E-Newsletter: Washington Watch - 7/28/14


Humanitarian Crisis on America's Southern Border

On Wednesday, as Chairman of the Republican Study Committee, I led a conservative conversation among House members on how best to address the growing threat we are experiencing on our southern border. While there are disagreements on the best path forward, we all agree that the young children being trafficked from Central America to the United States is clearly a humanitarian crisis. Unfortunately, it is an entirely predictable crisis of the Administration's own making. The only people who are profiting from this crisis are the smugglers who are trafficking these children for money. It must stop now, and this week, I expect the House will be able pass a responsible bill that will quickly and safely return these children to their home country and their families and put an end to this escalating crisis. Yes, I believe that the President already has both the resources and the authority to return children, but he is telling America that he has neither. The bill that the House will pass this week will make the law clear for all the world.

Holding Republicans Accountable, Too

Last Thursday I went to the House floor to speak about an important fiscal issue -- the need to control mandatory spending. What Democrats have done through stimulus bills, Republicans tend to do through the Income Tax Code: increase federal spending. The House had a bill under consideration last week that would extend and expand part of the stimulus bill that President Obama championed five years ago. This Republican bill would add almost $74 billion in new deficit spending through "refundable tax credits," which are payments from the IRS to people who don't owe any taxes. This spending is what we call "mandatory spending" -- meaning that Congress only votes on it once but the money continues to be spent year after year after year. I have said it many times before, and I'll say it again: the major drivers of our national debt are mandatory spending programs, and adding to that list is misguided.

Unfortunately, I lost this debate, and the bill ultimately passed the House. But I know that I raised enough of a fuss that we will not see another one of these bills try to slip through the process any time soon. Standing up to the President is what folks expect of Republicans. Standing up to other Republicans is what folks need. I am committed to doing exactly that. If Republicans only defend our principles when Democrats violate them, then they aren't really principles at all.

Providing Quality Service to Medicare Beneficiaries

On Friday I joined with my good friend Dr. Tom Price (R-GA) and 135 other members of Congress from both sides of the aisle in sending a letter to the Inspector General (IG) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requesting that the IG conduct a study of Medicare's Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) competitive bidding system and the new mail order diabetic testing supplies program. These programs are designed to control costs for American taxpayers and beneficiaries while providing high quality medical services. There is a significant number of Georgians in the Seventh District who rely on DMEPOS to support their quality of life, and what my colleagues and I are seeking is a complete accounting of this program so that we can ensure that the quality of the program remains high and that beneficiaries are receiving necessary services.

The Week Ahead

This week the House will consider H.Res. 676, which would authorize a lawsuit against the President for his unconstitutional abuse of power in refusing to faithfully execute the law -- in this case, the Affordable Care Act. As I've said numerous times over the past few weeks, this lawsuit isn't about politics, it's about preserving and protecting our Constitution.

The House will also consider a bill to bring greater transparency to the process of listing endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. H.R. 4315 requires that when a determination is made that a particular species should be listed as threatened or endangered, that the basis for that determination be published on the Internet. Too many decisions have been made on listing endangered or threatened species or habitats based on scientific evidence that nobody, except for government bureaucrats, has access to. This is wrong. The American taxpayer is paying for this review process, and as such, it is only appropriate that the scientific data should be subject to public review.

This Wednesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will be holding a hearing entitled: "IRS Abuses -- Ensuring that Targeting Never Happens Again." With story after story in the press detailing the lost emails, refusal to testify, and possible cover-up of targeting practices, it is essential that the House work with the Administration to ensure that nothing that this IRS scandal ever happens again.

Finally, this week, I expect the House to consider a conference report on reforming the Veterans Health Administration to adequately serve our veterans and a bill to provide additional funding and immigration reforms to address the humanitarian crisis on our nation's southern border.

Member of Congress