House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy Raises $23 Million in Q1 2019, Most By Any House Republican in History

Washington, DC — House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) announced that through his political committees in the first quarter of 2019, McCarthy raised $23.06 million — the most ever by a House Republican in one quarter.

Additionally, McCarthy transferred $5.56 million to the NRCC in March, totaling $7.28 million transferred for the quarter. Added to his Take Back the House Joint Fundraising Committee and other efforts, McCarthy has transferred or raised $12.5 million to campaign efforts for members, candidates, and supporting organizations.

Kevin McCarthy released the following statement upon the announcement:

“Republicans are on the offensive — and the American people are counting on it. After just one quarter the new Democrat majority is already wasting it away — spending more time appeasing the new Democrat socialists than solving problems. In fact, Democrats have underperformed the Republican House majority last Congress on nearly every measure.

“Instead of working through their promises such as infrastructure reform and lowering the cost of healthcare, the Democrats are obsessed with trying to damage President Trump and avoid the reality of their ineffective majority. To me, this underperformance was foretold. It was the unprecedented resource discrepancy between the parties that propelled Democrat victories last fall.  

“As Leader I am 100 percent committed to giving our members and candidates every resource advantage possible to debate the issues and win the arguments that will decide our country’s future. Our results this quarter mark the beginning of our journey to take back the House.”

McCarthy Holds Valley Fever Roundtable

Congressman Kevin McCarthy held a valley fever roundtable in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.

McCarthy, co-chair of the Congressional Valley Fever Task Force, led the meeting along with Arizona Rep. David Schweikert, his co-chairman on the task force. The goal of the discussion was to get an update on what is being done to address valley fever and gather feedback on what needs to be done moving forward — treatment, diagnosis and getting an eventual vaccine for it.

Leading valley fever researchers, patient advocates and other professionals from organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health participated in the event, as well as other members of Congress.

“I’m very excited that we have CDC and NIH here, and a lot of others,” he said. “You all know in this room the challenge of what valley fever has done, the lives it has cost us. Let’s build off where we were before, let’s get an update on where we are, what we need to finish the job.”

Schweikert said valley fever research has come a long away over the past five years, and he expects that a major breakthrough could come sooner rather than later with the help of the valley fever experts at the roundtable.

“If it’s true that we’re three-to-five years from an animal vaccine, I’m giddy about that,” he said. “Help us understand if there’s some creative things we can do…to cut down on the timelines. Help us be creative to get that human vaccine done.”

Schweikert said he wants to know what it would take to get a vaccine ready for testing sooner, such as additional funding, streamlining the process or providing more population and patient data.

Media were invited to cover the opening remarks of the roundtable discussion but the event itself was not public.
Valley fever is a disease that infects people through fungal spores that live in soil. Patients may experience flu-like symptoms such as cough, fever and chills. While most people are able to live with valley fever, it can be fatal for the most vulnerable populations, such as young children and the elderly.

In 2017, valley fever killed nine people in Kern County and infected 2,929, according to the Public Health Services department. The numbers for 2018 are expected to be released sometime in April.

KGET: Vietnam Vet Finds a New Home

BAKERSFIELD, Calif.

One local Vietnam veteran finally has a place to call home. After the Veterans Affairs gave Curtis Fitts the run around, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other local supporters, stepped up to make sure this hero has a roof over his head.

“I feel home, I feel the love,” Fitts said.

After being homeless and living in RV’s he wanted somewhere to feel safe, something he hasn’t felt since before the war.

“Its what we have been looking for all this time,” Fitts said.

He and his wife Carol have waited 37 years for a place to call home.

Mr. Fitts has health issues and serious trauma after being shot down three times in Vietnam.

“The war stays with you, you never really forget it,” Fitts said.

So when House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, found out Mr. Fitts was having a problem with a VA loan, he intervened.

“This is a man that risked his life, when he came back his back and neck had been broken,” McCarthy said.

In a week’s time McCarthy and his team worked with the VA to make sure the Fitts could make this house a home.

“He had gone through the whole process of getting this home and was approved and last minute was held up when he was about to move in,” McCarthy said.

Kern County Veterans Affairs Director, Dick Taylor, had a group of Vietnam vets help welcome the new homeowners.

“Like this its great to be just a small part of being able to help out sand help vets navigate that maze of bureaucracy, ” said Taylor.

“What a better way for a nation to say thank you,” said McCarthy.

The Fitts still need to furnish their home if you would like to donate you can contact:

The Patriots of Kern
(661) 868-7300 or 1120 Golden State Ave. Bakersfield, Calif. 93301

ABC23: 9/11 Artifact in Bakersfield

An artifact from the World Trade Center in New York City arrived in Bakersfield on Wednesday.

This beam is a six and a half tons of steel and concrete.

It was brought down almost 15 years ago in the 9-11 attacks

The beam traveled nearly 3000 miles from New York, through tornado watches, rain and wind, a trip that truck driver Mike Edgar was first hesitant to make.

The piece was welcomed by hundreds including congressman Kevin McCarthy, who says Bakersfield, with its tight-knit first responder community, is the perfect home.

This is that sacrifice first responders make that led Laura Ortiz to pull her son out of school to see the beam.

The 9-11 memorials will be unveiled at between fire station 15 and the Bakersfield Police Department’s substation on the 15th anniversary of the attacks.

TNR: How Congress Is Fighting Against Terror

By KEVIN MCCARTHY, U.S. House Majority Leader

Last week the world was sadly reminded of the existential threat ISIS poses to democracy and religious freedom. And we know now that innocent Americans lost their lives in the cowardly attack in Brussels. These latest attacks offer a reality check on the current strategy to defeat ISIS, which President Barack Obama boasted last year saying, “The strategy that we are pursuing is the right one.” Furthermore, the president declared, “What I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning,” he continued.

These remarks exemplify the massive foreign policy disparity between me and many of my House colleagues, and the president. In the House we continue to do what is in our power to keep Americans safer from extremist threats like ISIS. On the other hand, our commander in chief remains reluctant to take the steps needed to destroy ISIS. Instead, he has spent much of his presidency spreading false hope that the “tide of war” is receding despite mountains of evidence to the contrary.

With ISIS conducting terrorist attacks from Brussels and Paris to close to our home in San Bernardino, there is a growing consensus that what the president is doing—and not doing—isn’t working. Contrary to the president’s claim that ISIS is contained, the group has, in the words of former Obama National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon, “metastasized.” Donilon is not the only former official showcasing concern. Mike Morrell, former director of the CIA under the Obama Administration, recently argued, “After Paris, we’ve done very, very little to degrade [the ISIS] network. We’re still not degrading ISIS enough to degrade their ability to attack us in the West.” The White House fails to understand that radical Islamic terrorism knows no boundaries or borders, and extremists like ISIS will do anything to kill those who believe in freedom and liberty. Simply put, the problem is getting worse, and this president isn’t adjusting to that reality.

That is why after the Paris attacks, I took action and formed the Leader’s Task Force on Counterterrorism and Homeland Security. Our goal is to uncover and fix gaps in our nation’s security. The Task Force is made up of the chairmen of the Armed Services, Appropriations, Intelligence, Homeland Security, Judiciary, Foreign Affairs and Financial Services committees. In just a few months, we have been able to develop and implement substantive fixes to our security apparatus. Since November we have passed six bills beefing up the security of our nation while strengthening our allies’ ability to combat terror travel. Most notably, we acted to solve a massive liability within our visa waiver program.

Before the House acted, people who had traveled to terror hotspots and who held passports from visa waiver countries could enter the U.S. with very little scrutiny for up to 90 days. With the war on terror being waged by transient militants, this gap provided just the opening needed to plot and execute an attack in the United States. Our legislation requires all individuals who have traveled to Iraq, Syria, Iran or Sudan within the last five years to undergo an intensive visa screening process — so that their entry isn’t automatic like it used to be. Furthermore, it requires travelers from visa- waiver-program countries to have electronic passports, which will ultimately help law enforcement agencies share and disseminate information globally. The president signed our legislation into law.

In addition to visa reforms, we have crafted legislation to tackle airport security efforts. In March the House passed the Counter-terrorism Screening and Assistance Act, which requires other countries to strengthen travel screening so threats don’t come to our shores. We also moved closer to passing the Safe Gates Act, which will improve passenger and airline safety at foreign airports that have direct flights to the United States. With what happened at the Brussels airport, our Task Force will thoroughly review vulnerabilities further and work to produce more solutions to help keep our nation safe in an increasingly unsafe world.

The stakes have never been higher, because the dangers have never been greater. Instead of spending time partnering with communist dictatorships, the president should spend the time to produce a whole-of-government, fully resourced strategy that protects American interests in the region, bolsters regional stability, and defeats and destroys ISIL as he pledged to do. That strategy will find willing partners in the House of Representatives, but we need that leadership now.

RO: President Turns His Back On Valley

It is now more than two years ago when President Barack Obama came to the Central Valley and promised to help the area deal with what was then just a two-year drought. Fast forward through two more years of drought and the President has done nothing.

Last week, Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein called on the president to help to turn on the San Joaquin Delta pumps to send water to the Central Valley — water that is plentiful this year because in most areas of the state, rainfall has been above average. It was the second time in two weeks the senator has made such a request and as of today, the president has not even responded. Maybe he is too busy learning how to tango.

As wild as it might sound, more water is being sent out to the ocean in the name of protecting fish than what was sent last winter. Millions upon millions of gallons of water is rushing out to the ocean as many northern California reservoirs are having to release water because the reservoirs are full. Yet, the San Luis Reservoir — a key component of supply water to the Valley’s westside farmers — remains half full and it is likely those growers will once again claim water from behind Friant Dam, water which would come to eastside growers if not taken.

Fish supporters argue they have as much right to the water as farmers, and many may agree if that right was 50-50. The truth is, on average, three-fourths of the water in the state flows out to the ocean every year, leaving just a fourth — about 50 million acre-feet — for farmers and cities. Of that, farmers get about 40 million acre-feet.

The president has the power to help and does nothing, just like he has done nothing the past two years. Those controlling the Delta and the pumps, which can send water south, are unwilling to compromise. The president is unwilling to help and left to suffer are residents of the Valley.

That water from behind Friant Dam could slow the use of the underground water supply and in some areas be used to replenish that underground supply. It could stop subsidence of the land, and provide jobs and income for tens of thousands of poor people, yet our President and California Gov. Jerry Brown refuse to act.

Sen. Feinstein and our Republican federal lawmakers such as Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) and Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) should be applauded for doing all they can to get more water for the Valley. Hopefully somebody finally listens.

BN: Local WWII Veterans Honored

LAKE ISABELLA, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Dozens of folks braved rainy weather Friday in the Kern River Valley to be a part of a medal ceremony for two local World War II veterans.

Congressman Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, presented 97-year-old Ed Matako and 92-year-old Harold Reed with several service medals the military failed to provide decades ago.

Reed was a mechanic in Army Air Corps, stationed in England. He and his twin brother were both drafted and sent to Europe in 1942. Reed says he’ll never forget the size of the aerial assault on D-Day. The planes, he said, blotted out the sun in England as they passed overhead.

As for the medals, he’s got something special in mind for them.

“I want my grandkids to have them,” he said, fighting tears.

Matako enlisted in the Navy in the late 1930s, ultimately serving for two decades. He spent much of World War II at Pearl Harbor and narrowly missed being aboard the U.S.S. Arizona during the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941.

But Matako was all smiles talking about his service, joking, “It took me nine months to get in the Navy and 20 years to get out.”

If you or a loved one is missing service medals or never received medals earned for service during a war, contact your congressman.

MN: President is California Dreamin’ about Obamacare

California Dreamin’, an iconic anthem from the ’60s, has stood the test of time. But Friday, with the president scheduled to visit San Jose, it’s also a fitting refrain for the White House’s perception of Obamacare.

California has become the latest battleground over its effects. The sad truth about Obamacare’s broken promises has been revealed, coupled with revelations of the rate shock that is on the horizon for millions of Americans.

Remember the president’s promise that “if you like your current health care plan, you will be able to keep it?” Not true for millions, who are finding out they will lose their employer-sponsored coverage. Some labor unions are so upset that they are now urging full repeal.

Remember when Barack Obama was barnstorming the country promising his health care plan would lower family premiums by $2,500 a year? Sadly, the average family premium has grown by over $3,000 since those promises were first made in 2008.

With the bad news snowballing, Covered California — the state’s new health insurance exchange — seemed to come to the rescue. Two weeks ago, Covered California announced a “home run” for consumers, proclaiming that insurance premium rates would remain steady if not decrease in 2014. However, a closer look told a different story, and multiple analyses soon emerged to suggest the state was comparing apples to oranges to grapefruit.

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It turns out Covered California compared the future Obamacare individual market rates to current rates in the small group market. News reports indicated the average premium for individual plans last year was $177 a month while the average premium for a 2014 Obamacare plan would be $321 a month. That’s an 81 percent increase.

The president is in San Jose today to embrace the questionable numbers put forward by Covered California as part of an Obamacare victory tour.

Any honest assessment of Obamacare has established that it will make health insurance much more expensive. Even Gov. Jerry Brown acknowledged as much earlier this year, noting in his state budget that “large rate increases in the individual insurance market are likely”. This is consistent with numerous studies commissioned by states, actuaries, and health plans.

A recent House Energy and Commerce Committee investigation shows Americans will pay shockingly more for health insurance. Examining documents from 17 leading health insurers, the committee found that consumers purchasing insurance on the individual market may average premium increases of nearly 100 percent with potential highs eclipsing 400 percent. Meanwhile, small businesses can expect premium increases of up to 50 percent, with potential highs over 100 percent.

It’s not surprising that the savings are failing to materialize. The law requires you to buy a government-sanctioned insurance policy that covers the services Washington has determined you need. So it doesn’t matter if you’re a 21-year-old female, you’re getting the same insurance as a 65-year-old male. Because the government has limited consumer choice and mandated that insurance cover nearly everything, costs are going up.

The other reason prices are climbing is that competition has failed to materialize. Last month it was revealed that three of the largest insurers in the United States–United, Aetna, and Cigna–would not participate in California’s exchanges.

Rather than allowing a robust market, Covered California picked who would be allowed to make bids to participate in the Exchange. More than 32 interested plans were whittled down to only 13 allowed participants, with only two statewide plans. Furthermore, Covered California only allowed health plans to offer standard products created by the Exchange, prohibiting offering additional “alternative plans.”

This is a trend. In New Hampshire it looks like only one health insurer will serve its Obamacare Exchange, while North Carolina will have two or three. Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., the District’s insurance commissioner has accused the area’s largest insurer of “gaming the system” for failing to offer many Obamacare plans.

While the president is California Dreamin’ today, the Obamacare rate shock nightmare will soon be a reality across America.

U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) serves as majority whip, and U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (MI-6) chairs the House Energy & Commerce Committee. They wrote this for this newspaper.

DN: Aerospace Innovators Freedom to Create in California

California has long been a hotbed of innovation, where individuals came with a dream and the opportunity to make the unthinkable into reality. Our state is leading the way in an exciting new industry – private commercial spaceflight, with the potential to create new jobs and new technological advancements.

The world witnessed another historic achievement above the skies of Mojave as SpaceShipTwo’s hybrid rocket motor propelled it to supersonic speeds in its first-ever flight test, marking another step closer to safe and routine access to space.

Together, we represent the Antelope Valley,which has a long history in aerospace breakthroughs. It is the location where then-Air Force Capt. Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in the Bell X-1. It is where the Rutan Voyager was designed and built before successfully flying around the world without refueling. And now it is leading the way in private spaceflight with SpaceShipOne and now SpaceShipTwo.

As we see entrepreneurs such as Burt Rutan and Richard Branson dare to achieve the unthinkable, we must ensure that they have the freedom to innovate and create without government making their lives more difficult. Our fear is that soon, because of California’s increasingly onerous regulatory climate, other more business-friendly states will offer better incentives and opportunities for these companies to relocate this burgeoning industry – an industry that has already had a significant and tangible impact on California’s economy.

We need to simplify the lives of our innovators so they can focus on pushing the envelope, and not on pushing endless streams of paperwork from Sacramento and Washington bureaucracies. They should have a business environment that gives them the freedom to succeed, the freedom to fail and the freedom to take risks. We believe it is essential that state and federal laws focused on this new industry enable innovators with the tools they need to grow.

Last Congress, the House extended the Federal Aviation Administration learning period for spaceflight regulation through 2015. As a part of the FAA’s reauthorization bill, this key provision granting regulatory certainty to the commercial spaceflight industry serves to allow for several years of flight testing and early commercial operation of new human spaceflight vehicles.

Last year, the California Legislature passed the Space Flight Liability and Immunity Act, and Gov. Jerry Brown signed it into law, assisting space tourism firms by providing limited indemnification. The California Senate is now considering Senate Bill 415 to extend the liability limitation to manufacturers and suppliers, which is critical to ensure that California stays competitive with states such as New Mexico and Texas.

If we are truly committed to economic prosperity, we need to continue to reduce over-regulation and over-litigation. As Californians, rather than allowing California’s unfriendly business climate to restrict opportunity and increase costs that stifle future innovation, we must instead champion solutions that create a new business climate that preserves the California Dream, where an individual can still dream big, take risks and make the impossible a reality.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, of the 23rd Congressional District serves as majority whip in the House of Representatives. State Sen. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, represents the 21st District in the California Senate.

Bakersfield: Holding the VA Accountable

From the Revolutionary War to Iraq and Afghanistan, our military is the force protecting our nation and the ideals upon which it was founded. Every day, the brave men and women in our armed forces risk their lives — and too frequently make the ultimate sacrifice — to defend and preserve our freedom and way of life. One way we honor those who have served is by ensuring they get the care to which they are entitled when they return home. This is why Congress rightly voted to increase resources for veterans’ health — an uncommon occurrence in today’s fiscal climate. However, despite increased resources, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is failing to provide our veterans with timely benefits and services.

In January, I wrote about the unacceptable backlogs and wait times that our veterans are forced to face at the VA. The Los Angeles Regional Office, which serves Kern County veterans, is one of the worst in the country. Eighty percent of the more than 25,000 claims are backlogged, forcing some veterans to wait years before they receive benefits or even medical appointments. These horrific stories prompted me to request the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office to conduct an audit on the VA to identify the real causes of the problems and recommend solutions.

The GAO audits confirmed our veterans’ worst complaints. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki’s stated goal is to process claims within 125 days by 2015, but the GAO found that the average processing time is now 318 days. House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller and I immediately called upon Shinseki to take swift action to implement the GAO’s recommendations, including specific steps such as:

* Partnering with the Department of Defense to reduce time frames to gather records from National Guard and Reserve sources.

* Partnering with the Social Security Administration to reduce time frames to gather social security medical records.

* Ensuring the development of a robust plan that defines performance goals that include the impact of individual initiatives on processing timeliness.

The VA can begin by focusing its efforts on integrating VA and DOD health data and upgrading existing records into a single shared electronic health-records system. More broadly, changes must be made that address the structural problems within the VA as well as the lack of modern technology — the Los Angeles clinic, for example, is still 100 percent paper-based. Furthermore, personnel must be motivated and properly trained. There is no one transformative fix; changes in technology, process, people, and greater accountability among its leadership and senior employees are required.

As I said in January, I will hold VA leadership accountable to this goal. That is why this month, the Veterans Affairs Committee held two hearings in Washington, attended by senior VA officials and representatives from the GAO, where I questioned VA Undersecretary Allison Hickey on the alarming statistics in the GAO audits and blatant leadership problems within the VA. But instead of acknowledging many of the problems identified by the GAO, Hickey denied many of the audits’ findings. For example, when I asked her about productivity, she said it had increased. But GAO statistics show it has actually dropped over the last 10 years. If the VA is meeting its own productivity metrics, why did they have to close down the Los Angeles Regional Office for four weeks in January to retrain the staff? Equally as troubling, according to the VA’s own Monday Morning Workload reports, the shutdown did not improve the processing delays — in fact, they are just as bad as before.

It is clear that the VA needs a comprehensive cultural change that is more results-oriented and respectful of the needs of our veterans. I have requested that the VA report to Congress a plan on how the VA is going to implement the GAO’s recommendations and better process claims in a timely manner that ensures accountability and improves outcomes. The men and women who have served our country deserve our gratitude for helping to ensure that we can wake up every morning to a nation of endless possibilities. The dysfunction within the VA is unacceptable and I will hold VA leadership accountable until these problems are corrected and our veterans see real results.