Rogers discusses Obamacare, SyriaPublished 10:33am Thursday, September 26, 2013
U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers was the guest speaker at Tuesday’s Alexander City Chamber of Commerce quarterly luncheon at the First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall.
Rogers (R-3rd Congressional District) updated community members and area businesses on the state of affairs in Washington.
Rogers also fielded questions and discussed the potential government shutdown and the ongoing battle over Republican efforts to defund Obamacare as a part of a House budget proposal to keep the government operating.
“I want you to understand that I am vigorously opposed to Obamacare, but it’s going to happen. We are not going to win this fight,” Rogers said. “I hope I’m wrong, but you just look at the way the government is structured – in order to pass a law or to change a law you’ve got to have the House, the Senate, and the President be in agreement. The Senate likes Obamacare, and the president likes it.”
While House Republicans approved a resolution to defund Obamacare as a part of their proposal to keep the government funded through Dec. 15, it is considered dead on arrival in the senate, which is controlled by a Democratic majority.
If a budget solution is not found by Oct. 1, the federal government would shut down.
But while the budget battle has split political leaders down party lines, one key result of a government shutdown is the reason Rogers thinks a solution will be found.
“We are going to do everything we can to leverage the circumstances as best we can, but as a practical matter, we’re not going to shut the government down,” Rogers said. “If we shut the government down, one of the consequences is that the troops don’t get paid. I don’t think there’s anybody in this room that wants someone that’s over there fighting and risking their lives to worry about their husband and wives not getting their check. I’m just not going to do that.”
Rogers added that in order for Obamacare to either be repealed or reformed, the political climate is going to have to change through the election process, but he does not expect a government shutdown to actually happen.
“The truth is, I want Obamacare to cease, but we’re going to have to win those elections in the senate before that happens,” Rogers said. “The growing sentiment in the Congress and the House of Representatives is if it means we are going to shut the government down, it’s just not going to happen.”
Rogers also credited the increase in partisanship since the Benghazi and IRS scandals as the reason it’s unlikely the parties will work together to get immigration reform and tax reform done before the year is out.
Rogers, who serves as chairman of the Strategic Forces subcommittee on the Armed Services Committee, also discussed the situation in Syria and how he feels President Obama should have backed up his claim that the U.S. would respond if chemical weapons were used.
“We just had a very tough situation arise in Syria. It was just a mess. It really hurt our country and its image around the world, and that stuff matters,” Rogers said.
Among the questions raised during the luncheon was businesses’ concerns and desire that politicians know that corporations are pushing to make sure they have as many employees as possible work under 30 hours.
Under the Affordable Care Act, a full-time employee is anyone working more than 30 hours, and businesses with 50 or more workers must provide health insurance or pay a fine.
And with some corporations not wanting to take on the expense, employers are making sure they have as few people as possible working 30 hours a week, which in many cases is not enough to make ends meet.
“I can assure you that we get it. We hear about it all the time,” Rogers said. “That’s why 42 times in the House of Representatives, we’ve passed to defund the act.”