Congressman Hoyer knows that far too often our justice system falls short on fairness. He worked with his colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus and across the aisle to pass bipartisan legislation to expand funding for state and federal prisoner reentry programs, including services to give inmates the educational, mental health, and drug rehabilitation supports that they need.
Congressman Hoyer was pleased to vote for the bipartisan First Step Act, which was signed into law in December 2018. The important legislation addressed some of the breakdowns in our criminal justice system, including directing the Bureau of Prisons to focus on reducing recidivism and making it easier for nonviolent inmates to get out of prison and re-enter society successfully. The law is an important step toward achieving a more fair criminal justice system, but more must be done to address the persistent disparities that minority communities face.
Congressman Hoyer supports legislation to prioritize programming and procedures that limit the risk of recidivism so that when inmates return home, they can return to society and succeed. He supports limiting our mandatory minimums that have disproportionately harmed minority and poor communities, as well as reforms that place inmates in locations where their families can have better access to them, while allowing the elderly or terminally ill to spend their final days with family on home confinement rather than in a cell.
Congressman Hoyer is strongly committed to public education and believes that we must continue to invest in Maryland schools so they remain among the best in the nation.
Congressman Hoyer is focused on ensuring Maryland students have the education and skills they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow. That’s why he has made education and skills training a core component of the Make It In America jobs plan, a legislative agenda he is leading in Congress to create jobs and expand economic opportunity. The Make It In America plan aims to promote pathways to careers, encourage entrepreneurship, and create jobs by repairing and rebuilding our aging infrastructure.
Congressman Hoyer is also an advocate for Full-Service Community Schools, modeled after the highly successful Judy Centers throughout Maryland, which coordinate educational and social service programs through collaborative partnerships with school districts and community-based organizations. By placing services like health care and career services under one roof, Congressman Hoyer believes schools can more effectively and efficiently provide families with access to supports they might not easily have otherwise.
Congressman Hoyer also helped prevent 300,000 educator layoffs across our nation during the Great Recession. Additionally, he helped to enact the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which made critical investments in higher education by significantly increasing funding for Pell Grants, making loan repayment more affordable by expanding the Income Based Repayment program, and providing $2 billion to strengthen our community colleges. Congressman Hoyer believes that in order to attract the best and brightest teachers, we must ensure they are paid fairly.
Finally, he continues to support investments in education for disadvantaged students and students with disabilities, funding for teacher professional development, and Pell Grant awards for students pursuing higher education.
Congressman Hoyer knows that climate change is the existential threat facing current and future generations. He believes that we must take bold steps to address the worsening climate crisis, which is a threat to our environment, including the Chesapeake Bay; public health; our economy; and national security. He is focused on reducing carbon pollution and advancing renewable energy technologies and improving energy efficiency, all of which will help families and businesses save money, spur innovation, create good-paying jobs, and improve public health.
Congressman Hoyer strongly supports environmental standards that keep our land, air, and water clean. He has supported every major environmental bill since he was elected to Congress. He has also secured federal dollars to clean up the Chesapeake Bay and the Patuxent, Potomac, Anacostia, and St. Mary's Rivers, and to replenish the oyster population of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
Congressman Hoyer has also worked to protect Maryland’s open spaces and secured federal funds to add 8,000 acres to the Patuxent Wildlife Refuge, expand and protect Piscataway Park, and helped acquire 6,000 acres in Charles County for the Douglas Point Project.
Our nation’s federal workforce is the best in the world, and Congressman Hoyer is proud to represent thousands of federal employees and retirees. In Congress, he has led the fight for fair pay and benefits, with a strong focus on ensuring pay parity between military and civilian personnel, as well as quality health care coverage, a solid retirement system, and fair working conditions.
In recent years, federal employees have been asked to contribute $182 billion toward deficit reduction through freezes to cost-of-living-adjustments and changes to retirement benefits, and Congressman Hoyer has consistently opposed efforts to further target federal workers’ wages, benefits, and hours. Additionally, he opposes the arbitrary and untargeted spending cuts known as sequestration, which resulted in furloughs for many federal employees in 2013. Congressman Hoyer continues to urge his colleagues to work on a bipartisan basis to replace the sequester and prevent additional furloughs in the future.
The Republican-led government shutdowns disproportionately hurt federal employees in the Fifth District. Congressman Hoyer believes it is unacceptable that federal employees were expected to work without pay or were furloughed because Republicans in Congress and President Trump refused to work with Democrats to fund the government in a responsible manner.
For Congressman Hoyer, health care reform is about giving American families and small businesses -- not insurance companies -- control over their health care. For far too long, America’s health insurance system has made health care more costly, less accessible, and less efficient for families and small businesses.
Today, the Affordable Care Act is making a significant difference for Maryland families. The law ended the practice of denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions and banned annual and lifetime limits on health coverage benefits. Parents are able to keep their children on their health care plans until they are 26 and Marylanders with private insurance have gained coverage for free preventive health care services, such as mammograms, birth control, or immunizations. The law also makes prescription coverage for seniors more affordable and makes Medicare stronger by extending the program's solvency. Congressman Hoyer has fought vigorously against Republican attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and he has strongly opposed their efforts to unravel the ACA in the courts.
Congressman Hoyer has also fought to protect our children by working to reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program, which currently provides health insurance for more than 7 million children. Further, he’s supported increased oversight to help protect the health of American consumers, including voting to improve food safety efforts and supporting a law that allows FDA regulation of tobacco.
As we continue to rebuild and grow our economy, Congressman Steny Hoyer understands that we have to stay focused on job creation, support for our small businesses, and investments in the future. That's why he's started the "Make It In America" plan to create jobs and expand economic opportunity. The plan focuses on three core areas: education and skills training, encouraging entrepreneurship, and rebuilding our aging infrastructure which will create jobs and spur innovation.
Congressman Hoyer continues to fight for expanded contracting opportunities for disadvantaged communities, minorities, and women, as well as shared economic growth and job creation throughout Maryland. He has worked to create or save nearly 23,000 jobs across the Fifth District, including jobs at Patuxent River Naval Air Station; St. Inigoes; the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head; and Goddard Space Flight Center.
Congressman Hoyer understands that small businesses are the job-creating engine of our economy. He worked to secure billions of dollars in tax cuts for small businesses, including those businesses that hire unemployed workers. And when Maryland business owners told him that they were struggling to get access to credit, Congressman Hoyer fought to create a Small Business Lending Fund, so businesses in Maryland and across our country can get the loans they need to innovate, grow, and hire. As a result, lending to small businesses in Maryland has increased by over $394 million.
Congressman Hoyer believes it is shameful that women still don't earn the same pay for the same work. While the pay gap in Maryland's Fifth District is closing, Congressman Hoyer is focused on taking additional steps to ensure equal pay for equal work. Congressman Hoyer helped pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to protect women against pay discrimination and help close the gender gap in wages. It was the first piece of legislation President Obama signed into law, and Congressman Hoyer is committed to building on this progress. He was pleased to bring the Paycheck Fairness Act to the House Floor earlier to year to close the gender pay gap and ensure that equal pay means equal work. With more women than ever as primary breadwinners, Congressman Hoyer is committed to the fight for equal pay, and he'll keep fighting for equal compensation because our families deserve it.
Addressing the Fifth District’s transportation needs is important to local communities, and it is a priority for Congressman Hoyer. The Fifth District is one of the fastest growing areas in the state of Maryland, and Congressman Hoyer has worked very closely with state and local officials to ensure that our transportation infrastructure is prepared to meet the needs of Fifth District residents, businesses, and federal facilities.
Over the years, Congressman Hoyer has helped secure the reconstruction of the Baltimore/Washington Parkway, the dualization and restoration of the Suitland Parkway, the expansion of Metro’s Green Line in Prince George’s County and the Southern Maryland Commuter Bus Initiative. Recently, he worked on a bipartisan basis with the Washington Area Congressional Delegation to secure a $1.5 billion dedicated funding commitment to help address Metro’s capital backlog and improve safety and reliability of the system for Fifth District commuters.
Congressman Steny Hoyer is proud to represent thousands of service members, veterans, and military families, and he believes in honoring the service of these brave men and women and in keeping faith with them when they return home.
Congressman Hoyer is focused on improving health care for veterans and ensuring they receive the benefits the have earned in a timely manner and with fewer errors. He has strengthened veterans' care by expanding mental health services, increasing access to health care in rural areas, and improving care for over 2 million female veterans. He also fought to pass the 21st Century GI Bill, which funds four years of higher education for all of our veterans who have served actively since 9/11, which means college opportunities for over 2 million veterans.
Additionally, Congressman Hoyer is working to end homelessness among veterans, securing grant funding to support veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and has worked to improve veterans' services in Maryland communities by working with federal, state, and local stakeholders to build a new, ADA accessible Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Charlotte Hall and a satellite facility in St. Mary's County.
Maryland's veterans have stood up for our country and Congressman Hoyer will continue to stand up for them.