President Trump Signs NDAA, Collins TRICARE Language into Law
“PBMs keep their operations in the shadows in order to take advantage of patients and taxpayers. I worked to have this language included as part of the NDAA to help America’s service members and their families get the medicines they need while keeping drug prices appropriately competitive for patients and taxpayers under the TRICARE program.”
WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump today signed the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law. The NDAA included language authored by Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) to require pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to update their MAC pricing lists every seven days so that those lists reflect market prices accurately.
Without this provision, PBMs routinely wait weeks and months to update the MAC reimbursement lists, enabling them to underpay pharmacies and overcharge TRICARE.
“PBMs keep their operations in the shadows in order to take advantage of patients and taxpayers. I worked to have this language included as part of the NDAA to help America’s service members and their families get the medicines they need while keeping drug prices appropriately competitive for patients and taxpayers under the TRICARE program,” said Collins.
Collins’s provision can be found in section 714 of the NDAA and took effect immediately upon becoming law.
Collins Statement on President’s Jerusalem Announcement
President Trump today recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announced plans to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) issued the following statement in response:
“I commend President Trump for officially recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, reaffirming both the United States’ deep bond with Israel and the importance of Jerusalem to Judaism. Under the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, U.S. law states that our nation should locate its embassy in Jerusalem, but until now there has been no action to make that a reality. I have long supported such a move and believe it strengthens our relationship with Israel, while keeping the door open for continued negotiations toward a two-state solution.
“President Trump’s announcement brings our diplomatic policy toward Israel into alignment with our posture toward other sovereign nations around the world, which determine their own capitals. The president’s decision also affirms that Israel is the United States’ strongest ally, and he is right to act accordingly.”
ICYMI: Collins Talks Tax Reform Progress with Fox News
WASHINGTON—Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference, joined “Happening Now” with Jon Scott today to discuss the progress Congress has made towards sending a tax reform bill to the president.
On the path ahead for tax reform:
“Tax reform is coming. The administration is on board. The House and the Senate are on board. We’re looking forward to staying focused on that . . . tax reform is on track.”
“You have a president who is engaged, a president who has said that this is good for our economy. He understands the working class and what they’re doing, and how they need the tax reform, and how our businesses need it to make us competitive across the globe.”
On Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s calling the tax reform plan “Armageddon”:
“Nancy Pelosi is the queen of hyperbole. . . . Here’s the problem—it’s a simple fact—she is in love with a government that likes to spend your money, so she’s going to say everything she can to keep as much money in Washington, D.C. to do what she wants to do . . .”
“[Republicans] believe that the American people and businesses are the ones that drive this country—not the federal government.”
ICYMI: A Second Special Counsel Would Boost the DOJ’s Credibility
WASHINGTON—This op ed by Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) first appeared in RealClearPolicy on December 5, 2017.
Recently, the House Judiciary Committee conducted an oversight hearing of the Department of Justice (DOJ) that allowed representatives from both parties to question Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In response, some have asserted that appointing a second special counsel to investigate decisions made by the DOJ in 2016 would be a partisan maneuver, damaging the independence of the Department.
I too am concerned about preserving the independence of the Justice Department — which is precisely why Judiciary Committee Republicans have called for a special counsel to investigate matters outside the scope of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
The Judiciary Committee’s letters have been belittled as “a laundry list of Republican grievances about Clinton and former FBI director James B. Comey.” But they document persistent and unanswered questions about the independence of the DOJ, and specifically whether it may have been compromised under the Obama administration. These letters are themselves tools of oversight to be used on behalf of the millions of Americans whose democratic government owes them answers.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s independent e-mail server warranted a DOJ investigation, even if former Attorney General Loretta Lynch provided one in name only. (Actually, she failed to deliver even that, instructing former FBI Director James Comey to call the investigation a “matter.”) Americans are well-stocked with outstanding questions about how the DOJ handled these issues, and the specter of favoritism still looms over the Obama DOJ. The possibility that the department made decisions to aid a political candidate is a potential threat to democracy — one that deserves a DOJ investigation today just as it did in 2016.
At the same time, I recognize that some of my friends across the aisle lack confidence that a Republican-appointed DOJ would conduct such an investigation impartially. Hearing those concerns, I submit that a second special counsel offers Americans the opportunity to pursue answers to these questions without even the appearance of partisan impropriety. After all, independent counsels are like dentists: They scare everyone who hasn’t flossed.
Concerns about DOJ investigations and appointing special counsels too often come to us frosted in hyper-partisan language. This obscures the crux of the liberal argument against the move: Neither the DOJ under Attorney General Jeff Sessions nor an independent special counsel is capable of investigating Clinton. According to this logic, there exists no credible path for investigating potential favoritism on the part of America’s chief law enforcement officials. It would follow that the world’s strongest democracy is impotent when it comes to pursuing objective, unfettered, non-partisan accountability of its own federal agencies.
As a member of the committee charged with exercising oversight of the entire Department of Justice and the representative of approximately 700,000 Georgian voices, I have a bit more faith in the checks and balances that undergird our justice system — including the utility of the special counsel position.
Party loyalty aside, the DOJ made many decisions last year that have led to a host of unresolved questions, and the American people deserve answers. For example, why did former Attorney General Lynch direct former FBI Director Comey to mislead the American people on the nature of the Clinton investigation? Why did Mr. Comey prepare a statement ending the investigation into former Secretary Clinton before interviewing 17 key witnesses, including the former secretary herself?
These and other questions about the independence of the DOJ continue to cast a shadow on our nation’s justice system. By addressing them directly, a second special counsel could strengthen the DOJ’s credibility, reestablishing its reputation as a non-partisan agent of justice.
Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) is Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference and a member of the House Judiciary Committee.
Collins Praises House Passage of Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act
“It’s my privilege to join the House in supporting the unique wellness needs of these men and women. They continue to invest in making our communities safer, and the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act invests in providing practical resources to support officers in their work.”
WASHINGTON—Today the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2228, the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act of 2017, by voice vote. Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) introduced the bill, and Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) is an original co-sponsor of the legislation.
The Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act addresses the challenges inherent to police work. The bill would require the Department of Justice to work with the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to develop tools that local law enforcement could use as they improve the mental health resources available to police officers. In addition, the legislation would establish grant opportunities for programs, research and training focused on delivering mental health support to law enforcement agents.
“As the son of a Georgia State Trooper, I never forget that members of the law enforcement community voluntarily enter dangerous, stressful situations each day, and they do this for the sake of their neighbors.
“It’s my privilege to join the House in supporting the unique wellness needs of these men and women. They continue to invest in making our communities safer, and the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act invests in providing practical resources to support officers in their work,” said Collins.
This legislation is supported by the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association of Police Officers, the Major County Sheriffs of America, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the National District Attorneys Association and the Sergeants Benevolent Association.
H.R. 2228 will proceed to the Senate for consideration.
Collins Urges Corps of Engineers to Expedite Review of Hart State Park Proposal
WASHINGTON—Today Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers urging it to expedite its review of the proposal regarding Hart State Park. The complete letter is available below:
WASHINGTON—The House of Representatives today passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference, issued the following statement in response:
“This afternoon, the People’s House reaffirmed its confidence in American workers and families by passing comprehensive tax reform. The last three decades empowered the IRS to dig its tentacles deeper into the wallets of our neighbors, and we acted to reverse that trend today.
“Middle-class Americans and job creators deserve relief from burdensome taxes and the opportunity to pursue more of their ambitions on their terms. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act can deliver on both fronts on behalf of our nation’s families and future.”
House Passes Collins Bill to Honor Fallen Clermont Marine
WASHINGTON—The House of Representatives today voted unanimously to pass H.R. 3821, to rename Georgia’s Clermont Post Office in honor of Zack T. Addington. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) introduced the bill this September, and it will now proceed to the Senate for consideration.
“I’m pleased to see my colleagues in the House recognize the legacy of Lance Corporal Addington, who remains an example of selfless courage to our community in northeast Georgia,” said Collins.
Collins also honored Addington when he spoke about the bill on the House floor.
Known to his neighbors as Zack, Addington joined the United States Marine Corps in 1967. A native of Clermont, he became a rifleman in the 3rd Marine Division of the Fleet Marine Force and deployed to Vietnam that year. Addington was promoted to Lance Corporal and served his country honorably until he was killed in action in May 1968.
That June, Addington received the Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon in recognition of his service there.