Rep. G. K. Butterfield Lashes Out On Republican Misuse of Power

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In his opening statement before a House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing on butterfield the Affordable Care Act, Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) denounced the actions of Committee Republicans that sent an unwarranted investigative letter to 51 community organizations that received Navigator grants to help uninsured Americans enroll in the healthcare exchange authorized under the new healthcare law.  Click on picture to watch today’s video.

“There has been no indication or evidence of any kind that any Navigator grantees have misappropriated or misused grant funds,” said Butterfield.  “This is a gross abuse of the committee’s investigative authority and is just another way the Republican Majority is attempting to intimidate the public and derail the Affordable Care Act.”

With enrollment into the new healthcare Marketplaces set for October 1, thousands of organizations are preparing for the wave of people that will require guidance in obtaining health coverage and understanding their benefits.  According to Butterfield, attempts by Navigators to meet the unreasonable requests made by Committee Republicans in the investigative letter will detract from their ability to be ready when the Marketplaces open next month. 

“The Majority is distracting these recipients from their important work of readying for Open Season that begins on October 1st by diverting their limited resources to entertain its fishing expedition that will surely come back empty-handed,” said Butterfield.

 

Transcript of Rep. Butterfield’s statement:

House Committee on Energy and Commerce

Subcommittee on Health

Statement by Congressman G. K. Butterfield

Affordable Care Act

Thank you, Mr. Waxman for yielding me the time. 

                The health insurance marketplace is a critical part of delivering affordable healthcare to Americans who do not have employer-sponsored insurance.  Beginning in 2014, more than 25 million individuals will be eligible for a premium tax credit and 23 million of those belong to working families, many of whom struggle to make ends meet on a minimum-wage hourly income. 

                Obamacare marks a seismic shift in federal policies and educating the public is paramount to ensure full participation.  CMS has recently distributed Navigator grants to non-profits across the country in order to help educate the public and guide them through the application process.  The entities receiving the Navigator grants are professionally run and have decades of experience administering federal government grants and working with the public. 

                That is why I couldn’t believe that the Chairmen of the full committee and subcommittees on Health and Oversight and Investigations, as well as other Republican members of the Committee sent a three page, investigatory letter to 51 Navigator grant recipients demanding they answer questions by September 13th – giving them only two weeks to provide detailed descriptions of the anticipated scope of work among other very specific questions and to “provide all documentation and communications related to [their] navigator grant.” 

Wasn’t the vast majority of the information being sought by Chairmen Upton, Pitts, and Murphy included in the navigator’s application to CMS? 

                These navigator grantees only received word they were selected to receive the grant on August 15th.  Might I remind my colleagues that the marketplace is going live on October 1 for open season enrollment.  That’s less than one month away.  The Majority is distracting these recipients from their important work of readying for Open Season that begins on October 1st by diverting their limited resources to entertain its fishing expedition that will surely come back empty-handed.

There has been no indication or evidence of any kind that any Navigator grantees have misappropriated or misused grant funds.  This is a gross abuse of the committee’s investigative authority and is just another way the Republican Majority is attempting to intimidate the public and derail the Affordable Care Act. 

This committee has important work to get done.  Obamacare is the law of the land and it’s high time the Majority stop acting with reckless abandon and get to the real work on behalf of the American people. 

I yield back.

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About George Fisher

George is a freelance writer, an author and a Democratic political consultant. He has worked as Deputy Communications Director for a Senatorial campaign and Campaign Manager for several NC House races and one congressional race. He previously worked as a news producer for a local television station.
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