News from Representative Darin LaHood

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Hello Friend,

The past few weeks of April have been busy and productive, both in our district and in Washington, DC. Below are some recent highlights, including an announcement about what is coming up next week.  I am also interested in hearing your views on the current state of our national security through my survey below. It is a privilege to represent you in Congress, and hearing your voice enriches my ability to take your priorities to Washington.

Around the District

Working Overtime to Prevent Destructive Regulations from the Department of Labor

Over forty community leaders sat down with me during a round table forum I hosted in April to discuss the real impact that the U.S. Department of Labor’s new, proposed Overtime Rule would have on employers and employees in Central and West Central Illinois. 

Estimated to cost $8.4 billion per year, this rule impacts over five million employees across America who are currently salaried, but who would need to have their weekly work hours counted and documented, losing the flexibility and benefits of being salaried. Small businesses, franchises, non-profits, and universities all shared how they would be harmed by the implementation of this new rule. 

To view the TV clip of the Press Conference following Rep. LaHood's Community Round table on the DOL Overtime Rule, click HERE or above.

Each individual at the roundtable was united in their desire to hire more people, pay competitive salaries, and provide good benefits and working environments for their employees. There was resounding frustration that this rule would prevent them from doing that and would have the direct opposite impact, especially here in the Midwest. It was clear from our roundtable discussion that this one-size-fits-all rule only pushes employers to hire less people, promote less people, and provide benefits to less people. 

I have cosponsored H.R. 4773, which would prevent this rule from being finalized and  would require the Department of Labor to fully consider the economic impact on employers and employees across all industries in any future rule.  I have also written to the Secretary of Labor outlining the proposal's potential devastating impact.

 2016 Congressional Art Competition Winners Announced

My office received 185 art submissions from 144 students who entered this year's Congressional Art Competition. I was truly impressed with the number of young artists we have among our youth, and I am thankful this competition provides the opportunity to recognize and applaud their work. I hosted an awards ceremony for all the participants at the Peoria Downtown Public Library, and awarded six well-deserving recipients. A big congratulations to our first place winner Elizabeth Grimm, whose piece ‘Emma’ will grace the halls of our nation’s Capitol in DC. To see the full list of winners, click HERE.

Rep. LaHood congratulates first place winner Elizabeth Grimm, who received two tickets to fly to DC to see her art piece ‘Emma’ installed in the halls of the Capitol in DC. To view the other art pieces, CLICK here.

Qik n EZ Convenience Store Visit 

 

I was recently able to tour Qik n EZ, a convenience store in Springfield and meet with the staff. Wendy Chronister, CEO of Chronister Oil Company, shared about the issues that fuel retailers are facing, including challenges related to data security. Nationwide, cyber-attacks against private industry are growing. Private company-reported incidents have risen to over 42.8 million which marked a 48% increase from 2013. In fact, cyber-attacks cost the American economy over $16 billion in financial losses in 2014.  The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, on which I serve, has hosted several hearings focused on improving data security.  

Time well-spent at Timewell Drainage

I toured Timewell Drainage facility and discussed their innovation and progress in agriculture. Products that Timewell Drainage manufactures help our farmers produce higher yields of crops by maximizing rainfall through drainage on their fields. We discussed the EPA's destructive Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, an encroaching regulation granting the federal government sweeping authority to regulate virtually any and every area of wet land, even puddles. Earlier this year, President Obama vetoed a measure supported by a unified Congress to overturn the EPA’s Waters of the United States rule. Such action reveals ignorance among this Administration of how federalism should work, but more importantly what hardworking farmers need in order to nourish our nation. 

Adams Telephone Cooperative

I recently had the pleasure of touring and meeting with employees from Adams Telephone Cooperative to discuss the future of broadband service. Adams Cooperative is a forward-thinking business that's bringing jobs and opportunities to the 18th District. In April, the House passed H.R. 2666, the No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act, to ensure that the federal government does not regulate the Internet, allowing it to remain a free market. This initiative blocks unelected bureaucrats in Washington from dictating how people use the Internet. I was proud to support the measure, which passed out of the House on March 16, 2016.

Maintaining My Commitment to Business and Free Enterprise

I was honored to receive the United States Chamber of Commerce’s Spirit of Enterprise Award last week in Springfield. The U.S. Chamber’s prestigious Spirit of Enterprise Award is given annually to members of Congress based on their support for pro-growth policies. My voting record includes a number of measures that have a significant effect on businesses and enterprise, including the FAST Act (H.R. 22), Every Student Succeeds Act (S. 1177), Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (H.R. 644), and repealing the Oil Export Ban (H.R. 702). Every year, the U.S. Chamber presents this award to legislators who exhibit a record of commitment to enterprise and innovation. To read more, click HERE


Around DC

Rolling Back the Department of Labor's Fiduciary Rule

Last week the House passed H.J. Res 88, a joint resolution to nullify the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule which was finalized on April 6th. The fiduciary rule would reclassify and expand the scope of individuals that are considered “financial advisers” for purposes of Federal regulation--and expand the Department of Labor’s authority into the Individual Retirement Account (IRA) marketplace.  

To watch Rep. LaHood's floor speech denouncing the DOL's Fiduciary Rule, click HERE or above.

This rule drastically narrows the access that hardworking Americans have to retirement advice. It hurts middle and working class families trying to save for a secure retirement and it penalizes small businesses who want to provide benefits for their employees.  If signed into law, H. J. Res 88 would block the rule, preventing it from going into effect. To read my op-ed in the Peoria Journal Star and learn more, click HERE.

Springfield and Quincy Honor Flights

 

The 126th Supply and Service Company of Quincy was the only National Guard unit in the state of Illinois called upon to fight in Vietnam. 129 guardsmen arrived in Chu Lai, Vietnam in September of 1968 and returned home in August of 1969. The very same guard unit flew to DC with Great River Honor Flight to view the memorial built to honor and thank them, and remember those who are no longer with us. I enjoyed our robust discussions on bringing needed reforms to the VA and the IRS.

I also enjoyed welcoming World War II, Korea, and Vietnam era veterans with the Land of Lincoln Honor Flight of Springfield at the World War II memorial. These memorials are built to honor these very individuals who fought for our freedoms, and I am thankful they have the opportunity to visit and enjoy the tribute that America has mounted in their honor. Additionally, I appreciated hearing from our veterans regarding how to improve the services they receive.

Keeping the IRS Accountable

During Tax Week, I voted for five common sense bills that the House passed to bring needed reforms to the IRS. 

While 84% of Americans who need tax assistance can’t get their phone calls answered, the IRS is awarding bonuses and hiring employees who themselves are delinquent on their taxes. The IRS even sent out $46 million in potentially fraudulent tax refunds due to a computer program error. Those who collect others taxes should be required to pay their own. Those who manage our nation’s tax revenue should spend those taxpayer dollars wisely. Those who work for the government are not above the law, or the Constitution. To learn listen to me speak on the measures the House passed to reform the IRS, tune into my WJBC interview with Scott Laughlin click HERE.

Banking On It

I enjoyed meeting with the Community Bankers Association of Illinois in DC last week. We discussed the negative impact on consumers as a result of burdensome regulations on smaller, community banks, and action I can take in Congress, including cosponsoring H.R. 1233, the CLEARR Relief Act

Around the Corner

Round Table Forums on Heroin and Opioid Overdose Epidemic

Last week I announced on KHQA (below) that I will be hosting a series of round table forums in Peoria, Springfield, and Quincy next week to address the growing number of deaths caused by overdoses of heroin and synthetic opioids, including prescription painkillers. I look forward to meeting with medical and public health professionals, law enforcement, treatment providers, and even those who have personally lost loved ones to these drugs across the district. This epidemic is a complex problem that must have a multifaceted solution. In mid-May the House will take up legislation to combat the nation's opioid epidemic, and the President has provided his own proposals to combat opioid addiction. There is ample opportunity to reach a bipartisan consensus, and I look forward to hearing from those on the frontlines on how I can help at the federal level.

To view Rep. LaHood discuss the upcoming heroin and opioid round table forums he is hosting across the district next week, click HERE or above.

Share Your Thoughts

Last week in Congress, the House passed two bills aimed at securing America from travelling terrorists. H.R. 4698 directs the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) of the Department of Homeland Security to conduct a comprehensive security risk assessment of all last point of departure airports with nonstop flights to the United States. H.R. 4240 requires the the Government Accountability Office to study the effectiveness of the Terrorist Screening Database, the terror watch list maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Share your thoughts on the current state of our national security below. Your views are important to me as your voice in Washington.

 
Do you think our government's anti-terrorism policies are too tough, not tough enough or just right in terms of protecting the homeland?
 
 ( )Too tough
 ( )Not tough enough
 ( )Just right
 ( )I'm not sure.
 ( )Other (please specify)
 

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 Sincerely,

Darin LaHood
Member of Congress

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