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For Immediate Release

 

8 August 2008

 

Contact: Jeff Hennie, Vice President of Government Relations, MRF

Email: jeff@mrf.org

 

 

Congress Adjourns for Five-Week Break

 

Washington DC is shuttered for the next five weeks to accommodate the congressional tradition of August recess. Generally the House and Senate scramble to pass as much legislation as possible in order to have more accomplishments to point to when speaking at town hall meetings back in their home districts. Being able to reassure constituents that Congress is doing all they can to alleviate society's problems is key to any US Representative's re-election campaign. With overall congressional approval ratings at an all time low of 14 percent, it's puzzling why Congress adjourned having done very little.

 

Gas prices. The number one issue before Congress today is energy. That's because it affects every aspect of life of every single person in the entire country. One would think that Congress would at least attempt to address the fuel cost epidemic at least in passing, if not in earnest. No matter what side of the political pasture you graze in, you have to agree that Congress has done next to nothing when it comes to rising energy costs.

 

Let's take a look at some of the ideas tossed around by Congress to address rising fuel prices. We first should acknowledge that proposals to suspend federal gasoline taxes aren't fooling anyone. Most people are well aware that their gas taxes go to building critical roads and bridges. Does anyone really think drivers will be grateful for a few cents a gallon less at the pump in return for the next bridge collapse?

 

The silver bullet, we are told, is cracking down on oil and gas speculators. While those who deal in mineral futures may be responsible for some price inflation, it is a stretch to think that curbing speculation will dramatically lower prices at the pump. At least there has been some bipartisan cooperation in by both chambers in developing an acceptable approach to a dubious solution.

 

Lastly, we have been told that we must dip into our Strategic Petroleum Reserve to increase supplies and lower costs. For what little difference it might make at the pump, does anyone really think Americans will sleep easier knowing we've drained our national emergency fuel supplies so it will cost the family a little less to drive to the beach?

 

It's clear that a solution would have to be multi-faceted and encompass finding alternative forms of energy, finding new petroleum resources through exploratory drilling, and less consumption by individuals. Saving energy is no longer a moral luxury, it's a personal responsibility.

 

Which brings us back to what Congress did not do this summer; pass any energy legislation at all!  It's a common story in Washington when the majority party silences the minority's voice - but this year in the House proved to be more theatrical than ever. When the minority tried to force a vote on a drilling issue, the majority immediately forced a vote on adjournment and won by party line. Then the majority shut off the microphones, cameras and lights, leaving the minority to continue in silent darkness, which they did for the next four days, much to the entertainment of those occupying the full capacity public gallery.

Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction.

 

Michelle's Law

 

The house passed what is being called Michelle's Law last week; this bill was at one time a possible vehicle for the HIPAA loophole repair language (HR 1076). That, unfortunately, did not happen. Michelle's law, like HR 1076, addresses a very specific deficiency in our health insurance federal code. This loophole allows insurance companies to drop coverage of a child who has graduated from high school but not enrolled in a higher education program. Michelle, a student who was diagnosed with colon cancer, was advised by her medical provider to suspend studies and focus on treating her condition full-time. She decided to stay in school because if she had dropped out, she would have been pushed off her parents insurance.

Michelle suffered the ultimate consequence when she lost her battle with cancer.  No Senate action has occurred on this bill as of press time.

 

Because of the sensitive nature of this particular bill, the committee chose to keep it a clean bill and not include the HR 1076 language.  It is a frustrating but certainly understandable decision by the committee leadership and we commend them for their moral fortitude which can be rare in Washington. We also thank the committee for agreeing to find an appropriate vehicle for something similar to the HR 1076 language in the near future. The MRF will make you aware of any action on this important matter.

 

 

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(c)All Information contained in this release is copyrighted. Reproduction permitted with attribution. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation, incorporated in 1987, is a membership-based, national motorcyclists' rights organization headquartered in Washington, DC. The first motorcyclists'

rights organization to establish a full-time presence in Washington, DC, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation is the only Washington voice devoted exclusively to the street rider. The MRF established MRFPAC in the early 1990s to advocate the election of candidates who would champion the cause of rider safety and rider freedom.

 

The MRF proudly claims state motorcyclists' rights organizations and the very founders of the American riders' rights movement among its leading members. The MRF is involved in federal and state legislation and regulations, motorcycling safety education, training, and public awareness. The MRF provides members and state motorcyclists' rights organizations with direction and information, and sponsors annual regional and national educational seminars for motorcyclists rights activists, as well as publishing a bi-monthly newsletter, THE MRF REPORTS.