Fighting for Conservative Change

Jun 25, 2015 Issues: Education, Energy, Health

Dear Friend,

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

  • Reaction to Supreme Court's Ruling in King vs. Burwell 
  • Leading the Fix for Flexible School Lunch Regulations
  • Trade Legislation Heads to President's Desk for Signature
  • Protecting the Internet - The DOTCOM Act
  • Stopping EPA Overreach that Hurts Hoosiers


Reaction to Supreme Court's Ruling in King vs. Burwell 

Patients should come first, not the federal government.  The Supreme Court’s decision to rule in favor of the President’s disastrous law is disappointing. However, this decision does not change the fact that Americans need real health care reform that lowers costs, empowers patients, improves access, and increases competition.

I will continue to fight for patient-centered health care solutions, like the bill I co-authored, the American Health Care Reform ActThis is a consumer-driven, commonsense health care reform bill that will increase access and reduce health care costs for all Americans.

I have fought to bring transparency and accountability to our health care system and will continue to fight until government overregulation is replaced with government accountability.

Earlier this week, I led passage of H.R. 1190, Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act.  The bill repeals ObamaCare's Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a panel of unelected, Washington bureaucrats. This board would monitor and potentially recommend cuts to the Medicare Program.  We need to focus on making sure seniors have access to the health care they need. As more and more Americans rely on Medicare for their health care needs, the last thing we should do is limit health care providers’ ability to provide care for their patients


Leading the Fix for Flexible School Lunch Regulations

This week, I led a hearing entitled, “Child Nutrition Assistance: Looking at the Cost of Compliance for States and Schools,” to discuss the challenges schools face when implementing federal regulations for nutrition programs.  The 2010 reauthorization of the national school lunch and breakfast programs introduced new regulations that expanded Washington’s influence over school cafeterias. 

As the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, I know how important it is to give education leaders a chance to voice their concerns on failing programs such as this one.  Mr. John Payne, a fellow Hoosier and President of the Blackford County School Board of Trustees in Hartford City, testified as a witness at this hearing.  Mr. Payne made it clear that local schools operate best when given flexibility about their menus and noted that ever since these regulations were introduced, fewer students are eating the lunches that schools offer. 

Mr. Payne gave a shocking example of how some students are going so far as to sneak salt and pepper into schools and in some cases, even selling this “contraband” to their peers. 

(Picture with Mr. John Payne at the hearing)

It is clear that current regulations are failing our students.  If our shared goal is to increase student success in the classroom and if we know that nutritious meals play an important role in that success, then we have a responsibility to pursue reforms that better ensure taxpayer dollars are well spent and students well served.


Trade Legislation Heads to President's Desk for Signature

Earlier this month, I led the successful effort in the House to pass Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation.  This week, Republicans in the Senate and the House fought hard and ultimately, Democrats supported the right policy for America. The Senate passed an identical version of the House-passed bill and now the bill goes to the President’s desk for his signature.  

I have received some questions about TPA, mainly if this is ‘fast-track’ legislation.  The bill is quite the opposite.  This legislation puts the brakes on the White House by mandating a sixty-day public review period for any new trade agreement.  After the review period, Congress must vote on the agreement before it can move forward.  

This is significantly more transparency and accountability than existed in prior, similar legislation. It is a good thing for bringing transparency to trade agreements that are under negotiation, like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).  

I am supportive of legislation for free trade because Indiana is a top ten state exporter of pharmaceuticals, motor vehicles, agricultural products, and steel products.


Protecting the Internet - The DOTCOM Act

The internet is the greatest economic engine of the 21st Century.  A recent proposal by the Obama Administration would begin transferring control of the internet’s Domain Name System (DNS) from the United States to a global internet community.  DNS helps map out the internet by taking a website address (like and connecting internet users to the actual content of the website.

What makes the internet great is that it is free from government interference.  When countries like China use national firewalls to censor the internet, they do not have the ability to take the entire site down.  If we are not careful, following the transition of the Domain Name System to a global body, countries that censor the internet could take any website down.  It is vitally important for the future of the internet that this not happen.

To protect the internet, I joined with Representatives John Shimkus of Illinois and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee to introduce H.R. 805, the Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters (DOTCOM) Act, earlier this year.  The bill requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Congress to have a year to review any transition of Domain Name System authority from the United States to the global internet community. 

On Monday, the DOTCOM Act passed the House 378 to 25, a sign of strong bipartisan support. On Thursday, the Senate Commerce Committee held a markup to clear the way for a vote on Senate passage in the coming weeks.


Stopping EPA Overreach That Hurts Hoosiers

On Wednesday, Indiana Governor, Mike Pence, released a letter to the Obama Administration indicating that the state of Indiana will not comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Clean Power Plan to regulate carbon emissions, unless the plan is considerably changed. 

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan calls for a twenty-percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 levels in Indiana by the year 2030.  These regulations would increase electricity costs and cause the premature closure of coal-fired power plants, leading to concerns of electricity shortages.  

I agree with Governor Pence that the EPA must significantly revise this rule.  The proposed plan will not only increase the cost of electricity in Indiana but also make it less reliable.  The affordability and reliability of energy is a key reason that Indiana is one of the biggest manufacturing states in the country.  I will continue to fight in Congress to eliminate overreaching government regulations that threaten Hoosier jobs and the state of Indiana. 


Thank you for your continued interest in Congress and for supporting my efforts to bring Hoosier common sense to Washington. Take care.  



Todd Rokita