In The News

Gohmert continues fight to repeal ObamaCare

Kilgore News Herald, By James Draper

Minutes before joining a Republican led vote to repeal ‘ObamaCare’ Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert spoke briefly with the News Herald.

“This afternoon we’re going to go in and vote to repeal this 2000-page monstrosity that gives the government the power to take over all healthcare,” the congressman said via telephone from his Washington, D.C. office.

Gohmert – a three-term Republican representing the 1st congressional district of Texas – was confident the House vote to overturn the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would be successful.

Flexing their newly-acquired majority muscles, the measure passed in the GOP-controlled lower chamber almost completely along party lines.

The 245-189 vote drew just three Democrat supporters, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has vowed to block any attempts to repeal the legislation there.

“Some say that’s where it dies and ‘Then what?’” Gohmert said. But his party is set to continue the battle. “If we push strongly enough and reflect the public will, the Senate will come around and be hardpressed to take it up as well.”

If the effort does get past the 51-47 Democrat majority, it still faces a likely veto by President Barack Obama, but Gohmert said he believes the president – whose 2012 reelection campaign is already gearing up – will be forced to cave if he wants to stay in office.

Recent polls indicate varying degrees of voter support for the repeal. CNN respondents support the move 50 percent to 42. Gallup’s numbers show a smaller margin of 46 percent in favor of repeal compared to 40 percent saying the legislation should stand as it is. A Rasmussen poll of “likely voters” puts the numbers at 55 percent for to 40 against.

With so much popular support for the repeal, “He’ll be hard-pressed not to sign it if it goes through the Senate,” Gohmert said.

According to Gohmert, there are other “wonderful proposals” in the works – including his own – that will be more palatable for voters.

“The goal is to get something done to truly reform healthcare so it is more affordable and at the same time gives patients more control,” he said.

Also key for Gohmert: doing away with the Congressional Budget Office.

“In order to effectively get a balanced budget, we’re going to have to get rid of CBO,” he said. “Any group that gets paid to come in and say spending a trillion dollars on a new healthcare bill is going to save us money is ridiculous.”

CBO “constantly misgrading the costs of bills, Gohmert argues.

“We found out toward the end of last year, when they estimated the ObamaCare bill at around $800 billion they left out the $250 billion doctor fix. It was done separate, and it turned out they had underestimated the cost by another $250 billion,” he explained. “Any group that tells you on a trillion dollar bill that their margin of error is plus or minus $500 billion, it’s time to get rid of them and get somebody that’s accurate in projecting costs.”

Gohmert said he’s filed a ‘zero baseline budget bill’ each of his three terms and will continue fighting to end automatic increases in budgets within the federal government.

“The way the law is now, the way it’s been for decades, every year there are automatic increases in the federal budget,” he said. “We’ve got to stop that. It’s outrageous.” Border security remains a top priority for the Texas congressman.

President George W. Bush started getting serious about the issue toward the end of his term, Gohmert said, but Obama has been undoing that progress.

And while Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano wants to get rid of the ‘virtual fence’ at the U.S.-Mexico border, Gohmert said, he remains committed to building a physical barrier between the United States and its southern neighbor.

“If Israel can do it when their limited resources, we certainly ought to be able to do it when it’s costing us far more in the way of drugs and violence coming into this country than it would be to just build a proper fence.”

There is enough chaos and bloodshed on the shared border with Mexico to justify sending the military to keep the peace, he said, especially amid other concerns caused by porous security.

“We’ve been told that a sizable percentage of people coming over our southern border are from the Middle East,” Gohmert said. “We don’t have enough people down there to determine whether that’s true or not, but it’s high time we got serious about it.

“My goal is to see that the federal government does a better job of keeping our promises and keeping our oath to the people that sent us here.”

The argument over the 14th Amendment and how it applies to illegal immigrants continues to be a major issue for Gohmert.

Someone interpreting the language to mean every single child born in American is a citizen is mistaken, he says.

Gohmert quoted the actual wording of the amendment: ‘All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.’

“It’s got that pesky line, ‘subject to the jurisdiction thereof,’” Gohmert said. When the child of a foreign diplomat is born in the United States, that child is not deemed to be an American citizen because they are not subject to the United States’ jurisdiction, he argues.

“If it can apply to diplomats who are here legally and their children are not by statute considered citizens, why can we not do the same thing to children who are born to parents neither of which are legally here?” he said.

The issue can be resolved with legislation, Gohmert said, even if it’s destined to be challenged.

“There’s only one way to find out and that’s to pass it and have it go to the Supreme Court.” Following the recent assassination attempt on Arizona representative Gabrielle Giffords, Gohmert said lawmakers are making an effort to usher in a new era of civility in Congress.

But there are still accusations bouncing around the floor, he said, like ObamaCare supporters saying the legislation is going to kill people.

“I’m not sure that calling people across the aisle ‘killers of innocent people’ really points a finger toward more civility in the future,” Gohmert said.

Still, he said, the change in majority in the House brought new overtures of cooperation from Democrats he’d never spoken to before, and he is looking forward to more civility.

“In view of Gabby’s being shot, people have been more friendly the past two weeks,” he said. “There are people here that I have profound disagreements on issues with that are genuinely warm, caring, decent, fine people.

“We just have strong disagreements over the way to strengthen America and preserve freedom.”

As for his own role, Gohmert doesn’t shy away from taking a firm, sometimes combative stance.

On the same night Representative Joe Wilson interrupted Obama with a shout of “You lie!” during the president’s September 2009 speech on the healthcare overhaul, Gohmert was in the audience with a “What Bill?” sign in his lap.

Gohmert said he made the sign after reading through excerpts of the speech prior to Obama’s address to the joint session of Congress – “The things he was saying were certainly not true of the only bill we had at the time.”

For Gohmert, standing out and standing firm doesn’t put him outside the political discussion.

“I think it actually helps center arguments more appropriately where they should be,” he said. “I never think it’s fringe to try to hold people to being truthful, ever.

“That also applies to my own leadership.”