Mark's Weekly Update - 4-1-17
Update on Healthcare Reform
As many of you know, we were not able to reach a deal on healthcare reform with the AHCA last week, and the bill was pulled from consideration.
While I remain steadfastly in support of President Trump and desperately wanted to get to a ‘yes’ on the bill last week, I could not do it in the end. I promised the people of North Carolina’s 11th District that I would fight for a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act and a replacement that brings down costs and provides more choices for the American people. Simply put: the AHCA would not do either of those things, and therefore, I could not support it.
My colleagues in the House Freedom Caucus and I have poured days and weeks into negotiations, but we have not gotten there yet. I’ve told the President, Vice-President, and House leadership that if we can get to a point where the bill will lower premiums and protect the most vulnerable, I will support it. I’m still hopeful we can achieve that goal, one way or the other.
Congress still has the responsibility to keep the promises we made to voters, and I will not give up on that commitment. I remain wholeheartedly committed to following through on the promises I made to you with repealing Obamacare and bringing down healthcare costs. I know President Trump is committed to the same, and I look forward to working with him to do just that.
Freedom Caucus’ Reasonable Demand on Obamacare Repeal
One of the main criticisms I’ve heard over the last several days is that conservatives in Congress shouldn’t stop a deal from happening just because we don’t “get everything we want.” I understand negotiations, and I agree.
However, at the same time, I want to be clear that negotiating a deal is exactly what my conservative colleagues and I have been doing all along. Be assured that no one wants to work with the President and moderates to get to a beneficial deal on healthcare more than me. Even though my ideal plan would look much closer to the Obamacare Replacement Act supported by the Freedom Caucus (read it here: http://bit.ly/2oqYKYc), I am very willing to work with the writers and supporters of the AHCA and begin from that starting point.
Ultimately, I have two main principles that I cannot compromise on: the bill must bring down premium costs, and it must protect the most vulnerable people. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and I laid out a path on how to get there in an interview with the Washington Examiner. You can read the full article here.
Be assured that it is always my intention to be reasonable and to negotiate in good faith toward a solution. I am still determined to work out a deal that accomplishes these principles so that we can reform healthcare for Americans.
Hannity Sides with Freedom Caucus
Thanks to my good friend, Sean Hannity, for the kind words of support this week.
“Now I don't know who's telling the White House to focus their anger on the Freedom Caucus, but I do think it's misplaced," Hannity said. "Because the Freedom Caucus, I've talked to them, they want to make a deal, and they want the win for the president and the country.”
To read the full article, click here.
Conservatives Vow to Keep Promises
Below is an article featured in the Daily Signal that explains more about my stance on the American Health Care Act. Conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus are committed to keeping our promise to you.
The Freedom Caucus’ job is simple: to do what we promised the American people we’d do. Our group has worked tirelessly to try to improve the American Health Care Act to ensure it will actually bring down costs for everyday Americans. We believe this is our job and our duty and not something we can let fall by the wayside. We’re open to working with any and everyone who is willing to work toward a solution.
To read the full article, click here.
The Recognizing Mayaguez Veterans Act
This week, in honor of National Vietnam Veterans Day, I was proud to join my colleague Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) in introducing the Recognizing Mayaguez Veterans Act—a bill that would extend the Vietnam Service Medal to veterans of the S.S. Mayaguez Incident.
The "S.S. Mayaguez Incident" is often referred to as the “Last Battle of Vietnam,” but veterans of this incident are currently ineligible to receive the Vietnam Service Medal. This bill rectifies that error and would allow veterans of the incident—both living and deceased—to receive the medal in appropriate recognition for their sacrifice to our nation.
When we were writing the bill, I was reminded of one of Western North Carolina's own! Captain Ric Hunter served 27 years in the U.S. Air Force and was awarded an Air Medal for his efforts as a pilot in the SS Mayaguez rescue operation. Heroes like Captain Hunter deserve to be recognized, and I'm hopeful that this bill will do just that. You can read more here.
Visiting the UPS Asheville Facility
I had a great visit this week to the UPS facility in Asheville!
Special congratulations to Randy Ledford and Mark Miller for being inducted into the "Circle of Honor" for their outstanding service and safety records. They are both tremendous examples of hard working Americans striving for excellence.
Visit to West Henderson High School Classes
West Henderson High School's Civics, Journalism, American History and AP U.S. History classes are some of the best! Thanks to the teachers and students for having me this week to visit!
Lunch with the Council of Independent Business Owners
Thanks to the Council of Independent Business Owners (CIBO) for having me today to give an update—and for all of your hard work in running your local businesses! You are truly the life-blood of our community. It was great to see so many familiar faces, as always.
News Clips of the week: