• Chairman Whitbeck: Washington Post Editorial is Tacit Admission Liberals Have Lost the Argument

    By John Whitbeck, Chairman

    The Washington Post’s editorial of Sunday on “massive resistance” is one of the most intellectually bankrupt, morally repugnant things I’ve read in a long time.

    Once again, rather than entertain the possibility that opponents hold principled policy differences, the Post’s Editorial Board has decided to take the low road and compare all Republican opposition to Medicaid expansion as just the product of racism. Six years into the Obama era, this trope is wearing a bit thin. But then again, no one ever reads the Washington Post’s Editorial section for new ideas.

    Massive resistance was the indefensible policy of racial discrimination put into place by Virginia Democrats in a desperate attempt to preserve Jim Crow.  This policy is a stain on our Commonwealth that will never be removed. It should not be invoked lightly. To compare our Party’s elected officials to those who are responsible for massive resistance is beyond the pale.

    Since the Washington Post is unable to fathom any rational reason for opposing Medicaid expansion, I will gladly take the time to explain it to them.   To steal a phrase from President Obama, let me be clear: Republicans want quality, affordable health care for all Virginians.

    Where we differ from President Obama, Governor McAuliffe, and General Assembly Democrats is the best way to connect Virginians with that health care. Virginia’s Medicaid system is badly broken. Plagued with inefficiency, waste, fraud, and abuse, Medicaid was groaning under its own weight long before Obamacare. The program continues to consume more and more of Virginia’s budget, even with Federal matching funds.

    As many who have purchased Obamacare plans have discovered, health insurance does not equal health care. As paperwork grows and reimbursements drop, a number of doctors have declined to accept Medicaid as a form of payment. The Federal government recently cut payments to Medicaid providers yet again.

    What happens with that system finally becomes unsustainable? One need look no further than Tennessee’s failed experiment with Medicaid expansion in the late 1990s and early 2000s to find that answer. By the time Democrat Governor Phil Bredesen ended the program, “TennCare” had begun to devour larger and larger chunks of the state budget. Cost control measures were challenged in Federal court, and Tennessee lost, leaving taxpayers on the hook for the ever-growing bill.

    In the end, Tennessee finally ran out of other people’s money, and the TennCare experiment came to a painful, abrupt end.

    When — not if — the costs of an expanded Medicaid program in Virginia balloon beyond expectation, taxpayers will wind up on the hook. Unlike the Federal government, Virginia can neither run a deficit nor print money, leaving the Commonwealth with unpleasant choices. Raise taxes perpetually to pay for the ever-growing program, sacrifice priorities like education and transportation, or pull the health care rug out from under Virginians who have now come to depend on the program.

    Republicans want to craft patient centered, free market solutions to meet the needs of our fellow Virginians. What shape those solutions take should be the subject of robust public debate, but they will all have one thing in common — they will not share the top-down, government-mandate heavy approach that is Obamacare.

    Patients, rather than bureaucrats, should decide what kind of coverage they want to buy and Republicans are leading the way in finding these types of workable, market-based solutions.  The most recent example came from Ed Gillespie, who put forward a thoughtful, workable plan in 2014 and nearly defeated Mark Warner in what almost everyone said was an unwinnable race.

    But you’ll never learn any of that reading the pages of the Washington Post Editorial Board. No, in these once well-reasoned pages all opposition to President Obama is born of racism, and any concern about the sustainability of government spending is the fruit of ill will, and nothing more.

    Sunday’s editorial is nothing more than a tacit admission that liberals like the Post’s Editorial Board have lost the argument, but lack the good grace to concede.

  • Sen. Frank Wagner Delivers Weekly Virginia GOP Address

    Sen. Frank Wagner, R-Virginia Beach, delivered this week’s Virginia GOP Address.

    Remarks as prepared for delivery:

    “Hi, I’m Senator Frank Wagner and I represent the 7th Senate District which includes western Virginia Beach and a small portion of Norfolk.

    “Republican legislators are working on behalf of our fellow Virginians to keep taxes low on families and businesses, to reform our public schools for high quality education for our kids and we are responsibly addressing veterans health care issues.”

    “I’m here to talk to you about another prominent issue being debated during this legislative session.”

    “Sometime this summer the Obama Administration will adopt a new environmental rule requiring the States to dramatically decrease the amount of carbon being produced by their electric power producers.

    “Virginia is being treated very unfairly in this new rule. Our state’s electricity regulator, the State Corporation Commission, or SCC, calls the EPA rules “arbitrary, capricious and unlawful.”

    “The SCC also predicts that the new regulations will raise electricity rates in Virginia by 22 percent. Other experts say the increase is likely closer to 30 percent! 12 states have sued the EPA over the legality of these draconian environmental rules.”

    “Incredibly – but to many Republican, not surprisingly – Virginia’s Attorney General, Democrat Mark Herring, is sitting on the sidelines with no plan whatsoever to protect Virginia consumers from skyrocketing electricity bills.”

    “I have been following this matter closely for months. And based on what I’ve learned about the horrible impact this EPA rule will have on Virginia, I decided that I’m not going to stand by and allow an unnecessary 22 percent rate increase in our electricity bills to go unchallenged.”

    “When signed into law, my bill, Senate Bill 1349, will decrease electric bills for residential customers by 5 percent and commercial customers by 10 percent.

    The bill freezes base rates charged by Dominion and Appalachian Power to their customers for 5 years while the new EPA rule is challenged in federal courts across the country.”

    “The bill requires Dominion and APCO to assume the costs of clean up from natural disasters, such as hurricanes, and the bill provides new powers to the State Corporation Commission to regulate Dominion.”

    “Virginia’s electric rates have gone up just 2 percent since 2008. Not 2 percent per year, 2 percent overall. Our health insurance bills – and our cable bills – have certainly gone up far more than that since 2008. Our regulatory regime in Virginia has produced very stable – and low – electric rates for consumers.”

    “My legislation will keep Virginia’s electric rates among the lowest in the nation and the lowest in the mid-Atlantic region. It will also ensure that no existing power generation facilities will be closed while lawsuits filed against the EPA wind their way through the courts. This provision protects thousands of high paying Virginia jobs.”

    “The bill is supported by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the Virginia Manufacturing Association, the American Red Cross of Virginia, the Virginia NAACP, the Partnership for Housing Affordability, groups representing low and fixed income Virginians and many other groups.”

    “Building an attractive business climate is critical to our efforts to help create new jobs and diversify our economy here in Virginia. Republicans in the General Assembly are working to keep Virginia open for business and this legislation will keep Virginia among the most attractive places in the world to build or locate a business.”

    “I’m Senator Frank Wagner. Thank you for watching, and have a great weekend.”

  • Robert Hurt Votes to Protect Small Businesses

    Congressman Robert Hurt, R-5th, released the following statement after voting in favor of H.R. 527, the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act, which would strengthen and modernize the Regulatory Flexibility Act to ensure agencies adequately analyze proposed rules for their potential impacts on small businesses:

    “Our Main Street businesses are the backbone of our local economies and are essential to providing the jobs and economic growth the Fifth District needs.  In recent years, small businesses have generated almost two-thirds of new jobs, but they labor under the increasing burden of federal regulations which impede their ability to invest in their communities and create jobs.  The federal government far too often forces these harmful rules and regulations on Main Street businesses without adequately considering the negative impact they will have on our most dynamic job creators.  While the country has begun to experience modest economic growth, unemployment remains too high in Virginia’s Fifth District, and we must do all we can to remove unnecessary federal regulations as a barrier to job creation.

    “This commonsense legislation would modernize our regulatory process by increasing transparency and giving small businesses the ability to ensure that the government better understands the impact of new rules.  I was pleased to see this bill pass the House with bipartisan support, and I urge our colleagues in the Senate to pass this bill and continue working with us to advance policies that will spur job creation and economic recovery.”

  • Chairman Whitbeck: Democrat ‘War on Coal’ Rhetoric Shows They Don’t Understand, Care about Southwest Virginia

    RPV Chairman John Whitbeck issued the following statement:

    “It has been said that a mistake in politics is accidentally saying what you really think. By that definition, Democrats in the House of Delegates made a rather large mistake today.”

    “While Republicans took to the floor to defend Virginia’s coal jobs, House Democrats took to social media to call President Obama’s War on Coal a ‘myth.'” War on Coal Myth

    “Just days ago the city of Roanoke lost 500 jobs as Norfolk Southern, the railroad that hauls the coal away from the mines, announced it was leaving the city. This will have a devastating impact on Roanoke. Along with idled mines and laid off miners further south, this is a true disaster for part of our Commonwealth.”

    “Even those of us who live in Northern Virginia should be actively fighting President Obama and the EPA on this issue. New environmental rules put forward by the EPA are so onerous that even the State Corporation Commissions said they only way Virginia can comply will be to build a new nuclear reactor, which would bring President Obama’s campaign promise of ‘skyrocketing’ electric rates to pass in short order.”

    “House Democrats have clearly demonstrated that not only do they not understand energy policy, they don’t understand Southwest Virginia. Even worse, they simply don’t care about Southwest Virginia at all.”

  • Goodlatte: Repeal Obamacare, Enact Meaningful Health Care Reform

    Congressman Bob Goodlatte, R-6th, released the following statement after voting in support of H.R. 596 to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare:

    “The fact of the matter is that the President’s health care law is not working to improve the affordability or availability of health care in this country. This is the message that I have consistently heard from families and businesses in the Sixth District of Virginia. Many families have lost their health care coverage, now have inferior coverage, or face outrageous premiums and deductibles. Small businesses are facing costly mandates that have in many cases discouraged hiring and reduced employee hours. As the problems continue to come to light, it’s clear that not even the strongest glue would fix the cracks in this law. The best thing Congress can do for the people we represent is to get rid of this top-down, Washington bureaucrat managed, one-size-fits-all health care program.

    “H.R. 596 repeals Obamacare. But it doesn’t stop there. It also instructs Committee Chairmen to craft better solutions for more effective, patient-centered health care reform. This is the fourth time the House of Representatives has voted to fully repeal Obamacare. It’s a hard thing to admit when you’re wrong, but it’s time for President Obama to acknowledge that this law was not the best prescription for Americans’ healthcare needs. Let’s work together to find appropriate remedies to address the challenges folks face in getting the coverage they both want and need.”

  • Robert Hurt Votes to Repeal the President’s Healthcare Law

    Congressman Robert Hurt, R-5th, released the following statement after voting in favor of H.R. 596, which would repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and direct certain congressional committees to offer alternative, market-based legislation that meets specific goals to improve our nation’s healthcare system:

    “As I travel across Virginia’s Fifth District, I hear from our constituents, our Main Street businesses, our local governments, and our healthcare providers about the numerous ways they are being directly and negatively impacted by the President’s healthcare law.  They are not able to keep the healthcare plans they have always counted on, are being hit with spikes in insurance premiums, co-pays, and deductibles, and have had their working hours cut.  These mandates are placing additional burdens on families, hindering small businesses’ ability to create jobs, and holding us back from a full economic recovery.

    “This very flawed law must be repealed and replaced with real healthcare reform that does not destroy jobs or reduce wages.  Congressional Republicans remain focused on creating solutions that are patient-centered and market-oriented, putting the power in the hands of individuals and families, not the federal government, to make healthcare decisions on behalf of themselves and their families.  I was pleased to see this measure pass the House.  I urge my colleagues in the Senate to take up this bill and join us in continuing to fight to protect Virginians and Americans from the harmful effects of the President’s healthcare law.”

  • Comstock Votes To Repeal and Replace Obamacare

    Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, R-10th, issued the following statement on legislation that passed the House today which would repeal and replace Obamacare by a vote of 239 to 186:

    “When I was traveling across the District last year, I heard many stories of how Obamacare has failed my constituents from increasing premiums on families to throwing folks off existing plans and hurting small businesses,” said Congresswoman Barbara Comstock.  “The legislation I voted for today not only repeals Obamacare, but also requires Congress to go back to the drawing board and finally focus on patient-centered healthcare reform for all Americans.”

    The legislation that passed today preserves a patient’s ability to keep his or her health plan if he or she likes it, and provides people with pre-existing conditions access to affordable health coverage among other patient-centered reforms.

  • Del. Tag Greason Delivers Weekly Virginia GOP Address

    Del. Tag Greason, R-Loudoun, delivered this week’s Virginia GOP Address.

    Remarks as prepared for delivery:

    “Hi, I’m Delegate Tag Greason and I represent the 32nd district in the Virginia House of Delegates – which includes the eastern portion of Loudoun County.”

    “This year, Republicans in the General Assembly are working on what we call kitchen-table issues.Jobs and the economy. Your child’s education, and making college more affordable.”

    “The issues you talk about with your family every night at the kitchen table are the issues we’re working on in Richmond.”

    “The issue that my family and I talk about most often is education. And that’s one of our top priorities this year.We have outlined a full legislative agenda to build a strong foundation for classroom success.”

    “We are working to support our teachers by promoting professional development.We are working to cut red-tape for local leaders and improve the school accreditation process.”

    “We are building on our efforts from last year to better measure student progress.”

    “We have legislation to further reform the Standards of Learning by streamlining re-takes, integrating multiple subjects into single assessments and encouraging the use of problem-solving skills.”

    “The House of Delegates will pass more than a half-dozen bills this week aimed at strengthening our schools and making sure that every child has the opportunity succeed.”

    “This is part of our 2015 governing agenda as we continue to build consensus on commonsense reforms that help all of our kids.”

    “We know that education is important to your family, and that’s why it’s important to us.”

    “I’m Delegate Tag Greason. Thanks for watching and have a great weekend.”

  • Comstock Joins Meehan Bill That Helps Vets Overcome Addiction, PTSD

    Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, R-10th, joined as an original co-sponsor to Congressman Patrick Meehan (PA-07) legislation called Servicemember Assistance for Lawful Understanding, Treatment and Education (SALUTE) Act. The legislation provides yearly federal funding for veterans’ treatment courts. Veterans’ treatment courts help veterans coping with addiction and other mental disorders receive specialized care when accused of certain non-violent crimes.

    “Our men and women in uniform put their lives on the line each and every day so we can stay safe,” said Congresswoman Barbara Comstock.  “It is incumbent on the nation to support those who sacrificed for us and that is what the SALUTE Act is all about.  Veterans’ Treatment Courts will help veterans who have faced challenges get back on their feet so they can thrive in society.”

    “One in five veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan will experience a stress-related mental illness, and many others will fall victim to drug and alcohol abuse,” said Congressman Meehan. “We owe it to these veterans to ensure they get the care and treatment they earned for serving our nation. And we can help non-violent offenders struggling with addiction or other crises avoid becoming entrapped in the criminal justice system, keeping them from getting the care they need.”

    “More than 200 of these courts have been set up across the nation, and we’re already seeing remarkable success and lower recidivism rates,” Meehan said. “We’ve had success in securing federal funding for vets’ courts in recent years, through appropriations. But these programs still need formal authorization to create a permanent funding stream. The SALUTE Act gives the Justice Department important guidance on veterans’ treatment courts funding and will help make sure these programs are being implemented effectively.”

  • Wittman Statement on Interior Department Five-Year Plan

    Congressman Rob Wittman, R-1st, released the following statement after the Interior Department announced a draft proposal for offshore oil and gas leasing which includes a potential lease sale off the coast of Virginia:

    “Virginians across the political spectrum have voiced support for offshore energy exploration and development, and I have consistently voted to push the Administration to open up a significant amount of the Outer Continental Shelf for this purpose. This proposal includes a potential lease sale off Virginia’s coast, representing a productive but small step forward for our Commonwealth, where OCS exploration and development can provide good jobs and an economic boost to our region.

    “While this is good news for Virginia, it is disappointing it took this long. Virginia’s Lease Sale 220 was already included in a Draft Proposed Plan in 2006, only to be canceled in 2010. Now, Virginia will not see a lease sale until roughly 2021, which is 15 years after its original inclusion in a five-year plan. Delays like this represent a failure to harness our domestic energy potential.

    “At the same time, we must open up more of the OCS if we truly want to maintain our economic competitiveness and achieve North American energy independence. Limiting the potential productivity of our domestic energy supply is no way to achieve these goals. Regardless, I am eager to work with the Department of the Interior to ensure that the process of opening Virginia’s OCS to energy exploration and development is conducted efficiently, effectively, and in an environmentally safe manner.”

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