Blog

Pro-life and Compassionate:
Posted by on January 30, 2015

By Congresswoman Renee Ellmers

As a mother, a wife, and a devout Catholic, protecting life is a mission that is very near and dear to my heart. Having served as a nurse for over 21 years, I have witnessed firsthand how fragile and delicate our lives are, and as a mother, I know how special and wonderful a new little life is. It is my ultimate hope that we strengthen the pro-life community and that we do so through the embodiment of compassion— we need to personify compassion and use it to empower women who find themselves in the midst of a heart-wrenching crisis. 

Recently, a bill was scheduled to reach the House floor called the Pain Capable bill, which would – and rightfully so– ban all abortions after a 20-week gestation period. Research has shown a baby can feel pain in the womb from the 20th week until live birth. As any member of Congress should do when apprehensive with language in a bill, my colleagues and I took our concerns to leadership, and we held a discussion within the family of our Republican Conference. I remain disappointed that the concern for the language of mandatory reporting of rape to law enforcement held by House Republican women and many men were not addressed before our leadership made the decision to pull the bill from the House floor in the eleventh hour. Additionally, I am appalled by the abhorrent and childish behaviors from some of the leaders of the outside groups.

In the meantime, we will continue working to address our concerns with the bill’s mandatory provision that requires a victim of rape to report to law enforcement, and our goal remains the same: bring this pro-life legislation to the House floor in its best possible form so that we can stand up for the unborn.

While we must continue to provide a voice for the voiceless, we must also show compassion to women when they are in the midst of a crisis, especially victims of rape —and it is my belief that the mandatory police reporting provision relating to rape within the bill would have hindered our ability to do that. When a heinous act leads to an unbelievably difficult decision for a woman, it is my hope and my prayer the woman chooses life, as it is truly a gift from God. We need to empower women with courage to face this crisis and provide them with the knowledge that there are other support systems ready and available to show an outpouring of love and a flood of compassion.

The God I serve has reinforced the need for compassion from one human to another in all circumstances— and I believe compassion is the only way to change hearts. It’s unimaginable to me why some outside parties would seek to target strong, pro-life conservative women and men who are serving in Congress. We all believe in a Higher Power. We all believe we've been blessed and that we have an obligation to do what is right for our country and the future of our children. I am proud to work with all of you in this mission as we continue to promote and protect God's greatest gift - the gift of life. May God bless you, your families, and continue to bless our great nation.

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Helping Women and Families
Posted by on May 8, 2014

Helping Women and Families
By Congresswoman Renee Ellmers
Chairwoman, Republican Women's Policy Committee
The Speaker's Blog
Thursday, May 8, 2014

Today marks one year since the House passed the Working Families Flexibility Act, which makes it easier for workers to use their overtime towards paid time-off if that is their choice. This is especially helpful for working women, who often confront a lack of flexibility.

Unfortunately, the Democratic-run Senate is sitting on this and dozens of good jobs bills, many of which are geared towards helping women and their families. Our proposals recognize that throughout time, women have proven themselves to be pioneers, innovators, leaders, and decision-makers. We have become experts at juggling multiple responsibilities, and as such, the proportion of women entering the workforce full-time has jumped substantially.

In addition to providing more flexibility, here are four more solutions Republicans are working on to keep that trend moving in the right direction:

Protecting Hours and Wages. According to a recent Hoover Institution study, 2.6 million Americans are at risk for having their hours and wages cut as a direct result of ObamaCare’s 30-hour rule. An astounding 63 percent of those at risk of being hurt by this are women. That’s why the House passed a measure that restores the 40-hour work week so that you can obtain the hours and wages you need to make ends meet.

Lowering Health Care Costs. In addition to our duty within the workforce, many of us are mothers and caretakers, making approximately 80 percent of all healthcare decisions for our loved ones. While ObamaCare has done nothing but complicate our healthcare system, Republicans have instead focused on providing solutions to reduce costs, protect jobs, and allow families to retain their preferred doctors and pediatricians.

Lowering Energy Bills. Nielsen reports that more women than men are worried about rising food costs, “possibly because women have traditionally been primary shoppers for food and grocery items in most households.” Policies coming out of Washington that make it harder to produce American energy serve as a “hidden tax increase” on everyday expenses. That’s why Republicans are working on an all-of-the-above energy plan that will help lower costs and keep prices stable.

Supporting Small Businesses. The economic impact of women-owned businesses in the United States is now nearly $3 trillion. The National Women’s Business Council says that this translates to the creation or maintenance of 23 million jobs, but we know that two-thirds of small businesses will see their premiums spike under ObamaCare. To overcome this and encourage women entrepreneurs, Republicans are focused on reining in red tape and fixing the tax code to support our small businesses.

Women nationwide are contributing to this country’s economic success and competitive edge, and Republicans are working to ensure to we have the tools we need to thrive. Instead of stalling, Democrats in Washington should join us, so that one year from now, we’re talking about progress, not more missed opportunities.

NOTE: This is the ninth part in an in-depth series on Republicans’ long-term jobs plan.

Mrs. Ellmers is serving her second term as U.S. Congresswoman representing North Carolina's second district in the House of Representatives. She currently serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is Chairwoman of the Republican Women's Policy Committee.

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Protecting Medicare Advantage
Posted by on March 26, 2014

Protecting Medicare Advantage
By Congresswoman Renee Ellmers
The State of Healthcare 2014 - The Washington Times
March 26, 2014

Medicare Advantage is under siege. For the past three years, the Obama administration has carried out an orchestrated attack on the funding for Medicare Advantage and the cost-saving mechanisms that have allowed it to provide important care for our seniors. They are doing this in order to divert funding for the aptly-named Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) - a law which has already forced millions of Americans off their health plans and caused premiums to skyrocket.

This is no secret. Back when this terrible law was rushed through the Democrat-led Congress in 2009, the law mandated that there be a way to pay for it. After increasing taxes to unprecedented levels, there was still the need to find additional funding for the law that everyone knew would raise premiums, cost jobs and destroy the doctor-patient relationship. The Obama administration needed more money and they found it in Medicare Advantage - to the tune of $200 billion - and now they are looking for even more.

In February, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a new rule to cut Medicare Advantage funding in 2015 by at least 5.9 percent after gutting the program by 6.7 percent last year. As a result, our seniors are currently facing higher out-of-pocket-costs, limited access to providers, and reduced benefits. Because of these harmful cuts, 2013 saw an unprecedented exodus of Medicare Advantage plans from the market - the first market exit in nearly five years.

Through Medicare Advantage, medical professionals deliver higher quality care using tools that enhance patient-provider communications. This has reduced hospitalizations by over 20 percent and decreased individual patient health care costs by thousands of dollars each year. The heightened collaboration among participants also allows providers to identify treatment gaps and deliver much-needed follow-up care to beneficiaries, leading to a reduction of emergency room visits by 20 to 30 percent.

This program was designed to foster competition and use free-market mechanisms to drive down costs and provide greater options. It helps providers coordinate care for patients through innovative programs that manage complex chronic conditions, promote wellness and prevention, and deliver other benefits beyond those available under fee-for-service Medicare. Yet the cuts proposed by CMS will cripple our seniors' ability to make ends meet.

According to a recent report by Oliver Wyman, the 2015 cuts could lead to benefit reductions and premium increases of $35 to $75 per member per month, including plan exits from local markets. This means that many beneficiaries could lose access to Medicare Advantage plans. Nationwide, that number comes to 15 million. In my home state of North Carolina alone, nearly half-a-million seniors could see their plans cut due to this misguided and dangerous policy. Moreover, the 2015 cuts would also have a disproportionate effect on beneficiaries with low incomes, including the 41 percent of Medicare Advantage enrollees with annual incomes below $20,000.

This is completely unacceptable. That's why this month I sent a letter to CMS that was co-signed by eighteen of my colleagues on the House GOP Doctors' Caucus - calling on the Obama administration to account for this unnecessary intrusion. Because of CMS, our seniors will see a dramatic change in the program's funding this year, which includes the $200 billion that is scheduled to be removed over the next ten years to pay for Obamacare.

This fight will continue until our government realizes that we have a responsibility to maintain and support the promises we have made to our citizens. As a proud supporter of Medicare Advantage, I believe it is our duty to protect it for the sake of American seniors. Robbing our seniors of the benefits they earned to pay for a takeover of our health care system betrays that promise, and I for one will do everything I can to stop it.

-- Mrs. Ellmers is serving her second term as U.S. Congresswoman representing North Carolina's second district in the House of Representatives. She currently serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is Chairman of the Republican Women's Policy Committee.
 

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Advancing the Role of GOP Women
Posted by on March 1, 2014

Advancing the Role of GOP Women
By Congresswoman Renee Ellmers
The NFRW Round Table - National Federation of Republican Women
February - March 2014

For nearly a century, conservative women have changed history and become an important voice in our democratic republic. We have made enormous progress, and that is due to your willingness to be the voice of our party and the principles we hold dear. As we embark on the next chapter of our journey, the work you have done is more important than ever. Now is the time to take action and reclaim our nation’s future.

As we approach the beginning of National Women’s History Month, I hope women everywhere take a few moments to reflect on the contributions and struggles we have endured over the past 100 years. While the 21st century brought about many advancements, we continue to be underrepresented in positions of leadership—even as we represent the majority of the population.

As conservative women, and members of the NFRW, we must work to change this. As one of only 19 Republican women in the U.S. House, I see firsthand how our underrepresentation impacts future opportunities. As women, we know what it means to manage the household budgets, to fight for our children’s education, and to seek out the best healthcare for our loved ones. Women are leaders, we are decision- makers, and we are pivotal to our party’s success in future elections. But even more important is our ability to take action and speak out. Your involvement and support of the NFRW is crucial to making these changes real, and now is the time for action.

While studies show that female interest in politics has increased, their movement into the political realm remains stagnant. This is unacceptable and cannot continue. In an effort to make waves and unite the women of our party in Congress, Mary Bono Mack formed the Republican Women’s Policy Committee in 2012. This committee is composed of all 19 House Republican women, and marks the first time an entity has been organized for the sole purpose of influencing, advancing, and communicating the Republican agenda from a woman’s perspective.

As chairwoman of the Republican Women’s Policy Committee, I hold the view that the Republican Party needs to innovate and boldly reach out if we are to create meaningful reforms. Our goal is to expand the presence of female Republican members and highlight our roles, skills, and expertise as we tackle pertinent issues that affect the American people. Perhaps most importantly, this committee provides a much-needed platform to raise the profiles of our Republican congresswomen and enable them to speak as one voice.

As Republican women, we must continue to demonstrate that conservative principles—like fiscal responsibility, individual liberty, and a strong defense—are values worth pursuing. I am grateful for your passion, interest, and continued support of our party, and through the NFRW’s efforts, we are well on our way to expanding opportunities to all women through sound, conservative principles.

--ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mrs. Ellmers is serving her second term as U.S. Congresswoman representing North Carolina’s second district. She serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is chair of the Republican Women’s Policy Committee.

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Ellmers Statement on Budget and Veterans
Posted by on February 3, 2014

Our national debt is out of control – currently around 18 trillion dollars and growing by the second.  Allowing our debt to continue growing at an unchecked pace is something we simply cannot afford.    

The country has been on a dangerous spending spree. We have been operating without a budget and funded through a continuing resolution, which allowed the White House to direct and control spending.

After 5 years of having the White House dictate our spending, it was time for Congress to take control of the purse strings again. When I was finally presented with the opportunity to vote for a budget and fulfill my Constitutional duty as a member of congress, I voted in favor of it.

The budget we passed restores the constitutional ability of Congress—not the White House—to control spending. We now have a budget that funds the government for two years, and therefore have the opportunity to restore economic certaintyto our country.

Two years ago, sequester cuts were implemented due to our failure to agree on mandatory spending.  This new budget replaces harmful sequestration cuts, which have caused a great deal of pain to our state—including the furlough of hard working civilians supporting our military. While I disagree with the decrease in our veterans’ cost of living adjustment detailed in the budget deal negotiated by Congressman Ryan and Senator Murray, the alternative would have hurt the military and our veterans even more. 

The budget we passed last month addresses some of the proposed cuts that were included in the original deal. It ensures that medically retired and disabled veterans receive their full COLA adjustment and specifically allots funds to address the backlog of VA disability claims. Our veterans who have bravely served our nation should not bear the brunt of budget cuts.

To address some of the other areas of concern in the budget, I became a cosponsor of H.R. 3789, a bipartisan piece of legislation introduced by Veterans' Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller. This measure reverses cuts to COLA for:

·         veterans who are medically retired

·         veterans who are eligible for combat-related special compensation

·         veterans who are entitled to concurrent payment of retired pay and veterans' disability compensation

·         and military families utilizing the Survivor Benefit Plan

This legislation ensures that our military members receive the benefits they have earned. 

It is an incredible honor to serve one of the largest military bases in the country and represent over 70,000 veterans in the Second Congressional District.  I will continue the fight to make sure veterans receive the rights and benefits they have earned.

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Encouraging Women to Embrace the Technology Revolution
Posted by on January 27, 2014

Encouraging Women to Embrace the Technology Revolution
By Congresswoman Renee Ellmers
Citizen IBM
Monday, January 27, 2014

During my time back home in Raleigh, North Carolina, I was given the opportunity to tour IBM’s Research Triangle Park facility. During my visit, I sat down with a group of women at IBM for an insightful and eye-opening discussion our experiences in the workforce. The women I met are contributing to our country’s economic success and competitive edge through their education and raw talent, but they are only a small portion of the many brilliant women nationwide who are creating, innovating, and implementing changes in the technology sector. The women I met with are few and far from the number of women our nation needs in the increasingly important realm of technology.

While the proportion of women in the workplace has gone up – and the educational gap between women and men has decreased – a stark gender gap remains to be closed. This is particularly true in the technology sector. The technology industry continues to expand at a rapid pace, and has increased the demand for STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) and IT (Information Technology) jobs. Yet the entry of women into the technology field is happening at a much slower pace than that of their male counterparts.

America needs to support and encourage women who wish to embrace the technology revolution. We need to help young girls develop and recognize their passions for engineering in addition to creating and imagining. For while not every woman may want to become a computer science major, it is important to acknowledge that there are basic technical skills required in every leading industry, and the demands for them will only increase. Women are perfectly suited to take on the powerful positions that are emerging in growing technology fields, and as a society we must do more to encourage them in pursuing this path.

While there are many prominent women in technology today, our world needs more of these leaders. Today’s digital world should provide ample opportunities for success and growth to all – male or female. It is clear that our world needs more prominent women in technology, as they are demonstrating how women have become a significant force in business, innovation and entrepreneurship.

But the need for innovative women does not end in the technology sector. We see that need here in Congress more and more each day. I’m proud to serve as the Chairwoman of the Republican Women’s Policy Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. Our committee hosts 19 fantastic congresswomen from all over the country, yet our ranks are a small fraction of the total membership in Congress. We need to encourage women to seek their goals, and to demonstrate to them that they can do so while balancing business and family pursuits.

Sometimes, all it takes is an invitation to participate. And after visiting IBM, I would argue that our nation is well on its way.

--Renee Ellmers is serving her second term representing North Carolina’s second district in the U.S. House of Representatives. Mrs. Ellmers currently serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and is Chairman of the Republican Women’s Policy Committee.
 

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Americans Need Action on Jobs
Posted by on January 14, 2014

In June, President Obama visited North Carolina as part of his “Middle-Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour.” Tomorrow, he will return to the state to talk about jobs…again!

Americans need more than talk.  The jobs situation today remains dire. There are almost 2 million fewer jobs now than there were when the recession started.  

Even more disturbing is the current labor force participation rate – the number of people who have a job or are actively looking for work – which has dropped to 63%, the lowest since April 1978.

According to the most recent Labor Department report, 74,000 Americans found jobs in December, but nearly 347,000 left the labor force in same month. There are 91.27 million Americans currently not in the labor force, with 5.6 million between age 18 and 34 who can’t find a job, even though they want one.Sadly, too many of our friends and neighbors have given up hope and have stopped looking for jobs.

Americans need jobs and they need them now, but President Obama’s policies have made it more difficult for them to find them.  The president and the Senate have failed to act on dozens of House-passed jobs bills that would control spending, reduce health care costs, and make it easier for businesses to create jobs. Approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline alone would create over 20,000 American jobs.

It is time for the president and the Senate to stop stalling and act immediately to pass these jobs bills and get Americans back to work. Learn more about these bills at gop.gov/jobs. Track their progress and show your support for the bills by becoming a citizen cosponsor at speaker.gov/jobs.

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Americans Need Action on Jobs
Posted by on January 14, 2014

In June, President Obama visited North Carolina as part of his “Middle-Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour.” Tomorrow, he will return to the state to talk about jobs…again!

Americans need more than talk.  The jobs situation today remains dire. There are almost 2 million fewer jobs now than there were when the recession started.  

Even more disturbing is the current labor force participation rate – the number of people who have a job or are actively looking for work – which has dropped to 63%, the lowest since April 1978.

According to the most recent Labor Department report, 74,000 Americans found jobs in December, but nearly 347,000 left the labor force in same month. There are 91.27 million Americans currently notin the labor force, with 5.6 million between age 18 and 34 who can’t find a job, even though they want one.Sadly, too many of our friends and neighbors have given up hope and have stopped looking for jobs.

Americans need jobs and they need them now, but President Obama’s policies have made it more difficult for them to find them.  The president and the Senate have failed to act on dozens of House-passed jobs bills that would control spending, reduce health care costs, and make it easier for businesses to create jobs. Approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline alone would create over 20,000 American jobs.

 It is time for the president and the Senate to stop stalling and act immediately to pass these jobs bills and get Americans back to work. Learn more about these bills at gop.gov/jobs. Track their progress and show your support for the bills by becoming a citizen cosponsor at speaker.gov/jobs.

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Ellmers Statement on Government Shutdown
Posted by on October 1, 2013

Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-NC-02) released the following statement this morning after the US Senate refused to pass the House version of a continuing resolution to keep the government running last night:

"I hoped this day would never come, but unfortunately Senate Democrats and President Obama refused to come to the table to negotiate our differences and devise a solution as to how we can best perform our responsibilities as stewards of taxpayer dollars. I was elected to Congress to serve the people and stand up to the reckless spending that has strangled our economy and our potential - and in particular, the devastating impact that Obamacare will have on our nation. Here in the House, we passed numerous bills over the past weeks and months to avoid this shutdown. But absent any meaningful reforms or solutions, Democrats have remained intent on wasting money with no regard to our debt and obligations."

"As of midnight yesterday, my district offices will be closed until further notice in accordance with the Constitution and the Anti-Deficiency Act. My Washington office will remain open but have limited resources to provide public services. We will continue to keep constituents informed on the latest regarding this shutdown through my website at www.ellmers.house.gov"

Click here to view Congresswoman Ellmers' interview on CNN's New Day yesterday morning.

Click here to view Congresswoman Ellmers' interview on MSNBC yesterday morning.

Click here to view Congresswoman Ellmers' interview on Fox News last week.

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Ellmers Statement on Government Shutdown
Posted by on October 1, 2013

Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-NC-02) released the following statement this morning after the US Senate refused to pass the House version of a continuing resolution to keep the government running last night:

"I hoped this day would never come, but unfortunately Senate Democrats and President Obama refused to come to the table to negotiate our differences and devise a solution as to how we can best perform our responsibilities as stewards of taxpayer dollars. I was elected to Congress to serve the people and stand up to the reckless spending that has strangled our economy and our potential - and in particular, the devastating impact that Obamacare will have on our nation. Here in the House, we passed numerous bills over the past weeks and months to avoid this shutdown. But absent any meaningful reforms or solutions, Democrats have remained intent on wasting money with no regard to our debt and obligations."

"As of midnight yesterday, my district offices will be closed until further notice in accordance with the Constitution and the Anti-Deficiency Act. My Washington office will remain open but have limited resources to provide public services. We will continue to keep constituents informed on the latest regarding this shutdown through my website at www.ellmers.house.gov"

Click here to view Congresswoman Ellmers' interview on CNN's New Day yesterday morning.

Click here to view Congresswoman Ellmers' interview on MSNBC yesterday morning.

Click here to view Congresswoman Ellmers' interview on Fox News last week.

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