Dear Friend,

As legislative work resumes on Capitol Hill this week, our nation faces decisions on several critical issues. By Wednesday, we expect to hear the President's strategy for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). We need a comprehensive strategy to end the threats of this terrorist organization overseas and to protect our homeland. 

As Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, I will be working on a Continuing Resolution to fund the government through the remainder of the year. The House has worked diligently to pass spending bills in regular order; however, the Senate continues to sit dormant under Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who refuses to address Appropriations bills. Now, our country is faced with this short-term spending alternative, rather than going through the regular checks and balances that you do at home for your own budgets. Americans deserve better. 

On Tuesday, the "Waters of the U.S. Regulatory Overreach Protection Act" (H.R. 5078) is scheduled to be considered on the House Floor. I co-sponsored this legislation in response to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' absurd proposal to redefine "waters of the U.S." under the name of the Clean Water Act. This regulation would be an incredible expansion of federal authority and another crushing blow to all sorts of industries in Kentucky, making it harder to mine coal, to construct roads and shopping centers, and even to build homes. H.R. 5078 will uphold the federal-state partnership to regulate the Nation's waters, rather than giving bureaucrats in Washington the authority to require local communities and individuals to obtain costly and time-consuming permits for what we call "dry beds" in eastern Kentucky. Stay tuned for more details later this week.

Bill Bryant and I recently discussed several of those national issues, along with local and statewide concerns on WKYT-TV's Kentucky Newsmakers. Click here to watch the interview at http://www.wkyt.com/news/kynewsmakers

Last week, I had the privilege of speaking to the Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce alongside U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, followed by our joint participation in the Union College Drug Abuse Education Roundtable in Barbourville. We celebrated Union's new book in partnership with The Facing Project, called Facing Addiction in Knox County: It's Our Move. Proceeds from the book will help send middle school students to Camp UNITE next year, a four-day camp designed to promote drug free education and awareness among students in southern and eastern Kentucky. Click here to read more about the program and roundtable participants in The Times-Tribune.


I was pleased to speak to Commerce Lexington last week about national issues and the SOAR initiative that Governor Steve Beshear and I launched last year to help diversify the economy in southern and eastern Kentucky. We are moving forward to develop "Kentucky's Super i-Way," stretching high-speed, high-capacity broadband across the state, beginning with Phase I in Kentucky's Appalachian region. This project will improve access in the most rural parts of the state, opening up our region to greater job opportunities and progress. During the chamber event, I also commended the work of Kentucky Employers' Mutual Insurance (KEMI) and President Jon Stewart (right photo) for supporting Operation UNITE's drug free education initiatives, like Camp UNITE, distribution of medication lockboxes, and the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit
The next SOAR Executive Committee meeting will be held Tuesday, September 23rd, at the Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Slade. Join SOAR in shaping the future of our region by attending meetings and following the organization online at http://soar-ky.org, on Facebook @ShapingOurAppalachianRegion, and on Twitter @SOAR_EKY.


If you would like to receive more frequent updates on what's happening in Washington, please send me an email, join my Facebook pagefollow me on Twitter, or subscribe to my YouTube channel. Thank you to everyone who has dropped by to share your opinion -- let's keep the dialogue going!