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2019 Mid-Session Update

Since January, Congressman Courtney has worked on a bipartisan basis to advance key priorities for eastern Connecticut and our state. Here is a snapshot of some of his work so far in the first half of the  2019 session.

Progress on Expanding Submarine Construction – The House has approved Congressman Courtney’s work to add a third Virginia class submarine to the Navy’s plans.  This additional submarine will help Electric Boat and the district and state-wide supplier base ramp up and increase its workforce in the coming years. 

Investment in Submarine Base New London – The House-passed 2020 Military Construction funding bill approved Congressman Courtney’s request for $72 million to replace Pier 32 at the base, ensuring that the base will continue to support our newest submarines for years to come.

Protecting Hard-Earned Military Education Benefits – Congressman Courtney championed a bipartisan House-passed measure to block a misguided Departement of Defense (DOD) plan to trim back elements of the Post-9/11 GI Bill for servicemembers and their family. The DOD has delayed their plan in response to the bill, and Congressman Courtney is working to pass it into law so that the plan cannot move forward.

Repealing the “Cadillac Tax” – Congressman Courtney assembled a bipartisan coalition in the House to pass his legislation in a 419-6 vote to repeal the misguided and misnamed “Cadillac Tax” on health plans. Repealing the tax will prevent increases in premiums and costs for middle-class families.

Reducing Violence Against Health Care Workers – With rates of violence against health care workers on an alarming rise, Congressman Courtney introduced legislation to enact strong federal standards to protect our front line health personnel. His bill was approved on a bipartisan basis in the House Education and Labor Committee on which he serves.

Federal Action on Crumbling Foundations – Congressman Courtney continued his efforts to secure federal help in addressing our region’s crumbling foundations crisis. Working with state officials, he won approval for federal housing funds to support testing homes for the mineral pyrrhotite. He has also passed legislation to allocate federal funding towards pyrrhotite research, support repairs for schools impacted by the mineral, and helped secure tax-exempt status for the captive insurance company funding home repairs. 

Long-overdue Fairness for Vietnam Veterans – After years of advocacy by eastern Connecticut veterans, Congressman Courtney helped pass legislation to ensure that Navy veterans who served on ships around Vietnam and exposed to Agent Orange can finally access the care and services they need. That bill is now law.

Preserving Plum Island – Continuing his efforts to prevent Plum Island from being sold to the highest bidder, Congressman Courtney passed legislation to block the federal government from marketing the island for sale. Additionally, he’s working to permanently repeal the authority for selling this ecological treasure.

Moving Forward on Hemp in Connecticut – After helping to pass the 2018 Farm Bill, Congressman Courtney worked with state officials to get Connecticut’s new hemp production program up and running. As a result of this new opportunity, farmers and businesses are making renewed investments in our region's agriculture economy. 

Protecting the Wood-Pawcatuck River – Along with his colleagues from Rhode Island, Congressman Courtney helped pass a new law to protect portions of the Wood-Pawcatuck watershed as a federally designated “Wild and Scenic River.”

Since January, the House has taken action on many important issues and priorities for eastern Connecticut and the country. Unfortunately, many of these bills have not been acted on by the Senate.

Cleaning Up and Protecting Elections – The House has passed comprehensive, transformative legislation that reduces the role of dark money in politics, advances clean and fair elections, and ensures the security and safety of our 2020 federal elections.

Strengthening Protections for People with Pre-Existing Conditions – The House passed and sent the Senate strong bills to crack down on junk health insurance plans that do not have to cover pre-existing conditions or provide essential health benefits – plans that will result in higher premiums for those with pre-existing conditions.

Lowering Prescription Drug Costs – The House passed a package of five bills that confront Pharma’s unfair practices that keep drug prices high and prevent lower-cost generic versions of drugs from getting to market, now awaiting action in the Senate.

Raising the Wage for Up to 33 Million Workers – The House passed legislation to gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, in an effort to grow our economy and deliver a long-overdue pay raise to up to 33 million hard-working Americans.

Stopping Robocalls – The House passed bipartisan legislation aimed at ending the non-stop robocalls that so many Americans receive every day.

Ensuring Women Equal Pay for Equal Work – With women still earning an average of only 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, House Democrats passed the Paycheck Fairness Act that closes loopholes in current law, including providing effective remedies to women not getting equal pay.

Universal Background Checks for All Gun Sales – The House sent to the Senate a bipartisan commonsense gun violence prevention bill that requires background checks for all gun sales, closing the gun show and online sales loopholes.

Equal Rights for the LGBTQ Community – The House passed historic legislation that extends anti-discrimination protections to LGBTQ Americans with regard to employment, education, access to credit, jury duty, federal funding, housing and public accommodations.

Protections for Dreamers & TPS and DED Holders – The House passed a bill providing much-needed protections for immigrants who have spent much of their lives in this country providing a pathway to eventual citizenship.

Climate Action Now Act– The House passed an historic measure on climate change, which ensures the U.S. honors our commitments detailed in the Paris Agreement and lays the groundwork for further climate action.  While the President announced his intention to leave the Agreement, it cannot happen before 2020. The bill prohibits federal funds being used to advance withdrawal from the Agreement.

Restoring Net Neutrality – The House passed a key bill that revives common-sense provisions needed to restore an open internet and puts a cop-on-the-beat to protect consumers, small businesses, and competition from abusive practices of the big Internet Service Providers.