Washington Watch - 6/29/15
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Obama Administration’s interpretation of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) subsidy procedures, ruling that it was lawful for the Administration to extend tax subsidies to Americans who purchase health insurance on the federal exchange. The plaintiff in the case argued that the plain text of Obamacare limited subsidies to Americans who purchased health insurance from a state-based exchange. The government argued that Congress always intended the subsidies to be available to all income-eligible Americans, regardless of whether they purchased insurance through a state-based or federal exchange. In the end, the Court sided with the government.
So what does this mean for the future? In the short-term, it means that nothing changes. The manner in which the ACA was interpreted and enforced last month is the same manner in which it will be interpreted and enforced this week and next week and next year. In the long-term, it means that we have to focus our attention and our efforts on making small, but necessary alterations to the law and working together to bring change to Washington in 2017. I commit to you that I will continue working toward our shared goal of reforming health care so that it works for Americans without unnecessary government intrusion.
- Wall Street Journal. Supreme Court upholds Obama’s health-law subsidies
- New York Times. Supreme Court allows nationwide health care subsidies
- Atlanta Journal Constitution. From a ‘disaster’ to landmark victory, Georgia politicians react to Obamacare ruling
On Wednesday, the House passed a bill, H.R. 2041, the “Ratepayer Protection Act of 2015,” postponing the dates when states and power plant operators have to submit specific carbon dioxide reduction plans for power plants to the EPA. The bill doesn’t “gut” the EPA’s rules – as some opponents of the bill have claimed – but it does make sure that the EPA’s rules aren’t allowed to subvert economic development or put Americans at risk of not having a reliable source of affordable base-load power.
I know that everyone in Georgia wants our state to have clean air, and we’re willing to do what is necessary to get that. However, we should be able to do that without the heavy hand of the EPA placing unworkable mandates on us that will only increase prices for little environmental benefit. I hope that the Senate will work to quickly send this common-sense legislation to the President’s desk.
As a matter of faith, I know that all people are created by God and worthy of love, respect, and equal protection under the law. That said, this decision by the Supreme Court simply doesn’t comport with our Constitution in my opinion. Marriage is not a fundamental right guaranteed by our Constitution, rather it is a union governed by states that are supposedly guaranteed by our Constitution that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Wherever you stand on this issue, our Republic is not strengthened when amendments to our Constitution are proposed and ratified by the courts rather than by American voters.
- Wall Street Journal. Supreme Court rules gay marriage is a nationwide right
- Atlanta Journal Constitution. Sam Olens: ‘Georgia will follow the law’ on same-sex marriage
- CNN. Supreme Court rules in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide
It is always an honor for me to visit with our local businesses in the 7th District, and last week I had the opportunity to visit the folks at Telecommunications Technical Services, the 2015 Cumming-Forsyth Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year. While I was there learning about how this groundbreaking business is serving our community and the world, I was grateful to be given the Spirit of Enterprise Award on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This award is given every year to those Members of Congress who routinely support legislation that help American businesses and entrepreneurs grow our economy and jobs.
If you live in Cumming, you might have driven past Forsyth County’s newest library – the Post Road Library. If you’re like me, you probably remember the library as a silent tomb where old books gathered dust and you were forced to dig through a massive card catalogue, but that’s just not the case anymore. I spent time there with Library Board members learning about this technology-driven LEED facility, and it is incredible. The Post Road Library is a vibrant space that has something for everyone. In fact, if you have a school-age person in your life who likes creative writing, they might be interested in attending one of the writing workshops at the library. You can find the complete list of library activities on the library’s website.
I finished the day off with a town hall meeting at the Forsyth Conference center. I want to thank the many residents who came to discuss the issues. If you missed this opportunity, I will be hosting another Forsyth County Town Hall soon, and of course, you can call my district office at 770-232-3005, any time to ask questions and share your thoughts.
- Forsyth County News. Congressman discusses nation’s priorities during Forsyth visit
You might remember that I joined hundreds of my House colleagues in May 2015 in sending a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) asking that it delay the implementation of a rule regarding home closing procedures until the realty industry could properly prepare and ensure that the rule could be effectively executed. Last week, the CFPB announced that it was going to delay the rule until October 2015. While I had hoped that the delay would have been longer, I am pleased that the hard work and counsel of my colleagues and I has made a positive impact for the real estate community and for all homebuyers in America.
I want to highlight for you this week a very important hearing that happened on the Senate side of Capitol Hill last week that was spearheaded by my friend and colleague Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA). The hearing looked at a number of veterans benefit bills, including two that addressed the concerns that some of our Seventh District neighbors talked about at my most recent town hall meeting in Cumming: S. 1117, which allows the VA Secretary to remove senior executives from the department, and S. 1082, which allows for the removal or demotion of employees at the VA for performance or misconduct issues. A third bill was also included, S. 901, which establishes a center for research on health conditions that are prevalent in the descendants of veterans who were exposed to toxic substances during their years of service. The House Veterans Affairs Committee followed suit last week as well and passed bills similar to those in the Senate that would make it easier to fire VA employees.
We owe our veterans the best care that we can give them, and anytime a federal employee stands in the way of that mission, we should be able to take appropriate and swift action.
If you’re looking for some fun family events to attend this Independence Day, you might want to consider some of following.
The City of Cumming’s Independence Day Celebrations begin on July 3rd with games and food at the Cumming Fairgrounds, followed by fireworks, and continue on July 4th with the famous Steam Engine Parade at 10am.
The City of Duluth will have its annual July 3rd Celebration from 6-11pm on the Duluth Town Green with food, games, and fireworks.
The City of Lawrenceville will host its Prelude to the Fourth event from 7-10pm on the Lawrenceville Lawn. The event will feature a performance by the Aurora Theater and fireworks.
The City of Norcross is hosting its Red, White, and Boom! Independence Day celebration from 4-10pm in Downtown Historic Norcross.
The City of Sugar Hill will host Sparks in the Park starting at 6pm at the E.E. Robinson Park with music and fireworks.
The Mall of Georgia in Buford will host its 13th annual Star Spangled Fourth celebration beginning at 5pm and ending with a fireworks show and a showing of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.
The City of Lilburn will host its annual Sparkle in the Park event from 5:30-10pm in the Lilburn City Park with live music, food, fun for the kids, and of course, fireworks.
The City of Snellville is hosting Star Spangled Snellville from 3-10pm on the Towne Greene featuring games, music, and fireworks.
I hope that you and your family have a blessed 4th of July. God bless you all and God bless America.
Member of Congress