ELYRIA — When Congress returns from its summer recess Sept. 5, there are two issues it needs to tackle, according to U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan: Health care and tax reform.
During a speech to the Elyria Rotary on Tuesday afternoon, Jordan said he believes people are frustrated by politicians who don’t follow through with things they promised to do during their campaign to get elected.
“Three and a half weeks ago, particularly six Republican senators, voted against the very legislation they all voted for 18 months ago,” Jordan said. “The party I belong to, and those six members, all campaigned on repealing Obamacare and replacing it with something I think is better, more patient-oriented, patient-centered and family-centered. They were given the opportunity to vote on the exact same legislation — same sentences, same words, and everything was the same. How could they vote against the very thing they voted for after we told the American people we were going to do?”
Jordan, a founder of the House Freedom Caucus, said he felt the strategy for replacing the Affordable Care Act was wrong from the “get-go.” He said the conservative caucus in Congress advocated passing two pieces of legislation — repealing Obamacare in one bill and replacing it in another.
“Do them at the same time,” he said. “Let the American people know exactly what our replacement is, but do them in two pieces of legislation. What happened instead is the leadership in the House said they were going to take elements of the repeal, match that up with elements of the replace and put it into one piece of legislation.”
Doing it that way, Jordan said, will not get any Democrat help with the legislation.
“Democrats are not going to vote against their signature bill of the last several years, Obamacare,” he said. “We should have repealed it with Republican votes, and then, when it’s repealed, the Democrats, I think, will work with us, and we can come up with some solution to the rising premiums, higher deductibles and the ridiculous cost increase we’ve seen in health care over the last few years.”
The repeal legislation had an effective date of Jan. 1, 2019, which would have given Congress plenty of time to debate the replacement legislation and “get it right” before the repeal would have taken effect, according to Jordan.
He also said he expects Congress to focus on tax reform and believes that something will be done with it before the end of the calendar year.
“This has to happen,” Jordan said. “Think about our tax code. Any tax code that says on a personal side to half the population, ‘You don’t have to participate in the main tax’ is broken. Any tax, on the corporate side, that says to American companies, ‘You’re going to have to pay the highest rate in the world,’ is stupid. If you have a tax code that’s both broken and stupid, you might want to change it.”
There are a couple key debates Jordan sees unfolding over the next several months. First is doing a tax reform in a “revenue-neutral” framework, which Jordan said is Washington speak for keeping the tax burden the same and shifting around who pays what.
The second debate is the zero-sum game, a situation in which one person or group can win something only by causing a person or group to lose it.
“What I’ve seen over time, and historically in Washington, in that revenue-neutral world, the big corporations tend to do fine, and the middle-class families tend to not do so well…
“Let’s just focus on letting more families keep more of their money, making it simpler, flatter and fairer on the personal side and on the corporate side. Let’s just focus on a tax code that’s more conducive to producing economic growth.”