Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Senator John McCain Update - February 2015

February 2015 Remembering Kayla Mueller | Court Halts Executive Action Lowering Corporate Taxes | Quote of the Month | ICYMI Event Spotlight | Around the Grand Canyon State
Remembering Kayla Mueller
All of America mourned the loss of Prescott, Arizona native Kayla Mueller, an extraordinary young woman who devoted her life to helping people in need around the world.
Since her graduation from Northern Arizona University in 2009, Kayla had dedicated her life to healing the sick and bringing light to some of the darkest and most desperate places on Earth – in India, Israel, the Palestinian territories and back home in Arizona.
When asked what drove her mission, Kayla said, "I find God in the suffering eyes reflected in mine, if this is how you are revealed to me, this is how I will forever seek you." Kayla's remarkable legacy of service will never be forgotten, even by so many who never had the honor of meeting her.
spoke about Kayla's remarkable life and expressed the condolences of the people of Arizona on the Senate floor earlier this month.

Court Halts Obama's Executive Overreach on Immigration
Last week, a federal district court in Texas reaffirmed my longstanding position that President Obama exceeded his legal authority with his executive action on immigration. The court's order came as it considers a case brought by 26 states, including Arizona, effectively halting the President's plans to roll-back concerted efforts by Congress to secure the border and fix our broken immigration system once and for all.
The President himself has conceded as many as 22 times over the past two years that he does not have the authority to subvert the rule of law on this issue. Yet his recent executive action not only ignores the law but also fails to address the root causes of the dysfunction in our immigration system, including an insecure border; the absence of a rational, efficient guest worker program to meet America's urgent labor needs; and a broken system for legal immigration.

The American people expect and deserve a system that works. I will continue to urge President Obama and Democrats to work with Republicans to secure our border and reform our broken system.
Lowering the Corporate Tax Rate to Create Jobs
Arizona welcomed Apple's announcement earlier this month that it will build a $2 billion global command center in Mesa, marking one of the company's largest investments to-date. While our State has benefited from the growth in high-tech business in recent years with the arrival of companies such as Apple, Raytheon and Intel, we face a critical challenge in keeping these employers and their investment dollars on U.S. soil so they can hire hardworking Arizonans and benefit our local economies.

Today, our country has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world at 35 percent. As a result, companies worried about their bottom-line are keeping profits in lower-tax jurisdictions overseas, depriving our nation of the capital that can do much good in Arizona and all across America.
As a nation, we can and must reverse this trend. That is why Congressman Trent Franks and I recently introduced the Foreign Earnings Reinvestment Act in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, legislation that would encourage the return of the estimated $1.9 trillion locked overseas to the American economy. We highlighted this legislation and the benefits it would bring to our State in a recent article published in The Arizona Republic.
Our bill would temporarily reduce the current 35 percent corporate tax rate to an 8.75 percent effective tax rate on foreign earnings brought back to America. It would also incentivize businesses to hire more workers by allowing companies that expand their U.S. payrolls to obtain an effective tax rate as low as 5.25 percent on profits returned from overseas.
Arizona is an ideal place for innovative businesses. It's time we fix our broken corporate tax system so that we can grow many more Apples around our great State.
Quote of the Month
"There is no member of Congress in either house who is more valuable in confronting the administration's inane foreign policy actions, speaking up for robust American leadership in the world and talking sense on immigration. For all that, we can say, well done Senator McCain." – Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post

In Case You Missed It
·        Clay Hunt SAV Act: I was very proud to be at the White House earlier this month for the ceremony at which President Obama signed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act – a bill I sponsored to reform and strengthen our veteran suicide prevention programs at the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
·        VA Whistleblower Retaliation:sent a letter to VA Secretary Bob McDonald this month regarding troubling allegations made by Brandon Coleman, an addiction therapist employed by the Phoenix VA and a whistleblower who reported concerns about the way the VA in Phoenix managed the care of patients at risk of suicide. Brandon has said he was subject to harassment and intimidation by his superiors, and my office has since learned that Mr. Coleman has been placed on administrative leave.  In my letter, I asked that the VA look into and address this situation immediately.
·        Veterans Choice Issues: I wrote a letter with 41 Senators to VA Secretary McDonald urging him to modify the way that the VA determines veterans' eligibility to receive care at non-VA health care facilities as part of the Choice Card Program, which was established under the VA reform bill that was signed into law last year. Less than one percent of recipients of the Choice Card have accessed non-VA health care facilities since the law went into effect nearly four months ago because of the VA's narrow interpretation of veterans' eligibility. We also urged Secretary McDonald to stop any attempt to reallocate funds away from the Choice Card to other programs within the VA, which President Obama has proposed in his FY16 budget request. Veterans deserve to have the flexibility in care they have earned, and I will not stop fighting to ensure that all service members have access to the best care possible.
·        VA Accountability: This month I introduced the Increasing VA Accountability to Veterans Act of 2015 with Senators Rubio, Ayotte and Moran – legislation that would give the VA Secretary more authority to hold corrupt VA executives accountable for their wrongdoing. The bill would empower the VA Secretary to reduce the pensions of executives convicted of a crime and limit the amount of time senior VA executives can spend on paid administrative leave. Our veterans deserve a VA they can have trust in, and holding corrupt employees fully accountable can begin to restore their confidence.
·        Fighting Wildfires in Arizona: I've continued my work with Senator Jeff Flake to address wildfires and forest health issues. This month we re-introduced the FLAME Act Amendments, legislation that would improve the way the Forest Service budgets for wildfires and approves forest stewardship contracts. Senator Flake and I strongly believe that the answer to our state's wildfire threat is to promote an industry presence across Arizona that will thin our overgrown forests and restore them to a natural state.
·        Border Banking: Earlier this month, I provided written testimony to the Financial Institutions Subcommittee in the Arizona State Senate on community and business access to banking services in states on the U.S.-Mexico border. Senator Flake and I followed-up on that testimony by sending a letter to the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee urging him to hold a hearing on that same issue. Senator Flake and I will do everything we can to determine whether unnecessary regulatory hurdles are impeding border businesses' access to capital and banking services.
·        A-10 Supports NATO Efforts in Europe: I am very proud that a contingent of 12 A-10 Thunderbolt IIs from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson are deploying to Europe in support of our NATO allies and partners in the face of continued Russian aggression in Ukraine. In a time of great tension in Europe, the fact that the Air Force is deploying this contingent A-10s reflects once again the A-10's role as the finest close air-support platform in the U.S. inventory. It also reaffirms my resolve to stop the Administration from its attempts to retire the A-10 fleet without fielding a suitable replacement.
·        Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC): My work as SASC Chairman is off to a strong and productive start. We have held 11 full Committee hearings with witnesses like Henry Kissinger and America's top military leaders, who all agree that we face a world that is more dangerous than it's been since WWII. In the last month, the Committee has confirmed a new Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter; passed legislation on the Guantanamo Bay detention facility; and made a strong bipartisan push to assist Jordan in the fight against ISIL and provide arms to Ukraine to defend itself. I've been grateful for the opportunity to lead the Committee, and we have a lot of work ahead of us.
·        Detaining Terrorists at Guantanamo Bay: This month, SASC passed out of Committee the Detaining Terrorists to Protect America Act of 2015, a bill sponsored by Senator Kelly Ayotte to extend and enhance prohibitions and limitations on the transfer or release of terrorists detained at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. While the Administration is intent on quickly closing Guantanamo to fulfill a political promise, Congress will prevent any closing or transfers without first seeing a secure and effective plan to do so.
·        Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF): After six months of a bombing campaign in the Middle East, I'm glad the President finally presented an AUMF proposal to Congress. However, I have deep concerns about aspects of this proposal, including the limitations it places on the constitutional authority of the commander-in-chief; the failure to articulate an objective for the use of military force; and the Administration's narrow definition of "strategy" that seeks to separate the fight against ISIL from the underlying conflict in Syria and the Assad regime's responsibility for this growing terrorist threat.
·        U.S. Must Arm Ukraine: Despite striking a second ceasefire agreement on February 12, Russia flagrantly violated its terms, continuing on its brazen military offensive against thousands of besieged Ukrainian forces in Debaltseve. But as Vladimir Putin continues on his march, the Obama Administration has refused to offer the Ukrainian forces the weapons they need to defend themselves. With more than 5,000 Ukrainians killed and many more wounded, it is long past time to provide defensive weapons to Ukraine and to impose additional sanctions to cripple Putin's resolve.
·        Honoring Fort Hood Attack Victims: I am pleased that the Army finally announced this month that it will award the Purple Heart and Medal for the Defense of Freedom to all qualifying service members and civilians and contractors who were killed or wounded in the terrorist attack in Fort Hood, Texas in 2009. These victims and their families have been waiting for more than five years for these awards and I look forward to fully honoring their service, for which they will always be remembered.
·        President's Veto of Keystone XL: I was disappointed that President Obama vetoed the Keystone XL pipeline bill this week, a negative signal about his willingness to work with Congress on important legislation over the final two years of his presidency. While it is unfortunate that the President has acted against American jobs, this will not stop Congress from continuing our work to move the Keystone XL pipeline forward.
·        Emmy-Worthy Appearances: The world said farewell to the TV show "Parks and Rec" this week, on which I have made two Emmy-worthy cameos. We also celebrated the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Live, which reminded me of an appearance I made in 2008 featuring my singing voice!
Event Spotlight
This month, we welcomed Senator Barry Goldwater back to the United States Capitol with the arrival of his statue in the National Statuary Hall. Arizona has never had a better champion, and this statue will serve as a beacon, reminding our nation of the timeless founding ideals Barry Goldwater so strongly represented for so many years.

Arizona was center stage at this year's Super Bowl in Glendale. While I would have rather watched the Cards play, I enjoyed attending the game and meeting with many people from across the country who traveled to our great State for America's favorite sporting event.
I had a good conversation with Pete Hegseth, CEO of Concerned Veterans for America, at the "Fixing Veterans Health Care" Summit about ways to improve the VA and deliver better care to all those who have served.
I enjoyed meeting with leaders of the Arizona Association of Counties this week – they are doing great work to represent and serve the communities around our beloved State!

Around the Grand Canyon State
  • Tucson Rodeo, Tucson, 2/21/15-3/1/15: Since 1925, the Tucson Rodeo Parade has grown into one of the top 25 professional rodeos in North America. The nine-day event features bull riding, bareback and saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, team roping, women's barrel racing, and the world's longest non-motorized parade.
  • Arizona Renaissance Festival, Gold Canyon, 2/7/15-3/29/15: The Arizona Renaissance Festival is one of the largest Renaissance-themed events in the USA attracting more than 250,000 people each year. Set in an authentic, 30-acre village, the festival features more than 2,000 brightly costumed actors, dancers, and musicians, 200 craft shops, 13 stages of non-stop entertainment, and an arena for full armored jousting.
  • 7th Annual Bluegrass at the Beach Bluegrass Music Festival, Lake Havasu, 3/6/15-3/8/15: This music festival features bands throughout the day, workshops, arts and crafts, vendors, a kids zone, food and beer garden, and camping for the entire weekend.

American Freedom by Barbara Has NOT received any compensation to post this information,it is a courtesy post