Keep Your Plan, Giving States Control Over Energy Production, and Mobile Office Hours

Nov 19, 2013 Issues: Health Care, Happening in West Texas, Energy, Regulations
Science Committee Hearing on Data Security
Science Committee Hearing on Data Security

Keep Your Plan

When the President pushed Obamacare through Congress, he made a lot of promises. He promised that it wouldn’t raise taxes, but we now know it includes more than 20 new taxes, including the individual mandate. He promised that everyone’s premiums would decrease, but the truth is that individual market premiums are going up by about 41% and employer-based plans have seen premium increases of 3% to 4%. And of course, he promised that if you like your plan, you could keep it. But in the past few months, millions of Americans have received cancellation notices and many more are coming.

I’ve received dozens of emails from constituents like you that are facing these problems.  I shared one of these stories on the House floor last week: a family in Levelland whose daughter is battling a rare form of cancer was recently notified that their plan is being canceled.  They feel they were lied to, and I don’t blame them.  

On Friday, the House addressed these cancellations by passing a bill called the Keep Your Health Plan Act.  I was a cosponsor of this bill, which allows insurance providers to continue to offer existing health plans through 2014 so families don’t have to face immediate cancellation.  The President threatened to veto the bill, despite its bipartisan support.  I hope we can move this bill forward, because it provides important relief for families that have lost their coverage.  But my priority remains finding a permanent solution that protects Americans from the high costs and dangerous consequences of Obamacare.

I’m also working to ensure that the data collected under Obamacare remains secure.  Tomorrow, the Science Committee will hold a hearing on the security of the data passing through the website. We’ll talk about what measures are in place to protect personal data from hackers and misuse. According to testimony before the Homeland Security Committee, hackers have already tried to attack the website, so it’s critical that we do everything possible to ensure your information is protected. 


Giving States Control Over Energy Production

This week, we’ll be voting on H.R. 2728, the Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act.  This is commonsense legislation that gives states that already regulate hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the right to continue doing so.  The bill allows the federal government to set baseline standards for states that don’t already have fracking regulations in place.  But it reaffirms the state-based regulation system that’s been successful for generations.  For more than 60 years, states—including Texas—have safely regulated fracking.  We’ve done so without a single case of groundwater contamination.  In a country like ours, state-based regulation makes sense.  The geologic formations in Texas are very different from those in Pennsylvania.  So production methods and regulations should be tailored to each region.  Our country’s future depends on developing our energy resources, and fracking is a critical component of an “all of the above” energy strategy.  So I’ll be supporting this legislation to allow states to implement the regulations that work best for their industries.


Action Item: Mobile Office Hours

I love it when constituents come visit me in my offices in Lubbock, Abilene, Big Spring, and Washington, D.C.  But I know it’s not always easy to reach these places – especially Washington.  So this week, my staff is coming to you.

Mobile Office Hours allow my staff to set up shop in your neighborhood so you can talk to them about whatever is on your mind.  If you’re having trouble getting your social security benefits, navigating the claims process at Veterans Affairs, or figuring out the naturalization process, we can help.  You can also share your opinion on the issues facing Congress.

Starting tomorrow, you can visit us in Floydada in the morning and then Plainview later that afternoon.  Wednesday morning we’ll be at the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce, and Wednesday afternoon we’ll be in Albany.  If we still haven’t seen you by Thursday, I hope you can make it to Gail in the morning or Snyder in the afternoon.  I hope you’ll visit my staff with your questions, concerns, and opinions so they can pass them along to me in Washington.