Honoring Our Veterans

Each November 11, our country honors Veterans Day. It is a way we can show our gratitude for those brave men and women who put on the uniform to protect us and the freedoms we cherish.

This year’s observance holds a special significance, for it is the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, the combatants stopped fighting.

World War I is less remembered by Americans than other conflicts, and its last American veteran, Frank Buckles, died in 2011. It was nevertheless a momentous event in our history, and one which inflicted a painful toll.

The bloodiest battle in all American history was not Gettysburg or Iwo Jima but the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, fought in France from September 26, 1918 to the end of the war. Even on the last day, when the fighting stopped at 11am, more Americans died than would fall on D-Day in World War II.

In its time, World War I was sometimes referred to as “the war to end all wars,” but we know now all too well that this wasn’t the case. But while there are still wars, there are also still men and women who step forward to protect us, even to make the highest sacrifice if necessary.

So on Veterans Day 2018, we remember those who fought in the war that ended a century ago, as well as in all our wars. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that over 40,000 veterans currently live in the Ninth District; if any are part of your family or live in your neighborhood, take the time to thank them.

Unfinished Business for the 115th Congress

Americans have cast their votes in the 2018 midterm elections and members of the next House of Representatives have been chosen. There is still work for the current House to do, however, before the next Congress takes office in January.

Funding for parts of the Federal Government expires on December 7. Congress had previously passed several spending bills, including Energy and Water, Labor/Health and Human Services/Education, Veterans Affairs, and Defense, and President Trump signed them into law. Remaining spending bills include Agriculture, Interior and Environment, and Homeland Security.

As part of funding the rest of the government, President Trump has insisted that money for a wall protecting the southern border be included. I agree that this funding should be provided. When referring to a wall, I don’t mean only a physical wall but other tools, such as technology, to enhance border security. More border security is important for the integrity of our immigration system.

Funding the government will be a major focus for the remainder of this Congress, but not the only one. I urge action on other priorities for the American people and the residents of the Ninth District.

Many farmers in the Ninth District benefit from programs such as crop insurance in the farm bill, which is reauthorized roughly every five years. Both the House and the Senate have passed their own versions of this important agriculture legislation, but it is important that a final version be agreed upon so we can send the 2018 farm bill to the President.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) affects Ninth District residents who live in areas subject to flooding. It expires on November 30. The NFIP needs to be extended, and I hope that a bill to do so will also include reforms to improve the program for the future.

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has led to economic growth, higher wages, and more jobs. President Trump has suggested another round of tax cuts for middle-class households. I am ready to work with my colleagues to find ways that let middle-class Americans keep more of their money.

I also hope for further action on my bill reforming the New Source Review (NSR) permitting program. This legislation, which has already passed the Environment Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, streamlines overly-complex regulations governing how some facilities update equipment that causes air pollution. If passed, it would promote efficiency while still protecting the environment.

As the 115th Congress nears its close, we will continue working on these priorities for the safety and well-being of Americans.

If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.