Ellmers and Tiberi Reflect on 2015 Accomplishments and Agenda for the Year Ahead

Tiberi and Ellmers (2)

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Reps. Renee Ellmers (NC-2) and Pat Tiberi (OH-12) appeared before a breakfast meeting of The Ripon Society yesterday morning to discuss some of the key accomplishments in Congress over the past year and share their thoughts on the agenda in 2016.

Ellmers, who serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee and also Chairs the Republican Women’s Policy Committee, opened the discussion by detailing some of the legislative achievements from her post on the Energy and Commerce panel.

“One of the big issues we were able to do earlier in the year was pass a permanent Doc Fix, or getting rid of the SGR formula,” Ellmers stated.  “That became a little bit of an issue coming up with the funding, but in the end, we’re actually in a much better place now.  We’re going to save money in Medicare over time as a result of the changes we made to the policy.  I was very proud of everyone this time around because rather than simply pass another year band aid – a billion dollar band aid – we actually went in and changed the policy.  We had the political will and the guts to get in there and fix the real problem which was the source of the issue all along.  I was very proud to be a part of that.”

Ellmers also spoke of The 21st Century Cures Act that was overwhelmingly passed by the Energy and Commerce Committee and approved by the House earlier this year, as well as a host of other key initiatives that she hopes to address in the coming year.

“We also passed The 21st Century Cures Act – which is a huge package moving forward in healthcare to address the issues that are driving up costs,” Ellmers said.  “We also need to get drugs through the FDA process more efficiently and effectively and in a quicker fashion.  Let’s also address issues like how we get vaccines to the market not only for us in the United States, but globally, and how this will have a huge impact.  The whole goal here is to come up with the cures that we know can affect the lives of every American.  Out of this, if we are able to move forward with a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, or diabetes, just think of the dollars we would save when it comes to the expense of healthcare in this country.  Think about how that is going to impact every family in this country.

“One of our big issues this year was dealing with human trafficking.  Over the last couple of years, I have learned a whole lot because in North Carolina — it’s prevalent.  I started off thinking that human trafficking was something that happened in other countries, but it is happening in everyone’s back yard.  Literally, in every community in this country.  Depending on where you are geographically, you may have a higher impact, but it affects all of us and many of our faith-based organizations are dealing with this issue.

“I had a piece of legislation in this human trafficking package that actually ended up becoming law and it did have to do with the healthcare community.  Through research, we found out that many of those who are victims of human trafficking, sex trafficking, and labor trafficking, go to the same medical facilities that the rest of us go to.  In fact, they go to the same emergency rooms, the same clinics, and the same doctors we all see.

“Our healthcare community has a direct contact with these victims and if we are able to educate our healthcare community to identify the signs and symptoms of someone who is being trafficked, then we can deal with the issue face to face in order to remove them from that situation.  We created a pilot program that will start within our medical and nursing schools, healthcare providers, and will have a big impact into the future.”

Congressman Tiberi was second to deliver remarks.  In them, he touted the passage of Trade Promotion Authority – a bill that he championed as Chairman of the Trade Subcommittee on Ways and Means earlier this year.  He also discussed negotiations dealing with the possibility of a two-year extension on tax breaks known as “extenders.”

“If you would have told me that I was working hand-in-hand with Barack Obama to pass TPA – when in Ohio in 2008 he said he would never support TPA and if he became President he would repeal NAFTA – I would not have believed you,” Tiberi declared.  “As far as other legislation we’d like to move, I remain optimistic that we can come to an agreement on tax extenders.”

Ellmers also cautioned the GOP’s primary field against overlooking her home state of North Carolina on their way to the White House and why planning for a Republican President in 2017 can help the conference work together next year.

“Do not think North Carolina is a red state,” she warned.  “We are very purple even though we have a Republican House, Senate, Governor, and Lt. Governor.  At many city councils and counties, it is very purple.  I’m hoping as this plays out, the teams that can win are considering those things.

“One of the things that I hope doesn’t happen is that from here on out, everything doesn’t get put on hold as far as what we do legislatively because everything is going to be put on the lap of our next president.  I would rather see us all working together now and building a plan of action into 2016 with the goal of having a Republican President.”

Congresswoman Ellmers was asked to detail some of the big ticket agenda items facing Congress next year, and in her response, she quickly noted the importance of repealing and replacing Obamacare, while also addressing national security and poverty.

“Speaker Ryan gave a great speech at the Library of Congress last week laying out what he wants to see and what his agenda is for in 2016; such as tax reform, and to repeal and replace Obamacare.  As we know, it is not going very well right now with premiums skyrocketing.  He wants to have a package of items that he can actually show to the American people that there are alternatives.

“National security is also a huge issue right now and probably the thing we’re dealing with the most, and especially with me representing Fort Bragg.  It’s the topic on everyone’s mind back home.  Poverty is also a big issue.  Speaker Ryan is a huge advocate for good policy changes that will actually improve the situation for those in poverty.  Just based on what he told us, I think we will be able to get things done next year.”

The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.