• Last modified 405 days ago (July 11, 2018)


Congressman addresses trade, health care costs

Staff writer

Tim Diener, quality control supervisor, presented a slide show of a history of Countryside Feed in Hillsboro before leading Congressman Roger Marshall through the plant to view bagged feed, overhead bins, and bagging equipment Friday.

Regulations on the feed industry began in 1906 but exploded by two-thirds in 2011 with the Food Safety Act, Diener said. The veterinary feed directive that took effect in January 2017 restricted cattlemen in use of specific antibiotics.

“Are cattle still maintaining their health?” Marshall asked.

Feed manager Bill Fish said they were.

“They weren’t overusing antibiotics before,” he said.

When asked about trade and tariffs, Marshall said he was optimistic about negotiations with Mexico, which he expects to be finalized in a month. Negotiations with Canada and the European Union will take a little longer, but there still will be a lot of bloodletting with China, he said.

“Trump’s got it right,” he said. “China has used its World Trade Organization status as a non-developed country to take advantage of us.

“Tariffs are bad. They are a tax on consumers. We have to get NAFTA settled as soon as possible. Ag leaders have told me that agriculture has been mistreated by China, so they are willing to suffer short-term for a long-term fix.”

Diener was concerned about massive national debt, which wasn’t talked about anymore.

Marshall said not enough was being done to bring down the debt. The economy is growing, which helps, but the cost of health care is the biggest issue, he said. Those costs have doubled in four year. Regulations are driving up costs, he said.

He said he was working on a plan that would require transparency, spur innovation, and connect consumers directly with costs. He is promoting limitless health savings accounts that people can use to purchase insurance.

“I’m working on how to fix it,” he said. “I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel. The challenge is to get it into legislation.”

He said military spending had gone way up to rebuild what he said was lost in previous years. He said he hopes the level of spending can be brought down in future years.

Marshall said new farm legislation offered training for food stamp recipients.

“There are way too many people not working,” he said.

He said that he had received a call about trade from President Donald Trump aboard Air Force One as Trump was leaving an economic summit in Canada two weeks ago.

“Hang in there,” he quoted Trump as saying. “Give me more time.”

Last modified July 11, 2018