4-28-2017 Rokita Report

Apr 28, 2017 Issues: Congressional Issues, Education, Health

Dear Fellow Hoosier,

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.

For daily updates, please take a moment to "Like" my Facebook page by clicking here  or follow me on Twitter if you prefer  @ToddRokita.


In this week's Rokita Report

  • Stopping Education Overreach
  • Community Cancer Center North Opens
  • Purdue Announces NewU
  • Rokita Reading


Stopping Education Overreach

This week, I was at President Trump's side as he unveiled a new Executive Order for a comprehensive review of the Department of Education's regulations and policies.  This review will ensure that statutory prohibitions on federal control of education are being preserved.

As the Chairman of the Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee, I fight to restore local and state control of education.  As a coauthor of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which the Wall Street Journal called the largest devolution of federal power in a quarter century, I worked to protect students from overreaching Washington mandates and the federal coercion to adopt national standards as a condition of receiving taxpayer dollars.

As we approach this administration’s first 100 days, it is great to have partners in President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, both of whom share my desire to get the federal government out of education and back to the states, where it rightly belongs.  Already President Trump has signed into law my resolution that reversed a regulatory attempt by the Department of Education to expand its reach into state and local education accountability programs and curriculums.  I look forward to continuing to build on these successes.

It was an honor to stand with President Trump as he announced an Executive Order to review education overreach in Washington.  As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, I look forward to using this information to further empower Hoosiers.

To read the President's Executive Order, please click here.

Community Cancer Center North Opens

Saturday Hoosiers saw the opening of Community Health Network's new cancer center in Indianapolis.  I was on hand to attend the ribbon-cutting event and visit this new cutting edge facility.

The facility cost $60 million to build and was designed with input from physicians, nurses, staff, and patients as a way "to provide a sense of healing and hope."  The new facility contains over 100,000 square feet of space over three floors, which is four times larger than Community Health Network's previous center.  The new location has family areas, work spaces, a chapel, and even exercise equipment.  It will help Community Health Network build on their over 60 years of service to patients in Central Indiana.

It was inspiring to hear directly from those who have fought cancer and won thanks to Community Health Network.  This facility was built with their input.

Cancer is a terrible disease and has impacted all of us in some way.  This facility helps those fighting the disease to find comfort and dignity during their treatment.  Treatments that we are working to improve on in Congress.  Last December, I voted in favor of the 21st Century Cures Act.  This bill was the culmination of years of hearings, roundtables, and negotiations on how best to direct more research dollars to NIH, speed up drug and device development, and ensure that we are spending effectively using taxpayer money.  The bill establishes an innovation account to support cancer research and dedicates $1.8 billion to this research over the next 7 years.  Additionally, the bill contains a number of provisions to reduce regulatory burdens on researchers and encourage diversity in clinical trials and support. 


Purdue Announces NewU

Purdue University continues to show real leadership and innovation.  Just this week, Purdue announced that it would be acquiring Kaplan University for one dollar and transforming it into Purdue NewU, a distance learning school.

Purdue University is one of the premier public universities in the world, and is committed to providing students with a high-quality, affordable college education.  Acquiring Kaplan University provides working adults around the country access to the benefits of being Purdue students and advances their educations online.  NewU will rely only on tuition and fundraising to cover operating expenses, and will have no cost to taxpayers.

With Kaplan University, Purdue will gain an advanced online infrastructure that allows it to extend its reach and leads towards even greater academic excellence.  Once again, Purdue University is on the cutting edge of innovation by putting students first.


Rokita Reading 
A clickable offering of books and articles that I've read recently and highly recommend, as we strive together to "Keep the Republic."

As Vice Chair of the House Budget Committee, I am committed to the ongoing negotiations to repeal and replace ObamaCare.  ObamaCare has been a disaster across the country.  Premiums are up and options are down.  The insidious lie that if you like your health insurance, you can keep it has been exposed as such.  I have been working with my colleagues on replacement legislation and to incorporate ideas that work.  One such idea is block granting Medicaid to give states the ability to innovate in healthcare.

In his excellent Washington Times article, What Congress Can Learn From the Rhode Island Miracle, Stephen Moore discusses the experience that Rhode Island had with block granting after receiving a waiver to do so in 2009.  According to Moore's data, "when Rhode Island received its Medicaid waiver one of every five residents was enrolled and costs were growing by 7.5 percent annually. Under the waiver, the state’s official Medicaid documents show that costs rose an average of only 1.3 percent a year from 2009-2012 — far below the 4.6 percent rate in the other 49 states."

When states are allowed to innovate, they undo the what Washington bureaucrats have baked into the system.  With block grants, states will be able to cut through that red tape and control costs in a way that Washington never can.

Hoosiers get it too.  Vice President Mike Pence helped roll out HIP 2.0 which featured some common-sense ideas to get everyone to buy in.  In a previous interview Pence told Moore that “if Washington would give me 80 percent of the Medicaid money they now send Indiana, but got rid of the red tape and regulations, I would take that deal in a minute.”

I have introduced legislation, the State Health Flexibility Act, to allow states to block grant Medicaid and have worked with my colleagues to include this idea in our Republican Better Way proposals and the latest drafts of the American Health Care Act.  I look forward to helping bring what Moore recognized as a miracle to every state to improve the quality of healthcare for every American.


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


Todd Rokita