Recent Press Releases and News

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – Congressman Ander Crenshaw, author of the federal Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE Act), helped celebrate the launch of Florida’s ABLE United program at a ceremony at The Arc Jacksonville Village on Wednesday evening (7/27). ABLE United, pursuant to the federal ABLE Act, allows Florida residents with disabilities to enroll in tax-free savings accounts to use for qualified expenses without jeopardizing existing government benefits.

Together with officials from the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), the Down Syndrome Society of Jacksonville (DSAJ), and The Arc Jacksonville Village, Crenshaw recognized the importance of ABLE United. During the ceremony at The Arc, a recently-opened community that promotes independent living for those living with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the DSAJ recognized Crenshaw for his leadership on ABLE. He thanked DSAJ Executive Director Debbie Revels, NDSS President Sara Weir, The Arc Jacksonville President and CEO Jim Whittaker and others for their work in advancing the ABLE Act and provided the following comments following the event:

“Great achievements result from teamwork with each player keeping the finish in sight. The ABLE team applied that philosophy for eight years, never taking its eyes off the goal-line. We scored our historic victory on December 19, 2014, the date ABLE became law of the land, and we opened the door to a brighter future for millions living with disabilities. Now, we bring that triumph home to Florida as we celebrate ABLE United, the program that authorizes the establishment of our ground-breaking opportunity at the state level.

“ABLE United means folks right here at The Arc Jacksonville Village, a first-class community that promotes inclusion, engagement, and independent living, are able to enroll in tax-free savings accounts. They and those who live with Down Syndrome, autism, and other disabilities now have access to a common-sense financial planning tool - a tax-free savings account - not previously available to them. Like other Americans who use such a tool to save for college, individuals with disabilities can map out their future. I have no doubt that state-by-state, ABLE accounts will be available to everyone who needs them. That’s what I call a solid win, made possible through partnership. ”

BACKGROUND: Officially titled The Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014, in honor of its long-time champion who passed away unexpectedly on December 8, 2014, the law marks the first major legislative reform to impact people with disabilities since the 1990 passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Beck, of Burke, VA, had advocated for the reform early on. His young daughter Natalie was born with Down syndrome.

The ABLE Act amends Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Service Code of 1986 to create tax-free savings accounts for qualified expenses. Benefits provided through private insurance, the Medicaid program, the beneficiary’s employment, and other sources would be supplemented, but not supplanted by the legislation. The bill passed the House on December 3, 2014 by a vote of 404-17 and was included Tax Extenders legislation which passed the Senate by a vote of 76 – 16. President Barack Obama signed the measure into law on Friday afternoon, December 19, 2014.

Editor’s Note: Go to www.crenshaw.house.gov for more information about the history of the ABLE Act.

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WASHINGON, DC – In a recent letter to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson, Congressman Ander Crenshaw, Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, supported basing the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft at Naval Station Mayport.

“Mayport is the perfect home for both the operational requirements of the aircraft, the Sailors who operate them, and their families,” wrote Crenshaw, later stating, “Tritons stationed at Naval Station Mayport would be well positioned for conducting maritime surveillance operations in both the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.”

A final basing decision is expected to be made by the Navy later this summer. Currently, the Navy is preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the establishment of facilities and functions to support Triton Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) at one of three locations: Naval Station Mayport, Naval Air Station Key West and National Aeronautics and Space Administration Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

The following is full text of the July 29 letter:

I am writing in support of selecting Naval Station Mayport as the East Coast Forward Operating Base for MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft. Mayport is the perfect home for both the operational requirements of the aircraft, the Sailors who operate them, and their families.

The Jacksonville-area military community is already becoming acquainted with the MQ-4C Triton. Naval Air Station Jacksonville (NAS Jacksonville) is the home of the Triton operator training facility as well as the East Coast Main Operating Base. VUP-19, the first MQ-4C Triton squadron, is also stationed at NAS Jacksonville. There are benefits to having squadron leadership and pilots in the same location as the aircraft that they operate, including better oversight and less-associated travel costs.

Tritons stationed at Naval Station Mayport would be well positioned for conducting maritime surveillance operations in both the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. They would be located near the headquarters of the Navy’s Fourth Fleet and US Naval Forces Southern Command whose leadership is responsible for all US Navy ships, aircraft, and submarines operating in the Caribbean, and Central and South America, and surrounding waters.

Naval Station Mayport is located in an established fleet concentration area that has all of the amenities that our Sailors and their families are accustomed to, including two commissaries, multiple Navy exchanges, and a Naval Hospital with several branch medical clinics. In addition to a diverse housing market, base housing is available. In other locations being considered for the Triton facility, such services are over a hundred miles away and across a bridge that charges $13.00 each way.

The City of Jacksonville and the State of Florida are committed to supporting all members of the military, veterans, and their families. The Mayor of Jacksonville has a full time Military and Veterans Affairs Department to ensure that the requirements of the region’s military facilities are fully accommodated. Governor Rick Scott has constantly reaffirmed his commitment to maintaining Florida as the most military friendly state in the nation.

I am standing by to support the base selection committee and look forward to hearing from you.

BACKGROUND: The Triton UAS is an unmanned, unarmed, remotely controlled aircraft employed to enhance maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities as part of the Navy’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force. Under the proposed action, the Navy plans to establish a launch and recovery site for four home based Triton UAS aircraft and support an operational-level maintenance hub for up to four additional aircraft undergoing maintenance actions (up to eight aircraft total). The East Coast home base location would be a permanent duty station for up to 400 personnel plus family members, and support rotational deployments of personnel and aircraft outside the continental United States. Military construction projects in support of the home basing would begin in fiscal year 2017.

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Recent Speeches and Statements

Congressman Ander Crenshaw commended the heroism of the late WWII Veteran Clyde L. Hillhouse in a floor speech and urged colleagues to pass legislation naming the White Springs, Florida Post Office in his honor.
Congressman Crenshaw addresses his House colleagues on on November 7, 2009 with concerns over how health care reform will impact the nation's military.

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