Newsletter: District Connection - 3/16/15



Last week I joined with hundreds of my House colleagues on both sides of the political aisle in sending a letter to the Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding its proposed 2016 payment rate reductions for Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. MA plans are very popular with our nation's seniors, with more than 30 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in a MA plan, including roughly 130,000 Georgians. Unfortunately, many MA beneficiaries have seen their health benefits reduced or their coverage lost entirely due to CMS payment reductions in the last few years. Another round of cuts will almost certainly mean that some Georgians who are currently enrolled in a MA plan that they like, with physicians that they want to continue seeing and prescription drug coverage that suits their needs, will have to choose between paying more money for less service or dropping a health care plan they like for something else entirely. That's absolutely unacceptable in my opinion, and I was pleased to join my colleague in opposing any more Medicare Advantage payment cuts.


Last week I had the pleasure of visiting with a group of students from Greater Atlanta Christian School in Norcross. These students were all in a civics class together, and as part of their educational experience, they contacted my office recently with a number of important questions about health care, taxes, foreign policy, and education. We discussed how Congress is a barometer of the country's voters -- a place where the views of the American people come together. It's because people come from different backgrounds, experiences, and parts of the country that Congress looks as diverse as it does and why members of Congress, even those from the same party or the same state, may have vastly different views of what their constituents are expecting from their government. This is why it is so important to take part in the democratic process and make your voices heard.


Last week I mentioned in this newsletter that I had joined 235 of my House colleagues in sending a letter to the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) expressing deep concerns about BATFE's proposal to ban certain types of ammunition. This week I'm happy to tell you that BATFE has seen the error of its ways and has decided to drop its proposed ban for the moment. This is a victory for Second Amendment advocates and victory for all Americans who believe that legislating is the appropriate role of Congress and should not be subsumed by the whims of the Executive Branch. That said, I will continue to monitor BATFE's proposals in the future to ensure that this type of proposal does not return.


The Georgia State Senate passed a resolution last week urging Congress to enact the FairTax and expressing Georgia's commitment to ratifying the repeal of the 16th Amendment. I hold Georgia out as an example of leadership for other states to follow. We will need leadership both at the state and the federal level if we are to make the FairTax a reality, and I am grateful to the Georgia Senate for its hard work.


This week the House is expected to consider two bills from the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee: H.R. 1030, the "Secret Science Reform Act of 2015," and H.R. 1029, the "EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2015." These bills have received broad support in the past, and I hope that they will be positively received by the Senate this year.

The House will also consider S.J.Res. 8, a bill that passed the Senate earlier this month expressing Congressional disapproval of the "ambush elections" rule that was recently proposed by the National Labor Relations Board.