Congressman Lynch's Lunch Bucket Bulletin - 1/27/17
January 27, 2017
Thank you for signing up for our e-newsletter, where I will be sharing updates on what Congress is considering on the House Floor, legislation I’ve introduced or cosponsored, as well as my take on issues and events of importance to the families of the 8th Congressional District.
Tuesday, January 24 was our first telephone town hall of the New Year, where I had the opportunity to answer questions on a wide array of topics from families in the 8th District. The hour-long telephone town hall included questions about protecting American’s healthcare, support for the LGBTQ community, environmental and pipeline regulations, gun reform efforts, concerns about the federal hiring freeze and its effect on veterans, addressing airplane noise, and other topics. The audio files from the event are available online: https://vekeo.com/event/repstephenlynch-29451/. I look forward to holding additional events like this one in the future.
Despite the letter I sent earlier this month, signed by 107 House Democrats, urging President Trump to reconsider his hiring freeze proposal, President Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Hiring Freeze on January 23. This ordered “a freeze on the hiring of Federal civilian employees to be applied across the board in the executive branch.” The memorandum created exemptions for positions that agency heads determine are “necessary to meet national security or public safety responsibilities.” President Trump’s plan will merely increase the number of private contractors and negatively affect the traditional federal employees who keep our agencies running. From protecting our national security to providing healthcare to veterans, Americans depend on federal employees each and every day.
I am particularly concerned about the impact of this freeze on America’s veterans. I joined House and Senate Democrats on a letter calling on President Trump to exempt from his executive order the Department of Veterans Affairs and all veterans seeking federal jobs. I also cosponsored H.R. 696, legislation introduced by Rep. Kurt Schrader (OR-05) and Rep. Seth Moulton (MA-06), which would prohibit any hiring freeze from specifically affecting the V.A. During past hiring freezes, we have seen direct effects of a staff shortage at V.A. Medical Centers leading to increased patient waiting times and delays in the processing of medical examinations. As Congress is looking for ways to reduce patient waiting times at the V.A., we should not be limiting the V.A.’s ability to fill their 45,000 unfilled positions – from doctors and nurses to mental healthcare professionals and claims processors.
This week, I introduced H.R. 598, the Airplane Impacts Mitigation (AIM) Act of 2017. I hear every day from local families in Milton, Hull, South Boston, and other communities in the 8th District about the direct impact that concentrated and relentless airplane noise has on their quality of life. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must put airplane-related health impacts above jet fuel economy as they try to optimize flight path efficiency. The AIM Act will ensure that strong, independent research into the health impacts of prolonged exposure to airplane noise and emissions is available to inform the FAA’s decision-making going forward. This public health study will help promote a healthier environment for the people who live and work near Logan Airport and other airports around the country. I was joined by 18 members of the bipartisan Quiet Skies Caucus in introducing the AIM Act. The AIM Act is an important step towards ensuring that local communities are heard and the FAA is held accountable for its policies.
Another local issue that we have been closely monitoring is the proposed Weymouth compressor station. I am very disappointed that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a conditional certificate of approval on January 25 and failed to recognize the very serious effects the proposed compressor station will have on the families in the surrounding area. The gas leak earlier this month reaffirmed our concerns about the environmental and public safety risks of further pipeline development in the Fore River area. This is not the end of our fight. I will continue to work with our state and local elected officials to pursue avenues to halt further permitting and encourage FERC to reconsider this decision.
As the 115th Congress gets underway, Committees’ began organizing this week and I was honored to be named the lead Democrat on the National Security subcommittee. I served in this role on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee in the last Congress and I am looking forward to continuing this important work with Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, Chairman Jason Chaffetz, and Subcommittee Chairman Ron DeSantis. The United States faces a range of active and significant national security challenges, from worldwide threats posed by terrorist groups such as the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, and Jabhat al-Nusra, to complex cyberattacks perpetrated against U.S. government and private sector institutions. I am thankful for this opportunity and I look forward to strengthening our cybersecurity apparatus, ensuring that the United States has the tools in place to mitigate the rise of terrorism, and addressing other critical issues.
Thank you for keeping in touch with our office and for keeping me informed about the issues that are important to you and your family.
God bless you and God bless these United States of America.