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SOURCE:  Office of Senator Mitch McConnell

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Delivers the Republican Weekly Address

‘I’m proud of what the new Republican majority has accomplished in such a short time. We’re not only putting the Senate back to work, we’re putting it back to work on your side. Just like you asked. Just like we promised.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. In the Weekly Republican Address, Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell previews the significant legislative accomplishments of the Senate this year under new Republican leadership – from passing a balanced budget for the first time in 14 years and landmark education reform for the first time in a dozen years to passage of the first long-term transportation bill in a decade and the lifting of a 40-year ban on energy exports. ‘Many issues languished in the old Senate for years,’ says McConnell. ‘Some were assumed to be too difficult for any Senate majority to address. But the Republican Senate you elected, working with the men and women who stand up for you in the House of Representatives, tackled each of them—and the President signed most into law.’ The Weekly Republican Address is available in both audio and video format and is embargoed until 6:00 a.m. ET, Saturday, December 19, 2015. The audio of the address is available here, the video will be available here and you may download the address here. A full transcript of the address follows: 

“Hello, I’m Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“I’m proud to represent Kentucky in the United States Senate. I’m also honored to have served this past year as leader of the Senate’s new Republican majority.

“When you voted for this new majority last November, the Senate was a mess. Some thought the Senate could never be cured of its dysfunction and its gridlock.

“But the new majority you elected didn’t agree. We believed the Senate could be restored to a place of high purpose again, and we’ve made great strides over the past year proving that it can.

“Here’s how we did it.

“We got committees working again, just like we promised.

“We opened up the legislative process, just like we promised.

“We gave Senators of both parties more of a say, and it opened a floodgate of legislative accomplishments and good ideas.

“We passed a balanced budget, for the first time since 2001.

“We reformed No Child Left Behind and its Common Core mandates—replacing a broken law with the most significant K-12 education reform in more than a dozen years.

“We addressed America’s crumbling roads and bridges—passing the first long-term transportation bill in a decade.

“At a time of economic uncertainty, we passed permanent tax relief for families and small businesses. We voted to empower job creation by doing things like lift a 40-year ban on energy exports and an act to measure that can help knock down foreign trade barriers.

“At a time of diverse global threats, we voted to enact significant military acquisition reform and to provide more of the funding needed to modernize our armed forces. We voted to help those who’ve suffered from the VA scandal and to give our troops the support they need to better confront threats like ISIL.

”We passed legislation to help protect your personal financial information from cyberattackers.

“We made important reforms to help improve the viability of programs you look to in retirement, like Medicare.

“We worked together to extend a hand of compassion to wounded veterans and to bring a ray of hope to victims of human trafficking and modern slavery.

“And when it came to some of Washington’s artificial cliffs and manufactured dramas, we were able to pass real, permanent solutions instead of more temporary patches.

“These are just a few of the measures the new Senate has passed this year.

“Many issues languished in the old Senate for years.

“Some were assumed to be too difficult for any Senate majority to address.

“But the Republican Senate you elected, working with the men and women who stand up for you in the House of Representatives, tackled each of them—and the President signed most into law.

“Of course there are other bills he didn’t or won’t sign.

“Like the one we passed to repeal a health law that attacks the Middle Class: Obamacare.

“Or the ones we passed to protect coal families, or to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

“It’s true that a new President will be required to notch wins like those for the Middle Class.

“But the Republican Senate majority is proving that you can still get a lot done with a President from a different party.

“We’re proving you can actually enact significant, long-term reforms—achieve conservative policy goals—and get them signed into law.

“That’s good for the Senate. Most importantly, it’s good for our country.

“I’m proud of what the new Republican majority has accomplished in such a short time.

“We’re not only putting the Senate back to work, we’re putting it back to work on your side.

“Just like you asked. Just like we promised.

“Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your family, and to all of our brave armed services stationed abroad around the world.”

SOURCE:  Office of Senator Mitch McConnell

Sen. McConnell: Kentucky Benefits from Funding and Tax Relief Measures Passed by Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Friday that Kentucky will benefit from the bipartisan FY 2016 omnibus appropriations and tax relief legislation. The legislation has been approved by the House and Senate and will now go the President to be signed into law.

“The Senate has wrapped up a successful year under new leadership, and we achieved some significant bipartisan accomplishments, including the measure we passed today,” Senator McConnell said. “This legislation provides funding for Kentucky-specific priorities and enacts permanent tax relief for families and small businesses. It will lead to more jobs, more opportunities, and more economic growth in Kentucky and across our nation.”

The bipartisan omnibus bill provides funding for the following Kentucky priorities:

  • $200 million for cleanup at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant. This funding will allow vital cleanup work to continue at the facility and help support 1,600 jobs at the site.
  • $23 million for Fort Knox schools construction. The projects will help benefit military families at Fort Knox and improve infrastructure on post.
  • $12 million for Fort Campbell Special Operations facility. This project will benefit the vital special operations activities undertaken at the installation and improve infrastructure on post.
  • $75 million for the new Louisville Veterans Administration Medical Center. This funding will provide additional funds for design work to advance this important project for Kentucky veterans.
  • $146 million for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). The independent agency supports economic and community development in the Appalachian region, including eastern Kentucky.
  • $50 million in ARC funding for the POWER Plus Plan. This new program will support economic development projects in Appalachia that have been devastated by layoffs in the coal sector.
  • $10 million in ARC funding for broadband development in Central Appalachia.
  • $19 million for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) training for dislocated coal workers. Similar Department of Labor grants which Senator McConnell has helped secure for the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program have funded the Hiring Our Miners Everyday (HOME) program, which has provided job training and employment services to thousands of Kentuckians.
  • $632 million for Fossil Energy Research Development. This funding will specifically support Coal Carbon Capture and Storage research projects.
  • $90 million for the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) pilot program. This new pilot program provides grants to be split between three Appalachian states for the purpose of reclaiming abandon mine land sites and to spur economic development in the region.
  • $25.4 million for the American Printing House for the Blind (APH). This funding will support the non-profit organization in Louisville that produces educational products for visually impaired students across the country.
  • $193 million for the National Guard Counter-Drug Program, which is important to the counter-drug and marijuana eradication program in eastern Kentucky.
  • $180 million for the Olmsted Lock and Dam. This major waterways infrastructure project on the Ohio River will allow Kentucky coal and agricultural products—as well as other commodities shipped over our waterways superhighway—to move more efficiently to market. The project also helps support Kentucky workers in the inland waterways industry.
  • Senator McConnell also secured language in the measure to protect the transportation of legally grown industrial hemp between states to help support the commercial development of this agricultural commodity.

The tax relief legislation includes the following items benefitting Kentucky:

  • Permanent extension of tax credits to help Kentucky businesses and farmers purchase the equipment they need and to invest in research and development to better serve the needs of Kentuckians.
  • Permanent extension of tax credits to help Kentucky’s low-income and working families.
  • Permanent extension of the low-income housing tax credit, which incentivizes the renovation and construction of housing for low-income Kentuckians.
  • Improvements to section 529 college savings accounts, which will better help Kentucky families save for college tuition and related expenses.

 

  • A provision to exclude work college payments to students from taxable income, which will help Kentucky students attending work colleges pay for their education.  Kentucky is home to two of the only seven work colleges in the country, Alice Lloyd College and Berea College.

 

  • Two-year extension of the Empowerment Zones tax credits, which will help southeastern Kentucky’s Empowerment Zone – designated as such with the objective of revitalizing an economically distressed region.
  • Two-year extension of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), which encourages employers to hire targeted groups of job seekers, including veterans and residents of Empowerments Zones, such as in southeastern Kentucky.
  • One-year extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act to prohibit taxes on Kentuckians’ access of the internet.
  • Provisions to rein in the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) attempts to unfairly target social welfare organizations based on their political beliefs and First Amendment rights.

·         Elimination of residency requirements for tax-preferred “ABLE” savings accounts for disabled individuals, which will help improve the accessibility of these accounts to Kentucky families.

SOURCE:  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Published on Dec 18, 2015

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding the bipartisan omnibus and tax relief legislation, which will strengthen our economy and strengthen our national security.

Rep Thomas Massie

SOURCE:  Massie Press

U.S. Representative Massie Urges Courts to Protect Second Amendment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Thomas Massie and 14 members of the House of Representatives filed an amicus brief to Defense Distributed v. United States Department of State in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  The attorney for the plaintiff is Alan Gura, who successfully argued  McDonald v. City of Chicago andHeller v. District of Columbia before the U. S. Supreme Court. The brief is intended to advise the appellate court and support the plaintiff’s case.

“We expect the Court to recognize that the State Department exceeded the authority granted to it by Congress and violated the First, Second, and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution,” said Rep.

Photo Courtesy: U.S. Congressman Thomas Massie

Photo Courtesy: U.S. Congressman Thomas Massie

Massie. “If the State Department’s violations are allowed to stand, it could have dramatic implications for free speech on the Internet.”

In June 2013, Defense Distributed, a Texas non-profit committed to defending the right to bear arms, made technical information about 3D-printing of legal firearms available for free on the Internet.  The State Department forced the company to withdraw the posted information, citing the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), a U.S. law which bans export of sensitive information.

Defense Distributed sought an injunction against the State Department in 2015, claiming the ban violated the First, Second, and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution. A Texas district court denied the injunction, but the company has appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  The amicus brief was filed in support of the appeal.

Rep. Massie and the other co-signers of the brief argue that the State Department’s interpretation of export regulations exceeds the authority in the foreign commerce clause of the Constitution.  The foreign commerce clause allows regulation of trade with other countries, but it does not allow regulation of free speech within the United States.  The co-signers also assert that the State Department’s interpretation of the export regulations will stifle American innovation as well as free speech.

In addition to Rep. Massie, House co-signers include Duncan (R-SC), Gosar (R-AZ), Webster (R-FL), Labrador (R-ID), Conaway (R-TX), Rokita (R-IN), Farenthold (R-TX), Posey (R-FL), Miller (R-FL), Babin (R-TX), Jones (R-NC), King (R-IA), Fleming (R-LA), and Kelly (R-PA).

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