The McKinley Capitol Report

The Gilmer Free Press

Exciting News: New Coal Mine to Open in Barbour County

The new coal mine opening in Barbour County is great news for our coal miners and our state. It’s great to see companies investing in West Virginia. Arch Coal’s new mine will provide around 600 jobs to West Virginians and invest more than $350 million over the next 3 years.

McKinley Votes to Condemn Anti-Semitism

Republicans and Democrats in the House voted this week to condemn anti-Semitism in all forms. Anti-Semitism cannot and will not be tolerated in the United States or anywhere.

Reps. McKinley and Peters Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Spur Carbon Capture and Use Technology Development and Demonstration

America must do more to encourage innovation and ensure we can use our energy resources in the cleanest way possible. We must continue to advocate for a reasonable, innovation-focused approach. This bipartisan legislation builds off our work in the last Congress to expand tax credits for carbon capture technology and will promote utilization technologies that will lower emissions and allow us to use all of our energy resources for years to come.

Reps. McKinley and Welch Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Lower Prescription Drug Prices

The high cost of prescription drugs requires many Americans to make difficult financial decisions for themselves and their families. The FAST Generics Act will help provide patient access to lifesaving medications at affordable prices. Families should never have to decide between affording their medications and grocery shopping or filling up their gas tanks. 

Have a great week,

David McKinley
The Gilmer Free Press

Trump’s national emergency sparks new GOP divide in Congress

Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to build his long-promised border wall ends one political problem for the White House and its allies on Capitol Hill, but launches another.

Republicans are torn over Trump’s decision to invoke executive power after Congress denied him money he wanted for the wall along the Southern border. Some are backing the president, while others are vehemently opposed, setting up a potential showdown that extends beyond the expected legal battles.

Democrats are almost certain to hold a vote of disapproval that will force Republicans to stand with the president — or against him.

It’s an outcome Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his leadership GOP warned Trump against. For days, they publicly urged him not to declare an emergency. With Trump’s signature Friday declaring an emergency, Republicans are largely falling in line behind Trump.

Not all Republicans back the president.

“No crisis justifies violating the Constitution,” said Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

The ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, said that while he supports Trump’s commitment to securing the border, “a national emergency is a serious act with deep implications, and it’s disappointing that partisan politics have brought us to this point.”

Top Trump allies are splintering. GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, once resistant to an emergency declaration, told Fox News he’s all for it. “We would be idiots as Republicans not to support Donald Trump to try to build this wall anyway he can,” Graham said.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, may be tougher to sway. “I, too, want stronger border security, including a wall in some areas. But how we do things matters,” Paul said in a statement.

“Extraconstitutional executive actions are wrong, no matter which party does them,” added Paul, who regularly criticized former President Barack Obama for what Paul and other Republicans termed executive overreach.

Congress has specific ability under the National Emergencies Act to halt the president by a simple majority vote of disapproval in both chambers. That makes the outcome uncertain, especially in the Senate where Republicans now hold a narrow 53-47 majority.

Trump would almost certainly threaten to veto such a resolution, if it passed, and Congress would then be faced with the difficult task of mounting the votes to override.

Trump’s decision creates an “important moment for constitutional democracy,” said Chris Edelson, assistant professor of government at American University and author of a book on presidential power.

“Congress has the tools available to stop this if it chooses to act,” Edelson said. “All eyes should be on Republicans in Congress, some of whom are clearly troubled by this action, including the precedent it could set.”

On and off Capitol Hill, many Republicans criticized Obama for what they saw as executive overreach, particularly on immigration issues. Some of Obama’s actions, including those to shield young immigrants from deportation, continue to play out in the courts.

While some GOP voices this week urged Trump on, others encouraged restraint.

“We’ll regret this,” said a headline in the conservative National Review. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said Friday that Trump’s decision will “create a dangerous precedent that erodes the very system of government that has served us so well for over 200 years.”

Rubio and others have asked what would happen if a future president tried to use the same emergency authority for their priorities — for example, to impose gun control or fight climate change.

But Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., another Trump ally who chairs the conservative Freedom Caucus, said there’s “wide support” in the party for Trump’s action. “There’s certainly a big push to make sure that we limit executive power,” he said, but the laws are in place and “we support it.”

Democrats are already gearing up to do battle. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who has launched an ambitious climate change plan known as the Green New Deal, tweeted Friday that Democrats “aren’t going to let the President declare a fake national emergency without a fight.”

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said Democrats will challenge Trump “in Congress (and) in the courts. And I think the American people will challenge the president.”

In the end, the philosophical arguments about presidential powers may run into the more specific concerns about how Trump plans to pay for the wall.

White House officials said Friday they plan to spend $8 billion on the wall — the nearly $1.4 billion Congress approved for new fences and barriers, plus more than $6 billion drawn from other funds.

Among them is a military construction account popular on Capitol Hill because it provides money to improve housing, medical facilities, roads and other aspects of military life. The projects are spread throughout congressional districts nationwide.

A group of House Republicans, led by Rep. Michael Turner of Ohio, urged Trump in a letter not to shift money away from military construction accounts. “Diverting funding from ongoing or planned projects would be incredibly harmful,” the GOP lawmakers wrote.

The White House said it would be looking at “lower priority” projects. A senior administration official granted anonymity to brief reporters on a conference call Friday said officials will look to shift money from projects that are “to fix or repair a particular facility that might be able to wait a couple of months into next year.”

Pelosi Warns Of The Consequences Of A National Emergency

Donald Trump on Fox and Friends November 2014

Obama turned to what he liked to call his pen and his phone after House Republicans blocked an overhaul of the immigration system that had passed the Senate with bipartisan support. Months after expressing doubt about his legal authority to do so, Obama signed an executive order to protect the undocumented parents of children who were born in the United States, and thus American citizens, from being deported. “This is a very, very dangerous thing that should be overwritten easily by the Supreme Court,” Trump said at the time. “I think certainly he could be impeached ...”

FACT CHECK: Declaring emergency for wall not so ordinary

The Free Press WV

Donald Trump would be taking an extraordinary step by declaring a national emergency to steer money to his promised border wall. He’s making it sound quite ordinary.

TRUMP: “You know, we already have national emergencies out there. You know, President Obama, President Clinton, President Bush — they’ve declared many national — this is not unique. They’ve declared many national emergencies. Many, many.” — remarks at a Cabinet meeting Tuesday.

THE FACTS: The emergency action Trump has been contemplating would be rare. The presidents he cites did not use emergency powers to pay for projects that Congress wouldn’t support.

Emergency declarations by Obama, Bush and Clinton were overwhelmingly for the purpose of addressing crises that emerged abroad. Many blocked foreign interests or terrorist-linked entities from access to funds. Some prohibited certain imports from or investments to countries associated with human rights abuses.

“It’s extremely rare for a president to declare a national emergency in a bid to fund domestic construction projects, particularly one that Congress has explicitly refused to fund,” said Andrew Boyle, an attorney in the national security program at the Brennan Center for Justice. “The ones that former presidents declared are of a different sort.”

With Congress unwilling to give Trump anything close to the $5.7 billion he wants to build a portion of the border wall, the White House has made clear that he would seek money from other sources, whether with an emergency declaration or by other means.

Altogether, Clinton declared 17 national emergencies, Bush, 13, and Obama, 12, according to a list compiled by the Brennan Center .

The Brennan Center has tracked 58 emergency declarations back to 1978, of which 31 remain in effect.

Obama’s emergency declarations were aimed at blocking property of “certain persons” involved in crises abroad — Ukraine, Burundi, Venezuela, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Yemen, and Libya, among other countries. He also used the declarations to punish the Russian government and transnational organizations.

His only declaration not centered on foreign interests came in 2009, when he declared a national emergency to deal with the H1N1 flu pandemic.

Bush and Clinton were similarly focused on foreign crises in their declarations. Clinton used one to prohibit transactions with the Taliban in 1999; Bush issued several in response to the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Dumb and dumber?

The Free Press WV

Or sly as foxes?

Longtime political operatives Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi finally are getting called on their antics.

Big publicity for them. And big trouble, too.    The New Yorker

Maybe Maria Butina isn’t the Russian spy many claim.    The New Republic

From the Hill to the Mountains

The Free Press WV

Reintroducing Legislation in the 116th Congress to Combat the Opioid Epidemic

I recently reintroduced six bills to help combat the current opioid epidemic in West Virginia and America. Each bill addresses a different aspect of the opioid crisis, which includes providing individuals with nonviolent drug offenses the chance to have their records sealed, providing federal funds to expand access to substance abuse treatment, and requires greater accountability at the Food and Drug Administration when approving new opioids.

West Virginia is ground zero of the opioid epidemic and I have been working to make sure that we have the right tools to fight this crisis. These bills will give people more chances to get help and to not be haunted for the rest of their lives by a criminal record. People suffering with addiction are not bad people and deserve a second chance. Other bills will make sure we are continuing to take steps to fight this crisis, ensuring that new people don’t become addicted to these horrible drugs. I hope that my colleagues, both Democrat and Republican will help all Americans battling addiction and help pass these bills into law.

Infor’s New Location in Charleston

I am thrilled that Infor has chosen to locate a regional office in Charleston, bringing with it more than a hundred new good paying tech jobs to the state and partnering with Marshall University and WVU. Strengthening and diversifying West Virginia’s economy is one of my highest priorities in the United States Senate and today’s announcement continues to grow the emerging technology sector in our state with an industry leader. I’m pleased to have had the opportunity to meet with Infor CEO Charles Phillips and his team on a number of occasions over the last year to discuss our skilled workforce and solidify the positive value of doing business in the Mountain State. I welcome Infor to West Virginia and I’m certain they’ll have a successful future here.

New West Virginia Broadband Partnership

I am happy to announce that West Virginia will be included in the new National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) initiative that will help make sure the national broadband availability map is accurate. This is especially important to rural states like ours and the seven other states included the program.

Our state, the West Virginia Broadband Enhancement Council and my office have been leading the effort to make sure that communities in West Virginia without broadband coverage are accurately reflected in broadband availability maps. As the only Member of Congress to formally challenge a broadband coverage map, I have been working hard to ensure these maps depict the real-world experiences of West Virginians so that our state is in a better position to receive the critical funding it needs to deploy broadband. I am proud of the work being done by the West Virginia Broadband Enhancement Council, and I look forward to seeing the results of this partnership.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 directed NTIA to update the national broadband availability map using its previously developed state partnerships. Senator Manchin helped to secure this provision as a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies.  The initial eight state partners were chosen because they reflect geographic diversity, participate in NTIA’s State Broadband Leaders Network, have active state broadband plans or programs, and were willing to contribute data that can be combined with nationwide data sources to give policymakers a deeper understanding of broadband availability.

NTIA expects to seek participation from additional states, territories and federally recognized tribes that have broadband programs or related data-collection efforts. The initial map will include available nationwide data for every state combined with state-level data from the eight states.

West Virginia Spotlight

Nancy Moore, Director of the Five Rivers Public Library in Parsons, WV

The West Virginia Library Commission recently announced that Nancy Moore is the winner of the 2019 Librarian of the Year Award.  Nancy has worked at the Five Rivers Library for more than 25 years and was honored for her role in improving the library’s computer access capabilities and DVD, audiobook, and magazine collections.  Ms. Moore was also cited for her leadership in bringing major library programs, such as the Family Resource Network, 1000 Books Before Kindergarten, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, and the WV Read Aloud project, to Tucker County patrons.  In addition, she has been instrumental in major renovations made to the library building over the past two decades.  Congratulations!

$2 Million in Educational Grants Announced for At-Risk Youth

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I am proud to announce that the U.S. Department of Labor has awarded two grants, each in excess of $1 million, to help at-risk youth finish high school or other equivalency programs in West Virginia. The funds will also go to workforce training programs and be used to help build housing for homeless youth and their families.

For our children, education is the key to a bright future and these programs will ensure that even West Virginia’s students whose parents struggle with addiction or have other difficult circumstances at home are prepared for their future. I’m excited to see this funding head to Morgantown and Elkins. I will continue to fight for resources for similar programs across West Virginia.

Individual awards are listed below:

  $1,083,771–Human Resource Development Foundation, Inc. in Morgantown
  $1,095,117–Randolph County Housing Authority in Elkins

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