Health Care Update:
Even though President Barack Obama's health care reform plan is law, more details about the contents of the law and its implications for our future are still being discovered. As I continue to stay engaged in the ongoing debate about health care, I'm happy to be able to pass on some of what I learn to all the residents of the 7th Congressional District.
On April 22nd, the Chief Actuary from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which administers the Medicare and Medicaid programs, released a report warning Congress, the President, and the American people that President Obama's health bill will INCREASE national health care expenditures by $311 billion during calendar years 2010-2019. This is in direct contradiction to the President's stated goal for health care reform, which was to save money. In fact, last February, the President's Office of Management and Budget said: "The single most important thing we can do to improve the long-term fiscal health of our nation is slow the growth rate in health care costs...The path to fiscal responsibility must run directly through health care." Somewhere between February 2009 and today, the President forgot that his Administration made this declaration, and instead, we are now plagued with a law that will cost Americans $311 billion more than necessary in just the next 10 years.
I encourage you to read the CMS report by clicking here.
Foreign Affairs and Defense News:
I joined over 300 of my fellow members of the U.S. House of Representatives in sending a letter to President Barack Obama calling on him to immediately address our growing concerns about Iranian nuclear capabilities. This strong, bipartisan letter will hopefully spur the President to exert significant pressure on Iran and work with our allies to do the same. We simply cannot allow rogue regimes led by radical elements that support terrorists and oppress their people to gain access to nuclear weapons. I will continue to fight for strong U.S.-led action against Iran's ability to build nuclear weapons in the future.
To view a copy of this bipartisan letter, please click here.
This week, I joined my colleagues on the Water Caucus to recognize Earth Day. My focus, as it has been for quite some time, is on water resources issues. In honor of Earth Day, I circulated a Dear Colleague to my fellow Caucus members to urge them to continue working on water issues even after I am no longer a Co-Chair. This issue is too important to ignore. I am hopeful that others will pick-up where I leave off and carry the Caucus forward into the next decade.
To view a copy of my Earth Day Dear Colleague, please click here.
Sports and Recreation:
I am always proud of the great facilities that the State of Georgia has to offer, and I am once again honored to have the U.S. Masters Tournament held at Augusta Georgia. This golf tournament brings people to our great state and introduces them to the rich culture that Georgia has to offer. For this reason, I am glad to join the Georgia Delegation in co-sponsoring H.Res. 1256, "Congratulating Phil Mickelson on Winning the 2010 Masters Golf Tournament." This legislation, introduced by Representative Paul Broun (R-GA), recognizes Mr. Mickelson's third Masters Golf Tournament win at the world-renowned Augusta National Golf Course in Augusta, Georgia.
To view a copy of the text of the legislation, please click here.
Blog of the Week:
Washington, D.C., does a good job at addressing one issue at a time. Unfortunately, water infrastructure is rarely near the top of the list. For Earth Day, I would encourage my colleagues to think ahead and make this issue one of concern. In 1973, our nation's last Federal water commission wrote, "Water is one of the several resources without which a nation cannot satisfy the fundamental wants of its people or achieve the important national goals it sets for itself . Without water life cannot be sustained."
In 2008, Jean Ziegler, the Vice-President of the UN Human Rights Council's Advisory Committee, wrote a report concluding that we could provide fresh drinking water and sanitation to everyone in the developing world and beyond for about $50 billion a year. Much of the misery on this planet is caused by lack of access to fresh water.
I would support U.S. government funding to fix that. It is simply a matter of transport and storage. We have to move water from one area to another. Providing clean water to the 1.6 billion people who do not have it is not only our moral duty, but I believe it is also a necessary strategic tool in our nation's fight against disease and lack of economic progress around the globe.