Monday, January 13, 2014

Morgan Griffith on Obamacare and the Economy

From Congressman Morgan Griffith's E-Newsletter:


Promises, Promises

On Friday, January 10, the U.S. Department of Labor released a disappointing jobs report – only 74,000 jobs were added in December.  This is far short of the 197,000 jobs that economists had predicted, and more importantly, is far less than the American people deserve.

The nationwide unemployment number did drop to 6.7 percent, but this decrease is due to a drop in the labor participation rate.  Our economy is not creating enough jobs to meet the needs of the American people, so many are calling off their job searches and dropping out of the workforce altogether.

Among other bad policies, unreasonable regulations I would argue are one of the causes for this continued slow economic recovery.

In his State of the Union Address in February 2013, President Obama announced his “Promise Zones” initiative in which the Administration would “…begin to partner with 20 of the hardest-hit towns in America to get these communities back on their feet.”  Thus far, no new funds have been promised to these regions.  But the program is supposed to help these targeted areas cut through red tape and use existing resources to grow their economies.

Nearly a year later, President Obama finally named the first five Promise Zones on Thursday, January 9, 2014.  He now promises his Promise Zones in the following areas: San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Southeastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.  Our region in the Ninth District of Virginia has been very hard-hit by current policies and regulations in the war on coal, as has the Third District of West Virginia.  However, neither are currently being targeted for extra assistance as part of the Promise Zone initiative.

The Administration hopes to assist 20 of these Promise Zones over the next three years.  Will the Ninth District of Virginia or the Third District of West Virginia be named Promise Zones in the future?  Will the Promise Zone initiative be effective?  Or like this president’s past promises, is it just “promises, promises” and no real relief?

The House of Representatives recently passed the Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act (H.R. 3811), which would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to promptly notify people if their personal data provided to the Obamacare website is breached.  Despite objections from the Administration, 67 Democrats joined Republicans in passing this change to the health care law, making a veto-proof majority.

Among those who voted in favor of the bill was a Democrat leader, Representative Steve Israel (D-NY), Chairman of the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee.  It has been reported by The Associated Press that Rep. Israel said in a statement, “I voted for this bill because I want to make sure confidential information is protected.  That’s just common sense.”

Common sense it is.  But Washington doesn’t always operate on common sense or keep its promises.  How else can you explain the Administration’s opposition to this common sense protection of the American people?

President Obama and others told the American people regarding Obamacare, “If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period.”  Promises made, promises broken.  They also said, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”  Promises made, and it looks like this promise may also be broken.  Promises, promises.  Especially after seeing so many promises broken, many people are concerned about the security of their personal information.  Rightfully so.

Seven different bills have been signed into law that repeal or rescind funding from different provisions of Obamacare.  The Supreme Court ruled the forced Medicaid expansion on the States unconstitutional.  This is in addition to changes to the law that the Administration has made without an affirmative vote of the United States Congress.

This common sense bill now heads to the Senate.  I hope Majority Leader Harry Reid will bring it to a vote.  If you agree, call him at 202-224-3542.

2014 Congressional Issues Survey
If you have not yet filled out our annual congressional issues survey and shared your views with me, I encourage you to do so.  The survey can be found at, or you may contact my offices to request a physical copy.