Jackie Walorski

Jackie Walorski

INDIANA's 2nd DISTRICT

Walorski, Delaney, Hultgren, Sinema Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Veterans’ Credit Ratings

2016/06/29

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) this week joined U.S. Reps. John K. Delaney (MD-06), Randy Hultgren (IL-14), and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09) in introducing legislation to protect veterans’ credit ratings and prevent unnecessary financial hardship due to delayed payments associated with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Choice Program.

The slow disbursement of Veterans Choice Program payments has meant that potentially thousands of veterans have been adversely affected, having large and inaccurate medical debts wrongly listed in their name while the VA and private providers work through billing. This error can make it more difficult and more expensive for veterans to buy a home or car, rent a place to live, or be hired at a new job.

The Protecting Veterans Credit Act (H.R. 5593) creates a one year credit reporting grace period for the resolution of debt from medical services received through the VA’s Veterans Choice Program. Delaney and Hultgren’s legislation is supported by the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) and the National Patient Advocate Foundation.

“I have heard from too many veterans asking my office for help because the VA or a VA contractor hasn’t paid their medical bills after receiving authorization for care through the Veterans Choice Program,” said Congresswoman Walorski, a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “This is simply unacceptable, which is why I’ve joined Congressman Delaney, Congressman Hultgren, and Congresswoman Sinema in introducing the Protecting Veterans’ Credit Act to protect our veterans from further financial harm. Delaying for one year the reporting of medical debt from services under the Veterans Choice Program will provide much-needed relief for these veterans while the VA, contractors, and providers work to resolve these billing issues.”

“No veteran should have their credit rating hurt because of delayed Veterans Choice Program payments, that’s completely unacceptable to me. In many cases, veterans are already using the Choice Program because they’ve endured a long wait time to be treated. We shouldn’t destroy their finances on top of that,” said Congressman Delaney. “Credit ratings fundamentally impact the cost of major purchases and can alter a family’s financial trajectory. The Protecting Veterans’ Credit Act creates the time needed to protect a veterans’ financial health while the actual parties responsible for the payments process and pay their medical bills.”

“Enough veterans have faced collateral damage from delays at the VA—their credit score shouldn’t be another casualty of this bureaucracy,” said Congressman Hultgren. “Veterans and their families deserve accurate and timely billing and reimbursements from the VA. They should not be held liable for the VA’s problems. We need quick action on this legislation to ensure our veterans aren’t held responsible for bureaucratic ineptitude.”

The Protecting Veterans Credit Act (H.R. 5593)

The Problem

Enacted in 2014, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Choice Program provides veterans with the ability to receive medical care in a non-VA facility if the VA cannot schedule an appointment within a specified time period or if the veteran lives more than 40 miles from the closest VA medical facility. Unfortunately, there have been issues with the implementation of the program, including delayed Choice Program payments and inappropriately assigned bills to veterans.

Because of delays and incorrectly assigned bills, veterans have received adverse actions on their credit reports and inappropriate debt collection efforts.

Adverse credit action makes it more difficult and more expensive for a person to get a home mortgage or an auto loan or even to rent an apartment.

To address these issues, the VA set up a call center for veterans to contact the VA to resolve debt collection and adverse credit reporting. As of the end of May, the VA handled over 7100 inbound telephone calls.

While the VA is actively trying to reform the Choice Program, veterans need immediate and retroactive relief from erroneous credit reporting actions and debt collection efforts.  No veteran should have their credit score hurt or be harassed by debt collectors because of a delay in the VA or their private contractor paying the bills.

The Solution

The Protecting Veterans’ Credit Act delays medical debt from medical services received through the Choice Program from being reported to credit reporting agencies for one year. This delay provides adequate time for the VA and its contractors to resolve the issues, while retaining a route for resolution of any co-payments or other obligations.

The bill provides a mechanism for veterans to easily dispute adverse actions already on their reports. Additionally, the bill requires debt collectors to provide the veteran with written information of their rights and who they can contact to resolve an issue.

Benefits

By instituting a one year grace period, it will allow for the multiple parties involved in the Choice Program time to process the payments, so the veterans receive the care they need, the doctors are fairly compensated, and veterans don’t suffer a credit loss for something that isn’t their fault.

Ensures veterans are not unnecessarily pressured into paying bills that they do not owe.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee and House Committee on Agriculture.

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Walorski Statement on Release of Osama Bin Laden’s Bodyguard from Gitmo

2016/06/23

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, today released the following statement on the release of Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard Abdel Malik Ahmed Abdel Wahab al-Rahabi from Guantanamo Bay:

“The terrorist detainees being released from Guantanamo Bay – like Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard – are the worst of the worst. The administration’s plan to recklessly free at least two dozen terrorists this summer in an effort to close Gitmo puts American lives at risk. That is why I introduced a bill to immediately ban transfers for the rest of the year, or until new safeguards in the National Defense Authorization Act are signed into law.”

BACKGROUND

Congresswoman Walorski and U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (MT) last month introduced bicameral legislation to temporarily ban the transfer or release of detainees from Guantanamo Bay. The administration reportedly is set to release nearly two dozen Gitmo detainees to several different countries this summer amid efforts to close the prison before the end of the president’s term. The bill (H.R. 5351 / S. 2999) would prohibit these transfers until either the end of this year or enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2017.

The House-passed NDAA includes Walorski’s provision to require written agreements between the U.S. government and the government of any foreign country that agrees to accept detainees. That bill also would require the next administration to provide Congress with a comprehensive detention plan outlining how the release of any Gitmo detainee fits into the broader strategy for handling individuals detained during wartime.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee and House Committee on Agriculture.

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Walorski Votes for Critical National Security Measures to Combat Terrorism

2016/06/16

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today voted for legislation to boost counterterrorism efforts and provide critical military funding to combat ISIS in the wake of last weekend’s terrorist attack in Orlando, Fla.

“The devastating terrorist attack in Orlando was a sobering reminder that we are a nation at war with radical Islamic terrorists,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “The House acted swiftly to ensure authorities are prepared to counter terrorist recruitment and our military is equipped to confront any threat. I urge the Senate to pass these critical bills immediately, and I call on the President to not only sign them into law but also outline a comprehensive strategy to defeat ISIS prevent further terrorist attacks against Americans.”

BACKGROUND

The House responded to last weekend’s terrorist attack in Orland by passing the Countering Terrorist Radicalization Act (H.R. 5471) by a vote of 402 to 15. The legislation, which combines three previously-passed anti-terrorism bills, would:

  • Enhance authorities’ efforts to disrupt potential terrorist plots by allowing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to train personnel to better identify and counter radicalization;
  • Require DHS to use intelligence and testimonials from former violent extremists to counter propaganda and recruitment efforts by terrorist organizations like ISIS; and
  • Establish the Counterterrorism Advisory Board (CTAB), the primary anti-terrorism decisionmaking body at DHS, and ensures the CTAB is positioned to address evolving terrorist threats.

The Department of Defense appropriations bill for fiscal year 2017 (H.R. 5293), which the House passed by a vote of 282 to 138, would provide $576.3 billion in funding to improve military readiness, give troops a pay raise, maintain the U.S. military’s technological edge, and ensure the military has the tools and resources needed to defeat any enemy. Last month, the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which sets the nation’s defense policies and authorizes funding levels.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee and House Committee on Agriculture.

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Walorski Honored by Congressional Hunger Center for Work to Fight Poverty

2016/06/15

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today was honored by the Congressional Hunger Center for her work to fight hunger and poverty. As chairwoman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Walorski has held more than a dozen hearings over 18 months examining the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and its role in anti-poverty and anti-hunger efforts.

“I want to thank the Congressional Hunger Center as well as Congressman Jim McGovern, my Ranking Member on the Nutrition Subcommittee, for all their work on these critical issues,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “The goal of replacing poverty and hunger with prosperity and opportunity is a bipartisan one, and I hope our cooperation and collaboration lays the groundwork for real improvements to how we help Americans build a bridge out of poverty.”

Walorski was one of seven honorees at the 2016 Hunger Leadership Awards. U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (MA-02), the Ranking Member of the Nutrition Subcommittee, presented Walorski with the award. Other honorees included U.S. Senators Pat Roberts (KS) and Debbie Stabenow (MI), U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (WI-04), and chef and restaurateur Jose Andres. The Congressional Hunger Center is a nonprofit organization that works to make issues of domestic and international hunger a priority to policymakers.

Walorski has held numerous hearings of the Nutrition Subcommittee to study the past, present, and future of SNAP and reviewing the unique challenges facing children, seniors, veterans, and active duty military families trying to get back on their feet and break free from the cycle of poverty and hunger. Among the issues studied were the “welfare cliff” – the abrupt loss of benefits due to a new job or a raise – and the way the more than 80 anti-poverty programs work with each other.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee and House Committee on Agriculture.

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Walorski Votes to Prevent Higher Energy Prices for Hoosier Families and Businesses

2016/06/10

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today voted to oppose higher taxes on energy that would raise costs for Hoosier families and businesses. The House passed H.Con.Res. 89, expressing the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would harm the U.S. economy, and H.Con.Res. 112, expressing opposition to the president’s proposed $10 tax on every barrel of oil. Earlier this week, the House also passed H.R. 4775, the Ozone Standards Implementation Act, to give states greater flexibility in implementing the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) stringent new ozone and other air quality standards.

“Hoosier families and businesses already pay enough for gas and electricity. They don’t need higher energy taxes or burdensome regulations squeezing them even more,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “These measures will protect Hoosier families by sending a clear message to the administration that we won’t stand for new energy taxes, and will support Hoosier manufacturers by creating a more realistic timeline for complying with ozone regulations.”

BACKGROUND

H.R. 4775, the Ozone Standards Implementation Act, would allow states to comply with the EPA’s ozone standards in a more practical and cost-effective manner. The bill, which passed by a vote of 234 to 177, would phase in the implementation of two ozone standards and extend the review cycle of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) from five years to 10 years.

H.Con.Res. 89 expresses the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the U.S. economy. Such a tax would raise the price of gasoline, electricity, natural gas, and home heating oil, as well as increase other costs for both families and businesses, particularly in the manufacturing industry. The resolution, which passed by a vote of 237 to 163, calls for U.S. energy policy to instead encourage private sector energy innovation.

H.Con.Res. 112 expresses the sense of Congress opposing the $10.25 per barrel tax on oil proposed in the president’s fiscal year 2017 budget request. The tax would raise the price of gas by 25 cents per gallon, increasing the economic burden on American families and businesses. The resolution passed by a vote of 253 to 144.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee and House Committee on Agriculture.

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Walorski Helps Unveil Anti-Poverty Policy Agenda

2016/06/07

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today joined Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (WI-01) and several of their colleagues to unveil a set of policy proposals aimed at reforming anti-poverty programs and expanding opportunity. They visited House of Help City of Hope in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, D.C., where they met with its founder Bishop Shirley Holloway and announced the anti-poverty policy initiative, “A Better Way to Fight Poverty.”

“It was an honor to join Speaker Ryan and my colleagues to visit Bishop Holloway and see firsthand the difference people like her make in this country,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “We talk a lot about breaking the cycle of poverty, and this policy agenda is a way to put those words into action. I’ve heard from too many Hoosiers who are trapped by a flawed welfare system. A new job or a promotion should bring opportunity and hope, not fear and anxiety. It’s time to build a bridge out of poverty so everyone, no matter where they start, has a chance to reach the American Dream.”

BACKGROUND

Walorski chairs the Nutrition Subcommittee of the House Agriculture Committee and has held more than a dozen hearings over the last 18 months examining the past, present, and future of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Among the issues studied was the “welfare cliff” – the abrupt loss of benefits due to a new job or a raise. The Better Way agenda aims to ensure incentives in anti-poverty programs lead to an off-ramp from welfare, not a cliff, ensuring an easier transition into work.

The full policy report is available here.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee and House Committee on Agriculture. She chairs the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition.

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Walorski Jobs Fair Draws More Than 250 Hoosiers, 60 Employers

2016/06/02

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today hosted a jobs fair that drew more than 250 Hoosiers seeking 1,100 available jobs with 60 employers. The Veterans Jobs and Resource Fair, which was held at Bethel College, also featured 10 veterans service organizations.

“The opportunity to bring hardworking Hoosiers and growing businesses together and help connect workers with new job opportunities is why we hold this jobs fair each year,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “I want to thank the more than 60 employers and 250 job seekers who came out today to make the 2nd District’s economy even stronger.”

Photos from the jobs fair are available at Walorski’s Facebook page.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee and House Committee on Agriculture.

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Walorski Statement on Memorial Day

2016/05/30

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today released the following statement in observance of Memorial Day:

“On Memorial Day, Dean and I join all Hoosiers in honor and remembrance of those who gave their lives in defense of freedom. As the daughter of an Air Force veteran, I know the dedication and devoted service of our brave servicemen and women. It is with humility and gratitude that I remember the selfless sacrifice of our fallen heroes and pay tribute to all those who have worn the uniform of the United States Military. Their duty is endless, and their sacrifice is great. We keep them, their families, and our fallen heroes in our prayers today and every day.”

Video of Congresswoman Walorski’s Memorial Day message to 2nd District Hoosiers is available here.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee and House Committee on Agriculture.

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Walorski Announces Jobs Fair on June 2nd

2016/05/27

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today announced she will host a Jobs and Veterans Resource Fair featuring more than 60 employers with 1,100 jobs available and 10 veterans service organizations on Thursday, June 2nd, at Bethel College in Mishawaka.

“Hoosiers are the hardest-working people in the country, and this is a great chance to connect them with new job opportunities,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “I’m looking forward to bringing so many local employers and job-seekers together, and I encourage everyone to spread the word to their friends and family.”

The jobs fair will be free and open to the public. Additional information can be found below or at http://walorski.house.gov/jobsfair.

WHEN:

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016
9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET

WHERE:

Wiekamp Athletic Center
Bethel College
1001 Bethel Circle
Mishawaka, IN 46545

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee and House Committee on Agriculture.

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Walorski, Daines Introduce Bill to Temporarily Stop Gitmo Transfers

2016/05/26

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) and U.S. Senator Steve Daines (MT) today introduced bicameral legislation to temporarily ban the transfer or release of detainees from Guantanamo Bay. The administration reportedly is set to release nearly two dozen Gitmo detainees to several different countries this summer amid efforts to close the prison before the end of the president’s term.

The bill (H.R. 5351 / S. 2999) would prohibit these transfers until either the end of this year or enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2017. Original co-sponsors include U.S. Representatives Ryan Zinke (MT-AL), Joe Wilson (SC-02), and Elise Stefanik (NY-21) and U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (KS), Tim Scott (SC), and Pat Roberts (KS).

“The administration is recklessly accelerating its release of dangerous terrorists in order to fulfill the president’s misguided promise to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility,” said Congresswoman Walorski, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. “There are critical provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act the House just passed to prohibit the administration from bringing terrorists to U.S. soil and closing Gitmo, but we cannot afford to wait for that bill to become law. It is time for an immediate pause on transfers so Americans at home and abroad are not put at greater risk by released detainees returning to terrorism.”

“Terrorists captured by U.S. forces belong in Guantanamo period,” Senator Daines stated. “President Obama is prioritizing a campaign promise over his oath of office by releasing enemy combatants – even though several have returned to the battlefield. We can’t allow terrorists who are looking to harm Americans and others be political pawns.  This reckless and irrational plan will only entice our enemies instead of serving as a powerful deterrent.”

The NDAA passed last week in the House would require written agreements between the U.S. government and the government of any foreign country that agrees to accept detainees. The House-passed NDAA also would require the next administration to provide Congress with a comprehensive detention outlining how the release of any Gitmo detainee fits into the broader strategy for handling individuals detained during wartime.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee and House Committee on Agriculture.

Daines is the junior Senator for Montana and serves on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.

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Walorski Memorial Day Message

2016-05-30 12:52:45


Walorski Urges Passage of VA Scheduling Accountability Act

2016-05-23 21:41:47


Walorski Honors Nation’s Police Officers on House Floor

2016-05-19 13:12:52


Walorski Opposes Bringing Terrorist Detainees to U.S. Soil

2016-05-18 19:21:25


Walorski Speaks on Veterans Mobility Safety Act

2016-05-18 16:57:04


Walorski Supports Restoring Transparency to National Security Council

2016-05-17 21:44:27


Walorski Testifies Before Veterans' Affairs Committee on VA Scheduling Accountability Act

2016-04-20 19:36:26


Walorski Supports Modernizing Interstate Placement of Children in Foster Care Act

2016-03-22 18:14:15


Walorski Questions Department of Defense Secretary Carter on Guantanamo Bay Naval Base

2016-03-22 16:48:35


Walorski Questions Undersecretary Concannon of the US Dept of Agriculture

2016-03-17 20:02:23


Walorski Honors Penn High School Girls' Basketball Team

2016-03-15 20:30:47


Rep. Walorski Delivers the Weekly Republican Address

2016-02-27 13:54:16


Walorski Speaks on Amendment to Strengthen Opioid Prescriptions of Veterans

2016-02-25 17:31:28


Walorski Honors St. Marys College President Carol Mooney with Who's Who in IN-02

2016-02-25 16:42:59


Walorski Joins GOP Leadership to React to President's Plant to Close GITMO

2016-02-24 16:13:29


Walorski Joins Fox Business to Discuss the President's Plan to Close Guantanamo Detention Facility

2016-02-23 23:01:33


Walorski Joins CNN to react to President Obama GITMO Plan

2016-02-23 18:57:02


Walorski Questions EPA Secretary about Rules and Regulations Affecting Farmers

2016-02-11 17:32:42


Walorski Honors Vernita Todd with Who's Who in IN-02

2016-02-10 17:20:56


Walorski Questions VA Officials on FY 17 Budget Requests

2016-02-10 16:55:01


Contact Information

419 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-3915
Fax 202-225-6798
walorski.house.gov

Jackie Walorski is a lifelong Hoosier born and raised in South Bend.

Jackie has dedicated her career to helping Hoosier families. As the daughter of an Air Force Veteran and South Bend Firefighter, Jackie learned the value of public service at a young age. Her parents also established a family-owned appliance repair shop, teaching Jackie the challenges and fulfillment of operating a small business.

Jackie attended Riley High School and graduated with a BA from Taylor University.  As her first job out of college, she worked as a reporter for WSBT-TV, covering community issues ranging from education to crime.  Inspired to get more involved in the education system, Jackie later worked as a Development Director for local colleges and universities to improve educational access for Hoosier students.

In 1995, she married her husband Dean, a Mishawaka schoolteacher and jazz musician.  Shortly after, the couple moved abroad to Romania for 4 years, founding their own agency and local foundation to help provide much-needed medical supplies to the country’s impoverished children.

Jackie is grateful to serve the people of Indiana’s Second District in the 113th Congress, where she serves on the House Armed Services, Budget, and Veterans’ Affairs Committees. She is honored to serve the brave men and women of our Armed Forces in many ways, including improved support for our nation’s veterans. Using some Hoosier common sense, Jackie welcomes the opportunity to work across the aisle to get our fiscal house in order and create American jobs.

Jackie currently resides in Jimtown with her husband Dean, mother Martha, and their 3 dogs.


Serving With

Marlin Stutzman

INDIANA's 3rd DISTRICT

Todd Rokita

INDIANA's 4th DISTRICT

Susan Brooks

INDIANA's 5th DISTRICT

Luke Messer

INDIANA's 6th DISTRICT

Larry Bucshon

INDIANA's 8th DISTRICT

Todd Young

INDIANA's 9th DISTRICT

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