Weekly Newsletter: February 28, 2024

Feb 28, 2024

It was great seeing familiar faces and meeting some new friends at our Corpus Christi Open House! We had an amazing turnout with a ‘standing room only’ crowd.

I hosted this event because as your Congressman, my first responsibility is to listen. Understanding what matters to you helps me do my job. Also, our team works hard every day to serve our fellow citizens being a bridge between you all and your Government. The open house was a good opportunity to meet the team, and even open up a case so we can help.

Thank you to everyone who came out!

This past week was another busy time in the district. Any day away from the swamp and back in Texas with friends and family is a good day. Here’s some of what I got up to:

On Monday, I met with University of Houston-Victoria’s President Robert Glenn and his team. We discussed some exciting projects on the horizon that will bring new opportunities to students in our region.

My team and I toured Victoria College and met with President Jennifer Kent. It has been a pleasure working with VC on their new workforce training and development facilities, and I was grateful to see what they’ve accomplished. So many students will benefit greatly from the new opportunities provided.

Tuesday, we stopped by the Rockport Chamber of Commerce Legislative Luncheon to give an update on ongoing efforts to secure the border, as well as how to address the spending fight in Washington. We also spoke about some of the key local priorities we’re working on, like the Aransas County Airport.

After our Corpus Christi Open House on Wednesday, I was invited to the Sinton Chamber of Commerce to share an update from D.C. — as well as take some questions on the challenges and opportunities facing our district. As with most visits in Texas, the main topics we touched on were the border, our economy, and how to get government spending under control. It was great to see so many good friends working hard to make a difference in our community! Thanks to them for the invitation.

On Thursday I was grateful to stop by the 78th Annual Victoria Livestock Show and speak to the participants before the program. This is a fantastic event every year. Kudos to all the parents, teachers, volunteers, and mentors that make it happen each and every year. You are the lifeblood of our communities and it was an honor to participate!

Later in the day, I spent some time with great friends at the Port Lavaca Rotary Club where I gave a legislative update and answered some questions, both on legislative items and local updates like our work with the Port of Calhoun and Matagorda Ship Channel project. It was great to see everyone.

Finally, my family and I attended the ‘Heart Ball’ celebrating 100 years of the American Heart Association’s work — a great event for a wonderful cause. It was a pleasure to help recognize such a momentous achievement.

A big thank you to everyone for having me, and for all the hard work you do supporting heart health across the country.

Before we finish this week’s update, there’s a couple national issues I think it’s important to address. The first is on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act program, or FISA, which I’m sure you’ve seen some debate on.

The debate over FISA essentially comes down to whether the Government should have the right to spy on US citizens without a warrant. I am strongly against this, and there is truly only one principle needed to explain why: spying on Americans citizens without a warrant is a violation of our Constitutional rights. It is not ambiguous. Whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican, or an Independent, you have a Constitutional right to privacy against warrantless government surveillance, period.

Unfortunately, the current FISA program (as well as the House bill reauthorizing it, currently being debated) lacks critical protections to defend your rights. This is unacceptable to me, and not something Congress should support or defend. Nor is it something we should quietly slip into a broader bill, like the National Defense Authorization Act, as a means of passing it.

It’s important to note that support for privacy rights is widespread and bipartisan. Surveys suggest nearly 4 in 5 Americans believe privacy protections against warrantless government surveillance should be expanded. Moreover, there are countless real-world examples of the Intelligence Community abusing FISA authority against American citizens, including spying on small dollar donors to political campaigns, surveilling a local political party in 2021, and even querying individuals’ places of worship. Of course, many will remember the most documented instance of surveillance abuse using FISA authority, when the intelligence community surveilled members of the 2016 Trump campaign based on fabricated, illegitimate evidence. These injustices are unacceptable, and not representative of a government by the people and for the people.

Remember, Congress’ first job is to keep the People free. We must ensure the rights of the American people are protected, and reauthorizing FISA authority without significant reforms would fail to do that. Please know that I will strongly oppose any bill that does not protect your Constitutional rights.

Watch my remarks at the COVID Subcommittee’s hearing on vaccine safety.

We also had a critical hearing in the COVID-19 subcommittee last week on vaccine safety.

The key point: Public health authorities lost trust during the pandemic by speaking out of both sides of their mouths on the measures they recommended, and even mandated, during the pandemic. Instead of trying to restore trust, these same public health officials offered murky non-answers that further undermine their credibility – instead resorting to shoving mandates on the American people with little data to support such efforts.

Tragically, millions of Americans were forced to choose between taking the vaccine and losing the job that provided for their families – all while these vaccines never lived up to their promised effectiveness to keep people from receiving or transmitting COVID-19. In spite of that, the Biden Administration worked overtime to silence critics and accuse the unvaccinated of being heartless and uncaring. Nothing like this should ever happen again.

You can watch my questioning of the witnesses HERE.

God Bless,

Michael Cloud
Member of Congress

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