Ben Cline: Sixth District Perspectives

Ben ClineMy first week serving as your representative in Washington literally started with a bang – the bang of the Speaker’s gavel opening the 116th Session of Congress on January 3 as directed by the Constitution. I was humbled to take the Oath of Office as the 35th Congressman from Virginia’s 6th Congressional District alongside my family and more than 200 constituents who traveled to Washington to witness their government in action. Unfortunately, the 116th Congress is mired in a partial government shutdown over border security. I am hopeful that an agreement can be reached between Congress and President Trump that will protect our borders and re-open the affected government agencies.

Upon taking office as your new Congressman, I made sure to hit the ground running. On Day One, I announced the hiring of my full staff for the Washington and four Virginia District offices. Like my predecessor Congressman Bob Goodlatte, I have established offices in Roanoke, Lynchburg, Staunton, and Harrisonburg. The staff who have signed up to serve Virginia’s 6th Congressional District are all extremely well-qualified individuals whose experience and commitment to service will benefit all the citizens of our region.

The first day of session was not just about ceremony, though. One of my first actions in the U.S. House of Representatives was a vote against the omnibus spending bill put forward by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It did nothing to address the problems currently impacting border security, which includes a need for improved barriers to stop the flow of illegal immigrants, drugs, and sex trafficking across our southern border. Residents of the 6th Congressional District deserve a secure border, and we must make sure our communities are safe from the drugs and other illegal activity that result from inadequate border protection.

While there was disagreement over legislation to address our problems at the border, there was bipartisan agreement and support for H.Res. 6, a bill to help address the problem of increasing levels of government bureaucracy. It is no secret that Congress is broken, and we must act in order to make this branch of government functions as our founding fathers expected it would. H.Res. 6 would create the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. The committee would address a variety of issues, including improvements to rules and procedures as well as technology and innovation. I was pleased to join my colleagues across the aisle in passing this much needed legislation.

Another bipartisan bill I supported was H.R. 269, important national security legislation to address the growing threat of pandemics in the United States. It renews funding for the prevention of outbreaks such as Ebola and puts in place coordination of emergency medical responses to natural disasters. This bill also protects the medical professionals who volunteer during crises from liability, encouraging more individuals to answer the call to service in times of need.

Serving in Congress is about more than legislation. It is also about providing constituent services to the people of our region. That is why my office has opened locations across the 6th Congressional District. A complete list of locations and phone numbers may be found at http://cline.house.gov/contact/offices. If you need assistance with a federal agency such as the Social Security Administration, the Veterans Administration, or any other problem with the federal bureaucracy, please call the district office closest to you. We will work with you to get answers and provide necessary assistance.

Thank you again for the honor of serving you in Congress. I look forward to hearing from you in your Capitol and seeing you back home in the 6th District.

Ben Cline is a member of Congress.

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