News from Representative Heck

   


I can't wait to get back to the South Sound. But before I go, I wanted to update you on the latest from the U.S. Capitol.


They protect us, we should protect their finances

As the representative of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, I know our servicemembers who are deployed or serving here at home are focused on the huge responsibility of keeping us safe and defending our freedoms. Their minds should not be burdened with financial woes. In six short years, the Consumer Bureau (or CFPB) has proven itself to be an indispensable advocate for military families, and it is past time to formalize that role by giving them the power to enforce our most important law protecting military families from financial harms such as predatory lending, evictions or unreasonable consumer debts.

I added my strong support to the Military Consumer Protection Act, which would strengthen existing protections provided to our men and women in uniform under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. 

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act was developed to prevent servicemembers from being taken advantage of by financial institutions and provides special protections for active duty servicemembers and their families such as prohibiting eviction from rental or mortgaged property or making sure that credit card companies aren't applying an unreasonably high interest rate.

Enforcement of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act has been inconsistent, and with the passage of the Military Consumer Protection Act, the Consumer Bureau can better ensure that the law is enforced and provide stronger monitoring to better guarantee that financial companies are complying with these protections.  

Are you an active duty servicemember or a military spouse? Know your financial rights.

Expanding education benefits for our military families

As we seek to grow our economy, the best path forward is to build on the success of the GI Bill by making common sense improvements to help the VA administer the program effectively while also making it equitable for qualified recipients. 

The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Education Assistance Act of 2017 improves and extends education benefits provided to our veterans, their families, and the survivors of the fallen provided through the GI Bill since 1944. It includes a VA High Technology Pilot Program to provide veterans the opportunity to enroll in coding boot camps or information technology courses and the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship which supports a fifth year of study for veterans pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, or math. These steps will help connect high-potential veterans with Pacific Northwest employers facing a growing shortage of workers with those skills.

This bill, which passed the House last week, gives veterans more time to use the benefits, and provides more resources for reservists, guard soldiers, dependents and surviving family members. 

I'm hopeful that the Senate and President will also approve this important step forward so we can properly honor our promises to these men and women who sacrificed so much for our country, while also enabling the best tools we have to grow our economy sustainably over the long-term.

Sanctions against Russia   

On July 14, I wrote an op-ed for The News Tribune calling on the U.S. House of Representatives to quit stalling and move a bill that punishes Russia for its interference in our 2016 election. No matter who you voted for, Vladimir Putin sought to undermine the system in which you were able to exercise that right. It is wrong and should not go unaddressed.

It was encouraging when the U.S. House of Representatives finally overwhelmingly passed the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act on July 25, applying new and stronger sanctions against North Korea, Iran, and Russia. I was relieved to see the Senate do the same a few days later.

Our President often complains about too much talk, and not enough action.

On MSNBC discussing the House Intelligence Committee's investigation proceedings into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
 

The best course of action now is for the President to sign these sanctions against Russia into law immediately.

Russia must be held accountable for its invasion of Ukraine, its blatant disregard for the human rights abuses perpetrated by their ally Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and their repeated cyberattacks aimed at interfering in our democracy as well as other Western democracies. These sanctions are a way to discourage the behavior while we also take proactive steps to protect our election systems from future attacks.

Solid leadership for our export economy

The Export-Import Bank is the nation’s official export credit agency and a tool that helps companies in Washington state and nationwide create jobs at home by selling their products overseas. The private market is often unable to serve small businesses or sales of advanced capital equipment into developing countries. When that happens, ExIm steps in to provide the insurance and loan services available to make these sales possible.

In 2015, I had all hands on deck to keep the Export-Import Bank open. And we did it. Meanwhile, Congressman Scott Garrett (NJ-05) was among the leaders of an effort to shut down the Export-Import Bank and deny American businesses a level playing field on which to compete for business, create jobs, and sustain thousands of export-driven jobs that our country already has, thanks to ExIm financing.  

I grew up working on a farm and you don't put a fox in charge of the henhouse. Scott Garrett has repeatedly said he wants to eliminate and weaken the Export-Import Bank, and there is no reason to think he won't if he's put at the helm.

I worked with Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and Congresswoman Gwen Moore to write a letter to the White House requesting the withdrawal of Scott Garrett's nomination to head this critical export operation. Growing our economy is too important. 

Something to stop sickening our Sound

While the entire 435-member body debated how to spend our federal funds on our energy and water priorities, I offered an idea to help cajole the Army Corps of Engineers to examine the latest technologies and techniques to reduce stormwater runoff. Runoff doesn't just impact the Puget Sound here in our backyard, but waterways all across our nation. We owe it to every community to cut down on stormwater pollution. I'm happy to report that my proposal made it into the final bill. You can view my remarks to the House by clicking on the image below:

 

We have much more to do by the end of September. My goal is to work just as hard as all of you do every day to make a better life for you and your kids. I know it's not easy, but together we can make progress.

To hear from me more often on what I'm doing, please subscribe to the eNewsletter, follow @RepDennyHeck on Twitter, or like the 10th Congressional District page on Facebook.

Have a wonderful rest of your summer.

Sincerely,

Denny Heck
Your Member of Congress

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