Saturday, October 14, 2017

Pedestrian Safety Bill Introduced in the House

Source: Adrianno Espaillat (D-NY, 13th)

Washington, D.C. - October 14, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY-13) and Rep. Daniel Donovan (R-NY-11) introduced a bipartisan bill that would provide funding to cities for the installation of critical safety bollards to protect pedestrians in high traffic areas like New York’s Times Square and prevent possible terrorist attacks as witnessed in Charlottesville, Virginia and Barcelona, Spain earlier this year.

“We have witnessed an increase in pedestrian injuries and fatalities as vehicles are increasingly being used as weapons to carry out attacks,” said Congressman Espaillat. “Our bill aims to support cities by providing necessary funding to install safety bollards as preventative measures to guide traffic, protect individuals, and potentially save lives.”

Congressman Donovan said, “Safety bollards save lives. That’s clear from the Times Square car crash earlier this year that would have been far more destructive but for the barriers. We should have more of them, which this commonsense bill will allow. I spoke to NYPD Commissioner O'Neill about this issue and he expressed the importance of these barriers to protecting our city. Congress can’t afford to wait for the next tragedy to pass this critical legislation.”

“We applaud Congressman Espaillat and Congressman Donovan for their leadership on this critical safety issue. In New York City, our streets and sidewalks are safer because of the changes we have made as part of our Vision Zero program – but we are constantly improving and still have plenty of work left to do,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Pedestrian safety and is becoming more of a national priority, and we welcome federal funding to help NYC DOT and NYPD make our high traffic areas secure and safe for all New Yorkers.”

"Counties support the Stopping Threats on Pedestrians Act because it would help us strengthen safety measures along sidewalks and other pedestrian areas," said National Association of Counties Executive Director Matthew Chase. "In partnership with the federal government, this bill would enhance safety in our communities, potentially preventing vehicular attacks on residents. We applaud Representatives Espaillat and Donovan for their leadership on this issue."

Leaders, Groups, and Unions Upset with Comments About Miners

Source: Tom Emmer (R-MN, 6th)

Washington, D.C. - October 14, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) released the following statement in regards to recent disparaging comments from leaders of Save the Boundary Waters against miners and union workers in Northern Minnesota:

“This nation was built on the backs of the American worker, and Minnesota was built on the backs of Minnesota miners. For some Minnesota families, mining is in their blood going back to the beginning of Minnesota’s statehood. These men and women are responsible for keeping our towns, our state, and our country alive. They are the ones we have to thank for providing the precious metals needed for our cell phones, computers, vehicles and wind turbines.

“Apparently, Save the Boundary Waters’ leaders think rather differently telling the New York Times, ‘They want somebody to just give them a job so they can all drink beer with their buddies and go four-wheeling and snowmobiling with their buddies, not have to think about anything except punching a clock.’

“All Americans, and all Minnesotans, have the right to say or believe what they will, but that is not the Minnesota Nice we are known for, and I am embarrassed to hear fellow Minnesotans speak so disparagingly about our neighbors. The next time Save the Boundary Waters leaders voice their opposition, I hope they take a minute to realize all they have thanks to the mining industry and the incredible workers who provided it to them.

“I urge my fellow Minnesota colleagues to join me in condemning these unnecessary mean-spirted attacks on our hardworking citizens.”

Trump Decertifies Iran Deal

Below are statements about Trump's decision to decertify the Iran nuclear deal from House members:

Rodney Davis (R-IL, 13th)

“In 1994, President Clinton made this promise to the American people of his nuclear deal with North Korea, ‘They will freeze and then dismantle their nuclear program. Our other allies will be better protected. The entire world will be safer as we slow the spread of nuclear weapons… The United States and international inspectors will carefully monitor them to make sure it keeps its commitments.’

“Today, we’ve seen the impact this deal has had. North Korea is estimated to have anywhere from 10 to 20 nuclear weapons and we’ve seen by recent aggressions their willingness to use them against the U.S.

“In 2015, the Obama Administration took the same naive approach, but this time, with the world’s largest state sponsor of terror. Concession after concession by the U.S. led to an unverifiable and unenforceable deal that gave Iran an influx of cash and other economic resources to put towards terrorism and their nuclear program.

“In response to bipartisan concerns about the deal, Congress passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act in 2015 by a vote of 400-25 to put further oversight over Iran and expedite Congress’ ability to restore sanctions if they do not comply. I’m glad President Trump has decided to reevaluate this dangerous deal and work with Congress to prevent a repeat of North Korea.”

Ron DeSantis (R-FL, 6th)

"President Trump made the right decision in refusing to certify the Iran deal under domestic law. Iran has violated the deal and it’s clear that the deal is not in the vital national security interests of the United States. More work needs to be done to put Iran back in a box, but sanctioning the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terror group is a major step in the right direction and will do much to stymie Iran's pursuit of cash to fuel its malignant activities."

Daniel Donovan (R-NY, 11th)

“Years of appeasement have emboldened the Iranian regime, which continues to pursue the use of ballistic missiles, support terrorists, and carry out horrific human rights violations. Today, President Trump made it clear that the U.S. will no longer tolerate these aggressive actions. I fully support the Administration’s new comprehensive strategy to reassert American leadership and hold Iran accountable for its destabilizing behavior. Putting America first means taking actions – like those outlined in today’s speech – to ensure U.S. national security interests abroad. I look forward to working with the Trump Administration to counter all Iranian threats.”

Eliot Engel (D-NY, 16th)

“Iran must never have a nuclear weapon. To ensure that, we must strictly enforce the nuclear deal, work to lengthen its sunset provisions, and hold Iran's feet to the fire on the regime's other bad behavior.

“The President’s plan doesn't make sense. Negotiating additional terms to the nuclear deal requires a coalition of international partners, not unilateral congressional action. And while we must crack down on Iran's other destabilizing actions—ballistic-missile development, sponsorship of terrorism, human-rights abuses, and support for the Assad Regime—Congress already passed tough sanctions against Iran, Russia, and North Korea last August, which the President grudgingly signed. But the Administration seems unwilling to enforce this new law.

“Failing to certify the deal is a risky gamble. It’s the first step toward withdrawing from the agreement keeping Iran from building the bomb. Our allies and adversaries alike will see this as a signal that the United States doesn't live up to our commitments, making the United States a source of uncertainty instead of a force for solving serious problems. I have to ask: what major power will trust our word on potential North Korean nuclear negotiations, given how Trump is undermining the agreement with Iran?

“Iran is a threat to global security. We need a smart strategy that builds an agenda with partners around the world. Instead, the President has offered a confused approach that harms American leadership and threatens international stability.”

Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA, 18th)

“When the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the Iran Deal, formally took effect on ‘Adoption Day’ two years ago, the world was only 90 days away from Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon. The JCPOA halted Iran’s pursuit to becoming a nuclear state. It brought unprecedented concessions from the Iranians, together with the most rigorous inspections, restrictions and verifications ever negotiated. Since its implementation in January 2016, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has certified Iran’s compliance with the agreement eight times and the Trump Administration has already certified Iran’s compliance twice.

“The President’s refusal today to certify the JCPOA is the first step in unraveling the entire agreement. Threatening our relationship with our allies while also giving Iran the green light to resume their nuclear capabilities simply to fulfill a campaign promise could lead to another war in the Middle East and further the abdication of American leadership.

“Two years ago, I warned my colleagues in Congress that abandoning this agreement would make the United States seem feckless, a nation whose word cannot be trusted by our international partners. The President’s decision today weakens our global leadership and escalates tensions in Iran.”

Adrianno Espaillat (D-NY, 13th)

“President Trump’s decision to decertify Iran's compliance with the JCPOA isolates America from our international partners China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) that stood with us in the decision to ensure the parameters of Iran’s nuclear program,” said Rep. Espaillat.

“The Iran nuclear deal is nowhere near perfect, and there are areas that can be improved regarding activities by the Iranian government. Yet, the United Nations, the U.S. Department of State, and our nation’s intelligence community have broadly acknowledged that Iran is continuing to uphold its obligations under the agreement.

“Today’s decision by the Trump Administration to decertify the program absent any credible breach, is not only reckless, but puts our national security at risk and jeopardizes our national standing with our allies around the world.

“As a member of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, I remain committed to working with my colleagues to explore greater diplomatic approaches with our international partners to put forth parameters on Iran in the best interest of our nation.”

Mike Doyle (D-PA, 14th)

I am extremely disappointed in President Trump’s decision to declare that Iran is not in compliance with the JCPOA (Iran Nuclear Deal). Under law, the President is required to provide Congress with evidence that Iran is non-compliant. No such evidence has been provided to Congress to-date.

This decision by the President goes against the advice of experts around the world and within his own Cabinet, and is intended only to fulfill an unwise campaign promise; this should not be the way that our foreign affairs are conducted.

By declaring that Iran is no longer in compliance, Congress now has 60 days to decide whether to re-impose sanctions that were suspended under the deal. I hope that Congress will act wisely, and not re-impose sanctions without cause.

Regardless, I am concerned that today’s decision will have grave effects beyond sanctions. Our allies around the world have shown no signs of ending the agreement, making any attempt to ‘tear up the deal’ or impose sanctions meaningless. By walking away from this agreement, President Trump may once again reduce America’s credibility with our allies, embolden Iran, hurt America’s economy, and threaten our national security. It also weakens our position to try and diplomatically defuse the growing crisis in North Korea.

I had hoped that President Trump would not gamble so recklessly with America’s foreign policy, but once again I am disappointed.

Keith Ellison (D-MN, 5th)

“The Iran nuclear deal was a historic diplomatic achievement and the President’s reckless decision to decertify it moves the United States closer to military confrontation while isolating us from our partners and allies. Make no mistake: despite what President Trump says, this decision isn’t about making people safer — it’s about playing politics with national security, and appealing to a hard-right fringe that thinks the only way to achieve peace is to drop more bombs in the Middle East.

Today’s announcement is yet another in a recent string of moves by the Trump administration that are more about scoring political points than actually helping Americans. Whether it’s repealing the Clean Power Plan to keep money in the pockets of coal industry friends, or trying to take away health insurance from millions of Americans, Trump’s proven he isn’t motivated by a desire to help people — he’s just dead set on dismantling anything President Obama accomplished.”

Read more on Page 2

Legislation to Protect Veterans Unfairly Forced to Return Separation Pay to the Federal Government Introduced in the House

Source: Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA, 11th)

Washington, D.C. - October 14, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Representatives Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), and Walter Jones (R-NC) introduced the Restore Veterans’ Compensation Act of 2017, legislation that would prevent the federal government from recouping separation pay from veterans who later qualify for VA disability benefits. The bill also makes other changes to the Department of Defense’s recoupment policies to make them fairer to veterans.

Many service members qualify for separation pay when they depart the military—it’s a form of compensation for those with more than six years of service who meet reenlistment requirements but are not allowed to reenlist. It’s also used to incentivize service members to depart the military when the Pentagon is working to downsize the force. Unfortunately, under current law, veterans are required to pay back separation pay if they later become eligible for VA disability benefits or DOD retirement pay.

The Restore Veterans’ Compensation Act bill would:

  • No longer allow for the recoupment of separation pay from veterans who later become eligible for VA disability benefits because the two compensate for different things—workplace injuries (disability benefits) versus time served (separation pay);
  • Ensure retirees repay the net amount of separation pay instead of the gross amount to prevent the federal government from recouping more than the veteran received; and,
  • Change the recoupment rate to 25 percent of a veterans’ paycheck instead of the current 40 percent.

    “When Americans sign up to protect our country, we make a commitment to honor and support their service – but for nearly 25,000 veterans that promise has been broken. Over $400 million in disability benefits have been withheld or even taken back from veterans to ‘make up’ for their separation pay, causing military families financial insecurity. I am proud to partner with my colleagues Representatives Gallego and Jones to make right on this promise and to give our veterans the compensation they deserve for the sacrifices they’ve made,” said Rep. DeSaulnier.

    “As a Marine Corps combat veteran, I believe it’s manifestly unfair that veterans who receive VA disability benefits face the unwarranted recoupment of their separation pay,” said Rep. Gallego. “They are completely unrelated – VA disability benefits compensate for workplace injuries while separation pay compensates for time served. This policy simply makes no sense and Congress has a responsibility to our brave veterans to fix it.”

    “This is an injustice! Right now, an honorable veteran can be forced to return large portions of his or her separation pay if found eligible for VA disability benefits or military retirement pay. These are completely separate payments, and our courageous veterans should not be shortchanged for being injured in the line of duty,” said Rep. Jones. “Thank you Represenatives Gallego and DeSaulnier for introducing legislation to put an end to this disparity.”

    The Restore Veterans’ Compensation Act builds upon a measure Representatives DeSaulnier and Jones successfully included in the National Defense Authorization Act for FY17 to require that each separating servicemember is provided with financial transparency and informed of the possible conflict between separation and disability pay.
  • Export-Import Bank Legislation Introduced in the House

    Source: House Representative Charles W. Dent (R-PA, 15th)

    Washington, D.C. - October 14, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Congressman Charlie Dent (PA-15) and Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-3), along with 30 original co-sponsors, introduced HR 4007, legislation that would allow the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank to fully function and return to its important role of spurring economic growth, encouraging the creation of high-paying jobs here in the United States, and bolstering American companies’ ability to do business overseas.

    The Export-Import Bank is the official export credit agency of the United States, supporting American jobs by facilitating the export of U.S. goods and services. Despite being reauthorized in the 114th Congress by a vote of 313-118 in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Export-Import Bank is severely hindered in its ability to provide financing for many investment deals. Currently, the Board of Directors lacks a sufficient number of directors to reach the necessary quorum to move forward with economic investment deals greater than $10 million dollars. As a result, it is estimated that more than $30 billion in pending deals remain in limbo.

    “It is the overwhelming will of the American people and their representatives in Congress, that the Export-Import Bank be fully operational. I am pleased to introduce this important legislation that would allow the bank to continue its operations while the Administration and the Senate work through the nominations process. The bank is a critical lifeline for many manufacturers, large and small, in maintaining their competitiveness in international markets and it is past time that its doors are open” said Dent.

    Congressman Lucas agreed. “The Export-Import Bank’s ability to generate new markets for American products overseas plays a major role in the success of many small suppliers, subcontractors, and manufacturers that create jobs and foster economic growth in our communities here at home,” said Lucas. “Our bill streamlines the Bank’s loan approval process, eliminating artificial barriers created by political gridlock and putting our country’s businesses back on a level global playing field. Failure to take action on this legislation limits the access of American industries to this critical trade tool.”

    “The 114th Congress reauthorized EXIM with a large bipartisan vote. I hope that our colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the House will join our effort to help American workers and manufacturers,” Dent concluded.

    Statements on the EPA’s Proposed Rule to Withdraw from the Obama Clean Power Plan (page 3)

    Continued from Page 2

    On Tuesday, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that begins the process of repealing the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, environmental protections aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants.

    John Delaney (D-MD, 6th)

    “The seeds of climate change catastrophe are planted on days like this, when the President and his allies roll back some of the few carbon pollution measures we have.

    “Like pulling out of the Paris Agreement, this is a massive mistake that really hurts the country. In addition to undermining our environment, this is going to hurt our public health, hurt our ability to create new jobs in the industries of the future and hurt our economic leadership in alternative energy. Like so much of what the Trump Administration is doing, this is handing our global competitors a golden opportunity.

    “Instead of working in a bipartisan manner to combat climate change, the Trump Administration is doing everything they can to leave us with a dirtier and more impoverished future. It is incumbent upon members to work together on this issue. I’m proud to author carbon tax legislation that uses market forces to reduce carbon emissions and provides impacted coal industry workers with substantial benefits.”

    Ted Deutch (D-FL, 21st)

    Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), founding co-chairs of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, led a bipartisan Caucus letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, affirming their "support for the Clean Power Plan regulations on the building of new power plants" and urging the Administration to maintain the regulations and "work to achieve solutions that will provide good jobs, economic growth, and a safe climate for us and future Americans."

    "Reasonable people can disagree about how to respond to the risks of climate change," the Members of Congress state in the letter. "But there should be little disagreement that something must be done. We must work towards addressing the challenges posed by a changing climate."

    The Members of Congress recognize that "Climate change is already a threat to life and property, as it drives rising temperatures, sea levels, and worsening impacts from severe weather events."

    The Clean Power Plan was estimated to "result in a 32 percent reduction in carbon emission by 2030. Such a reduction in carbon emissions is critical to addressing the growing threat posed by climate change to our states and communities."

    Reps. Deutch and Curbelo were joined by fellow members of the Climate Solutions Caucus: Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Congressman Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Congressman Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Congressman John Delaney (D-MD), Congresswoman Anna Eshoo(D-CA), Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT), Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL), Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA), Congresswoman Ann Kuster (D-NH), Congressman Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), Congressman John Larson (D-CT), Congressman Scott Peters (D-CA), Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy(D-FL), Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Congressman Brendan Boyle (D-PA), and Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-NY).

    On Monday, the EPA will insert the Clean Power Plan repeal proposal in the Federal Register.

    Dear Administrator Pruitt,

    We affirm our support for the Clean Power Plan regulations on the building of new power plants, also known as the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS). The Plan recognizes that states can regulate the construction of new power plants to significantly reduce the emission of carbon and support a favorable environment for a clean energy economy.

    The Plan will ensure that the construction of new power plants incorporates technology that will result in a significant reduction of carbon emissions. Upon being finalized, it was estimated that the Plan could result in a 32 percent reduction in carbon emission by 2030. Such a reduction in carbon emissions is critical to addressing the growing threat posed by climate change to our states and communities. Climate change is already a threat to life and property, as it drives rising temperatures, sea levels, and worsening impacts from severe weather events.

    Reasonable people can disagree about how to respond to the risks of climate change. But there should be little disagreement that something must be done. We must work towards addressing the challenges posed by a changing climate.

    The Climate Solutions Caucus, of which we are all members, seeks effective market-based solutions to address this serious issue. Given the reductions we’ve already seen, our government and private sector are positioned to make the United States the leader in the fight against climate change. We urge you to consider how you can put your own agency to work to achieve solutions that will provide good jobs, economic growth, and a safe climate for us and future Americans.

    Given its importance, your Agency should maintain the Clean Power Plan standards for the building of new power plants. We appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to continuing to work with you in the future.


    Tom Emmer (R-MN, 6th)

    “The Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan - which was estimated to cost more than $30 billion dollars - was promulgated without Congressional approval, making it the perfect example of federal overreach. It has been proven time and time again that a one-size-fits-all policy does not work for our state and I am pleased the Trump Administration has taken this step. I am proud that Minnesota companies and elected officials have taken it upon themselves to work to reduce carbon emissions without the heavy hand of the federal government demanding so. In fact, even without the constraints of the Paris Accords or the Clean Power Plan, Minnesota is still on track to meet previous reduction goals, proving that Minnesotans are capable of implementing policies that work for Minnesotans and are in the best interest of the future of this nation.

    “I applaud the Trump Administration’s decision to roll back the overreaching Clean Power Plan, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress and the Trump Administration towards an all-of-the-above energy plan so that we can maintain a prosperous economy and healthy environment that generations to come can enjoy.”

    Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA, 18th)

    “The Trump Administration’s decision to begin the formal repeal of the Clean Power Plan is a monumental attack on the health of the American people. It will increase the output of carbon pollution in the air and do nothing to help the coal miners the President vowed to defend. The Clean Power Plan is a job creation plan, an economic policy and a climate policy. It represents a critical step to protecting our planet for our children and grandchildren, and without it, the U.S. cannot reach the goals established by the Paris Accords.

    “Even without the plan fully in effect, states like my home state of California are already moving ahead of the targets established by the Clean Power Plan, but federal help is crucial. These are not tangled senseless regulations. They are safety measures to protect the health of our people, our country and the planet.”

    Continue Reading on Page 4

    Trump signs executive order on Healthcare (page 2)

    This page is continued from "Trump signs executive order on Healthcare"

    House Representative Warren Davidson (R-OH, 8th)

    “As a manufacturer and job creator a little over one year ago, I can appreciate that this order expands the ability of small businesses and their employees to participate in new types of health insurance arrangements which is why I supported a similar measure that passed the House earlier this year. While this order makes many positive strides concerning healthcare affordability, Congress must act to make these and other reforms permanent. More importantly, Congress cannot simply give up on our promise and accept failure on Obamacare repeal. Republicans in Congress, and particularly in the Senate, need to pick up the torch and repeal Obamacare so families in Ohio and across the country can finally have the relief they were promised.”

    Diana Degette (D-CO, 1st)

    “This latest act of sabotage by the failing Trump presidency against the ACA will cause a million people to lose insurance in just the first year, drive up premiums and out-of-pocket payments for the rest and cause damaging instability in the insurance markets,” DeGette said. “President Trump is trying to achieve via edict what he couldn’t do through legislation: Dismantle the ACA and replace it with a cruel system that punishes the most vulnerable. This is Trumpcare by a thousand cuts.

    “Congress needs to act immediately to provide funding for the cost-sharing reductions,” DeGette noted. “And we must work together in a bipartisan fashion to improve health care coverage in this country, rather than ripping it to bits.”

    John Delaney (D-MD, 6th)

    “Once again, President Trump is taking a completely backwards approach on health care: instead of trying to solve problems, he is deliberately creating them and instead of trying to expand access to coverage, he is deliberately trying to take it away.

    “There’s no attempt at good policy here, no attempt at serving the people, just a blind and frenzied effort to secure some kind of political ‘win’ at any cost, all with nary a voice in his own party willing to speak out. We truly need thoughtful and responsible Republicans to stand up and put country before party, because we can’t let our great country be governed by tweets and empty slogans anymore. Decisions like this have a direct impact on people’s lives. There are bipartisan solutions in front of us that could fix the individual marketplaces – let’s put petty politics aside and actually do what’s right.”

    Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA, 11th)

    “This is yet another attack by President Trump to undermine the success and stability of the ACA. This irresponsible decision will make it easier for insurance companies to discriminate against Americans with pre-existing conditions and take advantage of those most in need of affordable, comprehensive health coverage. It is appalling that this Administration, despite public opposition, is prioritizing reckless campaign promises over working on behalf of the American people to improve our health care system.”

    Debbie Dingell (D-MI, 12th)

    “This spiteful decision by President Trump will have devastating consequences for the health care that families, seniors and children rely upon. The President’s action does nothing to improve care or bring down costs for the American people, which should be a shared goal of the President and every Member of Congress. Instead, this decision will directly result in higher costs for working families, create instability in the marketplace, and result in millions being uninsured in 2018.

    “This is absolutely unacceptable. The American people have rejected Trumpcare time and again. Since the President was unsuccessful in ramming his awful repeal bill through Congress, he has taken it upon himself to dismantle health care for the American people. This is shameful. President Trump is directly responsible for the negative impacts this will have on families across the country. Congressional Republicans should work with Democrats to reinstate these critical payments and improve, not undermine, the health care Americans depend upon.”

    Scott DesJarlais (R-TN, 4th)

    “Since its inception, Obamacare has failed America’s middle class, bearing the brunt of increased health care costs, fewer insurance options and a decline in the quality of medical care, as doctors and facilities disappear, particularly in rural districts like mine. Because of excessive taxes and regulations, employers are dropping coverage. At the same time, insurers have fled state exchanges, and millions remain uninsured.

    “More federal interference, such as single-payer, is the wrong answer. Giving workers, families and small businesses more choice and flexibility is the right one. The President’s order should help Tennesseans negotiate better prices, find inexpensive, short-term insurance, if necessary, and take advantage of tax-free accounts to purchase better health care. But ultimately, Congress must pass free-market reforms Republicans have advocated for years. The Senate must act.”

    Eliot Engel (D-NY, 16th)

    “The President’s decision to cut off cost-sharing reduction payments is his most outrageous act of sabotage against our health care system yet.

    “These payments enable insurers to keep consumers’ out-of-pocket costs down. Per the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), ending them will cause premiums to rise and spur insurers to leave markets, in turn leaving Americans with fewer choices – the exact opposite of what the President has promised for months.

    “If the President truly believed that action was needed on Congress’s part, he would have called on Congress to act. I have cosponsored the Marketplace Certainty Act, along with dozens of my colleagues, to appropriate funding for the cost-sharing reduction payments and remove any ambiguity on this issue. But, instead, the President chose to put millions of Americans’ health care at risk.

    “Just yesterday, the President signed an Executive Order that could bring back the junk insurance policies that, before the ACA, offered little value for your money and punished sick people for their health status. Now, he’s doubled-down with a move that will hike up premiums and limit consumer choice. All of this amounts to the same ‘pay more, get less’ plan that the American people rejected in Trumpcare.

    “Make no mistake: any instability in our health care system going forward will be a direct consequence of the President’s actions over the past two days. There is no reason for the President to make this move other than to hurt Americans. I am deeply saddened that in his desperation to see the ACA fail, he has made this egregious decision.”

    Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT, 3rd)

    “President Trump’s unilateral latest decision to stop making cost-sharing reduction payments will increase premiums for millions of Americans and will destabilize the marketplaces. The President is dead wrong when he calls these payments ‘bailouts.’ The truth is that they help people with modest means reduce their out-of-pocket healthcare costs. This action hurts the working and middle class Americans that President Trump promised to advocate for. He has now turned his back on them and is using them as a bargaining chip.”

    “Congressional Republicans must immediately come to the table and work with Democrats to ensure these vital payments are continued and to make healthcare more affordable.”

    National Flood Insurance Program Passes House

    Source: Warren Davidson (R-OH, 8th)

    Washington, D.C. - October 14, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- U.S. Rep Warren Davidson released the following statement concerning his “NO” vote on the $36.5 billion Disaster Relief Supplemental, which included a $16 billion dollar bailout provision for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a program already roughly $25 billion in debt.

    “I fully support the families of Puerto Rico, California, and all those affected by the destructive force of these recent hurricanes and wildfires, but lumping a bailout provision to disaster relief efforts is different. I can't support a bailout for an unreformed program that wildly spends America down a path to bankruptcy. In its current state, the NFIP is an example of a Washington, D.C., band-aid fix to a gaping financial problem which saddles Ohioans and others with billions in debt. We should wholeheartedly respond to help families affected by these natural disasters, but we need to do so responsibly and with a free market approach and make hard choices when we have to.”

    The bill, the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act, which passed the House 353-69 under suspension of the House rules spends five times more than was initially requested for efforts that fall outside disaster relief and included provisions like bailing out the NFIP.

    The House Financial Services Committee that Rep. Warren Davidson is a member of included provisions to reform the NFIP, but were not included in the disaster relief and NFIP bailout bill. These reforms included provisions such as spending caps, debt reduction planning, and allowing private companies to compete alongside government run flood insurance.

    Read more about this:

    House Passes Storm Aid With Puerto Rico, Flood Coverage Lifeline