|Date:||Friday, April 5, 2013|
|Re:||April Legislative Agenda|
The arrival of spring brings great hope to many Americans. It also provides us with a renewed sense of responsibility to continue to focus our efforts on creating the conditions for economic growth and job creation, upholding American values, and supporting American families. In doing so, we also must continue communicating the benefits of our policies and what they mean to the people we represent.
I hope these two weeks back in your districts provided you with time to reconnect with your constituents, hear their thoughts, and understand their concerns. Benefitting from these conversations and encounters, we will ensure our efforts are geared to making life work for more Americans enabling them to realize an opportunity filled future. In that light, I'd like to provide you with a brief look at legislation we plan to consider during the coming weeks.
Economic Growth and Jobs
The Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act
On January 25, 2013, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals held in Noel Canning v. NLRB that the president’s three recess appointments on January 4, 2012 to the NLRB were constitutionally invalid. However, since the ruling only applied to the particular case in question, the NLRB continues to meet and issue highly controversial decisions without a constitutional quorum to meet.
In response, Phil Roe, along with Chairman John Kline, introduced H.R. 1120, The Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act. This legislation will prevent the NLRB from meeting and issuing rules until either the administration’s appointees are confirmed by the Senate or the Supreme Court determines the appointees to be constitutional. It also ensures the NLRB does not enforce actions dictated by the appointment of the three new board members from invalid January 2012 recess appointments.
Cyber attacks are not just a threat to our national security; they also impact our jobs and economy. These cyber attacks include Chinese and Russian-based intrusions into corporate business networks for the purpose of industrial espionage, as well as attacks from hackers or states like Iran aimed at disrupting key internet nodes or harming critical infrastructure. Upwards of $300 billion worth of intellectual property is stolen from American businesses each year by cyber security intrusions emanating from China and Russia.
In concert, Chairmen Mike Rogers, Bob Goodlatte, Darrell Issa, Mike McCaul, and Lamar Smith will begin to address cyber security this month. I anticipate an aggressive push to combat costly cyber attacks on American intellectual property and to protect American jobs throughout the spring and summer.
In the event that we reach the debt ceiling, current law does not require the Treasury Secretary to prioritize debt service payments on the government's existing debt. To address this, Tom McClintock, along with Steve Scalise, Jim Jordan, Tom Price, and Jeb Hensarling, have introduced legislation that in the event the statutory debt ceiling is reached, the Secretary of the Treasury would be required to pay principle and interest due on debt held by the public before paying anything else. I expect the House to consider legislation in this area in the near future.
Supporting American Families and Upholding American Values
Kids First Research Act
One in 50 school children in American has autism. In the era of the federal government having to do more with less, we must insist that federal research be prioritized. Finding cures for pediatric diseases like autism should come first.
The Kids First Research Act sponsored by Gregg Harper and Tom Cole does just that by funding pediatric research at NIH and paying for it by eliminating taxpayer funding of presidential campaigns and party conventions. This bill certainly reflects the priorities of House Republicans.
On February 15, 2013, the administration announced it was suspending enrollment in the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), a $5 billion program created by Obamacare to help sick and chronically ill Americans obtain insurance coverage through January 2014. It is estimated that tens of thousands of Americans with pre-existing conditions will go without insurance because of this lapse.
Republicans have historically supported high-risk pools and reinsurance programs. Most notably, in 2009 House Republicans voted to provide $25 billion to ensure Americans with pre-existing conditions were not denied access to health insurance.
Currently, Chairman Fred Upton, Joe Pitts, and Michael Burgess are working on legislation which will allow PCIP to accept enrolled for the remainder of the year by taking funds from other Obamacare programs such as the Public Health Slush Fund. Full repeal of Obamacare remains our goal but we can take this specific action to help Americans with pre-existing conditions receive insurance coverage now.
The Working Families Flexibility Act
In 1985 Congress permitted state and local governments to compensate their employees’ overtime hours with paid time away from work in lieu of overtime pay. However, this option was not afforded employees in the private sector then, and reflects the state of the law today. All too often working parents find there just isn’t enough time at home with their kids. Too many parents have to weigh whether they can afford to miss work even for half a day to see their child off on the first day of school or attend a parent-teacher conference.
That is why we will consider The Working Families Flexibility Act sponsored by Martha Roby. This legislation will provide the same opportunities for working parents in the private sector as those in the public sector. This bill will allow working parents the opportunity to accrue paid time away from work to participate in the lives of their children without fear of lost wages.
I hope this memo provides you with an outline of our legislative plan for the next several weeks. Our focus is to provide more opportunities for more Americans and to help make life work for more families. This spring and summer, we will aggressively pursue our policies aimed at growing our economy, limiting the size of government and expanding the freedom America was built on.