This is a copy of the 10/23 edition of Congressman Sam Graves e-newsletter about the goings-on in WADC. In it Mr. Graves once again hits on health care, Coast Guard authorization, Solar Technology Grant program, and the Small Business Committee.
This Week in Washington- October 23, 2009
This week, the House and Senate leadership continued their backroom negotiations on the health care reform bill. No one outside that room has any idea what will be in the bill or when to expect it to come to the floor. There was a report this week that the Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, did not have enough votes to pass a “public option” through the House. However, Majority Leader Harry Reid thinks he has the votes.
What we do know is that this bill will include a mix of tax increases, cuts to Medicare and new mandates from Washington. I believe that this bill will have a negative impact on your families’ medical care. Congress is going about reform the wrong way. Instead of increasing government’s role in your health care; I believe we ought to allow small businesses to band together, pass medical malpractice reform and allow insurance companies to compete across state lines. That is not the direction this bill is headed.
Coast Guard Authorization: The House passed H.R. 1619, the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2009 by a vote of 285-11. The bill authorizes approximately $10 billion for U.S Coast Guard operations, including $8.6 billion in discretionary funding for ongoing USCG operations and $1.4 billion for mandatory retired pay. The legislation also modifies USCG acquisition practices, places new regulations on certain commercial vessels, alters U.S. port security regulations, and protects operators of U.S.-flagged ships from liability for using force against acts of piracy. I voted for the bill because our men and women in the United States Coast Guard are responsible for our maritime security and safety.
New Solar Technology Grant Program: On Thursday, the House passed H.R. 3585, the Solar Technology Roadmap Act by a vote of 310-106. The bill creates a new program at the Department of Energy to make grants for the research, development, and demonstration of solar technology. The bill authorizes $2.25 billion in new spending over the next five years. I voted against the bill because it is more new spending and because I believe it duplicates existing programs like the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Small Business Committee
I held a press conference with small business owners regarding health care legislation. It also included my colleagues Steve King (IA), Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA), Rep. Mary Fallin (OK), Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO), Rep. Aaron Schock (IL), and Rep. Mike Coffman (CO). You can watch it here.
The House will be in session again on Monday.