The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today honored four members of Alabama’s U.S. House delegation with its annual Spirit of Enterprise Award in recognition of their support for pro-jobs, pro-growth policies in the first session of the 114th Congress.
The four are U.S. Reps. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville; Bradley Byrne, R-Mobile; Martha Roby, R-Montgomery; and, Mike Rogers, R-Saks. This is the 28th year that the U.S. Chamber has formally honored the accomplishments of this select group of members of Congress.
“We are pleased to recognize this group of legislators for engaging in pro-business policymaking that helps strengthen our nation’s spirit of enterprise,” said Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “The Spirit of Enterprise Award honors those members of Congress who are committed to ensuring that American businesses can continue to operate and succeed in a free enterprise system.”
The Chamber’s prestigious Spirit of Enterprise Award is given annually to members of Congress based on their votes on critical business legislation as outlined in the Chamber publication, How They Voted.
Members who supported the Chamber’s position on at least 70 percent of those votes qualify to receive the award. During the first session of the 114th Congress, the Chamber scored members on 14 Senate votes and 20 House votes, including votes reestablishing Trade Promotion Authority, reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, and lifting the crude oil export ban. Also scored were votes in support of the first long-term transportation law in a decade and votes to make permanent tax provisions that would have regularly expired.
BCA JOINS FORCES URGING ADMINSTRATION TO REMOVE DISRUPTIVE CHANGES TO MA
The Business Council of Alabama this week joined other organizations nationwide urging U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell to remove proposed disruptive changes to the effective Medicare Advantage program for seniors and retirees.
A joint letter signed by the BCA from the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce urges Secretary Burwell to eliminate several proposed changes for 2017 that will disrupt highly valued coverage for more than 17 million seniors, retirees, and which is important to employers.
Secretary Burwell is urged to eliminate the proposed change to the payment methodology for Medicare Advantage retiree coverage. Second, she is urged to restore the funding cuts to the program generally.
“Based on our experience with the MA program, the employer community maintains its long-standing belief that MA embodies health care delivery innovations that result in better health outcomes for individuals and improves our health care system,” the letter states.
Secretary Burwell proposes cutting Medicare Advantage Retiree Coverage payments by nearly 3 percent, about $750 million to $850 million. These reductions will likely increase premiums and/or reduce retiree benefits. Unlike original Medicare, MA plans provide more comprehensive health care services, focusing on care coordination, prevention, and wellness to minimize disease progression and treat those with chronic illnesses, the letter states.
More than 3 million retirees receive health insurance coverage through an employer and employers consistently favor these plans because of their high rates of retiree satisfaction and superior coverage to existing private options, including care coordination and disease management programs not available in traditional retiree coverage.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Obama Sides with ‘Keep It in the Ground’ Fanatics and Abandons Atlantic Coast Development
U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Hackbarth 3/15) “President Barack Obama continues choosing cementing his legacy among anti-energy zealots rather than ensuring America’s energy security. Instead of the all-of-the-above energy strategy he touted for most of his time in office, the president is going with the ‘keep it in the ground’ approach preached by radicals like Bill McKibbon.
“One thing is for sure, President Obama has decided that improving access to American energy isn’t in the cards for the rest of this presidency. The decision made today will have ramifications for 10-15 years to come, not just until Jan 20, 2017.
“The administration ‘once again put short term political interests ahead of our nation’s best interest’, Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, said in a statement: America’s job creators have become accustomed to the relentless drumbeat of anti-energy policies from the Obama administration. The Interior Department pulled out from planned Atlantic coast oil and natural gas leases in 2010. Interior estimates that 3 billion barrels of oil and more than 25 trillion cubic feet of natural gas lie below the mid- and southern-Atlantic coasts. A 2013 study found that opening the Atlantic outer continental shelf to oil and natural gas exploration will create 280,000 jobs. That’s all put on hold.
“Harnessing America’s offshore energy reserves in an expeditious, environmentally safe and responsible manner will lead to greater independence and economic prosperity for North Carolina and the entire nation. Polls show that those living in Atlantic coast states support energy development because of the jobs and economic growth that would be created.”
UC Study: No Evidence Fracking Contaminates Water
U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Hackbarth 3/11) “The University of Cincinnati has been under pressure ever since news came out that a two-year study by the school’s geology department concluded that there’s no evidence that hydraulic fracturing contaminates groundwater. Word that there wouldn’t be any publicity of the study because anti-fracking sponsors stopped funding after learning of its findings drew attention from local Ohio news outlets, state officials, and national energy advocates like Energy In Depth and at Above the Fold.
“The university eased some of this pressure by releasing the data and findings of the study in the form of a master’s thesis (by) a member of the research team. The conclusion is clear and straightforward: There is ‘no evidence for natural gas contamination from shale oil and gas mining in any of the sampled groundwater wells of our study’.
“Other studies have shown that fracking is safe, but a curious wrinkle is this study was partly funded by fracking opponents and relied on the help of a local Ohio anti-fracking group, Carroll Concerned Citizens. When the results didn’t offer ammunition for pushing anti-fracking policies, the study’s funders picked up and ran.
“Professor Amy Townsend-Small, the head of the study, said: ‘I’m really sad to say this but some of our funders, the groups that had given us funding in the past, were a little disappointed in our results…. They feel that fracking is scary and so they were hoping our data could point to a reason to ban it’. Stewart notes on EID that the university has submitted the study as a paper to a peer-reviewed, science journal, but scientific publishing can be a long, drawn out process. It could be months or years before we saw the paper. It’s good the university released the research it has so the public can continue to learn that when done safely hydraulic fracturing provides access to abundant energy.”