Rep. Buck Op Ed - Governing Means Supporting AHCA

Originally published on The Hill website 3/29/2017

I supported the American Health Care Act last Friday because it was the right vote. I didn’t begin as a big fan, but I ended up satisfied that America needed this bill to start a process to repair our healthcare system. 

Yes, I’m a conservative. I pal around with those liberty-loving Freedom Caucus guys. I get better grades on conservative scorecards than I ever received in college. And frankly, if you asked the Speaker, I think he’d tell you I’m a bit of a right-wing rabble-rouser

I supported the AHCA, and will continue to support it, because a yes vote is the principled, conservative position.

The repeal of ObamaCare stands as one of Republicans’ greatest, most enduring promises to the nation, the fulfillment of which matters to our livelihood and our country’s future. As ObamaCare continues its death spiral, families across the nation face unaffordable premiums and deductibles and severely limited healthcare choices.

Since 2010, individual premiums have gone up 27 percent and deductibles have soared. Every day, my office fields calls from families who can’t afford to pay their $12,000 deductible, effectively making them uninsured. Meanwhile, several counties in my district only have one remaining insurer in the ObamaCare marketplace. 

Our mandate, our duty to the people, is to improve upon the current mess. And the American Health Care Act is an improvement, one that came with three parts.

The first part, a promising reform of the Medicaid program, should be cheered by all Republicans. The bill’s per capita allotment would force spending restraint and reform within the Medicaid system.

The next part was the actual repeal of ObamaCare, those strangling regulations of the insurance market that only help some of the people they’re supposed to help — another policy win for the conservative cause.

The final part of the AHCA was a replacement for ObamaCare, and it’s with this third part that Republicans disagreed.

I’ll be clear: I criticized the process we followed to arrive at this bill. We went too fast. We held hearings, but they were not recent and failed to create a consensus in this country. We left out important provisions.

But ultimately, this bill was worth supporting.

The president has been good to conservatives. In fact, much of his first several weeks in office have been a boon for the conservative cause: from a strong set of Cabinet picks to a rock star Supreme Court pick to a set of executive orders and regulatory repeals that undo the most dangerous parts of President Obama’s pen-and-phone legacy.

Moreover, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has been good to conservatives. He negotiated in good faith and offered real, conservative changes to the bill. We won provisions that allowed states to impose a work requirement for Medicaid and choose optional block grant funding for the program. We added a roll-back of mandated essential health benefits.

The president has earned our support. Our party leaders deserve our faith. The AHCA vote in the House would have been the first part of a three-pronged approach to repeal and replace ObamaCare, the first stop on a long journey towards a better, more conservative healthcare system. I trust President Trump to orchestrate a conservative final outcome.

In fact, we have to trust the president and party leaders, because the law requires a meandering path through Senate rules and administrative action before we can arrive at a better system.

To pass the requirements of budget reconciliation, our ideal healthcare plan had to be uncomfortably packaged into a specific kind of bill so that it only included provisions that impact the budget and not some of the key provisions needed to set up a true alternative insurance market structure. The missing provisions were already in the works in both the legislative and executive branches.  

Republicans need to remember that pragmatism and principle are not opposed. Instead, pragmatism is an instrument used in pursuit of principle. By shooting down step one in the repeal and replacement of ObamaCare, we failed to achieve the principle: saving the American people from the hell that is ObamaCare.

In fact, our entire agenda of principled conservative policy relies heavily on healthcare action. Without a successful repeal of ObamaCare, tax reform will be that much harder to achieve.

(“Great op-ed from Rep. Ken Buck. Looks like some in the Freedom Caucus are helping me end Obamacare,” Trump tweeted Thursday.) The Denver Channel reported tweet March 31.

Click here to read TheDenverChannel Article

Rep. Ken Buck introduces Political Appointee Burrowing Prevention Act

Rep. Ken Buck joined Reps. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., Pete Sessions, R-Texas, and Jared Polis, D-Colo., in introducing the Political Appointee Burrowing Prevention Act.  The act would establish a two-year prohibition on certain non-career political appointees accepting career positions in the federal civil service.

"A political appointment is a privilege that carries with it the responsibility of serving your country. Part of serving your country means stepping down at the end of your term of service, and this bill simply enforces that expectation," Buck said. "Without this bill as a safeguard, political appointees can embed across our bureaucracy, carrying on the agenda of their appointing president long after voters have chosen a new direction."

Click here to read Greeley Tribune article 

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Gorsuch has the thoughtfulness and experience to be a great Supreme Court Justice

Representative Ken Buck published this Op-Ed in support of Neil Gorsuch nomination to the Supreme Court.

As published in The Hill:

Coloradans make good farmers. They make good mountaineers. They make good businesspeople and teachers and inventors. But Coloradans also make good judges.
That’s why I’m writing today about my colleague and friend, Judge Neil Gorsuch. Call me a little biased toward my state, but I believe the values that make Judge Gorsuch a Coloradan are the values that make him a great judge and will allow him to excel on the Supreme Court.
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing the Judge in my time as a prosecutor. I could talk about his legal brilliance and his witty prose. I could rattle off his educational pedigree—Columbia, Harvard, Oxford—or list his clerkships—Justice White, Justice Kennedy, Judge Sentelle—but these credentials don’t make a justice. Instead, I’d like to talk about his thoughtfulness and his principles.
Judge Gorsuch lives in rural America. He raises animals in the barn on his property. He hikes, and fishes, and skis. He lives in appreciation of the humility and beauty of nature, of family, of hard work. Judge Gorsuch knows the life of a hard-working American because he lives that life. And now he’ll take that experience and those values with him to the Supreme Court.
When I spent more time with Judge Gorsuch as a colleague and friend, the thoughtfulness born of this hard-working American life became apparent. He cares deeply about the law, and he cares deeply about the people it affects. His overwhelming drive is to apply the law justly and according to its original intent, for the sake of the people—his children, his friends and neighbors, the plaintiffs and defendants in his courtroom, everyone. 
We really couldn’t ask for more from the highest court in our land.
The Constitution, after all, is a document for the protection and advancement of the American people. It enables us to write laws and create opportunities for ourselves, while still restraining government and others from overreaching and harming us.
To guard this document is to guard its people. And to remain true to the laws passed by Congress is to guard their wishes.
This is where his principles come in. He’s not on the bench to advance an ideology or a policy or personal agenda. He’s on the bench to maintain the constitutional structure of government and enact the expressed will of the people, even if he disagrees personally with the policies on the books. His now famous quote speaks to this: “A judge who likes every result he reaches is very likely a bad judge.”
To thoughtfully appraise each case according to the text and original intent of the law, Judge Gorsuch doesn’t hew to one ideology or side with one philosophy or group. A review of his opinions shows that he has ruled against groups that one might expect him to support and for groups that one might expect him to oppose.
Perhaps his present commitment to judging the law and not creating it from the bench comes from his balanced judicial upbringing. After all, he clerked for the late Justice Byron White, appointed to the court by Democrat President John F. Kennedy.
My job as a Member of Congress, more than legislating or speech-giving or hearing-holding, is to protect the Constitution. This is also the chief job of a justice. Judge Gorsuch, based on my personal interactions with him and his rich judicial history, fully understands this imperative.
He is truly worthy of the seat held by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Both are justices for the law. Both are justices for the people. One was, and one soon will be, a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
I encourage my Senate colleagues to confirm Judge Gorsuch with all haste.

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Buck votes to protect the unborn

Rep. Ken Buck, voted Tuesday to permanently prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortion.

Buck voted for H.R. 7, permanently codifying the Hyde Amendment which prohibits federal dollars from paying for abortions.  The bill also ensures that federal subsidies will no longer be used for Affordable Care Act plans that cover abortions.  

“No taxpayer should be forced, against their moral or religious conscience, to fund an abortion,” Buck said. “Americans and Congress have prohibited federal funding of abortion for decades, and this bill simply makes that prohibition permanent.”

Click here to read more in Greeley Tribune article

Rep. Buck offers support for Colorado's rural economic initiatives


Rep. Ken Buck works tirelessly to garner support for economic development in the 4th Congressional District.  Recently, Buck sent a letter to Gov. Hickenlooper offering his support and assistance for the governor's proposed state office that would focus on bringing broadband to all of Colorado by 2020.  The governor's proposal includes hiring a rural economic development director.

“When I travel through the rural parts of my district, I see communities that are ready for economic growth,” Buck said. “But government must create the right environment for this growth, and I’m eager to work with the Governor to create policies that allow rural Colorado to flourish.”

Click here to read Rep. Buck's letter to Governor Hickenlooper and Greeley Tribune article

Buck introduces WATER Act

Rep. Buck introduced H.R. 519, known as the WATER Act (Water and Agriculture Tax Reform Act) of 2017, on Friday.  The legislation will make it easier for water companies to retain their nonprofit status even if they receive more than 15 percent of their revenue from nonmember sources. Revenues raised under the act must be used for maintenance operations and infrastructure improvements.  

“Farmers and ranchers around the 4th Congressional District support this legislation because they need affordable water,” Buck said in the release. “We worked hard on this legislation last year and I’m hopeful that this year we’ll see it pass the House and Senate and signed into law.”


Click here to read Greeley Tribune article

Click here to read Kiowa County Press article




Buck votes to reestablish authority of the legislative branch

Rep. Ken Buck voted to pass the REINS Act (Regulations from Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act). The legislation will return oversight and governance to Congress regarding major regulations that have an economic impact of $100 million or more.  In the past eight years, the executive branch has encroached on the authority of Congress by establishing new rules and regulations through administrative agencies or executive order.  Our nation's founders deliberately provided more power to the legislative branch believing that this branch was closest to the people. 

Buck stated, “No major rule should become law until the people’s representatives in the legislative branch have had a say, and that’s what the REINS Act does.”
Read more by clicking on link Pueblo Chieftain
Read more by clicking on link Greeley Tribune


Obama must keep his hands off western lands in his final days

First printed in the Washington Examiner.

President Theodore Roosevelt knew something about the western United States. "We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received," he once said, "and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune."
The United States' natural heritage belongs to its people. They must care for it and use it fruitfully in pursuit of a better world.
But President Obama, using the Antiquities Act, has cordoned off more than 550 million acres of land and water from productive use, declaring a total of 29 monuments during his time as president. Every acre of locked-up land and water comes at the expense of those living in the local communities, people who use the land responsibly to make a living.
The Antiquities Act was meant to protect the treasure of our natural heritage while allowing us to wisely use the resources with which God has blessed us.
Unfortunately, the president chose to charge forward with these declarations assuming Congress has no interest in the stewardship of our lands and waters.
This is simply untrue. Congress has a long history of balancing conservation with resource use and development.
Americans, especially the Coloradans who I represent in the Fourth Congressional District, recognize that the best stewards of land are the people who live on them and use them every day.
But the president and his team now use the Antiquities Act to instead place bureaucrats in control of millions of acres of our heartland and seas.
Their actions fly in the face of the actual intent of the Antiquities Act. Roosevelt designated the first national monument under the legislation in 1906 when he set aside Devils Tower in Wyoming. The original intent of the Antiquities Act was to stop the destruction of natural resources and to set aside, "historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest … in the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of objects."
In setting aside 550 million acres over the course of eight years, Obama's use of the Antiquities Act hardly complies with the "smallest area compatible" requirement of the 1906 law.
His designations are enormously expensive. Local economies lose out on valuable natural resources. Aside from the added personnel costs, our government owes payments in lieu of taxes to compensate local governments for the tax revenue they would gain through the productive use of their lands, if those lands weren't restricted by the federal government.
Even worse, many of his designations went against the wishes of the officials elected to represent those regions of the country. In Utah, county leaders, state legislators, Gov. Gary Herbert and the entire congressional delegation opposed the recent monument designation. They tried to make the voices of their constituents heard, but Obama ignored their pleadings.
Shamefully, Obama is considering even more designations in his final days in office. Under a 110-year-old law, our country's natural resource policies are being dictated to us. That's not how democracy works, though. If Obama wants to violate the letter and spirit of the Antiquities Act, he needs to ask Congress first. Congress' response would be an emphatic, "No."
I'm hopeful the 115th Congress and President-elect Trump will work to improve the Antiquities Act and rein in presidential overreach through congressional action.
Already in this first week of the 115th Congress, the new Republican majority has made empowering local communities a priority. The House streamlined the process for members of Congress to return federal lands to state and local governments, giving Americans control of what happens in their backyards. For a state like Colorado, where 36 percent of our land is owned by the federal government, we could stand to return at least some portion back to the residents of the state.
Everyone in Washington should remember the words of Roosevelt, the president who originally signed the Antiquities Act: "The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased; and not impaired in value."
Rather than setting our country off-limits to our children, let's wisely steward our lands and resources, and teach them the same.
Congressman Ken Buck represents the Fourth District of Colorado in the United States House of Representatives.


Buck Votes to Keep Office of Congressional Ethics

From the Denver Post:

The majority of Colorado’s Republican congressional delegation opposed a move to neuter an independent ethics office in a closed-door vote Monday.
House Republicans voted 119-74 to revamp and rename the Office of Congressional Ethics in a move that drew loud objections from Democratic lawmakers and even a complaint from President-elect Donald Trump, who expressed concern about the timing of the vote.
U.S. Reps. Ken Buck, Mike Coffman and Doug Lamborn all voted against the measure in the private House GOP meeting, according to their congressional offices. U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, has not yet disclosed how he voted.
The outcry about the move to place the ethics office under the control of lawmakers forced Republicans to backtrack Tuesday, voting unanimously in an emergency meeting to reverse course.
Before the about-face, Colorado’s Republicans made their initial dissent clear as their offices were receiving a large volume of calls about the issue...
...Buck expressed a desire for changes if made in public.
“We do need reforms to strengthen the integrity of the ethics process, but those reforms should be made in a transparent way by passing a bill on the House floor,” he said in a statement.

You can read more here: Denver Post Editorial Opinion January 3, 2017


Buck Appointed to House Rules Committee

Representative Ken Buck will serve on the influential House Rules Committee.

House Speaker Paul Ryan appointed Buck to the committee on Tuesday.  The committee determines when and how bills are considered on the House floor as well as standing rules for the House.  

“I’m honored for the opportunity from Speaker Paul Ryan and Chairman Pete Sessions to join the House Rules Committee,” said Buck in the release. “The House has an important role to play in returning our nation to the right path, and I’m eager to get to work.”

Buck will continue to serve on the House Judiciary Committee.

Click here to read Greeley Tribune Article

Click here to read Boulder Daily Camera Article

Ken Buck Optimistic About Trump Transition

Colorado's Congressional Delegation recently commented on their views of the Trump transition and their hopes for the 115th Congress.  Ken Buck and others attended a meeting updating congress regarding the transition process by Vice President elect Pence.  Buck is optimistic about working with Trump.

"This is a man who will solve problems and is action-oriented," Rep. Buck said.  "I think that's exactly what we need in this country."

Click here to watch video KJCT8 (ABC) Grand Junction

Ken Buck and Other Officials Celebrate Funding for Flood-damaged Roads

Representative Ken Buck along with Senator Cory Gardner, Senator Michael Bennet and Representative Jared Polis hosted a press conference Wednesday, December 14 at Sylvan Dale Ranch west of Loveland to celebrate the continued federal funding for repairing and rebuilding U.S. Highway 34 and other flood-damaged infrastructure in Colorado.  

Last week, Congress approved $1 billion in new disaster relief funding for repairing and rebuilding  roads and infrastructure caused by natural disasters nationwide.  In a bipartisan effort, the two Colorado republicans (Buck and Gardner) and two democrats (Bennett and Polis) worked together to garner $252 million for the Colorado Department of Transportation for flood-damaged road projects, including approximately $186 million to finish repairs to U.S. Hwy. 34.

 "I think it's great, (U.S.) 34 is a vital part of northern Colorado's economy and I'm glad that the federal government is going to help rebuild that." said Buck.  "I had a neighbor who has a helicopter and took me up in his helicopter and I witnessed the damage from the sky and I was just amazed at the devastation that the flood created...I think it's a necessary use of the funds and I think it will benefit northern Colorado tremendously."

The first phase to repair U.S. Hwy. 34 is underway and is scheduled to be completed in May 2017. Three other phases will be completed as quickly as possible thereafter.  This will be a great benefit to residents and businesses in the area.  

"It's really a sense of pride to be here and to know that we are building something that will last a long time," said Buck.

Read more by clicking on the following links:

The Greeley Tribune

Loveland Reporter Herald

Estes Park Trail Gazette



U.S. Rep. Ken Buck joins Second Amendment Caucus

From The Greeley Tribune:

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., announced Friday that he joined the newly launched Second Amendment Caucus.
The caucus serves as a community for members of Congress who strongly value the right to bear arms, according to a news release from Buck. They seek to prevent executive overreach that would curtail second amendment rights and to enable law-abiding citizens to possess and carry firearms.
“As a former prosecutor and a Coloradan, I’m eager to work with my fellow caucus members to uphold our constitutional rights and empower law-abiding citizens to protect themselves,” Buck said in a news release.
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., led the effort to relaunch the caucus. Buck joined him and several other founding members, including Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., Ted Yoho, R-Fla., Brian Babin, R-Texas, Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., Mark Meadows, R-N.C., Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., Justin Amash, R-Mich., Jody Hice, R-Ga., Dave Brat, R-Va., Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, James Comer, R-Ky., and Scott Perry, R-Pa.

Rep. Ken Buck Votes for Water Infrastructure Improvements

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday, December 8th to pass the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WRDA).  

Congressman Ken Buck joined 234 other House members in a yes vote to pass WRDA.  The legislation is expected to benefit farmers in the 4th Congressional District by funding maintenance and improvements of inland waterways and ports.

"We must invest wisely and frugally in America's infrastructure, which is why I voted for the WRDA Act," Buck said.  "Growing a bushel of Colorado corn doesn't do anyone much good if you can't get that corn to the right market."

Click here to read more details from The Greeley Tribune


Buck backs bill to strengthen military

From Brush News-Tribune:

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Windsor, has voted to support Senate Bill 2943, by Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, providing $619 billion for national defense, including the largest pay raise for active-duty military in six years.

The bill, named the National Defense Authorization Act, passed the House by a 375-34 vote and had previously passed the Senate.

“If we’re going to maintain peace in this world, then we must have a strong military,” Buck said in an emailed statement. “This NDAA takes care of our troops while equipping them to adequately defend our nation.”

The NDAA provides for a 2.1 percent pay raise for active-duty military, ends the military drawdown, increases ground and aviation training, provides for operation and maintenance support, replenishes depleted munitions inventories and provides for advanced funding for submarines and amphibious ships.

Additionally, the NDAA provides resources to deter Russian aggression in Europe and enhance U.S. access in the Pacific and fully funds Israel’s missile defense needs.

The bill prevents women from being required to register with the Selective Service, and to study the future use of Selective Service.

Active-duty and retired military health care is addressed.

The bill makes no changes to out-of-pocket health care costs, provides for two TRICARE plans, eliminates referrals for urgent care and addresses care at Military Treatment Facilities. Housing allowances will be unchanged by the NDAA.

The NDAA also makes significant reforms to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, including expansion of the statute of limitations for child abuse offenses and fraudulent enlistment.

The National Security Council’s staffing is capped at 200 through the NDAA, and continues the prohibition on the transfer of Guantanamo Bay Detention Center detainees to the United States.




From the Greeley Tribune

The House Republican Conference on Tuesday announced the new rules for the next session of Congress, which includes a rule from Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., prioritizing the Article I authority of Congress.
Buck’s rule ensures the House of Representatives spends time considering legislation to reassert the Article I authority of the legislative branch. 
Between excessive rule-making and executive orders, the executive branch has overstepped its constitutional authority to simply execute the laws made by Congress, stated a news release from Buck.
“Republicans promised to roll back President (Barack) Obama’s oppressive regulatory regime,” Buck said. “This House rule allows Congress to reassert its rightful authority over the executive branch by repealing excessive regulations and overreaching executive orders.”
Staff reports

Buck Leads GOP Majority to Overturn Obama's Executive Overreach

Ken Buck plans to propose a bill to amend House rules to include a weekly "single item" calendar in order to provide time to address single subject bills.  The designated time each week will pave the way for the GOP majority to systematically address and work to overturn some of President Obama's most controversial executive orders and regulations.

"We've had eight years of executive overreach, and I think Congress needs to focus on Article I power," he told the Washington Examiner.
"Not only are we going to be dealing with executive orders, we are going to be dealing with agency regulations and specifically prohibit some of the rules that have gone through the administrative procedures process [but are not yet law] and rescind them," he said.

Buck has been outspoken regarding the Environmental Protection Agency's Waters of the U.S. rule expanding the definition of waters protected under the Clean Water Act.  He is also taking aim at overturning the Labor Department's overtime rule effective December 1 and an April 2017 fiduciary rule requiring financial advisors to only provide advice that is in their client's best interest.  

Click on link to read article from the Washington Examiner


Ken Buck Re-elected to 4th Congressional District

Ken Buck will be returning to Washington for his second term representing the 4th Congressional District. Buck soundly defeated his two opponents by garnering nearly 64% of the votes.  

"I'm honored that the people of the 4th Congressional District have decided to send my back to D.C.  It's a great job," Buck said.

Congressman Buck's priorities include dealing with the health care system, finding solutions to the immigration issues and overturning many of Obama's executive orders and administration's overreaching regulations.

Click on link to read more from the Windsor Now






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Denver Post says Buck "deserves re-election" to 4th Congressional District

From the Denver Post Editorial Board:

Ken Buck first won the right to represent the sprawling 4th CD, which includes Greeley and the Eastern Plains, in 2014. The former district attorney from Weld County has deep roots in the area... 
We appreciated his level-headedness in voting against the recently passed Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or JASTA, which subjects American officials, military members and intelligence agents to lawsuits and shrugs off the longtime and useful principle of sovereign immunity...
We ask voters in the 2nd, 4th, 5th and 7th congressional districts to send Polis, Buck, Lamborn and Perlmutter back to Washington.

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