Dear Friend,
The 2015 SOAR Strategy Summit has been rescheduled for May 11, 2015! The Summit will be held at the East Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville and I am looking forward to another great day working with folks from across the region. Stay tuned for an updated agenda and more details.

As you know, the SOAR Summit was cancelled due to the major winter storm that many of our communities continue to suffer from. I applaud Governor Beshear for making a prompt emergency declaration, allowing additional resources to be used for water distribution and other needs. Several of my field representatives and employees from Operation UNITE volunteered to help with water distribution efforts across Harlan and surrounding counties. I also want to applaud all of our first responders for dedicating additional hours to help our families in need during this winter storm. 
As Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, it has been a busy week with budget hearings for each department now underway for fiscal year 2016. In each hearing, I targeted issues that are important to the people of eastern Kentucky from prescription drug abuse to rural housing to support for SOAR to the coal industry.
On Wednesday, Secretary Sylvia Burwell from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) testified during her first Labor, Health and Human Services Subcommittee hearing. I shared concerns that despite ObamaCare's broad reach and outrageous price tag, many still remain without access to basic health services. I also advocated for the seven critical access hospitals in eastern Kentucky, reminding Secretary Burwell of the impact that her proposed changes in reimbursements and critical access designations would have in our rural region alone. Watch the full hearing here>>> 

I also applauded HHS for its attention to prescription drug abuse across the nation. Secretary Burwell will be a keynote speaker at the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit in Atlanta, Georgia on April 6-9 hosted by Operation UNITE.

Coal was a major issue this week on Capitol Hill, as I blasted the Administration in four separate budget hearings for continued job-killing regulations for coal mines and power plants. I pushed for regulatory relief, budget cuts, commonsense rules, and asked agencies to simply abide by the laws that have already been established. Read more here >>>
I also led 26 Members of Congress in a joint letter of opposition to the Administration's efforts to encourage members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to impose stringent conditions on public financing of overseas coal-fired power plants. The Administration recently made similar efforts to restrict coal project financing through Export-Import Bank and the World Bank, which we have successfully reversed through the Appropriations process. Read the letter here >>>

On February 10, I was deeply honored to receive the Distinguished Service Award during the 12th Annual Friends of National Service Awards Ceremony hosted by the Voices of National Service at Union Station in Washington, D.C. Thanks to Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service for presenting me with this award and for continuing to support SOAR and the UNITE Service Corps.
Read more here >>>
I count it a great privilege to have received the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation's "Friend of Farm Bureau" Award again this year. Thanks to President Mark Haney and the board for visiting Washington, D.C. and presenting me with the award!

It was a pleasure to have John and Nancy Hale join me in Washington, D.C. for the National Prayer Breakfast on February 5th. John is a longtime educator in southern Kentucky and volunteers countless hours as Chairman of the UNITE Rockcastle County Coalition. Nancy is also a longtime educator and is the new President and CEO of Operation UNITE. Read more about Nancy's vision for the future of UNITE here >>>                                                          

The 2015 National Rx Drug Abuse Summit on April 6-9 is shaping up to be another incredible national discussion about the drug abuse epidemic. Operation UNITE has lined up heavy-hitting keynotes and designed sessions to address everything from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome to college "study drugs" to the marijuana movement. Learn more about the summit here >>>


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