Congressman Hunter's August Newsletter

Aug 1, 2018

Results don’t lie. Thanks to pro-growth policies, the American people are better off now than before.  Historic tax reform and regulatory relief have brought us the lowest unemployment in decades, bigger paychecks and confidence in our economy.  As a result, our nation’s GDP soared by 4.1 percent last quarter—the fastest economic growth since 2014.  Not only are Americans reaping the rewards of a booming economy, we have made our communities safer, and our military stronger.  I encourage you to visit www.better.gop to learn more about the various ways that life has improved for the American people.

1st Lt. Travis Manion, USMC 

If you have read previous editions of my newsletter, then you know that I’ve been critical of the military awards process.  Several high-profile judgments, in the cases of Marine Corps Sergeant Rafael Peralta, Army Sergeant 1st Class Earl Plumlee and Army Captain Will Swenson, have renewed focus on the integrity of the awards process.  Even more recently, several major discrepancies were discovered in the case of Marine Corps 1st Lt. Travis Manion.  Based on this new evidence, I sent a letter to Defense Secretary Mattis stating my concerns with inconsistencies and bureaucratic influence involving the military’s highest award for combat valor.  For this reason, I am urging Secretary Mattis to reconsider awarding 1st. Lt Manion the Navy Cross—a recognition truly fitting of his courageous actions, valor, and sacrifice.  Read more about my efforts in Marine Corps Times here.  

Military Funding

Last week, the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Report.  This bipartisan legislation authorizes critical military programs and provides our warfighters with the tools necessary to be successful while deployed.  The legislation should be signed into law in the coming weeks.

As a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, one of my most important responsibilities is to provide oversight of the Department of Defense and ensure our servicemembers have the resources they need to complete their missions and keep us safe at home.  In recognition of the devastating impact continuing resolutions have had on America’s military readiness, I’d like to echo a former Speaker of the House.  Nearly a decade ago, the House was warned of the dangers to our military posed by the Budget Control Act and subsequent Continuing Resolutions.  The resulting funding cuts have made it safer to go to war than to train here at home.  For this reason, I joined my colleagues on the House floor to speak about the dangers to our military posed by spending cuts and stop-gap funding measures.  Check out my remarks here.   

Fulfilling Obligations to Families of the Fallen Act

Over the last several years, I have been an outspoken critic of the Servicemember Group Life Insurance (SGLI), which gives servicemembers life insurance coverage of up to $400,000 for $29 a month, should the unthinkable happen.  As useful as SGLI can be, this important resource has a glaring shortcoming; active duty members can opt out of this coverage without notifying their spouses.  In other words, imagine on top of the terrible news that your active duty spouse has passed, you now learn that your family has been left with nothing in terms of coverage to help care for your needs.  

It is my belief that when a servicemember pays the ultimate price in defense of this nation, the grieving family should not be the victim of government bureaucracy because of a discrepancy in current law.  It is for this reason I introduced the Fulfilling Obligations to Families of the Fallen Act, that would fix this ongoing issue by restructuring SGLI to function like conventional insurance.  Should any changes be made, a notarized acknowledgement of the change must be submitted by both the insured and their spouse.  Read my op-ed here

Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation 

Aside from my role on the Armed Services Committee, as Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, I work to advance policies that will strengthen our nation's maritime capabilities.  Last week, the Save Our Seas Act passed the House, which will help keep our oceans cleaner, keep our mariners safer, and help the Coast Guard to acquire new technologies to meet their mission needs.  The legislation includes a bill that I authored to incorporate maritime safety regulations made by the Coast Guard in the wake of the El Faro sinking.  This bipartisan legislation awaits consideration in the Senate.  

Wildfire Update

Over the past month, devastating wildfires have affected our communities in San Diego County.  I am pleased to report that the House passed the FY 2019 Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2019, which included $3.9 billion for the Department of the Interior and U.S. Forest Service to fight wildfires.  

For those affected by the West Fire and the Building Fire, San Diego County has established a Recovery Assistance Hotline (858) 495-5200 and http://SDCountyRecovery.com, which has info on clean-up, rebuilding, and resources.  A Local Assistance Center is open at the Alpine Library, 1752 Alpine Blvd.   

Supreme Court Nominee

I commend President Trump for fulfilling his promise to the American people by nominating a strong conservative to the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh.  Throughout his career, Judge Kavanaugh has demonstrated a respect for the Constitution and a strong commitment to life.  It is my hope that my colleagues in the Senate act swiftly to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.  

Congressional Art Competition

I recently had the privilege of welcoming Julianne Tarr from Ramona, California to Washington, D.C. Julianne is CA-50’s district winner of the 2018 Congressional Art Competition, and her watercolor painting, "American Optimism" is now hanging in the U.S. Capitol.  Congratulations, Julianne!

Congressional App Challenge 

I am excited to announce that the 2018 Congressional App Challenge is officially open to all middle and high school students in our district.  The Congressional App Challenge will run from June 4, 2018, through October 15, 2018, with competitors judged by an appointed panel of professionals within the academic, software and entrepreneurial fields.  The winning student’s app in each participating congressional district will be featured on the U.S. House of Representatives’ website.  To sign up, simply visit the Congressional App Challenge website by clicking here. If you have any questions about this competition, or need more information on the requirements for submission, please contact Ashleigh Conaway in my El Cajon District Office at 619-448-5201 or ashleigh.conaway@mail.house.gov.  Good luck to all the participants!

Telephone Town Hall

I am eager to share updates with you and hope you’ll join me for my next Telephone Town Hall on Thursday, August 2nd and Tuesday, August 7th at 6:30pm.  You can sign up to participate and submit questions by clicking here or by calling my Washington D.C. office at 202-225-5672.  Constituents may also join by calling 866-295-1747 or visit https://hunter.house.gov/live to join online.

Social Media

If you would like to stay up to date on my work in Congress, please subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here, or by liking my page on Facebook, or following me on Twitter at @Rep_Hunter.

Hearing from You

As always, I hope to hear from you throughout the course of the year as Congress does its legislative work, in addition to providing effective oversight.  Please contact my office with any questions, comments, or concerns.