MESSAGE FROM THE DEMOCRATIC WHIP
This week, the House passed the USA Freedom Act, which takes significant steps to address concerns over the intelligence community’s information-gathering programs while helping to strike an appropriate balance between national security and individual privacy. The House also passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015, a defense policy bill, which is vital to our national security and provides our men and women serving in the Armed Forces with the tools they need as well as the benefits and support that they have earned and deserve. While I supported the 2015 NDAA, I have concerns that this bill does not reflect the hard choices necessary to attain fiscal sustainability in its current state. I look forward to working with my colleagues in both parties to ensure that Congress enacts the best defense authorization bill possible – one that upholds our responsibility to the men and women of our military and to the American people they serve.
I was disappointed that Republican leaders rejected their own Member's immigration amendment to the NDAA, the ENLIST Act, which would provide young undocumented immigrants who serve in the military with a pathway to citizenship. Unfortunately, Members were not able to vote on this measure because House Republicans blocked it from consideration.
Lastly, the House passed the Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act, which would remove important civil service protections that have been in place for decades. The bill would allow the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to remove any individual from Senior Executive Service. While I am outraged by the recent allegations that have been made regarding the Veterans Affairs’ medical care system, and we must hold those responsible accountable, we should not turn our civil service system, which is the best in the world, into a patronage system.
With less than thirty days left before August recess, time is of the essence for Congress to tackle the issues that matter most to American families, such as renewing unemployment insurance, raising the minimum wage, and fixing our broken immigration system. I hope that when Congress returns next week, House Republicans will be willing to work with Democrats on the people’s business.
STENY H. HOYER
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