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WASHINGTON –U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) today introduced the Abolish Human Trafficking Act which strengthens and reauthorizes key programs that support survivors of human trafficking and provide resources to federal, state, and local law enforcement officials on the front lines of the fight against modern-day slavery.  Senators Bob Corker (R-TN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dean Heller (R-NV), Ron Wyden (D-OR), March Rubio (R-FL), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) originally cosponsored the legislation.

Amy Klobuchar

“Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, and one of the most pressing human rights issues of our time. We have a solemn responsibility to support victims of human trafficking as they recover and to help law enforcement bring justice to the criminals who exploit them,” Sen. Cornyn said. “This bill ensures that both victims and law enforcement officials will continue to get the resources they need to end commercial exploitation in America.”

Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

“Over the past year, we’ve seen a significant increase in the amount of survivors calling for support and cases reported to the National Trafficking Hotline. This is truly a national problem, and that’s why I’ve made it a priority to address this issue in the Senate,” Sen. Klobuchar said. “Our bipartisan legislation equips law enforcement with the resources to crack down on this crime and provides victims with the support they need to get back on their feet.” 

Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)

“The exploitation of fellow human beings must not be tolerated in our society.  This bill takes important steps in the fight against human trafficking through additional law enforcement, prevention and victim assistance.  It’s one of many bills I’ve supported or sponsored in an ongoing effort to stop human traffickers in their tracks,” Sen. Grassley said. 

“Sex-trafficking victims experience the worst of humanity, and we have a moral imperative to do all we can to stop it. The bill we are introducing today to combat sex-trafficking bill builds on the progress we made in the 2015 legislation by improving training for prosecutors so they’re better equipped to hold traffickers and buyers accountable and achieve justice for victims,” said Sen. Feinstein. “Just last week I met with law enforcement officials and anti-trafficking advocates in Fresno to discuss how to improve our efforts against trafficking. One area of consensus was the need for more training and resources to increase awareness of this heinous crime so law enforcement, community groups and medical professionals are better equipped to respond. This bill will do just that.”

“This legislation will play an important role in the fight against modern slavery within the United States by helping victims and giving law enforcement the tools they need to combat this brutal industry,” said Sen. Corker. “This scourge on humanity knows no borders or boundaries, and I remain committed to efforts that will help end trafficking and modern slavery worldwide.”

“We’ve seen the devastating effects that human trafficking has on communities in Ohio and across the country,” said Sen. Brown. “We must do more to protect Ohioans from the most heinous of crimes and to provide justice, restitution, and healing for trafficking survivors.”

“The scourge of human trafficking exists right here in our own backyards, and we must continue to fight against it,” said Sen. Heller. “I am proud to support the Abolish Human Trafficking Act, which supports victims of human trafficking and empowers law enforcement to combat this heinous crime.”

“Eliminating sex trafficking in America requires everybody – law enforcement, health care providers, social workers, foster parents, judges, teachers, neighbors and members of Congress to lock arms in common cause,” Sen. Wyden said. “I am proud to continue working with my fellow senators on both sides of the aisle to take steps to address the scourge of sex trafficking and provide important help to prevent this horrendous crime and assist its victims.” 

Sens. Cornyn and Klobuchar were the authors of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, a 2015 law that increased the resources and tools available for combatting human trafficking in the United States. The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act ensures that American law enforcement is equipped to fight this crime, while helping victims rebuild their lives by using fines and penalties against their exploiters to fund restorative services and compensation. The Abolish Human Trafficking Act enhances and expands the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.

Background on the Abolish Human Trafficking Act:

Funding for Victims’ Services and Law Enforcement: The Abolish Human Trafficking Act extends the life of the Department of Justice Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund, which is financed through fines on convicted human traffickers and sexual predators and through an annual allotment from the Community Health Centers Fund and was used to provide nearly $5 million to victims’ services last year.  Additionally, the legislation clarifies that federal law enforcement may impose liens on the property of criminals who fail to pay required fines to the Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund and allows Child Advocacy Centers to use resources from the Fund to provide services to human trafficking victims. Finally, the legislation reauthorizes key Trafficking Victims Protection Act programs that are used to fund restorative services for victims and law enforcement anti-trafficking operations

Empowering and Restoring Victims’ Lives: The Abolish Human Trafficking Act permanently authorizes the Human Trafficking Advisory Council, through which human trafficking survivors formulate annual recommendations to combat and prevent this crime to the Federal Government.  The legislation also requires mandatory restitution for victims of commercial sexual exploitation offenses. 

Fighting Human Traffickers: The Abolish Human Trafficking Act gives law enforcement additional tools and resources to target criminal street gangs involved in organized human trafficking and sexual exploitation. By enhancing statutory maximum penalties for several human trafficking offenses, the legislation ensures the penalties remain an adequate tool for prosecutors.  The bill also expands the authority of state and local governments to seek wiretap warrants in sexual exploitation and prostitution cases and establishes Human Trafficking Coordinators at every U.S. Attorney’s Office and at the Department of Justice.  In order to help curb foreign offenders and internal human trafficking, the legislation clarifies that persons who travel overseas with a motivating purpose of engaging in illicit sex tourism can be federally prosecuted for their offense.

Increasing Awareness and Prevention:  The Abolish Human Trafficking Act requires Department of Homeland Security to develop specialized screening protocols for implementation across federal, state, and local law enforcement anti-trafficking task forces to ensure agencies nationwide are trained to recognize victims and refer them to services instead of arresting or prosecuting them.  Additionally, the legislation directs the Department of Health and Human Services to continue a pilot program to provide training to health care providers on human trafficking.  The bill makes a number of improvements to data collection and reporting so that agencies can better utilize information.  The legislation ensures that regular reporting on the number of human trafficking crimes is separated from reports on the particular form of the offense for the use of the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program and requires the Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking to provide an annual report on the use of data received from the national human trafficking hotline.  Lastly, the Abolish Human Trafficking Act requires National Institute of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct a landmark study on the long-term physical and psychological effects of the commercial sex trade.

Breaking the Cycle of Sexual Exploitation: The Abolish Human Trafficking Act ends government partnerships with the commercial sex industry and improves the national strategy to combat human trafficking by utilizing demand reduction techniques.

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.

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Appears on Fox Business with Neil Cavuto to discuss Air Traffic Control reform and the recent terror attacks in London

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) yesterday appeared on Fox Business’s ‘Cavuto: Coast to Coast’ to discuss President Trump’s Air Traffic Control (ATC) system reform and modernization initiative, the recent terror attacks in London, and the President’s executive order to facilitate stronger vetting procedures for refugees, among other topics.

On Air Traffic Control reform, Sen. Cruz said:

“I think it’s a big deal that the President came out today and is leading on this issue,” Sen. Cruz said. “This issue on substance should be a no-brainer. Number one, it is about jobs. My number one priority is jobs, jobs, jobs, and when it comes to aerospace and airlines in Texas, there are over 130,000 jobs in Texas that depend on the airline and aerospace industries and by modernizing Air Traffic Control we will see an increase in safety, a decrease in waiting times, decreased costs, and improve the environment by having far less emissions. It should be a no-brainer. My hope is we will see Republicans and Democrats coming together behind a pro-jobs initiative and I commend the President for leading on it.”

On the recent terrorist attacks in London, Sen. Cruz said:

“I do think these terrorist attacks highlight the need to do everything we can to defeat radical Islamic terrorism and to keep our country safe,” Sen. Cruz said. “All of us hope and pray we don’t see similar terror attacks here at home. That threat is out there. ISIS and radical Islamic terrorists want to murder Americans here at home. I commend the Trump administration for taking seriously that we shouldn’t be letting in refugees to this county that we can’t vet to make sure they aren’t terrorists, that we need to be using all the law enforcement tools that we can, consistent with the Constitution, to keep our country safe.

 

 

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‘Last week, it was reported that only three insurers, three insurance companies who offer plans on the Obamacare exchanges, will return to the Houston area in 2018. In 2016… just last year, there was more than twice that number.’

‘Obamacare continues to fail the American people by not delivering on its promises.’

‘We’re committed to… replacing it with patient-centered options that actually work, that help people get the type of coverage they want at a price they can afford.’

WASHINGTON – Today on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) discussed Obamacare’s harmful impact as carriers in the state of Texas are pulling out of the exchanges, leaving some areas with only a few options from which to choose.  Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below, and video of his remarks can be found here.

“Last week, it was reported that only three insurers, three insurance companies who offer plans on the Obamacare exchanges, will return to the Houston area in 2018. In 2016… just last year, there was more than twice that number.”

“Houston, after all, is the nation’s fourth most populous city, so if you are seeing that sort of trend there, it can and it will happen everywhere. Obamacare continues to fail the American people by not delivering on its promises.”

“When president Obama made the extravagant promises he made and yet we have the evidence of its failure, it’s clear that the American people were misled when it came to Obamacare. So many people aren’t getting the access to health care they thought, and those who are using Obamacare exchanges are finding it’s increasingly expensive.”

“We’re committed to… replacing it with patient-centered options that actually work, that help people get the type of coverage they want at a price they can afford.”

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.

 

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Attends White House announcement regarding the modernization of American aviation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today attended the White House announcement of the new Air Traffic Control (ATC) system reform and modernization initiative.

“I am grateful this administration has been eager and willing to reduce the burden of federal regulations and mismanaged bureaucracy on a variety of America’s core industries,” Sen. Cruz said. “The aerospace and aviation industry directly provides over 130,000 Texans with good paying jobs. Over the last 30 years, more than 60 countries have successfully moved ATC services to independent entities. It’s time that we stop leading from behind and allow American innovation in our nation’s aviation sector to spur economic activity, increase safety, lower costs, and enable more travel options for consumers. I look forward to working with the Administration, and my colleagues in both the House and the Senate to advance the safety and efficiency of the ATC.”

The White House is proposing a new, non-government management entity to secure financing and plan for long-term innovative technologies which will directly address capacity issues of the current ATC system and provide better communications for pilots and controllers. With millions of Texans who travel by plane, this modernization is essential to improving quality of travel and providing more affordable and better travel options.

Modernization will bring about an independent, not-for-profit corporation to operate and modernize air traffic control services while ensuring these services are provided in rural and remote communities. Moving air traffic control functions into a federally chartered, not-for-profit, self-funding organization will protect it from the uncertainty of future political battles.

Taylor High students represent for a second consecutive year

 June 2, 2017 –Taylor High School art student Ana Olvera has won the Congressional Art Competition with her oil painting “Chasing the Storm.”   In addition to this honor, she received two round trip tickets to Washington D.C. to attend a reception at the U.S. Capitol where her artwork will hang for one year.

This national competition is coordinated by members of the U.S. House of Representatives and takes place every year to recognize the creative talents of students across the nation.

This is the second consecutive year that a Taylor High School student has received the honor of displaying their masterpiece in a legislative hall.

Ken Paxton

Earlier this week, Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a motion that asks the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to declare that the federal government is not in compliance with the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA). Texas also asked for an injunction to stop the Department of Energy (DOE) from illegally spending money on matters not approved by Congress.

Since the NWPA was enacted in 1982, DOE has failed to proceed with the licensing process for a permanent nuclear waste storage repository. In March, Attorney General Paxton filed a lawsuit with the 5th Circuit to force an up or down decision by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on the licensing of Yucca Mountain and stop DOE from unlawfully spending tax dollars on ways to undermine Congress’s choice of Yucca Mountain.

In the latest filing, Attorney General Paxton highlights the ongoing irreparable injury to Texas, which continues to house toxic, radioactive waste above ground, posing a clear and present danger to Texans. During the Obama Administration, DOE indefinitely suspended the Yucca Mountain project, keeping the nation’s nuclear waste above ground in aging, temporary storage casks. The risk to Texans, and others, is seen by the recent accident that happened at the Hanford nuclear site in Washington State on May 9.

The federal government’s inaction on establishing a permanent nuclear waste facility has cost American taxpayers $5.3 billion to pay for temporary storage of nuclear waste at reactor sites. Meanwhile, more than $40 billion sits idle in the Nuclear Waste Fund.

“The goal of this latest filing is to have the federal government follow the law and focus its efforts on the permanent nuclear waste facility selected by Congress,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Every day the federal government refuses to fulfill its mandate under federal law is another day that more nuclear waste piles up above ground, threatening our health and safety, and placing Texas at greater risk for a nuclear incident.”

View a copy of the filing here.

Pete Olson

In Case You Missed It…

Discusses Paris Climate Pact, health care and tax reform efforts 

HOUSTON, Texas – On Thursday, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) joined local Texas radio hosts to discuss tax reform, and his efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare and lower health care premiums. He also praised the reports that President Trump was expected to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Pact later that day.

On the Paris Climate Pact:

“I think if we pull out of the agreement it will be a very, very good thing for jobs in American and especially for the state of Texas,” Sen. Cruz said to WBAP’s Chris Salcedo.

“There was a recent study by the National Economic Research Association that said the Paris agreement could obliterate three trillion dollars in GDP and 6.5 million industrial sector jobs which works out to $7,000 in per capita household income gone from the American economy by 2040 – and for Texas it would be particularly devastating,” Sen. Cruz said to AM 1070’s Sam Malone. “And it wouldn’t do any good for the environment. The estimates are that the impacts on the environment would be negligible, especially since almost all of the burden is on America. Russia gets a pass, China gets a pass, and India gets a pass. President Trump is defending the interest of our nation and defending jobs, which is what he was elected to do.”

On Obamacare Repeal and Replace:

“I think we have got to repeal Obamacare. In my view, failure is not an option. I believe we can accomplish the task,” Sen. Cruz said to WBPA’s Chris Salcedo. “Right now I am spending literally every waking moment trying to bring together Republicans, trying to unite the Republican conference so that we can focus on two things: number one, honoring our promise to repeal Obamacare, but number two, critically lowering health insurance premiums. The biggest reason so many millions of Americans are unhappy with Obamacare, is it’s caused premiums to skyrocket. The average families’ premiums have increased over $5,000 a year. That’s what I hear all across the state of Texas – is Texans telling me ‘I can’t afford health insurance anymore.’ If we lower premiums so that individual consumers have more choices, more options, more competition, and quality health care is more affordable, that’s going to help struggling families in the state of Texas – and I think that’s what we need to do.

On Tax Reform:

“On tax reform the conversations are in much earlier stages – there’s still a lot of disagreement within the House and in the Senate – but I think we can get to ‘yes,’” Sen. Cruz told Sam Malone. “And the advice I’ve given the President Trump on tax reform has been very simple – it’s been two words: bold and simple. I think there is power to bold simplicity in tax reform. What I would ideally like to see is a simple flat tax where every American can fill out our taxes on a postcard and we can abolish the IRS. That would have a tremendous impact on our economy.”

Audio from the radio interviews may be found below:

The Sam Malone Show

The Chris Salcedo Show

Ken Paxton

AUSTIN – Last night, Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an advisory with a district court judge in Corpus Christi after Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 5 into law earlier this week. Senate Bill 5 includes changes to Texas’ voter ID law ordered by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and protects the integrity of elections.

 

“I applaud Governor Abbott for signing Senate Bill 5, which codifies changes to the voter ID law ordered by the 5th Circuit. Preserving voter ID will prevent fraud and ensure that election results accurately reflect the will of Texas voters.”

 

Attorney General Paxton filed the advisory on Senate Bill 5 with U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos ahead of a June 7 hearing on the state’s voter ID law.

 

View Attorney General Paxton’s advisory here

Rep. Pete Olson

Washington, DC – Today Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22) released the following statement on President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement:

“I have long said that while I support clean air and clean water, any actions on climate change by the US need to be weighed against the science, the impact our reductions will have on a global scale and the economic impacts they will have here at home. Houston is an energy city, and the simple fact is that President Trump has concluded that the greatest impact of the Paris Agreement would be to lock us into an uncompetitive agreement, which would hamper our global competitiveness and energy economy. This is especially the case given that other economies, like China’s, would be allowed to increase their emissions, while the US hamstrings itself under this agreement. I look forward to a future where America and the world continue to follow Texas’ lead, both in oil and gas production, and in new, innovative energy sources.”

Ken Paxton

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton today thanked President Trump for withdrawing the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement. Just over a week ago, a 10-state coalition including Attorney General Paxton sent a letter to the president urging him to take today’s action.

“President Trump’s courageous decision to exit the Paris Accord recognizes that the United States is not legally bound to an Obama-era agreement that set unrealistic emissions targets at the expense of billions of American taxpayer dollars without the approval of Congress,” Attorney General Paxton said. “By making a clean break from the deal, the president has freed up economic growth and protected American jobs.”

In his May 23 letter to the president, Attorney General Paxton and the other state attorneys general applauded the steps already taken by the Trump administration to return regulatory power to the states, and urged continuation of this change in policy, which many Americans support. Texas signed the letter with attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Read a full copy of the letter here.