Weekly Newsletter: May 10, 2024

May 10, 2024

I wanted to give you all an update on an issue I’ve been asked about several times lately, which is the bill I recently had to vote NO on in the House. It was a bill called the “Antisemitism Awareness Act,” but truthfully, the title was misleading.

Too often, Congress speedily advances well-intended but poorly drafted legislation that actually does more damage than the issue it attempts to address. That was the case with this bill. It may have been well-intentioned, but it contained language that was way too broad and I believe violated free speech rights. In trying to condemn antisemitism, the text went so far as to list things that could be labeled as “hate speech.” Under this bill, even someone reading Biblical passages talking about Jesus’s crucifixion could be accused of “hate speech.”

These were issues that could have been fixed had House Leadership allowed for Member input, but as we were working to solve the problems, leadership steamrolled us and scheduled the vote anyway. That’s not the way the people’s house should work.

What’s happening towards our Jewish brothers and sisters is shameful and should be dealt with. It is indicative of a much bigger problem and a sickness within our country that leaders need to deal with head-on. But playing leftist games and labeling things “hate speech” not only violates free speech rights, it pretends we’re doing something useful when we really aren’t.

Instead, we should be focusing our attention on using Congress’ Constitutional power of the purse to defund taxpayer-funded institutions pushing ideologies like antisemitism. We should also block President Biden’s bureaucracy from getting more funding after he, once again, ignored clear Congressional direction (also known as the law) to speedily deliver military aid to Israel. Let’s actually use our leverage to implement consequences and change – not just push talking points.

I hope that explains my position for those of you asking. I’ll continue to keep you updated.

Last week, I had the honor of testifying on behalf of Katherine Swidan, mother of Chinese political prisoner Mark Swidan, at a roundtable hosted by the House Foreign Affairs Committee. In 2012, Mark embarked on a business trip to China, only to be unjustly detained by the communist Chinese government. To this day, Mark endures indescribable hardships during his captivity. Nevertheless, Mark has remained steadfast in his faith in the Lord, and we continue to work to secure his release.

While celebrity cases frequently grab headlines, the struggles of ordinary Americans like Mark, unjustly imprisoned abroad, often go unnoticed by both the media and the government. That’s why it’s important to keep pushing forward on this issue, not only to secure Mark’s return home but also to shine a necessary spotlight on his case. As Katherine Swidan wrote in her testimony, “We need to show the world that the United States of America does not abandon its citizens and that we fight for their rights and their return no matter the challenges.” My prayers are with Katherine Swidan, Mark Swidan, and all their loved ones – that the Lord would hear our petitions and grant him a safe, secure return home.

You can watch my full testimony HERE.

This past week was jam packed with hearings. Check out the summary below!

We had a recent hearing with the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic which gave me the opportunity to question Dr. Peter Daszak, President of EcoHealth Alliance, a key player in the censorship of the Lab Leak Theory.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar, EcoHealth funneled millions of taxpayer dollars to a shady Chinese lab (known to have insufficient biosecurity protections) to conduct risky gain-of-function research, violating a number of NIH policies along the way. I believe the evidence shows experiments like this paved the way for COVID-19’s spread. We’re now learning more evidence suggesting that NIH officials, including Dr. Fauci, sought to cover up their own role in funding this kind of research – partly by falsely labeling reasonable questions as “conspiracy theories.”

Perhaps worst of all, EcoHealth is still receiving government funding – even though when I questioned Dr. Daszak on whether he would do anything over, he claimed there wasn’t anything he would change. This is ridiculous, and yet another example of where Congress should be using our power of the purse.

You can watch my full questioning HERE.

Last week, the Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Jen Easterly, testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, where I’m a member.

I wanted to focus my questioning on free speech issues, specifically calling back to an exchange we had in 2023. When I questioned Director Easterly last year, she testified that CISA does not censor free speech – which is patently false. Specifically in regards to the coordinated effort to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals states that, “CISA was the primary facilitator of the FBI’s interactions with social media platforms and worked in close connection with the FBI to push the platforms to change their moderation policies over hack and leak content.”

As we’ve seen over and over again, the entrenched bureaucrats who run our federal agencies do not abide by the same rules as we do. From the outset, it was clear that the laptop and its contents were authentic, yet nobody has been held accountable for this blatant election interference. As we move forward with FY2025 appropriations, please know that I will be targeting programs and agencies that infringe on our most fundamental rights. This will be an uphill battle, but it is one that must be done.

You can watch my full questioning of Director Easterly HERE.

During this week’s Oversight Committee hearing, I had the opportunity to question Jason Miller, Deputy Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, about the ongoing negative impacts of the COVID-19 policies implemented by the Biden administration. Since 2021, the Biden administration has implemented inefficient telework policies that have exacerbated already dire backlogs at federal agencies. While middle class Americans are running their businesses and expected to show up, government bureaucrats have often been permitted to work from home for no reason. This is unacceptable.

During the first three months of 2023, 17 out of 24 agencies studied were using their buildings at 25% capacity or less. This has real life consequences for families. For example, if you have not received your tax return yet, there is a strong possibility that policies like this are why. Furthermore, the rise in telework has coincided with a surge in cases of misconduct, fraud, and other improper behavior among federal employees.

This is a top priority for me and I will continue pushing back against these harmful policies and seek to streamline the bureaucracy.

You can watch my full questioning HERE.

Finally, I would like to end this week’s newsletter with a prayer request. This past Thursday was the National Day of Prayer, and next week is National Police Week — both of which could not have come at a more needed time for us in South Texas.

If they are not already in your prayers, please pray for the family of Officer Kyle Hicks, a member of the Corpus Christi Police Department who was recently killed in the line of duty.

May his memory be a blessing — and may we always honor the selfless service of heroes like Officer Hicks. Psalm 34:18

God Bless,

Michael Cloud
Member of Congress

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