Hello, Friends —

This week, the House Armed Services Committee, of which I am a member, voted on the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act. This bill is extremely important, because it funds America’s military. The committee worked very hard to make this bill help the armed forces as much as possible. It passed with bipartisan support, 60–1, and will soon be voted on by the entire House.

The NDAA is a tremendous victory for Northwest Florida. I fought hard for the following items in the bill, all of which were included in the final version passed by committee:

  • $10 million for refurbishing the North Field Air Traffic Control Tower at Whiting Field
  • $60 million for F-35A spare parts
  • $31.9 million for Test Range Modernization
  • $34.8 million for F-35A Integrated Training Center Academics Building at Eglin AFB
  • $28 million for F-35A Student Dormitory II at Eglin AFB

These items will cement Northwest Florida’s legacy as America’s premiere location for military training and development. Under President Trump, America’s military is being rebuilt, and Northwest Florida is leading the way!

Prison Reform

On Wednesday, May 9, the Judiciary Committee voted 25-5 in favor of H.R. 5682, the FIRST STEP Act, a comprehensive bill to reform America’s prisons. This bill advances much-needed reforms to the prison system, with a particular focus on providing educational and vocational training to prisoners. By providing prisoners with training, it will help ease their transition back into society when they are released, which will reduce the risk of recidivism. One of the best deterrents to returning to a life of crime is having job skills; helping inmates develop these skills is important.

Among the many sections of this bill, two pilot programs were authorized: youth mentorship and dog training. The original version of the bill authorized them for two years, in ten prisons. These programs, however, have a long track record of success; they reduce violence in prison and help keep young inmates from becoming repeat offenders. I offered an amendment, to authorize these programs for five years, in at least twenty-five prisons. The amendment was approved unanimously. Not only do dog-training programs help prisoners, they help local animal shelters too — I consider this a win all around.

President Trump has discussed the need for prison reform, and he has expressed strong support for legislation like this bill. Though the Senate moves slowly, I hope they will see the importance of this legislation, and will pass it quickly so it can be signed into law. 

 

AROUND THE DISTRICT

INSPIRATIONAL STUDENT HERO AWARDS

On Wednesday, May 9, my staff was proud to attend Cox Communications’ Inspirational Student Hero Awards in Pensacola. At this wonderful ceremony, Cox recognized 51 students from Escambia County who have overcome extreme challenges in life, and who inspire their teachers, administrators and fellow students. Their stories were moving and powerful, and there was hardly a dry eye in the room during the event.

 

MILITARY APPRECIATION BREAKFAST

On Thursday, May 10, Hurlburt Field was host to the Navarre Military Appreciation Breakfast, where Lieutenant General Brad Webb spoke. Attendance was high — in Northwest Florida, we certainly appreciate the military!

 

MEMORIAL FOR FALLEN LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS

On Wednesday, May 9, the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office held a memorial service in honor of fallen officers in the state of Florida. I am proud to support law enforcement officers, who put their lives on the line to keep us safe. This memorial service honored those who gave their lives in service to their communities. Thank you to all members of law enforcement, past and presence — your service is deeply appreciated.

 

GAETZ IN THE NEWS

As I discussed in my newsletter earlier this week, on Tuesday, President Trump made the bold — and correct! — decision to leave the Iran deal. Naturally, this prompted much outrage from Democrats, including Maxine Waters, who used it to renew her call for impeachment. (Silly and sad!) On Thursday, I discussed Democrats, the 2018 midterm elections, and more, on The Intelligence Report on Fox News. You can watch the discussion here!


The Hill — May 9, 2018

White House-backed prison reform bill advances in House

“The committee did approve an amendment from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) to expand a pilot youth mentorship program and a pilot program that gives prisoners the skills to train rescued and abandoned dogs. The bill would increase the programs from two years in 10 facilities to five years in at least 20 facilities.”


CSPAN — May 8, 2018

Rep. Gaetz Questions Acting DEA Administrator on Medical Cannabis


Politico — May 9, 2018

GOP lawmakers confident Trump will override DOJ on Nunes’ request

“Though few other Republicans have endorsed Nunes' suggestion that Sessions be held in contempt if DOJ doesn't comply, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said he wants Congress to hold hearings to determine ‘whether the legal justification for contempt exists,’ adding, ‘We want the attorney general and the deputy attorney general to do their jobs.’”


The Hill — May 10, 2018

Lawmakers move to block government from ordering digital ‘back doors’

“The bipartisan bill introduced Thursday would prohibit federal agencies from requiring or requesting that firms ‘design or alter the security functions in its product or service to allow the surveillance of any user of such product or service, or to allow the physical search of such product’ by the government. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) introduced the legislation along with Reps. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Ted Poe (R-Texas).”