I am the original co-sponsor of a bill in the House of Representatives called the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act. In short, for those suffering from minor hearing loss, the bill would make hearing aids more affordable and easier to get.
For some, this bill may seem irrelevant. But for the roughly 48 million Americans suffering from hearing loss, this bill could change lives. The facts are clear:
So, I decided it was a good idea to support a bill that allows more people to get the help they need. Recently, however, this commonsense bill has fallen under attack by an ugly foe: plain, unfounded partisan rhetoric. You may have seen the ads railing against it, and many of you have called to express your concerns with this ad.
The claims made in this ad are false and misleading.
The bottom line is, this is a fiscally conservative policy that increases choice and lowers costs through competition…for all who suffer.
But don’t take my word for it, read what others have said about this commonsense bill:
|"Opening the market to OTC hearing aids would force the industry to cut prices and compete head-to-head against newer technologies. For a bill that is virtually an archetype for market-based health care reform, continued conservative opposition communicates a distressing case of partisanship over principle."|
| Samuel Hammond
Poverty and Welfare Analyst at the Niskanen Center
"AARP believes your bill will improve consumers’ access to affordable hearing technologies that can improve their daily living.”
|“This would seem to be a no-brainer. It would drive down prices for all hearing devices by increasing choice and competition.”|
|The Washington Times, 6/11/2017|
|“The approval of over-the-counter hearing aids will also cut through the red tape and confusing federal, state and local regulations that currently make purchasing a hearing aid intimidating even for those who can afford them. As hearing aids become more affordable and easier to purchase, HLAA believes that far more Americans will take advantage of them.”|
| Barbara Kelley
Executive Director, Hearing Loss Association of America
|“We feel this legislation will allow us to create innovative solutions to provide greater access and lower cost for millions of Americans.”|
| Mark Gorder
President & CEO, IntriCon
|“The best part of this over-the-counter scenario: Instead of spending an average of $1,500 to $2,000 per device (and nearly everyone needs two), you’ll find that the price has plummeted. You might pay $300 per ear, maybe even less.”|
|The New York Times, 6/12/2017|
|“This would help with the out-of-pocket costs many seniors face due to gaps in Medicare coverage for hearing, vision and dental care.”|
|The Leadership Council of Aging Organizations|
|“This may be the first and last time I’ve ever been on the side of Elizabeth Warren!”|
| Stephen Moore
noted conservative writer, economist, and hearing-loss-sufferer
|“[This bill] will expand access to quality hearing health products and services, reduce duplicative costs, and remove unnecessary, nonbeneficial barriers to care.”|
|Academy of Doctors of Audiology|
Some of the supporters of this bill include:
At the end of the day, this bill addresses a problem that does not discriminate and does not subscribe to one political party or another. At older ages, hearing loss becomes almost universal, affecting more than 60 percent of those in their 70s and nearly 80 percent of those over 80. While we may disagree politically, we shouldn’t let good policy perish because we can’t hear past hyper-partisan rhetoric.Read More
WASHINGTON – Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) on Wednesday applauded the bipartisan passage of their Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act in the House Energy & Commerce Committee. The legislation would make certain types of hearing aids available over-the-counter to Americans with mild to moderate hearing loss.
"This legislation is the first step to ensuring that millions of Americans can finally have access to affordable hearing aids," said Rep. Marsha Blackburn. “Just as someone can correct minor sight loss by purchasing reading glasses from their local pharmacy, so too should they be able to correct minor hearing loss with an affordable and accessible hearing aid. This is a bipartisan, commonsense solution the people want and need.”
"Access to hearing aids shouldn't be limited by cost and a lack of competition. Recent innovation in hearing aid technology and over-the-counter sales will ensure millions of Americans are able to obtain hearing aids that improve their ability to communicate with their families, at their jobs and everywhere in between. With today’s bipartisan passage, we have moved closer to bringing relief to millions of our neighbors. I look forward to continued bipartisan efforts to move this bill through the full House and Senate," said Rep. Joe Kennedy III.
In addition to greater accessibility, the proposed legislation would require the FDA to write regulations ensuring that this new category of OTC hearing aids meets the same high standards for safety, consumer labeling and manufacturing protections as medical devices, providing consumers the option of an FDA-regulated device at lower cost.
The provisions of the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act implement major recommendations from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. The legislation has received endorsements from AARP, the Gerontological Society of America, the Academy of Doctors of Audiology, and the Hearing Loss Association of America.
WASHINGTON– U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) along with U.S. Representatives Diane Black (R-Tenn.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn.), Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.), David Kustoff (R-Tenn.) and Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) today released the following statements after President Trump signed into law bipartisan legislation naming the new Nashville federal courthouse in honor of former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson.
Senator Alexander said: “Tennesseans and our country were fortunate that public service attracted Fred Thompson. His personality had a streak of magic – he was authentic, purposeful and principled – and he worked hard. The entire Tennessee delegation agrees it’s very appropriate that the new Nashville courthouse be named for Senator Thompson, and I’m grateful the president signed legislation today to do so. It has given me a great deal of pride to be able to ask that this be done.”
Senator Corker said: “Fred Thompson was one of a kind. He served the people of Tennessee and our country with great distinction, and through his many different roles in public life, Fred never forgot where he came from. I was proud to call him a friend and am pleased the president has signed this legislation into law.”
Representative Blackburn said: “Fred Thompson was a neighbor and friend who made a lasting impression on the state of Tennessee. He loved our state and her people. With the President’s signature on this bill, Fred Thompson’s legacy of service, leadership, and care will be celebrated and stamped in time.”
Representative Black said: “Fred Thompson was a statesman who led with conviction, and he was a visionary who helped turn our state into the conservative success story that it is today. Tennessee shines brighter because of Fred Thompson’s service. This courthouse will serve as a worthy tribute to his enduring legacy.”
Representative Cooper said: “I am thankful that the 20-year process of getting a new federal courthouse for Nashville is finally nearing completion. Sens. Alexander and Corker deserve great credit, as does our House appropriator, Rep. Fleischmann. The Thompson Courthouse should be a place where every American can get equal justice under law.”
Representative Cohen: “It was an honor to be a cosponsor of the bipartisan bill in the House to honor my friend Fred Thompson. Fred served the United States Senate and the state of Tennessee with distinction for 8 years. He was a proud graduate of the University of Memphis and the only U of M grad to ever serve in the Senate. I was present when the National Conference of State Legislatures awarded him the Restoring the Balance Award for his dedication to federalism. For Fred, it was not a political or campaign issue, it was his philosophy. Fred was always encouraging to me and I valued our friendship. He led an eclectic life from his time as an outstanding congressional staffer during the Watergate hearings and as a fine attorney, actor, and public servant. It is most appropriate that we name the federal courthouse in Nashville after this great American.”
Representative DesJarlais said: “From working as a young attorney highlighting corruption in the White House and Tennessee’s governor’s mansion, to being a familiar face on movies and television, to serving our state as a United States Senator, Fred Thompson will always be known as a favorite son of Tennessee. His service will be a part of the rich history of our state, and I am happy to join my colleagues in supporting this initiative.”
Representative Duncan said: “This is a fitting tribute to Senator Fred Thompson who was a strong, independent voice for Tennessee and somebody for whom I had great admiration and respect. Even though he achieved great national prominence, he never forgot his Tennessee roots.”
Representative Fleischmann said: “Senator Fred Thompson gave many years of dedicated service to Tennessee and this great nation. I am very pleased the Senate passed the legislation naming a Federal Courthouse after him, and I’m glad President Trump signed the bill into law.”
Representative Kustoff said: “Fred Thompson was an accomplished lawyer, a talented actor and a true statesman. Most importantly, he was a dedicated public servant and a proud Tennessean. I am pleased President Trump signed this legislation to name the Nashville courthouse in his honor. I was glad to know him and could not think of a more perfect way to pay tribute to his remarkable life and legacy.”
Representative Roe said: “I’m proud President Trump signed this bill to honor Senator Fred Thompson into law. Fred was a dedicated public servant and a dear friend to me and so many others, and it is fitting the Nashville Federal Courthouse will bear the name and memory of a great statesman and Tennessean.”
Full funding for construction of the new Nashville federal courthouse was provided by Congress in the fiscal year 2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which was approved by both the House of Representatives and the Senate in December of 2015. The new courthouse will be constructed by the General Services Administration and will be located at 719 Church Street.
Fred Thompson was first elected to the United States Senate in 1994 and served as a Senator from the State of Tennessee until 2003. Sen. Thompson graduated from Memphis State University in 1964 and Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1967. He also served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the State of Tennessee before serving as minority counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee in 1973. Sen. Thompson passed away on Nov. 1, 2015.
On Jan. 9, members of the Tennessee delegation introduced a bipartisan bill to name the new Nashville federal courthouse in honor of Fred Thompson. On March 7, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved the legislation, and the Senate passed the legislation on May 24.
WASHINGTON—Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) issued the following statement on President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement:
“I applaud President Trump for his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement. Simply put, it is a bad deal that placed political goals above the American people. Americans, American energy, American jobs, and the American economy must come first, and President Trump is staying true to his word to always act in the best interest of the American people and the country.”
Blackburn represents Tennessee’s Seventh Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. She serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Law enforcement officers from coast to coast wake up each day, put on their uniform, and put themselves in harm’s way in order to ensure our friends, neighbors, and communities remain safe and peaceful. They volunteer for this service, because those they protect and serve are their friends and neighbors as well. Theirs is a service of duty and sacrifice.
May 14 – 20, 2017 marks National Police Week. National Police Week began in 1962 as a way to honor those law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice. Today and every day, we remember those whose didn’t come home and their families who are left with a void.
Since 2016, nine of these selfless heroes have fallen in the line of duty. This week we honor their memory. Blessed are the peacemakers
||Dep. Sheriff Jimmy Tennyson
Maury County Sheriff's Department
||Sergeant Sean Lewis Allred
Livingston Police Department
||Officer Eric Wayne Mumaw
Metro Nashville Police Department
||Deputy Sheriff Zachary Tyler Larnerd
Jackson County Sheriff's Office
||Officer Kenneth Ray Moats
Maryville Police Department
||Sergeant Verdell Smith, Sr
Memphis Police Department
||Special Agent De'Greaun Reshun Frazier
TN Bureau of Investigation
Monroe County Sheriff's Office
||Dep. Sheriff Martin Tase Sturgill, II
Humphreys County Sheriff's Office
National Police Week is also a time for us to show our appreciation for those who patrol our streets day in and day out, keeping our neighborhoods safe. In the House of Representatives this week we are passing a number of bills aimed at providing law enforcement the tools they need to keep our communities safe. These include:
· The Rapid DNA Act of 2017 (H.R. 510). This bill helps identify the guilty and free the innocent by allowing Rapid DNA analysis machines to be used at local police stations. Rapid DNA technology expedites DNA analysis for suspect identification purposes and allows local law enforcement to accurately identify a suspect within hours, as opposed to weeks when evidence is shipped off to a lab.
· The Honoring Hometown Heroes Act (H.R. 1892). This legislation honors law enforcement by permitting the American flag to be flown at half-staff when a police officer, firefighter, or first responder is killed in the line of duty.
· The Strengthening State and Local Cyber Crime Fighting Act of 2017 (H.R. 1616). This bill authorizes a program that has been run by the U.S. Secret Service for a number of years that trains state and local law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges regarding cyber and electronic crimes.
· The American Law Enforcement Heroes Act of 2017 (H.R. 1428). This legislation prioritizes the hiring of veterans by awardees of grants under the COPS hiring program.
· The Probation Officer Protection Act of 2017 (H.R. 1039). This bill protects public safety by giving probation officers the authority, while in the performance of their official duties, to arrest a person if there is probable cause to believe that the person has forcibly assaulted, resisted, opposed, impeded, intimidated, or interfered with the probation officer, or a fellow probation officer, in the performance of his or her duties.
· The Thin Blue Line Act (H.R. 115). This legislation adds the murder of a state or local police officer as an aggravating factor for a jury to consider in deciding whether to impose the death penalty in federal capital cases. The murder of a federal law enforcement officer is already an aggravating factor under current law. The legislation sends a simple message that the stalking and killing of law enforcement officers must not and will not be tolerated.
With a simple “thank you” we can recognize the sacrifices of these selfless servants. They do not take their work for granted, though we often may. They face the dangers of the world, they see the despair in society, and they deal with the vulnerabilities of our neighborhoods. They do so not for recognition or glory. They do so for us.
To all who have served, those serving today, and those who will serve:
Tonight, I’ll be welcoming President Donald Trump to Nashville as he talks with Tennesseans on the serious issues facing this nation. We know that everyone is concerned about national security, jobs, the economy and of course, healthcare. We expect the President to touch base on each of these issues tonight.
Here is what the AHCA does:
Replaces – Ways and Means Committee:
The credits are available in full to individuals making up to $75,000 and families making up to $150,000. For every $1,000 in income higher than those thresholds, the credits decrease by $100
- Expanded health savings accounts
Reconciliation is a two-stage process in which reconciliation instructions are included in the budget resolution directing the appropriate committees to develop legislation achieving the desired budgetary outcomes, and the resultant legislation (usually incorporated into an omnibus bill) is considered under expedited procedures in the House and Senate.
For the tax credits portion of the bill, we want to be surefor future Congresses to come that we remain financially responsible and reduce the enhanced payments to states for expansion. While these creditsallow more choices for individuals, and is more patient-centered, it is fundamentally grounded on the idea that the federal government should fund insurance purchases. We want to ensure that we are not creating a large entitlement that the federal government simply cannot afford.
Most importantly, we want to ensure proper protection for the sanctity of life. While the current policy seeks to address pro-life safeguards on credit use, the language is ambiguous and it is unclear if such protections can survive Senate Byrd requirements as drafted.
217 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Growing up, Marsha Blackburn learned that the promise of our nation depends on each generation of Americans working hard to leave the country a better place than they found it. As a small business woman, author, mother, grandmother, and Member of Congress, Marsha Blackburn has dedicated her service to the sacred obligation all citizens have to their communities: making Tennessee and America a better, more prosperous, and freer place.
Congressman Blackburn began her elected service career in 1998 as a Tennessee State Senator. Blackburn’s Senate career was marked by her commitment to fiscal common sense and government accountability. She became known to her constituents for holding “budget school” in her district and across the state; identifying waste and offering solutions for a state in a budget crunch.
While serving in the Tennessee Senate, Blackburn led a statewide grassroots campaign to defeat a proposed state income tax. She earned the reputation as a champion of anti-tax and government reform issues, frequently appearing on local talk radio and even earning the attention of national publications like the Wall Street Journal and conservative groups such as Americans for Tax Reform.
Blackburn’s reputation for focusing on individual freedom and free enterprise boosted her from the Tennessee Senate to the U.S. House of Representatives. Blackburn was first elected to represent Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District in 2002, quickly becoming a leader in Congress and a leading voice advocating for a small, efficient federal government that is accountable to its citizens. She is regularly praised by good government groups like the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the Farm Bureau, the Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council and the American Conservative Union. She has been named a Taxpayer Hero by Americans for Tax Reform each year she has served in Congress. In 2007 Blackburn received the Conservative Leadership Award from the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute.
Congressman Blackburn is often selected by her colleagues to lead the charge for common sense reform. In February 2010 she was selected to represent conservative views on health care reform at the President’s Blair House Summit. She has served on the majority and minority whip teams since her election in 2002, and holds a seat on the vital Energy and Commerce Committee which has jurisdiction over health care, energy regulation, and telecommunications issues. In 2006 the Independent Electrical Contractors recognized her as their Lawmaker of the Year.
Marsha has earned a special reputation as a bi-partisan leader and policy expert on telecommunications issues and intellectual property rights. She has strong ties with Tennessee’s recording industry and the songwriters and performers who make it great. In 2003 Blackburn founded and serves as Chairman of the Congressional Songwriters Caucus to give the nation’s creative community a voice on Capitol Hill. In 2007, she was awarded the Congressional Grammy by the Recording Academy; the White Hat award from the Nashville Songwriters Association and in 2008 received the Platinum Award from the RIAA.
In 2012, Health IT Now presented her with the HITN Innovation Award for her work in support of innovative solutions to our most pressing healthcare problems. Marsha has also been honored by the Family Research Council and the Susan B. Anthony list for her pro-life, pro-family work. And recognized by the Association of Children’s Hospitals and the American College of Radiology for her leadership on healthcare issues. In April 2013 at the “Women Run The World” Half Marathon in New York City, More Magazine recognized Blackburn for her service in government by honoring her as one of 10 women who are making a difference in the world.
Blackburn was selected to serve as Vice Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee for the 113th Congress where she will continue to serve on four critical Subcommittees: Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade (CMT); Oversight; Health; and Communications and Technology. She serves on the House Budget Committee and is a founding member of the Republican Women’s Policy Committee. Blackburn is also a member of the Smithsonian Libraries Advisory Board.
Marsha and her husband Chuck live in Williamson County, Tennessee. They have two children, Mary Morgan Ketchel and Chad Blackburn; and two grandsons. Blackburn is a native of Laurel, Mississippi and graduate of Mississippi State University.
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"Opening the mkt to OTC hearing aids would force the industry to cut prices & compete...against newer technologies." https://t.co/q4eRl87d7l
Retweeted by marshablackburn
Retweeted by marshablackburn
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We shouldn’t let good policy perish because we can’t hear past hyper-partisan rhetoric. https://t.co/ZAq09Tzgce
Thank you to our constituents who contacted us today to express sympathy and concern for the incidents of the day. Many of you referenced the
Happy Birthday U.S. Army! We thank the Army for 242 years of vigilance in protecting the American flag that we celebrate on this Flag Day!
This morning’s news is heartbreaking. Our deepest thoughts and prayers are with those injured or present in today’s senseless act. We owe