation of the ATT in the Defense Departments’ annual appropriations bill. On December 26th, President Obama signed the bill, with my amendment, into law. Needless to say, this fight will continue in 2014.
Meeting the Needs of the Third District All Year Round
Here is a run-down of how my offices and staff were able to help me assist and communicate with my constituents in 2013. We…
- Expanded my social media presence, earning more than 5,000 “friends” and 4,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter respectively; and
- Toured more than 25 local businesses and factories to talk with both employers and employees about issues affecting their industries;
- Helped more than 1,900 constituents with their challenges to navigate the federal bureaucracy;
- Answered more than 68,000 pieces of mail, email, faxes and calls;
- Maintained 3 full time constituent offices and 3 satellite offices;
- Held 5 Tele-Town Hall Meetings to address a range of issues including help with filing tax returns and Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period;
- Organized or attended dozens of outreach meetings with constituency groups;
- Sent more than 1,500 American flags to constituents and assisted with 242 tours of the U.S. Capitol;
- Conducted hundreds of interviews with local, regional, and national press.
As I’ve said time and again, representing you and your neighbors in the House of Representatives is the honor of my lifetime. Anytime my staff can help you with a federal matter in any specific way, please do not hesitate to contact me via the information and locations listed below. I humbly thank you for the opportunity to serve you, and look forward to having your back in Congress in 2014.
Happy New Year!
ERIE DISTRICT OFFICE
208 E. Bayfront Parkway
Erie, PA 16507
Phone: (814) 454-8190
Fax: (814) 454-8197
BUTLER DISTRICT OFFICE
101 East Diamond St
Butler, PA 16001
Phone: (724) 282-2557
Fax: (724) 282-3682
SHARON DISTRICT OFFICE
33 Chestnut Street
Sharon, PA 16146
Phone: (724) 342-7170
Fax: (724) 342-7242
WASHINGTON, DC OFFICE
1519 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5406
Fax: (202) 225-3103
CRAWFORD COUNTY OFFICE
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
908 Diamond Park
Meadville, PA 16335
ARMSTRONG COUNTY OFFICE
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
300 South McKean Street
Kittanning, PA 16201
9:00 a.m. – 4: 00 p.m.
Lawrence County Courthouse
430 Court Street
New Castle, PA 16101