Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) and Speaker-designee Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) issued the following statement Friday on the failure of Congress to pass legislation repealing or replacing the Affordable Care Act.
“For the last several months, we watched the process unfold in Congress with disappointment and frustration. Washington is broken. Our exasperation is not with one party or the other, but rather with a federal system that is proving incapable of finding solutions to our national challenges.
“Obamacare is a collapsing system that is driving health care prices higher and leaving people with fewer choices. In Virginia, premiums are increasing by double-digits again and another major insurer is leaving the marketplace. It needs to be repealed and replaced. Our antiquated and stifling federal tax code needs be reformed, and hardworking, middle-class families and small businesses deserve a tax cut. Our national infrastructure is crumbling, and even though we’ve taken major steps to address the issue in Virginia, we need Washington to make the same kind of long-term commitment. Social Security and Medicare are both unsustainable, insolvent programs that need reform to ensure they last for future generations.
“These are national issues that require our federal leaders to step up and get things done. We are just as frustrated as the people we talk to and represent every single day. Anyone who stands up today and blames one party for this failure, and all of Washington’s failures for the last two decades, is part of the problem.
“Washington and Richmond are just 90 miles apart on the map, but we are worlds apart when it comes to governing. While Washington drowns in deficits and debt, anchored down by partisan gridlock, Virginia balances its budget and finds a way to get things done. We are not afraid to set priorities and make tough decisions. We do not shy away from tough votes – even those where there is disagreement within our party – and kick things down the road.
“We are part-time, citizen legislators who live and work in the communities we represent. We are friends, neighbors, church-goers, teachers, farmers, and small business owners. We learned that people do not expect you to agree with them 100 percent of the time, and they know sometimes their elected officials will make tough decisions they do not like. But they expect us all to govern – to show up, make a decision, and get something done. No matter what happens in Washington, and no matter which party is in charge, that is what we will continue to do in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”