Gus Billirakis talls about Florida an issues in the state
Protecting Our Children
Recent revelations indicate that Google sought the help of other Big Tech Giants to stall implementation of provisions that would protect children’s privacy. This is yet another instance in which Big Tech is actively working to prioritize profits over the well-being of our children. They’ve proven they won’t do the right thing unless required. We must hold them accountable by enacting common sense protections. In order to help further that goal, my colleagues and I have demanded internal research on studies about how Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube’s products are impacting teen’s mental health.
Also, children who have been placed in the foster care system are an incredibly vulnerable population. These children have often endured unfathomable circumstances, and we have a moral obligation to ensure they receive supportive services in an appropriate setting. We cannot allow bureaucratic red tape to prevent these children from receiving the care and treatment they deserve. Click here to read more about my efforts on this important subject.
Securing our Border
Chaos continues at our southern border. There were 192,001 border apprehensions in September, that is a 233% increase from last September. This is also the highest number for September in history.
Month after month since President Biden took office, the situation has only continued to deteriorate. Since President Biden took office, there have been over 1.3 million border apprehensions. This must stop!
However, instead of addressing the crisis, Democrats are pushing for mass amnesty for up to 12 million illegal immigrants, plus proposing $100 billion in taxpayer-funded benefits for them, in their spending package. Their proposed package also provides zero funding for border wall construction, technology, or additional Border Patrol agents.
Honoring and Assisting our Heroes
Last week we commemorated National First Responders’ Day. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the men and women who place themselves in harm’s way each and every day to keep us safe. I am proud to live in a community that supports our first responders and law enforcement community instead of the places around the country in which leaders have tried to undermine their efforts. Last week, I was invited to testify in the Judiciary Committee about the work I am doing in Washington to support law enforcement. Click here to listen.
We also discussed the workforce shortage within the healthcare industry during last week’s Health Subcommittee hearing. Healthcare professionals have endured a significant strain throughout the pandemic, and we all owe them a debt of gratitude. While we are reviewing some measures to help hospital systems recruit and retain talent, I fear that we must do more to help. A recent study found that at the current trends, by 2035, Florida will be short of supply by more than 65,000 registered nurses (RNs) and 26,000 licensed practical nurses (LPNs). The study used 2019 as a baseline without accounting for the worsening effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to listen to my exchange with panelists.
In Florida, our local school boards and Legislature have worked tirelessly to protect our children from woke progressive indoctrination; however, college campuses have long been a breeding ground for this type of propaganda. Now, more than ever, it is important that our leaders stand up and protect the fundamental rights protected under the First Amendment. Last week, I was proud to join my colleagues on the Congressional Campus Free Speech Caucus by becoming a member of this important group.
Together, we will work to ensure that all students have the freedom to express their points of view without fear of retribution by university leadership, professors, or fellow students. I was also proud to join several of my colleagues in supporting H.R. 4007, the Campus Free Speech Restoration Act, which will help ensure that the First Amendment is protected on all university campuses.
Supporting Small Businesses
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. Each weekend, I highlight the success of newly opened or expanded businesses in our community. Last week, my team attended the grand opening of Empire Café & Lounge with the Tarpon Springs Chamber. Congratulations to Tammy and Dennis Mink on their new NYC style diner!
I recently received the following email from a constituent after my team helped her resolve a problem with the IRS which was keeping her from receiving her rightful tax refund.
Thank you for everything you have done so I will be able to get my refund, Your service to our community is greatly appreciated. Hoping and praying for your continuous strength and good health so you can continue to help us!
This is just one example of the work we do each day. Constituent services are 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!