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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Congresswoman: House takes action on VA accountability

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  • An audit report last week concluded that more than 57,000 veterans across the nation have been waiting 90 days or more to receive care.
    This is unacceptable and an American tragedy that must be fixed. We owe it to our older veterans, we owe it to those who are coming back home today, and we owe it to our future heroes who will serve our country.
    The House took decisive action last week and passed legislation by a unanimous vote of 421-0 to ensure our veterans have timely access to care by giving them the choice to avoid waitlists and long commutes.
    More work must be done to keep the promise to our heroes, but this legislation is a good step, especially for veterans in Kansas who travel long distances for care.
    I am also pleased the Senate took long-awaited action to address the widespread issues with the VA.
    The Senate bill contains many similar ideas that already passed in the House and it is important we reach an agreement as soon as possible. I am hopeful this will happen quickly and we can take steps towards ensuring our veterans have the best and timely care possible.
    Straight talk from veterans at Colmery O'Neil
    On Friday, Senator Jerry Moran and I met with administrators at the Topeka VA Medical Center to discuss concerns we had heard from veterans and to speak with a number of patients about their experiences.
    I will continue to work with the VA to ensure every veteran has access to timely and quality care that they have earned and deserve.
    Tax reform will make our economy stronger
    Fixing our broken tax code is the single most important thing we can do to make our economy stronger and more secure.
    Tax reform isn't glamorous. Tax reform doesn’t turn out hundreds for a political rally. Yet any family, individual or small business that has filed a tax return or has been forced to file for an extension in April, knows our tax code is an outright mess.
    At a weekly press conference with Republican leaders, I discussed the complexity in our tax code, which is the result of years of loading it up with politically motivated credits, deductions, and exemptions.
    Washington’s constant tinkering with the code creates extreme uncertainty and has made it harder for small businesses to plan, invest and hire.
    It is our hope that we can achieve a full overhaul of the tax code to build an America that works.
    Every dollar saved is a dollar to invest
    Every dollar Washington takes from small businesses is a dollar they do not have to invest in new equipment, expand operations, hire a new employee or provide higher pay and better benefits. Last week, the House passed another series of bills that provide immediate tax relief for our local job creators.
    Page 2 of 2 - One of the pieces of legislation makes Section 179 small business expensing allowances permanent, allowing small business owners, farmers, and ranchers to make long-term investments, with the certainty that deduction allowances will not drop each year.
    Another bill permanently gives small businesses the ability to access capital without tax penalties. On Thursday, I took to the House floor to speak in support of this measure which provides greater certainty for S Corporations looking to expand.
    Everyday Americans pay the price for ACA subsidies
    The Ways and Means Committee recently learned the government may be paying incorrect subsidy amounts for more than one million Americans who have health plans in the new federal insurance marketplace.
    This is money the government pays directly to insurance companies, in the form of tax credits, for individuals who signed-up for health insurance through the new exchanges.
    What Americans have not been told is that this poorly written law leaves them on the hook for any overpayments the government sends to insurance companies on their behalf. The Affordable Care Act actually requires the IRS to recoup the money directly from individuals during the 2015 tax-filing season. 
    Millions of Americans are at risk of being hit with a shockingly large tax bill come April 15.
    During an oversight hearing last week, I asked witnesses if the administration is doing anything to fix the problem, or, at the very least, help Americans understand that this poorly implemented law might affect them come tax-time.
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