4-7-2017 Rokita Report

Dear Fellow Hoosier,

Thank you for the opportunity to update you on the work of the 115th Congress.  I trust this finds you and your family well, as we work together to bring Hoosier common sense to Washington.

For daily updates, please take a moment to "Like" my Facebook page by clicking here  or follow me on Twitter if you prefer  @ToddRokita.


In this week's Rokita Report

  • Response to Syria's Use of Chemical Weapons
  • Confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch
  • Opportunities for Hoosier High Schoolers
  • Thank You Veterans
  • Listening to Hoosiers


Response to Syria's Use of Chemical Weapons

On Wednesday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad launched an attack on his own people, using chemical weapons that killed innocent men, women, and children. Yesterday, we saw pictures of their suffering and knew that the United States had to the message that this kind of brutality will not be tolerated.

President Trump followed through on this last night, launching a missile strike attacking the airfield in Syria from which Assad launched his horrific attack. The President's response makes clear such atrocities are unacceptable. The United States was decisive and showed our leadership again on the world stage. America needs this kind of leadership. The world needs it as well. 


Confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch

Last year, President Trump presented his list of potential Supreme Court nominees, pledging to choose a nominee from it who would respect the Constitution. In January, he delivered on his promise to choose from that list by nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch, who was confirmed by the Senate today by a vote of 54 to 45.

The confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch is a critical victory in maintaining a Supreme Court that objectively interprets the law, not one that writes the law.  Judge Gorsuch’s record demonstrates that he will be a justice with respect for our founding document and for the rule of law.  These are crucial parts of what gives us our American Exceptionalism.  I was proud to lead a letter co-signed by 82 of my House colleagues urging the Senate to swiftly confirm Judge Gorsuch.  I have no doubt that he  will be an asset to the Court for years to come.


Opportunities for Hoosier High Schoolers

I wanted to share two opportunities for Hoosiers in High School.  Once again, my office is participating in the Congressional Art Competition and we have also begun looking for candidates to apply for the service academies this fall. 

The Congressional Art Competition is a nation-wide high school arts completion hosted every spring.  The contest has been running every year since 1982 and has attracted over 650,000 high school students to participate.  My office will be picking a winner from the 4th Congressional District.  The contest is open to residents and students throughout the 4th District, including home school students.  More information can be found on my website.

Every year, I have the privilege of nominating a limited number of young adults to our nation's service academies.  Students at these academies will receive a great education and a commission.  While the service academies are not for everyone, they are the right fit for many Hoosiers.  I would encourage prospective students to seriously consider the academies.  My office has put together a Frequently Asked Questions page for prospective students. 

Thank You Veterans

Last Saturday, Hoosiers welcomed back the latest round of Indy Honor Flight participants.  IHF 22 and IHF 23 were successful Honor Flight missions.  Honor Flight is a program that flies, at no charge, veterans from across our country to their national memorials in Washington DC.  After these visits, the returning veterans are given the hero's welcome that they deserve in their local communities.  At Plainfield High School, I was on hand with a crowded gymnasium to thank our veterans returning on IHF 22 and IHF 23 for their service.

The MC for the ceremony was Major Ryan Core and hundreds of Hoosiers greeted two planes full of veterans on their return from DC.  This was the 22nd and 23rd flights that Indy Honor Flight has flown.  An Honor Flight is an incredible undertaking - there are 160 wheelchairs, 8 coolers with ice and drinks, duffle bags filled with thank you mail, 178 posters, food and snacks for over 400 travelers, and it was made possible by the help of 300 volunteers.

It was a great honor to greet our returning veterans, including Sgt. Leonard Estes who served in the Korean War.


Listening to Hoosiers

My job is to represent you in Congress.  Hoosiers often come before me with requests to cosponsor legislation and I wanted to share with you some of the bills that I have cosponsored in the 115th Congress as a result of these meetings and follow up research.

H.Con.Res 10, a resolution on the sense of Congress on the importance of fraternal benefit societies.  This resolution was a request from Thrivent, a not-for-profit Christian service organization that provides volunteer services to charitable organizations, schools, congregations, and individuals.  Thrivent offers financial products and services with a strong presence in Indiana.  The Knights of Columbus is another  fraternal benefit society.  These organizations bring in billions in direct and indirect benefits to communities around the country every year.

H.R. 350, the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act was first brought up to me by Fleece Performance Engineering in Brownsburg.   Historically and by Congressional action, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not regulate motorsports automobiles to the same standards as street legal cars.  Under President Obama, the EPA considered regulating these vehicles.  I cosponsored the RPM Act as a way to tell the EPA that this overreach was wrong.

H.R. 1698, the Iran Ballistic Missiles and International Sanctions Enforcement Act, was one of the priorities for Hoosiers with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) when they visited me last week.  This bill strengthens American sanctions against individuals and entities who carry out malign activities in Iran.  This bill targets Iran's ballistic missile program by making it clear that American policy is to prevent Iran from undertaking further missile-related activities and creates mandatory standards for restoring sanctions against Iran.

Last week, I met with Hoosier representatives of AIPAC to discuss H.R. 1698 and their concerns with the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement which is rooted in anti-Semitism.  Indiana has passed laws to provide the state with tools to counter the BDS movement and I support efforts to protect those laws.


Thank you for your continued interest in Congress and for supporting my efforts to bring Hoosier common sense to Washington. Take care.  


Todd Rokita