The Honorable Tim Huelskamp, U.S. Representative, for the Big First District in the state of Kansas and a member of the 113th Congress of the United States, was in Beloit Monday, April 29. The Congressman held grass roots Town Hall Meeting with constitutants in this area. A crowd of around 50 people were present to hear Representative Huelskamp give an update on things in Washington from his perspective.
Huelskamp said he is one of 12 farmers in the 435 congressmen in the House of Representatives. Huelskamp, is a farmer from the small town of Fowler in southwest Kansas and proud of it. The First Congressional District is among the largest by territory in the country. It is nearly 60,000 square miles, about the size of the entire state of Illinois.
The Congressman started out by showing charts of our debt and the short time it has taken this country to get to where we are now. The Debt is growing by 4 billion dollars a day. If nothing changes our debt could exceed twelve trillion dollars in a few more years and forty-eight percent of that debt is already owned by foreign holdings. Since 2008 Washington's response to our debt has been to print more money and this is not the answer to solving the debt problem, Huelskamp told his audience.
Most of the questions voiced in Town Hall Meetings in the past have had to do with the budget. Monday, however, the majority of the questions were concerns about Obama Care and what it is going to do to the people of this country. Not many were supportive of the new law. In fact, the first question involved two parts: What is Congress doing to repeal Obama Care and is it true that members of congress an their staffs are going to be exempt from the mandates this puts on the American people?
Congressman Huelskamp said in answer to the first part of the question, although some members of congress are tying to find a way to repeal the healthcare plan so far they can not find a way to do it. Yes, it is true that the members of congress and their staffs are going to be exempt but so far it does not include white house staff members.
This plan is devastating to rural hospitals and to the doctors, nurses and other employees that work in them. The changes it is making in Medicare are completely irresponsible and will continue to be more so he said.
Tom Claussen, who is retired military, said it is real easy to get involved in foreign skirmishes. They need to just say "no." We have had enough war for about 20 years and we need to have peace for about the same length of time to allow time for recovery, he said. The Congressman agreed but said there are enough outside factions who don't feel this way and continue to push for war.
David Porter thanked the Congressman for voting as he has and sticking to the Constitutional rights. He said Huelskamp was the only one who voted against Iran and thanked him for taking that stand.
Many conservatives agree with the Congressman and thank him "for continually being a thorn in the side." Huelskamp, a two-term Republican congressman, is known, more than anything else, as a major irritant in Congress - a stubborn, hard-headed opponent of just about everything except bigger budget cuts. He's so unwilling to compromise that even House Republicans removed him from his high-profile committee assignments.
Huelskamp voted against the Violence Against Women Act. He voted against the fiscal cliff deal. He voted against raising the debt ceiling. He even refused to support relief money for victims of Hurricane Sandy, saying the bill was "loaded up with pork." When he didn't think House Speaker John Boehner was being tough enough with Democrats, he nominated someone else more conservative in a failed attempt to unseat him. He also voted yes on the Sequester and on reinstating the Air Traffic Controllers.
"We are coming up on the 100th Anniversary of the Federal Reserve and no one is talking about whether it will be renewed or not. We have over one hundred trillion dollars worth of entitlements coming up and nothing is being done about it. At the end of the day we have to balance the money and the budget. They need to stop printing more money," he said.
"Fundamentally, our economy in Kansas is basically strong but this country as a whole is going through the worst economic recovery since the depression. It is taking its toll on the small business communities across the country and Obama Care is making it worse," he said.
David Chase asked questions about the Veteran's Administration and what they are doing. He said, he is glad to see that Senator Moran and Representative Huelskamp are standing up and trying to get some of these issues heard. Huelskamp said veterans shouldn't have to call their congressmen to get answers to their questions. He sited ways the VA is wasting some of the fifty-five million dollars they were allotted last year instead of using it to help veterans.
Hospital Administrator, David Dick, voiced concerns about what is happening to the rural hospitals. The Congressman said he has great concern about this because he has more hospitals in his district than any other district in the country.
Matt Otte, Chairman of the Democratic Party in Mitchell County, told the Congressman he is very upset that he is not in favor of the health care reform. Huelskamp answered if it weren't for Obama Care we would not be in the healthcare crisis we are. While admitting we need Health Care Reform Huelskamp said some of what is in the law would make a good starting point but there was much of it he cannot go along with. He explained his perspective on Obama Care and the problems he feels it will cause. Otte also chided that Huelskamp is the only person who has been kicked off of the Agricultural Committee. The Representative answered there were dozens of regulations he could not go along with.
Jay Rowh said every President since Reagan has talked about Health Care Reform but nothing has been done. He said there is such animosity between the Senate, the House, and the President that they can't agree on anything. He feels the Health Care Plan should not be thrown out all together but should be "tweeked"and just change what needs to be changed. Huelskamp said he doesn't feel Washington necessarily knows what is best for the people in Kansas.
The question was asked how many people Huelskamp is having problems with on the independent advisory board? The Congressman asked if they were talking about the change in leadership in the House of Representatives? He said, "I still talk to them and work with them when I can but they just continue to talk about it and nothing gets done. In a year and a half John Boehnert will retire," he said.
"In August or September this country's credit card will be maxed out again. Last time we raised the debt ceiling our credit rating was lowered. That will happen again this time and we can't ignore the problem. All that debt comes due in the next five years. Folks are going to have to come together, put a stop to this problem, and come up with sensible reforms. It has to happen or be we will be really out of luck as a country," Representative Huelskamp said.
Kansas Representative, Susan Concannon, talked about the stand on this issue on the State level and the federal funding for the first three years of Medi-care. Huelskamp said, "40 percent of that money will be borrowed and the rest will come from tax revenue because there is no money left in that fund. I can assure you there will not be 100 percent funding there for that issue," he said.
Charles Jordan, talked about what will happen now that the baby boomers are reaching social security age. Representative Huelskamp said from now on there would be no more receipts going into this fund because ten thousand Americans will be turning 65 and there is no money left in the fund now.
In closing, Congressman Huelskamp said we need to pray for our nation because we have never been in as bad a situation as we are in today.
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