MILTON, Ga. – Members of the Milton Business Alliance (MBA) were given a Washington, D.C., update Feb. 20 by the local House member, U.S. Rep. Tom Price.
The short version is that Washington is a mess. But there are bright points.
Price spoke at the MBA meeting held this month at the American Family Care on Ga. 9.
“I think your Congress is very representative of the country,” Price said. “We are a very divided country.”
Republicans control the House, so they are in charge of legislating. However, Democrats control the Senate and the White House, meaning Republicans are also the opposition party.
This has created a sense of schizophrenia, as he put it, not just within his party, but within the U.S. Capitol, which has led to gridlock and constant showdowns.
“Even though we have been divided in the past, it didn’t mean we didn’t get things done,” he said. “[Now] Congress is not addressing the challenges that need to get done. And those challenges won’t go away.”
One such challenge is job growth.
“We are not creating jobs,” he said. “We have the lowest adult workforce since World War II.”
Part of that, Price said, is because the Baby Boomers are retiring in large numbers. But there is more.
“It’s not because the government hasn’t been doing enough,” he said.
Instead, it’s the opposite.
Businesses and workers are not given the right incentives to hire or work. He said the government should step back from controlling and regulating businesses. The U.S. also uses an antiquated tax system – including the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world (39 percent). It needs an overhaul.
“Our tax system punishes risk and success,” he said. “That makes it difficult to expand a business. We need fundamental tax reform.”
Also, federal spending needs to be reined in. Ten percent of the budget is simply interest on the debt, costing $250 billion a year. In 10 years, that number will inflate to $1 trillion a year if nothing is done.
And then there is the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
“A vast amount of people are looking at the ACA and saying, ‘This is not what I thought it would be,’” he said.
Price said his party has 160 health care bills that could replace the ACA, however the party cannot agree on which is best. Even if they did, Democrats would not allow any to move forward. Republicans need to find another way that would work for all in the party.
“We need an alternative,” he said.
Such a bill may be put forward in the spring.
“We are at a challenging time right now,” he said. “We need better leadership and need to find common ground. We need real solutions that solve real problems.
“Elections will sort this out, I have no doubt,” he said.
For more about Price, his views or to contact him, visit his website at tomprice.house.gov.