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The Webster Wire

Listening to Floridians

Dear Friends:

The August jobs report released on Friday showed a massive slowdown in the U.S. economy. Economists anticipated 725,000 jobs to be added in August. However, growth fell short with the economy adding a scant 235,000 jobs. This report comes as 8.4 million Americans remain unemployed, with over 10.5 million job openings. The labor force participation rate remained at 61.7%, while the number of unfilled job openings remained above the historical average of 22%.

While President Biden blames COVID alone for this disappointing jobs report, it’s the policies of the Biden Administration and Congressional Democrats that incentivize Americans to stay out of the workforce, as well as reckless spending that continues to hold our economy back.

Last week, I participated in the House Natural Resources Committee markup on a portion of Democrats’ $3.5 trillion supplemental spending package that they plan to pass using budget reconciliation – a procedural move that only requires 51 votes in the Senate. Despite the ongoing efforts to address the crisis in Afghanistan, devastation from Hurricane Ida, growing wildfires in the West, and the ongoing immigration crisis at our Southern border, democrats have prioritized their partisan and reckless reconciliation budget.

While the full text of the entire package is not yet known, provisions in the Natural Resources component of the reconciliation package include policies that burden American workers and job creators. In total this portion of the bigger bill includes $31.7 billion dollars – most of it for Democrats far-left, Green New Deal policies. To add insult to injury, $200 million of your tax dollars are included for a park in Speaker Pelosi’s district. Democrats on the committee also unanimously opposed all amendments offered by Republicans that protect our country’s mineral independence and ensure we don’t become dependent on mines run by foreign adversaries such as China, the Taliban, or Russia.

I am opposed to this partisan and exorbitant spending. Every dollar spent in Washington is a dollar taken out of a hardworking American’s pocket. I ran for office pledging to do my part to stop the spigot of spending and get our house in order, and I will not break my pledge to my constituents and the American people.

$2 Million Returned

Last week my office reached a milestone of getting $2 million returned to constituents so far in 2021. This comes in compensation, pension, or retroactive payments from agencies including the VA, IRS, and Social Security. In total, my office has gotten $15,553,601 returned to constituents since January 2017.

I am pleased to assist on behalf of so many constituents to ensure that they receive the services and compensation they have earned. I am committed to working to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of our federal agencies. If you need assistance navigating federal bureaucracy, please get in touch with my office at 352-241-9220.

Honoring Our Heroes

On Friday, I and 230 of my colleagues co-sponsored legislation introduced by Rep. Lisa McClain (R-MI) to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the following 13 U.S. military servicemembers killed in Afghanistan last month: Staff Sgt. Darin Taylor Hoover, Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, Sgt. Nicole Gee, Cpl. Hunter Lopez, Cpl. Daegan Page, Cpl. Humberto Sanchez, Cpl. David Lee Espinoza, Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola, Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, Hospitalman Maxton Soviak and Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss.

We owe our military a debt we can never repay. Honoring the courage and selfless sacrifice these young men and women made is a step toward honoring their bravery and remembering their Gold Star Families. May we never forget and learn from their dedicated service. America is safer because of their commitment to preserving our freedom. Please join me in praying for their families and loved ones and for all our men and women in uniform. May God bless and protect them.

Protecting Humane Treatment of Animals

Recently, I and several of my Republican colleagues sent a letter to Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), regarding troubling reports of expensive, deadly, and taxpayer-funded experiments commissioned by NIAID and performed on dogs.

NIAID has spent over $420,000 to test two dozen beagles by infecting them with parasites and treating them with an experimental vaccine for the tropical human disease, lymphatic filariasis. Disturbing evidence in this report point to occasions where the dogs used in the experiment were “vocalizing in pain” during testing. According to the report, at the end of the testing these dogs will be killed, even if they recover. Testing is currently scheduled to continue through January 2022.

In our letter, we request answers to the following questions:

  • Are these dog experiments ongoing?
  • Are they still slated to end in January 2022?
  • How many dogs have been experimented on, and killed to date?
  • How much of the $424,455 has been spent to date on these dog experiments?
  • Why did NIAID commission testing on dogs specifically for this experimental human drug when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearly states that testing on dogs is not required?
  • Who at NIAID authorized this dog testing to take place?

I believe we have a responsibility to treat all animals as humanely as possible and promote proper care and handling. While in the Florida legislature, I supported laws which would ensure the humane treatment of dogs, such as greyhounds used for racing. It is important to consider the ethical treatment of our pets while also taking into consideration the long-term impact on our nation’s health.

Seeing and Serving You

On Friday, I visited Pastor Doug Alexander and Lady “T” Alexander at the New Church Without Walls to learn about the church’s work throughout the community. While visiting, I also made a personal donation to the church to help with their disaster relief efforts in Haiti following the devastating earthquakes in the country.

I also visited Dillon’s Cinnamon Sticks, a family-owned restaurant in Inverness. Owner Ron Dillon shared the restaurant’s history and his vision for its future. Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy. Businesses like Dillon’s Cinnamon Sticks provide new jobs and opportunities for our community to connect and grow.

I visited the United Way of Hernando County’s Chamber B2B where I met with Board Member Valerie Ciaccio and made a personal donation of backpacks for local students to use throughout the school year. Every year during the back-to-school season, I personally donate backpacks and school supplies across the district to organizations like United Way who serve our students and set them up for success for the new school year.

I toured the Citrus County Construction Academy at the Citrus County Building Alliance to learn more about the Academy’s goals for the future. The Citrus Construction Academy is a 501(c)3 foundation that raises awareness, support and funds for construction-related training for secondary and post-secondary students across the county. In partnership with Withlacoochee Technical College and Lowe’s Home Improvement, the Academy provides a way for students to learn construction trades through safe, hands-on lessons.

Pam Jones, my Community Relations Representative for Lake and Sumter Counties, attended the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Neighborhood Lake Scenic Trail & Trailhead along with numerous County Commissioners, State Legislative Representatives and local city elected officials. The 2.8 mile trail connects Lake, Seminole and Sumter Counties and will eventually tie into the Heart of Florida Loop, Coast to Coast Trail, and River to Sea Loop in Central Florida. These long-distance nature trails offer a safe and easy way to enjoy Florida’s natural beauty while supporting economic growth for communities in the area.

Pam Jones, my Community Relations Representative for Lake and Sumter Counties, attended the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Neighborhood Lake Scenic Trail & Trailhead along with numerous County Commissioners, State Legislative Representatives and local city elected officials. The 2.8 mile trail connects Lake, Seminole and Sumter Counties and will eventually tie into the Heart of Florida Loop, Coast to Coast Trail, and River to Sea Loop in Central Florida. These long-distance nature trails offer a safe and easy way to enjoy Florida’s natural beauty while supporting economic growth for communities in the area.

Pam Jones also attended the Habitat for Humanity of Lake and Sumter Counties and South Lake High School Youth Construction Academy ground-breaking in Mascotte on Thursday. Once construction is completed next spring, a local family will be presented with the keys and receive the new home at no charge. Construction is made possible with supplies donated by RoMac Building Supply and Kalos Services.

Cindy Brown, my Community Relations Representative for The Villages and South Marion County, attended the Kiwanis Club of Ocala’s 2021 Sportsman’s Dinner and Auction at Oak Run last week.

This club serves children in the surrounding areas of Ocala with projects to improve literacy, citizenship, and child safety.

Cindy is pictured with Roseann Fricks, Kiwanis Lt. Governor and Executive Director of the Early Learning Coalition of Marion County, JoLynn Rathel, Kiwanis Literacy Outreach Advocate, and family support specialist at the Early Learning Coalition of Marion County.

Constituent Corner

A constituent contacted my office regarding a delay in the full authorization of his veteran grant due to an internal error with the Board of Veterans Appeal. Once my staff followed up on his behalf, the Board resolved the issue, and his remand was forwarded to the Appeals Management Office for completion which resulted in a retroactive payment of over $20,000.

Constituent services is a critical element of our congressional office. The federal government is a massive operation, and my office is available if you ever need assistance in navigating the bureaucracy or cutting through red tape. We are here to serve you.

Survey

Do you believe the U.S. should be reliant on critical minerals mined by foreign adversaries such as China, Russia or the Taliban?

submit your response

Results of last week’s survey  which asked…”Do you approve of the Biden Administration’s handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal?”

  • Yes – 9%
  • No – 90%
  • Unsure – 1%

Your servant,

Daniel Webster
Member of Congress

Washington
2184 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-1002
Leesburg
318 South 2nd St #A
Leesburg, FL 34748
(352) 241-9220
Inverness
212 W. Main
Street Suite 208A
Inverness, FL 34450
(352) 241-9204
he Villages
8015 E. County Road 466 Suite B
The Villages, FL 32162
(352) 383-3552
Brooksville
15 N. Main Street Suite B
Brooksville, FL 34601
(352) 241-9230