Answering your questions

In addition to receiving thousands of emails, phone calls, letters, and messages from social media on a variety of topics, I recently conducted a round of telephone town halls to all eight counties that make up the 4th Congressional District. I wanted to share a few questions that your neighbors recently asked me:

What are the consequences for the Internal Revenue Service targeting political groups?

Like most of you, I’m outraged that IRS employees have violated the public’s trust and abused their positions by improperly targeting political groups. The Constitution gives Congress the authority to provide oversight of the president and his administration. As a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, I’m working with my colleagues to find out exactly what happened at the IRS, hold officials accountable for their actions, and prevent this from ever happening again. I’m committed to fighting against this and all government overreach. The House of Representatives is continuing to press the Obama Administration for answers and I encourage you to stay tuned in the coming months.

What’s Congress doing to support our veterans and provide them with the proper health care?

Ensuring our veterans have access to quality care is not an issue I take lightly. Many veterans in Central Washington and in rural areas across our country often face higher costs and longer wait times when trying to receive the most basic care. That’s why I helped establish outpatient veterans clinics in Yakima and Wenatchee. Additionally, I support proposals to enable the Veterans Administration to partner with local hospitals, medical centers, and clinics to provide rural veterans access to hometown health care. I’ve also voted to block TRICARE enrollment fees and co-pay increases for veterans. Be certain that I will continue to support our nation’s veterans and work to ensure they receive quality care they have earned and depend on.

What can be done to preserve Social Security and Medicare?

America’s health and retirement programs make up more than half of the federal budget and continue to grow each year. Congress must enact real reforms to ensure these programs will be there for generations to come. Improving these programs must be guided by a few basic principles: First, I will never support proposals that reduce benefits for those in or near retirement. America must honor its commitment to those who have worked a lifetime and earned the right to a secure retirement. Second, these programs must be made permanently sound. Finally, we must strengthen these programs by taking the federal government out of the picture and empowering citizens with control over their own care and retirement investments.

Rep. Doc Hastings represents Washington’s 4th Congressional District, including part of Okanogan County.

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