[StBernard] Washington Report from Richard H. Baker

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Fri Jul 20 22:31:47 EDT 2007

July 20, 2007

Thank you for signing up for Congressman Baker’s newsletter. Below are issue updates that you may find interesting. As always, please visit his website at http://www.baker.house.gov <http://www.baker.house.gov/> for the most up-to-date news and information on what Congressman Baker is working on in the Sixth Congressional District of Louisiana.

Congressman Baker Announces $2.5 Million Grant for the Baton Rouge Airport

This week Congressman Baker announced that the Baton Rouge Metropolitan airport (BTR) will receive a federal grant of $2.5 million to improve the runway safety area near Plank Road. The $2.5 million will be used for construction of the safety area, the rehabilitation of runway lighting, and security enhancements. To read the full press release, click here <http://www.baker.house.gov/html/news_item.cfm?id=667> , or visit Congressman Baker’s website <http://www.baker.house.gov> to sign up for press releases delivered directly to your in-box.

Clean Water Bill May Lead to Massive Expansion of Federal Jurisdiction

During two House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearings held this week on the scope of federal authority over the nation’s waters and wetlands under the Clean Water Act, Congressman Baker expressed his concern with H.R. 2421, legislation which represents the largest ever expansion of Federal powers over private property and creates a larger cloud of confusion over application and interpretation. Congressman Baker stated that "clarity of existing authority, not an expansion of it, is what is necessary."

For more information on this issue, visit Congressman Baker’s webpage on H.R. 2421, the "Clean Water Authority Restoration Act." <http://www.baker.house.gov/html/content.cfm?id=253>

Congressman Baker Co-Sponsors Legislation to Honor Our Nation’s Veterans

As a staunch supporter of America’s veterans, Congressman Baker co-sponsored the following legislation this week to recognize the accomplishments and sacrifices of our nation’s men and women who have served in uniform:

* H. Con. Res. 176 supports a commemorative U.S. postal stamp honoring our nation’s disabled veterans. This stamp would serve as a strong reminder of how indebted we are to those who have sacrificed themselves to preserve and protect our freedoms.
* H. Con. Res. 49 honors the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) on its 75th Anniversary. The MOPH was formed in 1932 and is composed exclusively of Purple Heart recipients. The brave men and women who received this decoration are members of the Armed Forces who have been wounded in combat.
* H.R. 2303 establishes the Purple Heart "forever stamp." Unlike other stamps, the "forever stamp" will be good for mailing one-ounce First-Class letters anytime in the future — regardless of price changes.

Baker Urges Medicare Agency to Re-evaluate Cancer Medicine Coverage Policy

In a letter sent earlier this week to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, Congressman Baker expressed his concern with a proposed National Coverage Decision for erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESA) for Medicare beneficiaries suffering with cancer. The proposed policy would reduce Medicare patients’ access to ESAs and could have dramatic and unintended implications on the quality of cancer care delivered to Medicare beneficiaries. Congressman Baker is committed to ensuring that all cancer patients have full access to physician determined treatments that are medically necessary to fight their battle against the disease.

The House Passes Two Fiscal Year 2008 Appropriations Bills This Week

This week the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2641, the "Energy and Water Appropriations Act," and H.R. 3043, the "Labor, Health and Human Service and Education Appropriations Act." Congressman Baker was pleased that the Majority Leadership and the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee abandoned their plans to pass appropriations bills with slush funds for earmarks. A list of all earmarks and the Members of Congress requesting them can now be found on the Appropriations Committee’s website at http://appropriations.house.gov/ <http://appropriations.house.gov/> . Congressman Baker is also pleased to report that H.R. 2641 provides $8 million for the Comite River Diversion Canal, $1.3 million for Bayou Sorrel Lock and $500,000 for LSU Alternative Energy Research. Furthermore, H.R. 3043 included $200, 000 for the Louisiana Arts and Sciences Museum and $150,000 for the Louisiana National Guard at Carville.

Baker Fights to Prevent Medicare Cuts to Home Health and Hospice Care

Concerned about funding cuts to home health and hospice care, Congressman Baker has signed a letter to Members of the House Ways and Means Committee asking that they fight reductions in Medicare payments for these services. It is imperative that these types of care remain viable options for Medicare patients. In addition, reducing payment for home health and hospice care would be counterproductive to controlling overall health care costs. Congressman Baker urges his colleagues in Congress to provide full funding for these critical services.

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