EC from DC - December 13, 2013
CONGRESSMAN CLEAVER FASTS IN SUPPORT OF IMMIGRATION REFORM
This week, I made a decision to fast for one day in solidarity with those in Washington, DC fasting for immigration reform.
My voluntary fast represents the urgency, the passion and sacrifice of a community of all creeds, race, gender, affiliation and status, striving for the attainment of immigration reform. I fast, pray and act until the bonds of families are no longer divided, until a pathway to citizenship is a fate for 11 million deserving immigrants and their families, until immigration reform is no longer a notion, but a reality.
I fasted because the suffering of immigrants and in our communities has moved me to act. I fasted in support of the many, many immigrants who have lost loved ones due to our broken immigration system. And I extend my unwavering support to the fasters around the nation who are bravely highlighting the moral crisis we face with this broken immigration system.
This year, we have come the closest ever to achieving real immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship. In June, the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive, bipartisan immigration bill (S.744). Now, the House of Representatives has a chance to complete the dream for 11 million aspiring Americans by addressing the moral crisis that is our broken immigration system.
Unfortunately, we are still waiting to vote on the one issue that holds strong bipartisan support and is backed by a breadth of communities and groups across the country.
Every day the House leadership stalls on a vote for immigration reform, families and communities suffer the impact of deportations, deaths on the border, exploitation at work and the fear of living in the shadows with no path to citizenship.
To learn more about the Fast for Families effort, click here.
CONCERN WITH THE EPA
There is an important issue that isn't grabbing headlines, but it is critical to revitalizing rural communities, growing the economy, and creating jobs nevertheless. I am very concerned with the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) recent decision to reduce the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requirement for next year. It would be lowered by almost 3 billion gallons in 2014, to a level, in fact, that is below the legal requirement.
Why is this a concern? I fear it will undermine investor confidence in biofuels and, in turn, lower investment in the industry. It is my belief that the new RFS goals should be developed in a comprehensive way that continues to show strong support for biofuels and does not stifle investment.
As you know, the ethanol industry is a significant contributor to our state's economy. Missouri's corn and ethanol industries contributed a whopping $12 billion in economic value over the last decade, and more than $2 billion in local, state, and federal taxes during that same time period.
Ethanol plants provide good paying jobs in rural areas, as well as a dedicated market for feedstocks for hundreds of local farmers. In some rural areas, these plants are the best economic opportunity around.
I wanted to share with you that I am in discussions with policy makers about this issue, and have recently expressed my concerns directly to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. I have urged the revision of this proposal to make sure there is continued interest and investment in the renewable fuel industry. The RFS lowers the cost of fuel and it reduces the resources spent by our military.
If it is not revised, I believe we could see a major slowdown in investment in new plants and advanced biofuels, additional damage to our rural economies, and even more dependence on foreign oil.
I will keep you updated on my efforts in this area and all new developments.
DOLLARS FOR HEALTHCARE HELP
Recently, important information was announced about grants in Missouri’s Fifth District to help those who are uninsured get affordable health insurance. Kansas City’s Samuel U. Rodgers Community Health Center and Swope Health Services were both included in grants announced to almost 1,200 health centers across the nation. The grant dollars are targeted to assist in enrolling uninsured residents in the Affordable Care Act. Understanding what options are available, how they best fit an individual’s or a family’s needs, and enrolling in a timely fashion are all important educational pieces for getting the best and most affordable coverage possible.
Samuel U. Rodgers Community Health Center will receive almost $250,000 for Fiscal Years 2013 and 2014, and Swope Health Services, more than $450,000 for the same time period. These dollars will also make it possible for facilities to offer additional face-to-face assistance for enrollment before the end of the open enrollment period on March 31st of next year.
ART OPPORTUNITIES IN RICHMOND
And good news, as well, in Richmond, as a grant supporting the arts is on the way. The Missouri Center for the Book Arts Engagement in American Communities has received a $10,000 grant to support The Celebration of the Art of the Book. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) recommended this award. Funding goes to support mostly small to mid-sized organizations that focus on bringing the arts to generally underserved populations. These populations may have limited opportunities to experience exhibits, performances, training, and workshops, targeted to become more broadly available through this funding.
MONITORING OUR NATION’S ENERGY, CLIMATE, AND ELECTRICAL NEEDS
Congressman Cleaver, along with others, meets with Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz (pictured in the center)
This week I met with Dr. Ernest Moniz, Secretary of Energy, to discuss the nation’s energy plan, the Administration’s Climate Action Plan, and the department’s work to make sure there is safe and reliable electricity for those throughout Missouri’s Fifth District and across the country.
Members of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition attended the meeting to make sure we are briefed and up to date on all efforts surrounding these initiatives and their progress.