Roe: Congress focusing on terrorism, healthcare

Published 11:40 am Thursday, January 14, 2016

Roe Quote
National security and foreign policy were two of the primary topics addressed this week in the U.S. House of Representatives according to one local lawmaker.
U.S. Rep. Phil Roe touted two votes made by the House this week. On Tuesday, the body passed the Iran Terror Finance Transparency Act and followed it up on Wednesday by passing the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act. Both measures are extremely important, Roe said.
The Iran Terror Finance Transparency Act enhances Congressional oversight over the administration of sanctions against certain Iranian financiers that have been linked to financing terrorism or terrorist groups. The bill also prohibits the President from removing certain foreign financial institutions from the list of designated nationals and blocked persons maintained by Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control until the President certifies to Congress the institution does not provide financial support to terrorist organizations and that the institution no longer knowingly engages in illicit or deceptive financial transactions or other activities.
The North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act requires the President to investigate any credible information of sanctionable activities involving North Korea and weapons testing, money laundering, censorship, human rights abuses and questionable imports or exports.
“Basically it is to enforce some sanctions for some bad behavior by North Korea,” Roe said, adding there have been reports of North Korea’s involvement in developing and testing a bomb.
The action on Wednesday came less than 24 hours after President Barack Obama delivered his final State of the Union address in which Roe and many other Republicans feel the President downplayed the security issues facing the U.S. from other nations and from terrorist organizations.
“If you ask most Americans they will tell you they are very concerned with our safety,” Roe said. “We are concerned with these radical jihadists.”
“I don’t think we’re safer than we were eight years ago, I actually think we are less safe,” he added. “I’ve been over in the Middle East to assess the situation, and in fact I’ve been there since the last time the President was there.”
The situation in the Middle East is tenuous Roe said, adding that many nations have cut ties with Iran and Syria due to those countries’ ties to terrorism and the Islamic State, commonly referred to as ISIS.
“I think the President continues to underestimate the reach of ISIS,” Roe said. “They spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week trying to figure out how to harm us.”
Roe pointed to the recent capture and detaining of 10 U.S. Navy sailors by the Iranian government. The sailors were captured on Tuesday and Iranian officials accused them of crossing over into Iranian territorial waters. The sailors were held overnight and released on Wednesday.
“We have 10 sailors captured by them and we’re supposed to be doing business with them,” Roe said, adding he was dismayed that Obama did not even mention the situation in his address to the nation on Tuesday night.
In addition to issues of safety and foreign policy, Roe said he and other members of Congress will soon be busy working on the Republican’s proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act.
Last week, Congress passed a reconciliation bill that would have repealed the controversial healthcare law. The president vetoed the measure and Congress is scheduled to take a veto override vote later this month, Roe said. “I’ll be shocked if we have enough votes to override the veto,” he said.
Roe said he and other Republicans are busy working on a bill that would replace the ACA and could have it ready for committee as early as March 1. As co-chairman of the House GOP Doctor’s Caucus, Roe has tasked his fellow caucus members with working to reform the nation’s healthcare laws.
“What we are trying to do is return some free market to healthcare. It’s non-existant now,” Roe said. “Under the Affordable Care Act healthcare is too regulated.”
There have been two proposed bills to replace the ACA, one of which was authored by Roe. As Congress works on the issue of healthcare reform, Roe said he hopes everyone can work together to bring the best ideas from each proposal and from each party to create a healthcare reform bill that is truly beneficial.
“I want to make this an open process and take the best ideas and make it work,” Roe said.

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