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FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. President, I think any American who heard the explanation of what ObamaCare does for Americans will realize that the complexity of the health care system, the importance of the patient-physician relationship cannot be managed from the Federal level. I had difficulty really determining exactly what was being said there.

I do want to talk about health care, but before I do, I need to make a couple of comments about the FAA perimeter rule that is part of the discussion to which the health care amendment will be attached.

The perimeter rule is an antiquated policy adopted in the 1960s that prohibits aircraft flying in and out of Reagan National originating or departing anywhere beyond an arbitrary 1,250-mile limit. Congress imposed this limitation five decades ago in an attempt to help the Dulles Airport in Virginia when it was first being opened. The rationale was that the best way to ensure growth at Dulles was to limit the growth at National Airport, and so, by federal fiat, a short-haul airport was created at National and a long-haul airport created at Dulles. At the time, Congress assumed government could create an efficient aviation system and the government would best decide prices, routes, and schedules.

The perimeter rule is outdated today. Americans out West want to fly directly into downtown DC. Travelers from downtown DC do not want to go to Dulles to fly to the west coast. The government needs to do away with the perimeter rule, just as it did with the regulation of the aviation system long ago.

Dulles is now an international airport and can easily compete with National or any other airport in the country. The Federal transportation policy should be based on competition and consumer need, but the existing perimeter rule is denying consumers choice in air travel and frustrating market forces that could accommodate these consumers.

Consumer choices in the markets should govern the schedule and flights out of Reagan National, not the Federal Government.

This week, President Obama gave a speech about health care--or actually I guess it was last week now. The speech was at a fancy hotel here in Washington. He told jokes to make everyone laugh and sad stories to endear his audience further to his cause.

The President said, as he has many times before, his law will lower the cost of health care. President Obama knows how to give a good speech. He also knows how to tell it like it isn't. While President Obama was busy selling his policies on the stump, others were busy analyzing the real effects of his health care law. It is not limiting cost.

We have heard some of the figures given by the Democrats here from the Congressional Budget Office. But we have to expose that they are playing with numbers. If you tell the Congressional Budget Office to take $500 billion from Medicare, which is already bankrupt and cannot pay doctors to see patients, you take $500 billion and call that ``savings'' that are created by ObamaCare, that is part of where they get their money. The other part is to raise taxes on a lot of health care products and services and call that new revenue creating by ObamaCare.

Any thinking American knows you cannot create a trillion-dollar new health care entitlement and it actually saves us money. When the Congressional Budget Office looks at our whole health care spending at the Federal level, it tells us, without all of those funny assumptions, that the Federal spending on health care is going to double over the next 10 years. That is not saving us money.

This is the same office that found, without these funny assumptions, that ObamaCare would cause premiums to rise an average of $2,100 per year for families in the individual market. That is telling it like it is.

It was not that long ago that some of the country's largest insurance carriers sent a letter to their enrollees warning them that ObamaCare was going to drive up the cost of premiums. They told it like it is. The Obama administration did not want this information to get out. So the Department of Health and Human Services sent a letter back to the insurance carriers saying their claims were not true, and HHS would have zero tolerance for this type of misinformation. They want to keep on telling it like it isn't.

Richard Foster, the Chief Actuary for Medicare, an independent economic expert, recently testified before the House Budget Committee. He was asked if it was true or false that Obama's health care bill would lower cost. A true-or-false question. He said: I would say false more than true. He told it like it is. False more than true is a very polite way of saying no, it will not lower health care costs. That claim is false.

President Obama also promised that if you would like to keep your health care plan, you can keep it. Richard Foster was also asked if those who liked their health care plans would be able to keep their coverage. He said: Not true in all cases.

It certainly is not true if you live in one of the 34 States where health insurance insurers stop selling child-only policies. It is not true if you live in Colorado and have Aetna Insurance. Politico reported Monday evening that the health insurance carrier was pulling out of the individual markets. Many Americans will lose their health plans with ObamaCare.

But you can keep your health care plan if your union or company got one of the 733 ObamaCare waivers so far. The waivers cover almost 2.2 million people. You can get your health care or you can keep it if you are a member of the six chapters of the Service Employees International Union which got waivers, and whose political action committee spent more than $27 million helping Barack Obama get elected, or if you are one of the 8,000 members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union that got waivers. Their PAC has spent millions helping Barack Obama and Democrats get elected.

These are the unions that supported cramming ObamaCare down the throats of the rest of America. Even though labor unions represent less than 7 percent of the private workforce, they have received 40 percent of the waivers. They do not want the health care they want other Americans to have to accept. Most Americans do not play these political games. They do not have lobbyists and PACs. But I think they should all get a waiver too.

I think we should name this repeal bill that we will vote on today the Great American Waiver. Every Republican in the Senate is committed to repealing this bill. Every American gets a waiver when we repeal this bill. Soon, we will have a vote to repeal ObamaCare here in the Senate. I strongly urge my colleagues to follow the House in repealing it and returning it to the sender in the White House.

I am aware the President currently in the White House might want to veto our repeal. There is, however, going to be a Presidential election in 2012, and this health care bill, this health care law, is going to be a defining issue in that election. 2012 is 2 years before the law will fully be implemented. We can get a supermajority to overturn his veto in the next election or we can get a new President who will support its repeal. I think both outcomes are possible. Let's all go on record now showing where we stand. I suspect there are some Democrats who might want to repeal this law before voters repeal them. The question is, do they have the courage to break with their party?

For now, the President wants us to think his law can be fixed by modifying it slightly. It cannot be fixed. Trying to fix it with a few good ideas is like pouring a few glasses of fresh water into a polluted river. ObamaCare cannot be fixed by tinkering with its provisions, because the basic premise is flawed.

This law is actively creating a government-controlled system that relies on high taxes, less choices, and bureaucrats making health care decisions for Americans. This is exactly what we are opposed to and why we insist on a full repeal. A recent analysis by the Center for Health Transformation found it will give the Secretary of Health and Human Services 1,968 new powers. Last year the Joint Economic Committee found that ObamaCare created 159 new Federal programs and bureaucracies to make decisions that should be made between patients and their doctors.

If the Democrats and Federal bureaucrats are permitted to control our health care system, our Tax Code will look simple by comparison. Worst of all, in the rush to pass this legislation, none of its proponents cared if it was unconstitutional. They were not going to let the Constitution get in the way of their health care takeover. Even now, when asked about the constitutionality of the bill, the Secretary of Health and Human Services has said: I am leaving those arguments to our legal team from the Department of Justice.

So far their legal team is losing. Two judges have told it like it is. ObamaCare has been ruled unconstitutional by judges in Virginia and Florida. The Virginia court held that the individual mandate requiring every American to purchase government-approved health insurance was unconstitutional. The Florida court ruled the entire bill was unconstitutional because of the individual mandate included in it. In his decision handed down on Monday, Florida District Judge Roger Vinson compared the law to a finely crafted watch in which one of the pieces is defective and must be removed.

But what happens to ObamaCare when you remove that one piece, which is clearly unconstitutional? The rest of the law falls to pieces--as the judge might say: The watch will not work. Vinson wrote: ``I must conclude that the individual mandate and the remaining provisions are all inextricably bound together in purpose and must stand or fall as a single unit.''

An unconstitutional law that touches the most important personal decisions Americans ever make must not stand. We must repeal the bill in its entirety. Because at the very heart of it, which makes all of the other parts work, that very heart, that individual mandate, violates the highest law of our land.

It is already failing Americans. Health care costs and premiums are going up, despite the false assumptions we hear on the other side. Choices and consumer control over the health care system are going down. By continuing to follow a failing plan, the government is planning to allow our health care system to fail.

Obama's broken promises are going to create a broken future for our country. If we do not fully repeal this bill, it is going to add nearly half a trillion dollars in new health care taxes and raise the Federal budget deficit by more than $500 billion in the next 10 years, and nearly $1.5 trillion in the next decade.

Yet the President says this is going to save us money. We know this so-called Affordable Health Care Act for America does not live up to its label. We must repeal this bill and implement commonsense solutions that will lower the cost of health care for consumers and make health insurance available to everyone, even with preexisting conditions.

We should allow Americans to choose affordable plans across State lines, and we should end frivolous lawsuits that drive up costs, and give equitable tax treatment to those who do not get insurance from their employer. ObamaCare does none of this. The facts and figures tell it like it is. President Obama tells it like it isn't. It is time for Congress to tell it like it is and repeal ObamaCare.

I yield the floor.


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