Author: Ella Fertitta

Walorski Presses Becerra on Reports of Foster Youth Displaced Due to Border Crisis

Walorski Presses Becerra on Reports of Foster Youth Displaced Due to Border Crisis

Ways and Means Republicans Recently Called on HHS to Provide Transparency on Impacts of Surge of Unaccompanied Minors Across Border

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) on Tuesday pressed Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra on reports that American children and youth in foster care have been displaced from their residences due to the border crisis and surge of unaccompanied migrant children.

“The Biden administration has a responsibility to acknowledge that what we are seeing at the southern border is indeed a crisis, and that its misguided policies are to blame,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “The Biden administration also has a duty to address the downstream effects of the current border crisis. We’ve seen local news reports from Washington and Texas about foster youth being displaced and forced to vacate their residences in order to make room for unaccompanied migrant children. This is extremely alarming, especially given the already limited availability of more permanent placements for foster children.”

Video of Walorski questioning Becerra at the Ways and Means Committee hearing on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) FY2022 budget proposal is available here.

BACKGROUND

More than 400,000 children and youth are in foster care nationwide, and recent press reports from the states of Washington and Texas have raised concerns about foster youth forced to vacate their residences to provide accommodations for unaccompanied migrant children.

Walorski, the top Republican on the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support, last week joined other Republican leaders in calling on Secretary Becerra to provide transparency on the impact of the border crisis on U.S. foster youth.

Along with Ways and Means Republican Leader Kevin Brady (R-Texas), Oversight Subcommittee Republican Leader Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), and Oversight and Reform Committee Republican Leader James Comer (R-Ky.), Walorski sent Becerra a letter requesting information about $2.1 billion in funds HHS has diverted to cover the cost of caring for more than 29,000 migrant children who have crossed the border this year. Approximately 18,000 unaccompanied migrant children are currently in the care of HHS.

Read the full letter here.

In April, Ways and Means Republicans requested Secretary Becerra provide a briefing on the impact of the crisis on the foster care system. Walorski and Kelly previously called on the HHS Inspector General to investigate the toll on U.S. foster children.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Ranking Member of the House Ethics Committee.

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Walorski, Pappas Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Caregivers Save for Retirement

Walorski, Pappas Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Caregivers Save for Retirement

Expanding Access to Retirement Savings for Caregivers Act Would Allow Family Caregivers Returning to Work to Start Catch-Up Contributions Sooner

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) today announced the reintroduction of the Expanding Access to Retirement Savings for Caregivers Act. The bipartisan bill would allow individuals who took at least one year out of the workforce for the purpose of caring for a family member to begin catch-up contributions to their eligible retirement accounts in years prior to age 50.

“Taking time away from work to care for a loved one often results in missed opportunities for hardworking Americans – especially women – to save for retirement,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “These caregivers should not be penalized for putting their families first. This bipartisan bill would ensure these caregivers have access to critical retirement savings tools by allowing them to start catch-up contributions to their retirement accounts sooner.”

“Those who leave the workforce to provide care for a loved one should not be short-changed on their retirement and forced to do more with less later in life,” Congressman Pappas said. “This bipartisan legislation will help level the playing field so caregivers can begin making catch-up payments to their 401Ks, IRAs, and other accounts sooner and not lose out on valuable retirement savings as a result of the time they took to help a family member in need.”

“People who take time out of the workforce to care for family members help not only their own immediate families but their communities and our country,” said Hadley Heath Manning, Director of Policy, Independent Women’s Voice. “IWV supports legislation that recognizes their sacrifices and gives them the opportunity to make up for lost time by expanding their eligibility to make catch-up contributions for retirement accounts. Independent Women’s Voice is proud to support The Expanding Access to Retirement Savings for Caregivers Act sponsored by Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH).”

BACKGROUND

Under current law, employees aged 50 and older are eligible to utilize catch-up contributions to make additional deposits to their 401(k) plans, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and other eligible retirement accounts.

Although catch-up contributions can be an important mechanism for many Americans to expand their retirement savings, they are often insufficient for individuals who take time out of the workforce to care for family members and miss opportunities to save for retirement for multiple years. This disparity predominantly impacts women, who are more likely to take more time to act as full-time family caregivers.

H.R. 3644, the Expanding Access to Retirement Savings for Family Caregivers Act, would remedy this element of the retirement system that penalizes caregivers by allowing individuals who took at least one year out of the workforce without receiving earned income, primarily for the purpose of caring for a family member, to make catch-up contributions to eligible retirement accounts sooner. These former caregivers would be eligible to begin making catch-up contributions at age 50 minus the number of years they spent out of the workforce.

Read the full text of the legislation here.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Ranking Member of the House Ethics Committee.

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Walorski, Phillips Lead Bipartisan Bill To Spur Innovation, Protect Vulnerable Startups

Walorski, Phillips Lead Bipartisan Bill To Spur Innovation, Protect Vulnerable Startups

IGNITE American Innovation Act Would Provide Tax Relief to Medical Device Startups, Other Tech Innovators

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) today introduced the IGNITE American Innovation Act, a bipartisan bill to provide relief for startup businesses that were ineligible for other types of aid passed by Congress in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“High-tech innovators like medical device manufacturers in northern Indiana will be vital to rebuilding our economy after the COVID-19 pandemic,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Providing tax relief to cutting-edge startups is a commonsense way to ensure they can continue to develop life-saving technologies, discover treatments and cures, and create good jobs. I’m grateful to work across the aisle to boost small and mid-size businesses and drive innovation when we need it more than ever.”

“The Great Recession did severe and lasting damage to American entrepreneurship,” Congressman Phillips said. “We cannot and must not allow the COVID-19 pandemic to do the same. This bipartisan bill will deliver long-overdue relief to our nation’s innovators and ensure that they continue to develop the lifesaving and game-changing technologies our economy and communities rely on.”

BACKGROUND

U.S. startups are some of the most innovative firms in the world, and for the past year many have been working on products to fight the COVID-19 crisis and future pandemic threats. Walorski’s IGNITE American Innovation Act will allow small and mid-size businesses left out of the CARES Act to access fast and efficient capital, so that they can continue that important work and accelerate our nation’s recovery.

Specifically, the IGNITE American Innovation Act would:

  • Allow growth companies to monetize up to $25 million of accumulated net operating losses (NOLs) and R&D credits; and
  • Double the value of R&D credits generated by research into products to prevent, diagnose, or treat COVID-19 and future pandemic threats.

The bill is already being praised by a coalition of advocates for tech startups:

  • Mark Leahey, President and CEO of the Medical Device Manufacturers Association (MDMA): “MDMA thanks Congressman Phillips and Congresswoman Walorski for their ongoing bipartisan leadership to provide support and resources for medical technology innovators who are dedicated to develop the cures, diagnostics and therapies of tomorrow. As the medtech ecosystem continues to confront COVID-19 and the numerous other challenges facing patients and physicians, the ‘IGNITE Act’ would provide some of the critical liquidity that is needed to do so.”
  • Peter Chandler, TechNet’s VP of Federal Policy & Government Relations: “Startups are the lifeblood of our economy. They have the highest potential for job growth and create jobs at faster rates than older companies. As we begin the next phase of our post-pandemic recovery, startups will play a critical role in creating jobs and growing our economy. The IGNITE Act would provide an immediate boost to startups, giving them the liquidity needed to hire talent and invest in innovation. This bill will help boost our economic recovery and strengthen America’s position as a global leader.”
  • Bobby Franklin, President, National Venture Capital Association:IGNITE will accelerate investments in startup ecosystems across the country to power the jobs and economy of the future. This bipartisan legislation will provide immediate liquidity to our most innovative companies that must be used to finance job creation, R&D, or facility construction, creating more economic opportunity, and boosting American competitiveness.”
  • John Dearie, President, Center for American Entrepreneurship: “CAE applauds the re-introduction of the IGNITE American Innovation Act and thanks Reps. Dean Phillips (D-MN) and Jackie Walorski (R-IN) for their continued leadership on this critical issue. In addition to its devastating toll in human lives, the Covid-19 pandemic inflicted a devastating blow to the U.S. economy, forcing the permanent closure of hundreds of thousands of businesses and destroying millions of jobs.  As the nation emerges from the crisis, accelerating economic growth and job creation is the top domestic policy priority.  Innovative startups will play a major role in this effort.  Repeated research has demonstrated that startups account for a disproportionate share of the innovations that drive economic growth and job creation.  But to succeed, startups need capital.  The bipartisan IGNITE American Innovation Act is critical to ensuring that the nation’s startups have the capital they need to drive the post-Covid recovery.  Because most startups remain “pre-revenue” for a number of years after they launch, they have no income tax obligation against which to write-off valuable tax assets like net operating losses and research and development tax credits – which existing businesses are able to monetize by reducing their income tax liability.  The IGNITE American Innovation Act would amend the tax code to allow high-growth startups to monetize up to $25 million of these tax assets, providing additional liquidity to fuel their success.  The Act is an essential element of America’s strategy of innovation-driven economic revitalization.”
  • Jennifer Grundy Young, CEO, Technology Councils of North America: “In many cases startups are financially fragile and are assuming significant risk – risk that could result in solving critical problems. It is important to have policies, like the IGNITE Act, in place to ensure start-up, growing companies are well capitalized to advance important research and development.  We look forward to working with congressional members to advance this important legislation.”
  • Cameron Arterton, Biotechnology Innovation Organization’s Vice President, Tax Policy: “BIO is pleased to support the reintroduction of the IGNITE American Innovation Act which will provide immediate liquidity to our emerging biotechnology companies and be used to support R&D, innovation, and job creation. We want to thank the sponsors for their attention and work on this important piece of legislation.”
  • Scott Whitaker, President and CEO, Advanced Medical Technology Association: “Investment in innovation is investment in a better future for all of us. But investment in innovation can be difficult, especially for small and start-up companies and especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Smart policy, like the IGNITE American Innovation Act, can help ease entrepreneurs’ path to success, which, in turn, can help speed people’s access to that success. For medtech, that means access to life-saving treatments and cures. We’re proud to join the American Startups and Job Growth Coalition in urging Congress to pass IGNITE.”

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Ranking Member of the House Ethics Committee.

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Walorski, Brady Announce Child Care and Paid Leave Package for Working Families

Walorski, Brady Announce Child Care and Paid Leave Package for Working Families

Ways and Means Republicans Propose Protecting Worker Paychecks and Family Choice Act

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), the top Republican on the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support, today joined Ways and Means Committee Republican Leader Kevin Brady (R-Texas) in unveiling an early draft of the Protecting Worker Paychecks and Family Choice Act to increase access to paid family and medical leave and affordable child care.

“Working families face many challenges balancing the demands of work with their needs at home,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “They want good jobs, growing paychecks, access to child care, and paid leave that works for them – not the tax hikes, job-killing mandates, and one-size-fits-all government programs Democrats are offering. Republicans’ commonsense proposal will improve access to paid family leave and affordable child care in a way that puts working families first and keeps small businesses on the path to rebuilding our economy.”

“Republicans’ approach to child care and paid leave puts families and Main Street businesses first, while Democrats’ one-size-fits-all socialist solution gives Washington control,” Rep. Brady said. “By putting the IRS in charge of your time off and child care, Democrats’ path will leave you with lower paychecks for life, less choice, fewer jobs, and greater hardships. Republicans’ proposal shows a bipartisan way to build on the proven success of pro-growth tax reform’s family-centered policies.”

Walorski today spoke about the legislation at a subcommittee hearing on expanding access to paid family leave and child care. Video of Walorski’s remarks can be found here.

BACKGROUND

The Protecting Worker Paychecks and Family Choice Act would provide greater flexibility and choice to parents while focusing the greatest benefits to low-wage workers. It includes legislation introduced by Walorski to allow working families to contribute more to an employer-sponsored dependent care flexible spending account (FSA), roll over unused funds at the end of the year, and use the funds for expenses such as adoption, tutoring, sports activities, and art and music programs.

The proposal would expand access to paid family and medical leave by incentivizing more employers to provide leave and focusing on gaps in coverage.

  • Preserve what’s working by allowing workers and employers to work out the details.
  • Expand the employer-provided paid family and medical leave tax credit and create new family savings accounts.
  • Incentivize and reduce costs for small employers to offer paid family leave to their employees by providing more generous tax credits and paving the way for pooling and cost sharing.
  • Target policies to low-wage workers, who are least likely to receive paid leave through their employers.

It would also expand access to affordable child care by leveraging the existing $50 billion in new investments, targeting funds, and preserving parent choice.

  • Improve flexibility for families using dependent care flexible spending accounts.
  • Improve the employer-provided child care tax credit to provide flexibility for workers and more generous credits for small employers.
  • Increase parent choice to best fit their child’s needs, prevent the child care “cliff” for low-income parents, and better target existing funds to states with higher concentrations of children in poverty.
  • Provide states with new options to increase supply of care and more time to use $50 billion in new funding provided since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that hasn’t yet made it to local communities and families.
  • Create a bipartisan commission to make recommendations to Congress on streamlining and reducing duplication in financing of federal early care and education programs.

Click here to read the full discussion draft text. Click here for a section-by-section summary.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Ranking Member of the House Ethics Committee.

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Indiana Delegation Urges Air Force to Consider Grissom Air Reserve Base to Host New KC-46A Aircraft

Indiana Delegation Urges Air Force to Consider Grissom Air Reserve Base to Host New KC-46A Aircraft

Walorski Leads Bipartisan, Bicameral Letter to Acting Secretary to Highlight Grissom’s Vital Role in Air Refueling Mission

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today led members of the Indiana congressional delegation in urging the Air Force to consider Grissom Air Reserve Base (ARB) in Miami County as the fifth Main Operating Base for the new KC-46A Pegasus aerial refueling and strategic military transport aircraft.

In a letter to Acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth, the members highlighted the many advantages Grissom would offer as a base for KC-46A aircraft, including its history of operations and maintenance excellence, strategic location, capacity to support additional aircraft, strong local and state partnerships, and exceptional employment and educational opportunities in the surrounding community for military families and Reserve Airmen.

“We are proud to have Grissom in our state and are committed to supporting the brave men and women of the Air Force Reserve who serve there,” the members wrote. “In light of the metrics the Air Force has selected, Grissom ARB is an optimal facility to host the KC-46A. Grissom allows for superior mission effectiveness, with proximity to refueling tracks and airspace availability. The base boasts ample capacity to support additional aircraft, including hangar, runway, and ramp capacity, and is located in an exceptionally low-cost area with minimal environmental concerns.”

Walorski was joined by U.S. Sens. Todd Young and Mike Braun, and U.S. Reps. Frank Mrvan (IN-01), Jim Banks (IN-03), Jim Baird (IN-04), Victoria Spartz (IN-05), Greg Pence (IN-06), André Carson (IN-07), Larry Bucshon, M.D. (IN-08), and Trey Hollingsworth (IN-09) in the letter asking Acting Secretary Roth to give full and fair consideration for basing the KC-46A at Grissom and inviting him to tour the base.

BACKGROUND

Earlier this month, the Air Force announced six candidate bases to host the next KC-46A Reserve component: Grissom ARB in Indiana, Beale Air Force Base in California, Joint Base Andrews-Naval Air Field Washington in Maryland, March ARB in California, Niagara Falls ARB in New York, and Tinker AFB in Oklahoma.

All six bases under consideration are military installations in the continental U.S. with an Air Force Reserve Command-led KC-135 tanker mission and minimum 7,000 feet of runway. A total of 12 KC-46As will replace the KC-135s at one of the six candidate locations.

The designation would add 190 new jobs to the base, bringing total personnel servicing the 434th Air Refueling Wing to 112 officers, 555 enlisted, and 34 civilians. The preferred locations will be announced this fall. Once a base is selected, full operational capacity is expected to be completed in the second quarter of fiscal year 2027.

The full text of the letter is below. A signed copy of the letter is available here.

Dear Acting Secretary Roth:

As members of the Indiana Congressional delegation, we write to request that you give strong consideration to Grissom Air Reserve Base (ARB) as the fifth KC-46A Main Operating Base (MOB 5). As you know, Grissom ARB plays a vital role in the air refueling mission, which is critical to our national security. We are proud to have Grissom in our state and are committed to supporting the brave men and women of the Air Force Reserve who serve there. As you complete your enterprise-wide look at potential candidate bases for KC-46A MOB 5, a Reserve-led Active Association, we encourage you to consider the many unique advantages Grissom offers as a base for the new tanker.

In light of the metrics the Air Force has selected, Grissom ARB is an optimal facility to host the KC-46A. Grissom allows for superior mission effectiveness, with proximity to refueling tracks and airspace availability. The base boasts ample capacity to support additional aircraft, including hangar, runway, and ramp capacity, and is located in an exceptionally low-cost area with minimal environmental concerns. What sets Grissom apart is its impressive history of operations and maintenance excellence, which allows it to excel in its strategic mission supporting OPLAN 8010. In addition to a strategic location and new Type III fuel hydrant system compatible with the KC-46A, Grissom boasts one of the highest mission completion rates in the country. Further, thanks to strong local and state partnerships, exceptional employment and educational opportunities exist for military spouses as well as Active and Traditional Reserve Airmen in the area surrounding Grissom, where the quality of life and community support are second to none.

Grissom has much to offer the Air Force in terms of continued mission execution, cost savings, and a high-quality workforce, and we would like to invite you to visit the base to see these advantages firsthand. Consistent with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations we respectfully ask that you give full and fair consideration for basing the KC-46A at Grissom, which will leverage the advantages and skill sets of our Total Air Force to defend our nation anywhere in the world.

Sincerely,

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Ranking Member of the House Ethics Committee.

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Walorski Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Improve Seniors’ Access to Osteoporosis Screening

Walorski Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Improve Seniors’ Access to Osteoporosis Screening

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers in introducing legislation to improve access to osteoporosis screening. Fractures caused by osteoporosis are among the most significant challenges threatening the independence and quality of life for older Americans. Walorski introduced the Increasing Access to Osteoporosis Testing for Medicare Beneficiaries Act of 2021 with Reps. John Larson (D-Conn.), Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.), Lori Trahan (D-Mass.), and Michael Burgess, M.D. (R-Texas).

“Low bone mass and osteoporosis are responsible for millions of fractures each year among seniors, especially women,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Early diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis have been proven to reduce fracture rates, resulting in Medicare savings and greater independence for older Americans. Our commonsense, bipartisan legislation will help Medicare beneficiaries get ahead of their bone health by updating reimbursements for DXA scans that can help identify and treat osteoporosis in at-risk seniors.”

“Osteoporotic fractures make up more than 40 percent of all hospitalizations of older women. These fractures could be prevented if DXA screening was made more accessible to patients. I’m proud to introduce the Increasing Access to Osteoporosis Testing for Medicare Beneficiaries Act of 2021 today to improve access to these vital screenings for Medicare beneficiaries,” Congressman Larson said.

“Because osteoporosis often causes no symptoms until a fracture occurs, screening for those who might be at risk of a life changing injury is absolutely critical,” Congresswoman Sánchez said. “Nearly half of all women over the age of 50 will experience an osteoporosis related fracture in their lifetime. These fractures threaten an individual’s health and independence. By improving access to early diagnosis of osteoporosis, this legislation will help reduce fracture rates and health care costs. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this important legislation.”

“If left untreated, osteoporosis is a disease that can lead to many complications and early death – primarily in women,” Congresswoman Trahan said. “I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bill that will increase access to critical preventative testing to identify osteoporosis, promote women’s health, and save lives.”

“This bill restores access to a vital preventative service that will dramatically reduce fracture rates and generate substantial savings. Serving as a physician and a Member of Congress, I understand just how big of a public health threat osteoporosis can be since patients often do not show symptoms until they have a fracture. It is critical we act to ensure Medicare providers stay ahead of this debilitating disease,” Congressman Burgess M.D. said.

BACKGROUND

May is National Osteoporosis Awareness Month. DXA (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) is the gold standard for diagnosing and treating osteoporosis. Medicare began DXA reimbursement cuts in 2007, resulting in fewer patients being screened and treated, fewer physicians providing DXA tests, and more patients suffering debilitating and unnecessary fractures. That change wiped out a decade of prevention efforts and needs to be fixed.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Ranking Member of the House Ethics Committee.

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Walorski, Titus Introduce Bipartisan RV Floor Plan Tax Fix

Walorski, Titus Introduce Bipartisan RV Floor Plan Tax Fix

Travel Trailer and Camper Tax Parity Act Would Restore Inventory Interest Deductibility for All Types of RVs

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and Dina Titus (D-Nev.) today introduced the bipartisan Travel Trailer and Camper Tax Parity Act to fix a provision in the tax code so all types of RVs, including travel trailers and campers, are treated equally.

“From manufacturers and suppliers to distributors and dealers, the RV industry supports tens of thousands of jobs in northern Indiana and across the country,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “These made-in-America products will play a vital role in our economic recovery, but one provision in the tax code is putting certain RVs at a disadvantage. This commonsense bill would fix that by restoring tax parity so all types of RVs – including travel trailers and campers – are treated equally.”

“The RV industry generates over $1 billion for Nevadans each year,” Congresswoman Titus said. “Travelers who use both towed and motorized RVs create jobs in our state and there is no reason these vehicles should be taxed differently. This bipartisan bill would help boost regional tourism in Nevada and across the country.”

“We’re pleased Congress is acting to fix the quirk in current law that treats the towable trailer segment and motorized segment of the RV differently,” said RV Industry Association Senior Manager of Government Affairs Samantha Rocci. “We want to thank Representatives Walorski and Titus for introducing the Travel Trailer and Camper Tax Parity Act. The legislation will ensure RV trailer dealers are able to remain competitive with other types of recreation products that are currently able to fully deduct interest paid on their inventory and help the RV industry continue its all-American success story.”

BACKGROUND

The Travel Trailer and Camper Tax Parity Act (H.R. 3552) would restore the full deductibility of inventory financing interest for all types of RVs, including motorhomes, travel trailers, and campers, as originally intended by Congress.

Under the 2017 tax reform law, a deduction for interest paid on RV dealer inventory inadvertently excluded non-motorized travel trailers. The House and Senate versions of the legislation specifically intended to include towable RVs as motor vehicles, but the final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) simplified the definition of motor vehicles. As a result, the full tax exemption now only applies to RV motorhomes, putting the RV travel trailer industry at a disadvantage and forcing larger dealers to use different accounting rules for trailers and motorhomes. According to the RV Industry Association (RVIA), approximately 88 percent of RVs sold are travel trailers.

Read the full text of the legislation here.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Ranking Member of the House Ethics Committee.

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Walorski, Dingell Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen American Manufacturing of Critical Medical Supplies

Walorski, Dingell Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen American Manufacturing of Critical Medical Supplies

Legislation Would Improve Strategic National Stockpile, Boost Domestic Manufacturing for Improved Pandemic Preparedness

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) today reintroduced the Medical Supplies for Pandemics Act of 2021, which would reform and strengthen the Strategic National Stockpile to improve the federal ability to respond to future disasters and pandemics. The bill would enhance medical supply chain elasticity, create incentives to geographically diversify production of personal protective equipment, and refresh and replenish existing stocks of medical supplies in partnership with industry.

“One of the key lessons of the COVID-19 crisis has been the need to break our dependence on China for the production of critical medical supplies,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Throughout the pandemic, I saw firsthand the obstacles health care workers and first responders faced in obtaining quality personal protective equipment to keep themselves and others safe. To better prepare for the next crisis, we need to strengthen U.S. manufacturing of PPE and ensure we have a robust Strategic National Stockpile. Our bipartisan bill would incentivize production of critical medical items here in America so we can maintain a reliable reserve of lifesaving supplies.”

“During the COVID-19 public health crisis, our frontline healthcare workers have been forced to rely on deficient equipment from overseas manufacturers or expired equipment in the existing Strategic National Stockpile,” Congresswoman Dingell said. “The Medical Supplies for Pandemics Act will improve our ability to quickly scale up manufacturing of critical medical supplies and personal protective equipment while modernizing the SNS, providing America’s frontline workers the resources they need to respond to future public health emergencies.”

“Medical products distributors have the infrastructure and expertise to help the Federal government improve our nation’s preparedness for future health emergencies,” said Matthew J. Rowan, President & CEO of the Health Industry Distributors Association. “Representatives Dingell and Walorski are showing true bipartisan leadership by proposing to expand the use of public-private partnerships to strengthen the stockpiling and distribution of critical supplies.”

BACKGROUND

Workers during the COVID-19 pandemic were given expired and outdated equipment from the Strategic National Stockpile. This, along with the lack of critical medical supplies across the existing domestic supply chain, forced the United States to rely on China and other nations for the manufacture of this equipment, making it more difficult for the United States to respond to public health emergencies.

The Medical Supplies for Pandemics Act of 2021 (H.R. 3463) would authorize $500 million annually through fiscal year 2024 to implement a supply chain flexibility manufacturing program to:

  • Create incentives to geographically diversify production of medical supplies;
  • Establish and maintain domestic reserves of critical medical supplies like personal protective equipment and diagnostic tests;
  • Work with distributors of medical supplies to manage domestic reserves held by the Strategic National Stockpile by refreshing and replenishing supply stocks.

These reforms would strengthen the ability to respond to future disasters and provide frontline workers the resources they need during public health emergencies.

The full text of the legislation is available here.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Ranking Member of the House Ethics Committee.

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Walorski Announces Winner of 2021 Congressional Art Competition

Walorski Announces Winner of 2021 Congressional Art Competition

Penn High School Student’s Artwork Will Be Displayed in U.S. Capitol for a Year

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today announced Sarah Krall, a student at Penn High School in Mishawaka, as the winner of the 2021 Congressional Art Competition for Indiana’s 2nd District. Sarah’s winning artwork, “Bearden Collage,” will be on display in the U.S. Capitol for the next year alongside other winners from across the country.

“Sarah’s winning artwork showcases her artistic skill and creative expression, and I can’t wait to see it displayed in our nation’s capital,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Congratulations to Sarah on this exciting achievement! I want to thank each and every artist who participated in this year’s competition, and I encourage them to continue exploring their talents and sharing their creativity with others.”

Congresswoman Walorski congratulated the winner last Saturday at a reception held at South Bend International Airport for students who submitted entries and their teachers. Second place was awarded to Alyson Quirk, a student at Elkhart High School East in Elkhart. Her artwork, “Mother,” will be displayed in Walorski’s Mishawaka District Office for the next year.

Forty-four high school students from throughout Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District submitted entries, and a local artist helped select the winning entry.

The Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 to provide an opportunity for Members of Congress to recognize the artistic talents of high school students in their districts. Since then, more than 650,000 high school students have been involved with the nationwide competition.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Ranking Member of the House Ethics Committee.

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Walorski on Newsmax: Commonsense Safeguards Needed to Stop Rampant Unemployment Fraud

Walorski on Newsmax: Commonsense Safeguards Needed to Stop Rampant Unemployment Fraud

Discusses How Extra Federal Jobless Aid and Trillions in New Spending Are Threatening Our Economic Recovery

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), the top Republican on the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support, today joined Newsmax’s Wake Up America to discuss legislation introduced by House Republicans to combat rampant unemployment fraud, which has cost American taxpayers as much as $200 billion. She also highlighted recent actions in states like Indiana to end enhanced federal unemployment benefits in order to help get Americans back to work and our economic recovery back on track.

On Democrats’ refusal to address the problem of unchecked unemployment fraud:

“I think they’re turning a blind eye to the fact that this unbelievable amount of extended unemployment – which now goes [into] September – they’re believing that this isn’t really happening. They don’t want to put safeguards on this massive amount of money they’re sending out to people to stay home and not work.”

On how the Combatting COVID Unemployment Fraud Act would protect taxpayers and workers:

“This actually could go down in history as the greatest ripoff of taxpayer money we’ve ever seen. This could get as high as $200 billion. … What this bill does, it adds safeguards on the front end like identity verification to prevent fraud before it occurs. It strengthens efforts to catch the criminals and recover those funds. And then it adds protections for taxpayers and victims of identity theft.”

On how states like Indiana are getting people back to work:

“Our House leadership sent a letter out – I joined them – last Friday to every Republican governor in the country asking them to please stop the extension of the federal benefits. … I’m happy to say, on Monday morning of this week, the state of Indiana’s governor, Governor Eric Holcomb, did that. … That’s just good news for employers in my district. It doesn’t matter if you have two employees and you’re a mom and pop shop on Main Street or if you’re a production facility generating manufacturing and have 5,000 employees. This is a key to getting people back to work.”

On the threat of inflation driven by Democrats’ reckless spending policies:

“What’s already starting right now, which we haven’t talked about, is inflation. The prices in this country are skyrocketing. So all these folks have all this money in their pockets, by next summer will probably have it taken out of the left pocket in the right pocket, right back to the Democrats in tax increases. So I don’t see anything good coming from that.”

Watch the full interview here.

This week, Congresswoman Walorski joined House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Ways and Means Committee Republican Leader Kevin Brady (R-Texas), and 14 other House Republicans in introducing legislation to combat fraud in federal unemployment programs. Read the bill here.

The Combatting COVID Unemployment Fraud Act of 2021 (H.R. 3268) would:

  • Prevent fraud on the front end. Requires verification of identity, earnings, and prior employment of applicants prior to authorizing benefits and allows states to claim reimbursement for administrative expenses to improve identity verification.
  • Support claw back of fraudulently paid dollars. Establishes the joint COVID Unemployment Fraud Taskforce and incentivizes States to go after fraud by allowing them to retain 5 percent of recovered funds.
  • Provide relief to victims of unemployment fraud and identity theft. Implements protections for taxpayers and victims of unemployment fraud.

Last week, Walorski hosted a panel with Ways and Means Republicans to examine the issue of rampant unemployment fraud. Video of the panel is available here

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that at least $63 billion – and as much as $89 billion – in unemployment benefits have been improperly paid since March 2020, largely due to fraud. The identity verification company ID.me estimates the true amount could be as high as $200 billion. Democrats earlier this year extended COVID unemployment programs through September 6th with no additional protections against fraud – and without holding a single hearing to determine how to prevent it.

Walorski also recently joined House Republican leaders in sending a letter to governors across the country urging them to help get Americans back to work and our economy back on track. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb on Monday announced the state would end its participation in the federal program. Read House Republicans’ letter here.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Ranking Member of the House Ethics Committee.

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