Representative Blumenauer Welcomes Passage of SGR Reform, Calls for Similar Action on Transportation Funding
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representative Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) released the following statement welcoming bipartisan support and passage of H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, to stabilize the Medicare system.
“I was delighted that H.R. 2 finally got across the finish line. While I never voted for the legislation creating the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR), it has been an object of great concern to try and fix it for the past 18 years.
“This legislation meets a variety of objectives beyond eliminating this annual ritual of the so-called ‘doc fix.’ It extends two years of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Community Health Centers. Of particular interest to Oregonians, it extends for two years the Secure Rural Schools program that is desperately needed in many parts of rural Oregon suffering from economic adversity.
“But beyond the positive elements of the legislation, there is a hint here that Congress can in fact come together to accomplish things. We saw the first glimpse a couple of weeks ago when Speaker Boehner accepted support from Leader Pelosi and the Democrats to be able to fund Homeland Security. Here, the top Republican and Democratic leaders empowered their committees to realize the fruit of three years of hard work and several near misses. There are any number of legislative candidates for this same sort of cooperative spirit, empowering committees and providing leadership to solve problems.
“My choice for the next accomplishment would be fully funding our six-year surface transportation reauthorization. We've assembled a vast coalition of interest groups – business, labor, professional groups and local government, all supporting legislation I’ve introduced to increase the gas tax for the first time in 22 years. Thirteen states have already been able to do this. It’s time for Congress to act and do so before the May 31 deadline that sends states around the country into great financial difficulty.”