This week in Washington, I had the opportunity to meet with several members of the Texas Water Conservation Association (TWCA), a state-wide organization dedicated to Texas' water service. As a part of their annual Texas Water Day, I met personally with several members from the Dallas area, in addition to speaking to the entire delegation as a part of the Texas Water Day Congressional Speaker Series.
Congressman Pete Sessions speaking at the Texas Water Days Congressional Speaker Series.
We discussed the outlook for the 2012 Texas Water Plan and the need for continued conservation efforts, adequate funding support and appropriate federal oversight. It is essential that Texans not only have sustained access to water, but also have access to clean and healthy water. This can only be done through innovative infrastructure projects and practical conservation techniques. I look forward to continuing working with TWCA to find sustainable, proactive solutions that will benefit the water usage of all Texans.
CLASS Act Repeal
On Tuesday, I managed the rule on the House floor for the Fiscal Responsibility and Retirement Security Act of 2011, legislation that would repeal the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act. The CLASS Act is an unworkable long-term health program created by ObamaCare. Even President Obama and the Secretary of the Health and Human Services Department have sided with Congressional Republicans, warning that the program is unsustainable and cannot be continued.
Unfortunately, ObamaCare included this financially irresponsible entitlement program because Congressional Democrats chose to legislate without revealing the contents of the bill to the American people. The CLASS Act was little more than a budgetary gimmick to sell the unpopular government takeover to the public, allowing the claim that the new health care law cost $80 billion less than it actually does.
On Wednesday, the House passed this repeal, which is only the latest of House Majority's efforts to stand with the American people in the fight against a government takeover of our health care system. Families and small businesses have already witnessed firsthand the devastating impacts of ObamaCare -- rising health costs that discourage employers from hiring new workers, fewer choices and damaging cuts to Medicare. I will continue work with my colleagues to pursue opportunities to repeal the health care law and promote an alternative plan to provide affordable, patient-driven solutions for North Texans and all Americans.
On Tuesday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its annual ten-year "Budget and Economic Outlook" report. The report, which predicts another year of national deficit over $1 trillion and at least another two years of unemployment above 8%, demonstrates yet again that President Obama's tired policies of borrowing, taxing and spending will not turn our economy around.
In light of this report, I was proud to support two bills that substantially cut government spending this week. H.R. 3835, which passed the house on Wednesday, extends the payroll freeze for federal employees and Members of Congress for another year -- legislation that could potentially generate $26.2 billion in savings. The House's vote this week was particularly timely as the CBO reported Tuesday that federal employees earn about 2% more on average than private sector employees in comparable professions. When pension and health benefits are factored in, federal employees earn approximately 16% more.
As Americans across the nation sacrifice and scale back their budgets, I believe that Congress should too. That is why on Wednesday, the House furthered our ongoing commitment to cutting spending by also passing H. Res. 496 to reduce House committee budgets by 6.4% in 2012. In the coming months, my colleagues and I will continue to find ways to fairly and effectively utilize your tax dollars, leading by example in our ongoing fight to return this nation to fiscal solvency.
State Department Travel Warnings
If you plan to travel internationally during the coming months, please be sure to check the State Department's current travel warnings. When a travel warning is issued, the State Department is recommending that Americans avoid traveling to that particular destination, or that they recognize the risk of travel.