Starting the New Congress by Helping our Veterans

After being sworn in on the opening day of the 114th Congress, the House of Representatives immediately started its work and passed the Hire More Heroes Act(H.R. 22), of which I am an original cosponsor. This bill will encourage small businesses to hire veterans without being punished by Obamacare mandates.

By passing this common sense bill with one of the House’s first acts, we’re sending a clear message to the American people that we are ready to listen to their priorities and take action. We hear from small businesses all the time that are afraid to hire additional employees for fear of being penalized by the health care law. This bill will create jobs and grow the economy while helping veterans at the same time.

The Hire More Heroes Act will exempt veterans with medical care from TRICARE or the VA from the employee limit under Obamacare. It passed the House last Congress on a 406-1 vote, but was not taken up by the Democrat-controlled Senate.

It’s a new day in Washington. The Hire More Heroes Act was just one of 383 bills – many of which passed with bipartisan support – that were stopped in the Senate by Harry Reid. With new leadership in the Senate we will finally be able to address the people’s priorities on jobs, health care, energy and more. This week marks the beginning of a productive year.


Obama: Out of Excuses on Keystone

Today the House voted once again to move the Keystone XL Pipeline forward. The project, which has been delayed for 2,303 days, would create an estimated 42,000 American jobs and generate billions in economic activity. The Obama Administration has used every excuse in the book to delay this project and they are running out of justifications. Their opposition is rooted in politics, not common sense.

Transporting oil by pipeline is safer and more efficient than any other option and will create tens of thousands of American jobs for workers in steel, construction, and refining. The project is supported by a vast majority of Americans and has bipartisan support from labor unions and businesses.

This should not be a difficult decision, yet the President is letting ideology get in the way. The House has now voted ten times since 2011 to expedite the Keystone Pipeline, but the proposals have been blocked in the Senate and threatened with vetoes from President Obama.

One of the reasons given for the latest veto threat was an ongoing court case in Nebraska regarding Keystone’s route. Earlier today the Nebraska Supreme Court removed this roadblock by issuing a ruling upholding the route. With new conservative leadership in the Senate, I look forward to this bill being taken up and passed in the Senate. The American public deserves to see who is standing in the way of progress.


Remembering Governor Arch Moore

On Wednesday, former Governor Arch Moore passed away at the age of 91. Governor Moore was a giant in West Virginia politics and was called on by Republicans and Democrats alike for his advice. We remember him for his service to the people of West Virginia, but first and foremost he was a husband and father. His love and service for his state and his country will never be forgotten.

Mary and I will keep Senator Capito and the entire Moore family in our prayers as they deal with this loss.


Helping Workers Hurt by Obamacare

The House voted this week to fix an Obamacare provision that is hurting millions of Americans who have had their hours cut at work and are getting less in their paycheck as a result.

The health care law redefined a full time work week as 30-hours and resulted in many workers having their hours cut. The Save American Workers Act(H.R. 30), of which I am an original cosponsor, will restore the definition of a full time work week to 40-hours.

The 30-hour rule is just one of the many problems with the disastrous health care law that are hurting families and small businesses across the nation. This bill takes a step to help millions of Americans who are taking home less in their paycheck due to Obamacare.

Eventually we need to replace the fundamentally flawed health care law with an alternative plan. Until Congress can do that, we must fix the parts that are broken and hurting millions of Americans.


Voting for Speaker of the House

On Tuesday, the House elected John Boehner to another term as Speaker of the House.  In the absence of a credible conservative alternative, I voted for Speaker Boehner.  He understands West Virginia priorities such as coal, energy and helping our veterans.  The other candidates who submitted their names in the eleventh hour did not have as much credibility with West Virginia priorities.

I’ve had my differences with Speaker Boehner in several policy areas and have not been afraid to vote against the House leadership in the past.  Most recently, I voted against an ill-conceived spending bill that did not do enough to protect coal miners and temporarily funded the President’s illegal executive action.  My vote for Speaker Boehner on this occasion does not equal a rubberstamp for all House Republican leadership policies and I will continue to oppose legislation that negatively impacts West Virginians.

No matter who serves as Speaker of the House, Republicans and Democrats must continue to concentrate on the problems our country faces, such as out-of-control spending and reversing a stagnant economy. Rather than focus on internal Republican politics, my focus in the 114th Congress will remain on improving life for hardworking West Virginians by advancing legislation that creates jobs, cuts energy costs, addresses our healthcare crisis and holds the Obama Administration accountable.

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