Last week, I hosted my annual jobs fair in Topeka. The jobs fair was a way to connect Kansans looking for work with businesses that are hiring.
More than 900 job-seekers attended and had the opportunity to speak with nearly 70 local employers in industries ranging from health care, manufacturing, finance, education and more. After speaking with many of the employers who attended, it's my expectation that last week’s event will lead to more Kansans with good-paying, quality jobs.
After speaking with folks, there is no question the economy just isn’t where it should be, and the American people continue to struggle to find good jobs.
At home, I will continue to work to connect employers that are hiring with folks looking for jobs, but that's not enough. In Washington, D.C., we simply must enact policies to create a healthier economy.
I’m focused on finding ways to make life more affordable for all Americans and I’m convinced that many of the bills that have passed the House, but have stalled in the Senate, would help.
Giving businesses certainty and stability
Our current tax code is broken and hurting our ability to grow our economy and create jobs. Last week, the House passed House Resolution 4438, the American Research and Competitiveness Act, to permanently extend the research and development tax credit. While it's still my intent to work toward comprehensive tax reform, making key items such as the R&D tax credit, which has been extended on a temporary basis for the last 30 years, permanent is a good first step toward opening the door for economic growth. Only when this provision is permanent will it give businesses the stability and certainty they need to invest in the U.S.
Congress has gotten in a self-defeating habit of continually extending tax provisions on a short-term temporary basis, and even worse on a retroactive basis. This is no way to write tax policy, let alone spur job growth. A major goal of tax reform is to provide stable, predictable rules for businesses so they can innovate, create good jobs, and increase wages for hardworking Americans.
House approves legislation giving relief to small banks, rural communities
The House also approved legislation last week to level the playing field for our nation’s rural lenders and make certain they are not vulnerable to overzealous regulations by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
I am a proud co-sponsor of this legislation, which gives our rural banks a way to appeal the CFPB’s decision making process so smaller financial institutions are not left defenseless against poor decision making by this new level of federal bureaucracy.
Special select committee to seek truth
The House has also approved legislation to create a Select Committee to investigate the attack in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012. For more than 20 months, House committees have conducted rigorous oversight investigations into the loss of four American lives in Benghazi and the effectiveness of the administration’s response. In spite of these investigations, just last week we discovered the White House withheld emails, and continues to cover their tracks instead of working alongside Congress.
After calling for it last year, I’m glad to see the House has chosen to move forward with the formation of a select committee.
The select committee will consolidate the five ongoing House investigations, and use the full force of House oversight authority to subpoena witnesses and documents necessary to acquire the most detailed, robust understanding of the events surrounding the 2012 attack in Benghazi.
Whether it’s concerns about Benghazi or the abuse at the IRS, this administration continues to disregard transparency and accountability. The House has a responsibility to conduct oversight of the administration and we will not stop until we get the full truth the American people deserve. I'm also pleased with the choice of Congressman Trey Gowdy to lead the select committee and that a fellow Kansan, Congressman Mike Pompeo, was chosen to be a member. I can’t think of more qualified Members to be a part of this committee as they both share my sincere desire to get the bottom of this tragedy.
House holds Lerner in contempt
For nearly a year, former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner has refused to testify before Congress. Last week, the House voted to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress and call on Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special counsel to investigate the targeting of conservative groups.
The American people deserve the truth and this powerful agency must be held accountable so this never happens again. Regardless of your political affiliation, you deserve a government you can trust.
The Ways and Means Committee has aggressively investigated the misconduct at the IRS and I'm pleased the agency has agreed to turn over all Lois Lerner emails to the committee. We will thoroughly review these documents and continue our strict oversight of the IRS.
Mental Health Awareness month
This month, we mark National Mental Health Awareness month. I was honored to meet with mental health leaders from Kansas last week, and wore my green ribbon to help bring awareness to this important issue.
Currently, two in five children suffer from a mental illness of some kind, and I am passionate about ensuring they all have access to quality treatment.