News from Representative Smucker

   

Thank you for subscribing to my E-Newsletter! This week I want to update you on passage of my legislation to help us preserve and attract more visitors to the Susquehanna Valley, a recent defense bill that included my two amendments to improve mental health services, and a recent action by the House to rein in Washington's spending.

I enjoy hearing from you and respond to inquiries, so if you'd like to share your concerns or opinions, or if you have questions about legislation or votes, you can send me an email here. You can also stay up to date on my work in Pennsylvania and Washington by following me on Facebook and Twitter, and view more than 100 videos on my YouTube page here, many of which are responses to your questions and concerns.

If you've missed one of my newsletters, you can view all the past newsletters I've sent on my website here.


Heritage Area Passes House

Columbia Crossing River Trails Center (SusquehannaHeritage.org)

As you may recall, last year I introduced bipartisan legislation that would help us maintain the natural beauty we find in our region of the commonwealth. It's called the Susquehanna National Heritage Area Act and it would make Lancaster and York Counties a National Heritage Area (NHA) - a federal designation that receives support from the National Park Service. This NHA would attract more visitors, stimulate our local economy, and preserve natural and historical landmarks.

Last week, the House of Representatives passed this legislation with broad bipartisan support. I'm thrilled for residents of the Susquehanna Valley that this bill is endorsed by dozens of local groups and now another step closer to becoming law.

This achievement is the result of a collaborative effort, driven by constituents, and I'm glad to have the support of many in our community who want to support and promote our area. Now I'm encouraging the Senate - where this legislation has been introduced five times - to get this bill to President Trump's desk on behalf of the people and communities we represent.

You can learn more about the Susquehanna National Heritage Area Act here.



Improving Mental Health Services for Our Troops

The House of Representatives recently passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) - critical legislation that supports our troops, enhances our military readiness, and provides for the defense of our great nation. It also included a 2.6 percent pay raise for our brave men and women serving in uniform - their largest pay raise in nine years. This legislation also included my two amendments to improve the mental health services provided to soldiers by the Department of Defense (DoD). 

According to the American Medical Association, the rate of major depression among service men and women is five times higher than the civilian population, and the diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is 15 times higher than the civilian population. Specifically, my amendments address the mental health provider shortage at DoD and prescribing practices designed to treat PTSD.

Ensuring our troops have access to high-quality medical care and are properly treated is critical to their own mental and physical health, and the security of our country. Some of the greatest wounds inflicted upon our soldiers are unseen. We should be doing everything we can to treat these wounds as we would any other.

You can learn more about the NDAA and my amendments here.

 


Combating the Opioid Epidemic

Now more than ever we must prioritize federal funding to combat the opioid epidemic that has swept across Pennsylvania and the nation. Everyone has a role to play in this fight, including law enforcement, pharmacies, health care professionals, insurers, and community groups. This past week and next, the House of Representatives is passing dozens of bills aimed at fighting this crisis and saving lives.

The legislation we're passing focuses on four critical steps to combating the opioid epidemic:

1. Treatment and Recovery

  • Improve and expand access to treatment and recovery services
  • Provide incentives for enhanced care, coordination, and innovation
  • Establish comprehensive opioid recovery centers

2. Prevention

  • Encourage non-addictive opioid alternatives to treat pain
  • Improve data to identify and help at-risk patients and families
  • Address high prescribing rates while enhancing prescription drug monitoring programs

3. Protecting Communities

  • Give law enforcement tools to get dangerous drugs out of our communities
  • Better intercept illicit opioids at international mail facilities
  • Improve access to federal resources for local communities

4. Fighting Fentanyl

  • Better tackle ever-changing synthetic drugs
  • Crack down on foreign shipments of illicit drugs
  • Provide grants for local communities to combat fentanyl

You can learn more about our fight against the opioid epidemic by visiting opioidcrisis.org or texting CRISIS to 50589.

You can also visit my website where I have a number of resources available to you and your family, including where to seek for those at risk or already struggling with addiction. 

I spoke on this effort on the House floor Thursday morning. You can watch my speech here.

 


Reining In Excessive Washington Spending

President Trump recently submitted to Congress a package of spending rescissions. These are unused federal funds that are no longer necessary or can't be spent because the authority to do so expired last year. 

Rescinding unused federal funds is a commonsense and reasonable way to rein in Washington's out-of-control spending habit. I hope this modest rescission is just a down payment on our broader commitment to reduce spending. Congress should continue working with President Trump's administration to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.

I've heard from a number of constituents who were concerned about potential cuts to the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). I strongly support this program - which gives high-quality medical care to more than 181,000 children in Pennsylvania. However, this rescissions package doesn't impact the number of children insured by the program. In fact, CHIP is fully funded for the next ten years. This brings stability and assurance to the children covered by CHIP and their families.

You can learn more about this legislation here.

 


Seeking Answers on Puerto Rico Death Toll

 

 I visited Puerto Rico shortly after Hurricane Maria on a bipartisan delegation trip to meet with Puerto Rico's governor and emergency crews working on the island. I'm pictured above viewing the island from a helicopter while traveling to the island. You can read about my trip here.

You may have seen recent news reports and studies that raise serious questions about the known impact of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico, and the number of deaths that are linked to the storm. The federal government's official death toll is 64, while a recent Harvard study estimates that 4,645 deaths can be attributed to Hurricane Maria and the storm's immediate aftermath.

The most important responsibility of the federal government is to provide for the safety and security of the American people. I believe this responsibility includes an accurate accounting of lives lost as a result of emergencies that require a federal response and resources. What these studies and reports indicate is that the severity of the storm's impact is not fully understood, and no one can confidently give an accurate accounting for the tragic deaths that occurred as a result of Hurricane Maria.

Therefore, I sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and FEMA Administrator Brock Long requesting information on the federal government's process used to account for those who lost their lives as a direct or indirect result of the storm. I'll be sure to inform you of their response.

 


Recognizing Manheim Township High School Boys Lacrosse

Last week, the Manheim Township High School boys lacrosse team won the program's first-every PIAA State Title! The Blue Streaks defeated La Salle 6 to 4 in the PIAA Class 3A championship game last Saturday to bring the title to Lancaster County. This historic championship is a fitting end to an excellent season that also included a program-best 26-1 record and both the Lancaster-Lebanon and District 3 titles. 

I went down to the House floor to deliver a speech congratulating the team, coaches, their families, and the faculty, staff, and students that made this championship possible. You can watch my speech here.




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

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