Mark's Weekly Update - 5-2-17
Congressional Art Competition
Congratulations to Amy Avila Martinez of Hibriten High School on winning the 2017 Congressional Art Competition for NC-11!
This past weekend, my staff and I were thrilled to host a reception and results ceremony for our annual district art competition. Every year I am blown away by the work of the young artists and their teachers in our district, and this year was no different. All of the students were unbelievable.
This year's winner was a piece titled Querida Abuela, created by Hibriten High School's Amy Avila Martinez--student of art teacher Jenna Bailey. Congratulations to both of them!
We would also like to recognize our second place winner, Mikayla Watson of Hibriten High School, and our third place winner, Julianna Aiken of Andrews High School! Also a special thanks to our incredible judges--Yona Wade, Jill Stepp, and Eugenie Fein--for all of their work.
Our appreciation goes to everyone who worked so hard on this competition. We are looking forward to next year!
Update on Healthcare Reform
Major news: my colleagues and I in the House Freedom Caucus have announced an official position of support for a newly revised Obamacare replacement bill.
You may remember over the past couple of months when I've announced that I would not be able to support the GOP's original version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA). I did not believe the original bill would bring down healthcare costs for Americans--particularly my constituents in WNC--and I've consistently said that I will not vote for any bill that fails to accomplish that purpose.
After countless hours of meetings, negotiations, and phone calls, I believe we have reached that point.
House conservatives have worked tirelessly to improve the AHCA to make it more beneficial for the American people. Due to improvements to the AHCA and the addition of an amendment from my friend, Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), the House Freedom Caucus has taken an official position in support of the current proposal.
The MacArthur amendment will grant states the ability to repeal cost-driving aspects of Obamacare left in place under the original AHCA. This will be a very significant catalyst in bringing premiums down while protecting those with pre-existing conditions.
While the revised version is not perfect, we are prepared to support it to keep our promise to the American people to lower healthcare costs. We look forward to working with our Senate colleagues to improve the bill. Our work will continue until we fully repeal Obamacare.
Please know that I remain committed to getting this done. My goals throughout this entire process have always been 1) to bring premiums down for all Americans, and 2) protect the most vulnerable. I will keep working until we accomplish both of those goals.
For those asking, the portion about members of Congress being exempt from the bill is being stripped out through an amendment by Rep. McSally—I am actually a cosponsor to that amendment. Be assured that I will not vote for any bill that gives me a special exemption that my constituents do not get.
Reviewing President Trump’s First 100 Days
As you know, this past Saturday marked President Donald Trump's 100th Day in office, and I can tell you--I don’t know if I have ever been as impressed with a CEO, or a president, quite like this. He is someone who is getting involved in negotiating the finer details of national security, health care, the economy, and tax reform--to the extent that he’s been willing to get on the phone at midnight and then the next morning at 6:30 a.m. to discuss the issues.
If the American people understood how engaged this president is—particularly how engaged he is at fulfilling his campaign promises—they would be nothing short of amazed. He works me to death, and I’m a member of Congress! I cannot imagine how hard he works his staff at the White House.
I sat down with Sean Moran at Breitbart to do an interview on the President’s term so far. You can read it here.
Meeting with the White Helmets
This week in DC it was wonderful meeting some of the incredible members of the Syria Civil Defense--the White Helmets! They stopped by my office and I got a chance to take a picture. They are an outstanding group.
Visit from New Dimension Middle School
It was great to see everyone from New Dimension Middle School during their trip to DC! Thanks so much to them for taking the time to stop by. We got to meet on the Capitol steps and talk about the workings of our government.