Yesterday, Congressman Bill Huizenga (MI-02) spoke on the floor in support of the Transitional Housing for Recovery in Viable Environments or THRIVE Act. This legislation would expand housing options for individuals who are transitioning out of addiction treatment and require continued support. The THRIVE Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 230-173.
The Transitional Housing for Recovery in Viable Environments (THRIVE) Act is an important piece of legislation with strong bipartisan support - that came out of the Financial Services Committee - and would create a pilot program to allocate Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers to transitional housing non-profits with evidence-based models of recovery and life-skills training.
Our country, our states, and our communities are in crisis right now. Over the last decade, there has been a dramatic rise in opioid abuse, whether it is the nonmedical use of prescription drugs as well as illicitly manufactured heroin. We need engagement at every level.
In light of this medical emergency; there is an extremely pressing need for additional transitional housing for opioid recovery. These housing programs must follow a proven evidence-based approach that has helped thousands of Americans to maintain sobriety after completing rehab, gain these valuable jobs skills, obtain employment, and eventually transition back into society to lead independent lives.
Time and time again, individuals who have just completed in-patient rehabilitation programs are forced to live in housing situations where they are surrounded by people that are using the same illegal substances that sent them to rehab. We have to change that.
While the evidence suggests that effective treatment and recovery plans should cover a span of three to five years for an individual based on their needs and severity, we have a long way to go to properly prioritize and fund the recovery support programs and resources that individuals need in their communities. 23 million Americans are in recovery today from substance abuse, and as we provide care for more individuals in need of addiction treatment, investing in the necessary recovery framework is critical. A sober, safe, and healthy living environment that promotes recovery from substance abuse is essential in providing quality recovery support.
These are people who qualify for these Section 8 vouchers because they have exhausted their resources. Let’s throw them a lifeline. Let’s give them some help. Let’s help them succeed. That is why I strongly support the THRIVE Act, which also has the support of the Michigan Heroin & Opiate Prevention and Education Program known as Mi-HOPE. I urge all my colleagues to support this bill and yield back the balance of my time.
Tonight, I voted against the remainder of the FY 2019 spending package and here's why. Earlier this week, I met with agents from the National Border Patrol Council and asked them: 'how can we improve security at both our northern and southern borders?' We proceeded to have an insightful conversation about improving our technological capabilities as well as increasing physical barriers at the border. Our conversation then focused on manpower. When agents from Michigan and the southern border, come to my office and say we need more people to help enforce the law, Congress has a responsibility to listen. Unfortunately this legislation fails to deliver upon that urgent need. While there are provisions and programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative that I support in this package, I believe this legislation falls short on the critical elements of properly funding and securing our border.
The President has indicated he will be declaring a national emergency when he signs this legislation into law. Mr. President, I urge caution. Congress should be the lead actor on funding border security. There are serious constitutional questions that immediately arise surrounding a declaration of national emergency that must be answered. We need to see the details of the President's anticipated declaration.
This afternoon I met with union members of the National Border Patrol Council to hear from them about prioritizing security along our southern and northern borders. We discussed the need to increase the number of agents to properly secure the border, utilizing technology, and constructing physical barriers where they would be effective. Thank you for sharing this first-hand perspective and thank you to the men and women working so hard to enforce our borders and keep our country safe.
I am a cosponsor of the Born Alive Survivors Protection Act in the House. Senator Ben Sasse is right, this shouldn’t be a partisan issue at all. Speaker Pelosi has continued to block this legislation in the House under unanimous consent. This shouldn’t be a hard decision. Let’s have the vote to see where elected officials stand on protecting these innocent children. I will continue to fight to make sure children who survive a botched abortion are guaranteed the same medical treatment as a child at the same stage of development.
Today the U.S. Forest Service announced it will not be banning alcohol on portions of the AuSable, Manistee, and Pine National Wild and Scenic Rivers this year and delay implementation of any such rule until after speaking with stakeholders who would be impacted by such a decision. While the federal government has a responsibility to manage the Huron Manistee National Forests, it is critical that federal agencies work with local communities and get their input before making changes that will impact our economy. I am glad to see the Forest Service delay implementation of this rule change and engage with local residents and small businesses.
Due to deteriorating road conditions my offices in Grandville and Grand Haven will be closed today. If you need assistance with an issue regarding the federal government, please call my office in Washington, D.C. at (202) 225-4401. Thank you and stay safe!