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Congressman Pittenger Weekly Column

By: Congressman Robert Pittenger

Were you able to join my live, interactive telephone town hall on Thursday?

 

More than 6,000 constituents from across the 9th Congressional District joined me for a lively discussion on health care, immigration, Planned Parenthood, President Trump, and other topics.

 

My commitment is to hear from as many constituents as possible and to respect the time of hardworking American taxpayers.  A telephone town hall is inclusive and allows residents of Mecklenburg, Union, Anson, Richmond, Scotland, Robeson, Cumberland, and Bladen counties to participate without driving long distances, hiring a babysitter, or getting off work early.

 

To make sure of an inclusive town hall, my team e-mailed more than 110,000 invitations, more than 100,000 reminders, and placed 40,000 outbound calls to invite constituents to join.

 

If you missed the town hall, here is a summary of key issues:

HEALTH CARE

 

Over the past six years, House Republicans have promised to repeal and replace the disaster known as Obamacare.  With control of the House, Senate, and White House, we intend to keep that promise and enact real, patient-centered solutions for hardworking American families.

 

The current Obamacare-created health insurance market is tanking.  Americans are facing average premium hikes of 25 percent this year on the exchanges.  In North Carolina, 95 out of 100 counties have only one insurer, including all eight counties in the 9th Congressional District.  Humana recently announced plans to exit Obamacare in 2018, citing an unprofitable market, and Aetna’s CEO said the Obamacare markets are in a ‘death spiral.’

 

This is a rescue mission, and House Republicans have a plan.  First, we will repeal Obamacare through a special legislative process known as “reconciliation,” most likely in April.  Second, President Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Tom Price will enforce various administrative fixes within existing law.  Finally, I will help to pass a series of individual, understandable bills to shore up the health insurance market and give American families more choices.

 

Each step includes a wind-down period.  We are not going to pull the rug out from under people.  Additionally, provisions protecting people with pre-existing conditions and allowing children to stay on their parent’s plan until age 26 will be maintained.

 

IMMIGRATION

 

On immigration, our first priority must be to secure the border.  This is not only an immigration issue, but also a national security issue.  After eight years of President Obama and his open border policies, I’m thankful for President Trump’s focus on national security.

 

President Trump is correct in his efforts to tighten our border and immigration security to prevent bad actors from infiltrating the United States.  As Congress moves forward, I look forward to promoting common sense policies to protect our national security, including a plan to improve our current border wall infrastructure at the southern border.

 

PLANNED PARENTHOOD

 

In January, I sent a letter to President Trump, co-signed by nearly 150 additional Members of Congress, outlining our shared pro-life priorities, which includes defunding Planned Parenthood and redirecting those tax dollars to the much larger network of community health centers.

 

Planned Parenthood is so focused on abortion that it kills 160 children for every one child it refers out for adoption.  Nationwide, Planned Parenthood performs only 1.8% of clinical breast exams and less than 1% of Pap tests, but performs 34.9% of abortions.

 

In contrast, community health centers outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics 20 to 1, and provide a more comprehensive set of women’s health services.  Reallocating taxpayer funds away from the big abortion business of Planned Parenthood and toward the more expansive network of community health centers is a better way to invest in women’s health care.

 

Since taking office, my team and I have directly responded to more than 100,000 e-mails and letters, hosted more than 30 town halls, and helped more than 3,000 constituents resolve issues with the federal government.  For those who perhaps are newly engaged in the public discourse, this recent telephone town hall meeting was just the beginning.  As your Member of Congress, I am committed to being accessible and listening to your concerns.

 

Congressman Robert Pittenger (NC-09) is Chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, Vice Chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance, and serves on the House Financial Services Committee, with a special focus on supporting small businesses, community banks, and credit unions.

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