U.S. Congresswoman Herrera Beutler | E-Newsletter
District Update | September 17, 2016 Click here if you have trouble viewing this email
U.S. Congresswoman Herrera Beutler
Bill making it easier for parents to travel with infant food moves forward

This week, my bill – the BABES Act -- was passed unanimously in a U.S. House Homeland Security Committee markup. The next step would be a vote on the U.S. House floor.

While the Transit Security Administration’s (TSA) current special procedures already explicitly permit parents traveling with infants to bring formula and breast milk that exceed the 3-1-1 Liquids Rule for carry-on baggage, the reality for many parents is far different.  Many have experienced inconsistent harassment-like scrutiny that has resulted in significant travel interruptions, broken equipment and wasted food. Click here to read the reports of several of these accounts.

The BABES Act directs the TSA to provide ongoing training so that its agents consistently enforce current procedures across all airport security checkpoints to better accommodate parents who are adhering to the regulations listed on TSA’s website

Reforming discipline for bad actors in the VA, improving the VA claims process

Stephen Stetson of Vancouver, past State Commander and current member of the National Legislative Committee for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, visited my D.C. office this week. We discussed several priorities for veterans including improving VA accountability and reforming the appeals process. 

Veterans deserve the best care in return for the service they have given to our nation. This week, the U.S. House passed the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act of 2016.

This bill will improve VA care by making the process for disciplining or terminating VA employees proven to have been engaged in misconduct faster and more streamlined. It also allows the VA to reduce an employee’s pension if they were convicted of a felony that influenced their job performance. 

The bill also takes additional steps to protect whistleblowers from retaliation, and provides more avenues for them to submit complaints. The VA must regularly submit to Congress both documented complaints and the steps taken by the agency to resolve the complaints’ underlying issues.

Additionally, the bill also improves the VA appeals process by providing veterans with the opportunity to choose one of three appeal options that best suits their needs – an increase from the single appeals avenue available currently. This would significantly speed of the appeal procedure for many veterans by giving them the option of waiving a hearing and shortening other steps in the process. Click here to read more about this legislation. 

Marking an important milestone in an effort to reduce birth defects 

Earlier this week, I joined with several maternal health organizations while in D.C. to celebrate the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of adding folic acid to corn masa-- a staple food in the Hispanic community.

Wheat has been fortified with folic acid for nearly 20 years, successfully reducing birth defects in the U.S. However, Hispanic women still have a 20% higher chance of giving birth to a child with an often-fatal birth defect like spina bifida or anencephaly than non-Hispanic white women. Maternal health organizations strongly believe adding this same vitamin to corn masa will help.

Earlier this year, I joined with several of my colleagues in urging the FDA to quickly make a decision on approving this important change.  The fortified products should be available in stores this fall, and an increase in healthy pregnancies will most certainly result.

COLUMBIAN: C-Tran awarded $6 million federal grant for new buses

LONGVIEW DAILY NEWS: Longview, Clark County public transit receive expansion grants

COLUMBIAN: Behind health law’s ‘growing pains,’ more serious problems?

WAHKIAKUM EAGLE: Sen. Murray and Rep. Herrera Beutler announce investments for Longview and Clark County

Are you a high school student interested in applying for a military service academy? Read on!

My office is hosting a Service Academy Information Session to provide the opportunity for prospective academy candidates and their families to learn about the nomination process.  

Saturday, September 24, 2016
1:00- 3:00pm

Vancouver Community Library 
901 C Street
Vancouver, WA 98660

If you have any questions about the service academy nomination process, please join us.

Washington, DC Office
1130 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3536
Fax: (202) 225-3478
Vancouver Office
O.O. Howard House (Officers' Row)
750 Anderson Street, Suite B
Vancouver, WA 98661
Phone: (360) 695-6292
Fax: (360) 695-6197