Today Congressman Chip Pickering voted against the resolution disapproving of the decision to deploy more than 20,000 additional troops to Iraq (H.Con.Res63). The nonbinding resolution passed on a vote of 246-182-6 and has no force of law.
The resolution reads in full: "Disapproving of the decision of the President announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq. Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That--(1) Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States Armed Forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq; and (2) Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq."
Congressman Pickering spoke on the measure on the House floor last night. To watch his speech and those of other Members of Congress, you can visit: http://www.cspan.org/resources/house_feb2007.asp or direct your web browser to: rtsp://video.c-span.org/project/iraq/debate/iraq021507_house8.rm?end=:5:57.0 to watch his speech alone.
His remarks were in part, "As we look back through our Nation's history, and we look back at all the great chapters, there were moments, decisive, critical moments, where our Nation could have given up, or given in, could have withdrawn, could have surrendered, and those moments that make us most proud are those chapters in our history where we did not give up, retreat, surrender .Lieutenant Joshua Trapp, who flies Apache helicopters in Iraq, deployed this spring after his marriage to Elizabeth of only 3 weeks. He now believes and hopes that he can complete his mission. I rise today in Joshua Trapp's name, and all of those other Mississippians who have given their lives, that their life may not have been in vain, and that their mission may be supported in this body in this time and this place and that it is a chapter we in this place will remember as we age and grow old, that we did not walk away, retreat, surrender, but we finished the mission."
STRATEGIC PETROLEUM RESERVE:
Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Energy Sam Bodman visited the University of Southern Mississippi to conduct the formal site selection signing for a new strategic petroleum reserve in Richton with Governor Haley Barbour and Richton Mayor Jimmy White. The $3 billion construction project and facility will eventually hold 160 million barrels of oil and include a pipeline from Pascagoula to Richton and from Richton to Liberty. The construction phase will provide hundreds of high-paying jobs and the facility itself will support over a hundred permanent jobs. The expansion of the strategic petroleum reserve is part of the United States national security and emergency policy and is not expected to affect consumer gasoline prices.
"For Mississippi, this project and the supporting infrastructure creates hundreds of construction jobs and a massive energy investment. For America, this critical expansion increases our nation's energy security. Abundant, affordable energy is the lifeblood of our economy and we saw the vulnerability of our entire nation to energy shortages when Katrina hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This reserve provides an additional option in times of energy crisis," said Congressman Chip Pickering who was unable to attend the event due to the weather cancellation of his flight from Washington, D.C.
In 2005, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that included the Pickering Strategic Petroleum Reserve Amendment. This measure directed the Department of Energy to select one or more new sites, and to commence with the administrative and environmental processes necessary to create additional reserve facilities. With the creation of the Richton site and expansion of current sites in Louisiana and Texas, the United States will achieve its minimum national energy and national security policy of 1 billion barrels of petroleum in reserve. Current capacity tops out at 727 million barrels, or just fewer than sixty days of protection from import disruption. President George W. Bush asked for additional funding in his 2007 State of the Union Address to expand the nation's strategic petroleum reserve, eventually to 1.5 billion barrels over the next twenty years.
Congressman Pickering has announced staff changes in his Washington DC office. Jackson native Alexander Guffin has joined Pickering's office as staff assistant. Guffin oversees congressional tours, flag requests, and operates the front desk in the Washington office. She also assists with Washington press and media issues. Guffin replaces Meg Daughdrill, another Jackson native, who moved to Nashville, Tennessee to be Director of Education for the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Mike Lipski, a Long Beach native, is now serving as Pickering's legislative director. Lipski has been with Pickering's office for three years as military legislative assistant and special projects director. Lipski will now oversee the office's legislative policy agenda.
Hugh Carroll, a North Carolina native, joins Pickering's staff as counsel and will handle telecommunications, judiciary and transportation policy. Carroll most recently served as counsel for the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management where he worked on FEMA and Katrina Recovery issues.
Lipski and Carroll will be filling the role of Pickering's previous counsel and legislative director Mike Hurst. Hurst, a Newton native living in Madison, is now serving as an Assistant U.S. Attorney with the office of Dunn Lampton. Pickering's Communication Director, Brian Perry, has returned to his home in Jackson from Washington DC to work with the press and media from Pickering's district offices.
FIRE GRANT WORKSHOPS:
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) is a competitive grant opportunity for local fire departments and emergency medical services (EMS) organizations not affiliated with a hospital. The AFG funds activities such as purchasing firefighting equipment, personal protective equipment, training, firefighting and EMS vehicles, as well as firefighter/first responder safety projects.
Congressman Chip Pickering has announced seventeen fire grants for the Third Congressional District this year totaling more than $1.8 million from the 2006 program. To assist local first responders in applying for the 2007 grants, the AFG regional staff will be conducting six workshops in Mississippi to provide up to date grant information to applicants. There is no admittance charge to any AFG workshop.
February 19 at 10am: Lucedale, Mississippi Gulf Community College, George County Center (11203 Old 63 South) - Contact Loraine Howell (601) 947-7557
February 19 at 7pm: Lumberton, Ben Barrett Community Center (764 East Main Street) - Contact George Stevens (601) 794-5378
February 20 at 10am: Jackson, Mississippi State Fire Academy (1 Fire Academy USA) - Contact Larry Barr (601) 359-1062
February 21 at 7pm: Cleveland, Bolivar County EMA Building (114 South Street) - Contact Bill Quinton (662) 843-2300
February 22 at 10am: Houston, Houston Civic Center (635 Starkville Road) - Contact Brad Smith (662) 448-1012
February 22 at 7pm: Houston, Houston Civic Center (635 Starkville Road) - Contact Brad Smith (662) 448-1012
Applicants unable to attend a workshop may contact the program office to receive an electronic copy of the PowerPoint presentation used at the workshops on the AFG website. In addition, the applicant tutorial, the FY 2007 AFG Program Guidance, and a list of Frequently Asked Questions and more information is available at www.firegrantsupport.com online. Potential applicants are also encouraged to utilize the AFG help desk at 1-866-274-0960 and at FIREGRANTS@DHS.GOV as well as to contact Congressman Pickering's assistant Mary Martha Henson in the Meridian Office at 601-693-6681.
CHIP PICKERING ONLINE NEWS:
Paving needs focus of trip to Washington (Brookhaven Daily Leader: 2/16)
MFD gets grant (Meridian Star: 2/16)
Salt dome named strategic petroleum reserve (Hattiesburg American: 2/15)
Bill would keep local radio programs local (UPI: 2/15)
Pickering: $192K for Lauderdale & Neshoba First Responders (Release: 2/15)
Pickering Applauds Richton Oil Reserve Decision (Release: 2/14)
Pickering Announces DC Staff Changes (Release: 2/9)
VA APTA Medicare Bill (InsuranceNewsNet.com: 2/2)
Meridian air guard unit to get new missions (Biloxi Sun Herald: 2/1)
186th ANG Gets Two New Missions (WTOK: 2/1)
APTA Applauds Introduction of Medicare Therapy Cap Repeal Bill (PR Newswire: 2/1)
Visit www.house.gov/pickering/policy to get office contact information.