Weekly Wrap-Up: October 28, 2013 - November 1, 2013
Nov 3, 2013
Letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
Recently Senator John Boozman, Rep. Rick Crawford, Rep. Tim Griffin, Rep. Steve Womack and I sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius expressing our concerns about health-insurance availability and affordability in Arkansas. While the average Arkansas family has seen their income fall 9% over the past decade, the government regulations and mandates of Obamacare will require these same families to pay between 100% and 600% more for comparable insurance coverage, or risk losing their family doctor if they choose a plan that costs less. This is simply unacceptable. Our letter requested a response by Friday, November 1, 2013, but we have yet to receive any communication from HHS.
Bust of Winston Churchill Dedication
Wednesday, a bust of the late British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965), was dedicated to the U.S. Capitol collection in National Statuary Hall.
In his remarks, House Speaker John Boehner described Churchill as "the best friend America ever had." His words remain some of the most widely quoted, including a personal favorite: “success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Visit the Speaker’s website to check out a few highlights from the ceremony including multi-platinum recording artist Roger Daltrey’s performance of 'Stand By Me' and photos from the event.
The Vulnerable Veterans Housing Reform Act of 2013
Many of our current veterans assistance program are flawed, they spend too much and help too few. Monday, I spoke on the House Floor in support of H.R. 1742, the Vulnerable Veterans Housing Reform Act of 2013. This legislation ensures fairness in the housing assistance made available to our veterans who have borne the physical costs of service to the country.
H.R. 1742 amends current law to exempt expenses related to a veteran’s in-home aid and attendance-care payments from qualifying as income when determining their eligibility and payments from HUD programs. It also improves the way utility allowances are calculated by instructing public housing authorities to base payments on family size. The CBO estimates the reforms in this bill will save almost $50 million over five years while helping thousands of veterans obtain the appropriate housing assistance. The Vulnerable Veterans Housing Reform Act of 2013 passed the House by voice vote. The full text of my remarks cans be found here.
The Keep Your Health Plan Act
Everything we’ve seen from Obamacare thus far has been a disaster and the worst is yet to come. It’s not surprising Arkansans want nothing to do with this unworkable law. President Obama repeatedly promised the American people “if you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan.” Unfortunately, many are finding out the hard way that’s not the case as insurance providers send out cancellation notices to millions of Americans. That is why I was proud to co-sponsor the Keep Your Health Plan Act, which allows Americans to keep their current health insurance if they like it and ensures they won’t incur any penalty for doing so.
Hot Springs Best Buy and Russellville Lock and Dam Tours
Thursday, I made the quick trip across the river from Dardanelle to Russellville and met with the US Army Corps of Engineers. We discussed some of the issues they face and they gave me a great tour of the Lock and Dam system in operation. We also discussed maintenance issues facing the dam and toured the rest of the Corps’ facilities. I also learned more about the dredging and maintenance work the ACE conducts on the Arkansas River.
Later that afternoon, I stopped by the Best Buy in Hot Springs for a tour of their businesses operations. It was great to meet with the Best Buy team on legislative issues such as e-fairness and learn more about some of their initiatives like the e-waste program. I was happy to provide them with a quick Washington update and we wrapped up the day with a productive and informative question and answer session session. Click here to check out some photos from these tours.
House Financial Services Committee Hearings
Tuesday, I attended a House Financial Services Committee Hearing on the Federal Housing Administration. FHA Commissioner, Carol Galante, testified before on Washington’s latest taxpayer-funded bailout of $1.7 billion. Quite simply, this is unacceptable. Hardworking Arkansans and American taxpayers should not be burdened with bailing out failed housing policy. Earlier this year, the House passed the Protecting American Taxpayers and Homeowners Act which would create a sustainable housing finance system and prevent future FHA bailouts. Unfortunately, this legislation has yet to be considered by the United States Senate. Later that afternoon, I also attended the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit hearing, “Examining Legislative Proposals to Reform the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.” During the hearing, we examined several legislative proposals created to bring more oversight to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.