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Rokita Report - Starting the 115th Congress, State Health Flexibility Act, Defending Israel, & More
Happy New Year!
Thank you for the opportunity to update you on the work of the 115th 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
Welcome to the 115th Congress
This Tuesday, the 115th Congress was sworn in to begin the work that Americans entrusted us to do in November. On January 20, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will be inaugurated. Under a unified government, we have an incredible opportunity to fight for all Americans, so that they can build better lives for themselves and their families.
The new Congress and President working together will be our best chance to address the nation's fiscal future, rollback federal red tape, and create a healthy American economy. I am excited for 2017 and the new opportunities it will bring with our unified government. This week, I was able to share my excitement with visitors at my Washington DC office during an Open House event.
Attendees at the event included Anna and her colleagues from Nucor. In Indiana, Nucor produces steel and related products.
As Vice-Chair of the House Budget Committee, one of my priorities will be to help write and advocate for legislation to repeal ObamaCare through reconciliation. This will allow the bill to bypass the Senate's onerous 60 vote threshold to get before President-elect Trump and get real relief to American people. Under ObamaCare, premiums and deductibles have increased as some Americans have lost their coverage. The number of plans available to Americans is decreasing too. In 2017, there is an average of 3.2 plans available per county, compared to 5.2 in 2015. Investments in medical innovations are down because of the financial burdens places on the innovators, ObamaCare imposes $500 billion in new taxes. ObamaCare is failing and repealing it will be one of my priorities in the 115th Congress.
Reintroducing State Health Flexibility Act
This week, I reintroduced the State Health Flexibility Act. This bill proposes reforms to the Medicaid program by block-granting the federal share of Medicaid funding to states, ultimately saving taxpayers $2 trillion over ten years through efficiency and fraud reduction. The bill was reintroduced with 26 original cosponsors.
Nearly 25 percent of state budgets go to Medicaid, and if we want the program to continue to help low-income Americans, we must deal with its long-term spending. State and local leaders know the needs of the people in their state better than any Washington bureaucrat does, which is why this bill empowers states to find innovative and effective ways to administer Medicaid, while also protecting the hardworking taxpayers who fund it.
This is the fourth Congress that I have introduced the State Health Flexibility Act in. It has garnered 142 cosponsors since the 112th Congress. Medicaid block grants have had 5 years averaging 97 percent acceptance within the House Republican Caucus as part of the House Republican budget. Vice President-elect Mike Pence has recently voiced his support for the idea. The idea was included in House Republicans’ Health Care Task Force report as part of the Better Way agenda that House Republicans are using as a blueprint for governing in the 115th Congress.
Opposing the UN's Anti-Israel Resolution
On December 22, the United Nations (UN) introduced yet another anti-Israel resolution. Unfortunately, instead of standing by longstanding United States policy to veto resolutions like this, the Obama administration decided to abstain. This decision was not all that surprising given the administration's record of undermining our friendship and alliance with Israel, but nonetheless disappointing.
The UN should work to keep peace and develop friendly relations among the nations of the world, not defame and bully Israel. In response to this resolution, my colleagues passed a resolution to send a clear message that Congress and the American people will continue to stand with Israel. We passed H. Res. 11, legislation that I cosponsored, which objects to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 as an obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace, and for other purposes states the House of Representatives’ disapproval of United Nations Security Resolution 2334. The resolution passed 342 to 80, a sign of strong bipartisan show of support.
I am also a cosponsor of H.Res.14 which explicitly disapproves of the Obama administration’s choice to abstain instead of veto the resolution.
Congratulations Senator Dan Coats
This week, my friend and mentor Senator Dan Coats was announced as Director of National Intelligence by President-elect Donald Trump.
By nominating Indiana’s own Senator Dan Coats to serve as Director of National Intelligence, President-elect Donald Trump has shown Americans that he is serious about keeping our country safe during this dangerous time. Dan Coats has the knowledge and experience necessary for the job, and will ensure that our national intelligence community is run with Hoosier common-sense. In the Senate, he has served on the Armed Services Committee and the Select Committee on Intelligence. He was the United States Ambassador to Germany after the terrorist attacks of September 11.
Senator Coats had recently retired from the Senate, but I am glad to see he will continue to serve. When I was a college student, I interned for his office in Washington and the experience inspired my own service.
Thank you for your continued interest in Congress and for supporting my efforts to bring Hoosier common sense to Washington. Take care.