New Congress Can Limit Occupational Licensing
AN INTERVIEW WITH
Representative Mark Meadows
Rep. Mark Meadows represents North Carolina’s 11th District and is the Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus. Follow him on Twitter here.
There is a growing consensus that occupational licensing has gotten out of hand. Government-required training and fees can make it prohibitively time consuming and costly for many individuals—especially those with low incomes—to find work, pursue better career opportunities, and start businesses. Though licensing is primarily controlled by state and local governments, Washington has taken notice of its growth.
To combat the problems posed by excessive occupational licensing, Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC) introduced the Alternatives to Licensing that Lower Obstacles to Work (ALLOW) Act last Congress.
The ALLOW Act would reform occupational licensing in the District of Columbia and on other federal property, such as military bases and certain national parks. A companion bill in the Senate was sponsored by Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ben Sasse (R-NE). The bills acknowledge that requiring the government’s permission to work should be reserved only for occupations that pose real threats to the public.
In the following interview, Representative Meadows explains what the 115th Congress can do to lead the way on occupational licensing reform.
Jared Meyer: What made you decide that something about occupational licensing had to change?
Representative Meadows: There are too many barriers to entry for employment in some federal government jobs—let alone the workforce in general—and that reduces economic growth and opportunity.
Licensing is a clear example of a government-imposed barrier to opportunity . In the 1950s, only five percent of the nation’s workforce worked in occupations requiring a government license. In 2015, that number had grown to at least 25 percent—a 500 percent increase. Take the District of Columbia, the focus of the ALLOW Act, where licensing requirements are now imposed on entry-level interior designers, travel guides, auctioneers, cosmetologists, and pest control workers, to name just a few.
These costs have little correlation to the public safety risks posed by an occupation. For example, an aspiring interior designer in D.C. must have six years of education and experience, pay $925 in fees, and pass an exam to work legally in this field. A cosmetologist at a D.C salon is required to study for 350 days and pass two tests, while an emergency medical technician is not required to go through any formal training. Clearly EMTs have a greater effect on public safety than do interior designers or cosmetologists.
These inconsistent, time consuming, and often expensive requirements keep millennials, recent graduates, and Americans trying to climb the economic ladder or change careers stuck . Simply put, occupational licensing blocks choice and opportunity for people looking to support themselves and contribute to society.
Jared Meyer: Because of technological advances, today’s consumers have unprecedented access to information. I argue that this lowers the need for consumer protection regulations because government licensing is far from the only way to ensure quality in the age of Yelp, Google Reviews, and Angie’s List. Yet, even as the market has grown more pro-consumer, licensing has increased in both scope and scale. Why do you think this has happened?
Representative Meadows: I agree with you and that is why the ALLOW Act makes licensing what it is supposed to be—the last resort of regulators. But special interest groups work against that ideal and encourage excessive regulation, which in turn discourages competition and innovation. They drive regulators to believe that licensing is necessary and should be imposed so long as an occupation poses any kind of danger to the public. Unfortunately, this leads to bureaucrats—who are focused on maintaining the status quo—preventing services from being provided, which makes them less accessible and more expensive for consumers.
Jared Meyer: So how would the ALLOW Act reform occupational licensing?
Representative Meadows: First, we wanted to make sure the bill would provide an example to states on how they could adopt less restrictive licensing requirements. The ALLOW Act accomplishes this by:
Jared Meyer: During my testimony before the Joint Economic Committee on the need for licensing reform, I got pushback from some representatives and senators who said this was purely a state and local issue. Moving beyond the ALLOW Act, do you think there is any other role for the federal government when it comes to state and local licensing laws? I know that Representative Tim Walberg (R-MI) had a plan to free up federal funds for state licensing reform.
Representative Meadows: What I think the federal government can and should do, the ALLOW Act does. It models an idea that emphasizes certification as an alternative approach to licensure by eliminating the need to obtain government approval for certain jobs.
But there is more that we need to be doing. The country’s labor force participation rate during the Obama administration declined to 62.7 percent. Many discouraged and marginally attached workers who would like to work have given up on searching for jobs.
We are trying to give Americans who feel like the workforce has turned its back on them another shot. This critical effort must extend beyond occupational licensing, but licensing reform clearly needs to be a part of any economic opportunity package.
Jared Meyer: Even in the face of some industry and pro-regulation opposition, it is encouraging to see licensing reform attracting bipartisan attention. As the 115th Congress works through various regulatory reforms that promote economic opportunity, Washington policymakers should consider how they can serve as an example for states to follow on licensing reform .Read More
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, released the following statement on President Trump’s executive order restricting foreign, non-governmental organizations that receive U.S. aid from performing abortion services:
“As Washington, D.C. prepares to host hundreds of thousands of marchers in the March for Life—the largest annual peaceful protest in D.C.—it is very fitting that President Trump began the week with this executive order. Taxpayer funding should never be used to fund abortion services or promotion. I’m thrilled to see the Trump administration begin a new dawn of government with a firm commitment to the sanctity of life.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 20, 2017
Washington, D.C.— The House Freedom Caucus released the following statement on the swearing in of the 45th President of the United States Donald J. Trump:
“Today is a day of celebration and unity as we embark on a new era in the United States under the leadership of President Donald Trump.
While there are significant challenges that lay ahead for our great nation, we are confident that our new President and Vice President will be ready to go to work on day one for the American people. This is an exciting time, but also a time of incredible responsibility. We look forward to working with President Trump as he restores accountable government, upholds the Constitution, and focuses on the needs of the American people."Mission statement of the House Freedom Caucus:
“The House Freedom Caucus gives a voice to countless Americans who feel that Washington does not represent them. We support open, accountable and limited government, the Constitution and the rule of law, and policies that promote the liberty, safety, and prosperity of all Americans.”
By Mike DeBonis January 17 at 6:00 AM
When Vice President-elect Mike Pence addressed House Republicans in a closed-door meeting earlier this month, he let them know just how quickly his running-mate plans to get to work.
The Jan. 20 parade from the Capitol to the White House would be sped up, Pence said, so a newly inaugurated President Donald J. Trump could sit down sooner in the Oval Office and start rescinding his predecessor’s executive actions. The lawmakers cheered, two people in the room said.
When it comes to unraveling President Obama’s legacy, Trump could not have found a more enthusiastic partner than the GOP Congress.
After just two weeks of work, the House has already passed several sweeping bills that, if enacted, would roll back scores of Obama administration regulations and make it significantly harder for future presidents — including Trump — to write similar rules. One measure would allow Congress to eliminate a host of regulations in one fell swoop, while another would make it harder for agencies to issue rules to begin with.
Next month, the House is expected to take up more targeted measures that would use fast-track procedures to undo several recent rules issued by executive-branch agencies. Those could include new Interior Department regulations aimed at protecting waterways near coal mines and preventing the release of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from oil and gas wells, as well as a Labor Department rule that expands overtime eligibility.
The effort to eliminate existing regulations and place curbs on future ones has garnered almost unheard-of unanimity among fractious House Republicans and heralds sweeping changes to federal labor, environmental and financial oversight as the GOP takes control of Washington.
Not a single House GOP member opposed a trio of major regulatory reform bills that have already passed this year; two other recent House bills to restrict financial-industry regulation were opposed by only one Republican — Rep. Walter Jones Jr. of North Carolina.
“It brings everybody together,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, whose members have often bucked party leaders on major votes.
Among the regulations on the Republican chopping block are new Interior Department rules aimed at protecting waterways near coal mines and preventing the release of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from oil and gas wells, as well as a Labor Department rule that expands overtime eligibility.
Democrats, along with major labor, consumer and environmental groups, are warning of significant and lasting harm to the public from the GOP push. A list of targets from the hardline House Freedom Caucus includes school-lunch nutrition guidelines, renewable fuel standards, and anti-tobacco programs.
The effort could be slowed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has expressed general enthusiasm for regulatory reform measures — but he has yet to commit scarce Senate floor time with health care and tax reform looming.
House Republicans, however, are pushing full speed ahead. The Freedom Caucus has drawn up its own list of more than 200 executive orders or regulations, most but not all issued by Obama, it is eager to see Congress or Trump undo.
Republican lawmakers are being encouraged by conservative activist groups — including the Club for Growth, Heritage Action for America and the Koch network — all of which are pressing lawmakers to make good on years of small-government promises while the GOP controls both houses of Congress and the White House.
While conservative activists might have their differences with Trump on matters such as infrastructure spending and entitlement reform, regulations is one area where they appear to be wholly simpatico.
“Regulations have grown into a massive, job-killing industry, and the regulation industry is one business I will put an end to,” Trump said in a September policy address.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said this month that regulatory rollbacks “will be one of the highest priorities of this new unified Republican government.”
“For too long, unelected bureaucrats have been simply telling people how things are going to be,” he said. “This needs to change, and not just by peeling away this rule or that particular regulation.”
The Koch-affiliated Freedom Partners recently issued a “Roadmap to Repeal” laying out dozens of Obama-era executive actions and agency regulations it says constitutes a “unprecedented onslaught of regulatory costs on the U.S. economy.” The group has assembled a list of dozens of Obama initiatives it wants to see reversed — some can be ended with a stroke of Trump’s pen, others are still in the rulemaking process and can be withdrawn, while still others can be targeted through Congress or the courts.
The well-funded group is poised to reward or punish lawmakers, promising to “educate voters” on whether particular lawmakers follow through.
“If we do not take on regulatory reform now and keep those promises we’ve been talking about for years, then this would be a signature failure for us,” said Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), an author of the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny, or REINS, Act, which passed the House on Jan. 5.
That bill would require Congress to approve any agency regulation that would have an economic effect of more than $100 million, would lead to a “major increase in costs or prices” for consumers, industries, government agencies, or geographic regions, or would have “significant adverse effects” on employment, investment, productivity or innovation.
Another House-passed bill, the Midnight Rules Relief Act, would allow Congress to undo dozens of recent Obama administration regulations in one combined action, while a third, the Regulatory Accountability Act, would place major new burdens on agencies seeking to issue regulations — requirements that Democrats say would “grind the rulemaking system to a halt.”
“What you do when you repeal regulations or make it harder to have regulations is you make it better for business, better for the Chamber crowd, better for the manufacturing folk,” Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) said Wednesday on the House floor. “The side that loses is that of the consumers and the folks who will be injured or killed because of lack of regulations.”
Each of the anti-regulatory bills passed the House in some form in previous Congresses, but Obama’s veto pen and the threat of a Senate filibuster kept the legislation from advancing. Now opponents are worried that Republicans will succeed in landing at least some of the bills on Trump’s desk.
Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen and chair of a coalition opposing the bills, said together the GOP legislation would “wipe out our ability to establish and enforce public protections, with catastrophic consequences.”
“That House Republicans are choosing to make this package of bills one of their first orders of business shows that they believe their constituents are corporations and the superrich, not the American people,” he said.
Collins pointed to the recent uptick in the stock market — the S&P 500 index is up roughly 6 percent since Election Day — as proof of enthusiasm about the GOP’s anti-regulatory agenda.
“The mood in country is saying, we’re no longer going to have to be worrying about regulations and rules coming out from folks that we don’t even know,” he said. “These businesses are not going to be spending hundreds, thousands or millions of dollars on regulations but will be actually able to invest that in equipment and people and things.”
The House will soon move to undo several recent regulations using the 1996 Congressional Review Act, which includes fast-track procedures to skirt Senate filibusters. Targets could include the stream-protection and overtime measures, as well as regulations on aircraft greenhouse-gas emissions, appliance efficiency standards, and nondiscrimination compliance rules for federal contractors. If those efforts are successful, future presidents could be prevented from re-regulating in those areas.
The more-sweeping measures passed by the House are likely to be opposed by most Senate Democrats, most of whom have little appetite for an anti-regulatory agenda. But Republicans believe they have a winning issue that will force action in the Senate, especially if Trump presses the issue.
Democratic senators in 10 states Trump won last year — including such increasingly conservative states as Montana, Missouri, Indiana, North Dakota and West Virginia — will be up for re-election in 2018.
“The question becomes, are they going to stand up for this big-government regulatory agenda?” said Andy Koenig, Freedom Partners’ vice president for policy. “It’s going to be very interesting to see how some of the Democrats vote.”Read More
Obamacare Repeal Begins
Flawed. Failing. Not fixable.
These are just a few of the words to describe Obamacare--our crumbling healthcare system that is hurting working families, bankrupting businesses, and driving our economy into the ground. This law needs to be fully repealed. Americans cannot afford to bear the burden of its failure any longer.
This week, the House began the process of repealing Obamacare by passing a budget resolution to take Obamacare and its financially crushing regulations off the books. While this bill did not fully repeal Obamacare yet, it is a critical step before the final repeal vote can be taken.
While Republicans continue to debate how to best repeal and replace Obamacare, we agree on the big picture: our current system does not work and is unacceptable. While serious concerns remain, I have been pleased to hear the Speaker commit to bringing up a healthcare replacement bill within days, not weeks, of a repeal measure. This has been a top priority of mine and the Freedom Caucus’. I believe it is critical that we give the American people a clear direction and assurance of a smooth transition toward a sound, high quality, and affordable healthcare market—especially so the most vulnerable can get the coverage they need.
Going forward, I strongly believe and will continue to express that a full repeal of Obamacare should take effect within two years during the 115th Congress. That is what we promised the voters we would do. That is our job--and it’s high time we accomplish it.
To read my full statement, click here.
Interview with MSNBC – Meet the Press Daily
The facts are clear: Obamacare has had disastrous effects on our economy and healthcare system. This law needs to be repealed and replaced both quickly and effectively, and it needs to be done in this Congress--not kicked down the road to the future, as Congress so often does.
Too often, Congress takes a defeatist attitude before we even begin a job. At this moment, it's critical that we take on a much more aggressive, ‘get to work’ mindset when it comes to keeping our promises--particularly in the area of healthcare reform and repealing Obamacare. That's our job. That's what we were sent here to do.
I spoke with Peter Alexander on "Meet the Press Daily" about this issue. Watch the interview here.
Interviewing with Pete Alexander on MSNBC
Op-ed with Rep. Jim Jordan
I encourage you to read this op-ed written by myself and my House Freedom Caucus colleague, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). The op-ed is titled "No more excuses, Republicans," and outlines several specific policy proposals we believe the American people demanded on Election Day and ones that Republicans must deliver on. No more excuses.
It's time to keep our promises and do the bold things that the American people sent us here to do. It’s time to get to work.
To read the op-ed, click here.
(photo credit to The Hill News)
Dr. Dan Lunsford Retiring
My staff and I would like to give our best wishes to Dr. Dan Lunsford, President of Mars Hill University, on announcing his retirement in the fall of next year. Dr. Lunsford is one of the best, and he has been a tremendous leader for Mars Hill University and the surrounding Mars Hill community. He will be missed, but I wish him all the best in the future.
To read more about Dr. Lunsford and his career, click here.
Congratulations to Dr. Dan Lunsford on his upcoming retirement
Celebrating MLK Day
This week, America celebrated the legacy of a Civil Rights hero who fought relentlessly for equality. Thank you to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to so many others like him who have had the courage to stand up for what is right. May we never forget the principle that Dr. King so aptly noted: "The time is always right to do what is right."
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (photo credit to Huffington Post)
A New Day in Congress
As many of you have probably read by now, Republicans in Congress have been working around the clock to prepare for the incoming administration so we can get right to business. Within hours of inauguration this Friday, President-elect Trump and Republicans in Congress will be ready to get to work immediately and begin rolling back the out-of-control bureaucracy in Washington.
To read more about our preparations, click here for an article from the Washington Post.Read More
Washington, D.C. – Statement from Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus:
“While Republicans continue to debate how to best repeal and replace Obamacare, we agree on the big picture: our current system does not work. Obamacare is flawed, failing, and not fixable—and it needs to be fully repealed. Americans cannot afford to bear the burden of its failure any longer.
While serious concerns remain, I have been pleased to hear the Speaker commit to bringing up a healthcare replacement bill within days, not weeks, of a repeal measure. This has been a top priority of mine and the Freedom Caucus’, as I believe it is critical that we give the American people a clear direction and assurance of a smooth transition toward a sound, high quality, and affordable healthcare market—especially so the most vulnerable can get the coverage they need. Going forward, I strongly believe and will continue to express that a full repeal of Obamacare should take effect within two years during the 115th Congress. That is what we promised the voters we would do. That is our job--and it’s high time we accomplish it.”
The House passed a bill Friday that starts the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, officially completing the first step of the two-step process of repealing the health care legislation.
The measure passed 227 to 198 with no Democrats supporting it and nine GOP members voting against it. Leadership was able to gain the support of enough Republicans to pass the bill, despite concerns among members worried there was no plan to replace Barack Obama's signature healthcare law.
House Speaker Paul Ryan spoke on the floor before the vote, urging his colleagues to support the first stage of the repeal effort.
"By taking this first step toward repealing Obamacare, we are closer to giving Americans relief from the problems this law has caused," Ryan said in a statement after the vote. "This resolution gives us the tools we need for a step-by-step approach to fix these problems and put Americans back in control of their health care."
The Senate approved the bill during a marathon voting session early Thursday with only Republican support. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, was the only Republican to vote against the Senate measure, in part, because the measure, which is a component of the budget, increases the federal deficit and also because of his concerns about the lack of a health care replacement plan.
Leadership's evolution on a timeline to repeal and replace Obamacare has given assurance to members who were nervous about repealing the health care law with no plan to replace it.
As recently as last week, Republican leadership said that it would take time — weeks or even months — to replace the massive health care law that currently gave coverage to an additional 20 million people and impacts one-sixth of the nation's economy.
But after hearing from rank-and-file Republicans across the conservative spectrum, and after President-elect Donald Trump publicly said - through tweets, an interview with the New York Times and in his press conference - that repeal and replace would happen "almost simultaneously," Republican leaders became more bullish about the timeline.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Tuesday, for the first time, that parts of the bill would be replaced "concurrently." And then on Thursday during a CNN town hall, Ryan said, "So, without getting into all of the legislative mumbo jumbo, we want to do this at the same time and in some cases in the same bill."
And a Republican aide said Ryan has personally committed to jittery Republicans that replace would happen quickly.
The change of tune helped members like Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., the head of the conservative Freedom Caucus, to vote for the bill.
"While serious concerns remain, I have been please to hear the speaker commit to bringing up a healthcare replacement bill within days, now weeks, of a repeal measure," Meadows said in a statement.
But House Republicans saw nine defections from both the most conservative wings of the party, like Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., to the more moderate, like Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Penn.
Dent said that he's concerned that Republicans are rushing forward without having a "deliberate and thoughtful" replacement plan at the ready.
He said Republican leaders and the Trump administration needs to "fully develop and articulate a comprehensive and achievable replacement plan that meets the health needs of the people in our districts," Dent said in a phone interview.
The House's vote Friday completes the first step for repeal. The bill now directs four committees — two in the House and two in the Senate — to write the legislation to repeal the ACA. The self-imposed deadline is January 27 but leadership aides admit that is an unreasonable date and repeal legislation could take weeks.
While Ryan now insists that repeal and parts of replace will be done at the same time, the reality is complicated.
Because the Republicans are using a budget gimmick known as reconciliation, a process that enables legislation to pass the Senate by a simple majority, the only things that can be addressed in the legislation are tax and spend components.
Now that the timeline has sped up, Republicans are going to have to determine what can be repealed and what can be replaced under reconciliation's strict guidelines.
Everything else will likely need the support of 60 votes in the Senate.
No More Excuses, Republicans
BY REPS. JIM JORDAN (R-OHIO) AND MARK MEADOWS (R-N.C.) - 01/11/17 02:15 PM EST
Imagine this scenario. A man who works a second shift walks out to get in his truck to drive to work. Now remember, when you work second shift you’re forced to miss some of your kids’ after school activities and their summer little league games. But like most Americans he’s willing to do the hard things for his family.
As he pulls out of his driveway, the second shift worker sees a guy two houses down, sitting on the front porch, drinking a cup of coffee and reading the paper. The second shift worker knows the “front porch sitter” can work but won’t work and is getting his tax dollars.
As he continues to drive he turns on his radio. It’s the news hour, and the reporter says that the federal government has a $20 trillion debt, and a “connected corporation” that received tax dollars has gone bankrupt and will cost taxpayers millions.
As the second shift worker hears this, he remembers the guy on the front porch and guess what: He’s mad. And he has every right to be.
At the same time a second grade teacher is driving home from work. She, like all good teachers, views her job as a mission field. She works hard to help her students. As she drives she also has her radio on and hears the same reporter say the federal government has a $20 trillion debt and a connected corporation that received tax dollars has gone bankrupt and will cost taxpayers millions.
As the second grade teacher hears this, she pulls into her driveway in the same neighborhood and sees the same guy on the front porch drinking coffee and reading the paper. The second grade teacher knows the “front porch sitter” can work, but won’t work and is getting her tax dollars. And guess what: she’s mad. And she has every right to be.
On Election Day, millions of “second shift workers” and “second grade teachers” said “enough!” Everyday Americans said it’s time Washington started working for them.
Their simple message: you work for us. Keep the promises you made. Stand up for the rule of law. And put the needs of ordinary folks ahead of the connected-class in Washington.
Republicans have an incredible opportunity in front of them, but also a tremendous responsibility. Our task is simple: do what the voters sent us to do.
We are committed to keeping our promises and doing the bold things that the American people sent us here to do.
Rep. Jim Jordan serves Ohio’s 4th Congressional District and is the former Chairman and a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus. Rep. Mark Meadows serves North Carolina’s 11th District and is the current Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.
The views expressed by authors are their own and not the views of The Hill.
Obamacare Repeal Bill Likely To Pass
Capitol Hill Reporter
9:25 PM 01/11/2017
House leadership appears to have garnered enough support to pass the Obamacare repeal bill Friday.
Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus (HFC) said they were seeking additional information on the reconciliation bill while members of the centrist Tuesday Group also expressed concerns over the timeline of the replacement plan earlier this week.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise said he has been having good discussions with members about what they would like to accomplish with the repeal and replacement plan.
“It’s important we remind everybody across the country why they don’t like this law, how this law has failed them as well as all the broken promises along the way that passed Obamacare are we’re working to give them relief,” Scalise told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “A lot of their (HFC) members are real excited about this vote and some are asking very legitimate question I think they are liking the answers to.”
The HFC has been advocating for the replacement plan to be completed within the next two years and assurance the next budget resolution will take strides to balance the budget. HFC Chairman Mark Meadows, who still hasn’t decided how he will vote, told reporters the group is not taking an official position on the budget
“I think the leadership will give in terms of specificity of what members are wanting to get enough votes to pass it,” he said. “I think there are a few more details we were able to get, one of the details that Speaker Ryan has even gone public with, which was an important thing for us, is we need to be voting for a replacement plan at the same time as we vote for the repeal, and that’s a commitment that’s new that wasn’t there originally.”
Meadows estimated the conference likely has around 18 no votes, less than the 23-vote threshold Republicans need to pass the legislation.
President-elect Donald Trump called on Congress Wednesday to quickly repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it almost simultaneously, a task that could prove to be challenging for lawmakers. But top Republican staffers maintained members are in sync with what Trump is seeking
“The timeline the president said today is still very much on track with what we’re doing and he’s going to be outlining soon items on day one,” a senior political aide told The Daily Caller News Foundation.Read More
House Republicans Are Trying To Rush An Obamacare Repeal Vote
Gotta repeal it before you know what you’re gonna replace it with.
01/10/2017 01:32 pm ET
Matt Fuller Congressional Reporter, The Huffington Post
WASHINGTON ― House GOP leaders are forging ahead with a planned Obamacare repeal vote for later this week even as Republicans don’t know the broad strokes of what a replacement might look like ― or whether they even have the votes.
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told members during a Tuesday morning conference meeting that they’d like to vote on a budget resolution instructing committees to come up with a repeal of major parts of the Affordable Care Act by Friday, which would be the first chance they’d have to consider the legislation after it’s cleared the Senate.
House conservatives, particularly members of the Freedom Caucus, have expressed concern over voting on those repeal instructions without a clearer idea of what a replacement would look like, particularly when Republicans would simultaneously be voting to approve the addition of more than $9 trillion in new debt over the next 10 years. GOP leaders argue this budget is just to repeal Obamacare, not to lay out a fiscal blueprint, which is why they took debt projections in line with those from the Congressional Budget Office. But conservatives are worried about the message of rubber-stamping so much new debt.
They’re also worried Republican leaders are rushing a repeal vote without discussing details of their alternative.
“It’s like saying, ‘I’m going to get in that taxi and make good time, but I don’t know where I’m going,’” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the Freedom Caucus. “I want to know where I’m going.”
On Tuesday morning after the conference meeting, however, Meadows was a bit softer about where things stand.
“It is our hope that there will be a lot more specifics that are answered,” he said. “If those specifics are answered, we’re willing to vote today.”
Meadows repeated his call for details on a replacement and the process for that legislation, such as “when are we going to repeal, when we’re going to replace, how long is that process going to take.”
“We just need to make some decisions that perhaps are difficult,” Meadows said, “but we need to go ahead and make those decisions now as a conference.”
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the former Freedom Caucus chairman who still meets with leadership every week as a representative of the group, said there is still a chance House Republicans will delay the Friday repeal vote.
“That’s the calendar, but we’ll be talking about that,” Jordan told The Huffington Post.
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and other House GOP leaders told members Tuesday that they’d like to vote by Friday on a budget resolution instructing committees to come up with a repeal of major parts of the Affordable Care Act, but others aren’t so sure.
GOP leadership appears to be seizing on the overwhelming consensus among Republicans that they want to replace Obamacare while ignoring the disagreement over what to replace it with.
The No. 4 House Republican, Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), said Tuesday during a leadership press conference that “no one who has coverage because of Obamacare today will lose that coverage.” She also said Republicans would “protect coverage for people with pre-existing conditions” and that “our sons and daughters can stay on their parents’ health insurance until they’re 26.”
That plan sounds a lot like the current version of Obamacare, though there could be a vast difference between protecting coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and ensuring that their premiums and deductibles don’t skyrocket under a new plan with high-risk pools.
Still, it’s much closer to Obamacare than the plans conservatives seem to favor. If you listen to Freedom Caucus member Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Republicans don’t need to do much ― or anything ― after repealing Obamacare because the system before the 2010 overhaul would come back.
“As a matter of law, if there is a repeal, then we revert back to the best health care system the world has ever known, and that’s the health care system America had in 2008,” Brooks said Tuesday.
Pressed that the health care system has dramatically changed in those intervening years, and that millions of people would lose their health insurance and people with pre-existing conditions potentially wouldn’t be offered plans, Brooks said other people would see their cost of insurance drop.
“There are pros and cons to everything,” he said. “So the question is: Do you want to continue to force Americans who work for a living to pay for the health care of those who don’t work for a living or don’t work well enough to pay for their own needs?”
Between those very different ends of the Republican spectrum ― one that generally agrees with the basic tenets of Obamacare, and another that believes the problem of insurers not offering sick people health care plans is that those people don’t work hard enough ― leaders are trying to find 218 votes in the House, and, eventually, 60 votes in the Senate.
But the first step is upheaving the health insurance market with a speedy repeal before Congress can ever hold a hearing.
Laura Barron-Lopez contributed reporting.Read More
1516 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
After working as a small business owner for 27 years, Representative Mark Meadows brings a business-style approach to Washington, D.C.
From owning and selling a successful restaurant to building a development company, Mark understands what the 63.7 million people in the United States who are self-employed or work for small businesses need to grow their businesses. He believes real job creation comes from the private sector, not the federal government. Mark recognizes that regulations are stifling job growth in this country and without a budget to set spending priorities, our federal government will continue to spend beyond its means.
While serving on the Committees on Oversight and Government Reform, Foreign Affairs, and Transportation and Infrastructure, Mark will hold the government accountable, protect American citizens and interests abroad, and ensure we have a modern transportation network which meets the needs of Western North Carolina and our country as a whole.
He is dedicated to providing top-notch constituent services to North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District and committed to upholding his Christian values and conservative principles while serving in Congress.
Mark lives in Jackson County with his wife Debbie. They have two college-age children, Blake and Haley.
Retweeted by RepMarkMeadows
Retweeted by RepMarkMeadows
This morning I was privileged to gavel in the House of Representatives -- on the first official work day of the new #Trump Administration. This
President Trump just signed an executive order that reinstates a policy called the "Mexico City Policy"-- a policy that restricts foreign, non-governmental
I’m very confident that business as usual in Washington ended today. Today we saw the culmination of millions of Americans standing up and
Debbie and I have really enjoyed seeing so many of you in town for inauguration this weekend. Looking forward to the celebration tomorrow!
Last night I had the opportunity to join The Daily Caller for a Facebook Live event--talking Obamacare repeal, the upcoming inauguration, and