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Putting Solutions for Ohio First in the 114th Congress

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Washington, December 29, 2016 | Olivia Hnat | comments
Tiberi Accomplishments of the 114th Congress
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As Rep. Pat Tiberi often says, “Ohioans don’t need rhetoric. They need action.” From day one of the 114th Congress, Tiberi worked to fight gridlock and get things done on behalf of Ohioans and their families by focusing on real solutions and positive results. Before the new Congress begins on January 3, here is a look back at his work and notable achievements from the past two years.

Promoting Patient-Centered & Affordable Health Care: As the Chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, Tiberi has led the charge on solutions to increase choices, reduce costs and put patients at the center of our health care system. In 2016, Tiberi traveled across Ohio where he visited and toured hospitals to learn more about the challenges they face and the innovative solutions they are utilizing to meet the health care needs in their communities. 

Three of Tiberi’s priorities to improve patient care and provide regulatory relief to hospitals were included in bipartisan legislation called the 21st Century Cures Act, which was signed into law on December 13, 2016:

  • The Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act (HIP-C): HIP-C helps medical providers, including many hospitals and cancer centers in Ohio, better treat patients in their communities. HIP-C contains several member priorities and bipartisan solutions to strengthen Medicare, increase care in rural areas and allow hospitals to develop outpatient facilities.
  • The Sustaining Healthcare Integrity and Fair Treatment Act (SHIFT Act): The SHIFT Act provides Long-Term Care Hospitals with essential regulatory relief to care for the sickest patients and closes a loophole that makes the Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP programs vulnerable to fraud, waste and abuse.
  • Provisions of the Medicare Home Infusion Site of Care Act: The final ‘Cures’ package included a provision introduced by Tiberi to allow Medicare coverage of certain infusion drugs in a patient’s home. This allows sick patients to access care that they need in the comfort of their home.

In January 2015, Tiberi introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to stop predatory business practices and protect seniors and those with disabilities who rely on durable medical equipment, prosthetic and orthotic devices, and similar supplies. This solution, H.R. 284, requires Medicare to implement binding bids in the competitive bidding process for durable medical equipment which increases fairness and transparency, ensures better access to equipment like wheelchairs and oxygen, and ultimately improves health outcomes. H.R. 284 was included in H.R. 2, and it was signed into law on April 16, 2015.

As Chairman of the Health Subcommittee, Rep. Tiberi was also a leading voice in protecting small practice and rural physicians as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) considered new rules for the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA).

  • In September 2016, Rep. Tiberi joined a bipartisan letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell urging the administration to provide flexibility to small practices in MACRA so doctors and other providers can deliver the quality care patients deserve.
  • In October 2016, CMS announced the final rule for MACRA, which included simplified requirements, flexibility and exceptions for small practices, physicians and providers. 

Supporting Free Trade & Protecting Jobs: As Chairman of the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee in 2015, Rep. Tiberi helped write and usher through Congress key trade laws that enhance Congressional oversight over agreements and ensure the administration has the tools it needs to protect jobs and level the playing field for American-made products. This year, Tiberi also joined Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown in providing two testimonies before the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) to stop foreign competitors like China from cheating and undercutting Ohio workers.

  • The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act strengthens U.S. trade laws by ensuring Customs and Border Protection officials have the tools they need to enforce our laws in a timely and transparent way. It levels the playing field for American manufacturers and holds accountable foreign competitors who try to circumvent the rules. Tiberi introduced key provisions of this bill in H.R. 1907. They were included in the final passage of H.R. 644, which became law on February 24, 2016.
  • Tiberi was a leader in the effort to pass the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act, which allows Ohio manufacturers to reduce costs and compete in a global marketplace. This legislation eliminates needless taxes that drive up the costs of American-made goods and services. It was signed into law on May 20, 2016.
  • On May 26, 2016, Tiberi advocated for Ohio steelworkers and urged the USITC to use the new rules and authority that Congress gave them to enforce fair trade practices. Following his testimony, the USITC unanimously determined that imports of corrosion-resistant steel from China, India, Italy, South Korea and Taiwan are causing injury to United States steel producers.
  • On December 7, 2016, Tiberi submitted testimony to the USITC on behalf of Ohio Whirlpool workers and manufacturers to ensure the administration is strictly enforcing U.S. trade laws to stop China from illegally importing washers into the United States.
  • This year Tiberi was named a champion of the steel industry and profiled in the American Iron and Steel Institute’s #SteelBriefs.
  • Tiberi was also named legislator of the year by the Ohio Soybean Association in recognition for his leadership on trade agreements that support Ohio farmers and agriculture. 

Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act: In December 2015, the PATH Act was signed into law to give permanent tax relief so more Americans can plan for the future and save more of their hard-earned dollars. Several provisions championed by Tiberi were included in this package to provide more certainty in our tax code for individuals, small businesses and communities:

  • Permanent extension of increased Section 179 expensing: This allows small businesses to expense up to $500,000 in investments in equipment, property and computer software. Small businesses can now invest more so they can grow their businesses, hire more workers and grow the economy.
  • Five year extension of Bonus Depreciation: This allows employers to deduct 50 percent of equipment and other investments, with that amount phasing down over five years. It also lifts restrictions to allow for more corporate Alternative Minimum Tax credits to be used toward capital investment. This provision gives businesses the opportunity to increase investment, create more jobs, and increase productivity and economic growth.
  • Five year extension of the New Markets Tax Credit: This provides investors with a credit against federal income taxes for investments made in the most distressed areas of the country. It spurs private investment and capital to communities who need it most and helps incent both construction and permanent job creation.
  • Permanent extension of the Active Financing Exception: This allows companies to better compete in the global marketplace by making permanent the subpart F exception for active finance income. It helps maintain a level playing field with foreign competitors by applying to financial services companies the same U.S. tax rules that apply to other companies’ active income.
  • Streamline and Update Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs): This increases flexibility and removes redundant and unnecessary restrictions on REIT activities. REITs provide a transparent way for Americans to access the income and diversification benefits of investment in commercial real estate.
  • Permanent extension of the 9% credit floor for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit: This removes uncertainty in the tax code and boosts availability of affordable housing. 
  • Church Plan Clarification Act: This clarifies the application of certain tax and retirement laws and regulations to the unique structure of church pension plans. It corrects unintended inequalities and ensures church pension plan participants have the same retirement security as their private sector counterparts.
  • Charitable Remainder Trust termination clarification: This gives charities earlier access to funds in charitable remainder trusts by clarifying the tax consequences of early terminations of these trusts, encouraging the transfer of funds in such trusts to charities. 

Combating Ohio’s Opioid Epidemic: In Ohio, the fastest growing health care crisis is the heroin and opioid epidemic. This year, with Tiberi’s support, Congress passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery (CARA) Act. CARA, which is now law, authorizes additional resources for communities and states to respond to the opioid crisis, boosts education efforts and community-based prevention, and expands resources and tools law enforcement officials need to save more lives.

  • Before passage of CARA, Tiberi hosted a roundtable discussion with local advocates, students and parents in his Worthington office to learn more about the opioid crisis and to discuss needed solutions to help those struggling with addiction.
  • Joining forces with Senator Rob Portman, Tiberi also introduced new legislation called the STOP Act which aims to stop dangerous synthetic drugs, like fentanyl, from being shipped across our borders to drug traffickers in the United States. The STOP Act garnered strong bipartisan support in the 114th Congress and Tiberi plans to reintroduce this critical legislation in the 115th Congress to keep drugs out of Ohio communities.

Reining in the Federal Government: Rep. Tiberi also led several initiatives to shrink the size and scope of the federal government and return decision-making power back to states, local communities and small businesses.

  • In several letters to the administration, Tiberi urged the Treasury department to withdraw or significantly alter their “385 regulations,” which would have a profound and detrimental effect on business operations, reduce overall investment and hinder economic activity, especially in Ohio.
  • Tiberi supported multiple initiatives to stop the Environmental Protection Agency’s disastrous regulations that would hurt coal plants, farmers and job creators in Ohio.
  • As Vice Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, Tiberi invited two Ohioans to testify before the committee in July of 2016 to share their experiences as business owners and entrepreneurs. The hearing, focused on jobs and entrepreneurship, highlighted solutions needed to knock down government-imposed mandates and regulations that are holding back economic growth in Ohio and across the country.