Vicky Hartzler2-2016

A better way to fix health care

March 23, 2016 marked the sixth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. During this time, we have seen several flaws in the health care law, and people in Missouri’s 4th District continue to have their health care cancelled, premiums and deductibles increased, and hours cut at work due to the ‘un’Affordable Care Act’s Washington mandates. Clearly something must change.

Since this tax was implemented, I have worked hard to repeal true onerous law voting over 60 times to stop it.  Our efforts were either bottled up in the Senate or vetoed by the president but I am undeterred. This week my colleagues and I showed Americans not only what we are AGAINST, but what we are FOR.  We released an alternative plan to replace Obamacare which will provide Americans access to quality, affordable health care. This plan was launched this week as part of the “A Better Way” series, and will give people the tools they need to get the best health care possible. A Better Way to Fix Healthcare focuses on providing patients with:

–       More choices and lower costs

–       Real protections and peace of mind

–       Cutting-edge cures and treatments

–       A stronger, sustainable Medicare

This is a substantive Obamacare replacement that focuses on decreasing Washington mandates and giving power back to the patient to allow them to manage their own healthcare needs.

Congressional activity

Needed: Methods to Combat Terrorism – Not Political Theatre

You may have seen the political demonstrations by Democrats on the floor of the House this week where they staged a sit-in to force Congress to vote on gun control bills. These members were tweeting and posting on social media about their antics, sadly using the Orlando tragedy to advance a political agenda. They are using this tragedy to fundraise. This is wrong. I was disappointed to see such a willful disregard for the House and the millions of Americans they silenced by not allowing the business of Congress to proceed. I was even more taken aback by the lack of attention these lawmakers have given to the real threat posed by this attack in Orlando: radical Islamic terrorism. What occurred was a terrorist attack by an individual who pledged allegiance to ISIL. This should be the focus of our attention, not efforts to deny law-abiding American’s their Second and Fifth Amendment rights.

Further, these actions also thwarted significant pieces of legislation from making their way through the legislative process. As a result of this political maneuvering, the House was unable to debate or vote on two bills:

–       The Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act of 2017—a bill which makes vital investments in our nation’s job creators, prioritizes law enforcement agencies and anti-drug initiatives, and improves spending accountability across a number of government functions.

–       The Separation of Powers Restoration Act—a bill that restores Constitutional checks and balances by overturning two U.S. Supreme Court decisions. These decisions allow courts to defer to an agency’s interpretation of a law rather than ruling on it themselves. Executive agencies should not be allowed to carry out functions only intended for the courts or Congress to decide.

Improving veterans care, defending against Zika

Through the pandemonium, however, we were still able to pass one appropriations measure which funds programs to improve veterans care and protect Americans against the Zika virus. Ensuring our veterans are well cared for is and must remain a priority. In addition to the work the House has already done to improve the VA, I was happy to support the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. This bill invests historically high funding levels for the VA to address concerns and insure quality care, including almost $150 million to address the disability claims backlog, and provisions to modernize VA health records and make them compatible with DoD records. We have also taken steps with this bill to fight Zika and prevent it from spreading. This virus is a serious threat and we must act to protect Americans.

Expanding Alzheimer’s research

I am pleased an amendment I authored to boost Alzheimer’s research passed the House this week. Many families across America are impacted by Alzheimer’s and the challenges of this heartbreaking condition—my family included. With over 5 million people living in the United States who are suffering from this condition, it is imperative that we work towards finding a cure.

Studies show our soldiers are at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s due to the nature of their service. Focusing research on their conditions can not only help prevent this disease from ravishing our veterans, it can also provide hope for millions of Americans at risk or suffering from the disease. That is why my amendment to the Department of Defense (DoD) Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2017 increases funding for DoD’s peer-reviewed Alzheimer’s research. I am hopeful this amendment will help advance the valuable research being conducted by the DoD and provide the extra funding needed to find a cure.

Missouri highlights

Our congressional art competition winner

I was thrilled to welcome our district’s first place winner of the Congressional Art Competition, Sydni VanHoose, to Washington as winners from each district across the country arrived for a reception to congratulate these amazing young artists. Sydni is from Southern Boone High School in Ashland and it was wonderful to see her again as her work entitled “Coming Home” was placed on display in the United States Capitol where it will be seen by visitors for the next year.

This year’s Art Competition theme was “Patriotism in the Heartland,” and while there were so many outstanding entries and contestants, our judges determined Sydni’s work captured the theme best. Congratulations to Sydni on her success!

Opportunities for veterans

Finally, I was proud to host a Veterans Resource Fair in Columbia this past weekend. Numerous representatives from the VA, colleges and local businesses were on hand to talk with veterans about opportunities and resources available to them. I am thankful to have met and talked with many veterans at the fair. It is my hope that events like this will serve as a valuable source of information for veterans throughout Missouri’s Fourth and help them deal with the challenges of service, go to school, navigate the VA or transition into a new career.

A highlight of the event was presenting Air Force Veteran Wayne Elser with a Vietnam Veteran’s Recognition Medal and lapel pin and thanking him for his service. As he accepted this special recognition, Mr. Elser took a moment to address the crowd and dedicated his medal to all of his fellow veterans who didn’t get the chance to come back home. It was an honor to present this award.

Thank you for investing your time in reading my weekly newsletter. It is my goal to serve you and Missouri’s Fourth by providing accurate and timely updates from our nation’s Capital.

Have a great week,

Vicky Hartzler

Member of Congress