If you like your health care plan, you can keep it?:

PolitiFact has named "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it," the Lie of the Year for 2013. As you may remember when President Obama was first seeking support for his healthcare plan, he told Americans “If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

However, this fall approximately 4 million Americans began to see the real truth in Obama’s statement when they received cancellation notices from their health insurance providers. As the cancellation notices continued to arrive in the mail to millions of Americans, Obama tried to amend his statement.

Earlier this week, the administration proudly announced that 365,000 people have signed up for a healthcare plan since October. That means, for every ten people who have received a cancellation notice only one person has “enrolled” in Obamacare.

Protecting Volunteer Firefighters from an Unfair Obamacare Mandate:

Small towns and rural areas across America rely on volunteer first responders to provide vital lifesaving services. In West Virginia, 95 percent of all fire departments are staffed by volunteers. That’s why, I cosponsored the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act(H.R. 3685)which would exempt volunteer firefighters and emergency medical providers from the employer mandate under Obamacare.

The Internal Revenue Service currently defines volunteer firefighters as “employees” despite the fact they typically work full time jobs in addition to their volunteer work.  As a result, volunteer fire departments and municipalities could be subjected to the Obamacare employer mandate and forced to provide health insurance or face financial penalties.  In addition to the legislation, I wrote a letter to President Obama calling for an exemption for volunteer firefighters.

It is unfair to penalize these men and women who put their lives on the line with each and every call. For the sake of public safety and the future of volunteer fire departments across America, we need to take action and ensure volunteer emergency providers are exempt from this requirement.

Increasing Research for Pediatric Diseases and Disorders:

This week the House passed the Kids First Research Act(HR 2019), which will provide research into pediatric diseases and disorders by eliminating taxpayer funding for the Presidential Election campaigns and conventions. I am a proud cosponsor of this legislation.

As a parent and grandparent it pains me to hear the stories of kids struggling with diseases. As a country, we should care more about finding a cure than funding political conventions. The bill was named in memory of 10-year-old Gabriella Miller who died of brain cancer in October.

To watch the story of Gabriella Miller’s dream, click here.

Don’t Reverse Progress on Cutting Spending:

In 2011, I came to Congress with a pledge to reduce spending and stop saddling our children and grandchildren with an unsustainable debt. Since then we have made some progress. For the first time since the Korean War spending has decreased for two consecutive years.

Unfortunately, the recent budget deal that reverses some of the progress we’ve made. It increases spending for the next two years but promises to save money in the future. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office most of the savings would come seven years from now.

The deal also hits close to home in West Virginia by abolishing an important program run at the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown. This particular energy research program supports approximately 80 jobs. Eliminating it diminishes one of the vital roles NETL plays to our local and national economy.

While I applaud the fact that bipartisan discussions on the budget took place for the first time in five years, unfortunately the final product falls short. America’s debt continues to grow, reaching $17.2 trillion. Just like American families, Washington must be serious about living within its means.

Second Annual Energy Summit:

The second annual Energy Forum we co-hosted with WVU was a great success.

The forum had representation from energy produces, utilities, environmental groups, and academics to discuss how current and proposed energy policies impact the economic climate in the United States.

One thing several panelists talked about was the EPA’s proposed regulations on the coal industry. The public forum gave residents a chance to ask their own questions. I look forward to hosting more discussions like these in the future.

The Week Ahead:

Next week I will attend a number of roundtable and meetings with local constituents, small business owners, and veterans to hear what I can do in Washington to better serve the people of West Virginia. I want to hear from you on what issues we need to focus on. Please call my office at(202)225-4172 to voice your concerns.

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Washington, DC
412 Cannon HOB | Washington, DC 20515
Phone:(202)225-4172 | Fax:(202)225-7564
709 Beechurst Ave.
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Morgantown, WV 26505
Phone: 304.284.8506
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