Eject > Political > Current Activity in the U.S. Congress – 9 Legislative Items Senator Josh Hawley Co-Sponsored or Sponsored in the 116th Congress

Current Activity in the U.S. Congress – 9 Legislative Items Senator Josh Hawley Co-Sponsored or Sponsored in the 116th Congress

There are many sentences voters dread reading, but any article or report that says: “…in a race that could decide control of the U.S. Senate and has set records for spending by outside groups…” is probably one that draws groans of exhaustion and frustration. Rather than being about partisan control, many Americans want politicians to run in order to effect changes along party lines. Conservative or liberal policies are what many vote for, but modern politics have emphasized control over everything else.

The sentence quoted above appeared in a McClatchy DC Bureau article in late 2018 and was about then-candidate Josh Hawley (now the junior senator from Missouri) and his bid to unseat incumbent Democrat, Claire McCaskill.

And while it mentioned the vast sums spent by both candidates (with McCaskilfar outspending her defeater), it also focused on an FEC (Federal Election Committee) complaint filed against Hawley. It alleged that his S“enate campaign and the National Rifle Association’s PAC…engaged in an elaborate scheme to conceal illegal coordination.”

This is not the only report on the complaint, and a handful of news outlets reported that “FCC records…found the NRA appears to have coordinated political advertising with three major Senate races…actions [that] would amount to a violation of federal campaign finance laws, which prohibit groups from sharing election information with candidates.”

According to these reports, the “National Media Research, Planning and Placement, covertly going by the name of Red Eagle Media—was employed in 2018 by Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley…”

The McClasky article outlined the chain of events that led to the FEC filing: “Hawley’s campaign is employing the same people to produce ads as the NRA Political Victory Fund. Last month, one person placed ads on behalf of the Missouri Republican’s campaign and the PAC with the same television station on the same day…The overlap in personnel is strong evidence of coordination between the PAC and the campaign,” claims both the director of the federal reform program at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center in Washington, Brendan Fischer (who filed the complaint), as well as Giffords, the “gun control group founded by former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat who survived a 2011 shooting.”

By purchasing ad spots in the campaign and having them approved by the CFO for National Media Research, John Ferrell (who also signed off on ads for both the NRA and the official campaign), seems to have broken FEC rules. A report from Mother Jones indicated that his actions are “apparent violation of laws designed to prevent independent groups from synchronizing their efforts with political campaigns.”

In that same article, the author goes on to outline that, “Campaign finance laws bar outside groups from sharing any election-related information—including advertising strategy—with the candidates they support. While it is not illegal for independent groups and campaigns to use the same vendors, the Federal Election Commission requires consultants to prevent staffers from sharing information, usually through the creation of internal ‘firewalls.’”

Ironically, the McClatchy article quotes “Both the NRA and Hawley’s consultants [as pointing] to firewall policies meant to prevent coordination,” with the initial complainant, Mr. Fischer rejecting this by saying: “It’s impossible that an individual employee can create a firewall in his brain.”

An article in Politico also pointed out that “directors at OnMessage – a consulting firm led by Hawley’s campaign consultant, Brad Todd – created a shell corporation called Starboard, located at the same address, and which appears indistinguishable from its parent company. Candidates would then hire OnMessage, and the NRA would contract with Starboard to create ads supporting those candidates. Hawley’s top consultant, Todd, is on the board of both OnMessage and Starboard… the NRA and Hawley also appear to be using a shared set of vendors to place those advertisements, providing further evidence of coordination.”

However, it can take years for the FEC to conduct, complete and release findings of investigations. So, for now, voters have only the accusations and trail of clues assembled by those who filed the complaints.

The reasons that coordination is banned are obvious – by offering such support, donors like the NRA are also creating a space for influence, pressure, and sway over the politicians who receive it. And influence is an issue of tremendous concern.

While candidates being “in the pocket” of any corporation or individual has always been a potential threat to American democracy (or any political system), it happens. However, since the 2010 Supreme Court ruling known as Citizens United was handed down, the proverbial floodgates to enormous contributions opened. In the ruling, the Court (in a five to four outcome) held that “the free speech clause of the first amendment prohibits the government from restricting corporations from making political expenditures.”

This precedent worked in seeming coordination with 2017 changes to IRS rules that ensured anonymity to those who donated to non-profit organizations providing political support. Most often found as PACs (Political Action Committees) and SuperPACS, both groups benefited greatly from these two legal precedents.

PACs and SuperPACs, for those unfamiliar with their structure or functions, differ in only a few ways. PACs are allowed togive to parties or candidates, while SuperPACs can only spend (unlimited amounts) on marketing and adsin support of candidates or present negative perspectives of opponents. Both groups can allow donors anonymity because both are non-profit.

And while, the Senate attempted to “prevent ‘dark money’ from getting even darker,” in 2018 (as one group reported) they only narrowly approved a Resolution to eliminate new “Treasury Department policy that no longer requires some 501(c) tax-exempt nonprofits — including politically active 501(c)(4) ‘dark money’ groups — to disclose donor names and addresses in tax returns submitted to the IRS.” The House shut down their efforts.

That Chamber was not alone in its desire to keep the changes in IRS rules in place. Current Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin,also supported the new rules, and argued in favor of them by insisting they protected confidential information from being leaked by the IRS. To support his claims, he used the single instance in which the IRS failed in this responsibility, noting the group had “posted unredacted tax forms revealing donors to the Republican Governors Association Public Policy Committee.”

All of this has been transpiring even as campaign finance watch dogs tracked “spending of this kind (in which groups did not reveal their donors) climbed rapidly from five million dollars in the year 2006 to more than three hundred million dollars in 2012.” As might be obvious, such increases do not come from average voters or even traditionally wealthy backers, but are clearly from the super wealthy or “mega rich,” who seem to have become “effectively in control of American politics, writing six- and seven-figure checks to super PAC’s to support ad campaigns that confuse viewers and distort the views and records of candidates,” as one source said.

And while they do not openly seek control, most will do “subtle things…less likely to be in the news — some amendment tucked into a larger bill…[and] greater access for friendly lobbyists.”

It is these subtle signs we seek to highlight, if they exist, in Senator Hawley’s work. And to do that we are going to evaluate:

  • The Senator’s publicly stated priorities and issues
  • Senator Hawley’s committee and caucus activities
  • The Senator’s key sources of campaign funding
  • Senator Hawley’s most recent legislative items sponsored or co-sponsored

We are also going to examine other facts, including bipartisanship ratings, conservative rankings, and more, to reach conclusions.

For example, Senator Hawley is too new to appear in the Lugar Center Bipartisanship Index, but he has introduced several bipartisan bills and received support on both sides of the aisle. His “Trump Score” from FiveThirtyEight for the 116th Congress is only marginally higher than anticipated at almost 82% rather than the nearly 73% expected, meaning that he supports President Trump’s policies, most of the time. The Conservative Review, gives him a letter grade of “B” and a percentile score of 80%, while his approval ratings in the Senate are very low, with a place of 83rd out of 100 senators and a net approval of 60 from his party.

So, he is definitely viewed as a conservative Republican, and someone with a great deal of controversy in such a young political career. This, however, is not enough information to make any informed decisions. To do that means looking at those factors above, beginning with his political background.

About Senator Josh Hawley

Born in 1979 in Arkansas, his family relocated to Missouri and he graduated from high school in Kansas City before heading to Stanford University to take a BA in history. He then attended St. Paul’s School in the UK and graduated from Yale Law School with a JD in 2006.

He is a published author and began his professional life clerking for a judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals as well as to Chief Justice John Roberts. This led to work as a litigator and then a return to Missouri to enter into practice. He was an associate professor at the University of Missouri Law School for a time and faculty member of a legal fellowship. He was also admitted to the Supreme Court bar, meaning his is able to argue to the highest court in the U.S.

His remarkable background helped him to win the role of Attorney General for Missouri in 2016, but within only days of his win, he made it clear that he was considering a bid for the Senate. This led the Missouri Secretary of State’s office to open an investigation, according to an article in Roll Call, that he “improperly tapped state resources to boost his public profile ahead of his campaign to unseat Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.”

The article says that within “days of Hawley becoming the state attorney general, two political consultants based in Washington began instructing his taxpayer-paid staff on how to shape his image ahead of a campaign for the Senate, according to a Kansas City Star report shortly before Election Day… the Republican operatives met with the attorney general’s office staff at the state Supreme Court building during work hours, leaving some staffers confused about whether they should report to their own chief-of-staff or Hawley’s burgeoning campaign team.” This is considered a misuse of funds and something the Secretary of the State is taking seriously.

At his official website, the Senator indicates that he is currently the youngest Senator in the U.S. and yet has a “reputation for taking on the big and the powerful to protect Missouri workers and families. He has battled big government and big business, special interests, organized crime, and anyone who would threaten the well-being of Missourians.”

The site also indicates that the Senator is “recognized as one of the nation’s leading constitutional lawyers. He has litigated at the Supreme Court of the United States, the federal courts of appeals, and in state court, fighting for the people’s liberties. He previously fought Obamacare at the Supreme Court — and won… he fought the Washington overreach threatening farms and family businesses, including the Waters of the United States Rule and the Clean Power Plan. Senator Hawley has also taken on big opioid manufacturers, challenging their unethical marketing practices that helped create an epidemic of opioid abuse. He cracked down on human trafficking in Missouri, leading the largest anti-trafficking bust in Missouri history. And he stood up to big tech, launching investigations of the most powerful companies in the world—Google and Facebook—to protect Missourians, their data, and the First Amendment.”

ProPublica tracks all politicians for how they vote, the most common subjects of bills they sponsor and even what issues are the most common in their press releases. They have identified that Senator Hawley focuses on the following items in his legislation:

  • Science, Technology, Communications
  • Crime and Law Enforcement
  • International Affairs
  • Emergency Management
  • Water Resources Development

They have also kept tabs on statements and personal explanations from his office, but as of this writing provide no data.

This means it is important to look at everything he has done since being sworn in earlier in 2019 and find any commentary he might have on the work he’s done. First, let’s consider his committee work and his backers as they have value in our assessment of the Senator’s motivations.

Senator Hawley’s Committee Work

For the 116th Congress, Senator Hawley is assigned to the following committees and subcommittees:

  • Committee on Armed Services
    • Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities
    • Subcommittee on SeaPower
    • Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
  • Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
  • Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
    • Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management
  • Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Committee on the Judiciary
    • Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights
    • Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration
    • Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism (Chairman)
  • Special Committee on Aging

It is fairly surprising that a freshman senator would chair such a powerful subcommittee as that on Crime and Terrorism, and his presence on other committees reveals wide-ranging influence.

The Top Industries Funding Senator Hawley Campaign Efforts

In 2018, Senator Hawley’s campaign raised $11,853,151.24 and spent $11,377,635.86, leaving the campaign with cash on hand. His support came from an array of industries, and we’ll look at those contributors in three distinct groupings:

  • The industries in which the Senator was a “favorite,” or top recipient in the last campaign cycle (2018)
  • The industries that contributed the most substantial amount of financial support
  • Individual organizations that donated the most

According to the Open Secrets Website, Senator Hawley was not an industry favorite in any segments, but he garnered strong support from other industries, and the 20 sectors that gave the most, overall, in 2018 were (in ranking order):

  1. Retired
  2. Republican/Conservative
  3. Real Estate
  4. Securities & Investment
  5. Leadership PACs
  6. Lawyers/Law Firms
  7. Miscellaneous Manufacturing & Distributing
  8. Oil & Gas
  9. Lobbyists
  10. Health Professionals
  11. Miscellaneous Finance
  12. General Contractors
  13. Automotive
  14. Commercial Banks
  15. Business Services
  16. Insurance
  17. Building Materials & Equipment
  18. Crop Production & Basic Processing
  19. Food & Beverage
  20. Education

Finally, there were the companies and other groups that gave, individually. However, none of them donated directly to the campaign; instead, they worked with PACs or had direct employee contributions for the 2018 election, and were:

  • Club for Growth – A “501(c)(4) conservative organization active in the United States, with an agenda focused on cutting taxes and other economic issues. The Club has two political arms: an affiliated traditional political action committee, called the Club for Growth PAC, and Club for Growth Action, an independent-expenditure only committee or Super-PAC…According to its website, the Club for Growth’s policy goals include cutting income tax rates, repealing the estate tax, supporting limited government and a balanced budget amendment, entitlement reform, free trade, tort reform, school choice, and deregulation. The group has opposed government action to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The Club for Growth PAC endorses and raises money for candidates who meet its standards for fiscal conservatism.”
  • Senate Conservatives Fund – “A United States political action committee (PAC) that supports conservative Republican Party candidates in primaries and general elections. The SCF primarily focuses on supporting United States Senate candidates. The PAC was founded by then-U.S. Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina in 2008.”
  • National Republican Senatorial Committee – “The Republican Hill committee for the United States Senate, working to elect Republicans to that body. The NRSC was founded in 1916 as the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee. It was reorganized in 1948 and renamed the National Republican Senatorial Committee. The NRSC helps elect Republican incumbents and challengers primarily through fundraising. Other services include campaign activities using media and communications, as well as research and strategy planning.”
  • Emerson Electric – “An American multinational corporation headquartered in Ferguson, Missouri, United States. This Fortune 500 company manufactures products and provides engineering services for a wide range of industrial, commercial, and consumer markets. Emerson has approximately 76,500 employees and 205 manufacturing locations worldwide.”
  • Herzog Contracting – This company “operates as a construction services company. The Company’s services include construction, contracting, and project management. Herzog Construction specializes in heavy and highway, railroad construction, and corporate construction.”
  • Diamond Pet Foods – “A family owned and privately held company. We also happen to be one of the leading manufacturers of pet food [and] one of the fastest growing manufacturers of pet foods in the country, with brands trusted by professional breeders, trainers, veterinarians and nutrition-conscious pet owners in more than 100 countries worldwide.”
  • Alliance Coal – A “diversified producer and marketer of steam coal to major United States utilities and industrial users. ARLP, the nation’s first publicly traded master limited partnership involved in the production and marketing of coal, began mining operations in 1971 and, since then, has grown through acquisitions and internal development to become the second-largest coal producer in the eastern United States.”
  • Kirkland & Ellis – “An international law firm founded in Chicago, in 1909.Kirkland is the largest law firm in the United States, with US$3.76 billion in revenue, and an estimated profit per equity partner of US$5.03 million. Kirkland has represented many prominent and controversial clients, such as British Petroleum (in relation to the 2010 Deepwater oil spill), Kraft foods (in relation to its merger with Heinz), billionaire child-sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, and a group of major investors in the international fishmeal industry, in relation to their claims against China Fishery.”
  • Leggett & Platt – “A diversified manufacturer (and member of the S&P 500 Index) that designs and produces various engineered components and products that can be found in most homes and automobiles. The firm was founded in 1883, and consists of 15 business units, 23,000 employee-partners, and 145 manufacturing facilities located in 18 countries.”
  • Durham Co – “Supplying quality products to Utilities for over 50 years! Metering, Pad Mount, Connectors, Structures & More…The Durham Company and it’s affiliates offer a complete line of products for the utility industry. These products include metering enclosures, breaker enclosures, pad-mount equipment enclosures, instrument rated metering enclosures, instrument rated transformers, test switches, and electrical connectors.”

Now that we understand he has a mix of instate and outside supporters, it is important to start reviewing some of the legislation Senator Hawley has sponsored in the current Congress.

9 Legislative Items Senator Hawley Has Sponsored During the 116th Congress – To Date

For the 116th Congress, to date, Senator Hawley has 125 pieces of legislation; he sponsored 35 thus far and co-sponsored the remaining 90. The Senator’s official Congressional page indicates that his emphasis in this Congress has been primarily on those areas identified by ProPublica, including Science, Technology and Communications, commerce, crime and law enforcement, education, and emergency management.

S.1031 —Duck Boat Safety Enhancement Act of 2019

Introduced on April 4, this bill is designed to “improve the safety of duck boats,” and was inspired by a “tragedy on Table Rock Lake near Branson, MO,” which claimed 17 lives, according to a press release from the Senator’s office. The news item explains that if passed, the bill would “authorize previously-outlined National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendations, including commonsense provisions to require the use of life jackets and equipping all operating duck boats to be more buoyant in the case of emergency flooding.”

When speaking of the need for the legislation, the Senator said “this tragedy wasn’t the first of its kind. For decades now, the NTSB has been making recommendations to make these rides safer, but Congress has failed to act.” He was referring to NTSB recommendations “three years after a 1999 duck boat tragedy killed 13 in Arkansas. Sen. Hawley’s legislation goes a step further by barring duck boat operation in severe weather conditions. Once enacted, non-compliant duck boats would be prohibited from operating until they meet the necessary requirements outlined in the bill.”

S.Res.176 —A resolution condemning the terrorist attacks on Christian worshipers in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019, and standing with the Government of Sri Lanka to encourage the protection and preservation of religious liberties

Introduced on April 30 in response to the “Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka…perpetrated by an Islamist terrorist group with links to ISIS, [which] killed more than 250 people and injured more than 500 others,” this is bicameral legislation. It recognizes the bombings as ‘an attack on “the basic human liberty of freedom of religion,’” according to a press release from the Senator’s office.

Speaking of the Resolution, Senator Hawley said “I am disgusted by the recent string of attacks on people in their places of worship. No one should feel threatened while practicing their faith. We should condemn the despicable acts of violence in Sri Lanka in the strongest terms possible and call it what it is – radical Islamic terrorism.”

It has eight cosponsors and was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations

S.1459 — China Technology Transfer Control Act of 2019

Introduces on May 14, this bill seeks to “stop the Chinese military’s acquisition of sensitive American technology and formally admonish China for its predatory trade practices,” according to a news release about it.

In background supplied on the bill, it is explained that recently, “China has aggressively acquired sensitive U.S. technology to advance its military capabilities through intellectual property theft and unfair trade practices. China seeks to surpass the U.S. in high tech manufacturing through its state-sponsored ‘Made in China 2025’ initiative and has exploited American technology to advance its military capabilities.” It has done this through the “Trade-Technology-for-Market” policy forcing American firms into joint ventures with Chinese state-owned firms; and via working around U.S. laws designed to confront China’s military buildup.

The bill would admonish China for its “intellectual property theft and manipulation of lawful transfer and uses of technology in ways that directly support its military objectives and threaten the United States” and place any core technologies “from China’s ‘Made in China 2025’ strategy on the Department of Commerce’s Export Control List.”

Speaking of it, Senator Hawley said that it is “time to acknowledge that China acts more like an adversary than a friend. For too long, China has exploited American innovation to undermine our values and threaten our security. This legislation is an important step toward keeping American technology out of the hands of the Chinese government and its military.”

It was read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

S.1565 —Corps of Engineers Flood Control Civilian Advisory Council Act and S.1571 — Missouri River Flood Control Prioritization Act

Introduced on May 21, both bills are meant to “address persistent issues with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and this year’s devastating Missouri River flooding. The two bills prioritize Missouri families and businesses along the river, especially farmers who have been ignored by the Corps,” according to Senator Hawley.

The former would “ensure farmers have a seat at the table for Corps decision-making that directly impacts their farms and local communities. It establishes a new advisory council with two members from each state along the Missouri River…to have a role in advising the Corps on how to best revise the master manual in broader terms, to fully prioritize flood control and navigation. The council will have representatives from agriculture and other river commerce industries.”

The latter would make “flood control the number one priority in the Corps’ master manual, removes fish and wildlife as an authorized purpose, and instructs the Army Corps of Engineers to update its manual to reflect these changes within 90 days of the bill’s passage into law.”

Senator Hawley explained the need for the bills, saying “People who live along the river regularly deal with catastrophic flooding, simply because the Army Corps is acting under conflicting priorities. What’s more, farmers feel like they have been shut out and their voices don’t matter – and that is completely unacceptable. By introducing these bills, we can get at the root of the problem, demand change, and ensure the Army Corps prioritizes the safety and sustainability of our communities.”

They were read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.

S.1578 —Do Not Track Act

This bill was introduced by Senator Hawley on May 21 and was not a surprise to many since the Senator is a strong critic of big tech and data collection. The will would “give control over personal data back to users. Similar to the national ‘Do Not Call’ list, the Do Not Track Act gives every person the power to block online companies from collecting any data beyond what is necessary for the companies’ online services,” according to the Senator’s press release about it.

This release explains that the “enormity of data big tech companies extract, and the unscrupulous ways they use that data, is distressing. These companies track our locations and spy on our Internet history—even when we tell them not to…For years, industry groups promoted a program called ‘Do Not Track’ to give users control, and the FTC endorsed the program in 2010. But the program was voluntary, and tech giants that built their businesses around exploiting data refused to voluntarily comply. This bill would give Do Not Track legal force and expand it to cover all Internet activity, not just browser-based activity.”

Speaking about it to the Senate, Mr. Hawley said “Big tech companies collect incredible amounts of deeply personal, private data from people without giving them the option to meaningfully consent. They have gotten incredibly rich by employing creepy surveillance tactics on their users, but too often the extent of this data extraction is only known after a tech company irresponsibly handles the data and leaks it all over the internet. The American people didn’t sign up for this, so I’m introducing this legislation to finally give them control over their personal information online.”

The bill was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

S.1629 —A bill to regulate certain pay-to-win microtransactions and sales of loot boxes in interactive digital entertainment products, and for other purposes

Introduced May 23, this bipartisan legislation looks at “banning the exploitation of children through ‘pay-to-win’ and ‘loot box’ monetization practices by the video game industry,” according to Senator Hawley’s press release about it.

Supported by a long list of organizations that include Common Sense, the Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood, Parents Television Council, and Focus on the Family, it would cover minor-oriented games and games for general audiences. It “distinguishes between one-time-purchase downloadable content providing newexperiences for players and downloadable content available for repeated purchase thatserves primarily to distort player progression through existing content, explicitly exemptingthe former from its prohibitions,” according to an FAQ provided by the Senator.

Speaking about it, he said “Today’s digital entertainment ecosystem is an online gauntlet for children. Inherently manipulative game features that take advantage of kids and turn play time into pay time should be out of bounds…corporate profits should never come before children’s well-being.”

It was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

 S.1879 — Protect Our Universities Act of 2019

Introduced on June 18, this bill aims to “safeguard sensitive, national security-related academic research from Chinese, Russian, and Iranian intelligence services,” according to a press release from Senator Hawley. If passed, research students from these nations to undergo a background screening by the U.S. government if they wish to participate in ‘sensitive research projects,’ as designated by a new task force led by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The bill also prohibits sensitive research projects from using technologies developed by companies like Huawei, ZTE, Kaspersky, and others.”

Describing the need for the bill, Senator Hawley said, “America’s universities cultivate the free and open exchange of ideas and information, all with the intent of making the world a better place. Unfortunately, they are also key targets of espionage and intellectual property theft…countries have sent students to our universities to collect sensitive research that they can later use to develop capabilities that threaten our national security. This bill takes much-needed steps to ensure our research stays out of the hands of foreign adversaries who are proactively rooting for our failure. Our scientific exchange must not be exploited to advance the destructive agendas of Beijing, Moscow, or Tehran.”

The bill was read twice and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

S.2123 —Break the Higher Education Monopoly Act of 2019

Introduced by Senator Hawley on July 16, this is one of two items meant to “expand federal aid for people pursuing vocational education and will put higher education institutions on the hook for students unable to repay student loans.”

This bill will “make more job-training and certification programs, like employer-based apprenticeships and digital boot camps, eligible to receive Pell Grants through an alternative accreditation process,” according to a news release about it.

It will achieve its goals by instructing the “Department of Education to develop a new certification pathway to allow job training, apprenticeship, and certification programs to be eligible to receive Pell Grant dollars. The federal Pell Grant program is this country’s largest non-debt investment in higher education, providing grants to more than 7 million students from low-income families through annual spending of around $30 billion. Allowing students to use their Pell Grant at a greater range of career training programs will reduce reliance on debt and maximize opportunities for students to pursue their dreams.”

Discussing the bills before Congress, Senator Hawley said, “It’s time to break up the higher education monopoly. It’s time to level the playing field and provide more options for career training. We also must hold higher education institutions accountable that take advantage of students who rack up mountains of debt, are unable to find a good job and default on their loans.”

This bill was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. 

S.998 — Supporting and Treating Officers In Crisis Act of 2019

Introduced on April 3, this bipartisan bill addresses Congressional failures at providing “support services for police officers and their families.” As explained in the press release about the bill, suicide “is the number one cause of death for police officers in the United States. But Congress has failed to fund grant programs…”

If passed into law, the bill would “restore grant funding for law enforcement family-support services. The bill also allows grant recipients to use funds to establish suicide-prevention programs and mental health services for law enforcement officers.”

It would achieve goals, in two ways:

  • “Reform and expand the family-support grant program’s eligible uses to better address the mental-health and support needs of LEOs, especially as it relates to suicide prevention. The bill would specifically allow grant recipients to use funds to establish suicide-prevention programs and to support officers suffering stress and mental-health issues.
  • Reauthorize appropriations for family-support grants for state and local law enforcement agencies, which lapsed in The bill would authorize up to $7,500,000 in appropriations each year for fiscal years 2020 to 2024, which is the same level of authorization that the program had in 2000.”

This bill was signed into law on July 25, becoming “Public Law No: 116-32”

In Conclusion

A remarkably successful individual, Senator Hawley is clearly not acting on the behest of any donors. His wide-ranging legislative activities benefit no one but his constituents and the people of the U.S.