WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Dear Friend – Last week, you helped me reach over 1,000 Facebook likes, which was a wonderful way to celebrate my first 100 days in Congress! Thank you to everyone who has connected with on Facebook and on Twitter at @RepDeSantis - hearing from you is the most important part of my job.
It is a privilege and an honor to represent Florida's sixth district in Congress! When I announced last week that I had co-sponsored legislation mandating that the new drone medal not be given a higher precedence than the Purple Heart, I also stated that it was my hope that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel would simply handle it himself at the Department of Defense level.
I am pleased to report that Secretary Hagel has discontinued the drone medal entirely.
Instead of a medal, Hagel will create a separate distinguishing device that can be affixed to awards earned by drone operators or cyberattackers. This is appropriate and corrects the mistake of having a separate medal that took precedence over those who have suffered battlefield wounds.
At the end of every week my drill is the same: I cast my last vote and then proceed to the airport to fly back to the district until our next legislative day begins. As I was getting ready to board the plane, I saw a strange headline come across my iPhone: Congress Votes to Ease STOCK Act Restrictions (The STOCK Act was passed in response to members of Congress leveraging their official positions to reap rewards in the stock market). I did not remember voting on anything of the kind.
In fact, I support the STOCK Act and, if anything, believe it should be tougher.
So, what happened?
Well, after nearly everyone left the House Chamber – believing that votes were concluded for the week – a few remaining members from both parties brought up the changes to the STOCK Act and passed them via “Voice Vote,” which can be done with just a handful of members present. Thus, the changes were passed without 99% of the members even knowing about it, let alone getting to vote on it.
So when you hear reports that “Congress” voted to make changes to the STOCK Act, please understand that this is only true in the most technical sense – very few members of Congress actually voted to make these changes. I certainly did not.
Finally, thank you to all of the talented students who participated in the Facebook round of this year's Congressional Art Competition! You have chosen the 10 pieces of artwork that you would like to see voted on by our panel of local judges.
Please join me next Saturday, April 27th at Flagler Palm Coast High School from 3-4 p.m. for a Congressional Art Competition Reception where the top 10 pieces of artwork will be displayed and the final winner will be chosen. For more frequent updates on legislation and events, please follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
I look forward to hearing from you; please do not hesitate to contact either my Washington, DC or Port Orange office should you need any assistance.