December 2, 2016
It is vital our military service members are able to prepare for and respond to any threat against our great nation. They must have the tools they need to strengthen our defense capabilities which keeps our country safe. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report for Fiscal Year 2017, passed in the House and with my support, will be the foundation to strengthen our whole military, our National Guardsmen at home and the Airmen located at Columbus Air Force Base. This legislation will enable the Department of Defense to stop the drawdown and increases the end strength of our troops.
At a time when we all have seen rising threats from around the world, there have been repeated cuts in the number of troops. Budgets have been slashed which forced commanders to make due with the equipment they had and even worse, send in troops who were not adequately trained. This led to an increase in Army and Marine Corps aviation accidents which is one example of how underfunding the military has a devastating impact on readiness and the security of our nation.
The FY17 NDAA will make it possible for our service members to receive a much-needed 2.1% pay raise, as required by law. This legislation will also improve access to quality care for warfighters, retirees and their families. They are here to protect us. We have to make sure they are taken care of.
ACTIONS IN THE HOUSE
21st Century Cures Act
Many of us have watched a loved one who fought and ultimately lost a battle to cancer, Alzheimer’s or some other serious illness. There are 10,000 diseases – 7,000 are rare. There are only 500 treatments. While advances in medical treatments have saved lives, much more could be done to develop new treatments and find cures. The House passed, with my support, the 21st Century Cures Act which will be beneficial to North Mississippi care facilities and hospitals. This legislation is a real plan to encourage scientific collaboration to more quickly find life-saving cures. It also extends the Rural Community Hospital Demonstration Program and includes important reforms to our mental health system. To maximize accountability for patients and taxpayers, any new funding in this bill will be fully offset and is also subject to annual review.
Systemic Risk Designation Improvement Act of 2016
Many of the rules and regulations created by the Dodd-Frank Act, treat banks as if they are all the same size and structure. However, a community bank in North Mississippi is not the same as a bank on Wall Street. One of these rules makes it difficult for financial institutions to know whether or not they face a certain designation known as “systemically important financial institution” (SIFI). The metric used to determine a SIFI designation is an arbitrary number and subjects community financial institutions in Mississippi to the same standards as trillion dollar institutions. The House approved, and I supported, H.R. 6392, Systemic Risk Designation Improvement Act of 2016, legislation that creates common sense criteria for designating a financial institution as a SIFI instead of using an asset based arbitrary threshold.
HOW CAN WE ASSIST YOU?
A top priority for our team is to listen to your concerns and to make sure you receive a timely response. If you have a request, we are here to help in the First District and in Washington, D.C.
Our Legislative Correspondent Camille Walker is the first person to read your letters. She looks forward to every envelope or e-mail she opens. It’s important to Camille and to the rest of our team to get the answers to you whether it is about legislation, a meeting request, your visit to Washington or inauguration tickets.
Camille, a Tupelo native and an Ole Miss Public Policy Leadership graduate, joined our office as an intern and in the spring she became a full time member of our team.
Please let us know how we can help. Our team is ready to assist you.
AUDIO TESTING STREAMLINED FOR VETERANS
Access to healthcare in an efficient and timely manner is so important to our Veterans. Veterans should have access to the services they need and the benefits they deserve.
The G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery Medical Center in Jackson has been selected to be a part of the first phase of the Audiology and Optometry Direct Scheduling national roll out. It is now possible for Veterans to make routine hearing test appointments. In the past, they had to go to Primary Care and receive a referral which added another step to the process. Direct scheduling will improve access, reduce total wait times, and greatly reduce the number of consults.
Veterans enrolled with VA will receive notice in the mail or an e-mail with contact information if they have any questions. Click on the link to get answers to Direct Scheduling Frequently Asked Questions.
Congratulations to International Paper which has completed their acquisition of Weyerhauser’s pulp business. Columbus pulp mill and the Columbus Modified Fiber plant bring with them 430 new team members. The newly acquired facilities will become a part of International Paper’s Global Cellulose Fibers business. The end use of these products are used to make diapers, other hygiene products, tissues and textiles.
Golden Triangle Development Link featured on 60 Minutes
The Golden Triangle Development Link’s successful effort to build a workforce with help from East Mississippi Community College, state, local, community and business leaders will be featured on 60 Minutes. Watch the show to see all of their hard work paying off Sunday on CBS at 6 p.m.
STAY IN TOUCH
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Thanks for reading,
Rep. Trent Kelly (MS-01)
Member of Congress