On Thursday, July 1, 2010, the House of Representatives once again passed a short-term extension of the Federal Unemployment Insurance (UI) program. This extension costs taxpayers $34 billion and will continue the much maligned program of 99 weeks of unemployment insurance through November 30, 2010. Though the House has passed seven UI extensions in the past 2 years, and knew that the program would need to either come to an end or be extended once more, House Democrats are continuing to call this an "emergency" spending bill. When something is deemed "emergency," the Democrats don't have to bother with find the money to pay for the program; they just tack $34 billion onto the deficit. As many economists will tell you, high long-term deficits only stifle job growth. This is the opposite of what we want for our economy.
To read a copy of my House floor speech on this topic, please click here.
Health Care Update
On June 29, 2010, I was proud to sign a discharge petition for H.R. 4972, a bill by Representative Steve King (R-IA) that would repeal ObamaCare. A discharge petition, when signed by a majority of House members, forces a bill to be considered on the House floor. Under normal procedures, only the Speaker of the House, Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has the power to bring a bill to the floor for a vote. Naturally, Speaker Pelosi has refused to bring H.R. 4972 to the floor, even though it has 95 co-sponsors and the discharge petition has garnered 109 signatures to date.
I remain committed to any effort that will repeal ObamaCare, save our children trillions of dollars in long-term debt costs, and provide real solutions to our health care problems.
To view the text of H.R. 4972, please click here.
This week I became an original co-sponsor of the "Meaningful End to Defensive Medicine & Aimless Lawsuits (MedMal) Act of 2010." This legislation, introduced by Representative Phil Gingrey (R-GA), will afford patients the opportunity to receive fair compensation for a medical incident in a timely manner while reducing the number of meritless claims filed each year. Among its many provisions this legislation will encourage early offer settlements, ensure that a defendant in a case is only financially responsible for their own share of damages, and requires that expert witness testimony in a medical liability case come from a licensed medical expert. This legislation will help to reduce the $200 billion spent annually on defensive medicine and is a step in the right direction to lower health care costs.
You can review the text of H.R. 5690 by clicking here.
On Monday, Representatives Ike Skelton (MO-04) and Phil Gingrey (GA-11) introduced H. Res. 1483 to honor the 14th Armored Division of the United States Army. I was proud to co-sponsor this piece of legislation. The 14th Armored Division Association is holding its 45th annual reunion on September 8th, 2010. In honor of this occasion, my colleagues and I have joined together to honor the exemplary service and sacrifice of the soldiers of the 14th Armored Division of the United States Army, known as the Liberators, during World War II.
The 14th Armored Division arrived in Marseilles, France on October 29, 1944 and soon after participated in the liberation of the French province of Alsace that November. During the final weeks of the war, the men of the 14th Armored Division liberated 200,000 Allied personnel from German captivity; among them were over 30,000 Americans (approximately 40% of all Americans held by Germany.) The Division has also been designated a "Liberating Unit" by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in recognition of its liberation of approximately 250,000 civilians of many nationalities and ethnicities from forced labor and concentration camps.
As our Independence Day approaches, it is important to reflect upon the sacrifices all the men and women in our military have made to protect our freedoms here at home, but also the freedoms of those abroad in need. I am happy to support this piece of legislation in remembrance of the brave men of the 14th Armored Division.
To view the text of this legislation, please click here.
This month, the U.S. Department of State released its 2010 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. Human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar industry involving the selling of human beings into forced labor and many times sexual servitude. The International Labor Organization estimates that there are at least 12.3 million adults and children in forced labor, bonded labor, and commercial sexual servitude at any given time. Although these atrocious crimes are not something that seem to be a part of our everyday life here in the United States, human trafficking is actually a tragic reality in our culture, and several cases of trafficking have even been cited and documented in Atlanta, Georgia. For the first time ever, the United States was ranked on the Tier 1 Watch List, along with 176 other countries in the TIP Report. According to the TIP Report, the United States is a source, transit and destination country for men, women, and children, subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced labor, debt bondage, and forced prostitution. The U.S. Department of State indicates that, "The annual Trafficking in Persons Report serves as the primary diplomatic tool through which the U.S. Government encourages partnership and increased determination in the fight against forced labor, sexual exploitation, and modern-day slavery."
I remain hopeful that the U.S. Department of State will continue to fight against human trafficking. The United States continues to lead the world in its efforts to uphold the dignity of human life and basic human rights; freedom is one of the basic foundations of our culture, and I am proud that once again, the United States has been a leader in the fight to provide the most fundamental and basic forms of human rights to the rest of the world.
Blog of the Week
Sometime between graduating Marine Basic Training in March 2005 and his death on June 17, 2005, Private First Class Brian M. Smith of Lawrenceville wrote a beautiful poem exemplifying the sacrifice of so many for the freedoms we enjoy in this country. I would like to share Brian's poem with you this July 4, as Brian's own service and his poem symbolize the true price of freedom. Click here to read it. Let us not forget that every Independence Day our country has celebrated has been paid for by the sacrifices of such brave men and women.