Congressman Tom McClintock issued the following statement regarding the United States attack on Syria:
The Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons is an atrocity and a war crime, but it is not “a national emergency created by an attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces” as provided in the War Powers Resolution. No matter how strongly we may feel about the actions of the Syrian government, the President had no legal or constitutional authority to order this attack without the consent of Congress. This action crosses a bright line that separates the fundamental powers of our government and risks a constitutional crisis if continued.Read More
H.R. 1219 – Supporting America’s Innovators Act: YES. Venture capital firms loan money to start-up companies. Since the adoption of Dodd-Frank, heavy government regulation has severely reduced the amount of capital loaned by these firms. Although the JOBS Act of 2012 eased the regulatory burdens on small capital venture firms, its provisions did not apply to coordinated investment pools of more than 100 investors. This bill simply raises that cap to 250, on funds with less than $10 million of capitalization.Read More
H.R. 1304 – Self Insurance Protection Act: YES. Some employers set up their own employee health care fund, and will often buy stop-loss insurance that picks up costs above a certain amount, thus protecting the employer from catastrophic losses and assuring employees’ expenses are covered. Some states are attempting to regulate these stop loss agreements as health insurance, driving them out of the market. This bill makes clear that these contracts are financial instruments and not to be regulated as if they were end-user health insurance.Read More
Obamacare: What Would Ben Franklin Do?
April 5, 2017
Congress is fundamentally a deliberative institution. Deliberations take time and they’re often messy – in fact, the bigger the issue, the messier the deliberations. The designers of our Constitution wanted a great, big, ugly debate whenever a decision was being made. They wanted the subject to be held up to every conceivable light and for every voice in the country to be heard.
That is certainly true of the effort to replace the collapsing bureaucracy of Obamacare with the patient-centered marketplace we have long promised. Those deliberations must continue until they bear fruit, because there is no excuse for failure.
Obamacare is only getting worse. Last year’s average 25 percent premium increase is likely to be followed by even bigger increases this year. The flight of health care providers from the system is only going to accelerate. The rapid expansion of Medicaid – which could exceed spending on defense by next year – is not only fiscally unsustainable – it doesn’t even guarantee care.
Dwindling Medicaid providers and lengthening waiting lists means that many Medicaid patients have no recourse but to flood emergency rooms. The original Medicaid population – the elderly, blind and disabled – who are only reimbursed an average of 57 cents on the dollar, are pushed to the back of every line by able-bodied Obamacare expansion patients who are reimbursed at 90 percent.
The American Health Care Act is far from perfect. I had argued vigorously for a comprehensive bill rather than our current piece-meal approach. I lost that debate, but I haven’t lost sight of the ultimate goal: to restore our healthcare system as the best in the world. I could list a lot of other things that could be made better in the current bill – and perhaps in our extended deliberations they will.
But those who expect perfection in our legislation fundamentally misunderstand our system. Congress was never designed to make perfect law. It was designed to make the best law that is acceptable to the most people. And it’s pretty good at that, when we let it be.
When the Constitutional Convention seemed hopelessly deadlocked, Benjamin Franklin declared that he didn’t entirely approve of the Constitution, but he had learned over the years to doubt a little of his own infallibility, and to recognize the limitations of making decisions with others. He noted that when you assemble a group of people to benefit from their collective wisdom, you also had to accept their collective shortcomings, and realize that a perfect product is never possible from such a process.
In another speech, he recalled as an apprentice tradesman, trying to fit together two pieces of wood. It was often necessary, he said, to shave a little from one and a little from the other until “you had a joint that would hold together for centuries.” In this same manner, he urged them to “each join together and each part with some of our demands.”
Compromise is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end. As long as that end moves us forward toward better policy, more freedom, greater prosperity and stronger security, whatever imperfections the measure may include are often precisely what are required to bring it to fruition.
I fear we are losing sight of these simple truths. Ironically, factions within the House who are the most adamant in opposing Obamacare have become, as a practical matter, its most effective defenders. I know they don’t intend this to be, but the reality is that Obamacare survives today solely because of their actions in this House.
Benjamin Franklin was right. In deliberations of this magnitude, it is essential that we each doubt a little of our own infallibility, that we each part with a few of our own demands, in order to join together and produce the reforms our country depends on us to enact.
A political minority doesn’t need to compromise – it has the luxury of standing solely on principle. But the majority, entrusted with making the actual decisions to guide our country to better days, must compromise if it is to make law that will hold together for the centuries.
Lincoln once reminded Congress that we can succeed only by concert. He said, “It is not ‘can any of us imagine better,’ but ‘can we all do better.’” He urged us to rise with the occasion, to disenthrall ourselves – for only then could we save our country.
I hope some of our colleagues will consider this advice during the Easter recess.Read More
S.J.Res. 34 – Congressional Disapproval of FCC Rule on Broadband Privacy: NO
Repeal and Replace
House of Representatives
March 21, 2017
Any discussion of the American Health Care Act needs first to consider where we will be without it. Obamacare is collapsing. More people are paying the steep tax penalty or claiming hardship exemptions than are choosing to buy Obamacare policies. In a third of the counties across America, there is only one provider to choose and soon we will see counties where there are no providers at all. Obamacare premiums soared an average of 25 percent last year, and we’re warned this year will be worse.
I have strongly advocated that the House address this crisis in a single comprehensive bill that fully repeals Obamacare and replaces it with a healthy, competitive market.
Instead, we rely on the reconciliation process to bypass Democratic obstructionism in the Senate. This only allows us to repeal parts of Obamacare and enact only parts of a replacement. Finishing the job will require administrative actions and follow-up legislation requiring Senate Democrats to cooperate – something not very likely. So we need to ask if this bill alone is enough to produce a better healthcare system for the vast majority of people.
Its biggest defects are its failure to restore to consumers the freedom to shop across state lines and to fully free consumers from purchasing coverage they don’t need and don’t want. I fear that in states where insurance commissioners refuse to approve innovative replacement plans, consumers will be stuck in a market still governed by Obamacare mandates.
Critics cite the Congressional Budget Office estimate that “24 million Americans will lose their coverage.” But this conclusion is based largely on the premise that unless people are forced to buy health insurance, they won’t. In fact, people won’t buy health insurance that’s not a good value for them – and clearly Obamacare isn’t. We envision a vigorous buyers’ market where plans across the country compete to offer consumers better services at lower costs, tailored to their own needs and wants.
And this is the AHCA’s biggest achievement: replacing coercion with choice for every American. It ends the individual mandate that forces Americans to buy products they don’t want. It ends the employer mandate that has trapped many low-income workers in part-time jobs. It begins to restore consumers’ freedom of choice -- the best guarantee of quality and value in any market. It allows Americans to meet more of their health-care needs with pre-tax dollars. It relieves the premium base of the enormous costs of pre-existing conditions by moving them to a block-granted assigned risk pool.
In making this transition, though, it’s important to leave no one in the lurch. That’s where we need to heed the CBO’s warning.
The fact that many low-income families could no longer afford basic health care is what produced Obamacare. When fully implemented, our reforms will correct the government mandates that trapped people in restricted markets that forced healthcare out of reach. But until then, the CBO warns that a 64-year old, for example, earning $26,500 will see her out-of-pocket health costs balloon from $1,700 to $14,600 per year. This is neither morally defensible nor politically sustainable.
The Budget Committee adopted my motion on a bipartisan vote to ask the House to correct this inequity by adjusting the tax credits to assure that health plans are within the financial reach of every family. I want to thank the leadership for responding to this motion by creating architecture in the bill to shift an additional $75 billion for this purpose.
As our pro-growth economic reforms cause incomes to rise and our health care reforms bring costs down, families will earn more and pay less for their health care, and reliance on these tax credits will recede. But we need a bridge from the present to the future, and we simply can’t get there without addressing the bill’s initial impact on older, low-income Americans.
It is also important that we assure stability in the Medicaid system as we transition to flexible state-run programs that correct the inequities of Obamacare that have pushed the elderly, blind and disabled to the back of the Medicaid line. This bill does so.
I wish it did everything necessary to restore an optimal health insurance market. But it moves us toward that goal, and even as a stand-alone measure, I am confident it will ultimately create a market in most states that will produce better services, greater choices and lower costs for the vast majority of Americans.Read More
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 21, 2017
McClintock, MacArthur, McSally, & Aderholt Welcome Changes to AHCA, Announce Support for the Bill
WASHINGTON—Today, U.S. Representatives Tom McClintock (CA-04), Thomas MacArthur (NJ-03), Martha McSally (AZ-02), and Robert Aderholt (AL-04) announced their support of changes to the American Health Care Act of 2017 intended to result in major cost reductions to low-income middle-aged Americans.
Over several weeks the Members worked with House Republican Leadership and Trump Administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence and HHS Secretary Tom Price, to advocate adjusting the bill's tax credits to assure that health coverage remains within the reach of lower-income adults. An agreement with House leadership will now incorporate changes necessary to accomplish this goal into the bill.
Representative McClintock said: "The Republican vision of health care reform has always been one in which consumers have the widest possible range of choices and a supportive tax system to assure that a health plan is within the financial reach of every American. The CBO warned that as initially structured, the AHCA fell short of this goal for older low-income workers. My motion to request that additional resources be focused to assure access for this group passed the House Budget Committee on a bipartisan vote, and I am grateful that House leadership worked with my office over the weekend to set these changes in motion in the manager's amendment. With this, I will support passage of this bill to the Senate."
Representative MacArthur said: “I’ve always said that repairing our health care system is about people—not politics. As this legislation took shape, and as I heard from my constituents, I knew it was critical that we protect older Americans and the most vulnerable among us. Over the last several days, I offered specific proposals and urged House leadership and the Administration to do more for our older Americans, lower-income Americans, and the disabled. I’m glad that these changes reflect in large part what needs to be done.”
Representative McSally said: “Over the past weeks, I have proposed detailed, specific changes to the AHCA that would provide better coverage and a stable transition for seniors, the disabled, children, and middle class families. Through lengthy negotiations with House leadership and the executive branch, I am pleased to have played a role in moving this bill in the right direction. I’m thankful leadership heard our concerns and worked with us to adopt these recommendations to ease the transition to a system that increases choice and access while bringing down health care costs.”
And Representative Aderholt said: "The new language not only dedicates crucial resources to be available to help our older more poor population keep up with their premiums but is an important first step in fulfilling our promise in repealing Obamacare," said Robert Aderholt. "I look forward to the Senate adding to this account to ensure that we keep our promise to our constituents."
Liberty and Union
House Chambers, Washington, D.C.
February 15, 2017
One of the most troubling aspects of California’s lurch to the left are the rise of two doctrines unknown in this country since the last gasp of the Southern Confederacy.
The first is the doctrine of nullification – the notion that states may defy federal laws that their leaders don’t agree with. The most outspoken advocate of this doctrine was John C. Calhoun, who, in referencing our nation’s most revered document – the Declaration of Independence -- observed that our nation had been founded on – his words – “self-evident lies.”
The doctrine of nullification has been revived in the sanctuary cities movement, and has now reared its head as state legislation. Our Constitution clearly gives Congress the sole prerogative to make immigration law and commands the President to faithfully execute those laws. Our President is now doing so. The supremacy clause binds the states to those laws. Yet California’s legislature is actively considering a bill that would assert an independent power to defy them.
Mr. Speaker, states ought to be jealous guardians of their organic powers and prerogatives against unwarranted encroachments by the federal government. But the very essence of constitutional federalism is article VI: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and of all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges of every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or Laws of any state to the Contrary notwithstanding.”
If a state, in rightfully guarding its powers, believes that a federal law unconstitutionally infringes on those powers, the Constitution provides that the courts shall resolve such disputes. But asserting the power to nullify a federal law that is clearly within enumerated powers of the Congress and under the supremacy clause of the Constitution, crosses a bright line that no state has breached since the first state seceded in 1861.
This brings us to the second, even more disturbing development in California’s march to the extreme left.
There is no single act which more ultimately and categorically rejects our Constitution, our Country, and all they stand for, than a proposal to secede from the Union that has preserved our liberties for nearly two and a half centuries. It is logically impossible to support secession and yet maintain loyalty to the Union from which you propose to secede. Secession is the ultimate act of disloyalty, today no less than during the days of the Confederacy.
And yet in California, a formal secession movement is now circulating petitions for signature to place exactly such a proposal on the ballot. It should come as no surprise that one of its leading proponents is an American expatriate now living in Russia who declared he “could no longer live under an American flag.” It should not even come as a surprise that the movement is cheered on by California’s increasingly radical left.
But what came as a stunning surprise is that 32 percent of Californians support this measure according to a recent poll. Let me repeat that: one in three Californians, according to this poll, want to repudiate our federal union.
We can only hope that the polling is wrong, or that the disaffected Californians who answered the poll in this fashion did so with reckless abandon that calm reflection will cure. But it is impossible to avoid the implication that so many people in my afflicted state hold so little loyalty to our country that they would support a measure that willfully rends it asunder.
These movements – nullification and secession – cross from lawful dissent to lawless rebellion. In these turbulent times, our greatest strengths are our rule of law, our constitutional institutions, and the loyalty of Americans to their priceless legacy of freedom and justice and the Union that preserves them.
Every person who takes office under our Constitution swears an oath to support and defend that Constitution. These modern resurrections of the long- buried doctrines of nullification and secession strike at the heart of that Constitution. These movements of the left would undermine the very foundation of our American civilization. They ought to be condemned in the strongest possible terms and opposed by every American of good will who remains loyal to our free government.Read More
What True Democracy Looks Like
House Chambers, Washington, D.C.
February 7, 2017
Our nation has come to a crossroads between two competing visions of the future that don’t easily reconcile. At such times as these, emotions run high.
The good news is that our institutions are the best ever designed to resolve such political disputes. In other countries, the government is the sovereign and rights flow from it to the people. In America, the people are sovereign.
But in America, the sovereign doesn’t govern. It hires help to govern during an election. In-between elections, the sovereign people debate how the hired help is doing. That’s the real debate: the one that goes on every day wherever Americans gather. And after that family discussion, we decide whether to fire the hired help or keep it for another cycle.
As long as we are TALKING WITH each other and not SHOUTING AT each other, our system works well.
Once in our history, we stopped talking with each other. That was the election of 1860.
That election was marked not by reconciliation, but by rioting in those regions where the opposition dominated. The opposition party refused to accept the legitimacy of the election itself. Political leaders pledged resistance to the new administration by any means necessary. They asserted the doctrine of nullification, the notion that any dissenting state or city that opposed federal laws could simply refuse to obey them. Finally came the secession movement – the ultimate rejection of our Constitution and the rule of law.
Have we not started down that road once again?
Even before this election, we saw violent mobs carrying foreign flags, physically attack Americans for the sole reason that they wanted to attend a political rally for the candidate of their choice. The violence in Berkeley last week warns us that this behavior is rising.
Some prominent elected officials are again asserting nullification by declaring their jurisdictions “sanctuaries” where federal immigration laws will simply be ignored. And in California, a formal secession movement is supported by nearly a third of the population of my own suffering state.
I have held more than a hundred town hall meetings in my district throughout the last eight years spanning the entire life of the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements. Through all those heated debates, the police have never had to intervene. Until this weekend, in Roseville, when the Roseville Police Department determined that the size and temper of the crowd required a police escort to protect me as I left the venue.
The vast majority of the people attempting to attend the meeting were peaceful, decent and law abiding folks sincerely opposed to President Trump, wanting to make their views known to their elected representative. But there was also a well-organized element that came to disrupt – and disrupt they did.
In the last four elections, our country has turned dramatically away from the left. The Democrats have lost 67 House Seats, 12 Senate Seats, 10 Governors, more than 900 state legislative seats and now the Presidency. That happened in large part because those who opposed their policies talked with their neighbors about the future of our country.
Instead of pursuing that successful example, the radical left seeks not to persuade their fellow citizens by reason, but rather to impose its views by bullying, insulting, intimidating -- and, as in Berkeley, by physically attacking -- their fellow citizens.
This is not a tactic likely to change minds, but if it persists, it could tear down the very institutions of democracy that have served us so well for so long.
I would ask the many sincere citizens who have been caught up with this disruptive element, do you object because the President is breaking his promises? Or do you object because he is keeping them? And if your objection is because the President is keeping the promises he made, is that not because the sovereign people – your neighbors and fellow countrymen – directed these changes over the last four elections?
If your love of our Constitution is greater than your hatred of our President, I implore you to engage in a civil discussion with your fellow citizens. That is what true democracy looks like.Read More
Click for Healthcare Issues
H.R. 6 – 21st Century Cures ACT: YES. This bill expedites FDA approvals for new medical drugs and devices and authorizes spending on major research into cancer and Alzheimer’s. I voted against the original bill because it established multiple new mandatory spending programs outside of Congress’ annual appropriations review and depended primarily on budget gimmicks to pay for them. This version replaces the mandatory spending aspects of the bill with discretionary spending that Congress must review and approve ever year, and greatly reduces the pay-for gimmicks.
A recent letter writer asks my position on Zika funding and why Congress has not acted.
With my support, the House voted in June to appropriate $1.1 billion to combat Zika – the result of a bi-partisan conference agreement. There was no debate on the measure, because it was taken up on the day House Democrats staged their sit-in, physically blocking access to the microphones and shouting down any who tried to speak from the well. Nevertheless, the bill passed on a vote of 239-171, with most Democrats opposing.
I am hearing from many constituents who have received notices that their healthcare premiums are skyrocketing, or their plans are being dropped either by their employers or their insurers, or that they are having hours cut back, salaries reduced or positions eliminated at work as employers try to cope with these increased costs.
I need to know how this law is affecting you. I invite you to share your experience with me so that I can get a clearer picture of how this program is unfolding and so that I can share your experiences with my colleagues.
434 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Tom McClintock was elected in November 2008 to represent the 4th Congressional District in the United States Congress.
During 22 years in the California State Legislature, and as a candidate for governor in California’s historic recall election, Tom McClintock has become one of the most recognizable political leaders in California.
First elected to the California Assembly at the age of 26, McClintock quickly distinguished himself as an expert in parliamentary procedure and fiscal policy. He served in the Assembly from 1982 to 1992 and again from 1996 to 2000. During these years, he authored California’s current lethal injection death penalty law, spearheaded the campaign to rebate $1.1 billion in tax over-collections to the people of California, and became the driving force in the legislature to abolish the car tax. He has proposed hundreds of specific reforms to streamline state government and reduce state spending.
In 2000, McClintock was elected to the California State Senate, where he developed innovative budget solutions such as the Bureaucracy Reduction and Closure Commission and performance-based budgeting, and advocated for restoring California’s public works.
From 1992-1994, McClintock served as Director of the Center for the California Taxpayer, a project of the National Tax Limitation Foundation. In 1995, he was named Director of Economic and Regulatory Affairs for the Claremont Institute’s Golden State Center for Policy Studies, a position he held until his return to the Assembly in 1996. In that capacity, he wrote and lectured extensively on state fiscal policy, privatization, bureaucratic reform and governmental streamlining.
McClintock’s commentaries on California public policy have appeared in every major newspaper in California and he is a frequent guest on radio and television broadcasts across the nation. Numerous taxpayer associations have honored him for his leadership on state budget issues.
McClintock has twice received the Republican nomination for the office of State Controller, narrowly missing election in 2002 by the closest margin in California history – 23/100ths of one percent of the votes cast.
McClintock is the Chairman of the Water and Power Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee, and is a member of the Budget Committee and the Natural Resources Committee. He is also a member of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands.
Tom McClintock and his wife, Lori, have two children, Justin and Shannah.