"Defeating ISISI continue to be horrified and heartbroken by the November 13 coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris. I mourn the innocent victims, pray for them and for their loved ones, and pray for the people of France.
I strongly condemn these attacks. Mr. President, the world needs strong leadership from the US.
Unfortunately, it is all the more clear that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) – which claimed responsibility for these attacks – must not be underestimated. Merely 12 hours before the attacks, President Obama claimed that ISIS had been “contained.” I and others –including Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the top Democrat on the Senate’s Intelligence Committee – disagree. “I’ve never been more concerned,” Senator Feinstein said on November 16. “I read the intelligence faithfully. ISIL is not contained. ISIL is expanding.”
ISIL – or ISIS, as I prefer – is a very dangerous terrorist organization, and it must be defeated. Aggressive American air power hitting numerous ISIS locations simultaneously and boots on the ground provided by our Arab allies (Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt…) can do the trick. A few American sorties a day are not enough, Mr. President.
Working Together to Support Manufacturing
Last week, I was fortunate to have joined some local officials and industry experts in Abingdon at the Manufacturing and Legislative Council Meeting organized by the Southwest Virginia Alliance for Manufacturing (SVAM).
Manufacturers present reported that they seek “industrial maintenance” employees who tend to the repair and upkeep of industrial equipment and machines. It was reiterated to us that manufacturing is more than “screwdrivers and wrenches” – manufacturers need employees trained in information technology (IT) and electrical/ mechanical engineering. Today, “industrial maintenance” means not only opening the machine, but being able to work on the machine’s computer systems. Almost every piece of manufacturing equipment is at least partially computer-driven. If you have these skills, you can find a job.
They also need employers who can think for themselves and solve problems.
I can’t help but think that some laid-off workers in the coal-producing regions of Southwest Virginia, with their skills, could fill available industrial maintenance positions. Others may need additional training. I look forward to continuing to work with SVAM, area manufacturers, and local legislators in this regard, and will continue to look for other methods of supporting and growing manufacturing in our region.
Update – Immigration and the Rule of Law
As you may recall, earlier this year I joined a number of my colleagues in the House and the Senate in signing an amicus brief challenging the President’s actions on immigration. This brief was filed with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of a continued injunction against the Obama Administration’s immigration actions in the case of Texas v. United States.
On November 9, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the injunction blocking the Administration from implementing its plan. Reports indicate the Administration will likely appeal to the Supreme Court for consideration.
I have said this before: Though I believe the President’s immigration actions are unconstitutional, this important debate is not about whether you like these policies. It is about whether you like the rule of law.
Medicare Open Enrollment
As a reminder for all our seniors, the Medicare open enrollment period runs through December 7, 2015. During this time, seniors can add, drop, or switch their coverage options. Seniors and family members may wish to review the options to find the plan that best fits their needs. For more information, visit www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
The Volkswagen Diesel Problem – Are You Affected?
The German car giant has admitted to cheating emissions tests in the US on certain diesel engines from 2009-2015.
My colleagues and I on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are investigating Volkswagen’s actions. To echo Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), “Attempting to deceive regulators and customers is a double whammy of betrayal.”
While VW is attempting to figure out how to fix the diesel problem, they are offering a “Customer Goodwill Package.” That package is predominantly a $500 pre-paid Visa card and a $500 dealership credit.
Consumer Reports notes, “…Volkswagen is calling for owners to submit information online, wait four weeks, then visit a dealership and present a driver’s license, vehicle registration, and title or lease agreement. Owners must claim this award by April 30, 2016.”
Information about the Goodwill Package, including the Program Rules/eligibility, is available on www.vwdieselinfo.com.
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."