January 6, 2017
The New Congress Hits the Ground Running
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) applauded the work of the new Congress in its first week in operation, meeting with Vice President-Elect Mike Pence, addressing veterans issues, reining in costly regulations and taking steps to protect black lung benefits.
Republican Members of the House met with Vice President-Elect Mike Pence earlier this week to discuss plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. Pence reminded legislators that premiums are increasing by an average of 25% this year, while some states experienced increases as high as 116%.
As the new Congress works to overhaul the disastrous and unaffordable healthcare act, Rogers continues to advocate for a piecemeal approach to protect portions like the Byrd Amendment, making it easier for coal miners to obtain black lung benefits. In fact, on Thursday, Rogers cosponsored a resolution, H. Res. 26, to protect black lung benefits and widows’ benefits in the law. Currently, if a miner has 15 years or more of experience in underground mining and can prove it has resulted in respiratory disability, the miner is automatically awarded benefits, unless the employing coal company can prove otherwise. The Byrd Amendment, named after the late Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, also protects miners’ widows’ black lung benefits, and Rogers hopes to keep those protections in place as Congress moves forward with new legislation.
“Black lung benefits are critical to the hard working coal miners of Eastern Kentucky, as well as their widows, and I will continue fighting to protect the benefits that they have earned,” said Congressman Rogers. “We must repeal and replace Obamacare with an affordable plan that provides access to the care that Americans want and deserve. However, we must carefully review each portion of the law and work to protect sections like black lung benefits.”
Also on Thursday, the U.S. House of Representative passed the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2017 (H.R. 26), to reform federal regulations and restore accountability. During the Obama Administration, over 550 new federal regulations were imposed on America’s job creators and households, costing nearly $108 billion each year. The REINS Act requires federal agencies to submit major regulations to Congress for approval, and Congress must vote on those rules within 70 legislative days.
“Too often, regulators fail to weigh the costs and benefits of their actions, and there is no accountability in place for them.” said Rogers, who cosponsored the bill. “The REINS Act removes regulatory power from unelected agency officials in Washington and ensures elected representatives in Congress have a chance to review and approve any new major rules. It’s time to remove unnecessary and costly road blocks for American families and businesses.”
In 2015, federal regulations burdened the American people with an estimated $1.885 trillion, which equals roughly $15,000 per household and 10.4% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, President-elect Trump offered strong support for the REINS Act.
As announced earlier this week, Rogers cosponsored his first resolution of the 115th Congress to strike down the Obama Administration’s overreaching Stream Buffer Zone Rule that places further restrictions on coal mining. According to the National Mining Association, the new rule could result in the additional loss of over 77,500 coal mining jobs across the country. The Congressional resolution would allow the U.S. House and Senate to take a simple vote to reverse the controversial rule.
Rogers has served Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District since 1981. With a focus on economic development, job creation, fighting illegal drugs and preserving Appalachia’s natural treasures, he has a reputation for listening to his constituents and fighting for the region he represents. For more information, visit Congressman Rogers’ online office at http://halrogers.house.gov or follow him on Twitter or Instagram @RepHalRogers, and on Facebook.