Members of Congress Discuss Over Regulation and Escalating Health Care Costs at WDMA/NLBMDA Meeting

March 19th, 2013 by Editor
Representative Bill Johnson

Representative Bill Johnson

Members of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) and members of the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) heard from those in the House and Senate today during the association’s annual legislative meetings held in Crystal City, Va.

Representative Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) and Senator Angus King, Jr. (I-ME) both agreed that Congress has a ways to go in coming together to solve our nation’s budgetary woes.

“I am cautiously optimistic we will get a continuing resolution (CR) passed that will extend us through the fiscal year without the last minute brinkmanship of the past,” said Johnson.

“The house is passing a continuing resolution,” added King. “It’s what you do when you can’t pass a budget. The current CR expires March 27.”

Once that hurdle has been jumped King pointed out that later in the week is when Congress tackles the budget for next year.

“The Senate hasn’t reported a budget in four years,” he said. “They had an 11-hour meeting and reported out a budget so we have these two budgets that are wildly different so how to reconcile those is a challenge … But it does set us up for some sort of negotiation.”

Senator Angus King

Senator Angus King

Critical to balancing the budget and reducing spending is health care but the congressional members who spoke today have differing views.

“You can’t get to a balanced budget without repealing the Affordable Care Act,” said Johnson. “We will continue to try to repeal it. It is doubtful we will get support from Senate and the president.”

King agreed that “the cost of health care is what’s killing us—both Congress and families.” He did say however that the “principle of the Affordable Care Act is a good one, but how it will be implemented is hard.”

How then to fix the system if not doing away with the Affordable Care Act? King said people talk about cutting things like Medicare or Medicaid but that just shifts the problem to families.

“The real problem is the underlying cost of healthcare,” he said. “We are paying twice as much per capita as anyone in world and our results are 17th in world.”

King said a complete reversal of the current health care system is needed.

“We need to prevent illnesses; we need an incentive system in healthcare to keep you out of the hospital.”

The other issue both congressional members addressed, but Johnson more fully than King, is the matter of overregulation on behalf of government agencies, most notably the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“As a former small business owner I am aware of government over regulation and we are fighting on the Hill to try to make sense of government regulation,” said Johnson. “I oversee the most over-regulatory agency—the EPA,” a statement that was met with a few small claps from attendees. He referred to the EPA’s lead rule and said he looks forward to cosponsoring the legislation that if passed would reinstate the opt-out provision and which also tries to engage the EPA “to implement common sense.”

How has this over-regulation come to be? According to Johnson, it’s due to “multiple administrations who have allowed this to get out of control.

“When both chambers don’t work together in holding administration in check then this is the result. We have passed legislation multiple times that would have defunded the EPA and stopped them from certain rulemaking.”

King agreed with Johnson saying he takes a conservative stance on regulatory matters.

“I think overregulation is a big problem.”

Tara Taffera is the editor of DWM magazine.

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