We will remain unified in Thursday's baseball game and in Friday's debates
By Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS) and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO)
June 14, 2017 | To view online, click here.
"I'm right and you're evil."
Too many arguments these days, whether at kitchen tables across America or in the well of the House of Representatives, revolve around that premise.
Early Wednesday morning, Rep. Steve Scalise, congressional staffer Zach Barth, and former staffer Matt Mika were injured when an extremist attacked congressional Republicans at a regularly scheduled practice for the charity Congressional Baseball Game.
Thankfully, special agents David Bailey and Crystal Griner, two brave Capitol Police officers on House Majority Whip Scalise's protective detail, took down the attacker, after suffering injuries themselves, and prevented him from doing any more damage.
Thanks to the heroism of the Capitol Police, all those injured are expected to fully recover.
But this horrific tragedy, in which the shooter's motive appears to have been his political beliefs, has shed light on a fact that we all know to be true: Our nation is deeply divided.
Now, we must be clear -- the blame for this violence and bloodshed lies solely with the attacker. No political rhetoric in America, no matter how heated, advocates or condones violence.
But if our political arguments are based on the premise that one side is right and the other is evil, it makes it much easier for twisted minds to justify violence.
And we cannot deny that coming together to find compromise solutions to our nation's biggest problems is much harder if we take this approach.
How can you compromise with evil?
We've always believed that civility is a vital element of our democracy, but in today's heated climate, we need it more than ever. It is this belief that has motivated us as chairmen of the Congressional Civility Caucus.
You may not find two members of Congress who disagree more on issues. We represent neighboring districts in Kansas and Missouri as Republicans and Democrats, but if you ask our constituents at home about the nature of our relationship, you'll hear that we are great friends.
We often spend our periods of district work doing joint events, promoting the idea of civility and bipartisanship.
For us, it's the norm. For too many, it's shocking.
In light of Wednesday's attack, now is the time to prioritize civility and tone down our rhetoric. If people are resorting to violence, we've clearly gone too far.
America is at its greatest when Republicans and Democrats are working together to move our nation forward, because at the end of the day we all pledge allegiance to the same flag and sing the same national anthem before every baseball game.
And that is what we will do Thursday night at the Congressional Baseball Game. We will not be deterred by this hateful act. The game will go on, as it has every year since 1909.
The game is one of the best things we have in Congress. It's a night where we all come together --people who may be at odds during the day in the hallways of the Capitol -- and head a few blocks down the road to Washington Nationals Park to work together for a good cause.
We hope the bipartisan, unified, and civil sentiment at Thursday's baseball game will carry into Friday's debates. And we will continue to bring that message to Congress and the American people.
Rep. Kevin Yoder and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver are the bipartisan co-chairmen of the Congressional Civility Caucus. Kevin Yoder plays outfield for the Republican congressional baseball team.
Washington, D.C. – This afternoon, Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives about the importance of passing the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, legislation that creates a new streamlined process to remove, demote, or suspend any VA employee for poor performance or misconduct.
The House passed the VA Accountability Act by a 368-55 vote, with Rep. Yoder’s support. Last week, the bill passed the Senate unanimously and now heads to President Trump’s desk for signature into law.
To watch a video of Yoder's remarks, click here.
The following are Yoder’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to highlight Congress making more important strides on behalf of our nation’s veterans.
“The last few years, we’ve all heard stories about employees at the VA who’ve failed in their duty to serve and protect our veterans.
“It’s true that most VA employees are hard-working and dedicated, but as we’ve come to find out, there are bad actors who must be removed.
“Strangely, as the VA has tried to fire or discipline these bad actors, the existing bureaucracy and red tape has stymied Secretary Shulkin’s ability to do so.
“That’s why the House will pass the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act today to create a more efficient and effective system to remove, demote, or suspend any VA employee for poor performance or misconduct.
“Our bill still ensures due process and actually expands protections for whistleblowers. But importantly it will let the VA Secretary do his job and clean up the department.
“Mr. Speaker, protecting our nation’s veterans isn’t a political issue. It’s a cause we all must champion, and I encourage a bipartisan vote on today’s bill.”
Republican Congressman: Socialized medicine is knocking on the door, America
By Rep. Kevin Yoder
June 11, 2017 | To view online, click here.
The Obamacare status quo is unacceptable.
It’s become so obvious that politicians on both sides of the aisle are acknowledging it and proposing solutions to fix it.
The majority of House Republicans voted to pass the American Health Care Act in May, which currently awaits debate in the Senate.
The majority of House Democrats have proposed an alternative fix called the Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act, otherwise known as "single payer." This should send shivers down the spine of any tax-paying, Constitution-loving American.
Socialized medicine in America is no longer a hypothetical. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) won 12 million votes in the 2016 Democratic primary with a single payer platform, and the DNC is encouraging Democrats to campaign on the issue in 2018.
But what would the single payer reality look like?
First, the cost. The nonpartisan Urban Institute studied Sanders’ plan, determining it would cost taxpayers an additional $32 trillion over the next decade. Essentially the federal government would have to double the $3.2 trillion in tax receipts it collected in 2016 each year to pay for it.
Doubling the size of the federal government would take massive tax increases. An across the board doubling of rates would drive the top bracket from 39.6 percent to a whopping 79.2 percent tax of their income. Individuals making $38,000 a year would see their marginal rate grow to 50 percent from the current 25 percent.
In return, every American would be forced onto a socialized health care system to receive insurance from central planners in Washington. Every single American who has a private health insurance policy - some 178 million Americans - would immediately be forced off of their current insurance.
In America, we value choice, competition, and access to care. In socialized medicine, those luxuries would be gone.
For a real world example, look to Great Britain, where think tanks, universities, and government officials say its National Health Service (NHS) is at its breaking point. “Financial strain, staff shortages, and unprecedented demand” are leading to rationing of care.
Long wait times would worsen our already existing emergency room overcrowding because Medicaid patients can’t find primary care doctors who will accept their insurance.
Eventually, our emergency rooms could face a 50 percent doctor shortage.
In addition to the overcrowding, severe doctor shortages would be exacerbated as doctors would flee the system rather than be forced to take inadequate reimbursements for their services as set by the government.
Eventually, a two-tiered system based on wealth status would emerge here as it has in other socialized systems.
Private doctors would allow wealthy patients to jump the line for same-day appointments for a price. The rest of us would be forced to wait months for a visit with the government.
The Democrats' single payer dream would double every American's’ taxes to pay Washington bureaucrats to manage government-run hospitals. Wait times would increase exponentially and access to life-saving care would shrink. It would be a nightmare for the American people.
Thankfully, it’s not too late.
To stop socialized medicine from becoming reality, Congress must continue its rescue mission. We must bring insurers back to the marketplace so we can lower costs and increase access to care.
The House has laid out one pathway to save American health care. As the Senate appears poised to vote on a bill soon, one thing remains true: our country must unite in our opposition to the nightmare of socialized medicine.
Washington, D.C. – This afternoon, Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives about the importance of passing the Financial CHOICE Act, legislation that repeals portions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and brings needed reforms to the financial sector to increase the flow of much-needed capital to small businesses across America. The House passed the CHOICE Act by a 233-186 vote, with Rep. Yoder’s support.
To watch a video of Yoder's floor remarks, click here.
The following are Yoder’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Mr. Speaker, today the House will take up and consider an important bill that will help create opportunity for all Americans - the Financial CHOICE Act.
“The CHOICE Act repeals the most harmful aspects of Dodd-Frank that halted the flow of capital to our constituents, destroyed small community banks, frustrated small businesses and made life harder for Americans.
“The CHOICE Act provides relief to Main Street businesses that had nothing to do with the 2008 financial crisis but were slammed with onerous and unnecessary regulations anyway. Mr. Speaker we need smart regulations that protect consumers and make our markets less risky. In many cases, Dodd-Frank did the opposite, and this has been a wet blanket on the economy, destroying jobs and opportunities for millions of Americans.
“Importantly, the bill also ends government bailouts for large banks considered “too big to fail” – once and for all.
“It will cut our deficits by $25 billion and finally subject the Federal Reserve to a proper audit.
“Mr. Speaker, above all, our bill promotes economic growth so that all Americans can have the freedom and ability to get the job they want, create the small business they’ve always dreamed of, and secure their family’s future.”
Washington, DC – Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) announced today that Thao Nguyen, a senior at Sumner Academy of Arts and Sciences in Kansas City, Kansas, has won the 2017 Congressional Art Competition for the Third District. Her entry, titled “Mother,” uses the medium of watercolor to make a beautiful portrayal of her mother.
“Each year I’m impressed by the outstanding submissions from talented young artists across the District, and this year was no different,” Representative Yoder said. “I would like to congratulate Thao for winning this year’s competition. I look forward to seeing her artwork displayed inside the U.S. Capitol each time I walk by to go vote on the House floor. Thao’s wonderful artwork is just another example of the quality of art education and programs in the Third District.”
Additionally, the Third District Art Advisory Board awarded two Honorable Mentions to “Modernity” by Cormac Palmer, Blue Valley North High School using the medium of ink; and “America” by Alice Her, Sumner Academy of Arts and Sciences using the medium of watercolor and collage.
The Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 to provide an opportunity for Members of Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of the high school students in their districts. Since then, over 650,000 high school students have been involved with the nationwide competition. Thao’s art “Mother” will hang in the U.S. Capitol with the winning art selected from all Congressional Districts across the country from June 2017 through June 2018.
12 MILLION: When the CBO initially scored Obamacare, it forecasted that by this year, 22 million people would be enrolled in the individual market exchanges. As we know, in reality 10 million people have enrolled. That means the CBO was off by 12 million in its estimates on how many people would enroll.(1)
8 MILLION: When scoring the AHCA, CBO still forecasts that if Obamacare is left in place, individual market enrollment would jump from the 10 million enrolled today to 18 million by 2018.(2) As we know, insurance providers like Blue Cross Blue Shield KC continue to leave markets across the country. The CBO believes that enrollment will nearly double even as choice dwindles and costs go up. So when it says the AHCA would leave 8 million more people on the individual market uninsured,(3) it’s referring to 8 million people that it forecasts will have insurance by then – not people who are actually enrolled right now.
4 MILLION: CBO estimates that if the AHCA is passed into law, 4 million people who have Medicaid coverage right now will choose to opt out of their fully taxpayer-subsidized, free health insurance next year because the individual mandate is repealed.(4)
2 MILLION: CBO estimates that if AHCA is passed into law, 2 million people who have heavily- or fully-subsidized employer coverage right now will choose to drop off their plans next year because the individual mandate is repealed.(5)
UNKNOWN MILLION: CBO’s much publicized 23 million estimate of who will be without insurance coverage due to the AHCA includes “a few million who would use tax credits to purchase policies that would not cover major medical risks.”(6) To be clear, the CBO is saying an unknown number of people who will have insurance – “a few million” – are included in their estimate of who would not have insurance.
Washington, D.C. – Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) issued the following statement after the announcement from the Kansas Board of Regents naming Dr. Douglas Girod the next Chancellor of the University of Kansas:
“The Board of Regents made a wonderful choice in Dr. Girod. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know him well through our work together in building the research capabilities at KU Med through funding at the National Institutes of Health. His character and personality are even more impressive than his lengthy resume. He’s a proven leader and a great man for the job of leading the next generation of Jayhawks. Rock Chalk Chancellor Girod!”
Washington, D.C. – Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) issued the following statement following the news that Blue Cross Blue Shield of KC is pulling out of Obamacare in 2018:
“With today's news, there will be no insurance option at all for tens of thousands of families unless a new provider enters the market. This news is a devastating blow for Kansans who won’t get to keep their plans or their doctors next year. Congress must continue its rescue mission to fix our broken health care system, and provide working families the relief they need – bringing insurers back to the marketplace, lowering costs, and increasing access to care."
Earlier today, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City announced it has decided to exit the Obamacare exchange next year, affecting about 37,000 Blue KC members in Wyandotte County and Johnson County. Medica is the only insurer that stands to offer Obamacare plans in 2018, but currently it caps statewide enrollment at 10,000.
Washington, D.C. – This morning, Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) discussed the value of crop insurance for farmers around the country with USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue in the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture.
Secretary Perdue agreed with Representative Yoder that crop insurance is an integral part of protecting farmers and their risk-taking.
To watch a video of the hearing, click here.
Following is the exchange between Rep. Yoder and Secretary Perdue transcribed:
“Thank you Mr. Chairman.
“Mr. Secretary thanks for your testimony today. I know you have a big task ahead of you trying to balance the needs of a growing economy, and a world that depends on American agriculture. We’re the most efficient, effective producing agriculture country in the world, so as goes America so goes the rest of the world. Your work is critical to feeding so many people and we have such a charitable mission here, many of us are aware of the work we do around the globe, sending food aid to nations supporting so many hungry people and part of that is making sure we have a strong agriculture economy here in the United States.
“I grew up on a farm in Kansas and believe so strongly that our farmers are the core of what makes America great, their values, their work ethic, and what they do is essential to what makes America such a strong country. So I have a couple questions I want to ask you about.
“In the 2014 farm bill, we made a number of reductions and the president signed into law – 80% of the farm bill is the SNAP program – farmers took a very disproportionate share of the reductions in spending cuts in that bill. One of the programs that we found that was very important for farmers repeatedly discussed with us is the crop insurance program.
“I noted in the president’s budget request a 36% reduction over 10 years for crop insurance and I thought I would give you the chance to discuss the value of crop insurance and how you might see these reductions going and how important it is to maintain this program to keep a safety net for farmers. I’d also note that the agriculture economy is really struggling right now. You know, I grew up in the 80s where we saw a lot of our neighbors go bankrupt and we worried the same thing was going to happen to us. In 2017, commodity prices aren’t where they need to be so this safety net is critical for farmers who are struggling to maintain their farms at this point.
“Sir I think you won’t get any disagreement from me regarding the value of crop insurance.
“As part of that safety net, the 2014 farm bill was very wise in its construct in moving away from the direct payments into an ARC and PLC type-program. I side with crop insurance giving much of the responsibility providing for that safety net to the farmers themselves, as you indicated the budget retools that crop insurance sometimes with some means testing and other things there that reduce that.
“We know that farming is a very expensive enterprise today. Farmers when you grew up, and certainly when I grew up, you might could feed a family of four and put some kids through college on maybe 360 acres, it’s almost ten times that much now, so it’s bigger. Farming is expensive and has a lot of risk involved in it. I doubt many of us today would want to put all of our equity in the ground looking for a seed to come up each year.
“We know the dedication of them and our nation is a beneficiary of their risk-taking and those values you described. Crop insurance is an integral part of that.
“How we right size that, I think the goal of the farm bill, these are obviously policies you know will really be determined in the 2018 farm bill, from a budget perspective there will be a lot of these discussions going forward. My principle goal as USDA secretary is advise and consult you all as you deal with the farm bill, programs that let the market determine what people plan. They shouldn’t be planning for USDA programs or agriculture programs, but let the market determine the ability to move among and create products and produce products the world is asking for, rather than farming for a particular program. A little bit of that, the farm bill has worked essentially very well, there are a few issues this congress that your chairman knows, in cotton and dairy that have not been successful. But overall I think it’s been a successful farm bill.”
Washington, D.C. – Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) issued the following statement in response to the Trump Administration’s unveiling of its FY18 Budget titled “A New Foundation for American Greatness:”
“As everyone reviews the President’s budget blueprint, it’s important to remember the power of the purse rests with Congress. I share President Trump’s goal of providing the American people with a more efficient and effective federal government. However, as with any Administration, Congress will agree with some priorities and disagree with others.
“The standard we’ll use in Congress when identifying what programs to cut or eliminate is whether or not they are effectively serving the American people. Programs like research at the National Institutes of Health, the Violence Against Women Prevention program, the Head Start program, crop insurance for our farmers – these are all vitally important and must be preserved. Since I’ve come to Congress, we’ve succeeded in keeping effective programs in place, while at the same time reducing overall spending. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee to continue to ensure our taxpayer dollars are being invested wisely.”
215 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Kevin is a 5th generation Kansan who grew up on a grain and livestock farm in rural Kansas near a town called Yoder. It was on the farm where Kevin learned the true value of hard work and where he saw first-hand the ingenuity and prairie spirit that makes Kansas such a special place.
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