Rep Dave Camp Statement to Rules Committee

Posted on March 20, 2010. Filed under: General Info | Tags: , , |

Contact: Lauren Phillips or Sage Eastman (202) 225-3561
 
CAMP: Opening Statement before Rules Committee Consideration of Democrat Health Care Bill
 

 
 
 

Washington, D.C., Mar 20 –

Congressman Dave Camp (R-MI)
Ranking Member, Ways and Means Committee

Opening Statement before the Rules Committee
Consideration of H.R. 4872, the “Reconciliation Act of 2010,” and
Senate Amendments to H.R. 3590, the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”

Saturday, March 20, 2010

“Madam Chairwoman, Ranking Member Dreier, and members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today on this legislation.

The American people have spoken: they do not want the federal government involved in their personal health care and they do not want a bill that spends over a $1 trillion, raises more than one-half trillion dollars in new taxes, cuts Medicare by more than one-half trillion dollars and increases Americans’ health insurance premiums. Yet, that is exactly what will happen if the House passes the Senate Democrats’ health care bill and the Reconciliation bill tomorrow.

The American people have rejected this bill precisely because it taxes too much, spends too much and increases premiums too much. With a total of $569.2 billion in new taxes, these bills represent the single largest tax increase in American history. Just what are those taxes? They are:

• A first-time ever tax on health care benefits, commonly referred to as the “Cadillac tax,” which raises taxes on the American people by $32 billion but that will grow rapidly in the next decade.
• A new Medicare tax on wages, self-employment income and certain investment income that increases taxes by $210.2 billion.
• A new tax on health insurance providers, which will undoubtedly be passed onto consumers in the form of higher premiums, and totals $60.1 billion.
• A new employer mandate tax that will crush small businesses, reduce wages and kill American jobs by directly increasing taxes on employers by $52 billion and indirectly by much more, as employers are forced to spend even more than they do today on health benefits, even though unemployment is already near 10 percent.
• A new tax on drug manufacturers and importers of $27 billion, which will be passed on to consumers.
• A new tax on medical device manufacturers and importers of $20 billion, which also will be passed on to consumers.
• New requirements on information reporting on payments to corporations that raises $17.1 billion.
• A new, higher floor for medical expense deductions for people with high-medical bills that raises $15.2 billion in taxes.
• A new individual mandate tax, which forces Americans to purchase health care they don’t want and can’t afford or else pay this tax. This raises $17 billion and an earlier analysis of this provision by the Joint Committee on Taxation said nearly half of that will be paid by Americans earning less than 300 percent of the federal poverty limit, which is $66,150 for a family of four. This, like so many of the other provisions I mentioned, clearly violates the President’s pledge that no family with an income of less than $250,000 would pay higher taxes.
• There are also new limits on Flexible Spending Accounts in cafeteria plans that raise $13 billion in new taxes.
• There is an elimination of the deduction for expenses allocable to Medicare Part D subsidy in order to raise tax revenues by $4.5 billion.
• Other restrictions on Health Savings Accounts, Health Reimbursement Arrangements and Flexible Spending Accounts increase taxes by $5 billion.
• There is even a new set of taxes on tanning services to the tune of $2.7 billion.
• A limit to the deductibility of compensation paid to employees of certain health insurance providers that increases taxes by $600 million. It is a small number, but I thought it was refreshing to mention one that is in the millions of dollars rather than billions.
• But that’s not all. There is a modification of section 833 treatment of certain health organizations that raises $400 million in new taxes.
• These bills deny the use of the so-called “black liquor” for the cellulosic bio-fuel producer credit, which raises $23.6 billion in tax revenues.
• Then there is codifying economic substance doctrine that increases taxes by $4.5 billion.
• And, JCT tells us there are other “revenue” effects of $60.3 billion.

Again, these 20 different categories of tax increase total $569.2 billion.

These bills cut Medicare by nearly the same amount – a whopping $523.5 billion in cuts to a program that provides health care to our nation’s elderly and the disabled. When the Senate proposed cuts that were 12 percent smaller, the President’s own Medicare Actuaries predicted that, “providers might end their participation in the program (possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries).” But today we are being asked to send to the floor a bill that cuts even deeper into Medicare and the benefits it provides. Just what are these cuts? They are:

• $202.3 billion in cuts to seniors’ Medicare health plans, including massive cuts targeting the extra benefits and reduced cost-sharing seniors receive through Medicare Advantage. CBO predicted a similar policy would result in 4.8 million fewer seniors will be enrolled in these plans in 2019, while the independent Medicare Payment Advisory Commission predicted a similar policy would result 1 in 5 seniors no longer being able to enroll in Medicare Advantage as a result of this policy.
• $156.6 billion in cuts to inpatient and outpatient hospital services, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, long-term care hospitals, inpatient psychiatric hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, Ambulatory Surgical Centers, hospice, ambulances, dialysis facilities, labs and durable medical equipment suppliers.
• $39.7 billion in cuts to the home health providers.
• $22.1 billion in additional cuts to hospitals by slashing reimbursements designed to assist hospitals that serve low-income patients.
• $20.7 billion in cuts to the Medicare Improvement Fund, which had been intended to fund improvements to seniors’ Medicare benefits, not to finance a new entitlement.
• $13.3 billion in yet-to-be-determined Medicare cuts from the hands of an unelected federal board.
• $2.3 billion in cuts to imaging reimbursements when seniors have MRIs, CT scans, and other procedures.
• $ 800 million in cuts to power wheelchair suppliers.
• $65.7 billion in money taken from seniors in the form of higher premiums and additional cuts to Medicare beneficiaries and providers.

The $569.2 billion in new taxes and the $523.5 billion in cuts to Medicare to fund a new entitlement program are unacceptable, especially when you consider these bills will increase the deficit – once the cost of the Medicare doctor fix is factored in – and increase the cost of health insurance for Americans.

Simply put, the Democrats’ bill will not only ruin our health care system, but the tax increases will ruin our economy.

Madame Chairman, I would like to close by making a few simple requests.

First, I urge you not to make these bills in order. They are deeply flawed and ought not to be brought to the Floor for a vote.

Second, if you insist on making them in order, I ask that you wait until we have missing but very critical information about them, such as the impact on health insurance premiums and on national health spending.

With respect to both the Senate bill and the one the House passed, the Congressional Budget Office agreed both would raise the cost of health insurance and the Medicare actuaries agreed both would increase national health spending.

Before we vote on these bills, then, I think we ought to know if the “fixes” to be passed by reconciliation have worked or if they had made the situation worse.

Third, if you insist on moving this to the Floor for possible consideration tomorrow, I request that you not use the so-called “Slaughter Solution” and instead allow a clear and clean vote on each measure; the American public deserves to know where their elected officials stand and not to have them hide behind a procedural vote.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify today.”

 

THANK YOU DAVE!!!! You make us proud

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Talk About Social Injustice – Taxpayer funded jobs go to prisioners

Posted on December 9, 2009. Filed under: General Info, Soapbox | Tags: , , , , , |

Wednesday, U.S. Reps. Pete Hoekstra and Dave Camp put out a press release:

The president recently held a “Jobs Summit” at the White House. Topping the agenda was the creation of “green jobs.” With the unemployment rate in Michigan hovering above 15 percent and the nation at 10 percent, a great deal of hope is being thrust upon the renewable energy industry and the promise of “green jobs.”
It appears, however, the administration is content with having those jobs performed by prisoners as opposed to law-abiding citizens.

They went on to discuss UNICOR (the trade name for Federal Prison Industries, Inc.) whose mission of Federal Prison Industries, Inc. (FPI) to employ and provide job skills training to the greatest practicable number of inmates confined within the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The program falls under the Department of Justice. Reps. Hoekstra and Camp went on to say:

… Unfortunately, most Americans remain unaware of the Federal Prison Industries’ (FPI) exploits. FPI employs cheap prison labor — compensating inmates at wages of between 23 cents and $1.15 an hour — to assemble products purchased by federal agencies under a mandatory source arrangement.

Mandatory source status means if a federal agency needs to purchase a product offered by FPI, the agency must buy it from FPI, even if the price is higher, the quality lower or the delivery longer than that of commercial products.

In looking at their list of literally hundreds of items, shown below, at least 50% are labeled as “Mandatory” meaning “Federal customers are required to give procurement priority to FPI, when UNICOR is able to provide the desired product, within the required time frame, and at a competitive price. When FPI is unable to meet the customer’s price, delivery and quality requirements, a waiver is granted.” Competitive price is not defined on the website. The press release continued:

FPI has used its competitive advantage for years to expand its business into such industries as furniture, vehicular components and textiles. …The furniture industry and automotive parts suppliers know this battle all too well. Now FPI has set its sights on the renewable energy sector, a.k.a. “green jobs.”

President Obama has committed to spending $150 billion from taxpayers over 10 years for renewable energy incentives and jobs, but FPI is undercutting the taxpayers’ investment and siphoning job opportunities.

We have all heard the President, most recently at the “Jobs Summit” say he was going to turn unemployment around using weatherization and other “green” jobs. Maybe he didn’t see the Van Jones videos. Van Jones, Obama’s fired “Green Jobs Czar” said numerous times, on video, the green jobs would be given to the inmates.

He calls it social justice. I call it injustice. Justice would be criminals being punished for breaking the law. Instead they are rewarded with luxuries law abiding citizens do not have. Things like a college education, free medical, vision and dental coverage, and now even our jobs. That’ll teach them!

They get to keep the money they earn, and according to the government website, they have used the money to pay off restitution, child support, etc.. Here’s a thought, maybe they should have to use the money for rent, food, education, etc…????? -to reimburse the taxpayers for expenses we incur to incarcerate them and provide them services. That’s actual justice. The website boasts they are even able to send money home to their families. How nice. EXCUSE ME??? The Reps go on to say:

In 2003 and 2006, the U.S. House passed on an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote (350 to 65 and 362 to 57 respectively), a bill we introduced to eliminate FPI’s mandatory source status.

The bill allowed private sector companies and their law-abiding employees to compete on a level playing field with FPI. However, the Senate failed to send it to the president for signature.

… In eight years under the Bush administration the Justice Department failed to connect the dots on the negative economic impact of the rapidly expanding FPI. President Obama appears willing to let FPI — which operates under the executive branch — to continue to grow. FPI’s FY2009 Annual Report shows that sales continued to surge to $889 million. More disconcerting, however, is its board’s aggressive vision for future “expansion into the renewable energy sector.”

If the president and lawmakers want to continue touting the virtues of “green jobs,” or any other jobs for that matter, they should focus on badly needed jobs for law-abiding citizens.

We will soon reintroduce legislation in Congress to curb FPI’s unfair advantage and support for private sector firms and their non-inmate workers. Americans deserve an opportunity to bid on federal contracts funded by their own tax dollars.

Here is the list of jobs and services FPI provides. (note even help center and phone bay services are provided):

THE UNICOR BUSINESS GROUPS

The Clothing and Textiles Group (CTG) provides a wide range of products, the majority of which are procured from a distinct cadre of customers on a contractual basis. Individual orders can likewise be placed through the CTG’s on-line store. Items include military clothing such as army combat uniforms, physical fitness apparel, shirts and cold weather gear. In addition, specialty bags (for helmets, tools and the United States Postal Service), body armor, gloves, household items (mattresses, towels, linens, custom drapes, bedspreads), as well as screen printing, embroidery services and textile repair services are offered.

The Electronics Business Group (EBG) is heavily relied upon by the Nation’s military to provide cost-effective, precision manufacturing. Product lines include cable assemblies and wire harnesses, circuit boards, electrical components and connectors, lighting and power distribution, fiber optics, communications and plastics/molding technologies and, more recently, solar panel manufacturing.

The Fleet Solutions Group (FSG) provides a complete range of fleet modernization and remanufacturing programs including tactical vehicle and vehicular components manufacturing (RESET/RECAP), retrofitting and conversion services, as well as fleet asset services.

The Industrial Products Group (IPG) offers a diverse range of products which include agency seals, traffic /architectural signs, vehicle tags, name plates/tags, filtration services, and lockers, pallet racking and catwalks, prescription and safety eyewear, security fencing, as well as a wide variety of recognition and promotional products.

The Office Furniture Group (OFG) offers a full spectrum of products to furnish virtually any environment, from reception/lounge areas, dormitory settings and medical offices, to executive suites. Product lines include systems/modular workstations, wood case goods, file and storage offerings, office accessories, and seating appropriate for all venues. And all OFG factories have achieved ISO 9001:2000 certification.

The Recycling Business Group (RBG) offers electronics recycling which meets all federal, state and local requirements. If an item cannot be reused, it is broken down into recyclable component parts. The RBG is ISO 9001:2000 certified by the International Standards Organization. Currently, eight processing centers and six collection sites are located throughout the country, and during Fiscal Year 2008, the RBG processed more than 37 million pounds of obsolete and excess electronics from both the private and public sectors which saved precious landfill space.

The Services Business Group (SBG) offers a full range of services which include data and document conversion, digitizing, electronic imaging, printing and bindery, contact center/help desk support, forward/reverse logistics, as well as warehousing and distribution.

I am certain they will tell you, the nearly 22,000+ inmates currently employed by FPI are not taking jobs away from the citizens, but I ask you, doesn’t this list show jobs in which the unemployed would certainly be interested?

Just to put the dot one the i, here’s a look at the growing unemployment situation in this country, by moving graph.

Between losing  jobs to illegal immigrants, prisoners and a bad economy, is it any wonder unemployment is so high?

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