Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Congratulations to Roy Moore of Alabama!

by Shonda Ponder

When I read that Donald Trump endorsed Luther Strange, I thought I read that wrong. After all, Roy Moore, the outspoken Alabama judge against same-sex marriage, pro-2nd Amendment, and dubbed the "10 Commandments Judge" was also running for senate. How could Donald Trump go against Roy Moore?

Thank God I wasn't the only person who thought like that. Alabama agreed with me, and now Roy Moore has won the Alabama early GOP primaries.

Let that sink in, Democrats: We didn't elect Donald Trump to look good. We elected him because he was one of US. And, so is Roy Moore.

Congratulations, Judge Roy Moore!


Source: House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. - September 26, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Congressman Neal Dunn, M.D. (FL-02), today introduced the Veterans Opioid Abuse Prevention Act, an important step in the fight against the nation’s opioid epidemic.

Dunn’s bill directs Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin to connect VA health care providers to a national network of state-based prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs). PDMPs track prescribing data to identify abuse patterns in patients.

Just like private sector physicians, VA doctors consult state-based PDMPs before prescribing potentially dangerous pain medications to veterans. VA doctors, however, lack the ability to consult a national network of state-based PDMPs that can identify someone from another state who is at high risk for abuse, overdose, and death.

“More than 140 people in the U.S. die from opioid abuse each day, and veterans are twice as likely than civilians. This is unacceptable,” said Dr. Dunn, himself an Army veteran and member of the House VA Committee. “This bill instructs the VA to do what more and more private doctors are doing – connect to the national drug monitoring databases so no one slips through the cracks.”

The President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis issued a preliminary report in July that cited the lack of cross-state interoperability as one significant shortcoming of state PDMPs. The Commission recommended “enhancing interstate data sharing among state-based prescription drug monitoring programs.”

Existing national networks of state PDMPs allow providers to confidentially access prescribing data and history across state lines. Access to these networks will help VA health care workers prevent and stop opioid abuse among our veterans.

“We cannot stand silent and watch prescription opioid abuse destroy the lives of those who fought for our freedoms,” added Dr. Dunn.
In February, Dr. Dunn questioned VA officials in committee about the epidemic of prescription drug abuse among veterans and VA handling of controlled substances.

The legislation is cosponsored by Representatives Claudia Tenney (NY-22), Bruce Poliquin (ME-02), Jodey Arrington (TX-19), and Paul Tonko (NY-20).

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DelBene Calls for Clean Reauthorization of Home Visiting Program

Source: House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. - September 26, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) has called on Republicans to work with Democrats on a clean reauthorization of the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program to ensure states and communities can continue helping children and families thrive. This traditionally bipartisan program provides in-home help to ensure new parents can raise children who are healthy, happy and ready for school.

“I strongly support reauthorization of the Home Visiting program before it expires on September 30th. We know it has an incredible track record of success improving child and family outcomes in our most vulnerable communities,” DelBene said in a floor speech that can be seen HERE. “Unfortunately, Republicans have put forward a partisan bill — with reckless policy changes that are not supported by experts — and with only three legislative days remaining. It’s incredibly disappointing.”

The House passed H.R. 2824, which would reauthorize MIECHV through 2022, but impose policy changes that would reduce the number of states and communities that offer home visiting. Last year, more than 29,000 eligible families in Washington state were already unserved.

Among the policy changes made by Republicans were requiring states and tribal communities to match funding in order to receive federal dollars. States and tribes have said this requirement would result in home visiting programs shutting down or reducing services, particularly in areas already struggling economically. DelBene offered an amendment to remove the matching requirement on tribes, which passed the House. Her floor remarks can be found HERE.

However, when DelBene offered a second amendment to make the bill a clean reauthorizations, Republicans blocked it. Now H.R. 2824 heads to the Senate for further action. If they fail to act by Sept. 30, the authorization for MIECHV will expire.

DelBene serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over MIECHV.

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Investigation into Alleged Pill Dumping in West Virginia Amid Opioid Crisis

Source: House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. - September 26, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO) and other Energy and Commerce Committee leaders have sent a letter to Miami-Luken, a drug distributor, expanding on their investigation into alleged pill dumping in West Virginia. The letter requests documents regarding what steps the company has taken to comply with Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) regulations regarding suspicious orders for drugs, as well as information about the dosage and amounts of drugs the company had shipped to regional pharmacies.

Signing the letter along with DeGette were Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Rep. David McKinley (R-WV).

The committee has been investigating alleged pill dumping in West Virginia since earlier this year. This work stems from news reports by the Charleston Gazette-Mail and The Washington Post detailing an unusually large opioid presence in the state of West Virginia.

“It would appear that the state of West Virginia may have received extraordinary amounts of opioids from distributors beyond what the population could safely use,” the five members of Congress wrote

“There are specific allegations in the public domain relating to Miami-Luken’s distribution of opioids,” they added, noting that the DEA was seeking to revoke the company’s ability to operate in West Virginia because it allegedly failed to maintain effective controls over distribution there, including the disclosure of suspicious orders for controlled substances including oxycodone and hydrocodone.

The lawmakers set a deadline of October 9 for the company to respond to their letter.

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Democrats Move to Force Vote on DREAMERS

Source: House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. - September 26, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Democrats took action to protect Dreamers and force a vote on the bipartisan DREAM Act, which would provide a permanent solution to allow young undocumented immigrants brought here as children to remain in this country legally.

Over 100 House Democrats signed a discharge petition. Once the petition is signed by a majority of members, the House would be forced to take a vote on the legislation. Rep. Davis is also urging her Republicans colleagues to participate in this effort to force a vote.

“For Dreamers, America is the only country they truly know, having lived here nearly their whole lives,” said Rep. Davis, who is a cosponsor of the DREAM Act. “They are contributing in a positive way and are an essential part of building our country’s future. I hope every member – both Democrat and Republican – will do the right thing and uphold our highest American values and join in signing this petition to bring this bipartisan, bicameral bill to the House floor for a vote.”

According to a press release by Susan Davis (D-CA, 53rd), the San Diego region is home to nearly 40,000 recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects them against deportation. They are among 800,000 Dreamers across the nation. President Trump’s recent decision to end DACA has these young people and their families now living in fear unless Congress acts.

Davis says that there is a real economic impact if the Dreamers were to be deported. California would lose more than $11 billion in economic activity. Nationwide, it would mean almost half a trillion dollars lost. One study showed that employers would spend over $4 billion dollars to recruit and replace Dreamers who are deported.

Rep. Davis has met with Dreamers from the 53rd and participated in events in the community calling attention to the unique challenges they face, including the many who know no other home than the United States and may not even speak the language of their countries of birth.

H.R. 3440, the DREAM Act, is bipartisan, bicameral legislation which would permanently protect DREAMers from deportation. It was originally introduced by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).


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Davidson Introduces "CBO Show Your Work" Act

Source: House Representative Warren Davidson (R-OH, 8th)

Washington, D.C. - September 26, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Rep. Warren Davidson (OH-08) and Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Mark Walker (NC-06) introduced the “CBO Show Your Work” Act in the House on Monday pushing for the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to disclose the formulas it uses when providing budget and economic information to Congress and the public.

"Transparency provides a strong safeguard against errors, omissions and bias.

"The algorithms, datasets and methodologies in use by the CBO should be readily available for everyone to inspect and use at their own discretion. Having this data available will save precious time and staff resources as it lets congressional offices vet their legislation before submitting a final product to the CBO.

“The CBO’s delay in providing timely analysis to the House and Senate during efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare punctuates a long list of reasons why transparency and peer review are essential," said Davidson.

Claudia Tenney (NY-22) and Barry Loudermilk (GA-11) are co-sponsors to the “CBO Show Your Work” Act H.R.3822.

Background: Davidson’s bill requires the Congressional Budget Office to make the fiscal and mathematical models, data, and other details of computations used in cost analysis and scoring publicly available online.

In the Senate, Sen. Mike Lee introduced The CBO Show Your Work Act of 2017 on August 4, 2017 which is a companion to Davidson’s bill. The bill has 14 co-sponsors including, Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Ron Johnson (R-WI), James Lankford (R-OK), Rand Paul (R-KY), David Perdue (R-GA), Jim Risch (R-ID), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).

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Pelosi Says Dems Won't Approve Hurricane Tax Relief Until DACA Reinstated.

Source: House Representative Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota)

Congressman Kevin Cramer issued the following statement after House Democrats, led by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, put politics over policy by opposing a six-month extension of the Federal Aviation Administration and hurricane tax relief:

“Citing no movement on DACA as a reason to obstruct the otherwise bipartisan FAA reauthorization is not only puzzling, but it’s reckless and it puts the safety of the traveling public at risk. I’m baffled by Nancy Pelosi’s willingness to use DACA individuals as pawns to score political points.”

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a program created under the Obama Administration in 2012, which according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, allows certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines to request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status.

The Ponder wants to know: What does DACA have to do with the FAA? If this is not a blatant attempt to undermine Trump, once again, I don't know what is. Will voters PLEASE vote these whiney-babies out next election!

I'm sure there are a lot of voters out there stranded because of lack of Hurricane Relief who will remember her -- I hope.


Source: House Representative Doug Collins (R-GA, 9th)

Washington, D.C. - September 26, 2017  (The Ponder News) -- Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) released the following statement in response to the question of how NFL players and representatives choose to respond to America’s national anthem:

“The National Football League is home to some of the most talented athletes in the greatest nation of the world. While I respect their right to protest, I commend to them the examples of their colleagues Pat Tillman and Alejandro Villanueva. These men defended that freedom and their fellow citizens as Army Rangers, and their actions illustrate a patriotism that unifies Americans.

“NFL players have a professional duty to deliver a compelling product on the field. I encourage them to pursue that duty wholeheartedly and can, if need be, recommend a few SEC teams to inspire them on that journey. In the meantime, I’m grateful to stand for an American flag that welcomes diversity and promotes unity more deeply than any jersey has ever done.”

Chabot Statement on Passage of the North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act

Source: House Representative Steve Chabot (R-OH, 1st)

Washington, D.C. - September 26, 2017  (The Ponder News) -- Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH), senior Member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement on the overwhelmingly bipartisan passage of H.R. 2061, the North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act of 2017.

“While the rogue regime in Pyongyang continues to threaten the world with its nuclear arsenal, the North Korean people are denied the most basic human rights,” said Chabot. “Public executions, trafficking, forced labor, and starvation plague many North Koreans who know no life outside of their borders. As technology continues to advance, so do our methods of spreading truth. H.R. 2061 modernizes U.S. technology efforts to inform North Koreans and advocate for freedom and democracy.”