As we move into the new year, I've been reflecting on what we have accomplished in 2019 on behalf of the 1st Congressional District. Every time I returned to Kentucky throughout 2019, I heard loud and clear the priorities of my constituents, which have been to enact policies that put working Americans first. While this year has offered unique challenges in a time of rising partisanship, many of my congressional colleagues and I have still made meaningful progress.
The year ended with equal parts accomplishment and frustration. On a positive note, the House finally acted on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), President Trump's new and improved trade deal aimed at helping farmers, manufacturers and America's middle class. My Republican colleagues and I have worked consistently to pressure House Democrats to bring the USMCA up for a vote, marking a major trade victory for President Trump. As a farmer and Kentucky's former Commissioner of Agriculture, moving forward on the USMCA was highly important to me so that our farmers could have access to new markets.
Unfortunately, Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats chose to delay and block all kinds of important legislation in order to rush through their partisan, baseless impeachment of President Trump. Ever since the President was inaugurated, their goal has been to impeach him. House Democrats impeached the President not because he committed impeachable offenses, of which there are none, but simply because they dislike him and do not think they can beat him in the 2020 election. I strongly opposed the impeachment charade, speaking against the articles of impeachment on the House floor.
However, there were some significant accomplishments in 2019 that I was honored to play a role in. As the Republican Leader of the Education and Labor Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services, I took advantage of new opportunities to delve into issues that affect some of our most vulnerable members of society - children and senior citizens. I worked with my colleagues on the House Committee on Education and Labor (E&L) to hold hearings and strengthen federal efforts to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect. In May, the Stronger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (Stronger CAPTA) passed the House of Representatives, which is aimed at limiting child abuse and neglect in the United States. It was a great privilege of mine to work on this consequential piece of legislation that helps protect our nation's children.
I also worked with colleagues on E&L to pass the Dignity in Aging Act (H.R. 4334), which reauthorizes the Older Americans Act (OAA). From strengthening meal delivery programs and preventing elder abuse and exploitation to supporting family caregivers and community service employment opportunities - the OAA ensures older Americans have access to services which allow them to live and thrive in their own homes. Based on my numerous travels throughout the 1st District, I know that access to programs like these are critical for seniors to thrive independently.
I also worked on a bipartisan bill that ended up in the final OAA, which would eliminate the cap on the percentage of funding that Area Agencies on Aging can use to provide services to relatives raising children. This provision will be especially beneficial in Kentucky, where many older relatives have taken on the responsibilities of raising children whose parents are unable to take care of them.
Being active and accessible remains a top priority of mine. That's why I made 121 visits throughout our district for community visits, town hall meetings, "Coffees with your Congressman," business tours, and much more. My staff and I took over 670 meetings and helped over 945 constituents with casework. I am especially proud that my field representatives held 136 community office hours, consistently bringing our constituent services to every county.
While I'm disheartened that the divisive and partisan impeachment inquiry into President Trump has dominated the spotlight in Washington in recent months, many of my congressional colleagues and I remain steadfast in our efforts to deliver for the American people. As 2019 comes to close, I have confidence that we are moving in the right direction with the policies put forward by the Trump Administration. For seniors, children, students, entrepreneurs and families, this year has brought about victories and opportunities for the American people, and I look forward to delivering even stronger results in 2020.
Rep. James Comer is a United States Congressman for the 1st Congressional District, which spans from south central Kentucky to the river counties of far western Kentucky. Contact him with any questions or concerns in his Washington, D.C., office at (202) 225-3115, in the Tompkinsville Office at (270) 487-9509, in the Paducah Office at (270) 408-1865, or schedule an appointment in the Madisonville Office by calling (270) 487-9509.