Upon releasing the document, Chairman Camp stated, “I am pleased to announce the release of the 2014 Ways and Means Green Book. This is the third edition of the Green Book I have been honored to release in the past four years that I served as Chairman, achieving the goal of issuing this important publication on a more frequent basis and thus providing more timely data to policymakers, researchers, and the public. This edition also reflects significant changes to child welfare, adoption incentives, and child support enforcement policies resulting from the recent enactment of the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act. I would like to thank all the hardworking individuals at the Congressional Research Service who contributed to this latest version of the Green Book, as well as the Committee and other Congressional staff who have spent many hours on its preparation.”
The Green Book combines a description of key health, welfare, retirement, and related programs under the jurisdiction of the Committee on Ways and Means with current data on these programs, the individuals they serve, and relevant historical information. It also contains data and discussion on cross-cutting matters of interest to the Committee, including federal policy affecting low-income households, noncitizen eligibility for federal benefit programs, and social welfare programs in the U.S. territories.
This latest version of the Green Book, consistent with recent practice, is available only electronically. Similar to the 2011 and 2012 Green Books, the 2014 Green Book uses CRS reports made available specifically for this purpose, as well as the continuation of certain charts, graphs and tables that users of prior Green Books have found especially useful. This format has allowed these recent Green Books to be available on a more frequent basis, significantly increasing its utility for readers. Readers accessing the 2014 Green Book on the Ways and Means website will also be able to readily access electronic versions of the 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2011 and 2012 editions of the Green Book.
The 2014 Green Book may be accessed here.
On Wednesday, the White House released a curious chart, attempting to show that unemployment “is dropping faster than projected.” The chart compared the actual unemployment rate with forecasts made by the Administration in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014:
Notice something missing, given that the President took office in 2009? Specifically, where’s the “2009 Forecast” line?
Here’s what that would look like (comparing the actual unemployment rate with the Administration’s projection in their infamous “Romer-Bernstein Report” used to sell the Democrats’ failed trillion-dollar stimulus law):
That’s clearly one projection showing how unemployment has NOT dropped faster than the Administration projected. Indeed, the Administration projected that, under their stimulus policies, we would reach the current 5.8 percent unemployment rate in early 2012. Instead, Americans have gotten the slowest recovery for jobs ever, with millions dropping out of the labor force altogether. That’s the opposite of the Administration’s forecast under their 2009 stimulus plan, which in reality delivered millions more unemployed Americans than the Administration projected.
“As we know through multiple Ways and Means Subcommittee hearings – and through a previous OIG report linking judge productivity to award rates – taxpayers and beneficiaries lose big when Social Security judges are able to decide cases without being held accountable for poor, incompetent, or hasty work. According to the report released last week, the 44 judges studied by the OIG wrongly awarded an estimated $2 billion in disability benefit payments, with an additional $273 million in predicted losses to the American worker in the next year alone.
“One reason I introduced H.R. 5260 — the Stop Disability Fraud Act of 2014 — was to hold Social Security judges accountable for rampant poor decision-making. My bill requires Social Security to review the decisions of these judges for quality. It also makes statistics about judges available to the public. Increased transparency and oversight are important first steps to guard the program from judges who cause harm to American taxpayers by refusing to comply with Social Security’s laws and policies.
“The Disability Insurance program will be unable to pay full benefits in 2016. Social Security can and must do better. Americans want, need and deserve a consistent and accurate disability appeals process.”
Other report findings include:
The Ways and Means Committee welcomes public comment on the HIP discussion draft. Please send all comments on this discussion to HDDWAMR@mail.house.gov.
A fact sheet for the HIP discussion draft can be found here.
A section-by-section for the HIP draft can be found here.
More information on hospital issues in the Medicare program is available here.
Washington, DC – Today, a bipartisan and bicameral group of lawmakers introduced legislation to terminate Social Security benefits for Nazi persecutors who receive them because of a loophole in current law. In the House, Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX), Subcommittee Ranking Member Xavier Becerra (D-CA), and 34 additional House members introduced H.R. 5739, the No Social Security for Nazis Act. In the Senate, Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced an identical companion bill.
Speaking about the introduction of the bill, Johnson said: “The World must never forget the six million Jews and other innocents murdered in the Holocaust. America has worked to prevent Nazis from entering the country and reaping the benefits of U.S. citizenship, including Social Security. However, due to a loophole, some Nazis who came to America continue to receive Social Security benefits. That is just plain wrong! This bill would stop these Nazis from continuing to receive Social Security.”
"Like past Congresses, we believe that there is no place for Holocaust perpetrators in the United States of America,” said Becerra. "And if there is no place for them in our country, there is certainly no place for them in our crown jewel, Social Security. I hope we can move quickly to enact this legislation, before Social Security is required to pay another dime to a Nazi war criminal.”
“It’s outrageous that Nazi war criminals and anyone who participated in Nazi persecution atrocities continue to collect Social Security benefits while living abroad. As everyone agrees: this must stop,” said Hatch. “This bipartisan bill directly amends the Social Security Act to end benefits for war criminals who persecuted millions of innocents. With similar legislative action under way in the House, I’m immensely hopeful that this bill quickly passes in the Senate.”
“This bill ends a practice that was never envisioned or intended and which no one can support,” Wyden said. “Simply put, passing this bill will rightly shut the door on Nazi war criminals living outside the United States who’ve been exploiting a loophole allowing them to collect Social Security benefits. I look forward to seeing it become law as soon as possible. Social Security is a cornerstone of our national’s social insurance system and we must be diligent in ensuring that it reflects our values.”
The legislation is a result of bipartisan work following news reports that some Nazi persecutors, who participated in the systematic murder of millions of innocents, are currently receiving Social Security benefits due to a loophole in the law. By leaving the U.S. voluntarily, instead of being deported, some Nazi war criminals and collaborators were able to keep their Social Security benefits. The House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Finance Committee have jurisdiction over Social Security.
Other original cosponsors from the Ways and Means Committee include Chairman Camp (R-MI), Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI), along with Ways and Means Members Black (R-TN), Blumenauer (D-OR), Buchanan (R-FL), Crowley (D-NY) Danny Davis (D-IL), Doggett (D-TX), Gerlach (R-PA), Griffin (R-AR), Jenkins (R-KS), Kelly (R-PA), Larson (D-CT), Lewis (D-GA), Nunes (R-CA), Pascrell (D-NJ), Rangel (D-NY), Reichert (R-WA), Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Schock (R-IL), Schwartz (D-PA), Thompson (D-CA), and Tiberi (R-OH). Other original cosponsors include Representatives Burgess (R-TX), Clarke (D-NY), Cohen (D-TN), Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Esty (D-CT), Fincher (R-TN), Fudge (D-OH), Joyce (R-OH), Lance (R-NJ), Smith (R-MO), and Speier (D-CA).
Text of the legislation and bill summary information is available here.
Washington, DC – Today, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) issued the following statement following the passing of former Congressman and long-time Committee Member Bill Frenzel.
Free Trade is a Winner in Recent Elections
By Bryan Riley, The Hill contributor
Riley is the Heritage Foundation's Jay Van Andel Senior Policy Analyst in Trade Policy.
In Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts and North Carolina, the midterm elections proved that candidates shouldn't be afraid to talk about the benefits of trade. They also demonstrated that candidates tempted to employ protectionist scare tactics in their campaigns should think twice.
Iowa Republicans, in one of the tightest Senate races in the country, are trying to capitalize on Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley's record of voting against trade agreements to help hand their candidate, Joni Ernst, the victory. Braley, whose state is heavily dependent on farm exports, voted against free trade pacts with South Korea, Colombia and Panama in 2011, even after President Barack Obama's administration re-negotiated several provisions to round up more Democratic support. "The South Korean trade deal was huge," Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey told POLITICO in an interview. "Everyone knew it was a clear, clear win for agriculture and it would have been a terrible not to have it. For him to vote against that I just think is a major red flag."
Ernst defeated Braley, 52.2 percent to 43.7 percent.
In North Carolina's Senate race, Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan said: "Unfair trade agreements have contributed to the loss of more than 286,000 North Carolina manufacturing jobs in the last decade — the fourth-largest decline in the nation. It is time we start protecting jobs here at home." Her campaign spokesman added: "Kay opposed trade agreements that ship North Carolina jobs overseas because she will always put North Carolina jobs first."
Her Republican opponent, Thom Tillis, disagreed: "As agriculture exports increase, Thom believes we must promote policies that make trade with other nations free and efficient in order to stimulate our economy and allow North Carolina farmers and ranchers to expand their businesses."
Tillis defeated Hagan, 49.0 percent to 47.3 percent.
In Massachusetts, the Democratic Governors Association released an ad attacking Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker: "Baker won the Outsourcing Excellence Award at the 'Oscars of Outsourcing' for his work destroying jobs here at home." Baker replied that outsourcing some jobs to India allowed Massachusetts insurer Harvard Pilgrim to save thousands of jobs at home. Former Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly (D) called the outsourcing attacks "exactly the kind of nonsense that drives people away from the political process."
Baker defeated Democrat Martha Coakley, 48.5 percent to 46.6 percent.
In Georgia, Democratic senatorial hopeful Michelle Nunn attempted to smear her Republican opponent David Perdue for outsourcing jobs to other countries: "David Perdue, he's not for you," her ad proclaimed. When a reporter asked Perdue to defend his use of outsourcing, he replied: "Defend it? I'm proud of it. ... It's the lack of understanding of the free enterprise system that I'm running against here."
Perdue beat Nunn, 53.0 percent to 45.1 percent.
After the Massachusetts and Georgia elections, Computerworld reported: "Offshore outsourcing fails as election issue: A longtime Democratic bludgeon isn't enough to move needle." In contrast, candidates who embraced the benefits of trade, like Joni Ernst and Thom Tillis, emerged victorious.
Promoting free trade is good economics, too. A comparison of trade policy around the world, developed by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal in the annual Index of Economic Freedom, shows a strong correlation between trade freedom and prosperity. Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein observed that outsourcing saves U.S. businesses and consumers billions of dollars each year:
Those savings and those extra profits aren't put under the mattress. Most of it is spent or invested in the United States in ways that are hard to track but have surely created hundreds of thousands of jobs in other companies and other industries. Those who hold those jobs would have no reason to know that they are beneficiaries of the process of outsourcing and globalization. But in a very real sense, they are.
Most economists agree that criticizing trade is bad policy. Last week's election results suggest it may be bad politics, too.
Never shying away from the tough conversations, Phil was a leading reformer, pioneering significant efforts like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) during his time as Chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade. He was a staunch advocate of free-market policies and remained dedicated to simplifying the tax code. Phil was an influential member of the Committee and helped pave the way for meaningful reform that we are still fighting for today.
What’s more, Phil was just as personable as he was outspoken, two qualities that forged friendships on both sides of the aisle. It is no secret that Phil was an undeniable presence in any room he entered, often remembered for his knack for storytelling and entertaining punch lines.
Phil was a one-of-a-kind force to be reckoned with, and I am honored to have known him, both personally and professionally. I am deeply saddened by his passing, but know his legacy will continue to impact Congress for many years to come.
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