Health Care Update
I’m very disappointed we couldn’t reach consensus on repealing ObamaCare last week. Over the past six years, I have consistently heard from families and small businesses across West Michigan regarding how they have been negatively impacted by higher premiums and fewer choices all because of the “Affordable” Care Act. While the American Health Care Act was by no means a perfect bill, I believe it was a step in the direction of achieving greater health care flexibility and lower costs for West Michigan residents.
On Monday, I discussed the future of health care in America with the Grandville-Jension Chamber of Commerce. At the meeting, Mary shared her story detailing how ObamaCare caused her premiums to soar by 150% compared to her old plan, while her deductible and co-pays both doubled. Mary said, “I work 60 hours a week to cover expenses and take home a little money to live on. I pinch every penny I make and now the government is taking 40% of my income to cover healthcare? My cancelled plan only took 12% of my income. How is this ‘affordable’?” ObamaCare has failed Mary, and unfortunately because of how the system is structured, there are far too many stories like hers.
I don’t believe ObamaCare can be salvaged, and I will continue to fight to repeal the onerous taxes and mandates put in place by ObamaCare and replace it with a system that restores choice and lowers cost.
Strengthening The Great Lakes Economy
Ensuring the federal government lives up to its obligations to properly dredge Great Lakes Harbors is critical to job creation and economic opportunity in Muskegon, Grand Haven, Holland, and Ludington. On March 9th, I testified before the House Appropriations Energy & Water Subcommittee to discuss my ongoing bipartisan effort to hold Washington accountable and strengthen the Great Lakes Economy.
Protecting The Great Lakes
On March 4th, I led a bipartisan letter to President Trump requesting that he personally intervene to help protect the Great Lakes by releasing the first draft of the Brandon Road Report. The letter also respectfully requests the President to instruct the Army Corps of Engineers to continue working with state and local officials, as well as Great Lakes stakeholders, to implement a long term solution for keeping Asian Carp out of the Great Lakes.
President Trump’s Budget
While there are serious and necessary reforms that I support in President Trump’s budget proposal, there are also areas where I have significant disagreements with the President. For example, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is a critical program that works to preserve the Great Lakes for future generations. The health and vitality of the Great Lakes is instrumental to having a productive Great Lakes economy that creates good-paying jobs and sustained economic growth.
Ultimately, it is Congress that has the constitutional authority to determine which programs are funded. In an era where federal spending must be prioritized, I believe the GLRI, which has a history of proven results and strong bipartisan support, should continue to be a national priority. As co-chair of the Great Lakes Task Force, I am planning to have active conversations with both the Administration as well as my colleagues on Capitol Hill about the importance of the GLRI as Congress continues the appropriations process.
Cutting Red Tape, Boosting Job Creation, Increasing Opportunity
Last week I held a Capital Markets Subcommittee hearing on how the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has implemented the JOBS Act and what its impact has been on capital formation and job creation. During the hearing I called on the SEC to stop pursing political objectives outside its core mission and focus on creating a regulatory environment that supports innovation and job creation.
I also recently appeared on Fox Business with Stuart Varney to discuss how Dodd-Frank has hurt our economy at the local level by piling layer after layer of red tape on community banks. My colleagues and I are working to enact commonsense reforms through the Financial CHOICE Act that hold Wall Street accountable but make it easier for small businesses on Main Street to get loans from their community banks so they can grow and create jobs. Click the photo below to watch the interview.
The Keystone Pipeline
Its official, the Keystone XL Pipeline has finally been approved! After years of exhaustive studies and manufactured delays by the Obama Administration, President Trump has made the construction of Keystone a reality. This important infrastructure project is an $8 billion investment that will create thousands of jobs at no expense to hardworking taxpayers.
In my mind, the Keystone Pipeline should have been approved years ago, but political games created a self-imposed embargo on energy security and American jobs. Approving the Keystone XL Pipeline is a clear example of how Republicans are working to support the creation of good-paying American jobs.