President Obama traveled to Missouri's Fourth Congressional District this week to visit the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg to talk about the economy and education. As an alum of UCM where I earned my Master's Degree in Education, I was proud of the achievements of UCM and glad for the great opportunity to highlight, for the nation, the good work being done there. However, I was disappointed the President's comments on the economy were more of the same rhetoric we've been hearing from the White House since long before the last presidential campaign.
While we can agree with the President's stated desire to have the economy work for everybody, he chose to blame the U.S. House for much of our economic woes, suggesting it is standing in the way of progress. The simple fact is that the House is working hard and passing bills to address America's fragile economy and to protect all Americans. Over the last two years, the House has put forward legislation to control spending, to expand education opportunities, to lower health care costs by repealing ObamaCare, to rein in government red tape, to stop government waste, and to put America on the road to energy independence. It is the Democrat-controlled Senate and President Obama's veto threats standing in the way of progress. The facts don't match the rhetoric.
On education, I was pleased to hear the President talk about the Missouri Innovation Campus, a project launched at the University of Central Missouri. It allows students interested in technology and engineering to accelerate their studies while partnering with companies that provide paid internships. I have discussed this truly innovative project with UCM President Chuck Ambrose and was glad that President Obama praised the project during his speech.
There was something the President said that gave me pause. As he spoke of the challenges Americans are facing, he mentioned what he called, "An endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals [that] can't get in the way of what we need to do."
You can't help but ask which of the scandals the President considers "phony?" Is it the lack of explanation over the deaths of four U.S. citizens in Benghazi? Is it the IRS targeting American taxpayers who are expressing a point of view? Or is it his Justice Department collecting the telephone records of Associated Press reporters and naming Fox News reporter James Rosen as a "co-conspirator' in an attempt to violate the Espionage Act? There is nothing "phony" about these scandals. We can only hope and pray that the Obama Administration starts taking these egregious violations seriously and helps Congress to get to the bottom of these and other examples of unacceptable activity.
On another matter, I was pleased that the U.S. House approved the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (H.R. 2397) to support our troops and fund critical security programs.
This bill sustains readiness programs that help prepare our troops for any mission while supporting our troops on the battlefield and at home. It keeps our men and women in uniform equipped with the best platforms, weapons, and other equipment they need to ensure they are ready to defend our country. Additionally, it includes funding for our long range strike capabilities such as the B-2 bomber at Whiteman Air Force Base.
This legislation supports our military men and women by authorizing a 1.8 percent pay raise. It also dedicates more than $33 billion for the health and well-being of our troops, their families, and retirees. This includes funding for traumatic brain injury and psychological health research as well as money for suicide prevention outreach programs.
Further, our bill protects Americans by prohibiting the transfer of suspected terrorists at Guantanamo to the U.S. or its territories. And it prohibits funding for the modification of any facilities in the U.S. to house the suspected terrorists. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I hope the Senate joins us in approving this common sense approach to our national defense.
Finally, I want to share with you a couple of recent visits to our Capitol office. Abrea Mizer of Marshall and Taylor Washburn of Eagleville are involved in the FFA. Abrea is the State FFA President while Taylor is the State Secretary. Both were in Washington to take part in the recent FFA leadership conference on the importance of agriculture. They will both be attending the University of Missouri-Columbia this fall. It was a pleasure to meet with them.
I was also visited by Rebecca Hamilton from Lebanon w.ho was in Washington to attend the School Social Work Association of America Leadership Conference. As a former school teacher, I know how difficult her job can be at times. I look forward to meeting more Missourians who are visiting our beautiful U.S. Capitol. I am proud to serve you in Congress.
Have a great week.