The Pryor Times

Local News

September 23, 2013

Legislators discuss Obamacare; deficit

PRYOR, OK — They like each other, they like Oklahoma, but neither Rep. Markwayne Mullin nor Rep. Paul Ryan like President Obama’s

politics.

Mullin scheduled a town hall meeting with his constituents via phone Wednesday night and invited Ryan to join in and answer budget questions.

“Thank you guys for calling in on a church night, I appreciate it. With all the controversy over budget, I thought I would open it up for you guys to ask the expert questions,” said Mullin, introducing Ryan.

Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin,  introduced himself, as a self-proclaimed son-in-law of Oklahoma and Chairman of the House Budget Committee.

“My wife is from here, so we spend most of our family holidays in Oklahoma. We drive from Big Cabin to Atoka six or seven times a year,” said Ryan. “Our dogs are named Boomer and Sooner. We love Oklahoma.”

Ryan took a moment to praise Mullin, a Republican from Oklahoma, saying he got to D.C and hit the ground running, that he has common sense and sticks to his values.

“You’re lucky to have him representing you,” said Ryan.

The No. 1 issue on the mind of every caller was defunding the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The concept of raising the debt ceiling played into these questions as well.

“There are two issues here. (One is) the government shutdown at the end of September when government agencies have to have their budget renewed. We’ll pass a bill on Friday to defund and delay Obamacare,” said Ryan, who also said that bill will have several more steps before it is enacted. Ryan said the portion of the budget in question represents only 30 percent of the overall funding.

“The debt ceiling will be hit in October, that’s the second thing. What that means is, the law of the land says you can only borrow so much money and they are going to hit that limit,” said Ryan.

He said it is like maxing out a credit card and rather than getting a new card with a higher limit, the government needs to get its spending under control.

“Starting a new law that isn’t paid for that is going to be a fiscal train wreck, like Obamacare, is the opposite of what we need. It’s taking us the wrong direction,” said Ryan.

Ryan said the strategy is to maximize the opportunity to be able to do away with the law by delaying it a year. Legislators will give the president the choice to defund or delay, which are essentially the same thing.

“If we want to get this law delayed or even defunded, what you have to do is have a guy named Obama sign it into law,” Ryan said. “Therein lies our challenge.”

“Obama agreed to delay for a year for big businesses because he knew it would hurt their revenue abilities,” said Ryan. “If he knows that, it should be done for families and small businesses as well.”

Ryan said the Internal Revenue Service does not even know how to certify whether individuals are eligible or not. The result, he said, will be millions of individuals getting benefits they don’t qualify for.

One caller asked why, if it is as great as the president says it is, Obamacare does not apply to all Americans as there are exemptions and waivers.

Ryan said, and Mullin agreed, that they don’t think Obamacare should apply to anyone, but if it does, they want as few people as possible to have go endure it.

“I don’t think people realize how bad this is going to be. What we’re going to witness is that millions of people are going to find out they did not get to keep the insurance they like, there will be a destruction of the 40-hour work week,” said Ryan in regard to the act’s promise that individuals who are satisfied with their current medical insurance will be able to keep their provider.

Mullin chimed in to point out that the House Republicans have already cut spending significantly.

“The deficit went from $1.4 trillion down to $700 billion,” said Mullin.

“We’re doing a tremendous amount of work cutting spending. We’ve cut government spending two years in a row but we have a long way to go. We’ve made a difference but not enough,” said Ryan.

He said the debt is predicted to skyrocket in a couple of years and that House Republicans want to address that problem while Obama wants to ignore it.

As proposed, Obamacare will be operated under the supervision of the IRS.

When asked about the chances of downsizing the IRS, Mullin said if it was possible like-minded legislators would do it now.

“Right now, they know if it comes out as a scandal, which downsizing the IRS would be, it would look bad on Democrats. More and more reports are coming in of the abuse that the IRS had are for no other reason than political motives,” said Mullin.

“The whole reason I’m up here (Washington, D.C.) is I got tired of asking the government’s permission to run my company, Now I’ll have to ask permission to go to the doctor,” said Mullin.

He said it is a

continuing fight, and Americans should not expect to see resolutions overnight.

“I’m not going to compromise who I am.

I know who I am. But

I also know how to negotiate,” said Mullin.

“I’m not done fighting yet – my glass is still half full. I see more hope than I see despair.”

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