We began this week by taking time to honor our nation’s fallen heroes. The House continued to honor our nation’s military men and women by passing legislation that funds the Department of Veterans Affairs. It was also a big week for SpaceX and quite a disappointing month for jobs.
On Monday, I was humbled to speak to Memorial Day events in Waco and Bryan/College Station. In my remarks, I stressed that all Americans should strive to keep the “memorial” in Memorial Day and to honor our fallen military heroes always.
This week, SpaceX successfully completed its Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) demonstration flight. Making history as the first commercial company to send and dock a spacecraft to the International Space Station, and return to earth.
On May 22nd, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched the unmanned Dragon spacecraft into orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Once in orbit, Dragon completed several tests around the International Space Station (ISS) and then successfully docked with the space station on May 25th. Once docked with the ISS, astronauts unloaded supplies from Dragon and filled it with return cargo. On Thursday, Dragon detached from the ISS and returned to earth landing in the Pacific Ocean.
I am very proud of the accomplishments SpaceX has achieved, especially given that their state-of-the-art rocket development facility is located in McGregor. It is very exciting to know that about 170 SpaceX constituents of Texas’ 17th Congressional district have played an integral part in the success of this and future missions. The city of McGregor is justifiably proud to have such an exciting company in the community, one which exemplifies the spirit of American ingenuity and innovation. I look forward to the future of SpaceX as it continues to develop safe and affordable domestic alternatives to deliver cargo and, ultimately, crews into space.
May Jobs Report
On Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics released the May unemployment report. May saw the lowest number of jobs added in over a year and we saw the unemployment rate rise to 8.2%. We have now experienced 40 consecutive months with an unemployment rate above 8%. It is agonizing to see millions of Americans continue to suffer through the country’s continuing economic malaise.
House Republicans remain steadfast in creating more opportunities for job creators and cutting regulatory red tape which hinders job creation. Just recently, House Republicans set forth the summer legislative agenda aimed at improving job creation and the economy, reducing spending, and shrinking the size of the federal government. As Americans continue struggle to find good-paying full-time jobs, it is time for Senate Democrats to take up and pass the dozens of House-passed bipartisan jobs bills that promote confidence for job creators and help get our economy back on track.
Washington needs to focus on real world, private sector solutions to lead our country out of its current economic mess. By adopting the policies similar to those successfully implemented by President Reagan, which led to several years of economic growth, House Republicans continue to focus on proven strategies to grow our economy.
Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations
On Thursday, the House passed the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act. This appropriations bill provides our nation’s military with the funding needed to remain strong and vigilant in the War on Terror and continue to maintain our commitment to our veterans. It ensures that we can provide for the brave men and women currently serving in our military forces as well as keeping our promises to those who have served. This bill holds the line on spending without compromising the quality of services provided to our troops, our veterans, and their families.
I was successful in adding an amendment to this bill. The amendment prevents funds from being made available to enforce Section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Section 526 prevents federal agencies from securing fuel from non-conventional sources such as coal-to-liquids, oil shale, and oil sands. This amendment ensures that the military and federal agencies have access to cheaper, stable, and domestic fuel resources. I was successful in adding this same amendment to the recently passed Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Act.
|Click on the picture above to view Congressman Flores remarks on the Section 526 amendment.|
Also on Thursday, the House passed the Intelligence Authorization Act. This bill provides oversight and authorization of critical national security programs, including those that detect, prevent, and disrupt potential terrorist attacks against the American people. The bill affirms our commitment to the intelligence community that we are united in ensuring they have the tools needed in order to do the very difficult and dangerous work of keeping America safe.
FDA Reform Act
On Wednesday, the House passed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Reform Act. This bill provides major reforms to the FDA’s current evaluation and approval processes for prescription drugs and medical devices. It enables companies to bring their breakthrough products to market faster, while maintaining the highest levels of patient safety. New user fee programs for generic drugs will take steps to prevent drug shortages and encourage the development of treatment options for children with rare diseases. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), this bill will reduce the federal deficit by $370 million over ten years.
We will have another newsletter next week; until then, I encourage each of you to continue praying for our country during these challenging times, for the families of our veterans who are no longer with us, and for our military men and women who protect us today.