Graves Introduces Common-Sense SNAP Reform Bill

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“We have to restructure incentives to achieve the outcomes we want…”

Washington, DC – Congressman Garret Graves (R-LA) recently introduced the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Reform Act of 2017 to require the program to do more to connect the unemployed with existing job placement and job training opportunities so that more people who are able to work can. Graves introduced the bill to fight poverty, support families and promote self-sufficiency while helping stem the tide of government dependence.

Graves’ legislationbuilds upon the successful track record of mandatory federal work requirements first established in President Bill Clinton’s 1996 “welfare reform,” taking a similar approach to strengthen the work requirements for “able-bodied adults without dependents” who are food stamp recipients through SNAP.

“There are talented people across our country who aren’t pursuing the full potential of their capabilities largely because government incentives make it more profitable in some cases to stay home and collect welfare than to pursue personal growth and responsibility through work,” said Graves. “Government needs to provide a safety net for the vulnerable, but it’s become a lifestyle for some to actively choose government assistance over work – that’s a disservice to those people, the economy and the taxpayer. We have to restructure incentives to achieve the outcomes we want and to get capable people off the sidelines and involved in building America’s future. This bill is a small step toward that goal.”

A job is a powerful tool for getting out of poverty and securing long term prosperity. As such, this bill would reinforce the work requirement for certain able bodied adults with no dependents in order to receive SNAP benefits.

 

Specifically, the bill contains the following provisions –

·        Creates additional opportunities to satisfy the work requirement through a supervised job search.

·        Reduces the number of SNAP recipients exempt from the work requirement.

·        Retains state flexibility for exempting certain individuals from the work requirement.

In 2015, the U.S. government spent over $1 trillion on means-tested welfare aid, providing cash, food, housing, medical care, and social services to poor and low-income individuals.

Graves continued: “Hard times invariably come and when they do, Americans deserve to have peace of mind knowing that there are systems in place to help them get back on their feet – that won’t be the case if the government keeps spending the way it does now. We have to do a better job protecting resources for those truly in need by helping those down on their luck find new opportunities to earn a living.”

The food stamp program is the nation’s second largest means-tested welfare program. The number of food stamp recipients has risen dramatically from about 17.2 million in 2000 to 45.8 million in 2015. Costs have risen from $20.7 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2000 to $83.1 billion in FY 2014.

A number of states in recent years have instituted similar work requirements, helping more people find jobs and producing dramatic declines in food stamp rolls. Alabama, for example, reinstated SNAP work requirements in 13 counties that were exempted after the economic downturn of 2011-2013. Those counties experienced an 85% drop in food stamp participation and a corresponding decrease in unemployment. In one of those counties, the jobless rate was down 11 points in April 2017 compared to April 2011. 

If it becomes law, Graves’ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act of 2017 would encourage millions of Americans to get back to work, help end the cycle of poverty for millions dependent on government assistance, and save taxpayers billions of dollars over the next decade.

Posted on June 26, 2017 and filed under Garrett Graves.

AG Jeff Landry Chosen President-elect of National Association of Attorneys Generals

Photo source: Louisiana AG  

Photo source: Louisiana AG  

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has been chosen President-elect of the National Association of Attorneys General during its summer meeting last week.

In a statement from his office, Landry said, "Once again, I am humbled by my fellow Attorneys General electing me to serve in this leadership role. The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) has a great track record of AG's, across party lines, working together for the betterment of our country; and being chosen in this bi-partisan way to serve as President-Elect reflects that."

Posted on June 26, 2017 and filed under Louisiana, Jeff Landry.

Bernie Sanders’ Bill Would Make Painkiller Epidemic Worse

Photo source: LA Times

Photo source: LA Times

Meghan Hynes has had to learn to work quickly in recent months.

She manages AAC Needle Exchange in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she and her staff provide clean needles, packages of naloxone, a drug that reverses overdoses, and other needs for those addicted to hard drugs.

Sometimes, drug addicts receive their fresh needles and don’t even leave the office before locking themselves in the bathroom and shooting up. And as Hynes told NPR, some of them can’t make it to the door afterward.

“Recently we had a guy leave the bathroom, and all the color just drained from his face, like immediately, and he just turned blue, ”Hynes said[1]. “I’ve never seen anyone turn blue that fast. He was completely blue and he just fell down and was out—not breathing.”

When she bent down to try to pump his heart, she couldn’t. He had been hit with “wooden chest,” in which “your chest just seizes up,” Hynes said. “You literally have paralysis, and that’s obviously really dangerous, because if someone needs CPR, you can’t do it.”

The wooden chest spread, and soon the man also had lockjaw. His mouth would open but only a tiny bit, which meant Hynes could barely even help with rescue breathing.

Hynes did succeed, and the man did survive. But across the United States, junkies are dying because the drugs they’re buying on the street are not what they think they are.

Increasingly, they are laced—or even promiscuously mixed with—fentanyl, a painkiller 50-100 times more powerful than heroin. Police nationwide say people are buying what they think is heroin or oxycontin. But with fentanyl mixed in, the drugs are much more powerful than users anticipate, and many aren’t ready.

Hynes tells her clients to stick with dealers they know, and always use with a buddy because the overdoses come so quickly.

It is the fentanyl that caused the man in Hynes’ office to collapse instantly and for his chest to seize up and almost prevent his rescue.

And it is fentanyl that is changing the complexion of emergency room overdose treatment nationwide. Fentanyl deaths climbed more than 400 percent in Philadelphia from 2014 to 2015[2]. They climbed nearly 700 percent in the two years from 2014 to 2016. Four people died from fentanyl overdoses in Cincinnati in 2013. In 2014, the total was 124.

Bernie Sanders, the socialist senator from neighboring Vermont, which has had its own fentanyl problems, has proposed legislation that could cause the amount of this extremely dangerous drug to grow exponentially on America’s streets—all so he could fashion himself the enemy of drug manufacturers.

[See the other side of this argument, ‘Wrong: Cheap drugs from Canada won’t heighten opioid crisis,’ here][3]

Sanders’ legislation would make it legal for Americans to order prescription drugs from pharmacists outside the country. It is sold as a cost-cutting measure—on the theory competition from foreign pharmacies would bring down prices.

But most who have studied the issue say it brings little in the way of real savings, and what little savings does occur must be weighed against broad new challenges to the security of the supply chain for prescription drugs in the United States.

As Leona Aglukkaq, former health minister of Canada, has pointed out[4], a recent study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found 85 percent of the drugs supposedly imported from Canada did not in fact come from there, but rather 27 other countries.

Moreover, fentanyl is made in Mexico and China, and neither Canada nor the United States has the resources to make sure drugs exported from those nations match their labels.

Derek Arnson, former police chief in Nogales, Ariz., on the Mexican border, said Sanders’ bill would encourage a boom in fentanyl production drug cartel-plagued Mexico and thus “vastly increase the flow of illegal narcotics and counterfeit drugs laced with fentanyl into the United States.”

Moreover, drug companies won’t take this lying down—they can limit sales of drugs to countries, such as Canada, that would be likely to export drugs to the United States, and can respond by limiting the sale of drugs in certain countries known for exporting to the United States, such as Canada, creating shortages in those countries.

“The rising prices for drugs are not sustainable in this country, and there’s a major concern for affordability,” Joshua Sharfstein, a former deputy commissioner at the FDA now at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg for Public Health told theWashington Post[5]. “That’s why people are seriously considering these sorts of solutions.

“But I’d like to think we could have a more rational approach that doesn’t require what is, in effect, a massive workaround.”

An unintended consequence of Sen. Sanders’ idea is that some people will use this system to drive to Canada to fill “prescriptions” for fentanyl to mix with illegal drugs. When politicians pitch the cost savings for consumers of importing drugs from other countries, they tend to gloss over the serious consequences of a major policy change.

Brian McNicoll, former senior writer for The Heritage Foundation and director of communications for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, is a conservative columnist based in Reston, Virginia.

Source: The American Conservative  

Posted on June 26, 2017 and filed under Democrats, Heathcare.

Hear Nebraska Democrat Official Thankful for Scalise Shooting

Photo source: YouTube  

Photo source: YouTube  

Just when you think the vitriol and hatred spewed by the left was over, you have someone like this guy that crawls out of his hole to bring it to a whole new level. 

To be fair, this clown has been fired from his position as Technology Chairman of the Nebraska Democrat Party. However, Phil Montag was caught on audio stating he was thankful for Steve Scalise's shooting last week because of his stance of healthcare.  

Keep it classy Dems. You're only helping the GOP get more members into elected office.  

Posted on June 23, 2017 and filed under Steve Scalise, Democrats.

LANDRY: Thoughts and Prayers With Scalise

Photo source: Facebook

Photo source: Facebook

The following was issued from Attorney General Jeff Landry's office today regarding the assassination attempt on Rep. Steve Scalise this morning: 

 "My thoughts and prayers are with Majority Whip Congressman Steve Scalise as he has surgery and faces what will likely be months of recovery following the events that took place early this morning. Steve and I are former colleagues and great friends, having just had dinner earlier this week. He is an incredible public servant who not only serves our country in a leadership role in Congress, but also proudly represents the State of Louisiana.

Additionally, I remain in prayer for the others who were shot. Though this situation is fluid, we have already heard of many acts of bravery in the midst of this tragedy. Like always, law enforcement officials were quick to act, risking their lives to protect others. Having served in Congress, I know firsthand what the Capitol Police did daily to keep the members of Congress safe. We are grateful for the swift actions that undoubtedly saved this event from being more heartbreaking."

-Attorney General Jeff Landry

Posted on June 14, 2017 and filed under Jeff Landry, Louisiana, Steve Scalise.

Scalise Shooter Was a Radical Progressive

As most of America is already aware, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, House Majority Whip, was shot during a practice for the annual Congressional Baseball Game, a charity event between Republican and Democrat members of Congress.  Scalise was shot in the hip, has been operated on and seems to be in stable condition at this time.

The shooter has been determined to be James T. Hodgkinson of Illinois, who has since perished in gunfire following the incident.  Hodgkinson has had a history of making anti-Trump statements, once calling the President an "asshole" and stating that the Democrats should work to stop any of Trump's efforts in Washington.

Photo source: Facebook

Photo source: Facebook

Photo source: Facebook

Photo source: Facebook

Photo source: Facebook

Photo source: Facebook

This comes on the heels on a history of anti-GOP statements that include violence, such as the severed head being held by Kathy Griffin and the recent assassination scene of President Trump in a New York play 

Posted on June 14, 2017 and filed under Steve Scalise.

Citizens for Louisiana Job Creators: Fake News Alert - The Daily Advertiser

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In a pathetic attempt at journalism, the editorial staff at the Daily Advertiser is the latest news organization to partake in shamelessly biased writing.

The paper recently published an article blaming Speaker Barras for the problems the state is facing. This is an outrageous accusation and calls into question the credibility of this "news organization."

At a time when Louisiana has raised the most taxes out of any state in the previous year, Barras should be applauded for taking a stand fighting back against tax increases and passing a fiscally responsible standstill budget.

The Daily Advertiser should get their facts straight and Speaker Barras should be thanked for his conservative service to the people of Louisiana.

This is precisely why people don't trust the media.

 

MIGUEZ: Louisiana Budget Problems Won't Be Solved at Taxpayer's Expense

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Several one sided and misleading articles have been printed throughout the state this week chastising House Republicans for not having a plan and not solving the budget deficit. However, the real reason these articles have continued to criticize legislators is because we refuse to adopt a plan to raise taxes and continue government growth which has doubled the private sector's growth.  We are NOT planning to solve the deficit on the backs of Louisiana middle-income families and small businesses.

 

The House has proposed and enacted a better way of dealing with this year’s deficit, which will also help solve the ‘fiscal cliff’ and will help prevent future mid-year deficits. It starts by enacting a standstill budget. The concept behind this standstill budget is simple: 1) we shouldn’t spend more than we expect to receive and 2) government agencies are going to have to learn how to live with the same amount of money that they received last year.  Each time the legislature has spent 100% of the state’s expected revenue forecast, the forecast have been wrong requiring mid-year cuts to agencies which have little time (eliminate: amongst a handful of months) to absorb the cuts and plan their year-end budgets.  As a result, higher education and healthcare are forced to bear the brunt of those cuts.

 

This year, we decided to end the bad habit of over-appropriating and only budget spending at 97.5% of our expected revenue.  The concept is simple, don't spend "invisible money" that you are unlikely to ever receive. This is exactly what your family and our local businesses do when they suffer a budget crunch — halt the spending and budget less money. This is fiscally prudent budgeting.

 

Along with the standstill budget, the House fully funded TOPS.  TOPS is an important program promised to high-achieving students and we are honoring our commitment to fully fund TOPS.  Years ago the TOPS program afforded me the opportunity to attain a college degree. I want to ensure that our state's best and brightest have that same great opportunity.

 

So, the next time you read an article saying the legislature is doing nothing to solve the deficit, remember they are right in one aspect. When it comes to raising your taxes, some of us plan on doing nothing. When it comes to enacting reforms that will prevent government from out-of-control spending growth, we are fighting for you.

 

Blake Miguez

State Representative District 49

Rep. Blake Miguez Calls Out "Honor Code" on Oil and Gas Lawsuits

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Blake Miguez, state representative from Iberia and Vermilion Parishes, took to Facebook today to chide the Edwards' administration on legacy lawsuits. Miguez, speaking as a small business owner in the oil and gas industry, states how these suits will affect businesses within the industry.

 “This is a message to the Governor directly. We don’t need the lawyers suing them and closing their businesses. If you drive from our small oil and gas Company in New Iberia, and you drive to this facility here in Broussard, look at the billboard signs. 80% of those are trial attorneys; the other 20 percent is the casino. Where are small businesses’ signs? Where are oil and gas signs that say ‘I’m hiring’? They don’t exist because they can barely afford to pay the receptionists to answer the phone.,”  said state representative and small business owner Blake Miguez.

Read more here

Posted on May 19, 2017 and filed under Oil and Gas, Louisiana.

LANDRY: U.S. Senate Should Pass the FACT Act to Help Protect Americans

Photo source: Louisiana Record

Photo source: Louisiana Record

It is no secret that frivolous litigation filings have skyrocketed in recent years. As more and more personal injury lawyers seek to use and abuse our legal system, Americans have grown tired of paying the costs and have begun calling for reform. Fortunately, Congress is listening.


In March, the U.S. House of Representatives passed reform legislation that included the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act of 2017 (FACT Act), which will help reduce fraud that effectively steals compensation from people who are or will become sick from asbestos exposure. This reform legislation is desperately needed and I hope the U.S. Senate will act on it soon. It is estimated 60 different bankruptcy trusts collectively paid out more than $17 billion since 2008 in compensation funds previously set-aside for veterans and others exposed to asbestos. But the long-term financial viability of these trust funds is being threatened.

In many instances, the same plaintiffs’ attorneys who profit from these trusts are responsible for managing them, in essence allowing the fox to guard the hen house. Furthermore, a lack of coordination between the trusts and the tort system provides for the unseemly practice of “double dipping” — whereby some attorneys file conflicting claims about their clients’ asbestos exposure and collect multiple awards from different trusts and companies for a single asbestos-related injury.

The FACT Act will bring sorely needed transparency to this process and help protect veterans and others sickened by asbestos by requiring trust funds to disclose information on claims made to the trusts while taking measures to protect claimants’ personal information. By weeding out bad actors that are abusing the current system, the FACT Act will preserve existing funds and ensure all deserving future claimants receive the maximum relief for their illnesses and injuries.

To be sure, this bill does not prevent asbestos claimants from receiving payouts from multiple sources. Indeed, there may be some instances where veterans or industrial workers were exposed to several different asbestos containing products throughout their years of service. The bill simply requires disclosure of that information to the courts so that judges and juries can consider it when compensating asbestos claimants. That’s why the majority of Louisiana’s House Delegation—including Majority Whip. Steve Scalise (R-Jefferson), Rep. Clay Higgins (R-Port Barre), Rep. Mike Johnson (R-Benton), Rep. Ralph Abraham (R–Mangham), and Rep. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) — voted in favor of the FACT Act and should be applauded.

The U.S. Senate is expected to consider the FACT Act in the coming weeks. I urge U.S. Senators John Kennedy (R-LA) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) to support these commonsense reforms as well.

Melissa Landry is executive director of Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch (LLAW), a grassroots legal watchdog dedicated to improving the state’s legal climate. Learn more at www.LLAW.org.

Posted on May 19, 2017 and filed under Louisiana.