Price Opening Statement: Reconciliation Markup
As Prepared for Delivery
Good morning and thank you all for being here.
Today, we are reporting a package of legislation submitted by three House committees pursuant to the reconciliation instructions included in this year’s concurrent balanced budget resolution. This is the next step in an ongoing process that will give Congress the opportunity to move legislation through both the House and Senate in an expedited manner and to the president’s desk for his consideration.
This year – for the first time in over a decade – Congress passed a bicameral, 10-year balanced budget. It is a pro-growth plan to promote job creation and economic opportunity, hold Washington accountable, make government more efficient and effective, support key priorities like our national security as well as health and retirement security, and get our fiscal house in order. Now, because the House and Senate reached agreement on a budget, we have the opportunity to pursue the reconciliation process.
The FY16 budget resolution states that reconciliation ought to be used to address Obamacare, in an effort to help all Americans gain access to the health care and coverage they want – not that the government forces them to buy – and that’s exactly what we are doing. We are committed to protecting every American from this harmful law and the damage it has done and will do to patients, health care providers, family budgets and job creators. Whether it’s fewer health care choices, less access to care, higher out-of-pocket costs or less medical innovation – Obamacare is an attack on quality health care in our nation.
Last week, the three House committees charged with reconciliation instructions – Ways and Means, Education and the Workforce, and Energy and Commerce – held markups on their respective recommendations. I want to thank Chairman Ryan, Chairman Kline, and Chairman Upton for their hard work and the hard work of their committee members. This is a team effort, and they and their committees have shown real leadership in this endeavor.
Under the reconciliation process, the role of the House Budget Committee is to combine the recommendations sent over from these three committees into a single bill, and consider that single bill here in our committee before reporting it to the full House for consideration.
A quick review of the policies in this legislation demonstrates a concerted effort to provide relief to the American people from the damage inflicted by Obamacare while focusing resources where they can do the most good.
The Ways and Means Committee has achieved $37.1 billion in savings by repealing the individual and employer mandates, the so-called “Cadillac Tax” and medical device tax, as well as the Independent Payment Advisory Board – the 15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats empowered by Obamacare to make decisions that will effectively deny care to seniors.
The Energy & Commerce Committee has achieved $12.4 billion in savings by repealing an Obamacare slush fund called the Prevention and Public Health Fund, and they have included an additional policy that would prevent – for one year – taxpayer dollars to be used to pay abortion providers prohibited in the legislation. This is accompanied by more money and resources for hundreds of community health centers so that women have would have greater access to health care.
The Education and the Workforce Committee has achieved $7.9 billion in savings by repealing Obamacare’s employer auto-enrollment for health insurance.
When these three components are combined into one bill, the total savings is $78.9 billion.
Together, this package will dismantle many of the key elements of Obamacare that are harming individuals and families, hurting job creation and spending taxpayer dollars on programs with little to no congressional oversight. Our goal is to save the country from this disastrous law and start over with patient-centered health care solutions where patients, families and doctors are making medical decisions, not Washington D.C.
While it is the job of the Budget Committee to combine these recommendations, it is not within our power under the reconciliation process to make substantive changes to the legislation before us. As Section 310 of the Congressional Budget Act states: “each such committee so directed shall promptly make such determination and recommendations and submit such recommendations to the Committee on the Budget of its House, which upon receiving all such recommendations, shall report to its House reconciliation legislation carrying out all such recommendations without any substantive revision.”
Therefore, today’s markup may not include any amendments. There will be an opportunity for motions regarding process, after the legislation is addressed.
Again, I want to thank the committees who helped draft this legislation for their efforts, and I look forward to today’s debate.
With that, I yield to the Ranking Member, Mr. Van Hollen.