US / MI 2nd District – Congress

The Huizenga Huddle: March 29, 2017

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.

The Huizenga Huddle: Feb. 15, 2017

Strengthening Our Economy

Yesterday, I had the privilege of joining President Trump, Speaker Ryan, and Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling in the Oval Office for the signing of H.J. Res. 41, my legislation to remove a burdensome provision in Dodd-Frank. This particular regulatory hurdle puts U.S. companies at a disadvantage on the global stage when they are competing against foreign state-owned entities.

Prior to the signing of H.J. Res 41, both President Trump and I spoke from the Oval Office. To watch our remarks, click on the picture below.

For more information on H.J. Res. 41, click here.

Telephone Town Hall Reminder

Tonight, I am holding a telephone town hall at 7 PM. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this technology, I use telephone town halls to contact thousands of West Michigan residents to hear their concerns and provide an update from Washington. If you haven’t participated in a telephone town hall before, you can sign up here to join the conversation.

To The Point

Over the weekend, I joined Rick Albin on “To The Point” to discuss the latest developments in Washington as well as my expanded role as the Chair of the House Capital Markets Subcommittee. To watch the full interview, click the picture below.

Share Your Story

Nearly 7 years ago, President Obama and Democrats in Washington enacted Dodd-Frank under the guise that it would fix what ailed our economy. Since that time, we have learned that Dodd-Frank isn’t the answer and that it’s actually a BIG part of the problem. That is why my colleagues and I are working on a new version of the Republican alternative to Dodd-Frank known as the Financial CHOICE Act. .
As part of our upcoming roll out, we are looking for personal stories to help demonstrate how harmful Dodd-Frank has been. If you lost access to free checking, have found it more difficult to get a reasonable car loan or mortgage, or had to shut the doors to your small business because of Dodd-Frank – please let me know by sharing your story.

Some in Washington continue to believe the more regulations we have on the books, the better off our economy is. I for one reject this notion. We need efficient and effective regulations like the Financial CHOICE Act and by sharing your story, you can help make a difference!

The Huizenga Huddle: January 2017

President Trump’s Inauguration

This past Friday, our nation continued the storied tradition that has become a staple of American democracy – the peaceful transition of power. I look forward to working with President Trump and Vice President Pence to strengthen our economy, end the “Washington knows best” mentality, and make it easier for hardworking families and small businesses across West Michigan to succeed.

It was great to have so many West Michigan residents join in the inauguration festivities. For a behind the scenes look at Inauguration Day be sure to check out my Facebook page!

Beginning The Process To Repeal & Replace ObamaCare

ObamaCare is failing and will soon collapse under its own weight, which is why we must leave behind this failed policy and promote solutions that empower patients and care providers. On January 13th, I voted to instruct the House to begin the step by step process of repealing and replacing ObamaCare.

It’s important to remember that patient protections such as those preventing insurance companies from excluding coverage due to pre-existing conditions or dropping consumers because of costs associated with long-term care are not exclusive to ObamaCare. I am determined to strengthen these important protections as House Republicans have in the “Better Way” proposal, while also increasing access to quality care and delivering on lowering costs for families here in West Michigan and across the nation.

Protecting Those Who Cannot Protect Themselves

One of President Trump’s first actions was to reinstate a policy originally enacted by President Reagan that prevents U.S. foreign aid dollars from paying for or promoting abortions.

On Tuesday, I voted in support of legislation to ban taxpayer dollars from paying for an abortion as well as preventing taxpayer subsidies from being used to purchase insurance through ObamaCare that covers abortion. Traditionally, measures which prevent taxpayer dollars from being used to perform abortions have garnered bipartisan support. However, liberals in Washington have recently made it their mission to eliminate these longstanding protections. Prohibiting taxpayer dollars from being used to end the lives of unborn children should not be a partisan position.

After Tuesday’s vote, I spoke on the House floor and called on Congress to go further in protecting the life of the unborn. To watch my floor speech click the picture below.

Financial Services Update: New Subcommittee!

I am excited to announce that for the 115th Congress, I will be chairing the Capital Markets Subcommittee! The responsibility of the subcommittee is to ensure that our capital markets are diverse and highly efficient while helping to facilitate capital formation. Companies use the capital markets to manage their balance sheets, which means that companies are deploying their cash in smart ways such as reinvesting in the marketplace in order to create jobs versus having the money just sitting in a bank vault somewhere.

Additionally, individual investors use the capital markets to invest in such things as retirement accounts and college 529 savings plans. The goal of the subcommittee is to ensure a safe, healthy, effective, and efficient return on investments with the goal of helping to grow the economy. You can learn more about the Capital Markets Subcommittee by clicking here.

Protecting The Great Lakes & Strengthening The Economy

Earlier this month, my colleagues selected me to Co-Chair the Great Lakes Task Force for the 115th Congress. The Great Lakes Task Force has been at the forefront of the effort to enhance the environmental health of the Great Lakes while also ensuring the full economic potential of the Great Lakes region is realized. I am excited about this new opportunity and building on my bipartisan record of preserving and strengthening the Great Lakes.  To learn more about the task force click here.

The Huizenga Huddle: March 29, 2016

Confronting Terrorism
The attacks carried out in Brussels are a tragic and deadly reminder of the threats posed by terrorism that free people across the world face. We must show resolve and stand with our European allies in hunting down the individuals that committed these atrocities. Those who commit terror need to realize they will be brought to justice and held accountable for their actions. While details surrounding this tragedy continue to unfold, let us hold in our hearts and prayers the friends, families, and loved ones of those impacted by these deadly attacks.

Prior to the attack in Brussels, I supported House-passed legislation to recognize the persecution of Christians at the hands of ISIS as genocide and called on the Obama Administration to hold ISIS and the Assad Regime accountable for their crimes against humanity.

Since the passage of this legislation, the Obama Administration announced that the atrocities ISIS has committed against Christians and other religious minorities constitute genocide. This recognition is an important first step. We cannot stand for religious freedom around the world and do nothing when radical terrorists slaughter innocent Christians because of their faith in Christ. The President must provide a detailed response plan to end this genocide. The United States must lead on protecting religious freedom.

Protecting Taxpayers, Stopping Foreign Bailouts
This past Tuesday, I questioned Treasury Secretary Jack Lew about the Obama Administration pushing the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to make fiscally risky loans to Greece. Greece later defaulted on one of these loans, potentially leaving American taxpayers on the hook for the loan.

This is completely irresponsible. To prevent this from happening in the future, I introduced H.R. 4836, legislation to STOP these unsound bailouts, close the loopholes being exploited by the Obama Administration, and protect American taxpayers from footing the bill for the fiscal follies happening in the eurozone and elsewhere. To learn more about this important legislation and read the bill text, click here.

Defending The Constitution
For the first time in our nation’s history, the House acted to protect the constitutional standing of the Legislative Branch by filing an amicus brief with the Supreme Court against the President’s unconstitutional executive overreach. The Constitution is clear; the authority to make law resides within the Legislative Branch, not the Executive.

Recent actions by the Obama Administration have not only blurred the line on this important separation of power but have crossed it. By taking this unprecedented action, the House has gone on record to defend the principles of self-determination, self-government, and government by consent of the governed.

Speaker Ryan gave an excellent speech regarding precisely what is at stake if the Obama Administration and the unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats that serve it are able to disregard the Constitution. You can watch the speech by clicking here.

The Badger Is Now A National Historic Landmark!
Last month, after nearly five years in bureaucratic limbo, the application submitted to have Ludington’s S.S. Badger recognized as a National Historic Landmark has been approved!

This designation highlights not only the historical significance of the vessel but also underscores the economic importance of the Badger to the communities of Ludington and Manitowoc as well as the hardworking families and small businesses that have relied on this Great Lakes car ferry for generations.

I am happy to report that another generation of Michiganders will be able to experience and enjoy this piece of living history. Read more about this historic designation in the Ludington Daily News.

Fed Reform Follow Up
As some of you may know, I have authored the most comprehensive plan to reform the Federal Reserve in Congress. This legislation is known as the FORM Act. It aims to strengthen the economy by requiring the Federal Reserve to develop a math-based approach to policy decisions, while also making the Fed more accountable and more transparent to the American people.

Earlier this month, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University featured a piece written by Dr. Allan Meltzer regarding the Federal Reserve and how it needs to change the manner in which it conducts monetary policy. In the piece, Dr. Meltzer specifically references the FORM Act as the key legislative proposal to do just that. I hope you will read this informative article on why the FORM Act is not only a strong legislative solution, but a necessary one as well.

The Michigan Minute
 •  The “Original Rosies” includes West Michigan’s Sylvia Tanis of Holland
•  Get your canvas ready for the 2016 Congressional Art Competition
•  Students from Grant High School recently visited the nation’s capital!
•  Soo Locks reopen for the 2016 Great Lakes cargo shipping season
•  West Michigan Values: Character & Conduct matter whether people are watching or the room is empty
•  20 Things you might not have known about Michigan Agriculture
•  How one Meijer store is changing Detroit
•  Calendar Alert! House of Flavors to attempt to break World Record June 11
•  Ford Airport named top airport in North America
•  Do you know a young man or woman looking to attend a Service Academy?

Email Rep. Bill Huizenga at:
huizenga.enewsletter@mail.house.gov

The Huizenga Huddle: State of the Union Edition

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

The Huizenga Huddle: August 7th, 2015

Promoting a Culture of Life

As more videos are released detailing the horrific scenes from inside Planned Parenthood facilities, it is a heartbreaking reminder of how barbaric these procedures truly are.

On July 21st, I joined my Republican colleagues on the House floor to speak in support of life. These unborn children are not numbers on a spreadsheet or specimens in a lab. These are human lives. To watch my speech promoting a culture of life click here.

I am hopeful the House will soon consider H.R. 217, the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act. This legislation would prevent any “family planning grants” from being awarded to any entity that performs abortions such as Planned Parenthood. I am a cosponsor of this legislation, which is available for you to read here.

Lastly, the Wall Street Journal wrote a powerful editorial describing how taxpayer dollars are “fungible,” meaning every taxpayer dollar that goes to Planned Parenthood allows it to use more of its own money to perform abortions. To learn more about this, I encourage you to read the WSJ Editorial which is available here.

Hearing From You On Iran

On July 23rd, I held my third telephone town hall in the month of July with West Michigan residents. This conversation included many questions about the Iranian Nuclear Agreement, what it means for security, and what the potential alternatives are.

Some, including President Obama, are pushing the false narrative that we must accept this deal or go to war.  I reject this notion completely.

I believe this deal falls well short of the original stated goals and is dangerous not only for our allies in the Middle East, but for the national security of the United States as well.  The economic sanctions on the Iranian regime are working and are directly responsible for bringing the Iranian Government to the table in the first place. In fact, I believe the sanctions should be increased on Iran because of their continued support for terrorism.  Lifting the economic sanctions on Iran is not only the wrong move, it is dangerous.

Even the President has admitted some of the money unfrozen from sanction relief will be used to fund terrorism.  I encourage you to read this editorial from Bloomberg News regarding the President’s latest speech on Iran.  The President should stop promoting fear and stick to the facts about this agreement.

Action On Reforming The Federal Reserve

Last week, the House Financial Services Committee passed the FORM Act, my legislation to modernize the Federal Reserve and make the institution more transparent and accountable to hardworking taxpayers.

Earlier this week, I delivered a video message on Fed Reform and why “The Fed” needs to be brought into the 21st century.  The video delivers a quick break down of how my legislation would change the way the Federal Reserve operates and increases accountability.  Click here to watch the video.

If you would like to learn more about my bill, head over to Huizenga.House.Gov to read the legislation, see a section by section break down of the bill, and watch my speech prior to the committee passing this important reform package.

Michigan Minute

• Bipartisan Huizenga legislation to reduce spending, create jobs passes committee
•  Happy 225th Birthday to the U.S. Coast Guard!
•  Huizenga talks Iran during tele-townhall with West Michigan
•  West Michigan among leaders in U.S. manufacturing revival
•  Little Sable Point Lighthouse offers 130 steps to a great view
•  Muskegon Company recognized as a national leader, named “Metalcaster of the Year”
•  Meijer continues to expand “Made in Michigan” selections
•  Remembering President Ford