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  • Last modified 153 days ago (Jan. 17, 2018)

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Marshall encounters same divisions locally

Staff writer

It might have been a case of déjà vu for Congressman Roger Marshall at a public meeting Monday in Marion; as attendees reflected the same divisions he encounters regularly in Washington, District of Columbia.

One side criticized President Donald Trump and the Republican-led Congress, and the other side supported them.

A man from Hutchinson gave a five-minute speech about what is wrong with the Trump administration. He said a corporate tax cut should have included requirement that a corporation invest the additional income in its business, not just use it to increase dividends.

“What don’t you like?” Marshall countered, noting jobs that have been created and 3 percent growth in the economy since Trump took office. “Isn’t your retirement account growing?”

Marshall said he was disappointed that Democrats and Republicans can’t work together. He has become friends with several freshman Democratic representatives, but Democratic leadership has instructed them to vote against any legislation that is put forth by the Republican-dominated legislature, he said.

Marshall fielded questions ranging from Social Security and health care to trade and immigration.

Dan Peterson of Burdick expressed his support for the Affordable Care Act and was concerned that the new tax cut bill would result in cuts in health care. He said he was forced to sell land and use retirement savings to pay for cancer treatments for his wife, Linda, until ACA was enacted and she could get coverage.

Marshall noted the cost of health insurance is a major issue for small business owners.

“I want to fix health care,” he said.

He supports a proposal that would require states to create a “value pool” that people could use when they have major health problems. He also supports a proposal to allow any group to offer policies to its members, such as Farm Bureau or co-ops, which would bring the cost down.

Peterson was concerned that cuts in Medicaid would hurt rural hospitals, but Marshall said Medicaid hurts hospitals because they lose money on it. He said it would be better to improve the economy and put more people into Medicare or private pay.

Eileen Sieger of Marion asked about immigration and those called “dreamers” who entered the country with their parents illegally as children.

Margaret Wilson wanted to know why they couldn’t have applied for citizenship when they were younger, noting that many of them are pursuing college education.

Marshall said illegals aren’t allowed to apply for citizenship. He wants the legislature to provide a way to make them legal by fulfilling certain requirements, such as graduating from high school, getting some type of college education, or joining the military. He also wants the government to offer more and longer-length green cards, citing 20,000 jobs that are unfilled in Kansas right now.

Alvin Hett of Hillsboro wanted reassurance that Medicare and Social Security would not be cut.

“No one is talking about it,” Marshall said. He added that reducing Medicare and Medicaid fraud and driving health care down would ensure the future of those programs.

Somebody asked if the government would shut down Friday.

“Pelosi wants it to shut down so she can blame Trump for it,” Marshall said. “I don’t think it will shut down.”

Trade was another big issue. Marshall said he disagreed with Trump for dropping out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

“It’s not working out real well right now,” he said, noting that one-on-one trade agreements with countries still are being developed. He said he met with the agriculture secretary eight times in the past year and also with vice president Mike Pence to emphasize the importance of the issue. He was happy that Trump convinced China to remove a tariff on ethanol.

Marshall worked to get shipping containers for transporting Kansas sorghum to China, a grain that is in big demand there.

“It was a big surprise to me how much influence I can have on trade,” he said.

Last modified Jan. 17, 2018

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