Issue: Health Care

Walorski Named to House Ways & Means Committee

Walorski Named to House Ways & Means Committee

Panel Will Be Central to Upcoming Action on Tax Reform, Obamacare Repeal, Jobs & Economic Growth

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.-02) today announced she will serve on the influential House Committee on Ways and Means in the 115th Congress. The tax-writing panel will play a key role as Congress takes action on tax reform, Obamacare, and the nation’s economic policies.

“I am honored to join the House Ways and Means Committee and eager to tackle some of our nation’s biggest challenges,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “We have a historic opportunity to enact lasting economic reforms that will benefit all Americans.

“I look forward to working with Chairman Brady and our colleagues to fix our broken tax code, repeal and replace Obamacare, help individuals and families lift themselves out of poverty, and expand opportunities for businesses to grow and create good jobs for American workers.

“Indiana’s 2nd District is a vital center of manufacturing, agriculture, and innovation, and I am grateful the hardworking Hoosiers I represent will have a voice in these critical debates.”

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas-08) welcomed Walorski and two other Members, Congressmen David Schweikert (R-Ariz.-06) and Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.-26), to the committee.

“David, Jackie, and Carlos are excellent additions to the Ways and Means Committee,” Chairman Brady said. “They are joining our team at a historic moment as we move forward on pro-growth tax reform, repealing Obamacare, and ensuring Americans finally have access to affordable care.

“Each of our new Members has the perfect mix of policy expertise and real world experience. Most importantly, they understand exactly how the decisions we make at our Committee impact the lives of people across our country.

“As a former state representative and now a Member of Congress, Jackie has repeatedly led the way on legislation that will grow our economy, increase wages, and help lift more Americans out of poverty.

“With a full roster, Ways and Means Republicans are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work on President-elect Trump’s and the American people’s top priorities.”

BACKGROUND

The House Steering Committee is responsible for recommending Members to serve on standing Committees in the House of Representatives. The recommendations are subject to approval by the House Republican Conference on Friday, January 6. Walorski was selected to fill the Ways and Means Committee seat vacated by Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.).

The Ways and Means Committee is the oldest standing committee in the House of Representatives. It is the chief tax-writing panel in the House and has jurisdiction over federal revenue; Medicare, Social Security, and other social programs; trade agreements; and many other policies critical to the nation’s economy.

Walorski has previously served on the Armed Services Committee, Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Budget Committee, and Agriculture Committee.

As chair of the Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Nutrition, Walorski helped lead a two-year review of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In a series of 16 hearings the subcommittee and full committee examined the past, present, and future of the anti-hunger program to identify successes and areas in need of improvement.

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In the News: South Bend Tribune: Legislative Recap

SBT

South Bend Tribune: Legislative Roundup

by Kevin Allen

U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Jimtown, spoke on the House floor about the Conscience Protection Act, a bill she co-sponsored to reaffirm and codify existing protections for health care providers who refuse to participate in abortions as a matter of conscience.

“This bill reaffirms protections already in place by prohibiting the federal government and entities that receive federal funding from discriminating against or penalizing those who are exercising their conscience rights,” Walorski said.

“Currently, it’s up to the Department of Health and Human Services to enforce the law — and that’s something this administration has not always been willing to do,” she said. “The Conscience Protection Act will give pro-life health care providers and employers full conscience protections without loopholes or uncertainty.”

… Walorski and U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, joined House Speaker Paul Ryan at an enrollment ceremony marking the passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. They joined other members of the conference committee that negotiated a final agreement between the House and Senate versions of the bill.

“This bipartisan, comprehensive legislation to combat prescription drug and heroin abuse is an important step toward ending the opioid epidemic in this country,” Walorski said.

The final version of the legislation included two measures Walorski wrote to protect veterans. One would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to participate in state prescription drug monitoring programs, and the other would allow the VA to use FDA-approved medical devices and other non-opioid therapies to treat chronic pain.

Walorski and Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald toured the South Bend Community Based Outpatient Clinic and met with veterans at the facility. They also held a round-table discussion with local VA leaders and stakeholders.

“I appreciate Secretary McDonald’s willingness to spend time with Hoosier veterans and have an open conversation about the problems in our VA system, the progress we’ve made and the work we have left to do,” Walorski said. “We have a duty to make sure every man and woman who served this country in uniform is treated with dignity and respect. That means getting veterans the services and care they deserve, protecting them from overprescription of powerful painkillers, never again allowing a veteran to die waiting for care, and holding the VA accountable when they let our veterans down.”

Read the full story here.

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Walorski Takes Part in Opioid Bill Enrollment Ceremony

Walorski Takes Part in Opioid Bill Enrollment Ceremony

Bipartisan, Comprehensive Legislation to Address Opioid Epidemic Heads to the President’s Desk; Walorski Served on Conference Committee That Negotiated Final Agreement

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today joined House Speaker Paul D. Ryan at an enrollment ceremony marking the passage of S. 524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. The bipartisan, comprehensive legislation now is on its way to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

“This bipartisan, comprehensive legislation to combat prescription drug and heroin abuse is an important step toward ending the opioid epidemic in this country,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “I was honored to serve on the conference committee that negotiated a final agreement, and I look forward to the president signing it into law. With key reforms, including my provisions to protect veterans from opioid overprescription, this bill will save lives.”

Walorski, a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, served on the conference committee that negotiated a final agreement between the House and Senate. She and other members of the conference committee joined Speaker Ryan as he signed the legislation before sending it to the president.

The final version of the legislation included two measures authored by Walorski to protect veterans. One provision would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to participate in state prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), and the other would allow the VA to use FDA-approved medical devices and other non-opioid therapies to treat chronic pain.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee and House Committee on Agriculture.

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Walorski Voices Support for Conscience Protection Act

Walorski Voices Support for Conscience Protection Act

Bill Protects Pro-Life Health Care Providers from Discrimination for Declining Involvement in Abortions as a Matter of Conscience

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today spoke on the House floor about the Conscience Protection Act, a bill she co-sponsored to reaffirm and codify existing conscience protections for pro-life health care providers and give them legal recourse to defend themselves from discrimination for refusing to take part in abortions as a matter of conscience. The House is expected to vote on the legislation later today.

Video of Walorski’s remarks is available here. The full text is below.

“I rise today in strong support of the Conscience Protection Act, a bill I co-sponsored to protect pro-life health care providers from discrimination.

“Doctors, nurses, employers, social service agencies, and insurance plans that chose not to take part in abortions as a matter of conscience should not face discrimination or penalty.

“This bill reaffirms protections already in place by prohibiting the federal government and entities that receive federal funding from discriminating against or penalizing those who are exercising their conscience rights.

“Most importantly, it gives victims of discrimination legal recourse to defend themselves.

“Currently, it’s up to the Department of Health and Human Services to enforce the law – and that’s something this administration has not always been willing to do.

“The Conscience Protection Act will give pro-life health care providers and employers full conscience protections without loopholes or uncertainty.

“I urge my colleagues to support this essential bill to protect life and those who exercise their conscience rights.

“Thank you, and I yield back.”

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee and House Committee on Agriculture.

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Walorski Supports Comprehensive Anti-Opioid Legislation

Walorski Supports Comprehensive Anti-Opioid Legislation

Served on Conference Committee That Negotiated Final Agreement, Which Includes Walorski Provisions to Protect Veterans

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today voted for bipartisan, comprehensive legislation to address the nationwide opioid epidemic and protect veterans from overprescription of powerful opiates.

“Dozens of Americans die each day from opioid overdoses, and this has to stop,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “There is a long battle ahead of us. A lot of damage has already been done. But this bill represents an important step forward as we seek to stop overprescription and end opioid addiction in our country.”

The final version of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (S. 524), which passed the House by a vote of 407 to 5, included two measures authored by Walorski to protect veterans. One provision would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to participate in state prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), and the other would allow the VA to use FDA-approved medical devices and other non-opioid therapies to treat chronic pain.

Walorski, a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee who served on the conference committee that completed negotiations this week on final legislation, spoke on the House floor today in support of the bill.

Video of Walorski’s remarks is available here. The full text is below.

“I rise today in strong support of S. 524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.

“This vital bill will help address the prescription drug epidemic we’ve seen plague our communities for too long.

“Dozens of Americans die each day from prescription drug overdoses. This has to stop.

“It’s time for us to come together as a nation to tackle this issues that has infected every fabric of our society.  

“I am honored to have served on the conference committee for this bill and thankful it is being considered by the House today.

“As a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I have seen the opioid epidemic’s effects on our nation’s veterans.

“Veterans are more vulnerable to chronic pain and more susceptible to addiction, but some VA facilities still overprescribe these powerful drugs.

“I’ve seen the problem first hand with veterans coming into my office, often carrying a large bag or box of pills.

“In my home state of Indiana, the DEA raided the VA Medical Center in Marion after noticing many narcotics and opiates purchased by the facility.

“For too long, the VA has relied too heavily on opioids to treat chronic pain.

“This bill addresses that by requiring the VA and DOD to focus on improving their prescribing practices.

“It includes my legislation requiring the VA to report to state Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, which are important and effective tools for stopping overprescription.

“And it allows the VA to consider non-opioid treatments for veterans with chronic pain.

“Mr. Chairman, there is a long battle ahead of us.

“A lot of damage has already been done.

“But this bill represents an important step forward as we seek to stop overprescription and end opioid addiction in our country.

“I urge my colleagues to support the bill and I yield back my time.”

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee and House Committee on Agriculture.

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In the News: South Bend Tribune: Legislative Recap

SBT

South Bend Tribune: Legislative Recap

by Kevin Allen

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, chaired a House and Senate conference committee on legislation to address opioid abuse.

U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Jimtown, also was a member of the conference committee. She spoke in support of measures she wrote to protect veterans from being overprescribed opioids.

Walorski said the crisis has reached a point where the Drug Enforcement Administration raided and began investigating several veterans health facilities. The Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Marion, Ind., raised DEA suspicions after it purchased more prescription drugs than any other VA facility in the northern district of Indiana, she said.

“For too long, the VA has relied too heavily on the prescription of opioids,” Walorski said. “There needs to be more oversight of prescribing practices at VA facilities, and the VA needs to explore effective, non-opioid treatments.”

Walorski spoke on the House floor about the dangers posed by the release of terrorist detainees from Guantanamo Bay amid the ongoing manhunt for a former detainee missing in Brazil.

The fiscal year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act passed by the House earlier this year contains Walorski-authored provisions, including a requirement that the U.S. enter into written agreements with foreign nations that accept detainee transfers. Last month, Walorski and Sen. Steve Daines, D-Mont., introduced legislation to prohibit any Guantanamo transfers until the act is signed into law or until the end of this year.

“What we need is a comprehensive strategy to destroy terrorist organizations like ISIS,” Walorski said on the House floor. “Instead, the administration is ramping up the release of Guantanamo Bay detainees.”

Walorski and Upton voted for the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act to address the nationwide opioid epidemic. The House approved the bill by a vote of 407 to 5.

“Dozens of Americans die each day from opioid overdoses, and this has to stop,” Walorski said. “There is a long battle ahead of us. A lot of damage has already been done. But this bill represents an important step forward as we seek to stop overprescription and end opioid addiction in our country.”

Walorski wrote two provisions included in the bill. One would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to participate in state prescription drug monitoring programs, and the other would allow the VA to use FDA-approved medical devices and other non-opioid therapies to treat chronic pain.

Read the full story here.

 

Walorski Speaks About Protecting Veterans at Opioid Conference Committee Meeting

Walorski Speaks About Protecting Veterans at Opioid Conference Committee Meeting

Committee Negotiated Final Details of Anti-Opioid Bill, Including Walorski Provisions to Protect Veterans from Overprescription

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02), a member of the conference committee that negotiated final details of comprehensive legislation to combat opioid and heroin addiction, today spoke in support of measures she authored to protect veterans from opioid overprescription. Following today’s committee meeting, Walorski signed the conference report, which included her provisions.

“Veterans are more vulnerable to addiction, and I’ve seen the problem firsthand, with veterans coming into my office often carrying a large bag of pills,” said Congresswoman Walorski, a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “This crisis has gotten so bad that the DEA raided and began investigating several VA facilities, including one in my home state of Indiana. The Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Marion raised DEA suspicions after it purchased more prescription drugs than any other VA facility in the Northern District of Indiana. For too long, the VA has relied too heavily on the prescription of opioids. There needs to be more oversight of prescribing practices at VA facilities, and the VA needs to explore effective, non-opioid treatments.”

Video of Congresswoman Walorski’s remarks at the conference committee meeting is available here. The full text of her remarks is below.

“Good afternoon. It’s an honor to be here today to start the process of finalizing comprehensive legislation to address the opioid epidemic we’ve been seeing in our communities across the country.  

“Today, I want to focus on the provisions that will help improve health care for our veterans.

“As a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I’ve grown very concerned over the issue of opioid overprescription.

“Veterans face higher rates of chronic pain and of poly-trauma and co-morbidities, particularly PTSD, depression, and traumatic brain injury.

“Veterans are more vulnerable to addiction, and I’ve seen the problem firsthand, with veterans coming into my office often carrying a large bag of pills.

“This crisis has gotten so bad that the DEA raided and began investigating several VA facilities, including one in my home state of Indiana.  

“The Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Marion raised DEA suspicions after it purchased more prescription drugs than any other VA facility in the Northern District of Indiana.

“For too long, the VA has relied too heavily on the prescription of opioids. There needs to be more oversight of prescribing practices at VA facilities, and the VA needs to explore effective, non-opioid treatments.

“With that said, I want to highlight two important provisions in this legislation.

“The first requires the VA to report to State Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs. These databases have proven to be an important and effective tool for tracking prescription practices, yet the VA is not required to report to them as other health care providers are. This will open up a window into VA prescribing practices that will help law enforcement identify problem areas that warrant further investigation.

“Another provision allows the VA to consider alternate forms of treatment, such as FDA-approved medical devices for patients with chronic pain. This will give the Department more options for veterans than strictly prescribing opioids.

“Again, I thank you for the opportunity to be a part of this committee and work on such an important issue facing our veterans and our nation at large.

“I yield back.”

BACKGROUND

Walorski authored two provisions included in the House-passed version of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (S. 524). One provision would require all Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities to participate in their respective state’s prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) to better identify patterns of overprescription. The second provision would allow the VA to use FDA-approved medical devices and other therapies as alternatives to opioids for treating chronic pain.

The comprehensive, wide-ranging legislation makes critical reforms and creates grant programs to help states, law enforcement entities, and other organizations in their work to prevent and treat opiate addiction and overdose. Among the bills included in the House-passed bill was the Jason Simcakoski Promoting Responsible Opioid Management and Incorporating Scientific Expertise (PROMISE) Act (H.R. 4063), which contained Walorski’s provisions.

Currently, VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) may participate in PDMPs but are not required by law to do so. In December, Walorski introduced legislation that would change that option to a requirement in response to a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation into potential opioid overprescription at the VAMC in Marion, Ind. In February, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee unanimously approved that legislation and included it in H.R. 4063.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee and House Committee on Agriculture.

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Walorski Supports Emergency Funding to Combat Zika Outbreak

Walorski Supports Emergency Funding to Combat Zika Outbreak

Bill Provides $622.1 Million in Funding for Domestic and International Efforts Against Zika Virus

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today voted for H.R. 5243, the Zika Response Appropriations Act, which provides $622.1 million in fully-offset funding for domestic and international efforts to combat the global Zika virus outbreak. The bill passed the House by a vote of 241 to 184.

“The global outbreak of Zika virus is a public health crisis, and this bill provides the resources needed to ensure a robust response,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “These funds are critical to efforts at home and abroad to control the spread of this devastating disease and develop effective medical treatments for those affected.”

H.R. 5243 provides targeted funding to the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of State, and U.S. Agency for International Development for wide array of Zika response programs, including Zika-related health care and medical research, mosquito control, disease surveillance, public education, and emergency preparedness. The bill also contains strong oversight measures to ensure taxpayer funds are used responsibly and effectively.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee and House Committee on Agriculture.

Walorski Supports Emergency Funding to Combat Zika Outbreak

Walorski Supports Emergency Funding to Combat Zika Outbreak

Bill Provides $622.1 Million in Funding for Domestic and International Efforts Against Zika Virus

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today voted for H.R. 5243, the Zika Response Appropriations Act, which provides $622.1 million in fully-offset funding for domestic and international efforts to combat the global Zika virus outbreak. The bill passed the House by a vote of 241 to 184.

“The global outbreak of Zika virus is a public health crisis, and this bill provides the resources needed to ensure a robust response,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “These funds are critical to efforts at home and abroad to control the spread of this devastating disease and develop effective medical treatments for those affected.”

H.R. 5243 provides targeted funding to the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of State, and U.S. Agency for International Development for wide array of Zika response programs, including Zika-related health care and medical research, mosquito control, disease surveillance, public education, and emergency preparedness. The bill also contains strong oversight measures to ensure taxpayer funds are used responsibly and effectively.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee and House Committee on Agriculture.

Walorski, Bucshon, Brooks Tapped to Negotiate Final Opioid Legislation

Walorski, Bucshon, Brooks Tapped to Negotiate Final Opioid Legislation

WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, three members of Indiana’s Congressional delegation were appointed to a special conference committee comprised of members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate that will negotiate the final details of comprehensive legislation to curb opioid and heroin abuse.

Reps. Jackie Walorski (IN-02), Larry Bucshon, M.D. (IN-08), and Susan W. Brooks (IN-05) will serve as members of the conference committee. The committee will work toward an agreement resolving legislative differences between the House and Senate packages to address heroin and opioid abuse. The final agreement must be approved by both the chambers before it reaches the President’s desk.

“Drug overdoses in Indiana have increased five-fold in the past decade, and Hoosier law enforcement officers, medical providers, veterans, emergency responders, and families need our help to address the increasingly alarming rates of heroin and opioid abuse in our communities,” said the members. “We look forward to working with our Senate counterparts to develop a comprehensive, bipartisan solution that will support the work our state and local partners are doing each day to combat this crisis. It is truly going to take all of us to stem the tide of heroin and opioid abuse that is claiming so many lives in Indiana, and around the country.”

The House members of the committee were appointed by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who called the contribution of Walorski, Bucshon, and Brooks invaluable.

“Right now, more Americans die every year from drug overdoses than they do in car accidents,” said Speaker Ryan. “Last week, the House passed a comprehensive legislative package to address the heroin and opioid crisis that is sweeping across this country. As we take all of these ideas to a conference committee with the Senate, Reps. Brooks, Bucshon, and Walorski will be invaluable to our efforts to get a final bill to the president’s desk that ensures Americans have the resources they need to win their fight against addiction.”

The legislative package passed by the House included initiatives led by all three members.

Walorski, a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, authored two provisions that were included in the comprehensive opioids bill. One provision would require all Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities to participate in their respective state’s prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP). The other would expand the VA’s use of FDA-approved medical devices and other therapies as alternatives to opioids for treating chronic pain. Both provisions were approved unanimously by the committee as amendments to H.R 4063, the Jason Simcakoski Promoting Responsible Opioid Management and Incorporating Scientific Expertise (PROMISE) Act, which passed the House unanimously and was included in the amended version of S. 524.

Bucshon introduced H.R. 4981, the Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Expansion and Modernization Act, alongside Paul Tonko (D-NY), which amends the Controlled Substances Act to expand access to medication-assisted opioid addiction treatment, ensures patients have access to a wider range of comprehensive, evidence-based treatment options, and minimizes the potential for drug diversion. The legislation is the product of months of stakeholder engagement, expert input and bipartisan negotiation. It passed the Energy and Commerce Committee and House floor unanimously.

Brooks introduced H.R. 4641 with Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA). This legislation establishes a task force comprised of people with chronic pain, people in recovery, medical providers, hospitals, state medical boards, pain advocacy groups and federal agencies involved in oversight of pain management and the prescribing of pain medication. The task force will be responsible for reviewing, modifying and updating best practices, released earlier this year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for prescribers of pain medication. Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) introduced companion legislation that was passed earlier this year as a part of the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. Brooks’ bill passed 412-4 in the House of Representatives.

Congresswoman Jackie Walorski is a lifelong Hoosier, born and raised in South Bend, who has dedicated her career to helping Hoosier families. She represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee and House Committee on Agriculture.

Congressman Larry Bucshon, M.D. is a physician and Republican member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee serving his third term representing Indiana’s 8th Congressional district. The 8th District of Indiana includes all or parts of Clay, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Gibson, Greene, Knox, Martin, Owen, Parke, Perry, Pike, Posey, Spencer, Sullivan, Vanderburgh, Vermillion, Vigo, and Warrick counties.

Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks is a second-term Republican who represents eight urban, suburban and rural counties in Central Indiana, including the north side of Indianapolis. She uses her background as a Deputy Mayor of Indianapolis, a U.S. Attorney and a community college administrator to improve education, jobs, health and homeland security. Through her membership on the Energy and Commerce Committee, she is working on mental health, substance abuse, biodefense, and Medicaid reform. As a member of the Ethics Committee, she works with her colleagues to restore confidence in Congress.

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