Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Tim Walberg (R-MI-07) and Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) introduced a bipartisan occupational licensing reform bill that will give state governments tools to help initiate reforms to ensure bureaucratic requirements are not creating unnecessary barriers for those seeking to enter the workforce. U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate. The New Hope and Opportunity through the Power of Employment Act (New HOPE Act) will help states decide if they want to eliminate or reduce burdensome licensing requirements that are serving as an impediment to job creation. The legislation is based on an amendment Rep. Walberg championed last Congress as part of the House-passed Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act.
“The web of occupational licensing requirements are some of the most burdensome obstacles for aspiring workers and entrepreneurs,” said Rep. Walberg. “Too often, the scope and complexity of these regulations go beyond their intended purpose and place unnecessary barriers on individuals trying to use their skills to earn a paycheck or grow a small business. This bipartisan, bicameral bill gives states additional tools to implement reforms that reduce excessive licensing requirements and boost opportunities for job creation.”
“When most Americans think of professions that require government certifications, they probably picture airline pilots, electricians, or doctors,” said Rep. Cuellar. “However, more than a quarter of all American workers need some kind of government license for their jobs these days, from hair stylists to florists – and the requirements vary widely from state to state. In Texas, getting those licenses requires an average $304 in fees, 326 days of training, and two exams. Yet often these expensive requirements do not actually protect consumers; they are intentional efforts from people already in a given profession, to make it harder for new folks to compete with them. This legislation will give governors the flexibility to remove licensing requirements that just don’t make sense. It will create a better environment for entrepreneurs to create jobs. And it will save time and money for working people in thousands of occupations.”
“Every day job seekers in certain professions face bureaucratic hurdles like costly fees and unnecessary training time,” Sen. Cornyn said. “By equipping state leaders with tools to eliminate or reduce burdensome licensing requirements, we can give more folks across the country a chance to pursue good-paying jobs that can lead to meaningful careers.”
“Too many Americans are unable to obtain jobs because of the excessive hurdles to gain a required license,” said Sen. Peters. “This bipartisan legislation will give states the flexibility to streamline the licensing process and reduce the barriers to good-paying jobs that enable workers to provide for their families, send their kids to school and save for retirement.”
Background on New HOPE Act:
Overly burdensome and unnecessary state licensing mandates can require an individual to first pay fees, complete education and training programs, and even sometimes pass exams before they can enter some of the very professions most suitable to giving them a chance at meaningful work. Many of these licenses have little grounding in protecting public safety. States should review these occupational licensing regulations to ensure they are promoting opportunity and fostering a regulatory climate that encourages entrepreneurship and job creation.
The bill provides additional authority to state governors receiving an existing, bipartisan appropriation of discretionary funds for career and technical education, giving them the discretion to use this money for the “identification, consolidation, or elimination of licenses or certifications which pose an unnecessary barrier to entry for aspiring workers and provide limited consumer protection.”
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tim Walberg (MI-07) today welcomed Brandon Martz and his family from Jackson County to Washington, D.C. to help fulfill Brandon’s dream of visiting our nation’s capital. The trip was made possible with the help of the Dream Foundation, the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults. Eighteen-year-old Brandon has been battling Duchenne muscular dystrophy since the age of four. Click here for pictures of Brandon’s visit to the U.S. Capitol and here for video of Congressman Walberg's remarks on the House floor.
“It was an honor to welcome Brandon, his brother, and his parents to our nation’s capital and be part of turning his dream into a reality,” said Congressman Walberg. “Brandon is an inspiration and I was moved by his courage and fight to raise awareness about muscular dystrophy. I hope this week offers the Martz family an opportunity to create many lasting memories together.”
During a tour of the U.S. Capitol, Speaker Paul Ryan met with the Martz family on the speaker’s balcony. In addition to today’s visit to the U.S. Capitol, Brandon and his family are touring the White House, Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, and other monuments and museums this week.
Last year, Brandon’s parents, Doug and Cinni, wrote a letter to Congressman Walberg about their son’s rare disease and participation in a clinical trial. When the House was debating the 21st Century Cures Act in November 2016, Congressman Walberg shared Brandon’s story on the House floor and spoke about the need to expedite the development of new cures by prioritizing medical research and streamlining the FDA approval process. Click here for video.
Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives today passed the Small Business Health Fairness Act (H.R. 1101), legislation that would expand health care coverage and lower costs for working families. Introduced by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), chairman of the Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, and Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security, the legislation empowers small businesses to band together though association health plans (AHPs) and negotiate for lower health insurance costs on behalf of their employees. Click here to watch Rep. Walberg's remarks on the House floor.
“Providing more health care options for small businesses is essential to expanding affordable coverage for America’s workers,” Rep. Walberg said. “When it comes to accessing high-quality health care coverage, small businesses should not be treated any differently than large corporations and unions. This bill will level the playing field for small businesses, and it’s one step toward achieving a competitive health care marketplace that stretches across state lines. These are exactly the types of positive reforms that we’ve promised — reforms that will deliver more choices and lower health care costs for working families. I’d like to thank my colleague Representative Johnson for championing this important legislation for years, and I look forward to continuing our efforts to provide the American people a better way on health care.”
“As someone who owned and ran a small business between my time in the Air Force and serving in Congress, I understand the challenges other small business owners face,” Rep. Johnson said. “For years, I’ve fought for AHPs to level the playing field so that these job creators can offer their employees more health care options at better costs. When Obamacare hit and small businesses suffered, AHPs became even more important. In fact, this bill is a central part of the effort to replace this bad law with commonsense solutions that help American families. I thank Chairman Walberg for his strong support of this effort, and I look forward to seeing our bill signed into law. Better access to affordable health care is something all Americans want, need, and deserve.”
“The House has taken an important step forward in our efforts to replace Obamacare with positive solutions that put working families first,” Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) said. "These commonsense reforms will empower small businesses to purchase high-quality health care coverage at a lower cost for their employees — including across state lines. This is a win for the hardworking Americans who are struggling with soaring costs and deserve more affordable health care options. An important part of our three-phase plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, this vote reflects our commitment to delivering free-market, patient-centered reforms. I’d like to thank my colleagues Representative Johnson and Representative Walberg for leading this effort on behalf of our nation’s workers and small businesses.”
BACKGROUND: Due to their size and economies of scale, large businesses and labor organizations have the ability to negotiate on behalf of employees for high-quality health care at more affordable costs. By offering a qualified group health plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), these large employers and labor organizations are also exempt from myriad state rules and regulations on health insurance.
Small businesses, however, do not have the same bargaining power as larger businesses. Small businesses are also unable to band together to increase their bargaining power in the health insurance marketplace. By allowing small businesses to join together through association health plans (AHPs), small businesses can have greater ability to negotiate for lower health care costs for their employees.
Part of a broader effort to replace Obamacare with patient-centered solutions, Chairmen Walberg and Johnson introduced the Small Business Health Fairness Act. The legislation would empower small businesses to join together through AHPs to offer health insurance for their employees at a lower cost. Through these reforms, H.R. 1101 will:
To read the bill, click here.Read More
Washington, D.C. – U.S Representative Tim Walberg (MI-07) and U.S. Senator Rand Paul have reintroduced the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration Act (FAIR Act), bipartisan legislation to curb civil asset forfeiture abuse and protect the American people’s due process and private property rights. H.R. 1555 will raise the level of proof necessary for the government to seize property, reform the IRS structuring statute to protect innocent business owners, increase transparency and Congressional oversight, and many other important reforms.
“Over the past few years, we’ve seen a wave of stories where the government unjustly seized property from innocent Americans without charging them with a crime,” said Rep. Walberg. “These types of abuses of civil asset forfeiture laws should be a clarion call to reform the system and uphold the constitutional rights of the American people. That’s why I’m committed to championing the FAIR Act, which includes comprehensive and bipartisan reforms to limit the scope of the government’s forfeiture powers and protect individual rights.”
“The federal government has made it far too easy for government agencies to take and profit from the property of those who have not been convicted of a crime,” said Dr. Paul. “The FAIR Act will protect Americans’ Fifth Amendment rights from being infringed upon by ensuring that government agencies no longer profit from taking the property of U.S. citizens without due process. It guards against abuse while maintaining the ability of courts to order the surrender of proceeds of crime.”
“Every year the government takes in billions of dollars in property from those suspected of being criminals – and every year, much of that property turns out to belong to innocent people who have little recourse once their belongings have been seized. This bill would help reform asset forfeiture practices and ensure that every American receives their 4th amendment right to due process. I’m proud to cosponsor it,” said Rep. Keith Ellison.
Rep. Walberg first introduced legislative reforms in July 2014 in direct response to a series of incidents involving innocent property owners having their property seized by federal officials, including a longtime grocer in Michigan, Terry Dehko. In January 2015, he joined with Dr. Paul to introduce the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration Act.
Bipartisan original co-sponsors of the FAIR Act in the House include Reps. Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), and Tom McClintock (R-CA). The FAIR Act is supported by a diverse group of organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans for Tax Reform, FreedomWorks, Heritage Action, Institute for Justice, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and National Federation of Independent Business.
Click here for the text of H.R. 1555 and S. 642.
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Tim Walberg (MI-07) and Debbie Dingell (MI-12) today reintroduced “Jessie’s Law,” a bipartisan bill named after Michigan resident Jessie Grubb who tragically died of an opioid overdose last year. Jessie’s Law would help ensure doctors have access to a consenting patient’s prior history of addiction in order to make fully informed care and treatment decisions. Providing this information would help prevent cases like Jessie’s, where a recovering addict in Ann Arbor was unknowingly prescribed and discharged with a powerful opioid that led to her death. Jessie’s Law was introduced last week in the U.S. Senate by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) with the help of Jessie’s parents from West Virginia, David and Kate Grubb.“In communities across Michigan and the United States, too many of our friends, neighbors, and family members are struggling with drug addiction,” said Congressman Walberg. “Jessie’s story is a heartbreaking example of needlessly losing a loved one to this battle. It is vital for medical professionals to have access to the information that they need about their patient’s history so they can provide safe treatment and proper care. This bipartisan bill will make a real difference in fighting back against the deadly opioid epidemic and help save lives in our communities.” “As one who has witnessed firsthand all spectrums of this issue, I believe this bill is one of the most important steps we can take in developing effective strategies to protect families and save lives,” said Congresswoman Dingell. “My father suffered from opioid addiction much of his life and we lost my sister to a drug overdose twelve years ago next week. I know the horrible pain of living with family members with addiction and the constant ache of losing someone you love. We have a responsibility to confront this epidemic for families like Jessie’s, and it is important that in our discussions to seek solutions, educate and prevent abuse that we ensure we do not stigmatize those with real and legitimate needs. I live with a man whose constant companion is debilitating pain and who at certain times can barely walk. This proposed bill does exactly that. Jessie’s Law provides information to medical professionals so they have an accurate picture of their patient’s history and can treat them safely and effectively.” “After learning of Jessie’s passing, I promised her father that her death would not be in vain,” Senator Manchin said. “Now a year later after her death, I am re-introducing “Jessie’s Law” to make good on that promise and to do all that I can to prevent parents around our country from experiencing the grief that Jessie’s parents feel. It’s devastating knowing that her death was 100 percent preventable and she should still be with us today. We must ensure physicians and other medical professionals have full knowledge of a patient’s previous opioid addiction when determining appropriate medical care. We will not give up until Jessie’s Law is passed into law so her legacy stands long after us.” Living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Jessie Grubb was in recovery and getting her life back on track after seven years of struggling with addiction. Due to a hip injury while training for a marathon, Jessie underwent surgery in February 2016. Jessie’s parents informed hospital personnel that she was a recovering addict, but that message never made it to the doctor who discharged her. Jessie left with a prescription for 50 oxycodone pills and fatally overdosed that same night.
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Tim Walberg is currently serving his third term in Congress as the representative of south-central Michigan. The diverse constituency of Michigan’s 7th District encompasses Branch, Eaton, Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee, and Monroe Counties, along with parts of Washtenaw County. Since first taking office, Tim has hosted hundreds of coffee and town hall meetings to better understand the thoughts and concerns of the district.
Prior to his time in public office, Tim served as a pastor in Michigan and Indiana, as president of the Warren Reuther Center for Education and Community Impact, and as a division manager for Moody Bible Institute. He also served in the Michigan House of Representatives from 1983 to 1999, and is proud to bring his reputation as a principled legislator, fiscal reformer, and defender of traditional values to Washington.
In the 113th Congress, Tim serves on the House Education and the Workforce Committee as Chair of the Workforce Protections Subcommittee. In addition, he serves on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
He and his wife, Sue, have been married for over 39 years, and enjoy spending time outdoors and riding on their Harley. They live in Tipton, Michigan, where they raised their three children: Matthew, Heidi and Caleb.