Yesterday, the House passed my legislation to give states like Rhode Island a leg up when we’re competing for federal funding to strengthen our manufacturing industry. I’ve been working to get this legislation signed into law since I first came to Congress, and I’m pleased that we’re now one step closer to making this goal a reality.
When they’re given a level playing field, Rhode Islanders will outwork and outperform any competitors. If this bill becomes law, it will allow our state to request a designation as a “Defense Manufacturing Community.” This designation will give selected communities an edge when competing for funding, as well as financial and technical assistance through the Department of Defense, meaning more full-time, good-paying jobs in the years ahead.
Once this bill is signed into law, I’ll be working with our private, public, and non-profit sectors to take advantage of this opportunity, and I’ll be sure to keep you informed of our progress.
HONORING SERGEANT MCKENNA
Earlier this week, the President signed my bill into law to honor Sergeant P. Andrew McKenna Jr., a Bristol native who was killed while serving in Afghanistan in 2015. As a result, the U.S. Post Office at 515 Hope Street in Bristol will be renamed in memory of this great Rhode Islander.
I had the opportunity to meet Sergeant McKenna and thank him for his service when he was honored at the 2015 Bristol Fourth of July Parade. He represented all that is great about Rhode Island and our country. He was a patriot. He loved America deeply and devoted his life to its service. The strong character and values that he learned growing up in Rhode Island guided him until the very end. I am grateful that we are honoring his life with this permanent memorial.
TAKING ON THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC
The opioid epidemic is the most significant public health crisis we’ve faced in decades. Opioid addiction knows no boundaries – it impacts folks of all different races, ages, and backgrounds. We need to do everything we can to end this crisis.
That’s why I was proud that Senator Reed, Senator Whitehouse, Congressman Langevin, and I were able to deliver nearly $3.9 million in funding to curb the risks of opioid addiction and overdose in our state. This critical funding will make a real difference in the lives of folks struggling with addiction. It’s important that we continue doing everything we can to win the fight against opioids. Click here to learn more about this announcement.
STANDING WITH FIRST RESPONDERS
Senator Reed, Senator Whitehouse, and I also recently announced that the local fire departments in Cumberland, Lime Rock, and Pawtucket have been awarded more than $500,000 for new equipment and protective gear through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program.
This important funding will help ensure that our brave first responders can do their jobs as safely and effectively as possible. I’ll continue working to do everything I can to make sure that our firefighters, police, and all other first responders get the resources they need. Click here to learn more about how this funding will be used.
MAKING HIGHER EDUCATION ACCESSIBLE
Access to affordable higher education has always been one of the keys to ensuring that the young people of America can enter the workforce successfully and go on to a rewarding career, but right now the cost of higher education is forcing more and more people to choose between taking on crippling debt or giving up their dream of a degree or credential. We have to do better.
That’s why I joined several of my colleagues to introduce the Aim Higher Act earlier this week. This is a comprehensive bill that will give every young person the chance to earn a degree or get a credential without debt. It will increase investments in financial aid, make the majority of Pell Grant funding mandatory, and create new incentives that require states to offer two years of tuition-free community college. Click here to see my remarks at our press conference announcing the bill.
FIGHTING FOR LOWER PRESCRIPTION DRUG COSTS
When President Trump was a candidate, one of the few things I agreed with him on was his promise to lower the cost of prescription drugs. It has been one year and a half since he took office, and he’s done nothing to do that. The President broke his promise to America’s seniors.
It’s not the first promise he’s broken in his life, and it won’t be the last, but this one has stuck with me the most. I have met with too many seniors across Rhode Island who are struggling with the high cost of prescription drugs. Our seniors shouldn’t have to spend hours on the phone, shopping around for drugs, or breaking pills in half so they don’t have to pay to refill their prescriptions.
Since President Trump came into office, Republicans have voted to weaken protections for folks with pre-existing conditions, increase out-of-pocket expenses and premiums, and steal from Medicare and Medicaid to give a tax break to the biggest companies and wealthiest Americans in this country. Americans deserve better.
One of the first proposals Democrats announced last summer, as part of our economic agenda, was a plan to lower the cost of prescription drugs. Our plan allows the government to drive down drug prices by negotiating lower prescription drug prices for Medicare. It also requires drug manufacturers to publicly release hard data and information justifying any significant increase, and it cracks down on price gouging in a very significant way.
It is time that Washington start working For The People -- not just for the pharmaceutical companies and executives who fund Republican campaigns.
As always, if you or someone you know has any questions or concerns, please call my office at 729-5600 or send me an email at David.Cicilline@mail.house.gov.
You can also click here to follow my work on Twitter.
Member of Congress
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