“Despite President Trump’s insistence that he is taking action against the rising tide of opioid addiction, all of his activates thus far have shown exactly the opposite - that he is not doing enough,” said Courtney. “Last week, his own commission recommended he declare the growing prescription opioid and heroin epidemic a national emergency. Yesterday, he declined to take any new actions or allocate any new funding. The national death toll is growing by the day and President Trump essentially told the commission to take a walk. I have spent a great deal of time meeting with families and first responders over the last two-years to learn more about this crisis and the message from them could not be clearer. They need new resources and more funding to fight back and save lives – it is that simple. There is not enough money either for law enforcement activities or for treatment beds. We need to end the stigma against drug addiction and start treating this epidemic like the public health emergency it is.”
August 3, 2017 Press Release
“The VA’s decision to continue to deny care and benefits to blue water Vietnam veterans is unacceptable and I am glad that Secretary Shulkin indicated that they may be taking action to correct this,” wrote Courtney. “Like many veterans in my district who regularly share their concerns about this issue with me, I am deeply disappointed in the VA’s continued refusal to cover blue water veterans who served on ships offshore during the Vietnam War. That’s why I continue to push for action to right this wrong for our Navy veterans suffering to this day from exposure to this toxic chemical.”
House Members Lead Common Sense Effort to Build on American Healthcare that Works
Congressman Courtney said, “With the demise of “repeal” which was structured from day 1 as a hyper partisan Republican exercise, it is time Congress listens to what the American people have been saying loud and clear for several years. We need to work together to fix the weaknesses in the ACA rather than butcher it. The Medicare Buy In and Health Care Stabilization Act provides relief for the higher cost, older population in the individual and small business market, and restores the market stabilizers that Republicans have undermined and caused insurance premiums to spike in 2017 and 2018. Lastly, the bill provides exciting new ways to reduce health care spending by cracking down on fraud and instructs the Department of Health and Human Services to employ tried and true tools to cut costs in the area of prescription drugs. This bill not only does not add to the deficit, but it will, in fact, save money for America’s taxpayers.”
“President Trump’s statement apparently banning transgender members of the military, even those now serving, is the height of irresponsibility. His tweet was issued at the same time the Department of Defense is undergoing a six-month comprehensive review of the policy allowing transgender Americans to serve in the military. Undercutting their work, and setting military policy by tweet, is reckless and disrespectful in the extreme."
July 25, 2017 Press Release
“Plum Island is a scenic and biological treasure located right in the middle of Long Island Sound,” said Courtney. “The island is home to a rich assortment of endangered species, and should be preserved as a natural sanctuary – not sold off to the highest bidder for development. I have long supported federal legislation that will eliminate the government requirement to sell Plum Island as a means to finance a new research facility. Now that this legislation has been passed in the House, it is my hope that it will be quickly taken up and passed by the Senate. We are closer now than we have ever been to permanently protecting Plum Island.”
July 25, 2017 Press Release
“I am very pleased that members from both sides of the aisle came together to pass this historic update to the G.I. bill that will benefit generations of service members for years to come,” said Courtney. “Eastern Connecticut is the proud home to more veterans than any other congressional district in the state. In 2010, I was a cosponsor of the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill - the most important update to the benefit since the end of World War II - that boosted the amount of tuition assistance and for the first time allowed the benefit to be transferred to a spouse of a dependent of a qualified service member. Now, this new bill will ensure that G.I. Bill benefits will be available throughout the lifetime of all veterans who enlisted after 2013, as well as all Purple Heart recipients regardless of their length of service. This bill also ensures fairness for Connecticut National Guard members who have deployed overseas under authorities that were previously not eligible for G.I. Bill benefits by closing this egregious loophole.
Federal funding utilized by Electric Boat and other local employers to train workers to fill high-skilled jobs was wiped out under a budget proposal this week
“Back in February, America’s manufacturing employers told the White House if you want to fix the economy then fix the skills gap. A newspaper headline the following morning said it in a nutshell: ‘jobs exist; skills don’t’,” said Courtney. “The GOP budget passed out of committee last Wednesday willfully ignores that message by eliminating and or butchering job training programs that have a proven track record of success. For Connecticut, these cuts to apprenticeships programs could not come at a worse time. Our state is finally experiencing job growth and new opportunities are being created through increased investment in aerospace, shipbuilding, and healthcare - all of which require a high-skilled workforce."
July 14, 2017 Press Release
“As the ranking member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, I am proud to the bipartisan work we have done in this bill to grow our Navy fleet,” Courtney said. “While the stage was set for the 2018 to be a starting point on the path to a 355-ship navy, the budget we received fell far short. I am proud to say that working in a bipartisan way, we produced a better budget than the one that came over from the White House. Among other things, the bill explicitly makes it the policy of our nation to achieve a 355-ship Navy and adds five new ships in 2018 to get us moving to the larger fleet that both the Obama and Trump administrations have signaled we need. This bill demonstrates if our defense leaders and the administration will not prioritize the national goal of growing the fleet, we will."
July 14, 2017 Press Release
“Connecticut Sea Grant is a critical federal program that has aided local fishermen, shellfish farmers, and maritime conservation efforts in Long Island Sound for fifty years,” said Courtney. “Whether it’s jumpstarting a fishery or connecting aquaculture producers to local communities, Sea Grant is a vital part of eastern Connecticut’s maritime economy. I am very glad that House Appropriations Committee recognized how important Sea Grant is for aquaculture efforts across the country and reversed the president’s misguided attempt to eliminate the program.”
July 12, 2017 Press Release
“The welcome demise of the misguided and poorly conceived plan to realign railway tracks through communities across the southeastern Connecticut shoreline is a testament to the grass roots effort and perseverance of local residents and town leaders,” said Courtney. “From the start, the creation of a new bypass was a proposal untethered from reality. Whether it was the plan’s exorbitant cost without a funding source, the disruption ‘Kenyon Bypass’ would cause from Old Lyme to New London to Stonington, the mere existence of this map cast a cloud of uncertainty and doubt across a region with a history and environment as rich and valuable as any place in our nation. Throughout the FRA’s process of developing this plan, I have been clear that no proposal should move forward without the advice and consent of the state of Connecticut and of our shoreline communities."