I have gotten a little behind on posting some communications from Congressman Graves office so I am going to do a one shot deal here. First, This Week In Washington from July 24th. This is the weekly update on all the legislation that our Congressmen and women seem fit to pass. Sometimes this makes you a little angry, the reason, there is a never ending pattern of spending and stupidity from Pelosi, most of the Democrats, and a few lost souls in the GOP.

This Week in Washington- July 24, 2009

Washington is being consumed by the health care debate this week. The President has held an event every day this week to try and convince the American people that his bill will actually cost taxpayers less. In Washington, it’s called bending the curve. In Missouri, we call it bending the truth. Not surprisingly, Americans are not buying it.

In fact, the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said that his chamber will take the sensible approach of not voting on the bill before August recess and will continue trying to find a common sense bill that has bi-partisan support. Not so in the House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is now saying that a vote will come on health care next week and that she has the votes to pass the bill.

I think the Speaker is engaging in a little bit of gamesmanship. I do not believe she has the votes, in part because Blue Dog Democrats have indicated they believe this bill costs too much.  Next week is supposed to be the last week of session before the August break. It is shaping up as a very interesting week.

We need common sense health care reform, not a government run health care system.

Legislation

H.R. 2920, the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2009.

This bill puts into place a complex system of budgetary procedures which fail to address the explosion in debt called for in President Obama’s budget, neglects to solve the unsustainable growth in entitlement spending, and if implemented, will be used to increase taxes on the American people.

Under the President’s budget, the debt will nearly double in 5 years and nearly triple in 10 years.  It will exceed 50 percent of the economy this year and hit 81.7 percent of gross domestic product by 2019.  However, H.R. 2920 includes adjustments to ensure that this massive increase in spending proposed by the President does not violate pay-go.

The only way to control spending is to stop approving spending bills with double digit increases. We do not need a law to do that, we need a Congress that believes in fiscal responsibility.

H.R. 3288, the Fiscal Year 2010 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act.

This spending bill contains $68.8 billion in discretionary spending which is a 25 percent or a $13.8 billion increase above last year. If you included the spending in the “Stimulus” bill then these agencies have seen a 146% increase in spending. I voted against the bill because spending is out of control. We wouldn’t need the Pay-go bill if we simply stopped spending excessive amounts of money. Washington does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem.

H.R. 3293, the Fiscal Year 2010 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Appropriations Act.

This bill includes $163.4 billion in discretionary spending, which is a 7 percent or an $11.2 billion increase above last year. Again if you add in stimulus spending, these agencies have seen a 93% increase in funding. The bill passed, but not with my vote. I offered an amendment to this bill that would have prohibited funds in the bill from being used to implement a federal health insurance mandate on small businesses. It was ruled out of order. You can watch a clip of me speaking about it on the floor.

Small Business Committee

The Small Business Committee held a hearing on Clean Water Restoration Act. Congress enacted the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972, or the Clean Water Act (CWA), to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation’s waters.”  While protecting the nation’s water resources is a goal shared by all, expanding jurisdiction over the nation’s waters has raised concerns that tighter restrictions will be placed on farmers and small businesses.

Witnesses at the hearing expressed concerns with the Clean Water Restoration Act’s further expansion would preempt state and local governments from making local land and water use decisions and costs would rise for businesses.

The bill has passed the Senate sub-committee, but has not yet been introduced in the House.

Congress will be in session next week and will possibly vote on the health care proposal. Have a good weekend.

Sincerely, 

Sam Graves

Next up is Straight Talk With Sam, Congressman Graves enewsletter. In it the Congressman addresses the issue of health care.

A Better Plan

Comedian Bill Cosby used to have a show on television that featured him interviewing children. It was called, “Kids say the darndest things,” because you never knew what they would say.

Washington these days is starting to remind me of that show. First, it was the Vice President’s announcement that we have to spend money to keep from going bankrupt. That news came as a shock to anyone who has ever balanced a checkbook.

However, the most confusing comments come from the President on health care. He claims that his health care reform bill will cost taxpayers less by spending trillions of taxpayer money. In Washington, that is known as “bending the curve.” In Missouri, that is known as bending the truth.

I believe the quality of your health care will suffer if the government takes over health care. The health care coverage you have cannot compete with a government-run plan that has unlimited access to the federal treasury.

Washington ought to pass bi-partisan legislation that would allow small businesses to pool together as one big business instead of many small ones. Over half of Americans without health insurance are small business owners, their employees or their dependents.

We should also move to curb outrageous medical malpractice lawsuits. Forcing doctors to practice defensive medicine drives up the cost of health care. Simply capping these lawsuits would help bring down premiums for everyone.

Creating a new government bureaucracy is not the answer. A better plan would be to increase the buying power of small businesses and limit the need for defensive medicine.

Sincerely, 

Sam Graves

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