Friday, January 08, 2016
Hartzler: We have shown a clear path to eliminating Obamacare
The first week of 2016 was a very historic week in Washington as Congress, for the first time, sent a bill repealing key provisions of Obamacare to President Obama’s desk.
While the House has, in recent years, passed dozens of bills to fully or partially repeal the health care law, this is the first time one of those bills was not blocked by Senate Democrats. It was given an up or down vote in the Senate through a rarely used procedure known as reconciliation which allows Senators to vote by stopping Democrat filibustering tactics. This common sense bill, which also ends government funding of Planned Parenthood, was sent to the President’s desk this week.
I spoke of this important development last weekend as I was privileged to have been chosen to deliver the Weekly Republican Address. I pointed out how Obamacare hurts the American people by forcing them to purchase expensive coverage they don’t want and don’t need for their families. I highlighted the fact that Americans are losing their doctors as they struggle to pay for premiums and deductibles that are too high. The bill passed by Congress repeals much of Obamacare, including the individual mandate at the core of the health care law. It would also repeal the employer mandate, eliminating the requirement that job creators choose between hiring job seekers and paying for expensive insurance coverage.
On the topic of Planned Parenthood, I also pointed out that this bill removes all federal government funding from the country’s largest provider of abortion and redirects the dollars to community health centers which serve eight times more patients than does Planned Parenthood. President Obama will have a choice to make – supporting women’s health or supporting Planned Parenthood.
Sadly, the President has chosen to defend his namesake law instead of standing for what the people want.
All is not lost. We have shown there is a clear path to repealing this broken law. There is a path to an affordable healthcare system the people want and deserve. We will continue to work towards patient-centered reform and I am hopeful we can send a repeal bill next year to a President who respects the will of the people and will sign this into law.
In addition to fulfilling our promise to send a repeal bill to the President’s desk, we also passed legislation to push back on the overregulation that has become so characteristic of this administration. In 2015 alone, the U.S. government created 79,230 pages of new regulations in the federal register, with a total cost of $98.9 billion in regulatory costs. That is outrageous.
To curb what this disturbing trend, the House passed the Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act, which I co-sponsored, which would bring transparency and predictability in the rule-making process so our small businesses and job creators can know what to expect in the future. This bill ends the practice by which executive agencies, such as the USDA or the EPA, conspire with activist and pro-regulation groups to manipulate the judicial system through “sue-and-settle” practices which result in new regulations that avoid the rulemaking process. It also includes provisions forcing federal agencies to disclose new or planned regulations along with the associated costs.
We also passed the Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome , or SCRUB, Act which aims to achieve at least a 15 percent reduction in the overall cost of current federal regulation. Knowing that federal regulatory burdens have reached an estimated $1.86 trillion, which adds up to approximately $15,000 annually per U.S. household, this bill sets up a Blue Ribbon review committee to provide Congress with recommendations for the elimination of obsolete or unnecessary regulations that are costly to the American people. Once identified, these regulations would be repealed.
These bills, if signed into law, would greatly reduce the amount of needless and costly regulations being imposed by the federal government. Sadly, the President has vowed to veto these bills and continue his reign of regulation. Rest assured, I will continue working to reduce the federal government’s footprint and keep costly, unnecessary, and burdensome regulations at bay.
On another matter, our country has again witnessed the executive overreach of President Obama as he issued an executive order restricting Americans’ Second Amendment rights. He continues to exhibit an obsession with restricting law-abiding Americans gun rights. As is too often the case with this President, he is ignoring the will of the people and ignoring the Constitutional separation of powers to implement a policy that is not aimed at solving the root problems of gun violence. This shows his lack of desire to address terrorism and other issues confronting our nation, preferring instead to use recent tragedies involving guns to deprive Americans of their rights.
The truth is that all decent Americans are troubled by the tragic shootings that have occurred across the country, but making it more difficult for law-abiding Americans to obtain firearms is not what needs to be done. The political pandering must stop. I join gun-owning Americans who follow the laws of this country and who want to protect themselves and their families from extremists and criminals. We must continue to stand up for our Constitutional rights
Finally, as we begin a new year, there is much to be excited about from the Nation’s Capital in 2016. House Speaker Paul Ryan has vowed to promote an aggressive, conservative agenda to show citizens how we plan to move forward in this 21st century. He has promised to make the legislative process more transparent and to open lines of communication. I look forward to a good year getting things done for the American people, and I welcome your thoughts and ideas.