President Obama’s Final State Of The Union A Missed Opportunity
Prior to President Obama’s speech, I released a video detailing the three items I hoped to hear the President address: first, a comprehensive strategy to restore American leadership across the globe; second, a plan to fix our nation’s broken VA system (so our veterans can get the best care available); and lastly, a commitment to ensuring an open and transparent government. Unfortunately, I believe the President fell well-short on all three of these critical issues and missed an important opportunity to move our nation forward.
Following the State of Union Address, I logged into Facebook for a “live event” and further discussed the President’s State of the Union. Additionally, I had in depth conversations with Neal Dionne on WOOD Radio and Parker & Davis on 1260 the Pledge. Both of these interviews are available for you to listen to at the links above.
Defunding Planned Parenthood & Repealing ObamaCare
For the first time ever, Congress put a bill on the President’s desk to defund Planned Parenthood & repeal ObamaCare.
This important reconciliation legislation eliminates funding for Planned Parenthood and instead invests those dollars into federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics that do not put their financial interests ahead of women and children
In Michigan, there are 20 federally qualified health clinics for every Planned Parenthood location. This will ensure women receive high quality medical care while protecting the life of the unborn.
Last Thursday, I spoke on the House floor about promoting a culture of life and this historic legislation. You can watch the video here.
AP Government: How Does Planned Parenthood Receive Taxpayer Dollars?
I have heard from many constituents across West Michigan who were disappointed that the recent year-end government funding legislation did not “defund” Planned Parenthood.
Like the overwhelming majority of families across West Michigan, I do not believe abortion providers like Planned Parenthood should be eligible to receive Title X grants, which are funded by the annual appropriations process.
However, Planned Parenthood’s primary source of funding is not through the traditional appropriations process, which is also known as discretionary spending. The bulk of taxpayer dollars that Planned Parenthood receives comes from a category known as mandatory spending, which is outside the traditional power of the purse held by Congress. This is very similar to how ObamaCare is funded.
The government shutdown in 2013 demonstrated that programs funded via mandatory spending, like Planned Parenthood and ObamaCare, would continue to operate while our troops and border agents would go without pay and life saving research is put on hold.
By passing the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act, Congress defunded nearly 90% of the federal dollars Planned Parenthood is currently eligible for. “Defunding” Planned Parenthood through the appropriations process would have only addressed approximately 10% of the funding the organization receives from Title X grants.
While the President vetoed this measure, it marks a historic victory for the pro-life movement. It also demonstrates that Congress has found a way to navigate the arcane rules of the Senate in a constitutional manner to repeal the burden that is ObamaCare.
Let’s not forget, if there was a Republican in the White House, ObamaCare would be repealed and the vast majority of taxpayer dollars flowing into Planned Parenthood would be eliminated. Moving forward, I will be supporting the effort to override the President’s veto.
Protecting the 2nd Amendment
By making the decision to use executive actions, the President is clearly attempting to politicize tragedies to advance his gun control agenda as he said he would do in an October 2015 speech.
Last week, I spoke on the House floor in defense of the Second Amendment & law abiding citizens while calling on the President to stop pursuing his political agenda and join the bipartisan effort to fix our nation’s broken mental health system.
I am a proud cosponsor of Rep. Tim Murphy’s Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. This legislation will overhaul our nation’s inadequate and outdated mental health system so people who need treatment can receive it. Simply throwing more money at the issue without these reforms is like giving the VA more money without demanding better care for our veterans.
The Michigan Minute
• Pentwater Firefighter’s family finally to receive death benefit
• American, West Michigan hero Ralph Hauenstein passes away at 103
• West Michigan auto suppliers help power Detroit success
• Wyoming Chief of Police Jim Carmody to attend State of the Union
• Grand Rapids rated among top 20 places to visit by New York Times
• Gun sales spike in Michigan; record set for background checks
• Go Blue: The State of the Union always has its share of interesting attendees
• Michigan Coast Guard units answer the call