Committee on Ways and Means

Dave Camp

Reality Check: Unemployment Has NOT Dropped Faster than the Administration Projected in Selling Their Failed Stimulus Plan

2014/11/21

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

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Camp Statement for the Record Honoring National Adoption Day and National Adoption Month

2014/11/21

This November, I am proud to celebrate National Adoption Month and also National Adoption Day, an important time to recognize those wonderful parents who have adopted children in need of a permanent, loving home.  It’s also a time to remind ourselves of the thousands of children across the country who still remain in foster care, waiting for a family to call their own.

Earlier this year, I was honored to recognize Midland County Probate Judge Dorene Allen as the 2014 Angel in Adoption award recipient from my district.  In her 14 years as a judge, she has finalized nearly 700 adoptions, and through this and her prior work she has dedicated her career to serving Michigan’s most vulnerable children.  There are many incredible advocates like Judge Allen around the country, and I am grateful for their efforts and for the opportunity we have to recognize them today.

Adoption is not something I’m speaking about just today, but something I have focused on throughout my career in private practice as well as my years in Congress.  As an attorney before coming to Congress, I worked with parents and children in the foster care system.  In Congress, I have been privileged to meet many adoption advocates as well as youth who have benefitted from adoption.  Those sorts of experiences provided much of the background for legislation I have helped craft that has contributed to the landmark changes in adoption policy Congress has approved in recent years.

In 1997, my colleagues and I on the Ways and Means Committee crafted the Adoption and Safe Families Act.  That legislation streamlined the adoption process to help more children in foster care quickly move into permanent adoptive homes.  It also, for the first time, offered incentives to states to safely increase the number of children adopted from foster care.

It worked.  In the decade following that legislation, the number of U.S. children adopted from foster care increased by 71 percent.  In the years since, adoptions have continued to remain higher even as the foster care caseload started to decline. Overall, almost 300,000 children have been adopted as a result of the increase in adoptions starting in 1997.  One study estimated the federal government saved $1 billion over eight years by ensuring children were adopted instead of remaining in foster care.  

In 2001, I worked with my colleagues to pass the historic 2001 tax relief package that expanded the adoption tax credit to $10,000, easing the financial burden of adopting a child.  In 2012, we made the adoption tax credit permanent.

In 2003, President George W. Bush signed into law my legislation, the Adoption Promotion Act, to create new financial incentives for states that increase adoptions of older children from foster care.

In 2008 as part of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, my proposal to provide equitable access to foster care and adoption services for Indian children in tribal areas became law.  This allowed tribal governments to receive funding to administer adoption and foster care programs directly.

And just this year—after many months of hearings, public comment, and bipartisan work between the House and Senate—the President signed into law the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act.  This law is designed to reduce child sex trafficking as well as increase adoptions, including among the hardest-to-place children.

Together, these efforts have resulted in more children living in loving, adoptive families.  I am grateful for the support I have received from my colleagues in these efforts during my time in Congress, and I am grateful that today we can recognize and honor the most important people in this process—the parents who adopt children, the children who have been adopted, and those children still searching for a loving family.

Children in foster care deserve a place to call home, not for a few months or years, but for good.  We have already seen great progress in increasing adoptions in recent years, and I hope that we will continue to see progress in the years ahead.

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Inspector General Finds Billions in Payment Errors by Social Security Judges

2014/11/19

Washington, DC – In a report released last week, the Social Security Administration (SSA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) revealed that several judges have wrongly awarded billions of dollars in Social Security Disability Insurance benefit payments.  In response to the report, Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) issued the following statement.

“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:

  • There were deficiencies or “issues” in quality in over three-fourths of the reviewed disability awards issued by the 44 disability judges, and more than 4 out of every 10 of these awards were not supported by the evidence in the claimant’s record.

  • An estimated 24,900 cases were improperly granted disability benefits by these judges during a 7-year period.

  • The SSA should be placing even greater focus on outlier judges and expediting continuing disability reviews for cases found to be deficient. 

  • The SSA has begun to utilize measures to oversee and monitor disability judges’ work, and the number of the so-called “outlier judges” has gone down.

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House and Senate Leaders Introduce Bill to End Social Security Benefits for Nazis

2014/11/19

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.

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Brady Unveils Discussion Draft to Improve Hospital Issues in the Medicare System

2014/11/19

Washington, DC – Today, Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) unveiled the Hospitals Improvements for Payment (HIP) Act of 2014 discussion draft as part of the Committee’s broader effort on comprehensive Medicare reform, addressing the problems associated with Medicare’s two-midnights policy, short inpatient stays, outpatient observation stays, auditing and appeals.  Title I of the HIP discussion draft includes detailed solutions to these problems; Title II includes 19 different policies introduced by various members of the Ways and Means Committee that pertain to hospital reform.

Brady unveiled the draft legislative language with a specific request – that all stakeholders provide comment and add their voices to the legislative process.

In response to the release of the discussion draft, Brady stated, “The complex challenges facing hospitals require a comprehensive solution. This draft legislation retains the needed oversight of auditors while offering reforms to the RAC process and appeals, and an additional option to the CMS settlement proposal. It also includes a number of proposed health care policies developed by both Republican and Democrat members of Congress.
 
To determine the best solutions going forward we need all stakeholders to review this discussion draft carefully and provide timely, real-world feedback.”

Title I of the HIP discussion draft addresses and offers solutions for nine specific issues, including:
  • A new hospital prospective payment system;
  • A new per diem rate for short lengths of stay;
  • Repeal of the two-midnights payment reduction; and
  • Improvements to the RAC program
Title II of the HIP discussion draft contains 19 prioritized legislative goals, including:
  • Repeal of the ObamaCare moratorium on physician-owned hospitals, supported by Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX);
  • Expanding access to Medicare data, supported by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI); and
  • Providing relief to critical access hospitals, supported by Representative Adrian Smith.

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.

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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.

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Social Security’s $300 Million IT Project Investigation: Bad News for Taxpayers

2014/11/18

Washington, DC – Last week, Social Security Administration (SSA) Inspector General (IG) Patrick P. O’Carroll, Jr., released a further response to the June 2014 letter sent by Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX), requesting a full and immediate investigation into the SSA’s mismanagement and failed implementation of the $300 million Disability Case Processing System (DCPS).  This response follows a September 2014 Interim Report provided to Chairman Johnson, being released today.  In response to these reports, Chairman Johnson issued the following statement:

“The news is not good for taxpayers based on reports received so far regarding Social Security’s failed implementation of a new disability case processing system.  After spending close to $300 million, with efforts led by a team of multiple leaders using 46 vendors, Social Security spent almost $800,000 of hard-earned taxpayer dollars to pay an independent contractor to tell them they should have had one person in charge of the project.  Worse, no one was fired and taxpayers will not get any of their misspent money back.  It also raised questions about Social Security’s lack of transparency and more troubling efforts to possibly conceal information from the IG.  Going forward, I will continue to hold the Commissioner fully accountable as she takes steps to right this wrong for taxpayers.”

Results of a criminal investigation regarding the implementation of DCPS are still pending.  

The Interim Report found:

  • During nine briefings (May 2009 to March 2013), the SSA staff never indicated to the IG staff that DCPS was experiencing significant problems.
  • On March 7, 2014, the SSA first contacted the independent consultant, McKinsey & Company, to serve as an “honest broker” in performing an objective assessment of the DCPS program.  As of August 13, 2014, the SSA has paid McKinsey almost $800,000 of a $1.3 million contract.
  • SSA staff made all final decisions and had ultimate ownership of the end results.  However, the SSA contracted with Lockheed Martin to perform many DCPS activities.
  • State Disability Determination Services personnel, the end-users of DCPS, were not adequately involved throughout project development. 
  • Problems with DCPS resulted in part from the fact that multiple components shared responsibility, yet no one person was actually in charge. 
  • Taxpayer funds have mostly been expended to contractors, which the SSA should not have paid if the contractors failed to meet their responsibilities.  It is not expected that the SSA will attempt to or can recover funds spent.
The Congressional Response Report found:
  • The SSA has taken a number of steps to improve the management of the DCPS project including evaluating alternatives to the current effort, tasking a single accountable person and reorganizing staff, increasing user involvement, and strengthening vendor management. 
  • The report also found that the number of vendors involved in the DCPS project is 46, as compared to the 26 found in the Interim Report. 
  • The independent contractor’s contract is now valued at nearly $1.9 million, due to the need for continued work to ensure the DCPS stays on the right track. 
  • The SSA continues to spend taxpayer dollars on the DCPS project, while it evaluates a different approach, leading to more potential waste.

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Camp Statement on the Passing of Former Congressman Bill Frenzel

2014/11/17

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.

“I am deeply saddened to learn that the Committee has lost yet another former member with the passing of Congressman Bill Frenzel.  Bill spent many years dedicated to serving the constituents of Minnesota’s Third District and Congress as a whole, impacting legislation on a wide range of issues like meaningful tax and budget reform.  Though our time on the Committee did not overlap, I can personally attest to the passion, knowledge and commitment Bill displayed in his career after Congress.  For example, he was recruited by Presidents on both sides of the aisle to lead on key policy initiatives – by President Bill Clinton on the North American Free Trade Agreement and by President George W. Bush on Social Security reform.  He also co-chaired the influential Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care, and in 2012 testified before the Committee on how best to prevent child fatalities.  Bill’s legacy will continue to benefit American families for years to come, and I am honored to have served on the same committee as this exceptional leader.  My thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”

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ICYMI: Heritage Foundation – Free Trade is a Winner in Recent Elections

2014/11/13

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.


In Iowa, Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst's campaign argued: "Congressman [Bruce] Braley's Anti-Free Trade Votes are Bad for Iowa Farmers." According to Politico:


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.

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Camp Statement for the Record: Special Order Honoring Congressman Phil Crane

2014/11/13

I would like to take this opportunity to offer praise of and appreciation for my friend and former colleague Congressman Phil Crane.  I had the honor of serving alongside Phil on the Ways and Means Committee for many years, allowing me to witness first hand just what an exceptional leader he was.  Phil was a true conservative that strived for real solutions that worked for all Americans near and far.

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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Camp Statement on the Passing of Former Congressman Phil Crane

2014/11/10

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 Phil Crane.

“I am deeply saddened to learn that my friend and former colleague Congressman Phil Crane has passed away.  I had the honor of serving alongside Phil on the Ways and Means Committee for many years, allowing me to witness first hand his passion for true conservative principles and solutions.  Phil was a leading reformer on free-market policies, pioneering significant efforts like legislation to liberalize trade and create U.S. jobs during his ten years as Chairman of the Trade Subcommittee and legislation to simplify the tax code.  What’s more, he was just as personable as he was outspoken, two qualities that forged friendships on both sides of the aisle.  Phil was a fine statesman who tirelessly fought for the people of Northern Illinois, and his legacy will continue to impact Congress for years to come.  My thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”

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Chairman Tiberi Announces Hearing on Private Employer Defined Benefit Pension Plans

2014/09/17


Chairman Brady Announces Hearing on the Status of the Affordable Care Act Implementation

2014/09/10


Chairman Reichert Announces Hearing on Social Impact Bonds: Can They Help Government Achieve Better Results for Families in Need?

2014/09/09


Markup of: H.R. 647, "ABLE Act of 2013"

2014/07/31


Chairman Reichert Announces Hearing on Subsidized Job Programs and their Effectiveness in Helping Families Go to Work and Escape Poverty

2014/07/30


Chairman Tiberi Announces Hearing on Dynamic Analysis of the Tax Reform Act of 2014

2014/07/30


Chairman Nunes Announces Hearing on Advancing the U.S. Trade Agenda: Trade with Africa and the African Growth and Opportunity Act

2014/07/29


Chairman Johnson Announces Hearing on What Workers Need to Know About Social Security as They Plan for Their Retirement

2014/07/29


Chairman Brady Announces Hearing on the Future of Medicare Advantage Health Plans

2014/07/24


Boustany Announces Hearing on the Integrity of the Affordable Care Act’s Premium Tax Credit

2014/07/23


There is no media available for this committee.

Contact Information

1102 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-3625
Fax 202-225-5680
waysandmeans.house.gov


Membership

Diane Black

TENNESSEE's 6th DISTRICT

Charles Boustany

LOUISIANA's 3rd DISTRICT

Kevin Brady

TEXAS' 8th DISTRICT

Vern Buchanan

FLORIDA's 16th DISTRICT

Dave Camp

MICHIGAN's 4th DISTRICT

Jim Gerlach

PENNSYLVANIA's 6th DISTRICT

Tim Griffin

ARKANSAS' 2nd DISTRICT

Lynn Jenkins

KANSAS' 2nd DISTRICT

Sam Johnson

TEXAS' 3rd DISTRICT

Mike Kelly

PENNSYLVANIA's 3rd DISTRICT

Kenny Marchant

TEXAS' 24th DISTRICT

Devin Nunes

CALIFORNIA's 22nd DISTRICT

Erik Paulsen

MINNESOTA's 3rd DISTRICT

Tom Price

GEORGIA's 6th DISTRICT

Tom Reed

NEW YORK's 23rd DISTRICT

Dave Reichert

WASHINGTON's 8th DISTRICT

Jim Renacci

OHIO's 16th DISTRICT

Peter Roskam

ILLINOIS' 6th DISTRICT

Paul Ryan

WISCONSIN's 1st DISTRICT

Aaron Schock

ILLINOIS' 18th DISTRICT

Adrian Smith

NEBRASKA's 3rd DISTRICT

Pat Tiberi

OHIO's 12th DISTRICT

Todd Young

INDIANA's 9th DISTRICT