Blue Dogs Recess Round Up

Dec 18, 2013
In The News

Blue Dogs Urge Budget Conferees and House Leadership to Find Bi-Partisan Solutions To Nation’s Fiscal Challenges: Earlier this month, the co-chairs of the Blue Dog Coalition, along with three members of the moderate Republican “Tuesday Group,” sent a letter to Congressman Paul Ryan and Senator Patty Murray committing to work with them “on a bipartisan solution that solves our nation’s fiscal problems.” And back in October during the government shutdown, a similar letter was sent to House leadership, signed by the Blue Dog co-chairs, urging Congress to discontinue governing from “crisis to crisis” and “support comprehensive budget reform that includes consideration of all options for mandatory and discretionary spending and revenues.”

Rep. John Barrow (D-Georgia): Last week, Congressman Barrow donated 68,000 frequent flier miles he accrued through Congressional travel to the Fisher House Foundation’s Hero Miles program. His donation was an effort to support wounded military personnel and their families.

Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tennessee): Congressman Cooper joined a group of moderate Democrats and Republicans in outlining a proposal to reopen the government during the shutdown.  “In a weak economy, even a few days of government shutdown weaken America,” Cooper said. “Congress needs to fund government now and stop partisan bickering.”

Cooper and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) introduced the Defense Flexibility Act earlier this year that would give the Department of Defense flexibility to manage cuts from sequestration and lessen the impact on national security.

Cooper’s INFORM Act, introduced with Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL), would require the government to show the long-term consequences of its tax, spending and economic policies. More than 1,000 economists – including 15 Nobel laureates – endorsed the INFORM Act in a full page ad in The New York Times.

Cooper also introduced a bill to end the death gratuity for congressional spouses and co-sponsored a bill introduced by Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL) to stop federal payments to deceased individuals.

Cooper was also honored by the Science Coalition as a “Champion of Science.” Cooper and a group of bipartisan colleagues launched the Golden Goose Awards in 2012, to highlight obscure research that has led to important discoveries.

Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon): Back in October, during the government shutdown, Congressman Schrader introduced legislation that would cancel pay for members of Congress during future government shutdowns. He said, “In the real world if you don’t do your job, you don’t get paid. It should be no different for lawmakers.”

Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Georgia): In November, Congressman Bishop hosted a Military Family Summit for over 200 members of the extended military family at the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center near Fort Benning, Georgia. Military families were introduced to Members of Congress, officials from the Department of Defense, and personnel from numerous military family support organizations to discuss pressing issues impacting them. Six panel discussions designed to open a dialogue for military families addressed critical issues such as family health, resiliency, spouse employment and education, military child education, transition assistance, retirement, benefits, and financial readiness for the future with attending military families.

Rep. Jim Costa (D-California): During 2013, Congressman Costa fought to bring greater certainty to energy markets and rural America as well as improve water reliability throughout California.

From passing H.R. 678, the Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act, which won overwhelming support in the House and Senate to working to eliminate the price-distorting corn ethanol mandate by introducing H.R. 1462, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Reform Act, Costa has been working across the aisle for real energy solutions that provide relief to consumers. As co-chair of the Natural Gas and LNG Export Caucuses, Costa has also been working to expedite LNG export permit approvals and study the economic impacts of hydraulic fracturing.

As a third-generation farmer from the San Joaquin Valley, Costa has been fighting from his seat on the Farm Bill Conference Committee to advance a bill that will help agriculture continue to do what it does best: provide safe, healthy foods to American families. Representing one of the richest agricultural regions in the world, Costa also knows food grows where water flows so he introduced H.R.1927, the More Water and Security for Californians Act, to bring greater water security to Californians.

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas): Congressman Cuellar travelled to Mexico City in October and NovemberGallego to meet with Mexican members of Congress and Administration officials, where he discussed and advocated for the energy reform bill that was just passed into law by the Mexican Congress.  The energy agreement will open up Mexico’s oil and gas reserves to foreign investment and pave the way for the United States, Mexico, and Canada to become the new Middle East of the world as a top energy player. 

Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Illinois): Congressman Lipinski’s legislation to bolster the competitiveness of the manufacturing industry in the United States, which he introduced in the House earlier this year, was introduced in Senate as a companion bill by Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Chris Coons (D-DE).

Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-North Carolina): Congressman McIntyre (D- North Carolina) Congressman McIntyre is helping to lead the charge against the Biggert Waters flood insurance rate hikes which threaten to send shockwaves through our nation’s housing market and slow North Carolina’s local economies! On November 21, Congressman Mike McIntyre spoke directly with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and Associate FEMA Administrator David Miller about the vital importance of accessible flood insurance for the citizens and communities of Eastern North Carolina.  He is an original co-sponsor of H.R. 3370, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, which was recently introduced in both the House and Senate, and gives relief to our coastal home owners by delaying the Biggert Waters flood insurance rate increases by four years, until FEMA makes the program affordable.

Rep. David Scott (D-Georgia): Congressman David Scott is a co-chair of the new “CAN Caucus.”  The caucus is focused on the carbonated and non-alcoholic beverage industry, which has a footprint in every congressional district.  The chairs will be looking to grow the new caucus starting when the House is back in session.

Also, Congressman Scott recently spoke to the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. 

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-California): Congressman Thompson, along with Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), introduced a bill last month that will help reduce burdens faced by small businesses and ensure better compliance with complex federal employment tax responsibilities.

Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine): As consideration of the Trans-Pacific Partnership continues, this month, Congressman Michaud, along with Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), sent a bi-partisan letter to President Obama expressing “deep concern with Vietnam’s record on human rights, particularly in the area of civil and political rights, and religious freedoms.” And last month, Congressman Michaud, along with Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI), sent a bi-partisan letter to the Office of Management and Budget urging it to modify the EPA’s proposed Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials rule to expand types materials classified as fuels.

Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minnesota): Congressman Peterson will be remaining in Washington, D.C. to continue efforts to get the Farm Bill completed. His latest updates over the past month can be found here.

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The fiscally conservative Democratic Blue Dog Coalition was formed in 1995 with the goal of representing the center of the House of Representatives and appealing to the mainstream values of the American public.  The Blue Dogs are dedicated to a core set of beliefs that transcend partisan politics, including a deep commitment to the financial stability and national security of the United States.  Visit the Blue Dog website at https://bluedog.schrader.house.gov to learn more.  You can also get up-to-the-minute news updates on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/BlueDogPress.