Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Huntingdon County Emergency Management Wins Cutting Edge Communications Equipment

Congressman Bill Shuster is pleased to announce that Huntingdon County Emergency Management has been selected to receive a lightweight, battery powered, man- portable communications system through the Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program (CEDAP).

The TAC-PAK Huntingdon County Emergency Management will receive can provide an emergency responder with the ability to establish a mobile Emergency Operations Center with the capability to provide Internet connectivity with up to 99 other first responder units. The TAC- PAK is designed to be a self-contained crisis center, complete with a satellite telephone, rugged laptop computer, and a wireless router. It can be deployed anywhere at anytime and is considerably smaller than a command van or bus.

This is great news for the people of Huntingdon,” Shuster said. “This communications system will allow first responders to establish immediate situational awareness in times of emergency which is critical to saving lives. I congratulate the Huntingdon Emergency Management Agency for their selection by Homeland Security.”

“We are grateful for this supportive award, as we would be unable to bridge this technology gap without assistance under the CEDAP program,” said Adam L. Miller, Director of Emergency Management. “We have many areas where topography and technical limitations currently make communications very difficult or impossible, and this technology will help us establish a critical link to life-saving information in the field.”

Friday, November 20, 2009

Shuster Cosponsors Legislation to End the Revolving Bailouts of the TARP Program

“TARP money has been used for its original purpose and the billions of dollars left over has become walking around money for the government, or worse, a political slush fund for the Obama Administration. It’s time to end the TARP program once and for all." -Congressman Bill Shuster

Congressman Bill Shuster has become an early cosponsor of legislation that would end the Troubled Asset Relief Program on December 31st of this year and deny any extension of the program by the Treasury Department, which still has that option unless Congress acts now.

“President Bush proposed the TARP program to help steady our banking system through a time of uncertainty and stress not seen in our economy since the Great Depression,” Shuster said. “The program was designed to be limited but like so many government programs it has begun to develop a life of its own. It is time for Congress to put TARP to rest once and for all.”

It is estimated that of the original $700 billion in the TARP account, close to $317 billion remains unobligated to financial institutions even though the banking crisis has passed. Additionally, questions have been raised over TARP payments to large banks like AIG that have gone beyond TARP’s original mandate. To end any future abuse of taxpayer money, Congressman Shuster believes the TARP program should be ended.

“The American people are tired of bailouts and seeing billions of dollars given to Wall Street banks even though the banking crisis is over,” Shuster said. “The American people want jobs and a robust economy, but that won’t happen quickly while we are burdened by a $12 trillion dollar debt.”

“The money left over in the TARP account shouldn’t be dumped into a political slush fund to pad the pockets of the friends of the Obama Administration or Wall Street executives; the money should be used to pay down our debt,” Shuster concluded.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Congressman Shuster on Speaker Pelosi's "Doc Fix"

“Doctors who treat Medicare patients must be reimbursed properly to avoid a breakdown in care,” Shuster said. “However, it’s time for the Democrats in Congress to realize that when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. Congress is digging America a budgetary hole and we can’t afford to be buried $210 billion deeper.”

Medicare reimbursement to doctors is scheduled to fall by 21.5 percent in January and by another 2 percent every year after that under a complex formula known as the sustainable growth rate. Speaker Pelosi’s “doc fix” legislation would address the falling reimbursement rates paid to doctors for treating Medicare patients by eliminating the sustainable growth rate. The cost for this “doc fix” is $210 billion, which will not be paid for by Congress and will add to our growing deficit. In addition, because the cost of the Democrats’ “doc fix” is not offset, that $210 billion could spiral into a $1.9 trillion increase in Medicare’s unfunded liabilities over a 75 year period.

“It would be dishonest and simply irresponsible for the government to pay doctors with borrowed money,” Shuster said. “The alternative Republican ‘doc fix’ I support and voted for today is the right way to uphold our commitment to doctors, the patients they treat and the American taxpayer by not adding one dime to the deficit.”

Senate Healthcare Plan Requires a "Monthly Abortion Fee"

Republican Leader John Boehner's blog points out that the current Senate healthcare bill proposed by Senate Majority Leader Reid contains language that calls for a national monthly premium fee for abortion for those taking part in a government healthcare plan.

Leader Boehner points out that in the Senate bill:

Beginning on line 7, p. 118, section 1303 under “Voluntary Choice of Coverage of Abortion Services” the Health and Human Services Secretary is given the authority to determine when abortion is allowed under the government-run health plan. Leader Reid’s plan also requires that at least one insurance plan offered in the Exchange covers abortions (line 13, p. 120).

What is even more alarming is that a monthly abortion premium will be charged of all enrollees in the government-run health plan. It’s right there beginning on line 11, page 122, section 1303, under “Actuarial Value of Optional Service Coverage.” The premium will be paid into a U.S. Treasury account – and these federal funds will be used to pay for the abortion services.

Section 1303(a)(2)(C) describes the process in which the Health Benefits Commissioner is to assess the monthly premiums that will be used to pay for elective abortions under the government-run health plan and for those who are given an affordability credit to purchase insurance coverage that includes abortion through the Exchange. The Commissioner must charge at a minimum $1 per enrollee per month.

This is alarming information that completely goes against the Stupak Amendment passed in the House by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote to deny federal funding for abortions in the House healthcare bill.

More to come on this soon...

Karl Rove in the WSJ: The Permanent Campaign Continues

Read it here:

"What we are seeing with the White House's timing in releasing its decision on KSM and other terrorists is a presidency clinging to campaign tactics that aim to dominate the 24-hour-news cycle. The problem is that ploys that work in a campaign don't work nearly as well when you're in charge of the executive branch. Once in office, you have to live with the consequences of a policy decision.

The debate now taking place over trying terrorists in civilian courts is showing this White House that it cannot escape the hard realities that come with making presidential decisions. Not even Friday afternoons can offer sanctuary from dangerous or ill-considered policy choices."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More Information on Recovery Board Chairman Can’t Certify Any Jobs Data

Adding to the brewing controversy over the Obama Administration’s inability to accurately report the jobs “saved or created” by the stimulus on its $18 million dollar website is this report from ABC News: “Recovery Board Chairman: We Can’t Certify Jobs Data at”

According to the ABC report, Earl Devaney, the chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, stated the following in response to a congressional inquiry on the reliability of stimulus related jobs data:”

“Your letter specifically asks if I am able to certify that the number of jobs reported as created/saved on is accurate and auditable. No, I am not able to make this certification.” ABC posted Devaney’s letter on its site.

As noted in a press release sent out earlier this morning, the site reports that $149,694,747 in stimulus money has been spent in the 9th district to ‘create or save’ 239 jobs at a cost of $626,337 per job.

In addition, also reports 21.5 jobs were ‘saved or created’ in Pennsylvania’s 23rd congressional district for $1,487,259. Seven jobs were saved for $6,729,345 in district 00 and zero jobs – that’s right – zero jobs saved in the 96th district for $1,960,179. All of these are districts that do not exist.

The inability of the Administration to certify its jobs figures, as well as the chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board’s lack of confidence in his own website should lead everyone to question whether the 239 jobs reportedly “saved or created” by the stimulus in Pennsylvania’s 9th district actually exist at all.

BREAKING NEWS: Pennsylvania Gains House Seats, Invisible Jobs ….According to the Brain Trust at

Click the image to enlarge the PA jobs report from

As news reports continue to break about the flawed job numbers coming out of President Obama’s stimulus website, Congressman Shuster (PA-09) thought it would be interesting to see for himself how the government’s $18 million website is reporting the number of jobs “created or saved” in Pennsylvania from the trillion dollar stimulus. What he found was surprising and simply defies common sense:

“With national unemployment at 10.2 percent and rising, the American people and many of my own constituents are wondering where the jobs are and I don’t blame them. It’s only right for the people who paid for the trillion dollar stimulus to see what they got for their money. I went to the website to find out and what I found was simply amazing.

According to, $149,694,747 in stimulus money has been spent in the 9th district to ‘create or save’ 239 jobs at a cost of $626,337 per job. But that’s not all. also reports 21.5 jobs were ‘saved or created’ in Pennsylvania’s 23rd congressional district for $1,487,259. Seven jobs were saved for $6,729,345 in district 00 and zero jobs – that’s right – zero jobs saved in the 96th district for $1,960,179. The problem is there are only 19 congressional districts in Pennsylvania.

How can we expect the administration to lead our economy into recovery when they take credit for spending $10,176,783 in congressional districts that don’t even exist?”

** At last count; there are only 19 congressional districts in Pennsylvania.

Note: According to ABC News, was recently given an $18 million dollar grant. The LA Times, $9.5 million has been spent on the most recent update of the site (errors and all), with $8.5 million on the way for additional “improvements.”

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Heritage Foundation: One-Fifth of U.S. Could be on Medicaid

The Heritage Foundation points out the following interesting information about the healthcare reform proposals now being pushed through Congress -
"The current health care proposals before Congress would make Medicaid available to all adults with incomes at or below 150 percent of the poverty line. That would increase Medicaid eligibility to 62.1 million, almost 21 percent of the entire U.S. population. Also, seven states and the District of Columbia would have eligibility rates of at least 25 percent."
See the map here.

Will House Leaders Now Focus on Job Creation?

House GOP Whip Eric Cantor reacts to Speaker Pelosi and President Obama's promise to focus on jobs:

Chairman Obey Slams Bad Stimulus Accounting

The Hill's Blog Briefing Room has a story on House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey calling on the President to immediately fix reporting errors on how many jobs have been "saved or created" through the stimulus. Chairman Obey is quoted in the story as saying:

“The inaccuracies on that have come to light are outrageous and the Administration owes itself, the Congress, and every American a commitment to work night and day to correct the ludicrous mistakes."

The Obama Administration recently deleted upwards of 60,000 jobs from its interim report on job creation tied to the stimulus due to bad accounting. In one instance, the White House reported that jobs were created in an Arizona Congressional District that doesn't even exist.

Where are those jobs being created again?

Apparently, some are being created in the land of make believe, according to ABC news:

"Here's a stimulus success story: In Arizona's 15th congressional district, 30 jobs have beensaved or created with just $761,420 in federal stimulus spending. At least that's what the Web site set up by the Obama administration to track the $787 billion stimulus says.

There's one problem, though: There is no 15th congressional district in Arizona; the state has only eight districts."

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Shuster Statement on Healthcare Vote

Shuster voted NO:

Congressman Bill Shuster released the following statement this evening after the House narrowly passed Speaker Pelosi’s plan for a government takeover of health care; legislation that will raise taxes, increase our national debt and put government bureaucrats between patients and their doctors:

“Tonight, House Democrats forced through sweeping healthcare legislation that will forever change the relationship between patients and their doctors and the American people and their government.

I am not alone in my strong opinions against this legislation. Tonight’s vote speaks for itself. 39 Democrats voted against Speaker Pelosi’s healthcare takeover in a show of bipartisan opposition.

At over 2,000 pages of red tape and mandates, Speaker Pelosi’s plan will impose a massive government takeover of one sixth of our economy. It will kill jobs, increase the deficit and drown future generations in stifling debt.

Most important, this healthcare reform plan will limit choice in health decisions by putting government in the way between you and your doctor. Over one hundred new boards, commissions and bureaucracies will be created to interfere in the care and treatments you receive. Americans not wishing to take part in the government plan could face financial penalties and even jail time.

The American people know that we need healthcare reform, and I agree with them, but this is not the way to do it. Limiting choice and giving government the power to control the health decisions of the American people will not improve care.”

Republican Leaders Speak out on Healthcare

Protests continue outside the Capitol against the government takeover of healthcare

Shuster Statement on the Groundbreaking of the National Flight 93 Memorial

Congressman Bill Shuster released the following statement commemorating the official groundbreaking of the National Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania:

“Today’s groundbreaking represents the culmination of years of hard work and commitment by so many in the Somerset community and beyond to see that the memory of the sacrifice of the passengers and crew of Flight 93 will never be forgotten.

Ground has been broken in Shanksville, but work still continues elsewhere to ensure that the permanent memorial to Flight 93 will be completed on time for the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. I will continue to work with the families of Flight 93, the Department of the Interior and my colleagues in Congress to provide the support necessary to see that this goal is met.

Let us never forget the patriotism and sacrifice shown by the passengers and crew of Flight 93 on that fateful day. Our nation will forever be in their debt.”

Shuster Op-ed on Healthcare Reform

The following op-ed has, or will run in your local 9th district newspapers - keep a look out:

After weeks of closed-door meetings, Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled her newest healthcare reform bill. The Pelosi plan clocks in at over 1,900 pages, which is 648 pages longer than Hillary-care and it costs $1.055 trillion dollars, or about $2 million per word.

The sheer size and scope of the Pelosi plan is so enormous that I could write an op-ed every day for a month pointing out what is bad in the bill. There is not time for this, so I want to highlight what I see as the four most egregious parts of Pelosi’s healthcare reform plan and what we can do about it.

1. Taxes: The Pelosi plan would impose $730 billion in new taxes on businesses that can’t afford to pay for their employee’s health coverage. According to President Obama’s own economic advisor, Christina Romer, these new taxes would put 5.5 million workers at serious risk of losing their jobs. Close to 32,500 small businesses in Pennsylvania would be at risk from this new healthcare surcharge.

2. Deficit Spending: The Pelosi plan contains $1.055 trillion in new federal spending over the next ten years. All of this spending will be used to take healthcare decisions out of the doctor’s office and centralize them in Washington, DC, requiring the creation of over 100 new federal panels, commissions and unelected civil servants who will be charged with making decisions on your care.

3. Senior’s Coverage: Earlier this year, President Obama pledged that “the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform.” Today, he and Nancy Pelosi are proposing $170 billion in cuts to Medicare Advantage. These cuts would force close to 38,000 enrollees in the 9th district out of Medicare Advantage and into regular Medicare.

4. Personal Freedom: The Pelosi plan will bring the nationalization of one sixth of our economy and the elimination of choice for a majority of Americans to extend coverage to a few.

Republicans have an alternative focused on simple principles that will lower the cost of quality healthcare for all Americans. Our plan would let families and businesses buy health insurance across state lines and pool together and buy health insurance at lower prices. We would give states the tools to create their own innovative reforms that lower health care costs. Finally our plan would end excessive and unnecessary tests doctors perform that contribute to higher health care costs to protect against junk lawsuits.

Real health care reform should foster a system where competition and patient choice drive quality care and success. I believe we can accomplish this and fix what is broken in our health care system without forcing another trillion-dollar government takeover on taxpayers.

Republican Whip Eric Cantor on Healthcare Reform

Facts on Women and the Cost of Healthcare Reform


  • 55% of women think that the CBO projection of $829 billion is an underestimation of how much will ultimately be spent on healthcare reform.
  • 46% of women believe it is impossible to spend $829 billion and save the deficit $81 billion.
  • A plurality of women said that $829 billion is too much to spend if spending on Medicare is cut by $500 billion.

Source: The Independent Women’s Forum (IWF)

Debate on the Healthcare Bill has Begun

Go over to C-Span to watch the debate on the Democrats' healthcare reform bill. Also, you can watch the debate at

PELOSI: Buy a $15,000 Policy or Go to Jail

From Ways and Means Republicans:

Yesterday Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee Dave Camp (R-MI) released a letter from the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) confirming that the failure to comply with the individual mandate to buy health insurance contained in the Pelosi health care bill (H.R. 3962, as amended) could land people in jail. The JCT letter makes clear that Americans who do not maintain “acceptable health insurance coverage” and who choose not to pay the bill’s new individual mandate tax (generally 2.5% of income), are subject to numerous civil and criminal penalties, including criminal fines of up to $250,000 and imprisonment of up to five years.

In response to the JCT letter, Camp said: “This is the ultimate example of the Democrats’ command-and-control style of governing – buy what we tell you or go to jail. It is outrageous and it should be stopped immediately.”

Key excerpts from the JCT letter appear below:

“H.R. 3962 provides that an individual (or a husband and wife in the case of a joint return) who does not, at any time during the taxable year, maintain acceptable health insurance coverage for himself or herself and each of his or her qualifying children is subject to an additional tax.” [page 1]

- - - - - - - - - -

“If the government determines that the taxpayer’s unpaid tax liability results from willful behavior, the following penalties could apply…” [page 2]

- - - - - - - - - -

“Criminal penalties

Prosecution is authorized under the Code for a variety of offenses. Depending on the level of the noncompliance, the following penalties could apply to an individual:

• Section 7203 – misdemeanor willful failure to pay is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year.

• Section 7201 – felony willful evasion is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment of up to five years.” [page 3]

When confronted with this same issue during its consideration of a similar individual mandate tax, the Senate Finance Committee worked on a bipartisan basis to include language in its bill that shielded Americans from civil and criminal penalties. The Pelosi bill, however, contains no similar language protecting American citizens from civil and criminal tax penalties that could include a $250,000 fine and five years in jail.

“The Senate Finance Committee had the good sense to eliminate the extreme penalty of incarceration. Speaker Pelosi’s decision to leave in the jail time provision is a threat to every family who cannot afford the $15,000 premium her plan creates. Fortunately, Republicans have an alternative that will lower health insurance costs without raising taxes or cutting Medicare,” said Camp.

According to the Congressional Budget Office the lowest cost family non-group plan under the Speaker’s bill would cost $15,000 in 2016.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Scenes from the healthcare debate and the "House Call" press conference

Shuster compares Speaker Pelosi's healthcare plan to the GOP alternative

Shuster statement on October job report

“Mr. President and Speaker Pelosi, the American people don’t want government-run healthcare, they want a job!” – Rep. Bill Shuster

Congressman Bill Shuster released the following statement after the Department of Labor released its October jobs report, which showed the national unemployment rate has increased to 10.2 percent, or 190,000 jobs lost last month. For yet another month, the economy continues to keep pace with the highest national unemployment rate since April 1983:
“Mr. President and Speaker Pelosi, the American people don’t want government-run healthcare, they want a job. American workers don’t want a massive energy tax, they want financial stability. Are you listening?

As we enter the holiday months, American families across the nation are coming to grips with new reports of rising unemployment and lackluster economic growth. President Obama’s estimate of jobs “saved or created” by the stimulus have been found to have been disastrously overestimated and Speaker Pelosi continues to actively ignore the economic warning signs ahead.

To make matters worse, the House is poised to vote this weekend on a trillion dollar healthcare plan that will severely impact small businesses and their employees by raising taxes and insurance premiums on those who can least afford them.

The people of the 9th district and their fellow Americans across this nation want to know why Congress is focused on Speaker Pelosi’s plan to take over healthcare and impose a major energy tax through cap and trade instead of focusing their attention on an economic plan that could create jobs. I saw this concern yesterday as thousands of regular Americans took to the Capitol to demand real action to halt the mismanaged government Speaker Pelosi is presiding over.

I continue to join my House Republican colleagues and a growing majority of the American people in standing for real solutions that will help create jobs, instill fiscal sanity in Washington and lower healthcare costs.”

What are the Democrats Doing to Stop the Job losses?


Today, the unemployment rate jumped to 10.2 percent, the highest level in 26 years. Rather than working with Republicans to fix the economy and create more jobs, Democrats have focused on a partisan agenda: massive spending increases, more government control, job-destroying taxes, and a government takeover of health care.

"Stimulus": In February, the Democrats passed the $1 trillion "stimulus" legislation, which Democrats promised would produce 3 to 4 million jobs-90 percent of which would be new private jobs-and keep unemployment below 8 percent. Since then, the country has lost nearly three million jobs and more than half of the "saved and created" jobs reported by the White House weregovernment jobs that already existed.

Democrat Budget: The Democrat budget contained over $1.5 trillion in crushing tax increases over the next 10 years. These huge tax hikes on families, small businesses, and workers will slow economic growth and cost jobs.

National Energy Tax: House Democrats passed a national energy tax as part of the "cap and tax" legislation, which would drive up the cost of energy and impose thousands of dollars in new taxes on every individual, family, and business in the country. According to one study, 2.3 to 2.7 million jobs would be lost per year for the next twenty years as a result of the energy tax.

Pelosi Health Care Bill: Speaker Pelosi's government takeover of health care would kill jobs by imposing $729.5 billion in higher taxes on a struggling economy, including $135 billion in taxes on businesses who cannot afford to finance their workers' health coverage and taxes on individuals without insurance. A model developed by chief Obama advisor Christina Romer indicates that as many as 5.5 million jobs could be lost from the bill's new taxes.

Republicans Seek to Create jobs

Stimulus: Republicans proposed an alternative job-creation plan to the Democrat's massive and ineffective "stimulus" bill. According to Romer's model, the Republican plan would have created 6.2 million jobs over the next two years-twice the forecast jobs, at half the cost of the Democrats' bill, over the next two years.

Energy: Republicans introduced the American Energy Act, an all-of-the-above solution that creates jobs, increases energy independence, and leads to a cleaner environment for our nation.

Health Care Reform: Republicans recently introduced an alternative health care reform measure that would lower the cost of health care for struggling families by up to 10 percent over the next ten years, without imposing crushing taxes on individuals or job creators.

Today's report further highlights the Democrats' failure to address the most important issue in the country. While the President and Congressional Democrats turn their backs on staggering levels of unemployment, Republicans will continue to offer solutions to create jobs and get Americans back to work.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Scenes from the "House Call" Press Conference

Here are some photos from today's "House Call" press conference at the Capitol against Speaker Pelosi's healthcare bill.

More photos and video to come:Shuster stands with his House Republican colleagues at the "House Call"

Actor John Voight speaks to the crowd:

Actor John Ratzenberger speaks to the crowd:

The crowd stretched down towards the Mall:

Shuster greets members of the crowd:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Scenes from the GOP reading room on healthcare

From House Republicans, led by Rep. Burgess and the Health Caucus, hosted a reading room for Republican Members to read and discuss the 1,990 page Pelosi health care bill. For more information and video go here.

The GOP Healthcare Alternative is Now Online

The full text of the 219-page, common-sense Republican alternative to Speaker Pelosi’s 1,990-page government takeover of health care is now available at or at the following link: A summary of the bill is also posted online at