Mark Meadow’s Weekly Update – AHCA and More

House Passes American Healthcare Act

As you probably know, last week the House passed a newly revised version of the American Healthcare Act (AHCA). The new version of the bill was supported by myself and my colleagues in the House Freedom Caucus.

From the very beginning of this process, I’ve stated that my goals were to 1) bring down premiums for Americans, and 2) protect those with pre-existing conditions. When the original version of this bill was released, I did not feel that either goal would be accomplished, and thus, I made it clear that I would not support the bill without substantial changes.

After weeks of negotiations, meetings, countless hours of discussion, and substantive changes to the bill, I’m thrilled to say that significant improvements were made. I believe we reached the point where both of these criteria will be met – premiums will go down, and people with pre-existing conditions will have a real, reliable safety net.

While there are a lot of individuals who deserve credit for this, I particularly want to recognize my friend, Congressman Tom MacArthur and Rep. Fred Upton, for his work in negotiating the closing details of the bill. He was a critical player in getting this done.

I also want to thank President Trump – I cannot tell you all how much I’ve seen this President work behind the scenes to bring this deal home. You have a President that is incredibly focused on keeping his campaign promises to you. This bill is a major step in that agenda and a major step toward repealing and replacing Obamacare.

This has been a long process, and there is still work to be done with my Senate colleagues on improving the bill – but last week’s vote is a vital step in bringing relief to so many Americans that are being crushed by the broken system of Obamacare. Today we are one step closer. Help is on the way.

To read my full statement, click here.

Speaking at the Rose Garden after the passage of the AHCA

Working with the Senate

As we move forward in the healthcare policy debate, keep in mind that the AHCA is still going through an extensive legislative process in the Senate. When the Senate makes changes, the bill will come back to the House where the two bodies will reach an agreement on a proposal. Right now I am actively working with my Senate colleagues on negotiations to ensure that we get the best outcome possible for the American people.

You can read about those conversations here. I will keep working with them until we reach a solution that finishes the job.

Standing with President Trump at the Rose Garden (photo from Reuters)

Pre-existing Condition Protections

As you’ve probably heard me say many times by now, protecting people with pre-existing conditions was one of my chief concerns throughout the entire healthcare debate. In fact, the issue of pre-existing conditions was among the reasons I opposed the original version of the AHCA—despite pressure from even those in my own party.

While the bill is not perfect, I believe that after weeks of negotiations and substantive changes from the original version, the AHCA now strikes a positive balance between eliminating burdensome regulations, giving States options, and not leaving people with pre-existing conditions vulnerable. It would go a long way in accomplishing our goals of bringing premiums down and providing a better, more reliable safety net of protection for those at risk.

Specifically, protections such as “guaranteed issue” and “continuous coverage” remain on the books. What this means is that a state waiver will not apply to anyone who has insurance right now or maintains their already existing plan. In other words, if you are someone with a pre-existing condition who has signed up for coverage already on an Obamacare plan (or another insurance plan), your protections will still apply even if your state applies for a waiver from the Health and Human Services Department.

Furthermore, even if you do not maintain insurance coverage and your state successfully applies for a waiver, your state would still be required to establish a high-risk pool to help offset some of the costs associated with additional fees.

To read more about exactly what the bill does with pre-existing conditions, I encourage you to read this National Review article here. Below are some bullet points quoted from the article to give you an idea of what the bill accomplishes.

  • Under the new bill, States would be able to waive Obamacare rules on preexisting conditions only for people who do not maintain insurance coverage.
  • If you are someone with one of those conditions who has gotten coverage through Obamacare (or otherwise gotten coverage), the Obamacare regulations will still apply: In no state will it be possible for an insurance company to charge you more than a person without such a condition.
  • If you are someone who has insurance and develops one of these conditions, you too will be covered by the Obamacare regulations. Insurers will not be able to charge you extra, either, under any waiver.
  • People with preexisting conditions, then, would have a triple safety net even in a state that took maximum use of the waivers: Tax credits, regulatory protection contingent on continuous coverage, and high-risk pools would all benefit them.

Small Business Week

This week Congress observed Small Business Week, and let me tell you, there is no better small business community anywhere than right at home in Western North Carolina.

When I think about the highlights of coming home, without a doubt, the visits to my friends and neighbors at local businesses in the area are at the top of the list every time. There are too many memories and pictures to count, but I thought you might enjoy some of the highlights here. These are the people that truly make our economy go. Thank you to the small businesses owners in WNC and around the country for all you and your hardworking employees do!

The Regulations Rollback Continues

President Donald Trump continues to unlock our job creators by rolling back excessive and burdensome Obama-era regulations.

You may remember earlier this year when my office put out a recommendation list of rules and regulations for President Trump to roll back through Executive Order. Many of those regulations on the list have already been cut or significantly tailored. Last week, another set of those were added to the list as the President ordered steps to reduce the costly and ineffective Obama school lunch regulations.

Every day we continue to make significant progress in reigning in the out of control bureaucracy in Washington. Let’s keep pushing forward! To read more, click here.

Another Positive Jobs Report

We received great news from Friday’s Jobs Report! Our economy added over 211,000 new jobs, and the jobless rate is at its lowest point in the last 10 years.

We have a long road ahead, but we’re off to a great start in getting needless bureaucracy out of the way of everyday Americans on Main Street. Click here to read more.

Cooper Vetoes Bill Limiting Farm Nuisance Damages

From US News & World Report

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed legislation limiting certain monetary damages that neighbors of hog and poultry farm operations can collect if a court determines the stench from animal waste is officially a nuisance.

“The agriculture and forestry industries are vital to our economy and we should encourage them to thrive. But nuisance laws can be used to protect property rights and make changes for good,” Cooper said in his veto message, adding that eroding nuisance actions “can allow real harm to homeowners, the environment and everyday North Carolinians.”

The measure would restrict compensatory damages in these civil lawsuits against farming and forestry operations up to the lost property value or rental value of affected properties.

Astute readers will note that all this bill did was restrict the amount of compensatory damages that could be awarded in a lawsuit.  It did nothing whatsoever to reduce state or federal environmental regulation.  Cooper clearly appears to suggest that lawsuits over nuisance damages are a major force in protecting the environment.

Perhaps we should file this under “Roy Cooper Lies Again”


On-Campus Free Speech? Not So Much

Editor’s note:  There is good news and bad news here.  The bad news is what you’re about to learn about the sorry state of free speech on many college campuses.  The good news is that there are young men like Nicholas Williams out there.  Personally, people like Nicholas make me a bit less terrified of growing older. – Paul Yeager

Upon hearing about the introduction of the Restore/Preserve Campus Free Speech Act in the North Carolina Legislature, I decided to give a written testimony on my experience as a student at a North Carolina college with restrictive free speech codes. I have included a detailed report of the current state of free speech on my campus, Appalachian State University.

Important points on free speech on college campuses today:

1) Many universities have instituted restrictive free speech codes in recent years, many of these codes are vague and place a limitation on the fundamental civil liberty of free speech.

2) Universities should be bastions of free expression, enabling critical thinking and productive debate.

3) The American Civil Liberties Union has openly condemned free speech zones and restrictive free speech codes.

4) Many public universities in North Carolina still have free-speech zones, at Appalachian State University, only approximately 7 acres of the 375 developed acres owned by the university – or 2% of campus space – are designated as a “free-speech zone.”

5) When crafting free speech policies, many universities do not abide by reasonable limitations, such as time, place, and manner. Some policies (see Appalachian State University’s chalking policy 3.20) place an outright ban on political expression via some mediums of free speech.

6) The State of North Carolina has a duty to protect the basic elements of the First Amendment on its public universities.

7) In those protections, it is important to protect the right for an individual to freely express themselves without fear of censorship or being shut-down and silenced.

8) Public universities should adhere to the basic protection of free speech as permitted by the State of North Carolina as well as the United States Judicial System. There is little-to-no “wiggle room” for universities to craft their own free speech policies that do not fall in line with free speech precedent.

My name is Nicholas Williams, I am a sophomore economics major at Appalachian State University. I am currently the Co-President of Appalachian State Young Americans for Liberty. Upon my tenure as a student at Appalachian State University, I have served as a student government Senator, a member of university committees, and an executive member for other various advocacy and academic organizations on campus.

Due to recent encounters with school administration on various forms of on-campus activism, I felt compelled to secure one of the most basic fundamental civil liberties, freedom of speech. I write this brief not as a conservative or liberal, but as an engaged student concerned with free speech on college campuses today.

Universities should be bastions of free expression and open dialogue; however, recent campus responses to various forms of political expression have placed unreasonable restrictions on free speech. These restrictions have created unnecessary controversy and censorship. These restrictive codes have failed to maintain an open learning environment with free exchange of ideas.

When a university crafts policy on free speech, it is important to look at precedent on free speech policies across the country. It is also important to recognize that any limitation of political speech is restrictive. The first amendment is not crafted for loose interpretation and it is important for state-funded universities to uphold, and not dilute, students’ basic right to free speech.

I first became aware of Appalachian State’s restrictive free speech codes after a friend and I were participating in electioneering at Appalachian State’s on-campus voting site. After placing campaign material outside of the university’s dining hall, a location which was non-impeding to students and voters, we were confronted by the university police. We were informed that we were not allowed to place campaign material in this location as it was not a recognized free speech zone by the university. As active students on campus, we were appalled to learn that the university still enforced free-speech zones after other universities had failed in defense of their free-speech zones. We complied with the officers’ demands, but were encouraged to conduct research on Appalachian State’s history with free speech.

Upon our initial research, we discovered that Appalachian State’s Free-Speech zones consisted of 7.69 acres of University property. Compared to the 375 total acres of campus, recognized free-speech zones only consist of 2% of the total developed campus property. Since we discovered those facts, we made several strides with student government in preparing legislation to address these restrictive codes, yet the likelihood of administration adopting these suggestions are slim.

In 2007, Appalachian State University Student Government adopted a resolution to “Repeal University policies that restrict Free Speech” which maintained that the current restrictive free speech codes violate the Appalachian State University Student Government Association’s Bill of Rights, Section C, states, “Each student shall be secure that no University organizations or their facilities shall be used as a device of censorship.” Since the passage of that resolution, there was little-to-no action from the university to reduce the restrictive free speech codes.

The American Civil Liberties Union stated on free speech zones, “While there may be specific areas where speech activities can be limited, such as inside classrooms or administrative offices, the presumption, is that all other areas of the campus must be open to lawful speech activities and no special permission is required.” Free speech zones have a history of merely tolerating speech in certain designated areas rather than inducing a “marketplace of ideas,” an axiom which has traditionally held true to productive and fruitful college campuses.

February of 2014, the Huffington Post published an article by FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) which ranked Appalachian State University as the 7th worst college for free speech in 2013. As a proud student and advocate for Appalachian State University, I do not think it serves our state’s best interest to continue allowing restrictive free speech policies on taxpayer-funded campuses. Enabling these current policies to stay in place sends a message loud and clear on the state’s stance on promoting open dialogue, and free exchange of ideas. The Constitution is very explicit about the importance of upholding free speech.

Inhibiting another’s ability to peacefully express their views is a blatant form of censorship. The first amendment is applicable throughout all of the United States, not just certain marginal areas university administration deems appropriate. Furthermore, it is critical that the rights of speech for any speaker be protected from interference.

Regardless of your stance on the speaker or topic, their ensured civil liberty is just as important to protect as anyone else’s. The most effective way to combat bad ideas is through discussion and debate, restrictive codes only further increase tensions. These quick, but dangerous, resolves made by administrators in attempt to suppress tension only “add fuel to the fire.”

Most recently, my university instituted a policy in response to certain political messages written in chalk. On September 28th, the Chancellor announced that the university had instituted a new policy on “chalking,” policy 3.20 which prohibits chalking to only marketing for on-campus approved events. In her email, she stated, “It is important to note that free speech is encouraged on our campus, but not all speech that may be considered protected under state or federal laws is consistent with the university’s values and mission.”

This policy outright bans a medium of free speech, not placing a reasonable limitation on political chalking, but limiting chalking to the purposes of marketing events. Furthermore, the statement in the chancellor’s email alludes to empowering the university administration to determine their own limitations on free speech despite what federal and state laws and constitutions have upheld. This further justifies the need for the State of North Carolina to clear up the ambiguous free speech codes which are plaguing North Carolina’s college campuses.

As someone that has been relatively involved in on-campus politics, I was not directly affecting by the chalking ban. But I recognized the dangerous precedent the university administration was setting for free speech codes in the future, and felt compelled to get involved.

My organization, Appalachian State Young Americans for Liberty, held three pro-free speech events this year. We held a Free Speech Beach Ball event in September, and Free Speech Chalking Protests in October and February. Our message was rooted in the importance of defending the First Amendment, and that restriction of speech benefits no parties involved in discussion or debate. We used these events as a way to educate the student body on the university’s policy on chalking and free speech zones.

All three events received applause from students and faculty. The participants ranged from all ends of the political spectrum. Our free speech chalking protests were two events where we provided chalk, as well as copies of the constitution, to students and encouraged them to write whatever they please, as long as it was not threatening or libel. As you may expect, the protest provoked many different individuals to write encouraging messages to one another, offer opinions on political issues, and provoke various forms of free expression in chalk.

During our second chalking protest, we were encountered by a campus police officer. As they were doing their job, they were not clear on what the policy permitted and what it did not permit. My Co-President and I were faced with potential university conduct charges on vandalism. Fortunately, after receiving adequate legal advice from our attorney as well as outside free speech advocacy organizations, the university’s student conduct board dropped all potential charges.

Unfortunately, we were not able to incite change on the administration’s stance on chalking. As an individual, I would have no right to write a political message in washable chalk. The university does have a right to set reasonable limitations on chalk, such as the chalk must be washable and chalking messages cannot be under an overhang or roof; however, the university did not place a reasonable limitation on the act of chalking.

Since our protests, we have been contacted by the student newspapers, alumni, and various other students asking how they can contribute their energy to the cause. Students and faculty understand the utmost importance of upholding free speech on college campuses. In fact, on February 13th, the Appalachian State University Faculty Senate passed a resolution which stated, “It is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.”

Reactionary policies in response to free speech do nothing to limit tensions or provide a “safe space” for students; instead, they create a hostile environment for exchange of ideas and intellectual discussion. Public university administration, which do not have nearly as much freedom to craft their own policies as private universities do, should hold true to the basic standards of civil liberties.

Students, just as I did, have the potential of being charged for exercising their first amendment rights. Differing opinions and outlooks should be encouraged on college campuses, and our country has had the unique historical advantage of upholding the first amendment, however the most basic civil liberty is threatened on college campuses today.

Opponents of free speech have applauded these restrictive codes as “safe speech;” it is unfortunate and irrational that some individuals view certain differing opinions as a threat to their safety. Restrictive free speech codes on colleges only further false securities during a critical time in human life where critical thinking and difference in outlook are crucial for development.

I hope that members of the North Carolina General Assembly recognize their duty to protect basic constitutional rights on North Carolina’s college campuses. Academic excellence and personal freedom is vastly reduced when colleges impose restrictions on speech to their students and staff.

Nicholas V. Williams

Who Is Defending Us?

By Frank Schaeffer of the Washington Post

Before my son became a Marine, I never thought much about who was defending me. Now when I read of the war on terrorism or the coming conflict in Iraq, it cuts to my heart. When I see a picture of a member of our military who has been killed, I read his or her name very carefully. Sometimes I cry.

In 1999, when the barrel-chested Marine recruiter showed up in dress blues and bedazzled my son John, I did not stand in the way. John was headstrong, and he seemed to understand these stern, clean men with straight backs and flawless uniforms. I did not. I live in the Volvo-driving, higher education-worshiping North Shore of Boston. I write novels for a living. I have never served in the military.

It had been hard enough sending my two older children off to Georgetown and New York University. John’s enlisting was unexpected, so deeply unsettling. I did not relish the prospect of answering thequestion, “So where is John going to college?” from the parents who were itching to tell me all about how their son or daughter was going to Harvard. At the private high school John attended, no other students were going into the military.

“But aren’t the Marines terribly Southern?” (Says a lot about open-mindedness in the Northeast) asked one perplexed mother while standing next to me at the brunch following graduation. “What a waste, he was such a good student,” said another parent. One parent (a professor at a nearby and rather famous university) spoke up at a school meeting and suggested that the school should “carefully evaluate what went wrong.”

When John graduated from three months of boot camp on Parris Island, 3000 parents and friends were on the parade deck stands. We parents and our Marines not only were of many races but also were representative of many economic classes. Many were poor. Some arrived crammed in the backs of pickups, others by bus. John told me that a lot of parents could not afford the trip.

We in the audience were white and Native American. We were Hispanic, Arab, and African American, and Asian. We were former Marines wearing the scars of battle, or at least baseball caps emblazoned with battles’ names. We were Southern whites from Nashville and skinheads from New Jersey, black kids from Cleveland wearing ghetto rags and white ex-cons with ham-hock forearms defaced by jailhouse tattoos. We would not have been mistaken for the educated and well-heeled parents gathered on the lawns of John’s private school a half-year before.

After graduation one new Marine told John, “Before I was a Marine, if I had ever seen you on my block I would’ve probably killed you just because you were standing there.” This was a serious statement from one of John’s good friends, a black ex-gang member from Detroit who, as John said, “would die for me now, just like I’d die for him.”

My son has connected me to my country in a way that I was too selfish and insular to experience before. I feel closer to the waitress at our local diner than to some of my oldest friends. She has two sons in the Corps. They are facing the same dangers as my boy. When the guy who fixes my car asks me how John is doing, I know he means it. His younger brother is in the Navy.

Why were I and the other parents at my son’s private school so surprised by his choice? During World War II, the sons and daughters of the most powerful and educated families did their bit. If the idea of the immorality of the Vietnam War was the only reason those lucky enough to go to college dodged the draft, why did we not encourage our children to volunteer for military service once that war was done?

Have we wealthy and educated Americans all become pacifists? Is the world a safe place? Or have we just gotten used to having somebody else defend us?

What is the future of our democracy when the sons and daughters of the janitors at our elite universities are far more likely to be put in harm’s way than are any of the students whose dorms their parents clean?

I feel shame because it took my son’s joining the Marine Corps to make me take notice of who is defending me. I feel hope because perhaps my son is part of a future “greatest generation. “As the storm clouds of war gather, at least I know that I can look the men and women in uniform in the eye. My son is one of them. He is the best I have to offer. He is my heart.

“Faith is not about everything turning out OK; Faith is about being OK no matter how things turn out.”

Oh, how I wish so many of our younger generations could read this article. It makes me so sad to hear the way they talk with no respect for what their fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers experienced so they can live in freedom. Please pass it on….

“Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as you ever can.” – John Wesley

Hat tip to the person who emailed me this – you know who you are.


HRA Supports Congressman Meadows

Today I listened to a speech given by Matt Coffay in Waynesville as he proudly announced he would be challenging U.S. House Representative Mark Meadows (R) for the 11th congressional district seat.

Coffay proclaimed “I’m here to tell you that I’m going to stand up to insurance companies. I’m going to stand up to the health insurance industry…and say that we need Medicare for all.”

Hearing this statement sent chills down my spine, this young man obviously believes in the redistribution of wealth or in simple terms stealing what I work for to pay for what others have not worked for.

This whole mentality is counter to the very capitalist ideals and free market principles that our country was founded on. In fact thinking like this by the Obama administration has left our children with a 20 trillion dollar debt and nothing to show for it.

The Haywood Republican Alliance will proudly support Congressman Mark Meadows in his re-election bid.

Congressman Meadows has demonstrated his ability and willingness to communicate and listen to the majority of his constituents in his district and then act based on that input.

Mark has often spent his days home working in local businesses where he gets first-hand interaction with the people he represents.

Mark keeps the voters informed through his newsletter, which all constituents can sign up for and receive free of charge.

Strong communication with constituents is the most basic thing a Congressman is supposed to do. Mark has done that well and listens to what his constituents are telling him.

Mark has also stood strong to his campaign promise of a complete repeal of Obamacare. We are thankful that he did not cave in to pressure from within his own party to replace one government healthcare plan with another government healthcare plan with a different name.

For all these reasons we stand beside Congressman Mark Meadows and encourage you to vote for sound proven leadership in the 11th district come election time.

Thank you
Jeremy Davis
Haywood Republican Alliance


NC Lawmaker Admits HB2 Repeal was Driven By Image, Fear of Leftist Media

From Liberty Headlines:

The North Carolina lawmaker who drove the final effort to successfully repeal the state’s artificially demonized House Bill 2 (HB2) admitted this week that her motivation was “the way the media played it up” and to “get the rest of the nation off our back.”

NC Lawmaker Admits HB2 Repeal was Driven By Fear of Media, Nat'l Perception

NC Rep. Sarah Stevens

State Rep. Sarah Stevens, a Republican who represents Mt. Airy — the town that served as the model for “Mayberry” in “The Andy Griffith Show” — introduced and pushed for passage of House Bill 142, which erased the language of HB2 from North Carolina’s statutes. The now-banished law was known as the “transgender bathroom” bill that required individuals to use public restrooms and changing facilities according to their sex identities on their birth certificates.

In an interview with the Wilkes Journal-Patriot, which covers part of her district in rural northwestern North Carolina, Stevens said the merits of HB2 were irrelevant in light of attacks from the national Left, who were emboldened by liberal news coverage and alliances with major corporate CEOs, sports organizations, and Hollywood celebrities and performers.

“She said HB 2 ‘was not a bad bill,’” the newspaper reported, “‘but it had given us (North Carolina) a bad image because of the way the media played it up.’ HB 2 became a stain on the state that needed to be removed, said Stevens.”

“It was common sense to get us back to where we were before,” Stevens told the Journal-Patriot. “It was truly a re-set of the dial to get the rest of the nation off our back.”

Organizations that supported HB2 in North Carolina bristled at throwing out what they saw as sound law, that protected the privacy and provided legal protections for women and children when they are in restrooms and locker rooms.

Corporate Watchdogs Criticize Financiers of NCAA, ACC Threats Against North Carolina 5

Rev. Mark Creech

“It’s most disconcerting when legislation is done according to ‘image,’” said Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina. “Whatever happened to truth? Whatever happened to conviction?

“If lawmakers simply float with the currents, if they’re not firmly guided by the highest of principles and ideals, then they become nothing more than an echo, not a voice.”

Tar Heel lawmakers who supported Stevens’s bill felt a heightened sense of urgency to rid themselves of HB2 because the NCAA threatened them with a deadline of last week to repeal, or else face losing college sports tournaments for the next five or six years.

“By meeting the demands of the NCAA and all the other business interests and sports organizations who have bullied North Carolina, our leaders have demonstrated that whoever bullies the most and the loudest wins,” said the NC Values Coalition in an analysis issued on Wednesday. “This tactic will likely be used again, since it works.”

During debate of House Bill 142 last week, several legislators — most which represent rural districts — said calls and emails to their offices overwhelmingly opposed repeal of HB2.

“Perhaps it would be appropriate if we would commemorate the passage of this bill by inviting the governor to come down to the building today and lowering those two flags [the U.S. and North Carolina flags outside the Legislative Building] and putting up in their place a flag of a certain intercollegiate athletic association and a white flag,” said Rep. Bert Jones, R-Rockingham.

The perception — both in the Tar Heel State and nationally — that HB2 was a bad law, almost universally hated, was false. Groups of pastors and civil rights leaders defended the bill. Concerned Women for America praised the fact that an attempted repeal in December failed. And several widely-read online conservative publications said the law was sound and sensible.

And lawmakers in other states have sought to advance legislative equivalents to HB2. It was just a matter of who lawmakers took their cues from.

The passage of House Bill 142 did not appease the Human Rights Campaign or Equality NC, the two most vocal LGBT advocacy groups that caterwauled for a repeal of HB2. They have continued their campaign against the state because they say the replacement law still does not provide protections for self-proclaimed transgenders and “gender fluids” to use any restroom that matches their “identities.” Some businesses, groups, and public officials have said they will continue their boycotts of North Carolina in support of HRC and Equality NC.

“I fear the legislation that passed will provide no reset,” said Rev. Creech. “Lawmakers who voted for ‘repeal and replace’ are not likely to succeed in getting the HRC and other Leftist groups off our back until every vestige of HB2 is removed, either by a straight–up repeal of the current measure or knocked down by a progressive court.”

“These insidious social terrorists cannot be pacified or placated,” he added. “They must be defeated.”

In Defense of the Freedom Caucus

From National Review:

It’s wrong for Trump to blame the conservatives.

The demise of the American Health Care Act, House speaker Paul Ryan and the White House’s ill-fated effort to reform Obamacare, has prompted a cascade of finger-pointing as Republicans try to assign blame for their recent embarrassment.

The White House and much of the Republican establishment have settled on a familiar scapegoat: the famously stubborn 30 or so members of the House Freedom Caucus. On Thursday morning, President Trump tweeted: “The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don’t get on the team, & fast. We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!”

We have been not infrequent critics of the Freedom Caucus, who often seem oblivious to Ronald Reagan’s observation that “my 80 percent friend is not my 20 percent enemy.” There is no doubt that members of the caucus can be frustrating and prone to an unrealistic tactical maximalism.

Yet in this latest episode, the Freedom Caucus was mostly in the right (and it wasn’t just them — members from all corners of the House GOP found it impossible to back the bill). The American Health Care Act was a kludge of a health-care policy. Described as a way to simultaneously repeal key elements of the Affordable Care Act and replace them with market-oriented reforms, the bill in its final form managed to do little of either.

Freedom Caucus members were particularly concerned about the willingness of House leaders to leave the vast majority of Obamacare’s regulations on the books — after Republicans spent seven years promising that the party would “repeal and replace Obamacare.” Even the rationale that the AHCA would be better than nothing was hard to justify; it probably would have further destabilized the individual market, while millions fewer would have been insured.

No wonder that strong-arming on behalf of the bill didn’t work. According to news reports, in the final hours, the White House sent adviser Steve Bannon to tell obstinate Freedom Caucus members that they “have no choice” but to vote for the bill. It’s hard to imagine a less effective pitch to a group that has long accused Republican leaders of trying to coerce conservatives into falling in line against their principles.

Read more at:


Tillis: No Wall, More Cheap Imported Labor

North Carolina’s own pet RINO Senator Thom Tillis is showing his true colors again.  It seems South Carolina’s Senator Lindsay Graham is helping him paint.

From Breitbart:

“The border wall is probably not a smart investment,” South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham told Politico. In 2012, Graham launched the “Gang of Eight” amnesty bill which split the GOP and helped elect Trump as president.

North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis is downplaying the wall as he calls for a greater inflow of cheap labor.  On March 2, he  joined with several lobbyists to suggest that Congress deny funds for construction of a wall or fence along stretches of the border in favor of “other capabilities.” Border security, Tillis said, “is one of the first things we need to do…  [but] it seems to me we could get to a reasonable compromise on a bill that I think will be less costly and more effective than just the concept of a structure. Walls need to be where wall are, but other capabilities need to be elsewhere.”

Sounds like “no more walls” and “more H1B visas” to us. No, we’re not just guessing.  On June 3, 2016 The Charlotte Observer published an article that included this:

During this year’s Senate panel hearing on the H-1B program, North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis said Charlotte had 1,000 unfilled IT positions two years ago.

“There was a mismatch between the requirements of the job and the skills that the person brought to the table,” Tillis said at the hearing. “Just because this person says they’re an IT person, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are qualified for the IT job, particularly with the highly specialized nature of the industry today.”

In Charlotte and elsewhere, many people left the IT field during the recession or were laid off and have never returned, contributing to the current shortage, said Michelle Fish, CEO of Charlotte-based Integra Staffing & Search, which helps find job candidates for local employers with openings. Demand for H-1B visas seemed to begin picking up about five years ago, as the U.S. economy started recovering, she said.

Fish said most companies turn to H-1B workers as a last resort.

“We’re always trying to tap into the talent that’s in the U.S. first,” Fish said.

I don’t mean to be unduly cynical, but I think that should read “talent that is in the U.S. and will work cheap”.
Want people to return to the IT field?  Stop importing people that work for half to two thirds of what Americans work for.
This article represents the opinion of the author, supported by citations from other web publications.
Paul Yeager is a conservative activist and IT professional in Waynesville.