Apr 26 2013
This week, I joined the people of Texas and all Americans in honoring the 14 Texans who lost their lives in the tragic explosion in West, Texas last week. The outpour of support for the people of West was highlighted by the thousands of people who attended yesterday's memorial service.
My heart is with the families of all the victims, and my thoughts and prayers are with our neighbors in West. Click here to learn how you can help support the victims of the West explosion.
Update on FAA Flight Delays
As you may know, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) furloughed thousands of air traffic controllers this week in response to the President's sequestration cuts—a decision that has caused flight delays across the country. Instead of making responsible cuts to expenses such as employee travel and non-essential conferences, the Administration chose to play politics and make cuts where it would negatively impact the American people the most.
To put an end to these unnecessary furloughs and to prevent more delays, the House passed H.R. 1765, the Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013. This bill would end the threat of flight delays–while also keeping intact the FAA spending cuts–by giving the Department of Transportation (DOT) the authority to transfer $253 million from the FAA's Airport Improvement Program account to its Operations account, which would prevent reduced operations and staffing.
I'm pleased that the House and Senate stepped in this week to put an end to the President's politically-motivated decision to inconvenience travelers. It is my hope that the President will quickly sign this legislation into law.
Bipartisan Letter to CMS
Also this week, I joined five of my Congressional colleagues in leading a bipartisan group of more than 100 Members in sending a formal letter of inquiry to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In this letter, we asked CMS for information regarding its implementation of the two percent sequester cut to Medicare payments to providers and its impact on Medicare Part B drugs, particularly chemotherapy and other specialty infusible drugs.
The letter urged CMS to clarify to Congress both its statutory authority to reduce Medicare Part B drug reimbursement and its understanding of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance directing federal agencies to use any available flexibility when implementing the sequestration to reduce operational risks and minimize its impact on the American people. Moreover, the bipartisan letter challenged CMS to use what flexibility it does have to direct the cuts away from patients.
There have been numerous news reports of cancer clinics all across the country turning away thousands of Medicare patients due to these cuts. As your Member of Congress, I believe it is my responsibility to seek answers from agencies and departments here in Washington that make decisions and take actions that could impact my constituents. I remain committed to ensuring that North Texans–and all Americans–have unencumbered access to their health care professionals and the critical treatments they need.
George W. Bush Presidential Center Dedication
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend the historic dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center dedication in Dallas, Texas. I was honored to take part in the celebratory event, which was attended by all five living United States presidents and other Texas officials.
Congressman Pete Sessions in Dallas at the Bush Center Dedication
The Bush Center will be a wonderful addition to the 32nd Congressional District of Texas, and I am proud that residents and visitors from around the world will have the opportunity to travel to Dallas and access inimitable presidential records, historical materials and one-of-a-kind artifacts. I am confident that the Center's focus on education, economic growth, global health and freedom will leave a lasting impact on our nation for years to come.
Have a good weekend.