6-16-2017 Rokita Report

Jun 16, 2017 Issues: Veterans

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

  • Rep. Scalise and the Congressional Baseball Game
  • Happy Father's Day
  • Keeping the Promises We Made Our Veterans
  • Celebrating the New Archbishop of Indianapolis


Rep. Scalise and the Congressional Baseball Game

Wednesday morning, in a senseless act of violence, a cowardly gunman opened fire on Republicans practicing for the annual Congressional Baseball Game.  The Congressional Baseball Game is a tradition where both parties put aside their political differences and play one another in the baseball diamond to raise funds for charitable causes.  The gunman shot five people - House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, Matt Mika who works for Tyson Foods, Congressional staffer Zach Barth, and Capitol Police Officers David Bailey and Crystal Giner.

I was shocked when I heard the horrible news about Wednesday's shooting.  Many of those who were targeted on the practice field are my friends.  Kathy and my thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted by this shooting.  I also want to thank our law enforcement officers for responding quickly and heroically to the situation.

Steve Scalise is a leader, a mentor, and a good friend to me.  In 2013, when he was Chairman of the Republican Study Committee, I was part of the RSC's health care taskforce that helped write a conservative alternative to ObamaCare.  Steve introduced the product of our work and we have seen ideas from that bill incorporated into the American Health Care Act, which passed the House earlier this year and is now before the Senate for consideration.  This year, when I wrote a letter to the Senate urging the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, Steve did not hesitate to sign on and was the highest-ranking member of Republican leadership to do so.  I am grateful to be Steve's colleague and I will keep his family in mind as he recovers.

Steve and I participating in a panel on health care for the Republican Study Committee.  Sitting between us is John Fleming, he was appointed to serve as a Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services.

I am proud to report that the Congressional Baseball Game that Steve so loves went on.  On Thursday night, the Democrats won the game but handed the trophy to be kept in Scalise's office as he recovers.  President Trump sent a message of his support and told us when it was time to "play ball."  It was a night that was heavy on all of our hearts, but a game that was played for Steve and all Americans.

Happy Father's Day

Sunday is Father's Day.  Father's Day is a day to recognize our nation's fathers.  Fathers serve irreplaceable roles as pillars of their families and communities.  Of the many blessings that I have in life, being the father of Teddy and Ryan is the greatest.  It is the best and most important job that I have ever had.  I know that I serve as a role model for the boys and have an important role in helping guide them.

The Bible tells us of the role that parents have.  Proverbs 22:6 says "start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it."  Our children learn from us by both lesson and example.  Having the guidance of a mother and a father is invaluable.  Children without fathers have a:

  • Greater risk of living in poverty.  12 percent of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, while 44 percent of children in fatherless families were living in poverty according to the US Census Bureau.
  • Dramatically increased risks of substance abuse according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Increased risk of behavioral disorders according to the Center for Disease Control.
  • Disproportionate chance of dropping out of high school  According to the National Principals Associations Report, 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.

As fathers, we must be there for our children.


Keeping the Promises That We Made to Our Veterans

On Tuesday, the House passed the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act.  The VA is an important institution that helps our veterans, but we can’t let it lose sight of this mission.  We need to keep our promises to our veterans.  This bill would give the Secretary of the VA, David Shulkin, the ability to remove bureaucrats who aren’t doing their jobs to help the men and women who sacrificed everything for our country.  This legislation will also protect individuals who bring concerns about the VA forward while ensuring employees still have their right to due process protected.

The bill was introduced in the Senate by my friend Senator Marco Rubio.  It passed the Senate by voice vote and the House 368 to 55.  It now heads to President Trump's desk and the President had previously indicated his support for the bill.


Celebrating the New Archbishop of Indianapolis

This week, Pope Francis announced the elevation of Evansville Bishop Charles C. Thompson to Archbishop of Indianapolis.  Bishop Thompson is the oldest of three children and was born in Louisville, Kentucky on April 11, 1961.  He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Louisville on May 30, 1987.  His installation mass is scheduled for July 28 in Indianapolis, where he will also receive the Pallium, the insignia of his role as Metropolitan of the Indianapolis Province.

As a practicing Catholic, I am pleased by the appointment of Bishop Thompson as Archbishop of the Indianapolis Archdiocese.  Bishop Thompson has been a leader in Evansville promoting faith and community.  As Archbishop, he will be able to continue guiding so many individuals in their faith. He is making a real difference throughout Indiana and I am looking forward to working with him to advance Catholic values.


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


Todd Rokita