Huizenga responds to criticism of Republicans

October 5, 2013


LETTERS. The following Letter to the Editor is a response from Congressman Bill Huizenga to Thursday’s editorial by MLive The Grand Rapids Press, which criticized House Republicans for the current federal shutdown.

Terrorists, zealots, and jihadists. That is how some have chosen to label Republicans. That type of language has no place in a civilized debate. Both sides are trying to enact what they believe to be the best path forward for the country. However, after reading the editorial published in the Grand Rapids Press yesterday, I am frustrated to see that this inflammatory rhetoric has taken hold and even embraced by some in West Michigan.

As frustration grows and tensions soar even higher in Washington, I wanted to take a moment and set the record straight about how Washington got to this point and how the House is acting in a bipartisan fashion to get the government up and running again.

As the clock continued to tick down and a government shutdown grew closer, the Republican-led House took action. First, the House passed on September 20th what is known as a continuing resolution (CR) that defunded ObamaCare while funding the rest of the federal government. In the spirit of compromise, House Republicans wrote the CR allowing for some relief from the sequester, something that Democrats have consistently asked for. After taking over a week to respond, the Senate said no. The House then took action again, on September 29th, by passing a bipartisan CR that included sequester relief in exchange for the repeal of the job-destroying medical device tax and a one-year delay of ObamaCare.

The medical device tax has had a direct impact on West Michigan. Kalamazoo’s Stryker Corporation has stated that they will be cutting over 1,000 jobs as a direct result of this tax. Not only will it cost jobs, but this tax will also stifle innovation and cripple research and development not only at Stryker but potentially the “Medical Mile” in Grand Rapids and on the east side of the state in Ann Arbor. The Senate again rejected this offer despite 79 Senators, including Debbie Stabenow, voting in support of repealing this tax in March of this year.

On Sept. 30, the House then took action for a third time, passing another funding measure, delaying the individual mandate for one year and eliminating the subsidies Members of Congress and congressional staff are eligible to receive for purchasing insurance. It’s clear ObamaCare isn’t ready for prime-time. Delaying the individual mandate is important because the President already delayed for one year the employer mandate. I don’t believe we should create a two-tiered healthcare system. If large corporations are going to be given a delay then families and small businesses should be treated in the same manner. I don’t believe anyone should receive “special treatment” or “sweetheart deals” under ObamaCare, which is why I voted to eliminate this carve out for myself as well as my staff. This legislation was sent to the Senate where it was again rejected.

House Republicans then voted to formally ask the Senate to meet the House in a conference to discuss funding the government. The Senate rejected that notion as well. A government shutdown then ensued.

In a divided government negotiation is required. House Republicans have moved and put forward different solutions and alternatives while Senate Democrats have outright said they will not even talk. Democrats are trying to “have their cake and eat it too.” While claiming to want simply a “clean CR” the reality of the situation is: Senate Democrats have stripped all provisions they don’t agree with while keeping what they want – increased spending. What they have put forward will increase spending from current levels and would roll back progress made in curtailing Washington’s out of control spending.

So what’s happening now? The House is moving step by step to pass bipartisan legislation to fund the government. The House passed legislation that would provide the NIH with the necessary funding to reopen the clinical trials for cancer treatments for children. The House also passed legislation to ensure our veterans as well as our national guard and inactive reservists receive the compensation and benefits they deserve. Additionally, the House acted to fund and reopen the national monuments so veterans are able to access the memorials built in their honor. And we are not done yet.

It’s disappointing the Grand Rapids Press decided to weigh in with a very one-sided perspective of the ongoing debate in Washington. I know the majority of my constituents don’t want a shutdown and neither do I, but the reality is the Majority in the House has been working to negotiate – but it takes two to tango. We need the Senate at the table.

Eats & Drinks

Eats & Drinks