5-19-2017 Rokita Report

May 19, 2017 Issues: Education

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

  • House Support For Our Nation's Law Enforcement
  • Helping the Employees of the 21st Century
  • President Trump's First Foreign Visits


House Support For Our Nation's Law Enforcement

This week is National Police Week.  Police Week is held every May during the week of May 15, which is National Peace Officers Memorial Day.  The week pays special recognition to law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.  Police Week has been held every year since 1962.

On National Peace Officers Memorial Day, a remembrance and recognition ceremony is held at the U.S. Capitol.  This year, both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were in attendance.

Law enforcement serves a vital role in our community and I respect their passion and dedication to service.  This is a respect that I hope to teach my children.  This respect is the foundation of good relations with their communities to allow law enforcement officials to protect citizens.  As a sign of this respect, the House passed several bills to support law enforcement this week including:

  • American Law Enforcement Heroes Act which makes it clear that Community Oriented Services programs grants can be used for hiring and training additional law enforcement officers.
  • Improving Fusion Centers' Access to Information Actwhich will enhance the information sharing in the Department of Homeland Security State, Local, and Regional Fusion Center Initiative. The Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center will benefit from this information sharing. 
  • Honoring Hometown Heroes Act which allows local officials to order the American flag be flown at half-staff to honor a first responder who dies while serving in the line of duty.
  • Thin Blue Line Act which amends the federal criminal code to expand the list of statutory aggravating factors in death penalty determinations to include the killing or attempted killing of a first responder.

Helping the Employees of the 21st Century

On Wednesday, the House Education and the Workforce Committee passed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act by voice vote.  As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, I recognize the importance of modernizing our nation's career and technical education (CTE) programs.

Job creators have made it clear to me that there is a disconnect between the careers available in the market and what Washington bureaucrats have made policy decisions for.  On Wednesday, the committee sent a message that this has to change.  We need to update federal CTE policies to help students gain the knowledge and skills they need to compete for in-demand jobs.  We do so by tackling key issues such as:

  • Empowering state and local community leaders by simplifying the application process for receiving federal funds and providing the flexibility to use federal resources to meet the demand of changing local education and economic needs.
  • Aligning learning opportunities with in-demand jobs with better community partnership and encouraging employer engagement.
  • Protecting taxpayers by increasing transparency and accountability with streamlined performance measures that ensure CTE programs deliver results and elevate communities.
  • Limiting Washington's role by reining in the Secretary of Education's authority including limiting federal intervention and preventing political favoritism.

I look forward to helping guide our bill to passage before the full House.


President Trump's First Foreign Visits

This week, President Trump will set forth on his first foreign visits as President.  He will be traveling to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Vatican City.  This trip will provide him an opportunity to meet with Muslim leaders, visit our most important ally in the Middle East, and meet with Pope Francis.

I am encouraged by the direction that President Trump has taken on the international stage.  As President, he has made it clear that the United States will lead.  He has taken over at a difficult time.  Under President Obama, Iran was allowed to advance its nuclear programs and Russia was able to exert undo influence in Syria, Ukraine, and more.

This week, I signed onto a letter encouraging him to carry out his promises to the American public on Israel.  President Trump has promised to improve relations with Israel and stated that he would follow the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, a law stating that the United States would move our embassy to Israel's capital, Jerusalem.  2017 is the 50th Anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, which happened following the Six Day War of June 1967.  Jerusalem had been split for 19 years and following that war was reunified under Israeli sovereignty.  Under Israeli sovereignty Jerusalem and its religious sites have been open to all people.  It is time that the United States take a stand in supporting what all civilized nations in the world are given - the right for their capital to truly be recognized as such by the United States.


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


Todd Rokita