Olson Joins Effort to Protect States Rights by Opposing HHS Family Planning Rule
Washington, DC – Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22) joined a bipartisan, bicameral letter, led by Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Congressman Diane Black (R-TN), to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell expressing opposition to the Department’s new proposed rule to amend regulations implementing the Title X Family Planning Program.
“States like Texas have every right to determine the best use of tax dollars where they will do the most good,” said Rep. Pete Olson. “Each state knows their individual needs better than Washington bureaucrats. HHS has no business trying to dictate how programs and the dollars made available for those programs should be spent. While people can disagree on abortion policy, the federal government has no business dictating which health care centers receive program funds; that decision belongs in the hands of the states administering the program. Rewriting rules to pre-determine how tax dollars are spent is an overreach that must be stopped.”
The letter questions HHS’ assertion that providers with a reproductive health focus are more “effective” than other health care providers which offer more comprehensive care for women and men. This dubious claim, if pushed through, would all but establish a nationwide mandate that these more narrow providers receive priority for the receipt of Title X sub-awards, at the expense of other entities like comprehensive primary care providers and community health centers.
In the letter to Secretary Burwell, the lawmakers stated, “If HHS cannot clearly define an ‘effective’ or ‘high quality’ provider, it is unclear to us how state and local project grantees are supposed to do so in order to comply with this proposed rule. It is also therefore unclear how HHS will be able to determine in every case whether state or local project recipients – who are generally closer to and more familiar with subrecipients and the patient base in their geographical region – have considered inappropriate criteria in evaluating subrecipients. Rarely do the American people benefit when the federal government attempts to substitute its judgment for that of state or local governments – particularly when the criteria used to inform that judgment are unclear, and that judgment is not supported by coherent and impartial facts.”
The letter was sent by Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Deb Fischer (R-NE), James Inhofe (R-OK), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Jim Risch (R-ID), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Tim Scott (R-SC), David Vitter (R-LA). In addition, Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Rick Allen (R-GA), Brian Babin (R-TX), Lou Barletta (R-PA), Andy Barr (R-KY), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Charles Boustany, Jr. (R-LA), Kevin Brady (R-TX), Michael Burgess (R-TX), Earl “Buddy” Carter (R-GA), Tom Cole (R-OK), Chris Collins (R-NY), Doug Collins (R-GA), Mike Conaway (R-TX), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), John Duncan, Jr. (R-TN), Stephen Fincher (R-TN), Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), John Fleming, (R-LA), Bill Flores (R-TX), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Tom Graves (R-GA), Glenn Grothman (R-WI), Andy Harris (R-MD), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Jody Hice (R-GA), Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), Bill Huizenga (R-MI), Randy Hultgren (R-IL), Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Sam Johnson (R-TX), Walter Jones (R-NC), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Trent Kelly (R-MS), Steve King (R-IA), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Robert E. Latta (R-OH), Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), Mia Love (R-UT), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Kenny Marchant (R-TX), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), John Moolenaar (R-MI), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Randy Neugebauer (R-TX), Steven Palazzo (R-MS), Gary Palmer (AL), Steve Pearce (R-NM), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Robert Pittenger (R-NC), Joe Pitts (R-PA), Ted Poe (R-TX), Bill Posey (R-FL), Tom Price (R-GA), John Ratcliffe (R-TX), Martha Roby (R-AL), Phil Roe (R-TN), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Peter Roskam (R-IL), Keith Rothfus (R-PA), David Rouzer (R-NC), Steve Scalise (R-LA), Austin Scott (R-GA), James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI), Pete Sessions (R-TX), John Shimkus (R-IL), Adrian Smith (R-NE), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Ann Wagner (R-MO), Tim Walberg (R-MI), Randy Weber (R-TX), Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Kevin Yoder (R-KS), and Ted Yoho (R-FL) signed the letter.
Media Contact: Melissa Kelly