Sam Johnson Journal:
What a productive two years we have had in the 114th Congress! I thank everyone who has participated in our local outreach programs, shared their comments and concerns with me, and who has helped fight for the conservative values we hold dear. We have so much to be thankful for this holiday season. And I think we can all agree that our Freedom protected under the Constitution and defended by our servicemen and women is one of our greatest blessings.
So as we enjoy the holiday season and take time for our family, let us also reflect on what we have accomplished so that we can set new goals to achieve in 2017!
*Click on a topic to jump down to that portion of the page.
This Congress I introduced 35 bills that represent the Third District’s priorities and concerns. Nine of these bills have been signed into law in part or in whole – some as stand-alone legislation and some as part of a larger bill. Some of these bills will be highlighted in the “Top 10 Issues” below.
I encourage you to take a look at the full list and summaries of ALL legislation I introduced – CLICK HERE to do so!
Total Bills Currently Introduced: 35
As a staunch fiscal conservative, I believe Washington should respect taxpayers’ dollars. This means living within its means and balancing its budget. That’s why I have voted time and again against higher spending. For example, I voted against the Obama-Boehner Budget Deal and the Omnibus.
To rein in spending, I also introduced commonsense legislation that would save money and target waste, fraud, and abuse in Washington. Highlights include:
Citizenship in America is a privilege, NOT a right. While we have been a nation of immigrants from the very beginning, we are ALSO a nation of laws. However, under President Obama’s watch, we experienced a surge of illegal immigration due to his refusal to secure the border and enforce our laws – not to mention his executive amnesty. In response, the State of Texas has had to – at its own expense – step up to the plate and secure the border.
In Washington, I have steadfastly supported efforts to secure the border as well as enforce and strengthen immigration laws. Moreover, I have personally made multiple trips down to the border to view the problem firsthand, and I have championed several measures to stop illegal immigrants from fleecing the American taxpayer.
Three bills I introduced this Congress to fight illegal immigration are:
To learn more about other efforts I have taken to fight illegal immigration (including votes on the House Floor, bill co-sponsorships, and Committee hearings), CLICK HERE.
I have been a vocal opponent of Obamacare since it was first introduced. And ever since it was rushed into law by a Democrat-controlled Congress and White House, I have voted to defund and repeal it every chance I get. Key votes this Congress to repeal Obamacare include the Omnibus and the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act (H.R. 3752).
With Republicans taking the helm in 2017, repealing and replacing Obamacare remains a top priority. And this disastrous law must be replaced with commonsense solutions. Republicans have already started work on this with a plan called "A Better Way."
This Congress I also introduced the Small Business Health Fairness Act (H.R. 2868), which would allow businesses to join together to purchase more affordable health insurance through Association Health Plans.
Finally, on the topic of healthcare, you may also be interested to know that I recently voted in support of the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 34). This bill, signed into law December 13th, 2016, will create many new opportunities for medical research, and it will also speed up the FDA approval process to allow new cures and treatments to come to the market faster.
To learn more about my efforts on Health Care, please visit my website HERE.
Over the past eight years, America’s economy has experienced the worst recovery since WWII. Many American families continue to struggle. And it’s no wonder, considering the numerous hits against the economy by this Administration – Obamacare, job-killing regulations, and tax increases, just to name a few. If we want to see more job creation and economic growth, the best thing we can do is foster an environment that encourages entrepreneurs and small businesses to expand and hire workers. Most recently, Republicans offered a plan called “A Better Way.” This plan includes efforts like repealing and replacing Obamacare, reforming our outdated and uncompetitive tax code, and enacting commonsense regulatory reform. Because at the end of the day, Americans want, need, and deserve an economy that works for them. As a free market conservative, I will continue to fight for policies that will help grow the economy and create good-paying jobs for hardworking Americans.
As a Constitutional conservative, I am a proud defender of YOUR 2nd Amendment rights. And we’ve certainly had to defend these rights under President Obama, who has made a hard push for gun control. He has repeatedly tried to impose his radical gun control agenda on law-abiding Americans. When Congress and the American people said “no,” President Obama decided to legislate via the Social Security Administration. More specifically, anyone who is a Social Security beneficiary who also happens to have someone they know and trust handle their Social Security checks for them would be prevented from buying a gun. This is wrong. Old age or a disability does NOT make someone a threat to society. All law-abiding citizens should have the right to own a firearm. Period. That’s why I blasted the President’s actions on the House Floor. In addition, I also introduced legislation (H.R. 3516) to put a stop to this.
My efforts to protect your 2nd Amendment rights include:
If you would like to learn more about my efforts to protect your 2nd Amendment rights, CLICK HERE.
One of my most sacred duties as your representative in Congress is to “provide for the common defense” as the Constitution has laid out. I believe this is more important than ever because today America faces a wide array of serious challenges around the world. We are facing the rise of Radical Islam in the Middle East, not to mention serious threats from Russia, Iran, North Korea, and China. These are all challenges that the United States must rise up and meet in order to protect and defend freedom – freedom we should never take for granted. We cannot allow those who wish us harm to doubt our resolve. We are a peace-loving nation, but we are also brave nation committed to the defense of – and individual freedom for – our citizens. As President Ronald Reagan once said, the best way to secure peace is through American strength. Put into practice, this means that in order to ensure American strength and success, our Armed Forces NEED the funding to carry out their mission safely and effectively.
With that in mind, most recently I voted in support of S. 2943, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which provides critical funding for our military as well as pay and benefits for our troops. The NDAA is on the President's desk, and it is expected to swiftly become law.
To learn more about my efforts to support a strong military at a time when we need it most, CLICK HERE.
The Third District of Texas is a deeply patriotic community that is home to many veterans. And as a 29-year Air Force Veteran who fought in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars – and who spent nearly seven years in the infamous Hanoi Hilton POW camp – supporting our veterans is an issue that is very near and dear to my heart. America’s servicemen and women – past and present – are the protectors and defenders of our democracy. For their service and their sacrifice, I believe that when our veterans return home we should do everything we can to help them transition into public life. This means access to good health care, education, and family support. It also means we, as a community, recognize our veterans for their service.
Here are a few key highlights over the last two years you should know about:
NOW OPEN: Plano’s NEW VA Clinic Opened this Fall
Many North Texas veterans and their families eagerly awaited the opening of Plano’s new VA Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) since its location was announced in the fall of 2015. This facility has been a long time coming, and after years of working behind the scenes to see it established, I’m thrilled that this clinic is already helping our hometown heroes receive more efficient access to the healthcare they want, need, and deserve. This clinic is a small but tangible way for us to thank ALL our veterans for their service and sacrifice to our Great Nation. The CBOC's FAQ page can be found HERE.
Signed into Law: Korean War Veterans Memorial Wall of Remembrance Act
Recently, my Korean War Veterans Memorial Wall of Remembrance Act (H.R. 1475) was signed into law. As you may know, this law will permit a Wall of Remembrance to be added to the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The Wall will list the names of all members of the U.S. Armed Forces who gave their lives in support of Freedom during the Korean War. It will also list the total number of all American POWs and MIAs from the Korean War. Additionally, H.R. 1475 – which has the co-sponsored support of over 300 Members of Congress – will be 100% privately funded. No taxpayer dollars will be spent on this addition! It is my hope that when folks one day visit this Wall of Remembrance at the Korean War Veterans Memorial, that they appreciate and honor the sacrifice of each of those who gave their lives in the Korean War.
Signed into Law: Helping Veterans Save for Health Care
A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a great tool to help individuals and families save and pay for health care expenses, and likewise an HSA is becoming increasingly popular. Unfortunately, the IRS decreed that veterans couldn't make and/or receive employer contributions to an HSA for three months after receiving health care services through the Veterans Administration (VA). As a result, veterans and their families were being denied the use of this important health care savings tool. I don’t think this choice is fair to our veterans and their families, which is why I reintroduced the Help Veterans Save for Health Care Act (H.R. 2514). This bill – which was signed into law as part of H.R. 3236 – now allows U.S. veterans with service-connected disabilities to remain eligible for an HSA.
Accounting for American POWs and MIAs
As a former POW, I have vowed to never stop fighting for the Defenders of our Freedom. That is why I recently introduced H. Res. 871. This resolution calls on the United States government to intensify efforts to account for the 83,000 American service members who are still unaccounted for around the world. It also calls on foreign nations to fully assist in search and recovery efforts. This resolution is in keeping with America’s promise to leave no man behind. In addition to this resolution, I recently urged the President to discuss ongoing U.S. recovery efforts in Laos to repatriate the remains of American personnel still Missing in Action (MIA) in that country from the Vietnam War. Shortly thereafter, the government of Laos agreed to increase recovery personnel numbers and also indicated a willingness to ease burdens on U.S. excavation teams. This was great news for families of MIAs, with whom I have been working.
Service Member Retirement Improvement Act
Troops and veterans deserve fair treatment, and treatment when it comes to retirement is no exception. So when I learned that the IRS hurts America’s Guard and Reserve forces’ ability to save for their retirement because they also hold a civilian job, I wanted to do something about it. That's why I introduced the Service Member Retirement Improvement Act (H.R. 4381). This bill would stop the IRS from hindering Guard or Reserve service members’ ability to save for their retirement. Our service members shouldn’t be penalized when it comes to saving for their retirement just because they happen to serve our country. This bill is supported by a wide range of military and veteran groups. To read their letter of support, CLICK HERE.
Honoring America’s Fighter Aces
One of the most rare and elite groups within our Armed Forces are the men and women who make up the American “Fighter Aces” – fighter pilots with five or more confirmed aerial combat victories. While over 60,000 U.S. military fighter pilots have taken to air, less than 1,500 have been honored with the coveted status of “Fighter Ace.” Now I am not an “Ace,” but I had the honor to serve with several of them. These heroes valiantly defended freedom around the globe, and their efforts and skill have shortened wars and saved lives. To honor this group of rare individuals, I introduced a resolution to award them with Congress’ highest honor: the Congressional Gold Medal. This resolution was signed into law, and this Congress it was my privilege to help present the Congressional Gold Medal to many of America’s “Fighter Aces” at a special ceremony at the United States Capitol. To watch the ceremony, CLICK HERE.
If you are a veteran and you need assistance (service medals, VA, benefits, etc.), CLICK HERE or call my Plano office. My staff and I are happy to assist you.
Since its emergence in 2013, ISIS continues to be a very real threat around the globe. It is IMPERATIVE that we destroy ISIS. In addition to taking the fight to the terrorists, we must also remain vigilant on the home front. This means securing our border. Make no mistake: our border is not secure, and we cannot allow a terrorist to slip through the cracks. Similarly, our top law enforcement officials have made it very clear that, when it comes to Syrian refugees, we don’t know who these people are and we don’t have the capacity to vet them. These refugees come from areas hostile to our American way of life, and protecting the safety of our citizens must remain our top priority. That’s why I’m a co-sponsor of H.R. 3314 – a bill to stop the admission of refugees into the United States. I also took to the House Floor – twice – to urge the President to halt these refugees. In addition, I introduced the K-1 Visa Program Suspension Act (H.R. 4274), which would address the national security issues associated with the fiancé visa program used by the San Bernardino terrorist couple.
As we look ahead to 2017, I pray that President-elect Donald Trump succeeds where President Obama failed: our military deserves a strategy to defeat ISIS from their Commander-in-Chief.
As a Christian, father, and grandfather, I believe in the sanctity of Life…and as a Constitutional conservative, it is a priority of mine to see that the Right to Life is protected for ALL – including the unborn. A big issue in regard to Life this Congress was the release of ten separate videos that exposed Planned Parenthood’s shocking practice of selling aborted babies’ body parts and organs. These videos showed Planned Parenthood is likely profiting from this trafficking, which is illegal. In light of these videos – coupled by the fact that the company admitted 94% of all “pregnancy-related” services were for abortions – Planned Parenthood must be completely defunded of taxpayer dollars.
Major votes to defund Planned Parenthood this Congress included the Defund Planned Parenthood Act (H.R. 3134) and the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act (H.R. 3762). The latter bill passed both the House and Senate, but unsurprisingly President Obama vetoed it.
To learn more about my Pro-Life efforts, I encourage you to visit my Right to Life page on my website!
Drought is a frequent problem in Texas, which is why water is always a top priority in our area. But many folks don’t know that our local reservoirs will soon be unable to meet the total water demands of our area. You see, at Collin County’s current rate of projected population growth, by 2021 we won’t have enough water to meet demand unless a new reservoir is built. And the impact of not having this new reservoir would be direct – water as part of our normal, daily routine would be affected. It’s a serious situation, and one that I’ve long been working on. The solution is the Lower Bois d’Arc Creek Reservoir. But with four years needed to build and fill the reservoir, time is running out. To expedite the federal permitting process for the reservoir, I introduced an amendment to the Water Resources Development Act (H.R. 5303), which passed the House on September 28th, 2016. The Senate then included my amendment in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act (S. 612), which passed Congress on December 10th, 2016. S. 612 is now sitting on the President's desk, and it is expected to swiftly become law. This amendment is a vital step to providing North Texans’ access to clean, affordable water – something all Americans want, need, and deserve.
This Congress I hosted a total of nine tele-town halls. On average, about 5,000 constituents listened in on each of these town halls – and if you were one of the callers who joined us, I want to thank you for participating. I appreciated hearing your comments and concerns, and we had some great discussions on important topics facing our community and our country. Your feedback helps me serve you better.
CLICK HERE to learn about my monthly outreach program where my staff travels to different parts of the district in order to help provide constituents convenient assistance with federal agency issues such as passports, Social Security, veterans benefits and service medals, and more!
CLICK HERE to learn about this annual program I host for civic-minded high school students in the Third District of Texas. CYAC students meet twice each school semester to explore the role citizens, lawmakers, experts, and institutions play in a democracy.
CLICK HERE to learn about my annual CVC program to honor local veterans that y’all nominated for their wartime sacrifices as well as their outstanding peacetime community involvement. Nominations for the 2017 CVC will open in the spring!
CLICK HERE to learn more about the “Fight Fraud Seminar” I hosted this Congress to help folks protect themselves against identity theft! This is an important issue that I work to address as Chairman of the Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee.
CLICK HERE to learn more about my free annual Medicare Open Enrollment Info Sessions I host every fall to help folks navigate their options in order to help them select the best plans for their health care needs in the upcoming year!
CLICK HERE to learn about this new program I launched in 2015 to help folks who need assistance with properly retiring their worn United States flags that are no longer suitable for display. We had our first flag decommissioning ceremony shortly after Flag Day in June of 2016. I thank everyone who came out and participated in this special event.
CLICK HERE to learn more about my annual Art Competition held each spring. We had a tremendous turnout this Congress, and I congratulate our 2015 and 2016 First Place Winners, Hannah Driks (from Allen High School) and Lauren LaChausse (from Prosper High School).
CLICK HERE to learn about how my staff and I help young U.S. citizens between the ages of 17 and 22 apply to serve at one of our Great Nation’s four service academies. You can also learn about my annual information forum in the fall!
CLICK HERE to learn more about my internship programs that are offered in both Texas and Washington, D.C.! These internships are available throughout the year and are designed to give students a chance to learn more about constituent services, the legislative process, and other responsibilities of a Congressional office through first-hand experience!
I invite folks who are attending the 2017 March for Life in Washington, D.C. to stop by my office for my third annual Open House after the march. Please feel free to swing by anytime on January 27th from 3:30-4:30 pm for hot coffee and donuts! If you plan to attend, please RSVP to 202-225-4201 so that there will be plenty to go around!
Every year I hold an outreach program called Valentines for Veterans to coincide with the National Salute to Veteran Patients (the week of Valentine’s Day). I encourage students and teachers in Collin County to participate by creating Valentines for Veterans, which will be hand-delivered to our local veterans hospitalized in medical centers operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Being away from family and friends for long periods of time can be tough, and our veterans’ spirits are always brightened by thoughtful notes.
My staff and I will be reaching out to local elementary schools for additional details about this program. To allow time for sorting and distribution, all valentines must be delivered to my Plano office by Thursday, February 9th. If a school is submitting more than 50 valentines and would like to schedule a pick-up time, please give my Plano office a call at 469-304-0382.
If you or someone you know is an aspiring artist in high school, you should know that each spring the U.S. House of Representatives sponsors the Congressional Art Competition. This annual competition give the winning student in each congressional district a rare and unique opportunity to share their talent with the thousands of visitors who come to visit our Nation’s Capital, and it has brought together amazing artwork from all over the United States. I encourage all high school students residing within the 3rd District to participate - either by submitting artwork or by supporting your friends at the Awards Ceremony and local art show. The Congressional Institute will be releasing details for guidelines and submission deadline soon, and the information will be updated on my website. If you have any questions in the meantime, please call my Plano office at 469-304-0382.
Thank you for taking the time to read this End of Congress recap! Again, I hope you found it helpful.
God Bless you and I salute you,