The Latest News from Washington


Malaysia Airlines Flight 17


Evidence is emerging that suggests pro-Russian separatists – who since the conflict began in eastern Ukraine have been aided, encouraged and supplied by Russia – were responsible for shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and taking the lives of nearly 300 individuals in the sky over Ukraine.


Russia’s aggressive posture and efforts to carve apart a neighboring nation have led to the violence and instability that has now resulted in such a horrific loss of innocent life. The United States must lead the international community in continuing to condemn those hostilities and apply pressure on Russia’s leaders to end the violence.


Furthermore, if investigations prove direct – as evidence seems to point to – assistance was supplied by Russian military to the separatists in firing the missile that took down the Malaysia Airlines plane, there can be no abiding excuses from Russia’s leaders. There needs to be a new assessment of what steps America and our allies can and should take to halt Russia’s efforts to foment unrest and violent conflict.



Preserving Access to Patient-Centered Care


On Tuesday, I joined Congressman Greg Walden (OR-02) in introducing the Securing Access Via Excellence (SAVE) Medicare Home Health Act. This legislation would replace Obamacare’s cuts to Medicare home health funding with a program that would achieve the same level of savings in the Medicare program while protecting beneficiaries’ access to home health care.


The Obama Administration’s own Department of Health and Human Services has predicted that Obamacare’s cuts to Medicare home health funding will leave forty percent of home health agencies insolvent. That’s a direct threat to the quality and accessibility of health care for Medicare beneficiaries. More importantly, it is completely unnecessary. We can achieve the same level of savings by making home health care under Medicare more efficient with a focus on promoting and rewarding higher quality care.


For more information, click here to watch a Fox News report on our patient-centered solution.



Protecting Your Confidential Information


During debate this past week on the Financial Services appropriations bill, the House of Representatives adopted my amendment that would prohibit taxpayer dollars from being used by the IRS to unlawfully disclose taxpayer information. This effort follows reports that the IRS was party to the release of confidential tax return information to unauthorized groups in violation of Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code.


Congressional oversight efforts as well as independent reports have revealed the disturbing actions the IRS took to target and intimidate Americans. We can and should be doing more to make sure such abuse does not happen again. My amendment acts as a backstop to help prevent the IRS from misusing its time and taxpayer dollars to broadcast confidential taxpayer information to any person or organization not authorized to have such information. The record of abuse and unlawful behavior by the IRS demands Congress use the tools and means at our disposal to hold the bureaucracy accountable.