By Sonya Thompson
Congressman Diane Black visited with constituents in Portland last week as she provided updates to important topics at the Capitol during this legislative session.
At the top of the list of discussion was the impact of Obamacare -- or the Affordable Care Act -- and how the House of Representatives had voted to repeal it.
"Obamacare will not save Americans' money like they were told," Black explained. "The plan was supposed to insure everyone, but 31 million people will still be left without insurance once the law is fully implemented."
Several elderly constituents were visibly upset by the information and one gentleman asked, "We don't see Washington doing a lot about (Obamacare). And what's being done about all the scandals?"
The "scandals" referred to were regarding the "lost" emails of IRS official Lois Lerner.
Black attempted to explain that it's not as easy to get information as it looks.
"They hide the ball," she said. "We have to try to find the ball and we have an Attorney General who is not working with us."
"Who can we hold responsible?" asked another member of the audience. "Can the Supreme Court do something about this? Who holds (Barack Obama) responsible for upholding the constitution and the laws of the land?"
"Under the Executive Order, Article 2, Section 1, the President is the executor of the country," Black explained.
She added that there are no specific limitations, nor does the Order provide any guidance.
"This could send us into a one man operation!" was the reply from the audience.
"Look, we could have a whole day seminar on how we have moved away from what the founding fathers intended," Black replied. "I still believe we have the American spirit here. This county is NOT done.
"America is still the leader of the free world; that is what I hear from other countries. There is money out there to flood back into this country. We are killing ourselves.
"All we have to do is bring the tax rate down and we will see people moving back into the country and bring spending back to our country," she said, referring to companies who have taken their business outside the country due to taxation.
"I stay because I believe in this country and its future. Will it turn around in the next year? No, it won't. I don't want people to be so discouraged and think there's no turning it around."
The bad news is, she said, this country has an $18 trillion national debt. The good news is that Congress has cut the total federal spending for two years in a row.
She added that "autopilot" spending is what drives this country's debt. Autopilot spending includes Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, interest on our debt, and entitlement programs. In 1970 autopilot spending accounted for 42 percent of the country's debt while 58 percent of the debt was on transportation, commerce, military spending, etc. In 2012, those percentages jumped to 64 percent for autopilot spending and 36 percent for other spending. Current numbers predict that by the year 2040, autopilot spending will account for 76 percent of this country's spending -- unless Congress can get that spending under control.
Each day there are an additional 10,000 beneficiaries of the Medicare plan and, according to the latest reports, the Medicare trust fund will be bankrupt by 2030. But the House GOP budget can save Medicare from bankruptcy, according to Black.
The House is promoting "A balanced budget or a stronger America," which cuts $5.5 trillion in runaway spending to balance the budget in less than 10 years without raising taxes; calls for a fairer, flatter and simpler tax code; repeals Obamacare, allowing the country to focus on patient-centered health reforms; and prioritizes spending for national defense by funding our military above the levels indicated in the President's budget.
"We have to get out of the pews and into the polls," she said in closing. "We have to stand up. I don't agree with my husband on everything, or my employer on everything, or even my pastor. I want you to know what I'm doing in Congress. I'm very proud to represent you in Congress."
To share how Obamacare has affected you, your family or your business, visit gov.gov/yourstory. To submit feedback and ideas on a variety of policy issues, visit black.house.gov/contact-me/advisory-committees.