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Bill Flores Discusses This Week in Washington

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WASHINGTON, D.C. , July 19, 2019 | Andre Castro (202-225-6105) | comments

U.S. Representative Bill Flores (R-Texas) issued the following statements regarding bills coming out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; H.R. 748, the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act; H.R. 582, the Raise the Wage Act; the continued harassment of President Trump and his administration; and his first Summer Town Hall Series event:

"The news coming out of Washington this week was mixed. While we did see the beginnings of some bipartisan cooperation and activity, there were also some continuing divisive and partisan activities. Looking forward, I am hoping that we can move further along the cooperative, bipartisan path like we did in the 2017-2018 Congress when about 99 percent of the bills signed by President Trump were bipartisan. In the discussion below, we will discuss both the encouraging news and the bad news."

Energy and Commerce Committee
"I am honored to be a member of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee which has a historical record of bipartisanship. Unfortunately, during the first few months of this Congress, the bulk of the committee’s activities were partisan, hard-left in nature; however, this week most of the committee’s work was bipartisan and will help address issues facing our country. We worked to pass 25 important bills, 23 of which were bipartisan, out of our committee to help hardworking American families. Specifically, the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act helps put an end to the onslaught of harassing robocalls that harm and harass consumers. This bill gives the FCC and law enforcement agencies critically needed tools to stop these scammers. It also includes my unanimously adopted amendment that increases fines for illegal robocall activities. The No Surprises Act protects patients and families from surprise medical bills by some health care providers. This bill holds patients harmless in these situations and will stop inappropriate billing practices by forcing insurance companies and health care providers to resolve payment disputes with a common-sense, market-based approach.

"Bipartisan passage of these bills out of committee shows that it is possible for the House to come together to get important work done. I am committed to more of this bipartisan work that focuses on the needs and benefit of hardworking Texas families, not only in committee but also on the House floor."

Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act
"In 2017, as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, House Republicans successfully repealed Obamacare’s individual mandate tax. This week, we continued to build on that work with the passage of an overwhelmingly bipartisan bill to repeal Obamacare’s ‘Cadillac Tax’ – the 40 percent excise tax on some union-sponsored and employer-provided health coverage plans. Moving forward, it is incumbent on Congress to continue working to empower hardworking American families to take control of their health care decisions and provide them access to robust, innovative, market-driven and affordable health care coverage that puts the patient first."

Raise the Wage Act
"Since 2017, Congressional Republicans have been working with the White House to create a vibrant economy. In fact, the economic gains that we have seen from our successful tax and regulatory reforms have brought historically low unemployment and rising wages for persons of all backgrounds and income levels. Unfortunately, this week the Democrat-controlled House passed the Raise the Wage Act. This bill will reverse those gains and create a crippling effect on our small businesses. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office concluded that up to 3.7 million jobs would be lost under this bill, a reaffirmation of countless other studies showing that arbitrary increases in the minimum wage kills jobs and ties the hands of small businesses.

"Speaker Pelosi and her colleagues rammed this bill through the House despite warnings from successful business leaders like Warren Buffett of Berkshire-Hathaway and Bill Gates of Microsoft, as well as moderate House Democrats including Kurt Schrader of Oregon.  Bill Gates offered this response – ‘If you raise the minimum wage, you’re encouraging labor substitution and you’re going to buy machines and automate things – or cause jobs to appear out of that jurisdiction [the United States in this case]. And, so within certain limits, you know, it does cause job destruction.’  Warren Buffett shared his analysis – ‘I may wish to have all jobs pay at least $15 an hour. But that minimum would almost certainly reduce employment in a major way, crushing many workers possessing only basic skills.’  Representative Schrader stated his concerns – ‘One size does not fit all. The cost of living is different in rural areas’ towns and large cities. A new federal wage should take that into account.’

"Another factor which should have been considered regarding this bill is the real-world impact that has happened where the minimum wage has been dramatically increased. One such case is the impact of Seattle’s minimum wage increase. A 2017 University of Washington study on the law’s impact found the following – ‘We conclude that the second wage increase to $13 reduced hours worked in low wage jobs by around 9 percent, while hourly wages in such jobs increased by around 3 percent. Consequently, total payroll fell for such jobs, implying that the minimum wage ordinance lowered low-wage employees’ earnings by an average of $125 per month in 2016.’  Even the Seattle Times reported ‘Seattle’s minimum-wage law is boosting wages for a range of low-paid workers, but the law is causing those workers as a group to lose hours, and it’s also costing jobs, according to the latest study on the measure passed by the City Council in 2014.’

"House Republicans offered an amendment to the bill to attempt to address the crippling effects of the proposed doubling of the minimum wage on small businesses, however, it failed when most House Democrats voted against this commonsense provision to save small and start-up businesses.

"The pro-growth solutions implemented by Republicans in 2017 and 2018 have enabled huge increases in economic opportunity, job growth and take-home incomes for hardworking American families. In particular, our policies have been most beneficial to minorities, women and low-income families who have seen their incomes accelerate at a faster rate than higher-income Americans. These policies have helped to broaden access to the American Dream and to reduce the income inequality gap that grew dramatically during 2011-2018. Unfortunately, the Raise the Wage Act would hurt the folks who have been helped the most by our proven and successful policies; therefore, I voted against this flawed bill. Rather than working to stifle our economic success, we should be working on pro-growth solutions that encourage job creation and economic growth."

Harassing the President and his Administration
"Despite the positive, bipartisan news I shared at the beginning of this discussion, Speaker Pelosi and the radical, socialist elements of her party continued to pursue their hyper-partisan political agenda through renewed harassment of President Trump and his administration. These activities included a condemnation vote, a contempt vote and an impeachment resolution. While I disapprove of some of President Trump’s tweets and statements, I also disapprove of certain members of Congress using the ‘racist’ term every time they disagree with someone, whether it is directed at Speaker Pelosi or at President Trump, its overuse is inappropriate. Additionally, the continued name-calling and divisiveness has to stop for the good of our branch of government and for the good of the American people. The valuable House floor time spent this week on divisive and political show votes was time that would have been better spent focusing on the issues that matter most to hardworking Texas families. Instead of wasting time with these political show votes, Democrats and Republicans need to come together to secure our border, to fix our broken immigration system, to address prescription drug prices and to improve our health care system."

First Summer Town Hall Series Event
"This week, we were able to reach over 4,300 constituents during the first of our Summer Town Hall Series events. We had great participation, received helpful feedback and discussed many important issues including immigration, hyper-partisan political votes, health care and much more. I look forward to the second of our Summer Town Hall Series events next week, so that I can hear more about the issues that are important to the hardworking families of the 17th Congressional District.

"The second Summer Town Hall Series event will take place on July 24th at 6:40 p.m. Central. Please note that this event is subject to change given the currently unstructured and disorganized nature of the 2019 House voting schedule and floor operations. For more details and to watch our first event, visit our website at Flores.House.gov."

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