The House Takes First Step to Repealing Health Care Reform Law
Last March I voted against Obamacare. This week, I fulfilled my pledge to the people of Eastern Kansas and voted to repeal this job-killing, government takeover of our health care system. Rather than bringing down health care costs for Americans, helping job creators provide coverage for their employees, and preserving Medicare for our nation's seniors, the Obamacare package raises premiums for families, hits states and businesses with costly unfunded mandates, adds additional job-killing taxes, and cuts Medicare by more than half a trillion dollars.
It was irresponsible to pass this bill against the will of the American people, but with a national debt topping $14 trillion, unemployment still over 9%, and many states on the verge of bankruptcy, it would be equally irresponsible to allow these so-called reforms to be implemented.
While I am pleased the House has passed the repeal of Obamacare, the repeal still has several hurdles to cross before it becomes law. Even so, it is now time to start work on what we would replace the law with. Truly responsible, cost-effective reforms to our health care system are of critical importance. This Thursday, the House took the first step towards implementing a replacement of Obamacare by passing H. Res 9, which directs House committees to get to work on developing patient-centered health care reforms to provide Americans access to affordable, quality health care. As a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, I look forward to playing a key role in this process.
The focus of the new reforms will be on the portions of our health care system that need to be fixed. A costly and unnecessary overhaul of the entire system is not what Americans need or want. It is my hope we can develop responsible policies that will increase competition and choices in health care, ensure coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, and address the abuse of lawsuits. The key to positive reforms will be finding an outcome that empowers patients, families, and physicians, not Washington bureaucrats.
The Peoples House Works Best When It Is Accountable to the People
Over the last several decades, lame duck sessions have regularly been abused by both political parties. Using a lame duck session to force through unpopular and controversial legislation is exactly the type of deceitful Washington gimmicks that Kansans and all Americans have come to despise. It is time for a new era in American politics. Accountability and transparency need to be values Congress lives by rather than overused catchy campaign buzzwords.
This is why, this week, I introduced the End the Lame Duck Act into the 112th Congress. The End the Lame Duck Act is a commonsense, non-partisan bill which puts a permanent end to lame duck sessions. Prior to the general election, Congress would adjourn, until the commencement of the next Congress. Any appropriation bills not passed by Election Day would be subject to a continuing resolution at the previous fiscal year's level. Only a declared national emergency, which requires the agreement of both the majority and minority leadership, would allow Congress to be called into session.
The House of Representatives functions best when it is accountable to the American people. If Congress acts responsibly, we can legislate for 22 months and utilize the time after the election to focus on other tasks, for instance allowing members to focus on casework and listen to those they represent.
I have introduced the End the Lame Duck Act in the spirit of bipartisanship. If enacted, this Republican majority will be the first to lose the ability to abuse the lame duck session after the 2012 general election. It is my hope that this Congress takes a stand for accountability and passes the commonsense, non-partisan End the Lame Duck Act.