Budget

Committee on the Budget

Diane Black

Chairman Diane Black Opening Statement: Hearing on the Economic and Fiscal Benefits of Pro-Growth Policies

2017/06/07

Remarks as prepared for delivery: 

Good morning, and thank you everyone for being here. I especially want to thank our great panel of witnesses for being willing to come in this morning and provide their thoughts on this important topic.

We’re having this hearing today in preparation for the upcoming release of our 2018 budget resolution.

An important component of that resolution is the analysis of our economic conditions and our projections of future economic growth.

Over the last eight years, we’ve seen stagnant economic growth, leading economists and the CBO to consistently downgrade their growth projections.

As recently as 2012, the CBO projected our economy would average 3 percent growth over the ten-year window. This year, the CBO is only projecting an average of 1.9 percent growth over the next ten years.

However, it’s important to point out that CBO’s projections are based on the assumption of continuing existing law with no changes in economic policy.

There is no question the policies of the Obama years greatly contributed to anemic economic growth and the downgraded growth projections.

Higher taxes, the disaster that is Obamacare, an expanded regulatory regime and more federal spending and debt have held back American entrepreneurs and small businesses.

The Obama economy left millions of Americans behind. Over 14 million Americans left the labor force during President Obama’s eight years in office.

In total, 95 million Americans are now out of the labor force – that’s more than one-third the total working-age population.

It’s been the working-class Americans in the coal mines of West Virginia or the factories of Central Tennessee or the farming communities in Nebraska that have borne the brunt of the liberal agenda of the past eight years.

The ability and the opportunity to work is a fundamental pillar of the American Dream.

Without the stability and self-worth that comes from having a job and providing a better future for ones’ children, our culture, our economy, and – truly – our national morale suffers.

Plenty of our friends across the aisle and many in the media have said that 1.9 percent growth is the new normal.

They have a pessimistic view of our nation’s ability to create jobs and build a foundation of greater opportunity for all citizens, especially if the new President and Congress are successful in enacting a series of pro-growth policies.

While I’m never surprised by the media’s pessimism, I am surprised that our friends across the aisle have such a negative view of Congress’s ability to affect real change and set a new economic standard.

So I’ve got a message for everyone here today who thinks America is doomed to a future of less opportunity and potential: take your losing attitude elsewhere.

We are the greatest country on earth. We’ve got the best workers, best innovators, and the best companies. They are not the problem.

Washington, D.C. is the problem. Government is getting in their way, and it’s about time we fixed this problem.

That’s why Republicans are committed to reforming the tax code, reforming our health care system by repealing and replacing Obamacare, reducing the regulatory burden on American small businesses, and getting our fiscal house in order.

These policies will spur economic growth and unleash the potential of the American free-market economy.

We’d welcome our Democratic colleagues to join us in this effort, but it requires them to no longer be content with the status quo of the Obama years.

We’ve got to put those years behind us because there is no law that we have to forever accept President Obama’s slow-growth policies.

We can make changes to improve our economy and we can start with adopting a budget resolution that puts our country on a sound fiscal path.

Growing our economy is also a vital step to getting our fiscal house in order. Since World War II, 3 percent growth has been the historical average.

In the late 1990s, our economy grew at a rate of 4.5 percent – more than twice the rate of growth today. It’s no coincidence that we also balanced the federal budget during this period.

Strong economic growth combined with spending restraint is how we get our country on a path to balance and how we begin to pay down the national debt without raising taxes.  

I believe our economy is on the cusp of a great resurgence.

The pro-growth policies of health care reform, tax reform, regulatory reform and deficit reduction will provide the economic freedom and the certainty that our economy needs to grow, create jobs, and create the type of opportunity that is the birthright of all Americans.

I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today on how we can develop better policies to boost our economy.

It’s time for optimism and new ideas, not pessimism and willingness to accept the status quo.

With that, I yield to the Ranking Member, Mr. Yarmuth. 

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Chairman Black Opening Statement: Hearing with OMB Director Mick Mulvaney

2017/05/24

Remarks as prepared for delivery: 

Good morning, and thank you everyone for being here.

I want to especially thank Mr. Mulvaney, the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, for being here today to discuss the President’s budget and spending priorities. We look forward to hearing his remarks.

While Article I of the constitution gives Congress the power of the purse, the federal budget is a collaborative process.

The Administration, this committee and our counterparts in the Senate work together to build a budget that reflects our unified priorities.

For the last eight years, we’ve seen budgets from the White House that reflect the status quo of more spending, more regulation and never even trying to achieve balance.

Over the same period, economic stagnation led the Congressional Budget Office to continually downgrade their projections for economic growth.

And what’s the result of more spending, more regulation and slower economic growth? It’s a larger debt burden on future generations of Americans, a burden that reflects a moral failure to face challenges head on.

This administration and this committee agree wholeheartedly on our responsibility to improve our country’s fiscal situation and put us on a path to a balanced budget that allows us to start paying down our national debt.

Our friends across the aisle will no doubt defend the status quo of the Obama years, where the national debt increased by over $9 trillion, the largest increase for any presidency.

Their solutions – which are to simply keep doing what we’ve been doing – are not only unsustainable, they are an abdication of our responsibility to current and future generations.

Our fiscal situation is not just problematic, it is dire. According to the CBO, the federal debt held by the public, which currently stands at 77 percent of gross domestic product, will rise to 150 percent of GDP in the next 30 years if we do nothing.

Over that same period of time, deficits will rise from 2.9 percent of GDP to 9.8 percent of GDP. These are levels of debt and deficits that have never been seen before in American history and are well beyond what economists predict would result in crisis.

The CBO says that maintaining the status quo would “reduce national saving and income in the long term; increase the government’s interest costs, putting more pressure on the rest of the budget; limit lawmakers’ ability to respond to unforeseen events; and increase the likelihood of a fiscal crisis.”

Let me repeat that last line; doing nothing and continuing the status quo will result in a fiscal crisis.

Put simply, the status quo is not an option. This committee and this administration are committed to building a federal budget that begins to deal with our out-of-control spending, incentivizes economic growth through tax and regulatory reform, and makes sure that government works for the people, not for bureaucrats.

Our committee and this administration also agree on a commitment to funding our military.

The threats to our national and homeland security continue to grow. The previous administration left the world less safe and secure, with growing threats from all corners of the globe.

Ensuring the safety and security of our nation is the first and foremost responsibility of the federal government, and we should give our men and women in uniform the resources they need to complete this mission.

I applaud the president for making our national defense a top priority once again.

As our committee and our Senate counterparts go through this process of building our budget resolution, the input from Administration officials, such as Mr. Mulvaney, is an invaluable resource to provide information, background and details on the goals of President Trump.

Balancing the budget over ten years presents major challenges, but also great opportunity.

For the first time since I’ve been serving on the Budget Committee, we have a president who is willing to take action to reform government and get our fiscal house in order.

Our budget resolution is no longer a vision document; it is a blueprint for building the better America we’ve promised our constituents for years.

It is our opportunity to show real progress in limiting the size and scope of government, ensuring our children and grandchildren aren’t burdened by unsustainable levels of debt, and preserving a safe and strong America.

I know that working together we can find the right solutions for the American people.  

Thank you, and with that, I yield to the Ranking Member, Mr. Yarmuth.

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Chairman Black Statement on Administration's Budget Request

2017/05/23

Washington, D.C. – House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black issued the following statement on the administration’s fiscal year 2018 budget request: 

“I applaud President Trump for submitting a balanced budget as well as his commitment towards a stronger military and greater accountability of taxpayer dollars. I look forward to further reviewing the president’s request during our hearing with OMB Director Mulvaney tomorrow. This testimony will be helpful as our committee continues to build our own budget that will be balanced by fiscal year 2027.” Read More

ICYMI: “A Good Start on Health Care, But We’re Not Done”

2017/05/15

After House passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black, the official sponsor of the legislation, wrote today in RealClearPolitics that “Congress has taken the first step to keep our promise of repealing and replacing Obamacare. But we can’t stop now. We’re not done working to save our constituents from this disastrous law and give doctors and patients – not government – control over health care decisions.”

You can read the full Op-Ed here.

“You asked for it, you got it.

For seven years, everywhere I go, people tell me stories about how Obamacare’s heavy hand has cost them money and hurt their health care. I share their frustration – it was the main reason I ran for Congress in the first place and repealing Obamacare has been one of my highest priorities since then. I’m proud to tell you the House of Representatives has done just that – and I’m even prouder to have sponsored this repeal as chairman of the Budget Committee.

The American Health Care Act continues our progress in creating a more patient-centered, free-market health care system. The bill isn’t perfect, but I worked hard to make it as conservative as possible. 

We gave states the option of adding work requirements for able-bodied adults with no dependents who are on Medicaid. But I believe that requirement should be mandatory and I will continue to push for that, whether in our upcoming budget or in future legislation…

We also gave states the opportunity to get waivers from some of Obamacare’s most onerous regulations that are driving up health care costs for all Americans. This was a positive step that we should build on with future legislation…

And finally, our Medicaid reforms help preserve the program so that it can best serve our most vulnerable citizens, as it was intended, but doesn’t become a permanent entitlement. I think we can, and must, go even further. Medicaid has a faulty foundation and it’s time the federal government gets out of the way of good state reforms that can fix it. And we must stop liberal states from abusing the program.

Right now, states receive more money from the federal government to cover able-bodied adults above the poverty line who are on Medicaid than they do to support children and the disabled who are well below the poverty line. That’s wrong. States shouldn’t be able to use federal Medicaid dollars as a revenue stream to prop up their budgets. I intend to push for a change in the Medicaid reimbursement rate in our upcoming budget resolution to ensure that Medicaid dollars are used to properly support our most vulnerable citizens. 

Obamacare is a disaster, and in Tennessee, its collapse is creating dire circumstances for our citizens. Massive premium increases are making insurance unaffordable for more and more Tennesseans and rising deductibles are making it harder to get health care, even for those who have insurance. Doing nothing is not an option.”

Click HERE to read the full story. 

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Statement from Chairman Diane Black on House Passage of the American Health Care Act

2017/05/04

Washington, D.C. – Today, following the passage of the American Health Care Act by the full House of Representatives, House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black released the following statement:

“Today, House Republicans fulfilled the promise we made to the American people to repeal and replace Obamacare. It has been hard work to reach this point, but governing is never easy, and we were elected to tackle the big issues. I’m proud of my colleagues in the House for staying in the fight to make this bill better over the past couple months.

“It’s now up to the Senate to take up this bill, further strengthen it, and move the process of patient-centered health care forward because Obamacare has been a failure. In Tennessee, premiums have increased 60 percent and there are parts of the state that don’t have a single insurance provider in the marketplace, while two-thirds of counties have only one provider.

“The American Health Care Act rescues the American people from this law and puts in place patient-centered reforms that promote choice and freedom. Our focus has always been on bringing down the cost of health insurance, ensuring access to quality care, and protecting those with pre-existing conditions. This bill does that and I’m proud of the work we’ve done to find real solutions to help Tennesseans.”  

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Chairman Diane Black Floor Remarks for Debate on the American Health Care Act

2017/05/04

Remarks as prepared for delivery: 

Mr. Speaker – 

I rise today to speak in favor of the American Health Care Act – a bill that repeals the worst parts of Obamacare and begins to repair the damage it caused.

This bill brings choice and competition back into the health care marketplace and puts health care decisions back in the hands of patients and doctors. 

It’s been a winding road to get to this point, but we’re here today to fulfill the promise we made to the American people. 

And I’ll point out right now, to those who say we should just move on from healthcare reform, American families and individuals are suffering from rising costs and barriers to getting the care they need RIGHT NOW. 

And under Obamacare, the situation is getting worse every day.  In Iowa, just yesterday one of the last remaining insurers announced that it will pull out of the Obamacare exchanges, leaving nearly all of the state’s residents with no available health insurance plan for purchase under Obamacare. 

And in the few Iowa counties with one remaining insurer, even that company is saying it might stop offering plans, leaving the entire state of Iowa without an insurance plan available under Obamacare. 

That’s happening this very week.  We can not wait a moment longer than necessary to provide relief for the American people by repealing and replacing Obamacare.

I applaud the members of this body who stuck with us during this process and worked hard to make the bill better.

I myself had concerns about the bill as it was introduced. I worked hard to make sure that the bill truly reflected my ideals and the views and desires of my constituents. 

When the bill came before the Budget Committee, which I chair, I urged my members to stay in the fight and work to improve the bill, rather than stop it in its tracks.

Our members did just that, making recommendations that were eventually included in various amendments. 

That message was heard loud and clear by all the members of our conference, who have worked tirelessly to finalize a bill that truly reflects our vision for health care reform. 

Throughout this process, our commitment to undoing the damage done by Obamacare has remained steadfast.

Day after day, my constituents call my office begging us to do something to save them from Obamacare. And it’s because Obamacare is collapsing.  

In my state of Tennessee, families are suffering. Premiums have increased over 60 percent while deductibles are so high that even people who can afford health insurance can’t get quality care.

There are parts of my state of Tennessee that don’t have a single insurance provider in the marketplace, while two-thirds of counties have only one provider. That’s not competition, that’s a monopoly. 

While no legislation is perfect, this bill makes some important changes to help American families get quality, affordable health insurance.

It zeroes out the mandates. It repeals the taxes. It repeals the subsidies.

It allows people to choose health insurance plans to meet the unique needs of their families, instead of purchasing one-size-fits-all plans mandated by a Washington bureaucrat.

And it modernizes Medicaid, a once in a lifetime entitlement reform. Ending Medicaid’s open-ended funding structure will play an important role in addressing future budget deficits and our growing national debt. 

This is a particularly proud moment for me. I was working as a nurse in Nashville in the 1990s when the Clinton Administration pushed a single-payer pilot program in Tennessee called TennCare.

I saw first-hand the negative impact government-run health care has on patient care. I saw costs rise and the quality of care fall. 

It inspired me to get involved in public service. And when, in 2009 and 2010, I saw the same principles being debated and eventually implemented on the national level, I thought my experience in Tennessee could be valuable to the national debate.

In 2011, I sponsored the first piece of legislation that repealed part of Obamacare. And today, we take the largest step yet in rescuing the American people from this damaging government-run health care system. 

I, and many other members of this body, have worked hard to make sure this bill truly reflects our visions for health care reform. I, for one, cannot sit idly by and let this opportunity go to waste.

Governing is hard, but our constituents did not elect us to do what is easy. They elected us to do what is right. 

I urge my colleagues to join me in voting yes on the American Health Care Act to rescue the American people from Obamacare. 

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I reserve the balance of my time. 

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Chairman Black Opening Statement: GAO Hearing on the Failures of Fiscal Management

2017/05/03

Remarks as prepared for delivery: 

Good morning, and thank you everyone for being here.

As I’m sure everyone is aware, we will be introducing the Fiscal Year 2018 budget later this spring and the challenges we face are enormous. 

Deficits are set to start rising again, many government programs are in dire need of reform, and our economy is being held back by the policies of the previous administration. While these problems are daunting, we were elected by our constituents to make the hard decisions and confront these challenges head on. And that’s exactly what we plan to do at the House Budget Committee.

That is also why today’s hearing – Failures of Fiscal Management – is so important and so timely. We need to better understand how the federal government is failing to effectively manage taxpayer dollars and how that’s affecting our long-term fiscal solvency.   

I am happy to welcome our witness today, The Honorable Gene L. Dodaro. He’s the Comptroller General of the United States and the director of the Government Accountability Office. The GAO possesses a wealth of information about the government’s fiscal condition and the operation of its programs. 

Three areas we plan to examine today are: the disturbing rise in improper payments by government agencies; the programs GAO considers as “high risk” for waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement; and the government’s long-term fiscal outlook, which – as all of you are aware – is not good. 

Mr. Dodaro, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to be here today. The committee is looking forward to hearing your testimony. 

But before we build solutions, we need to understand the core of the problem, and Mr. Dodaro’s testimony will be vital.

First are the improper payments made by the federal government.  

Improper payments are defined as any government payment that was made in an incorrect amount, to the wrong individual or entity, or for the wrong reason. For example, an improper payment would be an unemployment check going to a person who has already returned to work.

According to GAO, improper payments surged to $144 billion in 2016 – that’s a 35 percent increase from the $107 billion in 2012. This is a problem that’s government-wide, including 112 programs across 22 agencies.

Even worse, those numbers probably underestimate the extent of the problem since 18 government programs deemed susceptible to improper payments did not even submit error estimates last year. $144 billion is the minimum of the problem, not the max. 

Second, we want to examine the government’s ‘High-Risk’ programs. Every two years, GAO publishes an updated list of programs that it considers especially vulnerable to waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement. 

This year, GAO identified 34 programs that matched this description. The programs that demand further review are Medicare, Medicaid, federal disability programs, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation insurance programs, the National Flood Insurance Program, and veterans’ health care.

Third, we want to focus on our long-term fiscal outlook. In January, GAO released a report examining government spending, revenues, deficits and debt. The conclusions are all-too-familiar: our fiscal path is unsustainable and if we fail to get control of debt and deficits, we’re putting our country at risk of a fiscal and economic crisis. 

GAO’s simulation shows our debt-to-GDP ratio would pass its all-time historical high of 106 percent in the next 15-25 years and that Social Security Disability Insurance, the Medicare Hospital Insurance trust fund, and the Social Security Old-Age and Survivors trust funds will be depleted and therefore forced to pay out reduced benefits. A failure to solve these problems means seniors who have worked their whole lives and those truly in need of help can no longer count on these vital safety nets.

Improper payments, high-risk programs, and our growing debt all pose enormous challenges and we need to take real, tangible steps to reduce the amount of money that’s being wasted to help get our fiscal house in order.

Mr. Dodaro, thank you again for being here. I know you and your staff have worked very hard to prepare for this hearing and thank you for taking your job as a government watchdog seriously. I look forward to hearing your testimony and your recommendations of how we can all be better stewards of taxpayer dollars.

Thank you, and with that, I yield to the Ranking Member, Mr. Yarmuth.  Read More

Chairman Black Floor Statement: The American Health Care Act

2017/03/24

I rise today to speak in favor of the American Health Care Act – a bill that repeals many of the worst aspects of Obamacare and begins to repair the damage caused by the law by bringing choice, competition and patient-centered solutions back into our health care system.

Standing here in the House debating this bill is a proud moment for me. I was working as a nurse in Nashville in the 1990s when, fresh off the failure of HillaryCare, the Clinton administration pushed a single-payer pilot program in Tennessee called TennCare. Vice President Gore and the Democratic governor sketched out the program on a napkin while sitting at a local bar.

I saw first-hand the negative impact government-run health care has on patient care. I saw costs rise and the quality of care fall. I saw the burdens being placed on doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers. I saw patients faced with fewer choices and more regulations. And I saw the devastating impact TennCare was having on the state’s budget, gobbling up so much state spending that other priorities like education and infrastructure were getting squeezed.

I couldn’t sit idly by while this was happening in my state, so I decided to get involved in public service. It’s what inspired me to run for office. And when, in 2009 and 2010, I saw the same principles being debated and eventually implemented on the national level, I thought my experience in Tennessee could be valuable to the national debate.

I told the people of my district that if elected to Congress, I would fight to repeal and replace Obamacare. In 2011, I sponsored the first piece of legislation that repealed part of Obamacare. And today, we take the largest step yet in rescuing the American people from the damage done by Obamacare.

We are united in our goal: to repeal Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered health care. Right now, Obamacare is imploding. We were promised premiums would decrease by $2,500; instead, average family premiums in the employer-market soared by $4,300. We were promised health care costs would go down; instead, deductibles have skyrocketed. We were promised we could keep our doctor and our health insurance plans; instead, millions of Americans lost the insurance and the doctors that they liked.

In short, the Affordable Care Act was neither affordable, nor did it provide the quality of care that the American people deserve.

The American Health Care Act is a first step in our efforts to deliver patient-centered health care reform. This bill seeks to return to the American people freedom and choice in their health care decisions. It gets government out of the relationship between patients and their doctors and puts people back in charge of their own health care.  And it brings the free-market principle of competition to an industry that has long been dominated by government intervention.

Today we are faced with a stark choice. Do we vote to continue the damage Obamacare is doing to our country and our constituents or do we vote to go down another path – a better way of doing health care in this country.

While no legislation is perfect, this bill does accomplish some important reforms. It zeroes out the mandates. It repeals the taxes. It repeals the subsidies. It allows people to choose health insurance plans to meet the unique needs of their families, instead of purchasing one-size-fits-all plans mandated by a Washington bureaucrat. And it modernizes Medicaid, a once in a lifetime entitlement reform. Ending Medicaid’s open-ended funding structure will play an important role in addressing future budget deficits and our growing national debt.

I applaud my colleagues who have stayed in this fight and continued to make this bill better. The members of the Budget Committee, which I chair, outlined four principles they believed would improve the bill. Those principles led to significant changes to allow more state flexibility in Medicaid and ensure that the tax credits truly serve the people they’re meant to. Others fought to eliminate federal Obamacare regulations that drive up the cost of health care for all Americans and give those powers back to the states. At the same time, we also ensure that states have the resources to provide maternity and newborn care and treatment for mental health and substance abuse.

I agreed with these changes and applaud my colleagues’ work to make sure we truly reverse the damage Obamacare is doing to our health care system and our economy.

Obamacare’s legacy is clear: more government, less choice, and higher costs. Our vision for health care in America is the opposite: more freedom, more choice, lower costs.

Put simply, the American Health Care Act is a good first step, but it is only our first step. My good friend and our former colleague, Dr. Tom Price, will use his position as Secretary of Health and Human Services to address some of the regulatory burden of Obamacare through administrative action. And we have voted already and will continue to vote on individual pieces of legislation to implement even more patient-centered, free market reforms that we cannot address through reconciliation. In fact, we just passed two bills already this week. One would allow small businesses to join together to purchase insurance and the other would increase competition by tearing down antitrust regulations. That bill received 416 votes. This shows that these bills are common sense measures that includes bipartisan support.

The day is finally here where we have an opportunity to fulfill the promise we’ve made to the American people. I, for one, cannot sit idly by and let this opportunity go to waste. Campaigning is easy, compared to governing. But our constituents did not elect us to do what is easy. They elected us to do what is right.

I urge my colleagues to join me in voting yes on the American Health Care Act to rescue the American people from Obamacare.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I reserve the balance of my time.

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Chairman Black Rules Committee Opening Statement: Markup of the American Health Care Act

2017/03/22

Remarks as prepared for delivery: 

Good morning. Thank you Chairman Sessions and members of the committee for the opportunity to speak here today. I come before you to discuss H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act of 2017.

The American Health Care Act is a first step in our efforts toward patient-centered health care reform. This bill seeks to give the American people freedom and choice in their health care decisions. It gets government out of the relationship between patients and their doctors and puts people back in charge of their own health care.  And it brings the free-market principle of competition to an industry that has long been dominated by government intervention.

We are united in our goal: to repeal Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered health care. Right now, Obamacare is imploding. We were promised premiums would decrease by $2,500; instead, average family premiums in the employer-market soared by $4,300. We were promised health care costs would go down; instead, deductibles have skyrocketed. We were promised we could keep our doctor and our health insurance plans; instead, millions of Americans lost the insurance and the doctors that they liked. 

In short, the Affordable Care Act was neither affordable, nor did it provide the quality of care that the American people deserve. 

Last week, the House Budget Committee favorably reported the American Health Care Act to the full House of Representatives for consideration. Our markup was filled with lively debate and I applaud our members for working to make this bill better. There was concern from members of my committee that this bill did not reflect a strong enough conservative vision for health care reform and I joined them in that concern.

The Budget Committee approved four motions to be recommended to this committee and the full House, as laid out in our report. These motions describe potential changes that would address our concerns, including greater state flexibility in the design of their Medicaid programs, minimizing new Medicaid enrollment by able-bodied adults, promoting work-requirements in state Medicaid programs, and ensuring that tax credits are targeted to those individuals who need them most.

The Manager’s Amendment submitted this week includes changes advocated for by my committee. This is the way the legislative process is supposed to work and I applaud my colleagues for staying in the fight and making sure that we pass a bill that truly reflects our values.

It goes a long way towards resolving some of the conflict and disagreement within our conference and addressing the concerns of my committee. It is a step in the right direction and I urge the members of this committee to support it.

We have a once in a generation opportunity to reform health care with free-market principles in the driver’s seat – not government. It’s an opportunity that we cannot let pass us by.

As this bill continues to better reflect our patient-centered vision of health care, we will soon be faced with a stark choice. The choice is between repealing and replacing Obamacare and voting to keep Obamacare’s status quo.

While no legislation is perfect, this bill does accomplish some important reforms. It zeroes out the mandates. It repeals the taxes. It repeals the subsidies. It allows people to choose health insurance plans to meet the unique needs of their families, instead of purchasing  one-size-fits-all plans mandated by a Washington bureaucrat. And it modernizes Medicaid, a once in a lifetime entitlement reform. Ending Medicaid’s open-ended funding structure will play an important role in addressing future budget deficits and our growing national debt.

Put simply, this is a good first step, but it is only our first step. My good friend and our former colleague, Dr. Tom Price, will use his position as Secretary of Health and Human Services to address some of the regulatory burden of Obamacare through administrative action. And we will vote soon on individual pieces of legislation to implement even more patient-centered, free market reforms that we cannot address through reconciliation.

This is the three-pronged approach we are taking to rescue the American people from the damage Obamacare has done to our economy and our health care system.

But as we talk about our work to repeal Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered reforms, we also have to remember that the problems with Obamacare are not merely numbers on a page. I’ve been a nurse for 45 years. I saw the impact in the 1990s of a government-run, single-payer health care system had on people during the TennCare pilot program in Tennessee. I saw costs rise and the quality of care fall. It’s what inspired me to get involved in public service in the first place. 

And when I saw the same broken principles applied to health care on a national level with Obamacare, I felt compelled to bring my voice and my experience to Congress. 

I get calls every single day in my office saying please help us, rescue us. Premiums in my state of Tennessee have skyrocketed. There are parts of Tennessee that don’t have a single insurance provider in the marketplace, while in other parts of my state, people may have an insurance card but they can’t get care. 

We must work together on a conservative vision for repealing and replacing Obamacare. It’s a promise we’ve made to voters for years. And it’s a promise we finally have an opportunity to keep. I intend to keep that promise.

I urge all members to work toward this common goal. And with that, I look forward to answering your questions. 

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Statement from House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black on President Trump’s Budget Submission

2017/03/16

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black released the following statement following President Trump’s budget submission: 
 
“I appreciate the White House’s submission on how we can be better stewards of taxpayer dollars and strengthen our national security. We are all committed to investing in our men and women in uniform to ensure that we are the strongest military force in the world. The complex international and military challenges we face require special attention, which the previous administration neglected. At home, I’m pleased that the administration is committed to reviewing how our agencies operate to better streamline programs and reduce overlap.
 
“We look forward to continuing our discussions with the White House, with our committee members and with the full House as we work towards introducing the Fiscal Year 2018 budget.”  Read More

Contact Information

207 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-226-7270
Fax 202-226-7174
budget.house.gov


Membership

Diane Black

TENNESSEE's 6th DISTRICT

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