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Important Issues

Take a look below to learn about where I stand on the important issues that impact Eastern and Southeastern Ohio and how I am working in Washington to find solutions that actually work.  

Agriculture

Having grown up on a two-wheel, wagon-rut mule farm, I know firsthand how vital agriculture is to Ohio and our nation, which is why I am committed to strengthening and supporting the agriculture industry.  The federal government should be a partner in progress with America's farmers rather than a high tax and red tape obstacle.

This is done first by building strong relationships with our trading partners that put American farmers on a level playing field, while opening up vast world markets for America’s agricultural products - creating hundreds of thousands of jobs here at home. Agricultural exports to Mexico and Canada have quadrupled over the last two decades, accounting for nearly one third of agricultural exports. That is why I am proud to support the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA), which improves and updates the U.S. trading relationship with both nations, increasing our agricultural exports and helping farmers and ranchers nationwide.

I believe there is a role for the federal government in areas such as sustaining the farm safety net.  But, there are some market distorting farm programs that push the limit.  It is so important for these programs to work in tandem with the free market and move away from crop planting decisions influenced by the government. 

America’s family farmers and ranchers are crucial to feeding not only America, but the world.  I will always support them, and will always work hard to keep the federal government from standing in the way of their success.

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Broadband

As America competes in an ever-increasing digitized economy and prepares to continue leading in the economy of the future, rural broadband must be an integral component. It’s time we work together — at the federal, state, and local levels — to ensure: our children have the technology and tools they need at home to further their education; businesses have the high-speed internet connectivity they need to effectively compete, succeed, create jobs, and provide opportunities for the hardworking people that live here; patients have access to telemedicine; and, we all have the ability to take advantage of “being connected.”

As a member of the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, I am leading the charge for a further rollout of broadband internet access in rural areas. Far too many rural communities have been left behind – we must bridge the urban-rural digital divide now. The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) will provide $20.4 billion for rural broadband deployment. If implemented correctly, this fund could drastically reduce the digital divide and provide businesses and homes in rural America the connectivity necessary for today’s highly technical, information-driven, digital world, both at home and at work.

I’ve held broadband internet access roundtables across Eastern and Southeastern Ohio focused specifically on this issue, and it’s an issue I’ve been pushing for some time. I’m also pleased to have recently hosted events with Federal Communications Committee (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai in Marietta, Ohio and Commissioner Mike O’Rielly in Rayland, Ohio to give local community stakeholders an opportunity to share with them the challenges we here in Eastern and Southeastern Ohio face in broadband deployment. We will not be left behind anymore. There’s a wealth of intellectual capital here in rural Appalachia…and, America needs to start tapping into it.

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Budget

One of the biggest threats to our nation’s economic security is our ballooning national debt – a figure that will only climb higher as a result of the necessary, but expensive, legislative responses to the coronavirus.

As a former small business owner, and the Vice-Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee, I understand the importance of having a budget.  Families have them.  Businesses have them.  Washington should have one too.   But Congress hasn’t approved a budget in years, and the appropriations process is broken, largely relying on “continuing resolutions” to fund another year of spending.  This is no way to govern, and it must change.

I strongly support legislation that would force Congress to balance the budget within a reasonable time frame.  Many states are required by law to balance their budgets.  Washington should be no different.  I also support a thorough review of the budgeting and appropriating processes, and enacting reforms that will make Washington more fiscally responsible and accountable.  One potential reform is moving toward biennial budgeting as a means to get the budgeting and appropriations process back on track.

For more information concerning my work on the House Budget Committee, please contact my Washington, DC office.

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Education

As a father and grandfather whose children predominantly attended public schools, with a son in public high school, and a product of America's public school system myself, I know the critical role that education plays in America today.  For generations, America has led the way in educating our young people in critical areas of science, technology, engineering, and math.  And, our nation was founded upon the principle of being able to pursue one's dreams and ambitions on our own terms.  Whether those dreams are to be a small business owner, musician, scientist, farmer, or doctor, I firmly believe that education starts in the home, and that parents know what’s best for their children – NOT Washington bureaucrats.  State officials, school boards, school administrations, local teachers in Ohio, and parents know the needs of their students much better than unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.  I support decisions of parents on how and where to educate their children, and I want to empower parents to make these decisions.  Each student has different needs, and every student deserves the opportunity to advance their education at a pace that is right for them. 

In the 21st century economy, education is key to providing the next generation of students with the skills necessary to succeed and support a family.  There are more jobs than workers with the right skills to fill them for the first time in nearly five decades. I am supportive of programs that align educational opportunities with in-demand careers and provide students with opportunities to gain the skills they need to succeed in the workforce, whether through career and technical education or traditional 4-year college.

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Energy

I am humbled and honored to have been chosen by my colleagues to serve on the House Energy and Commerce Committee — the oldest, and one of the most influential, legislative committees in Congress. The Energy and Commerce Committee oversees America’s energy industries and infrastructure (among many other industries) that are so vital to the economic growth of Eastern and Southeastern Ohio. I consider this is a great responsibility, because it provides Eastern and Southeastern Ohio with a prominent voice in Washington on important policy issues that affect our daily lives.

Ohio’s Sixth Congressional District sits on top of the Utica and Marcellus shale plays, where oil and gas activity has spurred new economic opportunities for the region, and has helped propel the United States to the status of the world’s leading producer of oil and natural gas.  This “Shale Revolution,” has yielded not only new economic opportunities here at home, but also provides America with new and beneficial geopolitical advantages on the world stage.  We must do all we can to take advantage of this abundance. 

Energy Dominance (dominance = independence and security) is the next great frontier for America, and domestic energy production is poised to be the catalyst that launches the next great era of American exceptionalism.  In order to lower energy prices, create much-needed jobs, and make America more energy independent, I support a true “all of the above” approach to energy development. This approach starts with going after America's own natural resources, including the vast oil and natural gas reserves in America – onshore, offshore, and in shale plays across America like the Marcellus and Utica.  Coal is fundamental to America’s energy dominance as it remains an abundant and affordable energy source, and we can use it environmentally cleanly and responsibly to generate energy for generations to come. Expansion of our nuclear power capabilities should also be included in this “all of the above” approach to energy, as would finding a place in our energy portfolio for alternative sources of energy like wind and solar as long as they are based on market driven innovations that can survive in the free market without government assistance. Every source of energy, including oil, gas, coal, nuclear, wind, solar, hydro, bio-fuels, and other alternative energy sources all have a place in America's energy portfolio.

Such an energy vision that harnesses America's exceptionalism will lead to new innovations and technologies around domestic energy production, storage, distribution, and usage, and will lead us to economic prosperity, job growth, and energy dominance. Americans deserve real leadership on energy development, which is why I have voted for legislation that invests in energy research, develops new energy technology, and stops onerous regulations from the EPA, Department of the Interior, and other federal government agencies.

The Trump Administration has helped turn the federal government into more of a partner in progress, rather than the barrier to energy development it had been for so long. With common sense regulations that protect our national security, public health, and public safety Americans are enjoying a positively advancing, vibrant, and growing private sector economy that makes us the envy of the world.

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Health Care

Since I was first elected in 2010, I’ve opposed President Obama’s federal takeover of America’s healthcare system (Obamacare), and fought for its repeal and replacement.  And while significant progress has been made in repealing parts of this disastrous law, some of the most damaging parts of the law still stands.

Obamacare should be completely replaced with common sense, patient-centered solutions like: insurance companies having to compete for your business by making health insurance portable from state to state and job to job; increasing incentives for Americans to contribute pre-tax dollars to health savings accounts that can be used to pay for routine healthcare at a much lower cost than purchasing a massive healthcare policy; and, enacting tort reform to eliminate frivolous lawsuits and keep doctors in treatment rooms rather than in court rooms.

I believe that parents should have the option of keeping children on their insurance until the age of 26, and that insurance companies should not be able to deny coverage for anyone based on pre-existing conditions. Furthermore, we must guarantee the promise of Medicare so America’s seniors and those already in the retirement window (those 55 years of age and older) continue to receive their fully funded Medicare benefits; and, we must strengthen and preserve Medicare so that future generations have access to this vital safety-net program.

On the issue of surprise billing, I am proud to have recently supported legislation that would help protect Americans who, through no fault of their own, have received unaffordable surprise medical bills. Patients should be held harmless when they experience a medical emergency or simply have no ability to determine if they are receiving care from an in-network or out-of-network provider.  We must ensure a fair and transparent process when there is a payment dispute between a patient’s insurer and healthcare provider.  It’s not fair for Americans to be caught in the middle.

Additionally, for many Americans, the cost of prescription drugs at the pharmacy counter keeps going up and up.  I’m fighting hard to lower drug prices for Americans, especially for our seniors.  I’ve worked with my colleagues in Congress and the Trump administration to implement policies that foster innovation and quality in programs like Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage, that will generate real savings without the federal government fixing prices on treatments that would compromise the market-based structure that ignites innovations that lead to new and better cures. 

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Homeland Security/National Defense

President Trump’s ‘America First’ policy sets our nation on a stronger path of continuing to lead on the world stage while also putting the safety, interests and well-being of our citizens first. Through his leadership, America is confronting global challenges head on, while pursuing opportunities to promote the security and prosperity of all Americans.

The President’s national security strategy also recognizes that America faces new challenges in today’s more complex and volatile global security environment. In order to defend our nation in this new era of near-peer competition, America’s defense priorities have shifted to prioritize long-term strategic competition with China and Russia, in addition to continuing to deter and counter rogue regimes such as North Korea and Iran.

It is vitally important that Congress continue to provide the Department of Defense with the necessary funding for our Armed Forces to operate as a more lethal and resilient Joint Force. It is critical that we authorize and provide our defense leaders with the flexibility needed to modernize critical weapons systems, programs and advanced technology through both increased and sustained investment. We must also work diligently to stand up the United States Space Force to undertake missions and operations in the rapidly evolving space domain. I am honored to have served as a Conferee on the National Defense Authorization Act Conference Committee for multiple Fiscal Years to ensure our Armed Forces have the funding and capabilities needed to deter, fight, and win in this environment.

Domestically, it is also vital that America continue to sustain and grow our industrial base. Ohio is home to vital aerospace and defense installations, and our state possesses preeminent manufacturing and supply chain capabilities. I will continue to work with my colleagues at the federal and state level to preserve and expand our defense industry and associated economic opportunities here at home.

Our work to protect our homeland is no less important. I believe America should have a rigorous policy that engages on multiple fronts to prevent terrorist attacks and interference from our adversaries, particularly within the cyber domain. Increasing communication between law enforcement and the intelligence community, in addition to a strong, capable missile defense system, are of the utmost importance in deterring our adversaries from bringing the fight to our shores. Be assured, I will continue working with my colleagues to ensure President Trump and our national defense leaders continue to have the necessary funding and capabilities to defend our homeland, deter our adversaries, and preserve peace through strength.

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Immigration

America was built on a system of strong immigration.  We have always benefited from legal immigrants, and we will continue to do so. In fact, we must.  However, we need a merit-based immigration system that, first and foremost, strengthens our national security and protects the jobs of American citizens. In other words, we need to be able to pick and choose the people we allow to come into out country and seek citizenship.  We need workers in virtually all sectors, including scientists, physicians, technologists, agricultural, seasonal, etc.  But, we need to be able to choose the ones we want, and we need them to come here legally.

In 2019, I traveled to the El Paso Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol, where I had the pleasure of meeting with the men and women of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This eye-opening trip confirmed two things that I already believed: first, America is facing an unprecedented immigration and humanitarian crisis at our southern border; and, second, we need a wall to help stop it.

As the representative for Eastern and Southeastern Ohio, I believe illegal immigration threatens our national security and the safety of the American people, which is why I wholeheartedly support strengthening our border security and closing dangerous immigration loopholes. I also support President Trump's proclamation of a national emergency on the Mexican border as well as the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that allows the Trump Administration to redirect $2.5 billion in money approved by Congress for the Pentagon to help build the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Without control of our borders, our sovereignty is weakened.  Without secure borders criminals, terrorists, drug dealers, and human traffickers flow into communities all across America.  At a very basic level:  as Americans, we need to know who’s here.  If there are bad actors exploiting and overwhelming our border, it puts the safety of the American people at risk.  I will continue supporting efforts, whether Republican ideas or Democratic ideas, to strengthen our border security.  I will also continue advocating and supporting a legal immigration system that works for us, one that has defined our American success story for generations.

For more information concerning my work and views on Immigration issues, please contact my Washington, DC office.

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Jobs & The Economy

As the US Representative for Eastern and Southeastern Ohio, I support policies that create jobs, increase wages, and expand opportunities for all Americans.  I support lowering taxes on both our job creators and hardworking Americans, as well as reducing Washington regulatory burden and red tape.  Having lived in poverty as a child, I am so grateful that we live in a country where Americans from all walks of life have the freedom to make choices to improve their economic situation.

Before the Coronavirus hit, our economy was experiencing its longest economic expansion in American history. The unemployment rate was at a 50-year low, 6.4 million new jobs had been created since November 2016, and under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, American families are keeping more of their hard-earned money.  It’s one of the few times in America’s journey that we’ve had more jobs than workers to fill them.

And, while the coronavirus has dealt a short-term blow to our economy, I’m confident we’ll reemerge stronger because of it.  But, extraordinary times often dictate the need for extraordinary action.  That’s why I’ve supported the bipartisan economic stimulus bills (now laws) that will help our workers who’ve been let go, and that will: 1) help ensure our healthcare workers who are on the front lines of fighting the coronavirus get the equipment and support they need to win the fight; 2) give a life-line to the millions of small businesses across America that create over 60% of all jobs…so their employees have a job to come back to; 3) provide access to credit in order to help stabilize our major industry employers and job creators that provide products and services across the nation; and, 4) provide immediate relief to hardworking families, with most joint filers receiving $2,400 + an additional $500 per child.

Once we defeat the coronavirus, Congress must continue to build upon pro-growth successes, such as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, to ensure upward economic mobility is within reach for all hard-working American families.

For more information concerning my work and views on Taxes and Economic issues, please contact my Washington, DC office.

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Medicare

Medicare is a sacred contract between the federal government and the American people who have paid into this critical safety-net program throughout their lives, and it must be strengthened and preserved.  I have supported solutions that guarantee that America’s current seniors – and those already in the retirement window - continue receiving their fully-funded Medicare benefits, with no changes. The Medicare Trust Fund belongs to you, the American people who have paid into it, and you have earned these benefits.

However, the Medicare Trustees estimate that the program will be bankrupt by 2026.  Why?  Primarily because people are living longer than expected when Medicare first began…and, that’s a good thing.  But, Americans are drawing on Medicare much longer than initially anticipated.  Secondly, there are fewer and fewer Americans paying into Medicare, as roughly 10,000 Americans retire each day and begin drawing their Medicare benefits.  So, the Medicare Trust Fund can’t keep up with the demand and the lack of revenue – and, we MUST do something.  I, along with my Republican colleagues, have consistently supported real solutions and reforms that guarantee the promise of Medicare for future generations, while ensuring that those currently on Medicare and within the retirement window continue receiving their fully funded benefits.

For America’s future generations we need real solutions that strengthen and preserve Medicare, by giving younger workers the opportunity to receive the same health care that every member of Congress receives.  They will have clear choices of Medicare certified options with premium support equal to or greater than current Medicare benefits, with the low income and high health risk Americans receiving more support than wealthy Americans.  These commonsense solutions preserve and strengthen this vital safety net program.

I will always fight to honor the commitments that were made to America’s seniors.

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Pro-Life

As a father of four, and grandfather of six, there is no doubt in my mind that life begins at conception. As a member of the House Pro Life Caucus in Congress, I will always fight for the rights of the unborn.

I strongly oppose taxpayer dollars funding abortions, which is why I have voted for and co-sponsored legislation to defund Planned Parenthood and other entities that perform and support abortions. In addition, I have supported many pro-life bills including the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would prohibit the abortion of an unborn child that has surpassed 20 weeks gestation to ensure that a pain-capable child is not aborted.

I am proud to have a 100 percent pro-life voting record, and I will never relent in my commitment to protecting the rights of all Americans – both born and unborn.

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Second Amendment

As a 26-year veteran of the Air Force, gun owner, concealed carry permit holder, and lifetime member of the NRA, I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. I am opposed to any measure that would restrict the rights of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms - including any efforts to place limitations on the right to bear arms.

I firmly believe that Americans should feel safe in their homes and communities – and we have a Constitutional right to protect ourselves and our families. Upholding the Second Amendment and keeping the American people safe are not mutually exclusive.

I am a cosponsor of several pieces of legislation intended to protect the Second Amendment, including:

H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2019, would allow law-abiding citizens with a state-issued concealed carry license or permit to conceal a handgun in any other state that allows concealed carry.

H.R. 155 would fix the flawed federal over-regulation of suppressors, making it easier for hunters and sportsmen to protect their hearing in the 42 states where private suppressor ownership is currently legal, and the 40 states where hunting with a suppressor is legal. Specifically, this legislation would remove suppressors from the onerous requirements of the National Firearms Act, and instead require purchasers to pass an instant National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check, the same background check that is used to purchase a firearm.

For more information concerning my work and views on Second Amendment issues, please contact my Washington, DC office.

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Veterans Affairs

As a 26-year veteran of the United States Air Force, I am grateful to all of America's heroes - the men and women in uniform who willingly risk their lives to protect our freedoms. One of my top priorities as your representative is ensuring that our veterans and their families receive the benefits, care, and services they have earned through their sacrifices.

Last Congress, my colleagues and I worked to pass the VA MISSION Act to streamline duplicative VA community care programs and give veterans greater access to health care in both VA facilities and in their communities. Particularly in rural areas, it’s important that veterans have the option to seek care locally for basic health needs, rather than travel longer distances or experience greater wait times for appointments at VA facilities. However, we must also ensure that health care providers are being reimbursed by the VA in a timely manner for the services they are providing. Be assured, I will continue working with my colleagues to reduce bureaucratic and administrative inefficiencies.  

In the 112th Congress, I had the honor of serving as the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committees. My subcommittee worked diligently to uncover several of the VA scandals that surfaced during the Obama administration. I have continued to work to ensure the VA is operating through greater transparency and accountability. For as long as I serve in Congress, I will fight to make sure all our nation's veterans receive the treatment and benefits they have earned.

While serving in Congress, I have authored and supported numerous important pieces of legislation to ensure these men and women, their families, and survivors are receiving the health care, educational and job training opportunities, and other benefits they have earned and to which they are entitled.  During this session of Congress, I am pleased to support H.R. 95, the Homeless Veteran Families Act, which would give the VA the authority to pay a partial per diem to certain providers to support homeless veterans with children. Additionally, I am a cosponsor of H.R. 303, the Retired Pay Restoration Act, which would make individuals who were retired or separated from the military due to a service-connected disability eligible for the full concurrent receipt of both veterans' disability compensation and military retired pay.

I am also proud to have co-sponsored and advocated for H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, which has been signed into law by President Trump. This legislation provides a long overdue correction by extending the presumption of exposure to Agent Orange to veterans who served in the Blue Water Navy during the Vietnam War, ensuring that these heroes are provided the disability benefits that they have earned for their service.

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