The House has addressed a number of issues. Among them, the growing uncertainty of the situation in Ukraine and high energy prices here in Missouri. This week brought an unveiling of the President’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget. The House worked to address concerns over the Obamacare penalty taxes set to take effect this year.
As you may know, Russia sent troops to the Crimea region of Ukraine, violating Ukraine’s national sovereignty. In response, many options are being discussed here in Washington and with our allies and partners abroad. The House took action to condemn this act of aggression by Russia and provide support for the government of Ukraine. One action that the President has advanced is to provide loan guarantees for Ukraine so that they would not have to rely on Russian energy. The House passed H.R. 4152 which would ensure any funds would come from existing appropriations rather than from future spending. This helps to accomplish the U.S. objective of assisting the Ukrainian people, without increasing future spending. It is important that we send a clear signal to Russia that its violation of the sovereignty of Ukraine is not acceptable, and the international community will ensure there are consequences.
On another matter, many Missourians and people throughout the country have been affected by a shortage of propane used to heat their homes. Missourians have seen dramatic spikes in the cost of propane. This week, the House took action to help ease the propane shortage, and to lower energy costs in the long term. The House passed the Home Heating Energy Assistance Through Transportation (HHEATT) Act. Due to the ongoing propane shortage, the Department of Transportation has granted temporary hours of service waivers. This would allow truckers to drive for longer hours, speeding up deliveries of much-needed propane. However, these waivers have been extended multiple times, creating uncertainty. The HHEATT Act would extend the waivers until May 31, 2014, unless a state governor decides that the need for additional propane has been met in his or her state. I am proud to be a cosponsor of this legislation, and I hope the Senate will take quick action to provide this much-needed relief.
The President unveiled his Fiscal Year 2015 budget. The House Budget Committee, on which I serve, held hearings on the budget to analyze what its impact on the country would be. I am disappointed that the President’s budget fails to get us on a path to fiscal responsibility. His budget raises taxes, increases the national debt by $8.3 trillion, and never balances.
The President’s budget does nothing to take on our entitlement crisis and does nothing to provide solutions to the problems facing today’s senior citizens and tomorrow’s generations. As a member of the House Budget Committee, I am committed to finding well-thought-out reforms to protect and preserve Social Security and Medicare for generations to come.
TRUE BLUE – From left: Tom McClusky, FRC’s Vice President for Government Affairs, Congresswoman Hartzler, and FRC
On still another matter, the House took action to delay implementation of penalties for failure to comply with the provisions of the President’s health care law. My colleagues and I passed the Suspending the Individual Mandate Penalty Law Equals (SIMPLE) Fairness Act, H.R. 4118. This bill would delay the penalties many Americans will face this year by not having health insurance. The President has unilaterally delayed implementation of Obamacare for many businesses, essentially exempting them from any penalties this year. This bill provides individual citizens with the same treatment afforded businesses. It is only fair that hardworking Americans be granted the same relief the Administration has already granted to businesses.
Finally, I am honored to share with you that I have received the True Blue Award from the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family. This award is presented to Members of Congress who have exhibited leadership and commitment to the defense of family, faith and freedom. Determination is based on votes cast by representatives of the people who have consistently supported pro-family issues and have stood for the defense of life.
It is indeed an honor to receive this award on behalf of the good citizens of Missouri’s Fourth Congressional District, whose thoughts and views I take to heart with every vote I cast.
Have a good week.