|Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 9.23.13
Monday, September 23, 2013 â€“
Defunding Obamacare and Controlling Spending
With my support, on Friday, September 20, the House passed legislation known as a continuing resolution that prevents a government shutdown AND also prevents money from being spent by the federal government on the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). PPACA is also known as Obamacare.
It is my belief that the Senate ought to publicly acknowledge the negative impact that Obamacare will have on the American people and businesses, and join us in defunding Obamacare once and for all. Obamacare as written will not work. Senator Max Baucus, one of the lawâ€™s chief architects, said that Obamacare will be a â€śhuge train wreck.â€ť In my opinion, it is the duty of the House and the Senate, if they see a train wreck coming, to get the American people not only off the tracks, but well away from the prospective wreck. The House has done its work. Itâ€™s now up to the Senate.
As this column is being written, this legislationâ€™s fate has yet to be determined by the Senate. No matter what your opinion is on Obamacare, you should let your Senators know how you feel. Their office numbers are:
Senator Mark Warner
Senator Time Kaine
The War on Coal Continues
Also on Friday, September 20, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced greenhouse gas standards for new power plants, a regulation harsh enough to essentially ensure that we cannot build another coal-fired power plant here in the United States.
Sadly, our region is all too familiar with the impact of anti-coal policies like this. For the Ninth District of Virginia and other coal-producing regions, I strongly urge President Obama and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to declare a ceasefire in the war on coal and stop the regulatory assault on Americaâ€™s power sector, related businesses, and hard-working American people.
Trees for Schools â€“ An Update
Over a century ago, the federal government promised rural communities that it would actively manage forest land to the communitiesâ€™ benefit, historically sharing around 25 percent of revenues from timber harvests with rural counties that contain National Forest Land. This money could be used in lieu of revenue these communities might otherwise have received from property taxes if the land were not owned by the federal government, and could be used to fund schools, teachers, police officers, etc. Recipients of these funds within the Ninth District of Virginia include the following counties: Alleghany, Bland, Carroll, Craig, Dickenson, Giles, Grayson, Lee, Montgomery, Pulaski, Roanoke, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, and Wythe.
Due to federal regulations and environmental lawsuits, however, the Forest Service over the years has reduced the amount of federal forest land being timbered. In my opinion, this not only has destroyed jobs and deprived rural communities of needed revenue, but also is poor forest management, making the land more susceptible to invasive species and wildfires. Tragically, the House Natural Resources Committee states that wildfires burned 9.3 million acres last year alone.
Badly needed is a long-term solution to improve forest health and management, fulfill the federal governmentâ€™s promise to rural communities, and grow jobs. To that end, the House Natural Resources Committee over the last several months has worked to advance H.R. 1526, the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act. This legislation would promote responsible timber production, improve state and local involvement, and restore the federal governmentâ€™s commitment to rural communities. This should mean more money for Southwest Virginia localities.
I am an original cosponsor of this legislation, which recently passed the House with my support. Similar legislation recently passed the Senate. I will continue monitoring the progress of this legislation, and working to promote healthier forests and get residents of the Ninth Districtâ€™s rural communities back to work.
As always, if you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office by email, please visit my website at ###