JONES LEADS EFFORT TO OPPOSE NOAA BEAUFORT LAB CLOSURE

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) is leading the effort to oppose the Department of Commerce’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget request to close the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) marine lab in Beaufort, North Carolina.  The lab is the sole government research center between New Jersey and Miami studying Atlantic fish populations and is uniquely situated at the intersection of the ranges of northern and southern fish species.  This location has allowed the lab to contribute valuable research on an abundance of issues, including sustainable fisheries; conservation of sea turtles, dolphins, seagrass estuaries, and offshore reefs; algal blooms; invasive species; and changes in climate and sea levels.  Furthermore, marine science provides a $58 million boost to the local economy, with the Beaufort lab specifically employing over 100 people. 

 

NOAA has indicated that the closure was proposed because the lab “requires infrastructure repairs and improvements exceeding agency budget resources now and for the foreseeable future.”  However, the agency has not provided any evidence to support this claim and has in fact acted to the contrary by investing $14 million in facilities upgrades in recent years.  

 

Congressman Jones was joined by Congressman Mike McIntyre (NC-7) in penning a letter detailing each of these facts to House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science Chairman Frank Wolf and Ranking Member Chaka Fattah, requesting that language forbidding the closure of the lab be included in the Fiscal Year 2015 Legislative Branch Appropriations Act.  

 

“The Beaufort lab is an important provider of scientific research affecting not just the state of North Carolina but the entire East Coast,” said Congressman Jones.  “I will continue to strongly oppose the closure of this invaluable resource – especially at a time when NOAA has provided no evidence in support of their claim that they lack the funding to maintain the lab and the United States continues to spend billions of dollars to improve the infrastructure of nations overseas while neglecting projects here at home.”

 

“The closure of this essential lab would remove over 100 jobs from Eastern North Carolina, and deprive our state of a critical tool for coastal management, research, and data collection,” said Congressman McIntyre.  “This research lab has been a valuable state and federal resource since 1902, and it is imperative that we do all we can to maintain and improve this facility.” 

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JONES BLASTS OBAMA ON OPEN BORDERS POLICY

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) issued the following statement in response to a new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) document revealing that 68,000 illegal immigrants with criminal convictions were released instead of deported in 2013, with most of the releases coming as a result of the Obama administration’s “prosecutorial discretion” policies.  Furthermore, the report stated that 870,000 illegal immigrants who have been ordered removed remain unlawfully in the United States. 

 

“By refusing to enforce our country’s immigration laws, the Obama administration is compromising the safety of law-abiding American citizens,” said Congressman Jones.  “Furthermore, allowing illegal immigrants to remain and work in the United States costs American jobs and decreases American wages.  Complacency in enforcement only rewards the individuals who have cheated the system and encourages others to do the same.  The president of our country should be committed to defending the public safety and economic security of the American people – and that means enforcing our immigration laws.”   

 

More information regarding the DHS document can be found here.

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JONES VOTES FOR REPEAL OF MEDICARE’S SGR AND ROLLBACK OF OBAMACARE MANDATE

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) voted in favor of a bill that would repeal Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, which requires disastrous cuts to Medicare provider compensation.  Since 2003, Congress has prevented the cuts from going into effect by approving short-term patches.  The most recent patch will expire on March 31 of this year, causing a 24 percent decrease in reimbursement for Medicare providers and thus making it unaffordable for many of them to continue seeing Medicare patients.  H.R. 4015, the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014, would repeal the SGR and replace it with a permanent physician payment plan.  The bill offsets the cost of the SGR repeal by implementing a five-year delay for Obamacare’s individual mandate.  

“Repealing the SGR provides much-needed security for physicians and patients alike,” said Congressman Jones.  “With the changes included in this bill, our seniors can rest assured that they will be able to continue receiving the care they need from their doctors and providers.  Furthermore, all Americans will enjoy a five-year reprieve from Obamacare’s unconstitutional and unaffordable individual mandate.”    

H.R. 4015 passed the House of Representatives with a bipartisan vote of 238 to 181.

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JONES HONORED FOR LEADERSHIP IN HEALTHCARE INNOVATION

WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 26, 2014, Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) was honored as a “Champion of Healthcare Innovation” by the Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC), a coalition of leaders of healthcare companies and organizations from across the nation.  The HLC presents the award annually to lawmakers who display a commitment to patient-centered medical progress.   

“I am honored to receive the Champion of Healthcare Innovation award from the HLC,” said Congressman Jones.  “As Congress addresses the problems facing our healthcare system today, including new issues that have arisen under Obamacare, I will continue to support solutions that put patients first.”   

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JONES STATEMENT ON SUPREME COURT HEARING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM CHALLENGE TO OBAMACARE

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) issued the following statement regarding the Supreme Court hearing oral arguments today in the case Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. The case challenges the mandate in the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, that requires businesses to provide health insurance that covers abortion-inducing drugs and devices – even if those medications and devices violate the business owner’s religious beliefs.    

“Forcing an individual to provide employees with health coverage that violates their religious convictions is clearly unlawful under the First Amendment,” said Congressman Jones.  “It is my hope that the Supreme Court will recognize that Obamacare violates not only current law passed by Congress but also one of our nation’s founding principles – the right to religious freedom.”

In January, Congressman Jones joined a bipartisan coalition of 71 House members and 15 senators in filing an amicus curiae brief in the case, arguing that Congress has a long history of defending against attacks on religious freedom, with the most notable example being the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA).  Hobby Lobby and its owners should be protected from Obamacare’s infringing on their First Amendment rights by the RFRA, which states that the government “shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion.”

Congressman Jones voted against Obamacare each time it was considered in the House, and he has cosponsored every bill aimed at repealing all or part of the law.

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