Keeping our promise of secure retirement to American workers – while maintaining our nation’s fiscal health – is one of our greatest policy challenges. With more baby boomers becoming eligible for Social Security and Medicare every day, Americans living longer, and our population skewing older, it is crucial that Congress not only protect the vital social programs on which our seniors currently rely and worked a lifetime to earn, but also support forward-thinking policies that will help future generations have the secure retirement they also deserve. As Chairman of the House Budget Committee, Congressman Yarmuth is working to invest in programs that reflect the needs and priorities of American families and serves as a leading voice against Republican efforts to end Medicare as we know it, and privatize, undermine, and cut Social Security.
Chairman Yarmuth has immense gratitude for the men and women of our armed services, and he believes strongly that our nation should be as committed to our heroes in uniform as they are to our safety and security. He understands the great sacrifices that these men and women and their families make for the United States, and he is dedicated to honoring their service by ensuring that they have the benefits and resources they need to build a strong, healthy, and successful future upon returning home.
Chairman Yarmuth has helped secure funding for enhanced veterans' health care and the construction of a new, state-of-the-art VA Hospital in Louisville to deliver quality care to our local veterans. He was a strong supporter of the post 9/11 G.I. Bill, which has significantly expanded educational benefits for returning veterans, and he has cosponsored legislation to offer additional resources to veterans who pursue academic opportunities after their service. He also believes that we must take additional steps to improve care and support for our women veterans, and he has cosponsored efforts to provide more equitable treatment and engagement for minority and LGBTQ veterans. Chairman Yarmuth will work with his colleagues to ensure that our veterans receive all of the benefits and care they were promised and sacrificed to earned.
Believing every American should have access to high-quality, affordable healthcare, Chairman Yarmuth remains a tireless advocate for reform across all sectors of the healthcare industry and a vocal proponent for a Medicare for All system. Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law more than a decade ago, Americans have seen improved health outcomes, greater financial peace-of-mind, higher quality coverage, and a dramatic decrease in the growth rate of insurance premiums and overall health care costs. In the face of Republican efforts to dismantle the ACA, Chairman Yarmuth has worked with colleagues to strengthen, and expand important provisions, including those that protect Americans with pre-existing conditions and eliminate health disparities. While the landmark ACA has vastly increased access to health care, Congress can, and must, do more to prevent surprise billing, lower the cost of prescription drugs, and address workforce shortages.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought to the forefront these and other faults in our health care system, and with devastating consequences. Since the onset, Chairman Yarmuth has helped to ensure frontline workers have the personal protective equipment they need to remain safe in the battle against COVID-19, fund Community Health Centers and other facilities and programs that serve our most vulnerable populations, and address systemic racial and economic disparities in our health care system. Unfortunately, from what we know of this virus, the threat is far from over and will require leaders like Chairman Yarmuth who are willing to implement a coordinated response that includes support for testing and contact tracing, and ensures safe, affordable treatments and a vaccine for all Americans when they become available.
Education and Workforce
Since he first arrived in Washington, Chairman Yarmuth has tirelessly fought to develop economic opportunities so that all Louisville families have the chance to achieve the American Dream.
Louisville has undergone massive economic development during the past decade, and Chairman Yarmuth has seen firsthand how these changes require dynamic leadership to move us forward. He championed federal incentives that revitalized manufacturing in Louisville – and he continues to fight for increased investments in infrastructure, cutting edge research and technology, and resources to promote small business growth. The Chairman knows that worker rights and the ability to collectively bargain are key components of creating a fair and vibrant economy. And Chairman Yarmuth believes that now, more than ever, the government must have an active role in taking on income inequality. That is why he cosponsored legislation to gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. He also believes that expanding access to affordable higher education opportunities is imperative for our younger generations’ growth and financial security. He supports a restoration of year-round Pell Grants, providing free community college to students with moderate or low family incomes, and measures allowing students to more easily refinance their federal student loans. Chairman Yarmuth has led efforts to increase federal investments in adult education and literacy programs to better educate and prepare individuals for working success. He also supports increased funding for job training, so that we can help ensure our workforce is the most skilled and able in the world.
Chairman Yarmuth believes that we have an obligation to protect our environment for current and future generations. As the consequences of global climate change becomes more and more alarmingly, it is important to recognize the particular urgency we must take in reforming our systems of energy production. In order to avert a global crisis, we must implement comprehensive change and support the mobilization efforts necessary to accomplish this task. Chairman Yarmuth supports legislation that makes historic investments in new energy-efficient technologies, works to reduce emissions, and promotes our nation's energy independence.
Protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink is a top priority for Chairman Yarmuth. He is a vocal advocate for ending the practice of mountaintop removal mining, which jeopardizes the health and well-being of families in the surrounding communities. He introduced the Appalachian Community Health Emergency Act, which would require the government to perform the first federal study of public health impacts of mountaintop removal mining and stop the practice completely unless it can be proven to be safe.
While a national conversation to improve policing in America has certainly begun, it is increasingly clear that the change we need is not happening fast enough. We must immediately begin the difficult work of eliminating excessive, deadly force and improving the racial attitudes of both law enforcement and the communities they police. It is long past time for our nation to acknowledge, through word and action, that Black Lives Matter.
It is also necessary that we address our nation's gun violence epidemic. Chairman Yarmuth supports legislation to keep military-style weapons off the streets, close loopholes that allow people to buy guns illegally, and require universal background checks for all gun purchases. He will continue this fight in Congress until our communities are safe from the scourge of gun violence.