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21st Century Cures, 21st Century Solutions

“Ultimately our goal should not just be to provide life-long treatment but to find life-saving cures. 21st Century Cures offers the promise of real solutions.”

Republican Leadership Press Conference
July 8, 2015

Participants:
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH)
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)
Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA)
Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
Conference Vice Chair Lynn Jenkins (R-KS)
House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI)

Chair McMorris Rodgers, Remarks as Prepared for Delivery:

“Good morning! This week, the House will continue its work removing barriers between Americans and life-changing innovation, whether it’s in the classroom or the doctor’s office. I’m particularly pleased that after more than a year of hard work, and listening to experts and patients from across the country, we will be voting on the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act this week. Ultimately our goal should not be to provide life-long treatment but to find life-saving cures. 21st Century Cures offers hope to people across the country suffering from currently incurable and untreatable diseases, and offers the promise of real solutions.

“In my Eastern Washington district, we recently mourned the death of a visionary leader – Washington State University President Elson Floyd, who lost his battle with colon cancer. He and millions of other parents, brothers and sisters, and kids lost to horrible diseases serve as powerful reminders of why finding cures is so important. We need to empower our scientists and researchers so we can discover, develop and deliver medical breakthroughs to cure diseases or people like Elson Floyd, or the mom with ALS, or the son with lupus. After all that is why we serve: to help people have better lives and reach their full potential, and this proactive initiative will have a life-changing effect on families in Washington State and across America, and I thank Chairman Upton for his work.”

It’s Time to Repeal the IPAB

As a physician who spent more than thirty years caring for patients, I have many concerns about the president’s health care law. Since the president signed ObamaCare, we’ve seen many parts of this deeply flawed law negatively impact both patients and providers, but one of the most troubling parts of the Affordable Care Act is the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).

The IPAB will consist of fifteen unelected bureaucrats tasked with finding savings in Medicare. Unfortunately, the board is empowered to make recommendations regarding Medicare without any input from the Congress. IPAB proposals will be considered using fast-track procedures and, absent a three-fifths vote of the Senate, Congress can only modify the type of cuts, not the amount. Should Congress fail to act on the board’s recommendations, they automatically go into effect. To make matters worse, the IPAB is exempt from administrative or judicial review. President Obama’s former Budget Director Peter Orszag has called IPAB the “single biggest yielding of power to an independent entity since the creation of the Federal Reserve.”

It is also concerning that, if the president does not nominate individuals to serve on the IPAB, or if the IPAB fails to recommend cuts, the law gives the Secretary of Health and Human Services the power to make changes unilaterally. There is bipartisan agreement in Congress that the power to affect seniors’ health care should not be concentrated in one person. We should protect Medicare by implementing commonsense reforms, but those reforms should be openly debated in Congress by elected officials, not mandated by backroom bureaucrats that were appointed by the president.

Supporters of the board and the president’s health care law claim that IPAB is prevented from rationing care, and as far as the language of the law reads, that’s true. But much depends on how you define the word “rationing.” The IPAB is not allowed to say that a person should be denied a particular treatment or type of care, but the board is allowed to cut payments to the physicians that perform these treatments low enough that the effect is no physician is willing to provide the treatment. I believe the board is rationing care if their decisions result in reduce access to care.

I have consistently pushed for repealing the IPAB and was proud to introduce H.R. 1190, the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act, with Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA) earlier this year. This bill has more than 230 bipartisan cosponsors and was approved by the House Ways and Means Committee with bipartisan support. While Rep. Sánchez and I have differing views on ObamaCare as a whole, I very much appreciate her leadership on this important bill. On Tuesday, the House will vote on H.R. 1190, and I hope the Senate will also consider the bill soon.

— Representative Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN)

Facebook: /DrPhilRoe
Twitter: @DrPhilRoe
YouTube: /DrPhilRoe

Weekly Republican Address: Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT)

This week, Congressman Ryan Zinke (R-MT) delivers the Weekly Republican Address. Rep. Zinke addresses Senator Reid’s statement that supporting a bill that helps our troops is a “waste of time”.

House Republicans are committed to making sure that our men and women are safe on the battlefield and are well taken care of when they get home. That’s the least we can do.

“Taking care of our troops should be a top priority,” Zinke says. “But it isn’t even on the Democrat’s to-do list right now.”

A Real-World Health Care Solution

As a nurse for more than 40 years, I saw how health care decisions in Washington impacted real people and I learned that one of the biggest challenges of health reform is finding ways to keep costs low while improving outcomes and helping Americans lead healthier lives.

I also learned that, in order to get there, we should not have to ask more of American taxpayers. This year alone, the government will spend about $1 trillion on healthcare programs. So instead of simply throwing more money at the problem, we need to spend our dollars more effectively to improve the value of care delivered.

One way we can control spending is by addressing manageable problems before they become big problems. Studies have shown that regularly taking doctor prescribed medication is an important step in preventing health issues from escalating into serious, life-altering conditions that can place a tremendous financial burden on the healthcare system, on patients and their families. With such a simple solution, why aren’t more folks taking their medication?

As anyone with a chronic health condition will tell you, sticking to a constant regimen of medication isn’t cheap. A diabetic, for example, could end up spending $250 a month on test trips and $200 a month or more on insulin. When families are forced to choose between buying groceries and getting a prescription filled, their health is sidelined and the long-term costs to our healthcare system can increase as a result. By the same token, evidence has shown that reducing co-payments for high-value prescription drugs results in increased use, better health, and cost savings.

One of the most promising approaches to addressing the cost of medication without overstepping the government’s bounds in the marketplace is Value-Based Insurance Design (V-BID). Instead of the current one-size-fits-all approach to cost-sharing or copayments, V-BID embraces the idea that, by lowering a patients’ out-of-pocket costs for essential prescription drugs and services, consumers will then be motivated to stick to their regimen and stay healthier – in turn decreasing the overall long term costs to our healthcare system.

Based on these facts, I introduced H.R. 2570, the Strengthening Medicare Advantage through Innovation and Transparency for Seniors Act. My bipartisan legislation establishes a regional demonstration program for high-quality Medicare Advantage (MA) plans that allows the use of V-BID to reduce the copayments for beneficiaries with specific chronic conditions. This bill would enable individuals with chronic diseases to stick to a sustainable treatment regimen and avoid more costly care in the future.

H.R. 2570 also drives down healthcare costs by eliminating unnecessary  burdens on physicians and providers.  Today, many outpatient surgery centers are penalized for not adopting a new, government-mandated system of electronic record keeping. While these systems may make sense in a hospital setting, they don’t always work for a small outpatient surgery center. It is a catch-22 situation that forces physicians who work in these settings to either perform even minor, outpatient procedures in a hospital, which means higher costs for the patient, or face enormous government penalties. My legislation gets Washington off the backs of our healthcare providers by eliminating this burden for doctors.

As Congress continues working to repeal Obamacare and roll back other burdens this Administration has placed on patients and their doctors, H.R. 2570 is a meaningful, real-world solution that offers a chance to improve health outcomes and reduce barriers to quality, affordable healthcare for those who need it most.

— Representative Diane Black (R-TN)

Facebook: /DianeBlackTN06
Twitter: @RepDianeBlack
YouTube: /RepDianeBlack

10 Questions: Rep. Dave Trott (R-MI)

America’s New Congress is filled with hundreds of Members and thousands of stories. Each week, GOP.gov will introduce you to a new House Republican with “10 Questions.”

This week’s Featured Member is Rep. Dave Trott, who represents the eleventh district of Michigan.  In the 114th Congress, Dave sits on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the House Committee on the Judiciary.

Dave is not a career Washington politician; rather he’s a Michigan innovator with a proven record of improving the lives of the citizens of Southeast Michigan.

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We asked Rep. Dave Trott 10 questions: 

1. What motivated you to run for public office?

While I was in college, I interned in Washington, DC for the Congressman from Southeast Michigan, Bill Broomfield and I was inspired by the work he did. One night as an intern, as I sat in the Capitol Rotunda—the great circle of democracy—I realized how special it would be to serve America in Congress.

2. What were you most surprised about when you started serving in Congress?

I was most surprised by the camaraderie between the Members of Congress. Everyone gets along with one another, regardless of party affiliation.

3. What’s one piece of advice that has helped shape the course of your life?

The piece of advice that really resonates with me is simple— “Be nice to people.”

4. When did you realize you were a Republican?

When Gerald Ford became President in the mid 1970’s, I was energized partly because of his connection to Michigan. Soon after that, I became involved in the Michigan Young Republicans and was excited to help the party.

5. What’s the most important — but under-reported — policy issue you work on?

Something that is very important to me is offering exceptional constituent service. As Southeast Michigan’s voice in Congress, I am here to be a leader my constituents can rely on and it is absolutely necessary to be accessible to them.

6. What was your first job?

I worked as a busboy at IHOP.

7. What kind of music do you listen to?

I really enjoy Frank Sinatra and Billy Joel.

8. What book are you currently reading?

The Wright Brothers, by David McCullough

9. Where are you most likely to be seen dining when you’re home in your district?

Bacco Italian Restaurant

10. Who is your favorite sports team (College or Pro)?

Duke Blue Devils

Want to learn more? Follow Rep. Trott on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.


 

Check out our previous editions of 10 Questions:

Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL)
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA)
Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA)
Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)
Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-LA)
Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX)
Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ)
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL)
Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA)
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY)
Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA)
Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ)
Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN)
Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA)
Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME)
Rep. Cresent Hardy (R-NV)

 

TODAY = TPA

Washington, D.C. is alphabet city. You’ve got the EPA and the IRS, and the FCC and the HHS. It’s enough acronyms to make your head spin!

But to understand what’s happening today, you only need to know two: TPA and TPP. They sound similar, but they’re very different.

TPA, or trade promotion authority, is an agreement that gives Congress the ability to review — and reject or confirm — any trade agreement the President makes. TPA puts Congress — and you — at the decision-making table, so your priorities are represented in every trade agreement the United States makes. TPA is what the House is voting on today.

TPP, or Trans-Pacific Partnership, is a trade agreement that’s been under negotiation since the Bush administration. There is no scheduled vote for TPP.

To reiterate: TPP is a trade agreement. TPA is not. The House is not voting on a trade agreement.

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Now that you understand the difference between these two acronyms, here’s a short quiz. Should you be a supporter of TPA?

1. Do you love free enterprise?

2. Do you support Americans having well-paying jobs?

3. Do you believe in representative government?

4. Do you want to hold President Obama accountable?

5. Do you want trade deals to be open to and accessible by the public?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you should support TPA.hmm yes

The United States, when able to compete, always does well on the global market. In fact, 96% of the world’s customers are outside of the United States — and American goods are in high demand!

TPA

Right now there are unnecessary barriers to entry. Many trade negotiators won’t consider American input without trade promotion authority. TPA is needed to give Americans a level playing field so we can set the rules and influence the global economy. If we don’t, China will.

One in 5 jobs in the United States is supported by trade.  And these jobs, on average, pay 18% more than non-trade jobs. TPA increases the chance that American manufacturers and producers will have access to a global market, which in turn means more jobs at home to meet the demand.

TPA 1 in 5

You elect your Member of Congress to represent your interests in Washington, D.C. Without TPA, your representative is unable to advocate on your behalf during trade negotiations.

TPA final

President Obama has given the American people reason to doubt his transparency and accountability. Many have used this lack of trust as a reason to disapprove of TPA. It should be the other way around. If you don’t trust the President, and you want him to be more transparent and accountable to the American people, then we need TPA. The negotiations for TPP are largely “secret” because there is no TPA forcing the details to be public.

The President currently has the authority to negotiate trade deals away from the American public’s watchful eye. TPA doesn’t give more power to the President. It gives more power to Congress, therefore more power to the American people.

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Power of the Purse = Power to our Priorities

It’s everyone’s favorite time of year, folks: Appropriations Season, when Congress asserts its power of the purse and addresses priorities for funding.

The House Republicans have a 21st Century approach to this process, eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and inefficiencies across the board. We’ve already passed several bills that keep our economy moving and our communities safe.

cheering

Now we’re trying to give our troops the funding they need.

…emphasis on trying.

This week the Democrats launched an all-out attack on our defense authorization bill.

disappointed

The President has already threatened to veto our legislation if it comes to his desk.

Senator Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) went so far as to call the bill a “waste of time.”

Why? Because it doesn’t spend more taxpayer money on inefficient and overbearing agencies like the EPA and IRS.

Hold on…what?!

confused

That’s right. The Democrats are holding funding and pay increases for our troops hostage while they play politics over additional funding for the IRS.

For American families to be safe at home and abroad, we must give our troops the support they need. Our Department of Defense Appropriations bill increases funding for operations and management, procurement, and research development for our military men and women.

House Republicans have done their part — now it’s time for Senate Democrats and President Obama to work with us to protect our country. No need to make this harder than it needs to be.

get2work

Putting The Failed COOL Experiment Behind Us

Last month, the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled against the U.S. for the fourth and final time in an ongoing dispute between the United States, Canada, and Mexico regarding the U.S. country of origin labeling (COOL) program. Since then, Canada and Mexico – our two largest trading partners – have announced they will seek well over $3 billion in retaliatory measures against the U.S. in the form of economically devastating tariffs on a broad spectrum of U.S. exports – from meat and fruit to jewelry, furniture, and biofuels. Ripple effects will be felt in nearly every industry, every state, and every consumer’s wallet. H.R. 2393 would prevent retaliation and bring the U.S. back into compliance with our international obligations.

In 2002, Congress enacted a mandatory country of origin labeling requirement for meat products. In a recently released congressionally mandated study, USDA estimated that it would cost approximately $2.6 billion for the livestock and meat industry to comply with COOL rules. These rules required livestock from outside the U.S. to be segregated through each step of production, raising the cost of utilizing imported livestock. Canada and Mexico quickly filed suit at the WTO claiming these rules are discriminatory and diminish the value of their livestock. The WTO agreed and has now ruled against the U.S. four times.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service, which enforces COOL, has repeatedly said that COOL is not a food safety program, but rather a marketing program. However, as a marketing program it is a failure – imposing significant costs on producers, packers, and consumers with no quantifiable benefits. According to a 2012 Kansas State University study, typical U.S. consumers are unaware of country of origin labeling and do not look for meat origin information when purchasing beef, pork and chicken products.

High compliance costs; no increase in demand; surely if consumers want this information they’d be willing to pay, right? Wrong! Multiple economic studies show no evidence suggesting that mandatory country of origin labeling in the U.S. retail meat markets has increased consumer demand. This isn’t shocking given that the label, if you can even find it, provides no useful information since the program has nothing to do with food safety or animal health.

Contrary to what supporters of COOL say, this labeling program has nothing to do with food safety. All meat products sold in the U.S., regardless of origin, must be inspected to equally rigorous standards. Country of origin labeling does not change any of these inspection requirements.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack has stated the Department has no further options for administrative remedies. This issue has to be fixed legislatively, through Congress by way of repeal. It is time to put this failed experiment behind us once and for all.

— House Committee on Agriculture Chairman Michael Conaway (R-TX)

Facebook: /mike.conaway
Twitter: @ConowayTX11
YouTube: /mikeconoway11

It’s Not a Waste of Time

“It’s not a waste of time to the men and women in uniform; it’s not a waste of time for those who serve; and it’s not a waste of time for those who say goodbye to their families to defend America.”

Republican Leadership Press Conference
June 10, 2015

Participants:
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH)
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)
Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA)
Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)

Chair McMorris Rodgers, Remarks as Prepared for Delivery:

“Certainly, moving forward on the trade bills is very important — it’s important to our economy and it’s important to our national security as Americans. I also wanted to address something that is extremely important, and that is our support to those who serve in our military — the men and women who put their lives on the line every day for the freedoms that we enjoy as Americans.

“While we’re voting on important legislation this week to fund the Department of Defense, right now we’re hearing from the Senate a refusal to even take up the defense bill. This is the defense bill that passed out of Senator McCain’s committee with overwhelming support, and yet Senator Reid went so far to say that it’s a ‘waste of time’ to take it up in the Senate. It’s not a waste of time to the men and women in uniform; it’s not a waste of time for those who serve; ad it’s not a waste of time for those who say goodbye to their families to defend America.

“I’m proud to represent Fairchild Air Force Base, the men and women who serve and are deployed regularly from the Spokane area. The Senate’s unwillingness to legislate and this refusal to support our troops is unacceptable. I urge Senate Democrats to rethink this position, take up the defense bills, and support all of those who keep us safe.”

5 Things That Are Not COOL, Bro

Last month, the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Appellate Body ruled against the United States’ Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements for meat for the fourth and final time. COOL is really not cool because it has caused the U.S. to be non-compliant with our international trade obligations. If it’s not repealed we will have to pay more for things like meat, wine, and chocolate! Yeah, #notcool.

Five reasons why:

money throw

1. COOL is costly for producers, retailers, and consumers.

According to the Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS), the first year-incremental costs for growers, producers, processors, wholesalers, and retailers are $2.6 billion. Furthermore, the estimated cost to the United States’ economy in higher food prices and reduced food production in the tenth year after implementation of the rule is $211.9 million.

drake no frends

2. The U.S. will lose its reputation as a reliable trade partner.

Within five months of COOL’s 2009 implementation, Canada and Mexico challenged COOL at the World Trade Organization (WTO), arguing that it had a trade-distorting impact by reducing the value of cattle and hogs shipped to the U.S. market. The WTO ruled in favor of Canada and Mexico four times. Therefore, U.S. business will lose valuable partnerships with Canadian and Mexican businesses.

give me money

3. Canada and Mexico will seek well over $3 billion annually in retaliatory sanctions against U.S. exports.

Because the U.S. has been found non-compliant with its international trade obligations due to COOL, Canada and Mexico will seek retaliation on a vast range of U.S. products such as meat, wine, chocolate and even furniture. This will be needlessly destructive to our overall economy and hurt nearly every industry, every state and every consumer.

dont care

4. Consumers interested in COOL are not willing to pay more for it.

Most consumers who preferred COOL in a consumer study interpreted the program to provide them with additional food safety assurances and enough traceability information to allow a meat product to be completely traced back to the farm of origin. Mandatory COOL is no more than a food-labeling program and only allows identification of a meat product’s country of origin by stage of production. Across a multitude of evaluations, no evidence of a change in demand following implementation of COOL was found.

*Source: American Agricultural Economics Association

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5. Most consumers do not even know the label exists.

Let’s just go ahead and say this just is not cool. One small label that most consumers do not even notice when shopping at the meat counter will have a huge impact on the United States’ economy and international presence. Can you even see it below? Our point exactly.

COOL label

Learn more about what COOL means for you at the House Committee on Agriculture.