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E-Newsletter: Mark's Weekly Update October 13, 2013


Location: Washington, DC

Government Shutdown Update

The House has now passed a lengthy list of bills to fund vital government functions including veterans services, lifesaving cancer research at the National Institutes of Health, pay for the National Guard and reserve forces, national parks, disaster relief, food for mothers and children in need, border security, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Head Start program. Unfortunately, the Senate has refused to consider any of these measures to minimize the impact of the shutdown on the American people. While these bills sit idly on Harry Reid's desk, the House's invitation for a formal conference to negotiate has been ignored by the Senate.

The House also voted this week to create a bipartisan House-Senate negotiating team to resolve differences regarding the debt limit and get the government reopened. Within hours of the proposal coming to light, Democrats and President Obama came out in opposition.

We passed legislation in the House to provide back pay for furloughed federal employees once the shutdown ends and a bill to make sure workers still on the job are paid on time. I am hopeful Harry Reid will not deny workers a paycheck simply to avoid sitting down at the negotiating table with Republicans. Thankfully, the Senate did join us this week in passing legislation to ensure the families of our fallen soldiers receive the benefits they deserve.

Our goal has been to bring President Obama and Harry Reid to the table and start talking. House Republicans have held strong and continue to work toward opening the lines of communication while remaining committed to finding long-term solutions to our $17 trillion debt, nearly trillion dollar deficits, and reforms to strengthen and preserve our entitlement programs.

Unfortunately, President Obama again rejected our latest good faith offer on Friday to reopen government through December and lift the debt ceiling for six weeks. It is disappointing to see the President continuing to reject any form of compromise. In divided government, no party can refuse to negotiate. My House colleagues and I continue to work to find common ground and get the government reopened for the American people.

Charlotte Observer Reports on the Reality of Obamacare in North Carolina

An article in the Charlotte Observer this week demonstrated why President Obama's promise that "if you like your current insurance, you can keep it" is ringing hollow in North Carolina. Across the state in recent weeks, thousands of people have been shocked to learn that their health insurance plans will be canceled at the end of the year due to the Affordable Care Act --- and the premiums for comparable coverage are higher than many can afford.

It's no wonder President Obama gave a reprieve from this devastating law to businesses and other powerful interests. Hardworking Americans deserve the same.

Pisgah Inn Reopens

Last week, National Park Service rangers blocked the entrances to the privately-run Pisgah Inn on the Blue Ridge Parkway. One of the rangers was sent from Roanoke, Virginia, to assist in shutting it down. The decision by a federal agency to punish an innkeeper who is not accepting any government funds while paying a ranger from out of state to forcibly close his doors demonstrates that this was not a funding issue but a political standoff. The House passed a bill two weeks ago to restore funding to the National Park Service, but it continues to sit on Harry Reid's desk.

On Wednesday, the Pisgah Inn reopened to the public. I am grateful to have been able to work with owner Bruce O'Connell and the National Park Service to get this situation resolved.

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