Today was a big day for Main Street! We started our morning with Capitol Hill event at which three of our members of Congress — all committee chairmen — introduced the Republican Main Street Partnership 2017 Policy Agenda. Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) is Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) is Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH) is Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee.
Chairman Walden spoke first and described some of the top items on the policy agenda. First was the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and its replacement with a Republican alternative that will rely on market- and consumer-driven solutions to increase access to quality care while also lowering costs. Chairman Walden pointed out that while last year there were 225 counties in the U.S. that had only one insurer offering coverage, this year that number has grown to 1,022 counties. The need to fix the ACA would be just as unavoidable for Democrats if they controlled Congress and the presidency, which makes Chairman Walden hopeful that there can be a bipartisan approach to health care problems.
In the Roll Call article written about the rollout of the RMSP policy agenda, Chairman Walden was quoted raising the possibility that other bills that must be passed this year — including reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and user fee agreements at the Food and Drug Administration — could be used as vehicles to achieve the goal of a “step by step” approach to replacing the health care law. Chairman Walden emphasized, however, that no decisions have been made and that even the timeline for when his committee would begin its work on this issue hasn’t been set.
Chairman Walden also addressed other top items on the RMSP 2017 Policy Agenda, including the need to reform bureaucratic regulations — which have become a capital-eating, job-destroying burden for small and large businesses alike — and the achievement of energy independence and security.
Chairman Shuster echoed President Trump’s call for a massive investment in infrastructure repair and modernization, which has the potential to increase economic growth and productivity and put millions of Americans to work. He also pointed out that the Federal Aviation Administration still relies on technology that hasn’t essentially changed since the 1950s and ‘60s, and that the FAA desperately needs modernization as well as reauthorization.
Chairman Tiberi spoke about the need for both corporate and individual tax reform. He warned that although everyone agrees that our current tax system is convoluted, complex, and outdated, there’s little agreement beyond that. He’s confident, though, that Congress can come up with ways of reducing taxes that will increase employment, wages, and economic growth. He outlined the RMSP proposal for increasing business and investment in low-income communities by creating “Opportunity Zones,” as well as the proposal to reform the protocol for international package deliveries so that law enforcement can intercept shipments of deadly synthetic opioids.
We will soon post the complete list of Main Street’s 2017 Policy Agenda, which includes measures to help working parents with child care, incentivize workplace flexibility, increase border security, revitalize American manufacturing, and allow terminally ill patients the “Right to Try” new therapies. We’re confident that Main Street’s agenda offers pragmatic and effective solutions to our most critical national problems, and can help revive our stagnant economy and bring about a new birth of freedom and opportunity for all citizens.