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 last December. 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 training and securing a twenty-first century workforce a core component of the Make It In America jobs plan, a legislative agenda he is leading in Congress to strengthen domestic manufacturing and create middle-class jobs here at home. The Make It In America plan aims to strengthen job-training initiatives so that more Americans have the skills and education needed to fill well-paying, manufacturing jobs.
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 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.
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 believes we must take steps to address climate change, which is a threat to our environment, including the Chesapeake Bay; public health; our economy; and national security. He is focused on reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil, advancing renewable energy technologies, and improving energy efficiency to save families and businesses money, reduce carbon pollution, 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 among 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 1990, he drafted and helped secure passage of the Federal Employee Pay Comparability Act to help ensure fairness in pay and comparability to similar work outside the Federal government.
In recent years, federal employees have been asked to contribute $138 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 of federal employees. 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.
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 is slowing the growth of health care costs, has ended the practice of denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, and banned annual and lifetime limits on health coverage benefits. Parents are now 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 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 new 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 taking the lead on the "Make It In America" plan to strengthen American manufacturing and support the creation of well-paying, middle-class jobs. When more products are made in America, more families will be able to Make It In America.
Congressman Hoyer continues to fight for 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.
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 to open another clinic closer to Patuxent River Naval Air Station.
Maryland's veterans have stood up for our country and Congressman Hoyer will continue to stand up for them.