Hatch Dispatch: Pensions, Obamacare and Energy . . .

Senator Orrin Hatch
2013-07-12 17:50:47
Hatch Dispatch: Pensions, Obamacare and Energy . . .Dear Friends:Permanently Delay Obamacare for All AmericansThis week I addressed with gusto the elephant in the room – the implementation of Obamacare. In a speech on the Senate floor and in a letter to the President I urged this Administration to permanently delay the implementation of Obamacare for all Americans.I pointed out that this law is too big, too cumbersome, too intrusive, and too costly to work. I’ve never supported it and for good reason. What is most disconcerting is that it is the millions of Utahns and Americans who work hard every day to pay their bills, put food on their tables and send their children to school who’ll bear this burden. For their sake, the best solution is a permanent delay of the whole law. I further highlighted the growing price tag of the health care premium subsidies – complex tax credits designed to defray the cost of purchasing health insurance, based on household income – and questioned whether the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), already under investigation for targeting conservative groups, would be equipped to process the subsidies which are both advanceable and refundable – meaning pay out first and verify later.So, basically, the Obama Administration would have us believe that, while a four-year increase of 1,700 applications for tax-exempt status was enough to give the agency fits, it’s perfectly capable of handling seven million new filings for a brand new health care entitlement. On top of that, they want us to believe that they can continue processing these subsidies as they double in number over the first two years. Needless to say, I’m more than a bit skeptical.As such, several of my Senate Republican colleagues and I asked Secretaries Sebelius and Lew to explain how the premium subsidies will work and what they are expecting them to cost. I also joined with House and Senate Republican Committee leaders in requesting an updated cost estimate of all of Obamacare.You can read the full text of the speech I gave here,and the text of the letter here.Pension Benefit System -- Secure Retirement SavingsTo address the public pension debt crisis and better secure retirement savings for millions of Americans, this week I introduced the Secure Annuities for Employee (SAFE) Retirement Act of 2013, legislation to strengthen and reform much of the nation’s public and private pension benefit system.America cannot continue sleepwalking into the financial disaster that awaits us if we do not get the public pension debt crisis under control. The problem is getting more serious every day and cannot be remedied merely by fine-tuning the existing pension structures available to public employers. A new public pension design is needed: one that provides cost certainty for state and local taxpayers, retirement income security for state and local employees, and does not include an explicit or implicit federal government guarantee.Dangerously high unfunded pension liabilities of state and local governments have threatened the fiscal solvency of states and municipalities as well as the nation’s long-term fiscal health, including the U.S. credit rating. Today public pension debt remains as high as $4.4 trillion and outstanding state and local municipal bond debt adds another $3.7 trillion. Last year, I issued a report - which served as the foundation for the legislation - outlining the financial risks of the public pension debt crisis and its negative impact on the American economy.Even more, with a national savings rate of only 2.5 percent, longer life expectancies and far fewer workers covered by defined-benefit pension plans, Americans across the country are struggling to adequately prepare for their retirement. The Finance Committee has received evidence in hearings that access to a retirement plan at work is the best way to ensure that individuals save for retirement.A pension is insurance against outliving the money you have available to pay your monthly bills. It cannot be denied that people are living longer. And as wonderful as that is, it also means we need to find new ways to stretch our monthly pension dollars over longer lifetimes. The SAFE Retirement Plan can meet the test.To view a summary of the legislation click HERE.To view a copy of my remarks on the Senate floor click HERE.Two Utah Energy Bills To be Signed Into LawTwo pieces of energy legislation important to Utah are poised to be signed into law by President Obama. The South Utah Valley Electric Service District (S.25/H.R.251) and Bonneville Unit Clean Hydropower Facilitation (S.26/H.R.254) both passed the House and Senate unanimously. I sponsored the Senate version of the bills, and Rep. Jason Chaffetz sponsored the House versions.The Bonneville Unit Clean Hydropower Facilitation Act allows for the development of hydroelectric power on the Diamond Fork system of the Central Utah Water Project (CUP). The South Valley Electric Conveyance Act conveys certain federal features of the electric distribution system to the South Utah Valley Electric Service District. The South Utah Valley Electric Service District has operated and managed these facilities for decades and this bill will give them ownership.These two bills will give Utahns more of a say over the resources and entities affecting our state. Allowing CUP to move forward to harness the power it needs and giving the South Utah Valley Electric District ownership of its systems just makes sense, and I’m glad we were able to work together to get these important bills passed by Congress. I hope the President will sign them into law soon.Thank you for your interest and feedback on these and other important issues facing our state and nation. I appreciate your continued friendship and support. Sincerely,Orrin Hatch
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Hatch Dispatch: Pensions, Obamacare and Energy . . .

Dear Friends:

Permanently Delay Obamacare for All Americans

This week I addressed with gusto the elephant in the room – the implementation of Obamacare.  In a speech on the Senate floor and in a letter to the President I urged this Administration to permanently delay the implementation of Obamacare for all Americans.

I pointed out that this law is too big, too cumbersome, too intrusive, and too costly to work.  I’ve never supported it and for good reason.  What is most disconcerting is that it is the millions of Utahns and Americans who work hard every day to pay their bills, put food on their tables and send their children to school who’ll bear this burden.  For their sake, the best solution is a permanent delay of the whole law. 

I further highlighted the growing price tag of the health care premium subsidies – complex tax credits designed to defray the cost of purchasing health insurance, based on household income – and questioned whether the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), already under investigation for targeting conservative groups, would be equipped to process the subsidies which are both advanceable and refundable – meaning pay out first and verify later.

So, basically, the Obama Administration would have us believe that, while a four-year increase of 1,700 applications for tax-exempt status was enough to give the agency fits, it’s perfectly capable of handling seven million new filings for a brand new health care entitlement.  On top of that, they want us to believe that they can continue processing these subsidies as they double in number over the first two years. Needless to say, I’m more than a bit skeptical.

As such, several of my Senate Republican colleagues and I asked Secretaries Sebelius and Lew to explain how the premium subsidies will work and what they are expecting them to cost.  I also joined with House and  Senate Republican Committee leaders in requesting an updated cost estimate of all of Obamacare.

You can read the full text of the speech I gave here,
and the text of the letter here.

Pension Benefit System -- Secure Retirement Savings

To address the public pension debt crisis and better secure retirement savings for millions of Americans, this week I introduced the Secure Annuities for Employee (SAFE) Retirement Act of 2013, legislation to strengthen and reform much of the nation’s public and private pension benefit system.

America cannot continue sleepwalking into the financial disaster that awaits us if we do not get the public pension debt crisis under control.  The problem is getting more serious every day and cannot be remedied merely by fine-tuning the existing pension structures available to public employers. A new public pension design is needed: one that provides cost certainty for state and local taxpayers, retirement income security for state and local employees, and does not include an explicit or implicit federal government guarantee.

Dangerously high unfunded pension liabilities of state and local governments have threatened the fiscal solvency of states and municipalities as well as the nation’s long-term fiscal health, including the U.S. credit rating.  Today public pension debt remains as high as $4.4 trillion and outstanding state and local municipal bond debt adds another $3.7 trillion. Last year, I issued a report - which served as the foundation for the legislation - outlining the financial risks of the public pension debt crisis and its negative impact on the American economy.

Even more, with a national savings rate of only 2.5 percent, longer life expectancies and far fewer workers covered by defined-benefit pension plans, Americans across the country are struggling to adequately prepare for their retirement. The Finance Committee has received evidence in hearings that access to a retirement plan at work is the best way to ensure that individuals save for retirement.

A pension is insurance against outliving the money you have available to pay your monthly bills.  It cannot be denied that people are living longer. And as wonderful as that is, it also means we need to find new ways to stretch our monthly pension dollars over longer lifetimes. The SAFE Retirement Plan can meet the test.

To view a summary of the legislation click HERE.

To view a copy of my remarks on the Senate floor click HERE.

Two Utah Energy Bills To be Signed Into Law

Two pieces of energy legislation important to Utah are poised to be signed into law by President Obama. The South Utah Valley Electric Service District (S.25/H.R.251) and Bonneville Unit Clean Hydropower Facilitation (S.26/H.R.254) both passed the House and Senate unanimously.  I sponsored the Senate version of the bills, and Rep. Jason Chaffetz sponsored the House versions.

The Bonneville Unit Clean Hydropower Facilitation Act allows for the development of hydroelectric power on the Diamond Fork system of the Central Utah Water Project (CUP). The South Valley Electric Conveyance Act conveys certain federal features of the electric distribution system to the South Utah Valley Electric Service District. The South Utah Valley Electric Service District has operated and managed these facilities for decades and this bill will give them ownership.

These two bills will give Utahns more of a say over the resources and entities affecting our state.  Allowing CUP to move forward to harness the power it needs and giving the South Utah Valley Electric District ownership of its systems just makes sense, and I’m glad we were able to work together to get these important bills passed by Congress. I hope the President will sign them into law soon.

Thank you for your interest and feedback on these and other important issues facing our state and nation.  I appreciate your continued friendship and support. 

Sincerely,

Orrin Hatch

 

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Senator Orrin Hatch
104 Hart Office Building Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-5251
Fax: (202) 224-6331