Virginia Foxx Says Fight For Obamacare Repeal Isn't Over
Congress is on spring break and many representatives are back in their home districts, including U.S. Representative Virginia Foxx (R-5th), who was in Winston-Salem this week. WFDD’s Keri Brown spoke with her about several issues, including health care, President Trump's actions in Syria, and the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
Congress failed its first attempt to repeal the Afforable Care Act last month, and Foxx says this will be the focus of her work when she returns to Washington.
People had a lot of opportunities to express their concerns, offer amendments before the health care bill came to the floor, but it still didn’t satisfy a few people in our conference. We would really like to have everybody in our conference vote for it, but short of that, if we can get 216 votes, we will be happy. We have some people who, I think, let the perfect be the enemy of the good and they thought the bill should be perfect and that’s very difficult to do.
Foxx was asked about another health-related issue that’s caused a stir in recent weeks. She introduced a bill in the House that would give an employer the right to offer discounts, if an employee joins a wellness program. It also allows those employers to impose penalties or surcharges. Some of the programs could include genetic testing, and that has critics concerned about privacy issues. Foxx says there's been a lot of misinformation and she wants to set the record straight.
The bill was a wellness bill. It had nothing to do with genetics. It’s just a repeat of what was in Obamacare. I’m a very strong privacy advocate. This had nothing to do with genetics testing. The Obama administration, two different parts of the Obama administration, introduced rules related to wellness programs, not genetic testing. The rules contradicted each other and it was creating problems for employers, so we simply said we are eliminating the EEOC rule, which contradicts the rule in the legislation. That’s all the bill did.
The recent nomination and swearing-in of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch was considered a big win for Republicans. Democrats criticized the choice, and how it was done. Republican Senators used what’s called the "nuclear option" to lower the threshold of votes needed to end debate over Supreme Court nominations with a simple majority. Foxx was asked if she felt comfortable with the changes.
Did you ask Democrats ten years ago did they feel comfortable changing the rules when they did it? Maybe not quite ten years ago, I think it was eight years ago, the Democrats changed the rules to get judges approved for President Obama, so this wasn’t a longstanding rule in the Senate. I feel comfortable with supporting what Mitch McConnell thinks is right for the Senate. I think majority leader McConnell is doing a fantastic job and I’m very supportive of his efforts.
Another big story in Washington is the ongoing investigations into possible ties between Russia and the Donald Trump campaign, and whether that influenced the 2016 presidential election. Foxx says she supports the President.
You know our elections are held in over 3,000 precincts across the country and there’s no evidence that they did anything to tamper with the election. Do they try to influence the election? Absolutely, but they try to influence elections [and] they have for a long, long time – not just this election. There’s a lot of hype surrounding this that I think is an excuse from the Democrats for why they lost. I think they lost because they had a flawed candidate and campaign and I don’t think it had anything to do with the Russians.
Foxx also says President Trump made the right decision with recent action in Syria when he ordered military strikes on a Syrian airbase in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack on civilians.
President Assad violated the agreement that he signed. He said that he would not use chemical weapons on the people of his country. He has done it repeatedly. President Obama did nothing. He drew a line in the sand and then walked away from it, so I think President Trump has shown that he’s resolute on this and when people sign an agreement he’s going to hold them to it. I think it was a warning to President Assad, you signed an agreement, now stick to it.
Federal tax reform is something else she expects Congress will likely debate this year. Foxx says they don’t have a specific bill yet, but she’s in favor of President Trump’s proposal to simplify the tax code.
We have a post card out that most people would be able to send in to file their taxes. It’s ridiculous that most Americans have to hire someone to do their taxes because the code is so complicated, so I think we will see significant changes and significant reforms. I don’t know if we will abide by every recommendation of the president but again, legislation is a compromise between the executive and legislative branch.
*Follow WFDD's Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news