As families and businesses across the country are completing their income tax returns and evaluating their finances, Congress also is reassessing the nation’s budget priorities.
House Republicans recently passed a budget that ends the Medicare guarantee for millions of seniors while continuing to give tax breaks to billionaires and big subsidies to oil companies that already are raking in record profits. Instead of laying the groundwork for a prosperous future for the middle class and working families, Republicans passed a budget full of the failed economic policies of the past – tax breaks for the rich and subsidies for Big Oil.
Watch my speech in opposition to the Republican budget on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives
Our national economic recovery remains fragile, but the economy is beginning to show signs of improvement. February marked the 25th straight month of private sector job growth. Unemployment is at 8.2 percent, the lowest level since February 2009. In Massachusetts, we have fared better, with the state’s unemployment rate at 6.9 percent, the state’s lowest level in three years.
There is still much work to be done to restore our country’s economic health. Our success in the Bay State is the result of smart decisions and effective planning. We invested in the building blocks necessary for a solid economy in the 21st century: a well-educated workforce and innovative industries, including biotechnology, health care, clean tech and telecommunications. To compete and win in the global marketplace, our country should invest in these high-growth sectors to help create millions of jobs here in the United States and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
Cutting Wasteful Spending
Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act
While investments are crucial, there also are opportunities to cut spending. Earlier this year, I proposed cutting billions in wasteful spending from outdated, unnecessary nuclear weapons programs.
In February, I introduced H.R. 3974, the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act. This legislation calls for $100 billion in cuts over ten years from America’s bloated nuclear weapons budget to strengthen our long-term economic and national security. It is insane to spend billions on new nuclear bombs to fight a long-past Cold War while ignoring our 21st century security needs and seeking cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other programs that support seniors, children and the most vulnerable. The SANE Act currently has 45 co-sponsors. Read more about the SANE Act HERE.
Health Care Reform
Working for Massachusetts
Last month, I attended the Supreme Court’s oral arguments on the constitutionality of various parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. As the nation considers the role of this historic legislation, it is important to recognize how the law has benefited Massachusetts residents and the 7th Congressional district:
- In 2011, 780,099 people with Medicare in Massachusetts received free preventive services – such as mammograms and colonoscopies – or a free annual wellness visit with their doctor. 75,000 seniors in the 7th Congressional district received Medicare preventive services without paying any co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles.
- 31,000 children and 130,000 adults in the 7th Congressional district now have health insurance that covers preventive services without paying any co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles.
- The new health care law provides a 50 percent discount for brand-name drugs for seniors in the Medicare Part D ‘donut hole’ coverage gap. In 2011, 62,831 Medicare recipients in Massachusetts received this discount when their spending reached the donut hole. The discount under the law’s resulted in an average savings of $587 per person, and a total savings of $36.9 million in Massachusetts. 5,500 seniors in the 7th Congressional district received prescription drug discounts worth $3.2 million, an average discount of $570 per senior.
- 540 small businesses in the 7th Congressional district received tax credits to help maintain or expand health care coverage for their employees.
Purple Heart Recovery Event
In February, I was honored to attend a Purple Heart medal recovery ceremony with the family of Thomas Erle Hadley II. Thomas was a freshman at the University of Michigan when he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1950. He became a highly decorated fighter pilot during the Korean War. On November 9, 1951, while on a combat mission, his plane came under fire and crashed in North Korea. Thomas was killed in action.
Sixty years later, while going through his own father’s medals, Larry Moore of Pennsylvania discovered Thomas Erle Hadley’s Purple Heart medal. Larry contacted the Military Order of the Purple Heart, who tracked down Thomas’s sister, Constance Hadley Bachman of Lexington, Massachusetts. On February 18, the Military Order of the Purple Heart presented Constance with her brother’s Purple Heart medal at a ceremony at Brookhaven Retirement Community. It was a great pleasure to be a part of the ceremony and present Constance with a flag I requested flown over the U.S. Capitol in honor of her brother.
Like many veterans, Thomas answered the call to serve our country. I thank all veterans for their service, courage, and patriotism. If you are veteran or if you know a veteran that needs help with a claim at the Department of Veterans Affairs, please contact my Medford (781-396-2900) or Framingham (508-875-2900) district offices.
Visiting Washington, D.C.
On March 27th I had the pleasure of meeting with 8th grade students from Winchester’s McCall Middle School who were visiting the Capitol. Talking about our government and answering questions from such intelligent, well-informed students was really inspiring!
Constituents Day 2012!
Each year, it is a privilege to welcome residents of the 7th Congressional district to Washington, D.C. for my annual Constituents Day. Last year, I met with dozens of families, described the history of the Capitol while on a tour of the House of Representatives, and discussed current issues facing the Commonwealth and the nation.
This year, Constituents Day will be held on April 17! If you are planning a trip to Washington, D.C., I hope you and your family will join us. For more information, call my Medford office (781-396-2900).
And as always, if you need assistance with a federal government issue, please do not hesitate to call my Medford (781-396-2900) or Framingham (508-875-2900) district offices or send me an email at: http://markey.house.gov/contact-rep-markey.
Member of Congress