It's been another busy week in Washington, capped off with passage of the Highway Bill conference report on a bipartisan vote of 373-52. This critically important legislation helps to provide the funding which states, cities and towns need to develop and maintain the infrastructure necessary to attract new businesses and also to create new jobs. At the same time -- given the serious financial challenges facing our country -- I strongly supported the provisions in this conference report which promote job creation and do not add to our national debt.
What's more, this bipartisan agreement ensures that taxpayer dollars are spent on high-priority projects; cuts red tape to reduce permitting time; and eliminates duplicative federal government programs.
The House and Senate also came to an agreement this week to prevent student loans from doubling. The legislation freezes interest rates at 3.4% for one year, with the cost being offset in cuts to other non-essential government programs.
Also this week, the Supreme Court voted to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare. I was disappointed with the decision. I believe it's a huge setback for health care in America and confirms that Obamacare represents one of the largest tax increases in American history. The President's health care law is a 1,000 page, $1 trillion boondoggle which is already hurting our economy by driving up health care costs for Americans and making it extremely difficult for small businesses to create new jobs. Obamacare is a confusing, complicated and costly mess which will eventually lead to Washington bureaucrats making health care decisions instead of patients and their doctors. It's terrible policy.
There are ways that we can ensure that no one can be denied coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition, children can remain on their parents' insurance plan until they're 26 years old, and seniors will continue to get the help they need paying for expensive prescription drugs without resorting to government-dictated health care. We need to scrap Obamacare immediately and start over.
As always, thank you for your calls, emails and Facebook comments this week. It's important to hear from you as we debate a wide range of critically important issues.
I hope all of you have a great weekend and Fourth of July holiday. As you're watching fireworks with your friends and families next week, please take a moment to say a prayer for the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces who sacrifice so much in defense of freedom everywhere. God bless our troops!