Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

September 3, 2013

Syria, immigration, health care top topics

By Gary Nelson
Senior staff writer

CROSSVILLE — Congressman Diane Black, Tennessee’s 6th District representative in the U. S. House of Representatives, told constituents Monday that she had “grave concerns” about U.S. troops getting involved in the current happenings in Syria.

“There’s not a whole lot of plans and what I’d like to see is an end game plan ... Show me a plan. Our military spending has dropped down and I think we’re spreading ourselves too thin. I’m not sure what Congress can say or do to make a difference,” Black said.

She said she thought there were other ways to intervene besides using U.S. troops through the United Nations or Arab League that might work.

“But I’ve yet to see a plan,” Black said.

Black made the remarks in response to a question from Crossville resident Barry Field last week when Black attended a business town hall meeting and gave a legislative update at the Palace Theatre.

The event was sponsored by the Crossville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce and gave business leaders in the community an opportunity to ask Black questions.

“We like to bring what information we can from Washington to you and the purpose of this meeting is to get input from you to take back to Washington so that I can use real life situations as examples of what’s going on in my community. Your input is very important to me,” Black said.

Black gave a Powerpoint presentation giving news and facts to the some 30-people who attended the meeting.

Black said facing the facts about the U.S. debt was grim.

“The national debt is at a staggering $16.7 trillion,” Black said. “ And our unfunded liabilities are at $86.7 trillion.”

She continued saying, “There have been four straight years of annual budget deficits exceeding $1 trillion. We can’t continue like this.”

She said 48 percent of the country’s debt is in foreign holdings.

“That means 48 percent of our debt is owed to other countries,” Black said.

She said, “The impact of this deficit spending and debt crisis creates uncertainty, crowds out private investment, causes higher interest rates and inflation, depressed wages, a devalued dollar, higher unemployment and threatens our social safety net.”

Black said the House passed a balanced budget, “It balances our budget in 10 years, raises (Gross Domestic Product) GDP by one percent in 2014, by $1,500 per U.S. household, and raises the GDP by three percent over 10 years. It creates a path for comprehensive tax reform and fully repeals the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare.”

Black is using the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) as a source for the facts and figures she presented.

Black said ObamaCare needed to be repealed and there was a House Bill HR45, which was a bipartisan vote, that fights against ObamaCare.

“This isn’t something just one side agrees on,” Black said.

She said there was also other pending legislation that fights against ObamaCare, including an Authority for Mandate Delay Act (H.R. 2667) which codifies the president’s employer mandate delay,

as well as the Fairness for American Families Act (H.R. 2668) that extends that delay to protect all Americans from the ObamaCare Mandate.

“Again, this isn’t just Republicans. It was supported by 22 Democrats,” Black said.

“ObamaCare was supposed to make it easier but it’s going to add $6.2 trillion to the long term deficit. Thirty million Americans will be left uninsured once it’s fully implemented and it will force Americans to spend 190 million hours per year on compliance.”

She also said, citing the CBO, “ObamaCare will reduce employment by 800,000 in 2021 and the medical device tax will cause up to $3.5 billion in lost wages.”

Black said she is also involved with House Resolution H.R. 2022 Stopping Government Abuse of Taxpayer Information Act.

Black said it would prevent governmental agencies like the Internal Revenue Service, Homeland Security, Social Security, Health and Human Services and Department of Justice from misusing information from health care records and information of taxpayers.

Black said she is also involved with House Resolution H.R. 2220 The Smart Border Act of 2013.

Black said the resolution, “Requires DHS to achieve operational control of the border within one year. Mandates that DOD make 10,000 National Guard available for deployment upon request by border state governors until control is achieved. Authorizes DHS to deploy ‘smart border technology’ (such as seismic detectors and UAV’s) to areas of the border in which operational control has not been achieved.”

She said the Senate amnesty bill is the wrong approach to addressing the illegal immigration crisis.

“There would be too many unintended consequences of passing a bill that size,” Black said.

Black opened the floor for questions and there were only a couple.

Jack Chadwell asked if it was realistic that ObamaCare could go into effect Jan. 1, 2014.

Black said she had concerns with governmental agencies having access to personal information and keeping such a large database.

“Is it ready to go? No. Standards are set and have not been met,” she said.

“What can be done to stop it?” Barry Field asked.

“I wish I had an answer. I lay awake at night wondering. If Congress passes a law and the Senate takes it up, the president still has to sign it. It’s frustrating. It’s like gridlock and we are almost neutered in what we can do ... It’s real frustrating and it’s a trainwreck. We’ve got to reign up the power of the executive branch,” she said.

Black encouraged all attending to get in touch with her through a variety of ways, by either calling, emailing or following her on social media websites like Twitter, You Tube, Facebook and Instagram, as she maintains a presence on all of those sites.

“If you follow me on any of those sites you can see what’s going on in real time and the information is coming straight from me or my staff as it’s happening,” Black said.