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SEEKONK, MASSACHUSETTS, United States

Saturday, September 1, 2018

AN AMERICAN HERO. U.S. Representative David Cicilline.

Dear David, 

John McCain dedicated his entire life to our country. His commitment to public service and the founding values of our country were unparalleled and, like all Rhode Islanders, I was very sad to learn of his passing.

As the son and grandson of four-star admirals, Senator McCain learned early in his life the responsibility that all Americans have to put our country before ourselves.

America first learned his name during the five and a half years he spent as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. He was beaten and tortured for days on end, leaving him with scars and permanent physical injuries. Still, he maintained his resolve and refused to accept an offer of early release so he wouldn’t give his captors a propaganda victory.

In Congress, Senator McCain remained true to his convictions. He led the fight for campaign finance reform, brought Republicans and Democrats together to try and fix our broken immigration system, and never hesitated to stand up to bullies and demagogues on either side of the aisle. In an era defined by partisanship, Senator McCain broke ranks with his own party to oppose the use of torture by the Bush administration, to expose the corrupt activities of Jack Abramoff, and to cast the deciding vote that preserved the Affordable Care Act last year.

He is an American hero and a man of incredible, unbreakable courage. And he is an example to all of what it means to be a statesman, not a politician, because he always put our country first.

Last Sunday, I joined CNN’s State of the Union panel with Jake Tapper to reflect on the life and legacy of Senator John McCain. You can watch the segment on my Facebook page by clicking here .

RENEGOTIATING NAFTA 

On Monday, President Trump announced that the United States and Mexico had reached an agreement to revise portions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). While waiting for Canada to jump on board, he also suggested the trade pact would be finalized within days.

Bad trade deals and Republican tax cuts for the wealthy have shipped jobs overseas and held down American wages for decades. As President Trump works on a new trade deal with our neighboring countries, it is critical that he fix these problems.

Any new agreement needs to give working Americans a raise, eliminate incentives that ship American jobs to other countries, and put working men and women first, ahead of corporate special interests.

I look forward to reviewing this agreement in full once the administration submits it to Congress.

ENHANCING PUBLIC SAFETY 

As your Representative, bringing federal funding back to Rhode Island is one of my top priorities in Congress. That is why I am so excited to share with you that more than $3.8 million in federal funding has been awarded to our state to enhance local fire departments’ abilities to meet recommended staffing, response, equipment, and operational standards.

The Cumberland, Saylesville, Smithfield, and Woonsocket Fire Departments will use these grants to hire and train new firefighters. These federal funds are being awarded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant Program to help local fire departments comply with the standards established by the National Fire Protection Association.

These critical resources will help Rhode Island firefighters effectively respond to emergencies and allow the brave men and women in these departments to help keep our communities safe.

PROTECT STUDENTS, NOT FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS 

Once again, we’re seeing the Trump administration put special interests ahead of hardworking Rhode Islanders. Since 1993, students who have been misled by their institution of higher education have had a legal right, legislated by Congress, to relief from their federal student loans.

Last month, however, the U.S. Department of Education proposed a new rule to reduce loan relief for defrauded students by $12.7 billion over 10 years and make it nearly impossible for students to have their loans discharged. No one who’s been a victim of fraud should be told to fend for themselves.

Student loan debt is a bigger problem today than either credit card or auto debt. According to recent reports, Rhode Island is the 7th-worst state to live in for folks paying off student debt. Seven in ten American college graduates have student loan debt today and one out of every five owes more than $100,000 on the loans they took out to earn their degree.

This is also not the first time Secretary DeVos has taken the side of fraudulent universities over students. It’s ridiculous that she wants to make it even more difficult for students to recover money that’s been stolen from them by shady for-profit institutions. I wrote to Secretary DeVos strongly opposing these measures and urging her to revise the proposal and provide all students the relief to which they are entitled.

You can read that letter on my website by clicking here .

REPUBLICAN SABOTAGE OF THE ACA 

I joined representatives from HealthSourceRI and members of my Congressional Women’s Advisory Council on Monday to discuss how Republicans are sabotaging the Affordable Care Act by driving up the cost of health care and threatening care for some of our most vulnerable Americans, including those with pre-existing conditions. During our panel, I also laid out the House Democrats' plan to protect affordable health care and lower costs for more Americans. You can watch the event by clicking here 

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. 

Warm Regards,
 

David Cicilline
Member of Congress