Today, we are reporting a package of legislation submitted by three House committees pursuant to the reconciliation instructions included in this year’s concurrent balanced budget resolution. This is the next step in an ongoing process that will give Congress the opportunity to move legislation through both the House and Senate in an expedited manner and to the president’s desk for his consideration.
This year – for the first time in over a decade – Congress passed a bicameral, 10-year balanced budget. It is a pro-growth plan to promote job creation and economic opportunity, hold Washington accountable, make government more efficient and effective, support key priorities like our national security as well as health and retirement security, and get our fiscal house in order. Now, because the House and Senate reached agreement on a budget, we have the opportunity to pursue the reconciliation process.
The FY16 budget resolution states that reconciliation ought to be used to address Obamacare, in an effort to help all Americans gain access to the health care and coverage they want – not that the government forces them to buy – and that’s exactly what we are doing. We are committed to protecting every American from this harmful law and the damage it has done and will do to patients, health care providers, family budgets and job creators. Whether it’s fewer health care choices, less access to care, higher out-of-pocket costs or less medical innovation – Obamacare is an attack on quality health care in our nation.
Last week, the three House committees charged with reconciliation instructions – Ways and Means, Education and the Workforce, and Energy and Commerce – held markups on their respective recommendations. I want to thank Chairman Ryan, Chairman Kline, and Chairman Upton for their hard work and the hard work of their committee members. This is a team effort, and they and their committees have shown real leadership in this endeavor.
Under the reconciliation process, the role of the House Budget Committee is to combine the recommendations sent over from these three committees into a single bill, and consider that single bill here in our committee before reporting it to the full House for consideration.
A quick review of the policies in this legislation demonstrates a concerted effort to provide relief to the American people from the damage inflicted by Obamacare while focusing resources where they can do the most good.
The Ways and Means Committee has achieved $37.1 billion in savings by repealing the individual and employer mandates, the so-called “Cadillac Tax” and medical device tax, as well as the Independent Payment Advisory Board – the 15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats empowered by Obamacare to make decisions that will effectively deny care to seniors.
The Energy & Commerce Committee has achieved $12.4 billion in savings by repealing an Obamacare slush fund called the Prevention and Public Health Fund, and they have included an additional policy that would prevent – for one year – taxpayer dollars to be used to pay abortion providers prohibited in the legislation. This is accompanied by more money and resources for hundreds of community health centers so that women have would have greater access to health care.
The Education and the Workforce Committee has achieved $7.9 billion in savings by repealing Obamacare’s employer auto-enrollment for health insurance.
When these three components are combined into one bill, the total savings is $79.8 billion.
Together, this package will dismantle many of the key elements of Obamacare that are harming individuals and families, hurting job creation and spending taxpayer dollars on programs with little to no congressional oversight. Our goal is to save the country from this disastrous law and start over with patient-centered health care solutions where patients, families and doctors are making medical decisions, not Washington D.C.
While it is the job of the Budget Committee to combine these recommendations, it is not within our power under the reconciliation process to make substantive changes to the legislation before us. As Section 310 of the Congressional Budget Act states: “each such committee so directed shall promptly make such determination and recommendations and submit such recommendations to the Committee on the Budget of its House, which upon receiving all such recommendations, shall report to its House reconciliation legislation carrying out all such recommendations without any substantive revision.”
Therefore, today’s markup may not include any amendments. There will be an opportunity for motions regarding process, after the legislation is addressed.
Again, I want to thank the committees who helped draft this legislation for their efforts, and I look forward to today’s debate.
With that, I yield to the Ranking Member, Mr. Van Hollen. Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. - House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, M.D. (GA-06) issued the following statement praising passage of the Fiscal Year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act:
“Today, the House reaffirmed our strong commitment to America’s national security and to the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms. During a time when the Middle East, and much of the world, is growing more dangerous, the National Defense Authorization Act ensures that our military has the resources and strategic support to protect the United States and our allies from rogue nations and terrorist threats and to take the fight to those who seek to harm us or our allies.
“This legislation reflects the strong support and additional funding for our military that was included in the budget the House and Senate adopted earlier this year. Unfortunately, despite funding being at levels requested by President Obama, the Obama Administration is still threatening to veto this critical legislation unless Congress agrees to increase funding for the president’s domestic agenda. The House of Representatives has worked hard this year to give our military the resources it needs, and it’s outrageous that the President would try to play politics with our national security at a time when the country faces increasingly complex threats.
“Our brave military men and women deserve the very best, and the House of Representatives will continue to work to ensure they have the resources they need to complete their mission and defend our great nation.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United States Census Bureau released its annual poverty report that stated the official poverty rate in 2014 was 14.8 percent. This has been the fourth straight year that the poverty rate has remained roughly the same. In response to the report, House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, M.D. (GA-06) issued the following statement:
“The federal government has spent trillions of dollars over the past half-century fighting poverty, and yet 46.7 million Americans are living in poverty today and the poverty rate has remained stubbornly consistent. If we really want to help those who need help, we need to stop measuring success by how much money we spend, and start measuring it by the outcomes we achieve. That’s why the House Budget Committee has started a new initiative entitled Restoring the Trust for All Generations that aims to highlight the flaws of our current health, retirement and economic security programs, and focus the attention of the American people and their elected leaders on finding new, innovative ways to address these challenges. We can and ought to do better on behalf of struggling Americans so that when assistance is provided, it is effective, while at the same time helping more of our fellow citizens achieve their dreams and build lives of self-sufficiency.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Wednesday's House Budget Committee hearing on Restoring the Trust for Younger Americans included Evan Baehr – co-founder of online lender Able – who testified about his experience as a young innovator and entrepreneur. He used that experience to hammer home the idea of measuring outcomes and encouraged policymakers to look at our own operations and how we can measure the results of the policies we enact:
“We are looking at the metrics. We’re deciding did it work? How do we reallocate these funds? So that we’re not going two weeks of a growth sprint, of a growth cycle without having some sense of ‘did the money we spend on something actually work or should it be reallocated?’...One piece of advice – I’d say humbly – is think about your cycle time of how fast you're shipping new ideas and measuring the results…”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – During yesterday’s Restoring the Trust for Young Americans hearing at the House Budget Committee, Jared Meyer, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, discussed the fiscal challenges facing Millennials – specifically student loan debt and the long-term insolvency of health and retirement programs:
“America’s federal policies need to shift to reflect the growing public realization that both of these debts and the burdens that they place on young people’s futures are unsustainable and unfair. Action sooner, rather than later, is no longer an option—it is a necessity.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, during the House Budget Committee’s Restoring the Trust for Young Americans hearing, West Virginia State Delegate Saira Blair, the youngest state legislator in the country, highlighted the fact that we won’t solve our long-term fiscal challenges by raising taxes. While discussing concerns with the current lack of economic opportunity, Blair said, “raising taxes is the lazy way to fix the problem. We need to be creative, and we need to be innovative in our solutions. ”
Indeed, these challenges need to be met through positive, innovative solutions as well as a growing economy. That is why the House Budget Committee has embarked on the Restoring the Trust for All Generations initiative to raise awareness about the fiscal and policy challenges inherent in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, as well as other automatic spending programs like income support and educational assistance.
Every hearing we hold here at the House Budget Committee is meant to examine important issues, ask pertinent questions, and, hopefully, get answers that can help us solve the fiscal and economic challenges facing our nation. With today’s hearing, we are seeking more than answers. We are seeking a unique perspective that will help inform our larger, long-term goal of improving the nation’s health, retirement, and economic security programs.
In July, our committee embarked on a new initiative called Restoring the Trust for All Generations. It is aimed at raising awareness about the fiscal and policy challenges inherent in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, as well as other automatic spending programs like income support and educational assistance. At the same time we are engaging the American people about how we solve those challenges so that we can build a critical mass of support that will lead to the positive solutions necessary to make sure vital programs like Medicare and Social Security are saved and strengthened for today’s beneficiaries and future generations.
As currently structured, these programs are unsustainable – this means they will NOT be sustained – inefficient and not nearly as effective as they could or should be in delivering assistance. As automatic spending programs, they represent a two-thirds majority and growing portion of all annual spending, and it is essentially uncontrolled by Congress. This is at a time when the nation’s fiscal trajectory is itself unsustainable – with massive levels of debt and anemic economic growth that will lead to lower standards of living and less opportunity for hard-working families.
Those who will bear the full brunt of these circumstances are today’s younger Americans – many of whom are increasingly aware that it is becoming much more difficult to achieve the American Dream through the traditional formula of determination, hard work, and education. They are a generation of Americans who are putting off buying homes and starting families because they face mountains of student loans and fewer job prospects, and a generation of Americans who has lost trust that we, their representatives, will make sure these programs are there for them.
In fact, they have little confidence that the nation’s health and retirement programs like Medicare and Social Security will be there for them when they retire – even though they are paying into these programs. A recent Gallup poll showed that 51 percent of non-retired Americans do not believe they will receive a Social Security benefit – 64 percent of those 18 to 29 do not believe they will receive Social Security, and 63 percent of those 30 to 49 hold the same view.
But you needn’t take my word for it. Today we have put together a panel of witnesses who are all under the age of thirty-five. They are here because they are a part of this Millennial generation that represents the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit that is vital to solving the tremendous fiscal and economic challenges we face, but most importantly, they’re here because they want to make sure the American Dream that their parents and grandparents built their lives on is there for them and their children and granchildren, too.
The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in today’s younger generation. This is what’s led them to create some of the most innovative technologies. Their hard-work and ideas are empowering new discoveries to improve our health, transportation and communication systems along with many other aspects of our lives and areas of our economy. Pull out your smart phone and browse through your apps. How many of those have been developed by a 20-something at a small start-up or in a college dorm room? How might that same spirit of innovation contribute to solving the larger fiscal and economic challenges we face as a nation? How might today’s younger generation help us find the right policies to restore the trust in those vital programs that have provided health, retirement and economic security for so many Americans over the past decades?
By promoting innovative thinking, we are creating the willingness to deliver more choices and greater flexibility in these programs and encourage greater personal financial security and self-sufficiency in an economy that delivers more opportunity for more Americans to achieve their dreams.
We should, and must, strive to do better. That’s why we are holding this first hearing as part of our Restoring the Trust for All Generations initiative. My goal is that this hearing will stay focused on the entrepreneurial spirit of young Americans, not politics. These witnesses have travelled from all across the country to share their thoughts. I encourage all of our members to engage in a conversation about how we can harness the innovative spirit of Millennials to make our government work better for the American people.
We face some daunting fiscal and economic challenges. We have vital programs that are headed toward insolvency. America has overcome huge challenges in the past by tapping into our unrivaled innovative spirit and faith in the ingenuity of our people – folks like today’s witnesses.
First, we have Saira Blair, a delegate in the West Virginia House of Representatives. At just 19 years-old, she is the youngest state legislator in the country. She was motivated to run for office by her concerns over the nation’s mounting national debt and, particularly, what it means for her generation.
Next, we have Jared Meyer, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and co-author of Disinherited – a book on how many of the current policies in Washington are failing younger Americans.
In addition, joining us is Rebecca Vallas, the Director of Policy at the Center for American Progress’s Poverty to Prosperity Program.
Finally, Evan Baehr is with us – he’s a young entrepreneur and co-founder of Able, an online lender to small businesses that is helping lead the technology revolution in this country.
I look forward to hearing from all of today’s witnesses and their unique perspectives.
Thank you all for being here.
I’m pleased to yield to the ranking member, Mr. van Hollen.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, M.D. (GA-06) issued the following statement after the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an update to its Budget and Economic Outlook – projecting a $426 billion deficit for Fiscal Year 2015, annual deficits toping $1 trillion in 2025, and annual average economic growth of just 2.3 percent over the next decade:
“Washington’s fiscal house is a mess. Hundreds of billions of dollars will be added to the national debt this year and trillions more in the years to come. Without control over spending, our nation will lose control over its own future and be increasingly under threat from global economic and national security challenges. Across the country, the anemic economic growth that CBO projects will mean less prosperity and opportunity for American families and businesses.
“Federal spending is being driven in large part and increasingly so by the nation’s health and retirement programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security while at the same time those programs are headed toward insolvency. Positive, principled solutions are needed to save and strengthen these vital programs for current and future generations and to help restore balance to our nation’s fiscal outlook. That is why the House Budget Committee has started a new initiative called Restoring the Trust for All Generations to focus attention on the challenges inherent in these programs and forge a discussion about how we can improve them and build a stronger, more prosperous country.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, M.D. (GA-06) issued the following statement marking the 80th Anniversary of Social Security and called for innovative solutions to save and strengthen the program for today’s seniors and tomorrow’s retirees. According to the latest Social Security Trustees Report, Social Security faces insolvency in 2034.
“For eighty years, Social Security has helped Americans retire with peace of mind. Today, the program is on an unsustainable path threatening current seniors and tomorrow’s retirees. An overwhelming majority of Americans realize Social Security is in trouble and many rightly have little confidence the program will be there for them even after they have spent their working years paying into the system. Out of respect for today’s retirees, today’s workers and future generations, policymakers must focus our time and energy on finding positive solutions that can save and strengthen Social Security. We need to rethink how to help foster financial security for America’s retirees today and in the future.
“In an effort to encourage thoughtful discussion and action, the House Budget Committee has recently launched an initiative entitled Restoring the Trust for All Generations to highlight the challenges facing retirement, health, and economic security programs, such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Restoring the Trust aims to engage the American people so that we can build a coalition of support for innovative and positive solutions that will improve and protect these vital programs.”
To learn more about Restoring the Trust, click here.
By Tom Price
Chairman of the House Budget Committee
July 30, 2015 Permalink
Today marks 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Social Security Amendments of 1965, creating Medicare and Medicaid. For five decades, seniors, as well as those with long-term illnesses, disabilities or limited means have relied on these programs for access to health care. American workers have paid taxes with the understanding that if or when the time comes, Medicare and Medicaid would be there for them.
For today’s workers and those who will enter the workforce in the years to come, that arrangement is no longer sustainable. According to the latest Trustees Report, Medicare’s trust fund will go insolvent in 2030. Meanwhile, many Medicaid enrollees are having trouble gaining actual access to physicians and treatments. They have health coverage without health care.
This status quo is untenable, and that is unfair to the American people. It’s unfair to today’s Medicaid beneficiaries, seniors on Medicare, and those nearing retirement. It is unfair to millions of today’s workers and those getting ready to enter the workforce who are going to be putting their hard-earned tax dollars into a broken system.
So something has to change. But where to begin?
For about as long as there has been a Medicare or Medicaid program, there has been a vocal opposition to anything approaching a solution that might improve the programs or make them financially sustainable. It is counterintuitive, but favoring the status quo – which is unsustainable and harmful to beneficiaries – is actually considered politically safer than trying to save and strengthen these programs. Then again, common sense has never been particularly popular in Washington.
The only way to realize positive change is to first build a coalition in favor of reform, and that is precisely what we at the House Budget Committee have committed ourselves to accomplishing. We have begun an initiative called “Restoring the Trust for All Generations.” Our aim is to bring the facts to the American people; to bring together those who are invested in preserving these critical health and retirement programs; and to engage those who have serious concerns about the fiscal challenges inherent in these programs.