116th Reintroduction – Putting our Veterans Back to Work Act

In 2011, Congress passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, which authorized the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish a program to provide retraining assistance for our nation’s unemployed veteran heroes.  Through
the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) approved over 126,000 applications, of which, 76,000 veterans enrolled in a training program. 

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Cosponsor Bill to Remove Confederate Statue from Federal Land in the Nation’s Capital

Please cosponsor my bill H.R. 4135 to require the removal of a statue of Confederate General Albert Pike from federal land near Judiciary Square in the District of Columbia.  This statue is different from other Confederate statues elsewhere in the United
States, as it was authorized by Congress in 1898 and paid for, in part, with federal funds.  The Freemasons, of which Pike was a member, donated the majority of the funds needed to build and install the statue in 1901. 

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SUPPORT REAUTHORIZATION OF THE COMMISSION ON WARTIME CONTRACTING

In
2008, Congress established an independent and bipartisan commission to examine waste, fraud, and abuse in wartime contracting. 
Between the 111th and 112th Congresses, the
Commission on Wartime Contracting, co-chaired by former Director of the Defense Contract Audit Agency, Michael Thibault, and former Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT), held 25 hearings and issued eight reports on contingency contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan,
embassy security, the sustainability of reconstruction efforts, Defense Department contractor oversight, and other critical oversight issues. In its

Final Report, the Commission identified between $31 billion and $60 billion in American taxpayer funds lost to contract waste, fraud, and abuse in America’s contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Moreover, the Commission issued several strategic
recommendations designed to improve overseas contingency contracting and safeguard our future reconstruction efforts against poor planning, inadequate contract management, unsustainable projects, personnel shortages, unnecessary purchases, a lack of competition,
and weak enforcement mechanisms, and vague contract requirements. 
After three years of oversight work, the Commission expired in September of 2011.  However, our contracting and reconstruction efforts have continued in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other war zones where overseas contingency funds have been directed.  In Afghanistan
alone, the U.S. has spent more than $132 billion on reconstruction since 2002. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction recently
reported that U.S.-funded projects to strengthen security, rule of law, women’s rights, and other areas in Afghanistan are at high-risk and necessitate continued and sustained oversight.
In order to ensure independent and dedicated oversight of U.S. contracting and reconstruction efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other areas of contingency operations, Congress must reestablish the Commission on Wartime Contracting. To this end, I have introduced
H.R. 3576, the Wartime Contracting Commission Reauthorization Act of 2019. This legislation reauthorizes the Commission, with its final report due to Congress two years after the date of appointment of all eight bipartisan Commission Members.  In addition,
the bill requires the Commission to examine federal agency contracting funded by overseas contingency operations; federal agency contracting for the logistical support of coalition forces operating under the 2001 or 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military
Force; and federal agency contracting for the performance of security functions in countries where coalition forces are operating under the 2001 or 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force. 
Given the importance of safeguarding our wartime contracting and American taxpayer funds against waste, fraud, and abuse, the independent
Project on Government Oversight (POGO) included the reauthorization of the Commission on Wartime Contracting as one of its key recommendations in its January 2019 report entitled “Baker’s
Dozen: 13 Policy Areas that Require Congressional Action.” POGO has strongly endorsed the Wartime Contracting Commission Reauthorization Act of 2019. 
If you would like to cosponsor or have any questions regarding this legislation, please feel free to contact me directly or Mariana Osorio of my staff at x.5-8273 or Mariana.Osorio@mail.house.gov.  Thank you in advance for your consideration. 
Sincerely,
STEPHEN F. LYNCH
Chairman
Subcommittee on National Security

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