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  10. '15

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Occurrences in the Congressional Record

Entry Title Date
Providing For Consideration Of H.R. 2, Medicare Access And Chip Reauthorization Act Of 2015, And Providing For Proceedings During The Period From March 27, 2015, Through April 10, 2015 March 26, 2015
Michael Burgess, R-TX
"Mr. Speaker, by direction of the Committee on Rules, I call up House Resolution 173 and ask for its immediate consideration."
Concurrent Resolution On The Budget, Fiscal Year 2016 March 26, 2015
Michael Enzi, R-WY
"Mr. President, amendment No. 944 is not germane to the budget resolution now before the Senate. Therefore, I raise a point of order against the amendment under section 305(b)(2) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974."
Medicare Access And Chip Reauthorization Act Of 2015 March 26, 2015
Joe Pitts, R-PA
"Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 173, I call up the bill (H.R. 2) to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to repeal the Medicare sustainable growth rate and strengthen Medicare access by improving physician payments and making other improvements, to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and for other purposes, and ask for its immediate consideration in the House."
Brain Awareness Week March 26, 2015
Jerry McNerney, D-CA
"The National Science Foundation has supported a number of projects that have led to discoveries in neuroscience. These projects include gene editing that allows scientists to understand the biological origins of complex brain disorders and provide new potential treatments. On another front, increasing the resolution of optical microscopes has allowed scientists to view the brain in more detail and helped them understand Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease."
Stop Targeting Federal Employees March 26, 2015
Robert Wittman, R-VA
"Mr. Speaker, I voted on Wednesday, March 25, in favor of H. Con. Res. 27, authored by Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, because it is my belief that Congress has a responsibility to address our nation’s fiscal crisis. This proposal is simply a visionary document and a way forward in the budgetary process so we can continue the debate about the financial challenges our country faces and return to funding the government through regular order. Like last year’s proposal, the budget plan for FY 2016 calls for significant reductions in discretionary spending, reduced taxes and the full repeal of the President’s costly health care reform law. It proposes a balanced budget in less than 10 years and recognizes that we can no longer ignore the trillions of dollars in mandatory spending on entitlement programs that almost completely consume our nation’s budget. This year’s plan also asks Members of Congress to again lead by example by cutting their own pay, benefits and office budgets in the quest to reduce our debt and put this nation on sound financial footing. Further, the proposal protects our nation’s defense and security forces. I have repeatedly said that we must get serious about the national security threats that exist in this world and what is required of our forward presence and response forces. This budget gives the United States the flexibility and capabilities that are essential to the rebalance of our security posture toward the Asia Pacific, our enduring security commitments in the Middle East, and the need to respond to contingency operations around the globe. Our nation has no greater asset than the folks who have served and are currently serving our nation, both military and civilian alike. Their dedication and service to our nation is unwavering and it is important that Congress provide the best equipment, training, and compensation so these men and women can meet their duties in full. The House budget plan restores national security spending and helps our defense maintain its current strength. These are all measures that I have and will continue to support; however, it is disappointing that this proposal, just as in past budget proposals, unfairly targets only one group of Americans for additional sacrifices: the civilian federal workforce. I have serious concerns that this resolution again forces federal employees to contribute more towards their retirement, approximately six percent, which is the equivalent of a pay cut, and eliminates their defined benefit retirement plan for deficit reduction purposes. It also goes farther than previous budget plans by proposing to decrease the rate of return on the Thrift Savings Plan’s Government Securities Fund (G Fund). America’s First District is full of hardworking and dedicated citizens who serve the people of this nation every day, such as on the front lines of the War on Terror or in support roles for our military. Still others provide invaluable services at places such as VA hospitals, cancer and Alzheimer’s research laboratories, and law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and DEA. And yet, federal civilian employees continue to see their pay cut and their benefits reduced on nearly every occasion. Federal employees have already endured a three-year pay freeze; furloughs due to sequestration; and were required to not work because of indecision and political gamesmanship that resulted in a government shutdown on October 1, 2013 lasting 16 days. In addition, employees hired since 2012 have seen required contribution increases to their retirement, bringing our federal workers’ total sacrifice to date to $159 billion over ten years. It is because of these sacrifices that I supported legislation to allow furloughed workers to receive back pay for time out of work during the 2013 shutdown. In addition, I introduced the Federal Employee Combat Zone Tax Parity Act, which would extend the tax credit available to military personnel who serve in combat zones to the civilian federal employees that work alongside them. Congress charges federal employees with important duties and expects these duties to be performed with the highest caliber of expertise, but rather than being recognized for their service, these public servants see their salary and benefits continually used as a pawn in the game of politics. We continue to ask our federal civilian workforce to do more with less. According to data collected by the Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, there has been a decline in federal employee job and workplace satisfaction for the fourth consecutive year. A score sheet compiled by the Partnership for Public Service shows that government-wide, federal employee job satisfaction and commitment fell 0.9 points in 2014 to a score of 56.9 out of 100. Morale among our nation’s civilian federal workforce is at a historical low and these continued attacks keep the highly-skilled and experienced people we need from seeking a federal job. Enough is enough. I am fully ready and willing to enact deeper cuts to my own salary, benefits and congressional operations, which are provisions included in this year’s budget, but we must stop singling out federal employees simply because Congress continually fails to address the out-of-control spending. There is no question that our nation must get its spending in order, and federal employees have been and are certainly willing to continue to do their part to help in this effort. Their daily contributions to their fellow citizens and to the cause of freedom are simply innumerable, and yet during deficit reduction debate over the last several years, federal employees have been asked to contribute much more than their fair share. Our federal civilian employees live a life of selfless service and they deserve our appreciation. Mr. Speaker, I voted in support of H. Con. Res. 27 because it is Congress’ constitutional duty to budget and appropriate. Congress must get back to regular order. Congress does our federal employees no favors when governing by continuing resolution and through crisis management. We must bring more certainty to the annual federal appropriations process. This budget proposal is a means for Congress to further discuss our country’s fiscal challenges, but I will continue to push for deficit reduction efforts in the future that focus more realistically on addressing the true drivers of our debt, rather than targeting those who serve their nation every day."

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