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Congressman Young's Washington Report Dec 11, 2013


Washington Update | December 11, 2013
                              Congressman Don Young

Congressman Young Shares His Thoughts on the  Failures of Obamacare


Millions of Americans first experienced the disastrous launch of the Obamacare healthcare exchange more than two months ago. After numerous broken promises by the President and his Administration, politically motivated deadline extensions, and answerless committee hearings on the issue, it’s overwhelmingly clear that little progress has been made in alleviating the pains placed upon the American public by this law. Like many Alaskans, I am extremely troubled by Obamacare and the direction it is steering our country. What I’ve heard most from Alaskans is that this law needs to be delayed, repealed, and replaced as soon as possible; and I can assure you those are the steps I’m taking here in Congress.

The Obama Administration has already spent more than $600 million taxpayer dollars on their unsecured, untested, and unworkable Healthcare.gov website.  

Twice in as many months, Obamacare enrollment numbers have been released by the Administration that compound the other major failures of their “landmark” legislation. While the Administration says their second month Obamacare enrollment numbers have drastically improved, in reality they have fallen flat on their face in terms of reaching their initial two month enrollment goal of 800,000 people. The federal navigator responsible for assisting Alaskans through the enrollment process, Enroll Alaska, is also reporting less than 400 Alaskan enrollees at a time when initial estimates for the month of October were approximately 4,000 individuals.

After $677 million taxpayer dollars and 4 years of planning and preparation, the result are clear. The Administration is not equipped to run the infrastructure needed to sign up for their healthcare exchange, let alone manage the implementation of the entire law.

But this is about much more than a failed website, this is about a failure to listen to the American people. Many Alaskans have already shared with me their stories of how this law will negatively affect them and their families. Many others have expressed their extreme disappointment with the bold faced lies the President told in order to sell this law to the American people.

“If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it”: To date, thousands of Alaskans and millions of Americans have already received cancellation notices of their current policies because of Obamacare.  Right now, it looks like by the end of the year there will be more people with canceled healthcare plans than people who have enrolled in Obamacare.

“If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”: Just this week, one of the chief architects of Obamacare said in defense of the President’s promise that “if you want to pay more for an insurance company that covers your doctors, you can do that.” This is a far stretch from actually being able to keep the doctor you like.

I continue to engage my colleagues to find a better way forward in providing true healthcare reform. With over 40 votes to repeal Obamacare, my record has been clear on the issue; this law is causing more harm than good and the Alaskan people do not want it.

I will continue my efforts to relieve the hardship and pain inflicted upon Alaskans by this law. I have worked to make right one of the President’s many lies by cosponsoring H.R. 3350, the Keep Your Health Plan Act, which passed the House last month to give Americans the right to keep the healthcare plans they like. I appreciate your feedback and stories regarding this law and continue to works towards new solutions to curtailing the impact of this law on Alaskan business owners and families.

To read more about H.R. 3350, the Keep Your Health Plan Act, click here.


Congressman Young Moves Marine Debris Legislation Forward to Protect Alaskan Waters


This week, the House Natural Resources Committee unanimously sent two bills to the full House that would help coastal communities in Alaska and other affected areas with the cleanup of marine debris hitting our shores. As the people of Japan still recover from their earthquake and subsequent tsunami, the United States must brace for what could be years more of waste and debris. This legislation gives organizations and coastal communities the tools to continue the arduous cleanup process, while also improving the response capabilities for future events.

 My legislation would allow impacted states like Alaska – with more than 44,000 miles of coastline – to receive direct grants from funds donated by the Japanese government in the wake of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, in addition to streamlining the current grant process for marine disasters that are considered “severe” like the one were facing in the Pacific.  I’ve led a continued effort to bring awareness to the crisis in our oceans that is affecting Alaska’s fisherman and countless coastal communities. In addition to helping pass into law H.R. 1171, the Marine Debris Act Amendment of 2012, the passage of both H.R. 1491 and H.R. 1425 is the next step in funding additional marine debris cleanup in a timely manner.

A number of other serious concerns have been raised, not only for the nearly 5 million tons of debris that was swept out to sea following the tsunami. In recent months, many people have contacted my office to discuss the potential for radiation and contamination affecting our waters and marine species. I have been closely observing this issue and the agencies responsible for monitoring our oceans, air, and marine wildlife; and will continue to do so into the future.



Congressman Young Supports State Management of Federal Lands

I recently raised serious concerns over the unending failures of federal lands management agencies in Alaska during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing, while addressing legislation I introduced that would give states the ability to exercise management authority on select federal lands.

Congressman Young speaking on behalf of H.R. 3294, the State Run Federal Lands Act and the major failures of the National Park Service (Click Here to Watch)

In Alaska, and other states across the country, we have a proven record of success in managing public lands. For example, Alaska successfully manages millions of acres of state parks, forests, historic sites, a network of trails and public use cabins. This is why I introduced legislation to address the major failure by our federal land management agencies to effectively manage our public lands and provide State agencies an opportunity to do better.

This issue became even more apparent during the October government shutdown which led to millions of Americans being unnecessarily turned away from open-air monuments, vehicle pull-outs, and restricted from hunting opportunities, among other things by the National Parks Service and other Department of Interior agencies. The federal government’s idea of federal lands does not seem to be that these are lands intended for the public but in actuality private lands for use by the federal government, which is downright wrong.


Murkowski, Young seek looser restrictions on bird parts in Alaska Native art

Tlingit code talkers honored with Congressional Silver Medals

Federal lands

Congressional delegation asks for IHS forward funding

U.S. Customs agrees to allow Air North's Dawson to Fairbanks flights

Alaska's delegation slams Obama's ACA fix

Don Young & 22 in GOP Oppose TPP Fast Track

Compass: Food stamp cuts will hurt Alaska kids, seniors and disabled

Alaska's Don Young longest serving Republican in House




Congress Honors Tlingit Code Talkers, Forgotten Heroes of Both World Wars

Last Month, Congress honored the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska and 32 other tribes from across the country with our highest honor,the Congressional Gold Medal, for their critical service and unrecognized role as Code Talkers during both World Wars and the Korean War.

Tribal representatives from the 33 tribes were honored with the Congressional Gold Medal in a ceremony hosted in the U.S. Capitol.  Tlingit/Haida representative William “Ozzie” Sheakly is pictured furthest to the right 

In additional to the tribal organizations, five Alaskan Code Talkers of Tlingit decent were recognized for their extraordinary service to our nation. These men saved countless lives by communicating real-time spoken code at a time when all other methods had become compromised or otherwise took hours to decipher. At places like Iwo Jima and Normandy, these men forever changed history by relaying information on enemy positions, counter-intelligence, and directions to troops on the ground. I am forever thankful for the service of these brave men, and was honored to participate in the ceremony recognizing them.

Congressman Don Young met with Jeff David Jr., who accepted the Congressional Silver Medal on behalf of his father who served in WWII as a Code Talker, and William Thomas Jr.

To read more about the award, click here.

Congressman Don Young Receives High Honors for Vietnam War Memorial Legislation


Last month, Congressman Don Young was honored by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund for commonsense legislation he introduced and passed that will make possible the construction of a state-of-the-art visitor’s education center at the Vietnam Veterans Wall Memorial in Washington, D.C. 

Architectural design of the “Education Center at The Wall”

While humbled to receive this distinguished award, Congressman Young said he did not feel deserving, because his role in the Education Center was simple; he was doing his job and “making right one of our nation’s many wrongs.” The Education Center will work to educate millions of visitors each year to the Vietnam War Memorial at no cost to the taxpayer, and serve as a memorial for those returning from Afghanistan and Iraq until a proper memorial can be built to recognize their service.

Congressman Don Young accepting the Charles “Mac” Mathias Award from Former Governor and Former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania

To learn more about the Education Center, click here: http://www.vvmf.org/



Alaskans in DC

Congressman Don Young met with and thanked Alaskan vets for their service at the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. during their visit with the Last Frontier Honor Flight

Congressman Young in Alaska

Congressman Don Young joined Wrangell city officials including Mayor David Jack, Public Works director Carl Johnson, and Port Commissioner Greg Meissner during a recent visit


If you haven’t already, follow me on Twitter (@repdonyoung) and like my page on Facebook (RepDonYoung) to get updates from me on what’s happening in Washington that matters to you.

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