News from Representative Smucker

   

 Honoring Our Veterans

We owe our veterans a debt of gratitude we will never be able to fully repay. On Saturday, I encourage you to thank the veterans, and their families, in your community for their service to our nation – it’s just one small way we can help ensure they know how much we appreciate the sacrifices they have made on our behalf.

On Thursday, I introduced bipartisan legislation on behalf of our veterans with Rep. Salud Carbajal of California. Our bill, the Home for the Brave Act, would exempt disability benefits from counting as income when determining eligibility for housing assistance programs through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Our veterans have put their lives at great risk to keep all of us safe. To return home and be priced out of housing assistance simply because they receive service-related disability benefits is just plain wrong. Our district has made great strides to eliminate veteran homelessness, and I am proud to stand with my constituents in this noble effort. I look forward to working with Rep. Carbajal to get this legislation passed.

You can learn more about this important piece of legislation here.


 

Hearing From You About Tax Reform

Last Monday, House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers joined me in Conestoga to discuss tax reform with a diverse group of families, small and large business owners, and farmers. You can see the details of the tax reform plan here and watch news coverage of our roundtable discussion here.

Under our plan, a family of four making $59,000 per year will save $1,182. It lowers rates for everyone so that hardworking families will see more of their paychecks. It nearly doubles the standard deduction, which 70 percent of filers in our district use. It increases the child tax credit from $1,000 to $1,600 to help with the cost of raising children, and establishes a new credit for non-child dependents too. It reduces the tax burden on small businesses so Main Street can thrive. And it simplifies our code and makes it more honest. These changes will result in more jobs and higher wages by reinvesting in our economy and our workers.

Throughout this entire process, I’ve been taking your feedback to Washington and sharing your thoughts to help influence the process and outcome. I will continue, as I always have, fighting for those I represent to help ensure the final product works for all of us.

Working to Combat Human Trafficking

Lititz-based North Star Initiative is opening a new facility that will house and help restore the lives of women abused by human trafficking. This organization is doing wonderful work that is so important to our community. That’s why I was so glad to be able to bring the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Bob Goodlatte, to our district to meet with advocates and law enforcement about how we can all work together to combat human trafficking. You can read about our visit at North Star Initiative here. (Photo: Dan Marschka, LNP)

Chairman Goodlatte’s committee has jurisdiction over human trafficking issues, and he was able to hear directly from our constituents and those fighting trafficking on the ground about the resources they need to do their job effectively. I am a cosponsor of multiple bills to help fight this terrible, inhumane practice, and will continue to look for ways to stop the exploitation of women and children. I look forward to working with North Star Initiative and other organizations in our district to combat human trafficking.

Promoting Children's Health Care

In September, I joined my colleagues from Pennsylvania in writing to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urging a bipartisan agreement to bring Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) extension legislation to the floor. This critical program provides affordable, comprehensive health care coverage to more than 176,000 children in Pennsylvania. I am glad both sides could come together to provide certainty and security for children and parents with a five-year extension of CHIP last week.

Additionally, this bipartisan bill extends Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) funding for two years and provides over $1 billion for the Medicaid programs in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. I am proud to support this legislation that shows Republicans and Democrats can find common ground to improve the lives of the people we represent, and am hopeful the Senate acts quickly to pass this legislation and get it signed into law.

Right to Try

The Right to Try Act would allow terminally ill Americans to try medicines that have passed Phase One of the FDA’s approval process and remain in clinical trials, but are not yet on pharmacy shelves. It would expand access to potentially life-saving treatments years before patients would normally be able to access them. You can watch my floor speech here.

Passing this legislation is a moral imperative. America is home to the world’s greatest doctors and medical experts. It is home to the world’s greatest medical schools and hospitals. We’ve cured diseases that were once a death sentence and we’ve utilized our national resources to fight epidemics that have saved lives here at home and abroad.

How we vote on this legislation shows the nation where our priorities are. Is our priority the bureaucracy of Washington that too often misses opportunities simply because of its inability to act? Or is our priority allowing the patients and families we represent to consult with a doctor and decide for themselves how they choose to fight against illnesses for which we continue to search for a cure?

The choice is clear. Our priority must be our constituents. That’s why I went to the House floor to urge my colleagues to support this legislation. We cannot afford the cost of inaction.

Transparency in Higher Education

I’m working to ensure students, parents, and college counselors have access to information that can help students make informed decisions about what college to attend. Today, the U.S. Department of Education collects information from colleges and universities through a voluntary survey available only to a limited group of graduates.

This survey is not offered to any student who:

-- Is attending college part time

-- Is non-degree seeking

-- Transferred from another school

-- Doesn’t have federal loans

In today’s economy, we’re trying to making higher education more available and accessible to non-traditional students, yet we omit a large group of non-traditional students from this data. This is why we need to pass the College Transparency Act. You can watch me speak about this legislation on the House floor here.

This bipartisan legislation seeks to modernize higher education reporting so that students and families can make responsible choices about what college or university to attend.

It will help empower students and families to determine how much they need to take out in student loans, and which programs at different schools provides the best path toward their dream job. Too many students today are graduating with massive amounts of debt and graduate with majors offering too few career opportunities. At the very least, students need to have this data available to them.

This bill is endorsed by more than 80 education and business organizations, including Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education – organizations that represent schools like Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in my district. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass this legislation. 

Mobile Office Hours

In order to better serve my constituents all across our district, a member of my staff is available at the times and locations below to offer assistance on a number of topics, including help with federal agencies, military academy nominations, legislative questions, U.S. Capitol flag requests, and tours and tickets for constituents planning a trip to Washington, D.C.

Berks County Mobile Office Hours

Where:       Reading City Hall
                   815 Washington Street
                   Reading, Pa. 19601
When:        First and third Monday of each month
                   8:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Chester County Mobile Office Hours

Where:        London Grove Township Building

                   372 Rosehill Road, Suite 100

                   West Grove, Pa. 19390

When:         Second and fourth Monday of each month

                   8:30 AM to 4:30 PM


Thank you for subscribing to my newsletter! You can stay up-to-date on what I'm doing in Washington and Pennsylvania by following me on Twitter and Facebook.

Sincerely,

Lloyd Smucker

Unsubscribe | Privacy Policy