Dear Neighbor,

With Congress in session today and for the next few weeks, I'm writing to give you a quick update on what I've been working on here in Washington. Last week, I participated in two hearings covering two very different, yet equally important issues. One focused on protecting victims of crime; the other highlighted the government's violation of your fourth amendment rights.

I testified before the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee to defend two important programs to our community and nation: The Crime Victims Fund and VAWA. Congress established, and President Reagan, signed into law the Victims of Crime Act, which created the Crime Victims Fund. The money in this fund comes solely from criminal fines, forfeitures and other penalties. There are no taxpayer dollars involved. This Fund is so important because it allows criminals to pay for the harm they've caused their victims, covering the costs of important services they would not be able to afford on their own. The money belongs to victims. It should not be used as a slush fund by Congress for any other purpose.

Congress should also safeguard VAWA - or the Violence Against Women Act. VAWA helps to pay for domestic violence shelters, sexual assault services, and rape crisis centers. VAWA is a needed investment in our communities that helps to save lives, rebuild families, and even prevent future crimes.Click here to hear my testimony:

As a strong constitutionalist, I firmly believe that the Bill of Rights cannot be trampled on, even in the name of "national security". Currently, the National Security Agency is using a loophole in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to spy on Americans--without a warrant. Under Section 702 of FISA, government agents may seize information from databases on suspected foreign terrorists. But, in the process of seizing this information, the NSA also seizes data on American citizens without a warrant - data that includes emails, texts, and voice communications.  Often, these databases are searched for information regarding American citizens. That is wrong. And, that violates the Constitution and amounts to an abuse of power by our government. I've introduced legislation, the End Warrantless Surveillance of Americans Act, to prevent this type of government snooping from happening. Click the video below to hear more of my thoughts from a House Judiciary Committee hearing last week on this issue:

I also held a telephone town hall to over 75,000 homes in our district. I answered questions about what's happening in Washington and heard what's on your mind. The topics ranged from the upcoming debates on Obamacare repeal and replacement, border security, tax reform, and flood insurance to the investigations in Russia's activity. Remember if you have a question, be sure to email it to me.

It's great to see neighbors visiting the Capitol. Here are a few photos from my meetings last week.


Member of Congress