Thank you for the opportunity to update you on the work of the 113th Congress. I trust this finds you and your family well.
One of the highlights of my work in Congress last week came during a Natural Resources Committee hearing, where I was able to question U.S. Department of Interior Secretary, Sally Jewell, regarding the assessment of Utah prairie dogs in southern Utah and RS 2477. The Utah prairie dog is listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that occurs in southwestern Utah. Currently, the federal government regularly counts the number of prairie dogs on public land, but does not count the number of animals on private land.
I think that is absurd!
Like you and I, Utah prairie dogs often prefer to live on land with well watered grass and crops. As a result, there often appears to be a larger population of prairie dogs in yards, parks, cemeteries, and fields than on federal lands. These prairie dogs often damage land and property, and the restrictive nature of the ESA makes it is very difficult to remove them from private lands. Additionally, we can’t delist prairie dogs if we’re not accurately counting them.
During our exchange, Secretary Jewell agreed to work with my office to ensure that the Department would include the count of prairie dogs dwelling on privately owned land when assessing the endangered species status. You can watch the full video of my exchange with Secretary Jewell by clicking on the picture below:
The House also passed two bills last week calling for a delay of both the individual and employer healthcare mandates. This comes right after the White House announced its plan to delay the employer healthcare mandate by one year. It’s important to note that in our Democratic Republic, Congress is the legislative body that has the power to create and change laws, not the President. I am disappointment that President Obama seems to pick and choose which laws he will enforce. This is dangerous and demeaning to our democratic republic. I gave a speech on this subject on the House Floor, which you can view here. You can also read about my view in an article in The Hill Newspaper.
The Week Ahead:
This week,the House is expected to vote and debate on the following legislation. Visit the House Majority Leader’s website for the most up-to-date information.
- H.R. 697- Three Kids Mine Remediation and Reclamation Act
- H.R. 1300- To amend the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 to reauthorize the volunteer programs and community partnerships for the benefit of national wildlife refuges, and for other purposes
- H.R. 1411- California Coastal National Monument Expansion Act of 2013
- H.R. 2353- To amend title 23, United States Code, with respect to the operation of vehicles on certain Wisconsin highways, and for other purposes
- H.Con.Res. 44- Authorizing the use of the Capitol Ground for the District of Columbia Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run
- H.R. 1542 - WMD Intelligence and Information Sharing Act of 2013
- H.R. 2397 - Department of Defense Appropriations Act (Subject to a Rule)
- H.R. 2218 - Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act of 2013 (Subject to a Rule)
- H.R. 1582 - Energy Consumers Relief Act of 2013, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule)
For me to better represent you in Congress, I hope that you will stay connected to my office. Follow me onFacebook, where I regularly post updates and give you a forum to voice your opinion.Click here to see a full list of the legislation I am sponsoring or co-sponsoring. You can also view many of my House floor speeches and interviews where I discuss the work of Congress on my youtube channel.
As always, feel free to email me if you have any concerns our comments.
All the Best,
Congressman Chris Stewart
Representing Utah 2nd Congressional District