Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, and it’s an opportunity to remember the importance of cancer screening and prevention. Breast cancer affects tens of thousands of women and families every year throughout the United States, and the chance of a woman contracting this disease in her lifetime is one in eight.

My wife Wendy lost her mother to this disease when she was just 6 years old. Her loss serves as a constant reminder to our family, including our three daughters, of how important it is to raise awareness about breast cancer and increasing resources to fight the disease.

Elevating breast cancer prevention and early detection, increasing research, and expanding access to care will all help combat this disease that affects so many of our family, friends and neighbors.

I’ve been working on several initiatives in Congress to fight the disease, like my legislation to expand access to mobile mammography services. This would help provide more on-site mammograms to women in both urban and rural areas that may not currently receive screenings and preventive care. We could give thousands more women a fighting chance to combat this terrible disease through early detection.

I’ve also joined Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Congresswomen Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) in introducing legislation to reauthorize the Breast Health Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young Act, or the EARLY Act. It was signed into law in 2010 and created an education and outreach campaign administered to highlight breast cancer risks, but we need to reauthorize the program. Click here to read more.

I’ll continue working on these and other issues to make sure that women battling breast cancer aren’t denied access to life-saving screenings or treatment that may extend their lives and their time with loved ones.

From David's Desk: September Roundup

Like many of you, fall is one of my favorite times of the year. It’s exciting to see my kids return back to school, and of course getting to watch the Saints is a highlight of the season – although they really need to step it up! But September was also a busy month in the Senate. Congress passed initial legislation to address the threat from ISIS terrorists, but the Harry Reid Senate has slowed down progress on other legislation – such as securing our borders and allowing Americans to keep their healthcare plans.

Please continue reading below to learn more about these issues and some of the ways I’m working to bring Louisiana common-sense to the U.S. Senate.

Sincerely,

David Vitter 
United States Senator

Highlights from the past month (click the hyperlinks for more information):

Video Spotlight: U.S. Airstrikes Against ISIS

I support the U.S. airstrikes in Syria as a necessary part of a coherent overall strategy against the terrorist group ISIS. But President Obama hasn't laid out such a coherent overall strategy yet. In fact, over the weekend President Obama admitted that his administration messed up assessing the threat of ISIS. I strongly urge him to develop a coherent strategy and to ask Congress for a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force. I think this is constitutionally necessary, and it's the right thing to do in order to properly engage Congress and the American people.

Over 1,600 Illegal Immigrant Children Started School in Louisiana this year

Earlier this month, we learned that 1,275 unaccompanied alien children (UACs) were relocated to Louisiana and started school this year. Now we know that number has grown to over 1,600. This has created a huge financial burden for our school systems and our taxpayers, and added an additional burden for our teachers and students. President Obama’s policies created this illegal immigration mess in Louisiana, and the school system should not be left to clean it up. Click here to read more.

Administration Giving Illegal Aliens Free Pass on Obamacare

The Obama Administration is bending over backwards to give Obamacare to illegal immigrants. They’ve been granting deadline extensions, making excuses, and turning a blind eye to falsified documents by illegal immigrants. But at the same time, they won’t protect hard working American citizens who are losing their health care coverage. Enough is enough, and they need to provide answers to why they think illegal immigrants should be eligible for Obamacare. Click here to read more.

New Report Shows Obamacare Funds Used for Abortions

A new report from the Government Accountability Office this month exposed widespread taxpayer-funded abortion coverage under Obamacare. According to the report, taxpayer funding is going toward over 1,000 health insurance plans that include abortion even though such funding is illegal under the law. This is tragic and completely unacceptable. It should come as no surprise that President Obama and Democrats in Congress would mislead the American people about yet another aspect of Obamacare – but this time it comes at the expense of millions of unborn children. Click here to read more.

Pushing to Allow Americans to Keep Healthcare Plans

Despite President Obama’s promise, millions of Americans have been losing healthcare coverage and struggling to find new policies under Obamacare. While Washington created a special exemption for Members of Congress to keep their Obamacare subsidy, the rest of America deserves to be able to keep the insurance they like – just like President Obama and Democrats in Congress promised. I’m continuing my push to remove Washington’s Exemption from Obamacare – which allows Members of Congress and the Administration to keep a special subsidy – as well as push for Congressman Bill Cassidy’s legislation to allow Americans to keep their healthcare plans. Click here to read more.

Continuing the Fight to Help Stanford Ponzi Victims

Unfortunately, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) decided not to appeal a court decision which ruled that thousands of victims of the Stanford Ponzi scheme were ineligible to file claims to recoup their losses. It's disappointing the SEC would just give up, but I’m going to make sure that they stay committed to helping the Stanford Ponzi scheme victims get compensated. Click here to read more.

Providing Flexibility for Education Saving

Education is among the best investments a family can make. And as the father of four, I know education expenses add up quick. I’ve signed on to a bill to make reforms to federally sponsored education savings accounts. The bill would increase the limit that the federal government has set on what a family can contribute each year. Making these reforms to education savings accounts will make it easier for all families to save more money for education without the government setting an unrealistically low limit. It also gives families more flexibility on how they can spend their savings. Click here to read more.

Vitter’s View: Louisiana Schools Get Roped Into Border Crisis

As if the current border crisis weren’t concerning enough as a national problem, it has officially become a Louisiana problem too. The Obama administration is relocating illegal immigrant children throughout the country – including to Louisiana. In fact, Louisiana is astonishingly in the top ten of states forced to receive these children. That means that the children will be educated in our public schools, and that education comes at a cost. In Jefferson Parish alone, the price tag comes to $4.8 million.

It also puts an additional, unfair burden on teachers who will be expected to accommodate non-English speaking students. That’s not fair to the teachers and not fair to the students in the classroom.

Frankly, we’ve had lax enforcement of our immigration laws for decades, and it has only encouraged more immigrants to come here illegally. That’s exactly why we’re seeing the influx of unaccompanied immigrant children arriving at our southern border. This problem could be completely eliminated if the Obama Administration would actually start securing our borders and enforcing immigration laws.

President Obama’s policies created this illegal immigration mess in Louisiana, and the school system should not be left to clean it up. This could potentially cause a huge financial burden for the state, and for no reason other than the Obama Administration is completely disinterested in enforcing immigration laws and inept at securing our border.

We need a policy that actually deters illegal immigration. I have legislation that would implement mandatory detention and expedited removal of any immigrants found to be coming into our country illegally. To some, that may sound harsh, but it’s what we need to do. Because when it comes down to it, we need to send a message to others thinking about coming here illegally. We need to tell the world that illegal immigration is unacceptable, and we can do that by deporting people who come here illegally by the planeload - not educating their kids free of charge.

Louisiana families want the best education for our kids. And as long as illegal immigrant children are being placed into our classrooms, there will be an extra burden on our school systems and an extra cost on our taxpayers. The quality of education our kids receive should absolutely not be compromised in the name of President Obama or anyone’s political agenda.

9 Years Since Hurricane Rita

No state has experienced the damage of hurricanes quite like Louisiana. And because of it, Louisianians have a unique spirit of resilience. The can-do attitude of communities in our state serves as an inspiration to the entire country.

Today, on the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Rita, we can see the effects of that Louisiana can-do attitude. Cameron Parish and southwest Louisiana were slammed by Hurricane Rita in 2005, but in 2014 we’re seeing rebuilding in high-risk flood zones and amazing new development in areas most affected. Some of the most impressive development projects in Louisiana – and even in the country – are happening in Acadiana and southwest Louisiana. We’ve worked together to bring new state of the art natural gas facilities and attract new chemical companies. It’s been exciting to be a part of this growth and rebuilding.

And this year saw a huge victory in implementing a new flood insurance reform law that will help keep flood insurance affordable for Louisianians.

Though we can hope and pray that Louisiana will be safe each hurricane season, we must always be prepared for whatever might come our way. As folks across Louisiana continue to rebuild their communities and lives, I will continue fighting to ensure they receive the assistance they deserve and need.

I’m very thankful for all the rebuilding we’ve done -- and I’m committed to making sure that every community in Louisiana has the support they need to continue moving forward.

Celebrating Constitution Day

Today is Constitution Day, the anniversary of when our Founding Fathers adopted the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787 in Philadelphia.

It’s also known as Citizenship Day and celebrates those who have become U.S. citizens. This is a meaningful celebration, because it recognizes those who legally and deliberately become Americans. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution says, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”

Being an American citizen is the world’s greatest honor. Unfortunately, too many people from other countries abuse our immigration laws. They assume that just coming to America makes you a citizen. You and I both know it doesn’t.

Enforcing the immigration laws we have is absolutely vital, and I’m usually the first to say that includes legal immigration and citizenship. But Constitution Day serves as an important reminder of the integrity of our laws and the blessings of our liberties.

Sometimes it seems like our own President needs to be reminded that the Constitution is law of the land. He’s made a habit of interpreting and enforcing it completely on his own terms.

We need to get back to the best traditions of our democracy – and that includes supporting and enforcing legal immigration into our country.