Thank you for taking the time to read my e-newsletter.
HOUSE BALANCED BUDGET VOTE
During talks to the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce and the Blount County-Oneonta Chamber, I discussed our vote in the House to balance the budget. As I observed in a television interview, just like a football coach needs a strategy to build a winning team, the federal government must have a plan to reduce a debt that is fast approaching a staggering $17 trillion. President Obama is more than two months late in submitting a budget and, in my view, the test of what he does present will be whether it brings the budget into balance and includes real reforms to entitlement spending programs.
THE GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE LAW AT YEAR THREE
On the third anniversary of the enactment of the government health care law, evidence is mounting that "Obamacare" will bring higher costs, a loss of private coverage, and costly tax increases. Concerns are increasing about what will happen when key provisions of the law are fully implemented in 2014. The House budget proposal defunds Obamacare, and my position continues to be that the law should be repealed and replaced with targeted, common sense reforms to improve access and affordability.
TORNADO RECOVERY IN ALABAMA
Alabama's recovery from the devastating tornadoes of April 2011 will be furthered by the announcement of an additional $120 million in federal rebuilding aid. Our congressional delegation worked together to address a regulatory discrepancy that had been preventing assistance from being made available for housing restoration, especially with regard to multi-housing units that were extremely hard hit in Tuscaloosa and other communities.
A COMEBACK STORY
The Cliffs Natural Resources coal operations in Jefferson County provide a vital source of energy for the U.S. and world economy. During a tour last week, I was also impressed by the commitment the company made to rebuild and expand after heavy damage inflicted to its Concord prep plant by those destructive tornadoes. Coal must be part of our national energy strategy and the $80 million local investment made by Cliffs is keeping it an important producer.
ACCESS TO HIGHER EDUCATION IN ALABAMA
Education remains a key to getting a good-paying job. Community colleges provide students across Alabama with accessible educational and training opportunities. Jefferson State has established an outstanding system locally under the leadership of Dr. Judy Merritt, as I saw during visits to its classrooms in Shelby and Chilton counties.