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Repealing Mandatory Funding for School Health Center Construction

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. GRAVES of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I guess I'd start off by saying only in Washington can spending money lead to saving money. That's what we just heard. But that's not the case.

I think about what the impact that ObamaCare is having on the State of Georgia. This year alone hundreds of millions of dollars it's cost the taxpayers of Georgia, projected to be over $1 billion here in subsequent years.

While I support full repeal of the program, I've already demonstrated that through my votes, this is specifically getting rid of a slush fund that's in place eliminating funding for the construction of facilities in local communities.

I'm sure this is a laudable program in many areas, and there's probably a lot of laudable programs that folks want to fund. But the fact is we just can't do it. We don't have the resources to do it anymore.

Number one, we need to find out what is the true role and function of this Federal Government. I do not believe this is it. We should allow the States and empower the States who are best equipped to handle the needs of the local community.

So I certainly support this measure and urge my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on H.R. 1214, and let's move on to repealing the full measure of ObamaCare.

Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from New York (Mr. Engel).

Mr. ENGEL. I thank my friend for yielding to me.

You know, give me a break. I hear speaker after speaker on the Republican side saying we don't have the resources to do these things. It seems that we always have the resources to give tax breaks for the rich. We don't worry so much about the budget deficit when it comes to protecting our rich friends.

The Republicans, 2 weeks ago, spent time passing bills putting Medicare and Medicaid in jeopardy, and now they would deny these community health centers.

The majority doesn't bring bills to help create jobs in this country. So, once again, here we are--God knows how many times--with a bill that's trying to kill the Affordable Health Care Act. Again, it's political theater. It's not going to pass the Senate. The President would veto it. Let's put our heads together and do something constructive instead of saying ``no'' to health care.

The value of school-based health centers is well-known. There are 1,900 in the country. They provide access to high-quality, comprehensive medical care to nearly 2 million children and adolescents. Services are provided regardless of a student's ability to pay, and are provided right where they are at school. In my district, these are very important. Even the high school from which I graduated has a wonderful center. It's the kind of program that we should be promoting and replicating; but instead, we are considering a bill that would repeal the funding for the construction of these centers.

The agency monitoring it is concerned about the sustainability of the health center. The Health Resources and Services Administration, or HRSA, is thinking of the sustained success of these programs, and it will only support those school-based health centers that are going to have long-term success.

So, Mr. Chairman, let's be honest. Today's debate is not on the sustainability of these centers or on mandatory spending. Today's theatrics are simply one more attempt by the Republicans to undermine the Affordable Health Care Act. We are wasting time in doing this again and again, and we should stop. The Affordable Health Care Act makes health care affordable for the middle class, and it helps prevent the steady rise in health costs that has led to much of our budgetary woes over the years.

I am for quality health care. We should vote ``no'' on H.R. 1214.

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