In her weekly newsletter, Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler restates her claim that Obamacare is a disaster.
2014 has arrived and with it comes hope that the House and Senate will reach agreement on a number of issues that are important to the citizens we serve. The House has made serious efforts to improve the lives of Americans by passing legislation dealing with such matters as workplace flexibility, IRS abuse of law-abiding taxpayers, energy self-sufficiency, and - of course – numerous bills addressing the many problems with the President’s health care law and the need to repeal it, replace it, or at the very least delay implementation.
Unfortunately, the Senate has failed to follow the lead of the House in these areas and others. Hopefully, the new year will bring the Senate’s willingness to move forward on these important pieces of legislation.
In the area of health care we are now seeing that the House was right when it urged the Senate and the White House to repeal or at least put the brakes on this new legislation which was not ready to be launched. In the weeks and months leading up to implementation of the new law, Americans saw evidence, almost on a daily basis, of how the law could not work. As 2014 begins I pray that citizens who thought they had enrolled in health care plans are actually enrolled and have access to coverage should they need it. With its piecemeal exemptions and extensions, the Obama Administration has already acknowledged the plan is not ready for implementation. The American people would be best served by having their representatives approve new replacement health care legislation that makes health care available and affordable to all Americans without forcing citizens into a new system that is causing over 7,000,000 people to lose coverage and others to see their premiums skyrocket. We can do better.
My hope is that early in the new year, the Senate will take up many of the other bills that have been approved by the House but have collected dust in the Senate. I’ll share with you just three of these many common sense bills that await action in the Senate:
1) The Working Families Flexibility Act - H.R. 1406 – will allow private sector workersthe option of receiving compensatory time instead of pay for overtime hours worked. Federal and state employees currently have this right. It is only appropriate that this right be extended to those who work in the private sector. With family time at a premium these days, many Americans would prefer spending time with loved ones. The Senate should say “yes.”
2) The STOP IRS Act – H.R. 2565 – expands the grounds for termination of any Internal Revenue Service employee performing, delaying, or failing to perform any official action for his or her own benefit or for a political purpose. We learned of how the IRS had been playing politics with the tax exempt status of mostly conservative groups – in violation of both IRS policy and our tax laws. This bill that cleared the House awaits action in the Senate. It is time for the Senate to say “yes.”
3) The Energy Consumers Relief Act – H.R. 1582 – is one of several energy-related bills passed by the House and awaiting Senate action. This bill would, among other things, require the Department of Energy to determine whether any rule put forward by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would cause any increase in energy prices for consumers, an adverse effect on energy supply and distribution, or will cause significant adverse effects to the economy. Again, it is time for the Senate to say “yes.”
There is good news in that we are making important progress in one very important area. An issue I am optimistic about agreeing on early this year is a comprehensive five-year Farm Bill that will serve the interests of both consumers and farmers while ensuring the United States has a safe, plentiful, and affordable supply of food for many years to come. There are still a few differences between the House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill that need to be ironed out, but negotiators for both chambers have been working on the Farm Bill over the holidays and House-Senate conferees hope to vote on a Farm Bill as early as next week. What a great way to start the new year!