Congressman Jim Gerlach: Serving Pennsylvania's 6th District
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Congressman Jim Gerlach: Serving Pennsylvania's 6th District
Capitol Update September 24, 2013
No need for a shutdown                               

The U.S. House of Representatives acted to avert a potential federal government shutdown by passing legislation on Friday to fund federal agencies and activities through mid-December while protecting taxpayers, families and employers from the harmful effects of the health-care law championed by President Obama and Congressional Democrat leadership.

I voted in favor of 
House Joint Resolution 59, which passed the House by a 230-189 margin (Roll Call #478). Now it is time for the Senate to act on this measure.

A majority of people I have heard from agree that Congress should work to keep the government open while, at the same time, stop the full implementation of the health care law commonly referred to as ObamaCare. Even organized labor, among the most strident supporters of passing the health care law in 2010, now say that the law will "
shatter our health benefits."

I voted in favor of this continuing resolution to reverse the disastrous side effects families, employers and taxpayers are feeling from the health care law. Workers who want to keep their health insurance coverage at work can't keep it. More and more jobs are turning into part-time positions. And employers who want to continue providing insurance for their employees are getting hit with double-digit increases in their premiums, forcing many to simply drop coverage or
eliminate coverage for the husbands, wives and children of workers. In addition, this continuing resolution averts a government shutdown by continuing current funding levels for all federal agencies and activities.

Read my full statement on the vote
here. And you can find coverage of how workers at companies such as Wegman's, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's are being affected by ObamaCare here.

Supporting pro-taxpayer reforms
The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation Thursday aimed at protecting taxpayers and making sure that our nation's primary food assistance program feeds those with the greatest need for help.

I voted in favor of H.R. 3102, the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act. The bill passed by a vote of 217-210. (Roll Call #476).

The House measure would trim spending on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- commonly referred to as the food stamp program -- by approximately $40 billion over the next decade primarily by tightening eligibility requirements and implementing other reforms.  A prior proposal that narrowly failed in the House in June would have reduced spending on the food stamp program by $20 billion over 10 years while the U.S. Senate has backed legislation calling for shaving $4 billion from the program. 

I am concerned about the level of cuts in the program over the next 10 years called for in the most recent House bill. However, the legislation would make important, pro-taxpayer improvements to ferret out waste and abuse in the program, and I believe it was necessary to get the bill out of the House and into a House-Senate conference committee where the scope of funding reductions will be re-examined and negotiations will produce sensible legislation dealing with the Farm Bill and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Specifically, the legislation would:
  • Prevent states from waiving work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents who receive SNAP benefits, and requires these adults to work at least 20 hours per week to be eligible for benefits
  • Eliminate auto-enrollment into SNAP under so-called “categorical eligibility,” ensuring that only those who are eligible for benefits receive them
  • Encourage state governments to help recipients find work, which helps them gain new skills and experience – and therefore better wages and less of a need for taxpayer-funded benefits
  • Close loopholes used to artificially inflate welfare rolls, and eliminating waste and fraud by requiring states to delete old, unused balances on benefit cards and permitting them to investigate retailer fraud
  • No benefits for anyone convicted of murder, rape, or child molestation, and permitting states to conduct drug tests on applicants as a condition of eligibility
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Commemorating Constitution Day
On Sept. 17, it was my honor to commemorate the 226th anniversary of the signing of our Constitution outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia with students from across the country participating in the Constituting America program.

It was a pleasure meeting Kory Shore of Phoenixville and all the winners in this year’s “We the People 9.17” contest.

Kory captured the Best High School Song award for his
"Crying for America" song. 
Service Academy Nominations
Just a reminder that high school seniors interested in and eligible for a nomination to a United States Service Academy should contact my Chester County District Office at 111 East Uwchlan Avenue in Exton. The phone number is 610.594.1415.

A Congressional nomination is required for students entering the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY; the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD; the U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colo; and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, NY.

Applicants should have a broad and strong academic background, the ability to pass a physical aptitude test, outstanding leadership potential and high moral character. Additional information about the process can be found on my website here.

2442 Rayburn H.O.B.
Washington, DC 20515
202.225.4315 tel
202.225.8440 fax
111 East Uwchlan Avenue
Exton, PA 19341
610.594.1415 tel
610.594.1419 fax
840 N. Park Road
Wyomissing, Pa. 19610
610.376.7630 tel
610.376.7633 fax
580 Main St. Suite #4
Trappe, PA l9426
610.409.2780 tel
610.409.7988 fax
Lebanon Municipal Building, Room 110
400 South Eighth St.
Lebanon PA 17042
717.454.0462 tel
Hours: Monday and Wednesday from 9 AM - 4:30 PM
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