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Thompson Times November Newsletter (2012)
As we approach the next election, I wanted to offer a brief recap of the 112th Congress. While the last two years have resulted in a long list of legislative successes, in which House Republicans haven’t been afraid to take bold steps to address our country’s biggest challenges, it has also been marked by missed opportunities with the Senate more often than not acting as an obstacle to progress.
In May 2011, I joined with fellow House Republicans in launching the "Plan for America’s Job Creators," a pledge to the American people that the House would advance a legislative agenda aimed at removing government barriers to private-sector job creation. Since then, the House has passed dozens of jobs bills, including numerous proposals to eliminate excessive government regulations that hurt job growth, lower taxes on small businesses and promote domestic energy production. While several of these proposals passed both chambers and have been signed into law by the president, 38 of these bills remain blocked by the Senate.
The failure to lead on the part of the Senate is also evident when it comes to our nation’s debt crisis and preventing a series of impending tax hikes that will hit all income levels in January if Congress fails to act. The House has passed two consecutive budgets that solve our nation’s debt crisis and create economic growth through comprehensive tax reform, while the Senate has failed to pass a budget in more than four years. On August 1, 2012, a bipartisan majority of the House passed H.R. 8, which would stop all of the tax hikes for another year. To date, the Senate has taken no action to stop all of the tax hikes.
When Congress returns in November, it is my hope that the Senate will begin to work with the House so we can capitalize on the missed opportunities of the last two years. I hope to hear from you as the House and Senate continue their work. In the meantime, below you will find important information and noteworthy updates from Washington D.C. and across the 5th District during the last month.
Push to Preserve Jobs And Domestic Energy Sources: Americans deserve an energy policy that supports America’s competitiveness and balances environmental protection with economic growth. Here are several recent efforts I’ve helped advance to achieve these goals.
House Passes Coal Employment And Domestic Energy Protection Package: On September 21, 2012, I voted to support H.R. 3409, the Coal Employment and Domestic Energy Protection Act. H.R. 3409 will help support energy-related business expansion across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, guard against higher electricity rates for consumers, and promote common-sense environmental protections by curtailing the most economically devastating Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. (Picture: Thompson, members of congress joined by coal workers from across the country at press conference before passage of H.R. 3409.)
Working to Prevent Closure of 14 Pennsylvania Waste Coal Plants: On October 17, 2012, I joined Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) in calling on the EPA to revise new regulations for coal plants that could otherwise force the closure of 14 Pennsylvania coal-refuse-to-energy plants, which provide unique environmental benefits to our state by using state-of-the-art technology to convert coal refuse into energy. Should the plants be forced to close, billions in costs would be shifted to the Commonwealth resulting in indefinitely delayed environmental clean-up efforts and hundreds of job losses.
Supporting Agriculture & Our Local Farmers: On October 12, 2012, I received the "Friend of Farm Bureau" award for supporting policies that help farmers attain greater profitability. “Representative Thompson is always accessible and willing to meet personally with local farmers in order to best represent the interests of agriculture, which we value in the local farming community,” said Centre County Farm Bureau President Dr. Daniel Kniffen, who presented the award on behalf of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau.
(Picture: Thompson and members of the Centre County Farm Bureau including Sally Tanis, Vice President, Dr. Daniel Kniffen, President, and Dr. Ann Swinker.)
Government Outreach 2012: During the last week on September, hundreds of students from high schools across the 5th Congressional District attended Government Outreach 2012, an educational seminar I host annually at the campuses of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford and Lock Haven University. In addition to education informational sessions put on by the universities, the students heard from a series of motivational speakers. Click here to learn more. (Picture: Students at Government Outreach 2012, Lock Haven, Pa.)
Representing Our Forestry Communities in Washington: On September 27, 2012, I received a 100% rating on the Forest Landowners Association’s (FLA) “U.S. House Scorecard.” FLA’s scorecard is based on a combination of co-sponsorships and votes on key bills of importance to private forest landowners that were considered or introduced during the 112th Congress, one of which is the “Forest Products Fairness Act of 2012” (H.R. 5873/S. 2346), a bill I introduced earlier this year that will expand market opportunities for domestic forest products.
The President's Health Care Law: Provisions Going Into Effect in 2013: In less than three months, Americans will be hit with an onslaught of new tax increases and health care cuts implemented under President Obama’s 2010 health care law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA). With some of the most notable tax increases and destructive policy changes set to occur on or after January 1, 2013, I wanted to offer a quick summary of those provisions, along with related work in the U.S. House to reform this flawed law and put forward better policies… click here to view the full list.
From the Pittsburgh Tribune Review: “House bill would speed disability payments to wounded troops,” by Carl Prine, October 6, 2012: "A bipartisan bill promises to speed disability payments to troops wounded in Afghanistan, but it must clear a Congress so divided that 96 percent of proposed legislation dies on Capitol Hill. Inspired by chats with wounded troops at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Centre County, has proposed HR 6445, the Recovering Service Members Disability Benefits Act. It would exempt active-duty, Reserve and National Guard service members injured in a combat zone from the customary five-month waiting period for Social Security Disability Insurance payments. This would help the most vulnerable veterans and their families – those troops transitioning out of the military but too sick to work. These payments, often shortened to “SSDI,” typically augment benefits from the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs and are provided only to permanently disabled personnel. Social Security expedites claims for wounded troops, but Thompson’s measure would end the waiting period for the disability payments..." Full article: click here.
From The Hill Newspaper: “EPA’s War on Consumers, Affordable Electricity & Jobs," by U.S. Representative Glenn Thompson, October 19, 2012: “Since 2009, President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has advanced a series of major environmental regulations, totaling billions in new operating costs and compliance requirements, which are making it increasingly harder for coal to compete. To be fair, several of EPA’s regulations have been under consideration for more than a decade, while others have been compelled by court order. Regardless of origin, the majority of the regulations are unprecedented in scope and cost…It’s unfortunate that the Obama Administration fails to comprehend the serious challenges we face when it comes to meeting the nation’s demand for affordable and reliable electricity, and has grossly underestimated the cumulative impact of its regulatory actions. Attempts to cloak it with "all-of-the-above" propaganda fail to meet the smell test…Make no mistake; there is a war on coal. It’s also a war on consumers, affordable electricity, and American jobs.” Full article: click here.