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10-07-2016 Rokita Report
Thank you for the opportunity to update you on the work of the 114th Congress. I trust this finds you and your family well, as we work together to bring Hoosier common sense to Washington.
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In this week's Rokita Report
Federal Employee Reform
Recently, I introduced H.R. 6278, the Promote Accountability and Efficiency (PAGE) Act. The PAGE Act addresses growing concerns about the conduct and performance of federal employees.
Like many Hoosiers, I am tired of seeing federal employees from the Internal Revenue Service, Veterans Affairs, General Services Administration, and many other agencies maintain employment, at the taxpayers’ expense, after engaging in misconduct, receiving consistent poor performance reviews, and abusing the appeals process for employees. Even more, taxpayers should not have to pay for employees who don’t answer letters, return phone calls, or solve problems that often times are created by the bureaucrats themselves. This bill is a step toward holding federal employees accountable to ensure that citizens are receiving the best service possible.
The PAGE Act would create at-will employment status for new federal employees, immediately suspend employees due to misconduct or poor performance, and ensure that taxpayers are only paying for official work activities.
Fighting Washington's Reckless Spending
Last Wednesday, I voted against a reckless spending resolution that authorized more spending without making needed cuts. With our national debt already over $19 trillion, I could not support the continuing spending resolution because several of the provisions were not even paid-for, including Zika funding, and therefore add to the national debt.
As an alternative, I recently introduced a fully paid-for Zika bill, the Zero Impacted Kids in America (ZIKA) Act which provided the requested levels of virus research while remaining budget-neutral. My legislation was not considered. This continuing resolution also fails to pay for disaster relief funds for the flooding that has devastated parts of the South. I saw the need for these relief funds firsthand during a visit earlier this month, but without being paid-for, this bill will try to solve one problem only by enlarging another: our debt.
This funding bill passed the House and provides money to fund the government through December 9. Of the $1.1 billion in Zika funding research, only $400 million is paid for. As Vice-Chairman of the House Budget Committee, I look forward to continuing to fight for fiscal responsibility.
Overriding the President's Veto
Last week, the House and Senate overturned President Obama's veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). This was the first time that a veto from President Obama has been successfully overturned.
The House and Senate took this historic step towards restoring the checks and balances of our government by taking a hard line against President Obama's senseless veto. The override effort passed the House with the support of 348 members, including myself.
Fifteen years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks killed nearly 3,000 Americans, JASTA allows the families of the victims to pursue justice and finally present their case in our nation's courts. The bill does so by amending federal law to allow civil claims against foreign countries involved in acts of terrorism perpetrated on United States soil.
ObamaCare Payments to Insurers
This month is the third anniversary of the ObamaCare insurance exchanges. We have new from auditors at the Government Accountability Office that the Obama administration is illegally sending payments to health insurers instead of the federal Treasury as the law requires.
ObamaCare created a reinsurance program that collects money from all health plans to help insurers cover the cost of sicker patients in the health care law's exchanges. To manage this program the government collects taxes from the insurers. After covering the cost of the program, the law requires the payments be sent to the federal Treasury. In 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services paid insurers $7.9 billion in claims and held the remaining $1.7 for future payments, instead of sending it to the Treasury.
This is another in a long string of examples on how ObamaCare is failing Hoosiers. To offer an alternative, I co-authored the American Health Care Reform Act with my colleagues on the Republican Study Committee. Our bill repeals and replaces ObamaCare with patient-centered solutions. In addition, I have served on the Health Care Task Force, which has laid a series of proposals to reform healthcare that includes my proposal for Medicaid Block Grants.
Thank you for your continued interest in Congress and for supporting my efforts to bring Hoosier common sense to Washington. Take care.