@MyKitchenTable: Tuesday, July 19 2022
Washington, July 19, 2022 | Jamal Ware (202 - 225 - 3761)
@MyKitchenTable: Tuesday, July 19 2022
“It does nothing to threaten the legal use of any gun, it only protects humans that in fact may be the target.”- My closing line from my speech on the Active Shooter Alert bill on the House Floor last week
RISING ENERGY COSTS
The energy situation in Europe with Russia’s continued onslaught in Ukraine adds to the very uncertain energy market there and in the U.S. Adding to dilemma is the record temps in much of Europe further straining its energy supply, which you can read about HERE. A few years ago, Germany began its efforts to completely shut down its nuclear energy fleet, which will conclude next year and put additional energy demand on Europe’s as winter approaches. Israel also has identified a large natural gas reserve with amazing potential for export that could prove critical in the future. I sent a letter this week to the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Frank Pallone requesting a hearing on questions surrounding the Biden administration’s mismanagement of America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). Recently it emerged that oil from the SPR had been sent to China. It also was reported China is increasing its SPR while America’s has reached an all-time low under President Biden. You can read more about my letter HERE. You can read about oil being sent to China HERE. You can read about China increasing its SPR HERE.
ACTIVE SHOOTER ALERT BILL APPROVED
Virtually every day in America we now have an active shooter. Tragically we saw the awful news on July 4 with the shooting in Highland Park, Illinois. I talked with my colleague from there to get more details as I have done with most of my colleagues when such a tragedy occurs. And just last night in Kalamazoo County, we had an active shooter situation, which brought back memories of Kalamazoo a few years ago when the “Uber shooter” took the lives of six innocent victims in one evening. Back then, there was no alert system that could sound the alarm and much of it happened adjacent to the Western Michigan University campus. I am convinced that had we put in place an “Amber Alert” system on your cell phone, some of those victims would not have been struck.
Many months ago, I was asked to be the GOP lead on a bipartisan bill to help communities coordinate a system that would provide for such very much like our current 911 or Amber Alerts. I reached out to some of my county sheriffs, and they agreed that it would help. In the meantime, virtually every law enforcement group, including prosecutors, endorsed this bipartisan effort. We were hoping it would be scheduled for House floor action during Police Week in May, but it was delayed until June when it was first debated. It came up under “Suspension of the Rules,” which means that floor debate is more limited, no amendments can be offered, and it needs a 2/3 vote versus simple majority to pass. Unfortunately, it did not get a 2/3 vote and failed 259 to 162 when considered in June.
Last week, it came back to the floor for reconsideration under “regular order” and passed 260 to 169. It now moves to the Senate where hopefully it will pass and then be enacted into law. In Michigan, all the Democrats and just Peter Meijer and myself on the GOP side voted for the bill. Though the NRA was neutral on the bill, the harsher Gun Owners of America opposed it even though there is nothing in the legislation regarding the ownership or use of guns. They “scored” the vote, which is the likely reason that some GOP Members voted no.
As I said in my floor speech, this has nothing to do with guns, only the removal of innocent humans as potential targets. You can see my floor speech HERE. The technology to establish these alert systems is ready, and with mass shootings happening so often, it is long overdue and should be another tool in the toolbox to ensure safety in communities across the country.
Earlier this month I travelled at non-government expense to Israel on a bipartisan trip. We just happened to be there when the governing coalition collapsed, and new elections were set for Nov. 1—the fourth in five years. None of the dozen-plus political parties have anywhere close to a majority in the 120-member Knesset—the Israeli legislature—so the parties must build a majority coalition to reach the 61 votes needed for control. That morning we met with the then Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, and in the afternoon met with Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister and current leader of the opposition. Later we met with the caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who will serve until the Nov. 1st elections and is a candidate to serve as permanent prime minster. We dialogued for a good hour with each and discussed the US relationship and what could come from Biden’s trip, which occurred this past week.
We also travelled to the Lebanese border and visited a tunnel that had been dug some two kilometers long and 80 meters deep through sheer rock taking, taking 2-3 years to build. It likely was going to be used to smuggle terrorists into Israel to disrupt the border. We also went to Ramallah and met with Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian National Authority. Though the Biden trip press focused on the “fist bump,” I am hopeful that we may see some movement with the Saudis and other non-Iran-aligned Arab states to ultimately come together in some kind of security pact that could recognize Israel and build a defensive alliance. That may then ultimately lead the Palestinians into an agreement that could finally ease some of the tensions with a two-state solution. Though some may call this a pipe dream, the concern that Iran is getting closer and closer to developing nuclear weapons should signal that it is indeed possible for things to get radically worse. Also on Biden’s agenda was a push for the Saudis to pump more oil adding to the world’s supply and thus putting a downward push on the price at the pump. We’ll have to monitor these developments and continue to prod Biden to open up U.S. energy resources.
SENATE TO CONSIDER CHIPS BILL
The U.S. Senate is poised to consider a bill to boost manufacturing of semiconductor chips in the U.S. The legislation will accelerate production of semiconductor chips on American soil, reduce our reliance on foreign countries like China to manufacture chips, and lower costs for families and small businesses in the U.S. It also will ensure we have a reliable supply of the chips we need to run our computers, cars, and make the next round of game-changing advances in things like quantum computing and hypersonics. I hope the Senate can get this done as early as tonight and the House will consider it next week.
COVID CASES INCREASE
COVID cases continue to climb again. It was predicted some months ago (see HERE) that this new variant would expand in the U.S. and those predictions appear to be spot on. I know many of my Michigan neighbors, relatives, friends, and colleagues have tested positive in the last two weeks or so. With school right around the corner, it is so important for children to get the still-free vaccine. It's also likely the next booster for adults will be approved in the next week. You can see our county-by-county COVID number’s HERE. With the increase in reported COVID cases, Kalamazoo County is advising people once again use masks in public. You can read more about that HERE.
FISCAL YEAR 2023
This week, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 appropriation bills will be started with amendments and votes on the House floor. The Senate has not begun its consideration, making the likelihood of a Continuing Resolution (CR) prior to the September 30 end of FY ‘22 date a certainty to prevent a government shutdown.
INFANT FORMULA SHORTAGE
I have kept in touch with Abbott on its infant formula plant in Sturgis, which was closed last February and again in June due to flooding of the Sturgis storm sewer backup. I am pleased the plant is now operational again. Last week the House passed under suspension legislation H.R. 8351, which will provide duty free treatment for infant formula from overseas until the end of the year. All the Michigan delegation supported the bill.
SUPPORTING OUR TROOPS
In addition, the House passed legislation that allows our vets from Iraq and Afghanistan who were exposed to toxic materials from “burn pits” while serving to qualify for benefits similar to what our Vietnam vets who were exposed to Agent Orange. As I have often said, the easiest vote I cast is for our vets, and it passed the House 342 to 88. The bill, S. 3373, now goes to the White House for Biden’s signature.
FINLAND JOINS NATO
I was pleased to join with House colleagues to approve House Resolution 1130, which expresses support for the sovereign decision of Finland and Sweden to apply to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). H. Res 1130 also calls on all members of NATO to approve both nations for membership quickly. Adopting such was an idea that I suggested to the chair and top Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee when I returned from meeting with NATO allies this past spring. In light of Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine, and the countless civilian casualties it has inflicted, it is important we show a united front against Russian aggression and an even stronger NATO alliance.
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