Roe looking forward to opportunity for change with new Congress, President

Published 10:19 am Thursday, November 10, 2016


Following an election that saw Republicans not only gain control of the White House but also establish a majority in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, one local Congressman is looking forward to the work that lies ahead.
U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, M.D., won his bid for re-election after fending off Democrat nominee Alan Bohms and Independent candidate Robert D. Franklin.
“It was a nice win, but not as nice as what happened later in the evening,” Roe said, referring to Republican nominee Donald Trump being declared the winner of the Presidential race and now President-elect.
“There was a lot at stake this election, and I am elated Donald Trump will be our next President. Mr. Trump ran a strong, historic campaign. People in East Tennessee are hurting after eight years of President Obama’s failed policies, and they are ready for a change,” Roe said. “I was especially glad to hear President-elect Trump call for unity and express his dedication to our nation’s heroes in his speech. I look forward to working with President Trump to serve our veterans and change the direction of this country.”
When the presidential race first began, Roe said many doubted Trump would be able to beat Clinton. “He did the unbelievable,” Roe said.
As the campaign went on, Roe said Trump continued to build support, particularly from portions of the country that have seen hard economic times and job losses and from people who felt they had been left out of the political process for a long time.
“The central theme was he spoke to people who had been left out of the equation for so long,” Roe said. “I think people who had not been involved before or had been disenfranchised came out in large numbers to vote.”
According to Roe, the recent troubles facing the Affordable Care Act, with insurance providers pulling out of the market place and those that remain handing down steep premium increases to customers, also played a part in the election.
“The Obamacare increases came in and they were astronomical,” Roe said. “People are being hurt by this.”
With a Republican soon taking up residency in the Oval Office and a majority soon to come onboard in the Senate, Roe said he feels the Republican Party will soon be able to advance legislation to help the American people.
“I am so excited because for the first time since I’ve been in Congress, the first time in eight years, I’m in a position to make real changes,” Roe said.
Roe pointed to the leadership of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who called for Republicans to stop talking and start taking action. Earlier this year, Ryan assembled a set of task forces to focus on different areas that the party feels need improvement, including healthcare, tax reform, national security and regulatory reform. Roe said he has already been heavily involved with the healthcare task force and plans to continue his work with it.
After the Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017, Roe expects Congress and then President Trump to hit the ground running advancing the party’s legislative agenda.
“When Donald Trump takes his hand off the Bible and finishes saying ‘I do’ to protecting the Constitution I think we are looking immediately at 15 hour work days,” Roe said. “The first three or four months is going to be a whirling dervish.”
What will be the first order of business for the new Congress and President?
“I think we’ll hit healthcare first because it is personal and it is hurting people,” Roe said.
But, whatever they tackle first, Roe said it will be important to work together to accomplish the change. He pointed to the difficulties Republicans have faced in recent years trying to overcome a block by the Democrats in passing legislation. Some are expecting a similar tactic from Republicans now that the control of Congress and the Presidency has shifted.
“I don’t intend to do that,” Roe said. “I intend to reach across the aisle and continue to come up with bipartisan solutions.”
But, whatever the solution, Roe feels it is important that Congress do more than talk. He said they must show their plans are working and producing results.
“We need to take this incredible opportunity the American people have given us and run with it, and if we don’t they need to throw us out, which they will,” Roe said. “I think we’re going to have to give the American people results, and we should because they deserve it.”

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