Rob was first elected to serve the First Congressional District of Virginia in December 2007, and his top priority has always been the constituents of the First District. From rebuilding our military, to securing jobs throughout Virginia, to increasing access to broadband, to making sure our children have a 21st-century education, Rob is constantly working for the First District.
As a Member of the Republican Study Committee, Rob is a leader in the fight against massive government spending and returning common sense, conservative principles to the budget process. Rob serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Natural Resources, where he is well-positioned to represent the needs of the First District.
On the House Armed Services Committee, Rob serves as the Vice Ranking Member of the Full Committee and Ranking Member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, where he has proven to be a staunch supporter of our men and women in uniform. Rob is leading the charge to increase and modernize our Naval fleet in order to ensure we are adequately prepared to combat increasing global threats, replace aging ships in a timely manner, and meet any Pacific confrontations that could arise from China’s increase in military capabilities and aggression. He has worked tirelessly to keep maritime jobs in Virginia, a major driver of the local economy. Rob’s Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act, now signed into law, promotes career and technical education programs to secure the domestic maritime talent pipeline.
With a father that served in the Army in World War II, Rob is a strong advocate for our veterans, fighting to ensure they can access the health care benefits and educational and job opportunities they have earned and deserve. Rob has introduced multiple pieces of legislation that would require more transparency from the Veterans Administration (VA), would streamline processes for veterans trying to receive care, and would help transition veterans into the civilian job market after service.
A champion of protecting and restoring the Chesapeake Bay, Rob serves on the House Natural Resources Committee, to which he brings his professional expertise in water quality, the environment, fisheries, and other natural resource issues. He is a leading voice for the conservation of the Chesapeake Bay and is outspoken in supporting its recovery programs. His Chesapeake Bay Accountability Act, signed into law in 2014, increased transparency for how cleanup dollars are spent. Rob has also succeeded in achieving long overdue federal recognition for six Virginia Indian tribes after decades of efforts to get his legislation signed into law. Rob received his undergraduate degree in biology from Virginia Tech and has spent his career fighting to protect our environment so that it can be enjoyed by future generations.
Rob learned from a young age the valuable contributions small businesses make to our nation. He was a short-order cook for Shoney’s restaurant in Henrico, worked for the Richmond Braves baseball team selling tickets, and then as the mascot. He worked the parking lot at Kings Dominion, on a fishing boat on the Chesapeake Bay, in a tomato cannery in Westmoreland, and as a bag boy in a mom-and-pop grocery store, so he knows the value of hard work and determination.
Throughout his time in Congress, Rob has remained focused on creating more jobs and opportunities for all Americans and also passing pro-growth policies to support our small businesses. He believes we must continue to incentivize rehiring, remove regulatory barriers to job creation, and return our supply chain from China; the Government’s role should be to eliminate barriers to success, not create them.
As a child of adoption, Rob values protecting the sanctity of life and will continue to be a standard-bearer for upholding family values. He strongly believes we must protect the lives of the unborn and ensure women have access to the care they need. Rob’s actions in the defense of life have earned him a 100% rating from both the National Right to Life and the Family Research Council (FRC).
Rob holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University, a Master of Public Health degree in Health Policy and Administration from the University of North Carolina, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Rob has served in several levels of government, from Town Council to the United States Congress. He won his first campaign for public office in 1986 when he was elected to the Montross Town Council, where he served for ten years, four of them as Mayor. In 1995, Rob was elected to the Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors and was elected its Chairman in 2003. In 2005, voters in the 99th Legislative District elected Rob to the Virginia House of Delegates, where he served until he was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2007. Prior to his election to Congress, Rob spent 26 years working as a health specialist for the Virginia Department of Health’s Division of Shellfish Sanitation and as an environmental health specialist for local health departments in Virginia’s Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula regions.
Rob’s wife, Kathryn, who worked for 41 years as a teacher at Cople Elementary School in Hague, is a Westmoreland County native whom he met when he spent high school and college summer recesses working in a Leedstown tomato cannery and on a Reedville fishing boat in the Northern Neck. Rob grew up in Henrico County, where his mother taught middle school and high school. Since 1985, Rob and Kathryn have lived in the same home in Montross where they raised their two children: a daughter, Devon, and a son, Josh. Rob and Kathryn are proud grandparents to six wonderful grandchildren. Rob is an avid hunter and fisherman and enjoys spending time on the water.
JOBS AND THE ECONOMY
I am focused on creating more jobs and opportunities for all Virginians and promoting pro-growth policies to support small businesses. Under the Biden Administration, we have seen unprecedented economic disruption, which means we must work to support our small businesses and prepare potential employees to fill jobs as they become available. We must continue to incentivize rehiring, remove regulatory barriers to job creation, and return our supply chain back from China and other foreign adversaries–the Government’s role should be to eliminate barriers to success, not create them.
I remain focused on supporting policies that create more jobs and put more money in the pockets of hard-working Virginians. To better prepare our future workforce with the necessary skills and knowledge to compete in a global economy, we must prioritize workforce development and continue to promote Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs. We must work to prepare students for the demands of our current society and to provide unemployed Americans with an outlet to reintegrate into the ever-evolving workforce.
STEM and CTE programs give future employees the opportunity to develop a practical skill set to enter the job market more confident and well prepared. We can better prepare our professionals of tomorrow by increasing access to dual enrollment CTE training courses so students can work toward certifications and credentials while still in high school. By taking less than two years, or sometimes even a few weeks to complete, these qualifications provide a more tangible approach to education and qualify students for well-paying jobs.
A strong economy is good for all Virginians. I will remain focused on policies that spur economic growth, create an environment for small businesses to thrive, create more jobs for hard working Virginians, and increase paychecks. It’s the American entrepreneurial spirit—not Washington—that is driving our nation’s economy forward, and I will do everything in my power to continue to support our job creators.
My work in support of jobs and the economy has earned me the honor of being named Guardian of Small Businesses by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), Manufacturing Legislative Excellence Award by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), “Hero of Main Street” by the National Retail Federation, and Spirit of Enterprise Award by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
We must get our nation’s fiscal house in order and work to address our debt and deficit – or else we will continue to push the problems of today onto our children and grandchildren. The longer we fail to address our nation’s spending problem, the harder it becomes to solve the problem of our country’s crippling debt, which now stands at over $30 trillion
We absolutely must take tangible steps to reduce our deficit and debt. While we can certainly start with eliminating duplicative programs, wasteful spending, and fraud, if we don’t address the broken budget and appropriations system producing these spending deals, we won’t ever solve this problem. We need to know where our money is going and work through our funding packages in a responsible, thoughtful, and deliberate way through regular order – not rushed through at the last minute. Returning to regular order—moving spending bills through the committee process where we read, debate, and vote on them — will go a long way towards bringing transparency back to the budget and appropriations process. However, this requires holding Members of Congress accountable. I authored three bills to achieve this:
Stay on Schedule (S.O.S) Resolution – would force Speaker Pelosi to keep Congress in town until all 12 appropriations bills are passed, instead of adjourning for the August recess.
No Budget, No Pay Act – would serve as an enforcement measure to hold members of Congress accountable for their actions. It is the legal obligation of Congress to pass a budget, and member pay should be withheld until that job is done.
Inaction Has Consequences Act – would hold Congress Members’ salaries if we do not pass the twelve regular appropriation bills in a timely manner.
This level of transparency and accountability is critical not only to get the budget process under control but also to rein in wasteful spending. A sound fiscal footing fosters an environment for a strong economy, opportunities for growth, and prosperity for all people. If we keep letting our debt spiral out of control, we put our country at risk of a financial crisis.
I believe in a better healthcare future for Virginians. We must reform our healthcare system to provide quality, affordable health care to every American and I am focused on providing real healthcare solutions that include patient-provider centered reforms which expand choices for consumers, increase access to care, reduce health care costs, and enhance transparency in our healthcare system. Individuals and families should have the ability to make decisions for themselves based on what best fits their needs, wants, and budget. Patients and their doctors should be in control of their own health care decisions and everyday American families have the option to see a doctor of their choice. Healthcare is too personal for Washington’s one-size-fits-all mentality.
Before serving in Congress, I earned a Master’s Degree in Public Health and spent 26 years working for Virginia’s Department of Health — so, I am passionate about protecting Virginians and raising awareness about how public health issues impact lives and communities. The health and safety of all people in the United States is the foundation of a functioning democracy and strong economy. As Co-Chair of the Public Health Caucus in Congress, it is my duty to bring attention to public health and prevention issues and support federal policies that result in improved overall health for citizens across the United States.
COVID-19 underscored the importance of not only focusing on public health, but the need to fix our broken healthcare system. Every American has the right to access affordable and comprehensive healthcare coverage for themselves and their family, but today, families are struggling to do so. I believe The Affordable Care Act shows that government-run health care does not sufficiently address the core challenges facing our healthcare system. In fact, in many cases, physician choice disappeared, and premium costs skyrocketed.
Any health care reform must also include plans for lowering drug prices and increasing access to effective medical treatments. We do that by bringing manufacturing home instead of relying on China and India for pharmaceuticals. We also need to expand telemedicine and ensure the reimbursement rate is the same rate as in-person services. We can help with out-of-pocket costs through the expansion of Health Savings Accounts. It is also vital that we increase transparency in the healthcare and prescription drug market and must end surprise billing. A key to lowering costs is removing government barriers that prevent patient access to new drugs and therapies and allowing the option to purchase health care across state lines. All these ideas are centered around the patient, not the government.
The First District of Virginia is home to some of the most unique transportation challenges in the country and solving these problems is one of my top priorities. We face congestion on I-95, I-64, I-360, 76, and other major highways, strained commuter rail, crumbling roads and bridges, aging airports, and maintaining the Port of Virginia. I believe that we must get out of just fixing current problems and get to investing in true 21st Century infrastructure. I will continue to support projects that prioritize innovation, leverage public-private resources, and maintain the safety of motorists and pedestrians within the region.
In many parts of the First District, our bridges and roadway infrastructure need special attention. Rural transportation infrastructure’s unique challenges need to be considered in order to meet our nation’s transportation goals of safety and economic competitiveness. The Coleman Bridge in Gloucester is a connector not only for vehicles to the Middle Peninsula but also requires passage by Navy ships traveling on the York River. I included a provision in the annual defense authorization act that aims to save local taxpayer dollars by requesting the Department of Defense review the military value of the bridge to determine whether they should split costs in funding bridge management and upkeep. I am also active in bringing stakeholders together to find a state funding solution to fix the Norris Bridge. I hosted a Norris Bridge Roundtable with county officials of the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula and top VDOT officials where we discussed options for innovative funding sources. Moving forward I remain committed to ensuring rural transportation projects are not forgotten.
Right outside the First District is the Port of Virginia, which services all 48 contiguous states and faces an urgent need for expansion. Widening to 1,400 ft. and deepening to 55 ft. will make way for safe and efficient two-way passage between larger commercial vessels and other operators in the Harbor and Channels including the Navy. With a Benefit-Cost-Ratio of more than $5 returned for $1 invested in construction, the Norfolk Harbor deepening and widening project presents a huge return on investment for the nation. In the February 2021 US Army Corps of Engineers Chief’s Report, the Norfolk Harbor and Channel project was designated a New Start. For the past 3 years I have urged the White House, OMB, and the US Army Corps of Engineers to grant the Norfolk Harbor and Channel Project a New Start Designation to advance its important work. It will allow American businesses from across the country to further benefit from the Port of Virginia as an integral part of their supply chain.
As Co-Chair of the House Rural Broadband Caucus, I am fighting to ensure that our nation’s rural and unserved populations are no longer left on the sidelines, but instead gain access to key services such as telemedicine, online education, online banking, and grant and job applications that help small businesses and individuals compete in the 21st Century.
High speed broadband will revolutionize and improve the way rural populations live their lives, including the potential to expand economic opportunity and fuel our economy. As folks in urban and most suburban areas today benefit from the everyday experiences of online banking, email, or ridesharing, rural populations continue to be left on the sideline. It is essential that any federal efforts to close the digital divide focus on the truly unserved first.
While high-speed internet access is easily available in our urban areas, broadband deployment to rural communities has lagged behind. That is why I introduced the Serving Rural America Act in 2020. Under the act, grants would be awarded to eligible applicants that will consist of a partnership between an internet service provider and a locality (such as a county or planning district commission). Moreover, the program prioritizes the funding to areas without 25 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload capabilities. My Serving Rural America Act served as the model for the new NTIA Broadband Infrastructure Program included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 that authorized and appropriated $288 million for high-cost broadband construction projects.
Regarding telehealth, I am committed to extend the life-saving benefits of this technology, including to low-income and veterans. Furthermore, I helped draft and supported the Broadband DATA Act, which requires providers to report service availability based on more granular geolocation rather than traditional census blocks to improve the National Broadband Map.
Expanding access to high-speed internet is critical to economic development and growth in our nation. As America relies increasingly on technology in everyday life, I will continue to work to make sure that rural communities don’t suffer the long-term impacts of the digital divide.
Our current immigration system is broken, and we need strong, serious changes to our current laws. We are a nation of laws, and we must continue to keep Americans safe, and although America is also a nation of immigrants, those wishing to enter the country need to come here legally. Our approach to combating illegal immigration must be comprehensive and include permanently securing our border, enforcing the rule of law, and ensuring law enforcement has the resources they need.
We must start by enhancing our border security. A physical barrier would deter those attempting to enter the country illegally, while also helping direct those seeking asylum to the proper points of entry.
Current rules incentivize illegal behavior and don’t prioritize the needs of America’s economy. We must take the necessary steps to deter people from coming to our country illegally by requiring employers to utilize the E-Verify system to confirm that all future hires are eligible to work in the United States; ending chain migration by eliminating extended family visa categories that allow U.S. citizens to sponsor extended, non-nuclear family members; and replacing the visa-lottery system, that grants green cards through a random lottery with no regard to work experience or educational background, with a merit-based system instead.
We must also invest in our Border Patrol agents and law enforcement officers. We have laws on the books— we must ensure that our nation’s current immigration laws are enforced, immigration programs work properly, and that we provide the resources for law enforcement officials to get their jobs done. We must hire additional immigration judges and support staff, hire additional Border Patrol agents, and increase Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel.
We are a compassionate nation made up of immigrants and a prosperous nation due to the rule of law. I believe we don’t have to choose one or the other.
As Vice Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, I have the privilege of fighting to give back to our men and women in uniform.
It is my responsibility to ensure we bring the capability of our Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force closer to meeting the reality of the threats facing the United States and to project power around the globe to deter our adversaries. A strong national defense is necessary to deter the threats of tomorrow.
The First District is home to Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren, Quantico Marine Corps Base, Fort AP Hill, and Virginia is home to the Pentagon, 27 military bases, the largest military shipbuilder in the country, the world’s largest naval station at Naval Station Norfolk, and a massive concentration of U.S. Navy forces, as well as many Department of Defense civilians. In fact, per capita, Virginia is the largest supporter of our national defense enterprise and derives 20% of its GDP from defense spending. As such, I am dedicated to reliable, sustainable funding for our Armed Forces; it is critical that we provide the resources to allow these brave men and women to carry out their missions. I am leading the charge to increase and modernize our Naval fleet in order to ensure we are adequately prepared to combat increasing global threats, replace aging ships in a timely manner, and meet any Pacific confrontations that could arise from China’s increase in military capabilities.
I refuse to deprive our men and women in uniform the resources they need to be successful in their missions and I am doing everything in my power to ensure that these women and men are returned safely to their families. I will continue to lead the fight to provide the right capabilities to support our warfighters, deter our adversaries, and keep our troops safe.
Throughout my time in Congress, I have remained a staunch supporter of our men and women who wore the uniform. As Ranking Member of the House Armed Services’ Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, it is my Nearly 800,000 military Veterans call Virginia home, and I am committed to ensuring our veterans can access the benefits they’ve earned through their service to a grateful nation. We need to continue to focus on streamlining the Veterans claims process and ensuring that Veterans are receiving reimbursement in a timely way.
That is why I have authored numerous VA accountability bills aimed at removing administrative roadblocks to Veterans Administration (VA) services and improving the customer experience within the VA and making sure our Veterans are getting access to the resources they need:
The Veterans Choice Accountability Act expands Veteran access to non-VA medical care and establishes a review of the VA’s implementation of the Veterans Choice Program.
The Veterans Collaboration Act creates a VA pilot program to foster collaboration between qualified non-profit Veterans service organizations (VSOs) and educational institutions that provide assistance to Veterans.
The Veterans Affairs Transfer of Information and Sharing of Disability Examination Procedures with DoD Doctors Act requires that the service member’s physical examinations conducted by military doctors upon separation from active duty be used to determine service-connected disability. This would speed up access to care for Veterans by not subjecting them to another round of medical screenings before a disability rating is issued. The bill also continues to demand that the VA and DoD share medical and service record data electronically.
The Be Ready to Assist Veterans in Extremis Act (BRAVE Act) creates a notification system that can notify select veterans of counseling and mental health options in response to crises. Additionally, this legislation would prioritize privacy concerns of Veterans by allowing them to opt-in to receive these notifications.
America’s veterans deserve the highest quality medical care and most efficient delivery of benefits possible. I supported legislation that expands opportunities of the VA CHOICE Program to allow Veterans to receive care both faster and outside the VA system. The VA MISSION Act consolidated the VA’s multiple community care programs and authorities and provides further funding to sustain the Choice Program so veterans can get the care they earned and deserve.
Our nation’s veterans deserve the highest quality medical care and most efficient delivery of benefits possible. I supported legislation that expands opportunities of the VA CHOICE Program to allow Veterans to receive care both faster and outside the VA system. The VA MISSION Act consolidated the VA’s multiple community care programs and authorities and provides further funding to sustain the Choice Program so veterans can get the care they earned and deserve.
As a gun owner and strong supporter of Second Amendment rights, I believe that the constitutional right to keep and bear arms must be diligently protected, and throughout my time in Congress I have supported, and will continue to support, policies that uphold our God-given rights enshrined in the Constitution and will continue to do all I can to preserve and protect the Second Amendment.
However, I am concerned about gun violence, and I believe it is absolutely critical that we continue to address this tragic problem. We must be focused on preventing criminals from acquiring firearms in the first place, addressing the behavior that leads to this violence, and deterring this behavior g in the first place.
I have cosponsored common sense solutions that get to the actual issues that lead to gun violence:
Fix NICS Act
I supported the Fix NICS Act, now signed into law, which strengthens the information contained in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to better protect the public, protect Second Amendment rights, and curb gun violence.
STOP School Violence Act
I supported the STOP School Violence Act, now signed into law, to help schools and law enforcement prevent, recognize, and respond to warning signs of violence.
21 Century Cures Act
I supported the 21 Century Cures Act, now signed into law, which gave the most funding, ever, to improving mental health services and preventing a troubled individual from reaching that crisis point where they would harm others.
Mass Violence Prevention Act
I am a cosponsor of the Mass Violence Prevention Act, which would help prevent firearm violence by ensuring local, state, and federal law enforcement can better share information and coordinate responses to potential threats of mass violence. The MVP Act would also reduce the flow of firearms into the black market, where we often see violent criminals buying their weapons and circumventing background checks.
We must have a constructive conversation about how to put a stop to mass shootings while protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens.
My mother was a teacher, and my wife, Kathryn, taught Elementary School for 41 years, so I know firsthand the importance that our teachers play in student’s lives. I understand the commitment and sacrifice our nation’s teachers make on a daily basis. Their dedication does not go unrecognized and the positive influence and selflessness that our educators possess is invaluable. Strengthening America’s education system is important in fostering innovation and promoting our economic security.
Our education system serves our children best when the federal footprint is reduced, local control is restored, and parents and local education leaders are empowered to take control of their own education and hold schools accountable for effectively teaching students.
As a father of two and grandfather of six, I believe parents should be empowered and protected when it comes to having an influence in their own children’s education. Parents, not teachers unions or bureaucrats, are best equipped to oversee their children’s education. We should be teaching our students how to think, not what to think. I am committed to lifting up the voices of parents and making sure they have the transparency and influence they deserve, including having a say in what their own children are being taught.
To better prepare our future workforce with the necessary skills and knowledge to compete in a global economy, we must prioritize workforce development and continue to promote Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs. Currently, businesses across America are facing a severe talent shortage due to a lack of vocational education and technical training. I am partnering with schools, universities, and local businesses to address the skilled worker shortage and ensure our students have the opportunity to succeed in the 21st century economy. It is our responsibility to prepare students for the demands of our current society and to provide unemployed Americans with an outlet to reintegrate into the workforce.
STEM and CTE programs give students the opportunity to develop a practical skill set to succeed in the 21st-century job market. We can better prepare our professionals of tomorrow by increasing access to dual enrollment CTE training courses today so students can work toward certifications and credentials while still in high school. By taking less than two years, or sometimes even a few weeks to complete, these qualifications provide a more tangible approach to education and qualify students for well-paying jobs. We must better prepare our students and provide them with the necessary skills and knowledge to compete in a global economy.
PRO-LIFE AND FAMILY VALUES
I believe all life is precious and deserves to be protected. As a child of adoption, I value protecting the sanctity of life and will continue to be a standard-bearer for upholding the family values that made our nation great.
As a stalwart defender of life, I have voted to defund Planned Parenthood; taxpayers should not be forced to participate in the abortion industry. I also believe it is our role to protect the lives of the unborn and ensure women have access to the care they need. We should ensure all mothers know what options are available to them — including adoption. My birth mother’s decision gave me more opportunities than she felt she could provide; if there is one thing I know, it’s that adoption isn’t a partisan issue. My actions in the defense of life have led me to obtain a 100% rating from both the National Right to Life and the Family Research Council (FRC).
I’m proud to say I introduced the Adoption Information Act. This commonsense bill continues my efforts to provide information on adoption as an alternative to abortion. This bill requires family planning services to provide pamphlets listing the contact information of adoption centers to anyone receiving family planning services at the time the person inquiries about the services. Should a family planning service provider fail to provide information on adoption as an alternative, they would be ineligible to receive federal funding through the Department of Health and Human Services.
Additionally, I support the Born Alive Survivor Protection Act to ensure that all children born as survivors of abortion are guaranteed the right to life. This bill establishes requirements for medical professionals to provide proper care in the event of a child surviving an abortion or attempted abortion. While we may disagree on a host of policies, when it comes to what it means to defend the vulnerable, there’s no ambiguity here; infanticide is morally reprehensible. The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would require doctors to provide the same care for a baby born alive after a failed attempt at abortion as they would for any child of the same gestational age. We can all agree that the most vulnerable members of our community deserve a place to call home and a place to find and reach their full potential.
ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY
The First District of Virginia is full of natural resources that play important roles in the culture, economy, history, and recreation of our region. In my role on the House Natural Resources Committee, I am proud to have spent my career in Congress fighting to protect and conserve our environment so that it can be enjoyed by future generations.
As Co-Chair of the Chesapeake Bay Caucus, I have been leading the effort in Congress to maintain the robust federal commitment to Bay clean-up. In 2015 my Chesapeake Bay Accountability and Recovery Act was signed into law to provide increased transparency o and budgetary reforms to cleanup efforts. I’m proud of my work on conservation and have been named Legislator of the Year by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Conservationist of the Year by Ducks Unlimited, and awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Center for Coastal Conservation, National Park Heritage Award from the National Parks Conservation Association, and James D. Range Conservation Award from the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.
Having grown up in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and spending countless hours outdoors hunting, fishing, and enjoying the natural beauty of my surroundings, I support protecting our wildlife and coastal communities. In the 115th Congress, I introduced the National Centers of Excellence in Coastal Flood Research and Education Act, which would further world-class research to better prepare Virginia cities for coastal flooding. I also authored the Keep America’s Refuges Operational Act, now signed into law, that renews a critical volunteer program making it possible for over 50 million visitors to enjoy some of our nation’s most incredible habitats and wildlife.
In 2018, after decades of bipartisan efforts, my legislation giving recognition to six Virginia Indian tribes passed Congress and was signed into law by President Trump. These tribes, many of whom are first-contact tribes, will finally receive the recognition they deserve. This status enables them to pursue repatriation of historical and cultural artifacts, comment on federal agency actions that could affect their future and gain access to a number of federal programs.
As a lifelong conservationist, I am committed to the preservation of our public lands, wetlands, and vast natural resources. I supported a lands package, signed into law by President Trump, which designated 1.3 million acres as wilderness, the nation’s most stringent protection and allowed agencies to set aside land for wildlife habitat.
This legislation also permanently reauthorized the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which channels royalty revenue the federal government receives from offshore oil and gas projects into conservation projects, from expanding national parks, to protecting habitat on private lands, to maintaining Civil War battlefields.
In my roles on the House Natural Resources Committee, as Co-Chair of the Chesapeake Bay Caucus, as Co-Chair of the Wildlife Refuge Caucus, and as a Member of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, I will continue to work to ensure our lands can be enjoyed by tourists, sportsmen and women, and conservationists for years to come.
We must work together to protect our environment. I know investing in clean, reliable energy – like nuclear, hydropower, natural gas, wind, solar, and carbon capture – is a great place to start. I want clean air, clean water, and environmental protection, but those things do not have to be achieved at the expense of jobs, prosperity, and national security.
The United States is already leading the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions through innovation and technological development and we should focus on removing barriers to the deployment of new technologies and innovation. We should be focused on continuing to reduce emissions, developing, and exporting clean energy technologies, and making our communities more resilient. We can do this while ensuring affordable and reliable energy and prioritizing the consumer and American security and prosperity.These sources of energy are readily available within America — which ensures our energy independence and allows us to rely on our own citizens to power our country, lowering the cost of energy for hard-working families.
I believe Medicare and Social Security have served our nation well–providing medical benefits and retirement security for millions of Americans. Addressing the challenges facing Social Security, a program created decades ago to help prevent seniors from falling into poverty, is critical to strengthening retirement security for seniors today and generations to come.
I am firmly committed to protecting Social Security and Medicare for our seniors. We must honor our commitment to current Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries and those who are nearing eligibility – there should be no change to their plans.
It is critical for us to ensure the long-term substantiality of these programs so future generations can have the peace of mind and security these programs provide current seniors. I will continue to look for bipartisan solutions that preserve and strengthen Social Security for today’s seniors and future generations, while also promoting policies that help Americans at all stages of life save for retirement.