Washington D.C. – Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) released the following statement after joining an Amicus Brief signed by 34 Senators and 171 House Members that was filed today in the case of State of West Virginia, et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency, et al.
“Mississippians are aware that the Clean Power Plan will have a negative impact on the entire country, but many aren’t aware that it affects Mississippi even more severely than most states,” said Harper. “Utility companies and electric power associations in Mississippi have made significant financial investments to reduce CO2 emissions over the last several years. These investments have resulted in our state being ranked as the 13th best CO2 emission state in 2012, with no credit being given for that progress. In fact, we’re punished for the progress that we have made. The EPA wants Mississippi to make a cut so drastic that we’ll have nearly the highest cost recovery in the country - a cost that will be paid for by Mississippians. I won’t be satisfied until it is no longer a threat to Mississippi families and businesses.”
The amicus brief is in support of petitions filed by 27 states seeking to overturn the EPA final rule identified as the Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units, EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0602, 80 Fed. Reg. 64,662 (Oct. 23, 2015), also known as the “Clean Power Plan.”
The Supreme Court recently hit the pause button on what could be the single most costly government regulation in the history of our country. In a 5-4 decision, the justices ordered that implementation of President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan stop until a lower court determines whether the president’s signature environmental agenda item is in fact legal. While the legality of forcing the plan on every state in the nation is in question, the rule itself is just plain bad policy for Mississippi.
How does the Clean Power Plan negatively affect Mississippi families? It’s simple: by raising our electric bills. From a more technical aspect, the plan threatens electricity reliability and affordability by impacting Mississippi’s current power plant mix (think shutting down coal plants) through further regulation of carbon dioxide emissions. Imagine that — the Environmental Protection Agency wants to place more restrictions on us.
It’s not that we shouldn’t be concerned about our environment; we absolutely should. As Mississippians, we have a proud history of taking care of our environment and being conservationists. We all want clean air and water and we want to preserve our environment for the future of our children, but we also have to use common sense to balance a clean environment with economic development and the cost of keeping our lights on. It seems that every time the EPA finalizes a rule or regulation, it sets out to expand it. That makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for Mississippi business and industry to comply and plan for the future. It’s hard to hit the bullseye when the target is constantly moving.
Although the Clean Power Plan will have a negative impact on the entire country, it affects Mississippi even more severely than most states. Utility companies and electric power associations in Mississippi have made significant financial investments to reduce CO2 emissions over the last several years. These investments have resulted in our state being ranked as the 13th best CO2 emission state in 2012. No credit was given for that progress. In fact, we’re punished for the progress that we have made. The EPA wants Mississippi to make a cut so drastic that we’ll have nearly the highest cost recovery in the country — a cost that will be paid for by Mississippi families.
Twenty-seven states have sued the federal government over the Clean Power Plan. Last year, Mississippi’s congressional delegation made our objections known to the Obama administration. The U.S. House and Senate passed Senate Joint Resolution 24 last December to block the plan. Obama vetoed the resolution in an effort to save his agenda item. And while a veto might have stalled our progress, there are still battles to be fought.
So while the Supreme Court ruling to pause the implementation of the Clean Power Plan is good news, I won’t be satisfied until it is no longer a threat to Mississippi families and businesses. That might take an act of Congress with a Republican in the White House to approve it.
Gregg Harper is a fourth-term Republican lawmaker for the 3rd Congressional District of Mississippi.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), David Loebsack (D-Iowa), Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), Trent Kelly (R-Miss.), and Collin C. Peterson (D-Minn.) introduced H.R. 4553 – the Critical Access and Rural Equity (CARE) Act of 2016. The bill establishes a baseline of what is considered an allowable cost under Medicare – ensuring coverage of the most common diagnostic tests and services and removing barriers to care so that Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) can continue providing high quality healthcare in rural communities.
Critical Access Hospitals are paid based on each hospital’s reported costs for outpatient, inpatient, laboratory, and therapy services. As CAHs operate in communities with low patient volumes, they are reimbursed at 101% of allowable costs. However, there is variation between regions and auditors regarding what is considered a “reasonable” or “allowable” cost. This often results in an immense administrative, legal, and financial burden for these small providers.
“Rural communities in Mississippi and across the country depend on Critical Access Hospitals,” said Harper. I am proud to work with this bipartisan group to bring much-needed certainty to rural hospitals. Each of these hospitals plays a central role by maintaining access to inpatient and outpatient services, 24-hour emergency care, and economic viability to our rural communities. I have visited multiple CAHs across my Congressional District that struggle every day with small margins and this important legislation will provide them with the certainty that they deserve.”
“One of my top priorities has been to improve Iowans’ access to quality health care no matter where they live. Critical Access Hospitals play a key role in our rural communities by providing access to primary, emergency, and acute care services,” said Loebsack. “The Critical Access and Rural Equity (CARE) Act is a commonsense, bipartisan bill that will help bring certainty to these hospitals that serve as a resource for rural Iowans. I have visited Critical Access Hospitals across Iowa and I am proud to help introduce this bill to ensure they can continue to deliver quality, accessible care to all communities.”
“Critical Access Hospitals provide quality healthcare to residents who live in rural communities across Mississippi. However, many of these hospitals are struggling to keep their doors open due to the burden of unnecessary rules and regulations brought on by this administration. This bill cuts through some of that red tape and allows Critical Access Hospitals to continue providing healthcare services vital to our communities in South Mississippi and across our state,” said Palazzo.
Harper and Langevin Praise Committee Passage of Kirk Bill to Improve NIH Research
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressmen Gregg Harper (R-MS) and Jim Langevin (D-RI), co-chairs of the House Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, today praised passage of the Enhancing the Stature and Visibility of Medical Rehabilitation Research at NIH Act by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP). As the lead sponsors of companion legislation in the House, they commended Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) for championing this effort in the Senate.
“I am very encouraged to see progress being made on legislation that will advance the state of rehabilitation science at the National Institutes of Health, and improve the care provided to people with disabling injuries, illnesses and conditions,” said Langevin. “Millions of people across the country require medical rehabilitation to restore, maintain, or prevent deterioration of function, and this legislation will play an important role in the provision of that care. I look forward to its swift passage in the Senate and subsequent consideration in the House.”
“Rehabilitation research is absolutely essential in order to improve care and the quality of life for individuals with disabilities, chronic medical conditions and debilitating injuries,” said Harper. “This legislation will lay the foundation for a national network of partnerships between the NIH and clinicians. I applaud my colleagues in the Senate for their urgency in moving Senator Kirk’s legislation through the HELP Committee and look forward to its immediate passage in both the Senate and the House.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) issued the following statement in response to the news that the Mississippi State Legislature approved a $275 million incentive package for two major economic development projects, including a $1.45 billion Continental Tire plant in Hinds County, as well as an expansion of shipping operations by Topship, LLC, at the State Port of Gulfport:
“I applaud the incredible work by Governor Bryant and the Mississippi Development Authority in continuing to demonstrate why Mississippi has a trusted reputation for business. Companies from across the globe recognize and have confidence in our skilled and dedicated workforce,” said Harper. “This is a great development for Hinds County and for the Mississippi Gulf Coast. These are good-paying jobs that will help strengthen Mississippi and will ensure that our State remains internationally competitive. These companies could have chosen to expand at other locations, but the fact that they plan to grow in Mississippi speaks volumes about our business climate.”
“I thank the Mississippi State Legislature for their leadership and acting quickly to approve this agreement. When companies choose to expand or locate in our State, they show other companies around the world that we are open for business. Continental Tire and Topship, LLC, are valued members of our business community, and we look forward to having them in Mississippi for years to come.”
Washington DC - U.S. Representative Gregg Harper (R-Miss) released the following statement this afternoon after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a Congressional Review Act Resolution to disapprove of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule:
“The WOTUS rule is yet another example of federal overreach by the Environmental Protection Agency. WOTUS is opposed by many, especially our nation’s farmers, who justifiably fear federal regulation of their land. Additionally, thirty-two states are suing the federal government over the rule’s legality. The joint resolution passed by the U.S. House and U.S. Senate would void the WOTUS rule, ensuring that water regulation remains in the hands of the states where it belongs.”
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) issued the following statement this evening in response to President Obama’s final State of the Union Address:
“Since President Obama’s first address, Americans have been hoping that the seven years of promises for hope, change, and economic recovery were more than just rhetoric. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Tonight’s remarks were no different; a reiteration of failed policies that sounded more like a campaign speech than a State of the Union address.”
“Republicans have time and time again asked the President to work with Congress on solutions to the challenges facing our nation at home and abroad. Instead, the Obama Administration has resorted to the use of executive orders, government mandates, and new regulations over and over again.”
“In a world that is becoming more and more dangerous, President Obama should come to terms with radical Islam and understand it cannot merely be “contained” while we wait for the election of the next president, but it must be defeated. From Paris to San Bernardino, from Philadelphia to Istanbul, it is clear that the United States must lead in this fight. It is imperative that we have a plan to solve this problem today. And I urge the President to work with us – not against us – so we can do what is best for our country.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) announced today the submission of a bipartisan amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, led by Congressman Diane Black (R-Tenn.), Congressman Mike Kelly (R-Penn.), Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) and signed by 207 members of the House and Senate in support of the religious nonprofits and charities challenging Obamacare’s Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate, including Little Sisters of the Poor. The nonprofits’ challenge will be heard this year in the case of Zubik vs. Burwell.
The amicus brief argues that religious freedom is a fundamental guarantee of the United States Constitution and, more recently, of the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), noting that “Despite RFRA’s command that the religious beliefs of all individuals and organizations be accorded the same deference, HHS has given the religious liberties of religious non-profits second-tier status.”
“It is not the government’s place to determine what a person’s religion requires, and the government cannot justify trampling religious beliefs when it has readily available alternatives to accomplish its goal,” said Harper. “HHS’s enforcement of the contraceptive mandate against religious non-profits exceeds its statutory authority. This administration continues to put themselves on the wrong side of our nation’s long and cherished history of religious liberty and tolerance.”
Today, House Republicans set a tone for 2016 that reaffirms that the life of the unborn is precious and that Americans should no longer be punished by Obamacare.
The House will send to the President’s desk a bill that repeals and replaces Obamacare and defunds Planned Parenthood while providing additional funding for community health centers to ensure women have access to quality care. By the use of reconciliation (ironically the same budget tool that was utilized to help pass Obamacare in 2009), the House passed H.R. 3762 – the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act by an overwhelming margin.
In December, the Senate amended and passed H.R 3762, repealing new spending programs — including the premium subsidies and Medicaid expansion. The bill also eliminates the penalty for individuals and employers who decline to purchase Obamacare coverage and sets up a transition period for Congress and the next president to replace the health care law with a proposal that reduces costs for families and the federal government.
This legislation sends a clear message to the American people and the White House – that the Planned Parenthood Federation of America should not be supported by the American taxpayer. For far too long Planned Parenthood has been involved in morally objectionable and possibly illegal activities. Today’s vote is a continuation of the ongoing commitment House Republicans have made to protect the unborn and end taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood.
Using this budget reconciliation process to stop taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood is the preferred strategy of the March for Life and Susan B. Anthony List, as well as the National Right to Life Committee, the nation’s oldest and largest pro-life organization.
Additionally, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that repealing Obamacare will reduce the budget deficit by $516 billion over the next decade.
With the House of Representatives starting a new session this week, we have a chance to make good on a number of long-standing commitments and set a new and better course for our country.
God Bless, Gregg Harper Member of Congress
Dear Friend, For the last seven years, President Obama has used his executive orders to dodge the legislative process. It looks like his eighth and final year in office will be no different.
As a new year begins, the president is launching a new attack on the Second Amendment. He has completely missed the mark on this issue. The Second Amendment guarantees the right of law-abiding American citizens to bear arms and defend their families, and it is unimaginable that the president would seek to infringe upon this right given to us by our founding fathers. It is puzzling and frightening to me that the president seems to be more concerned with restricting law-abiding Americans than he is with putting an end to fundamentalist Islamic terrorists.
While it is possible that steps such as increasing the number of prosecutions for crimes committed with a firearm could help reduce gun violence, limiting the Second Amendment right of law-abiding American citizens is not the answer. I firmly believe that law-abiding American citizens have the right to own firearms, and I am committed to ensuring that the Second Amendment is not infringed upon.
God Bless, Gregg Harper Member of CongressRead More
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