GOP Congressman Mark Walker –He’s for War With Mexico and for War With Obamacare October 15, 2017
Again, again, and again elections count. Too many Americans laughed or ignored Demagogue Donald’s repeated speeches, including his convention acceptance one, that “he alone will fix things.” That statement, to put it bluntly, is the definition of a dictator. In a democracy, which we have had since 1789, solutions to problems are enacted by many people representing us, not just one person. We have a Congress, with two chambers, composed of 535 members. Congress’s House of Representatives and Senate, according to the “original intent” of the Constitution’s framers, (Justices Scalia and Gorsuch), pass laws that go to the President for his signature. This is especially true for legislation that involves changing 1/6 of the U.S. economy, health care reform. Since its 3/2010 signing, there have been over 50 attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), AKA Obamacare. Three of the most radical of these plans pushed by the GOP Senate, with Donald’s prodding, crashed and burned this past summer and fall. Millions of Americans, emailed, telephoned, and wrote the GOP-controlled Senate to save Obamacare. You would think that Donald and his House and Senate lackeys got the message--- Obamacare must be preserved and that any problems with it should be fixed in a bipartisan way. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) are currently trying to do just that (CNN, Liptak, Luhby, & Mattingly, 10/13/17). Of course, Demagogue Donald could care less about bipartisan deals. He is either deaf to the public’s outcry or most likely, only hears the screams of his extreme Tea Party base and their donors. Donald, additionally, remains rabidly obsessed with undoing anything his predecessor President Barack Obama did (See Cillizza, CNN, 10/13/17).
Since Congress failed to repeal Obamacare, “dictator Donald” will “fix,” read, utterly trash, Obamacare “all by his lonesome.” Never mind that Obamacare, with a 51% plus positive rating is more popular than Donald, who has a pathetic 36%-38% positive score (cnbc., Mangan, 6/23/17, fivethirtyeight.com). On Thursday 10/12/2017, “Dictator Donald,” issued two executive orders. In the first, Trump issued potentially sweeping changes to the nation’s insurance system, including allowing sales of cheaper policies with fewer benefits and fewer consumer protections. Translation: junk insurance policies. This executive order also makes it easier for businesses to create associations that could charge higher premiums for people with pre-existing conditions (See money.cnn.com, Luhby, 10/14/17). A few hours later, with his second order, “Dictator Donald” indicated he would scrap subsidies to health insurance companies that help pay out-of-pocket costs of low income people. Both of these Trump executive orders, especially the scrapping of health insurance subsidies, are heavy twin blows to the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature domestic achievement. These orders by Trump could unravel Obamacare, sending insurance premiums soaring and getting insurance companies to flee the healthcare law’s online marketplaces. With subsidies cut off, insurance markets could easily and quickly fall apart. Insurers have said they will need higher premiums and may pull out of the Obamacare insurance exchanges. Known as cost-sharing reduction payments, the subsidies were expected to total $9 billion in the coming year and nearly $100 billion in the coming decade. “Dictator Donald” appears hell-bent on dismantling Obamacare on his own. Donald-- the “Dismantler-in-Chief (See NY Times, Pear, Haberman, & Abelson, 10/12/17).” Non-partisan analyses predict Donald’s ending of subsidies will raise premiums by 25% and add almost $200 billion to the deficit (Martin, shareblue.com, 10/14/17). According White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Donald’s decision to scrap the health care subsidy payments was “based on guidance from the Justice Department,” the very Justice Dept. headed by legal “scholar” (LOL) Jeff Sessions (See CNN, Liptak, et al, 10/13/17).
While senior congressional GOPers oppose the subsidy payments and previously sued the Obama administration to stop them, many now correctly recognize that ending them suddenly, as Trump is doing, could hurt millions of Americans insured through the Obamacare changes. It is dawning on some GOPers that voters faced with a denial of health care insurance and its benefits could rightfully take it out on them at the 2018 midterm elections. Nearly 6 million enrollees or 57% of them qualify for these subsidies, according to the Dept. of Health and Human Services (CNN, Liptak et al, 10/13/17). Democratic Senate and House Leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi aptly stated that Trump had “apparently decided to punish the American people for his inability to improve the health care system.” They called it a “spiteful act of vast, pointless sabotage leveled at working families and the middle class in every corner of America… and he (Trump) will pay the price for it (NY Times, Pear et al, 10/12/17).” GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan, who, IMHO cares more about plucked- from- the- air abstract numbers than people, praised Trump’s subsidy cuts (Pear et al, NY Times). Congressman Mark Walker praised “Dismantler Donald.” Walker tweeted that “under no circumstances should Congress attempt to expand Obamacare by cutting a check for President Obama’s bailout of the insurance companies. Instead, Congress must fulfill the promise of repeal and replace Obamacare (CNN Liptak et al, 10/13/17).” Who is Cong. Walker?
Second-term GOP Congressman Mark Walker (48) currently represents N. Carolina’s 6th Congressional District (CD). The repeatedly re-districted/gerrymandered Tar Heel 6th currently includes portions of Guilford, Alamance, Durham, Granville, and Orange Counties. All of Caswell, Person, Rockingham, Surrey, and Stokes Counties also lie in this district. The 6th contains the cities of Graham and Asheboro, as well as part of Greensboro. The 6th lies in the north- central part of N. Carolina and borders VA. The latest Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI) gives the 6th an R+9 score (Cook Index, 115th Cong. at Your Fingertips, Our District, Cong. Mark Walker).
Before running for Congress in 2014, Walker was a Southern Baptist minister for 15 years. He decided to run, because “our nation seems to have forgotten that our freedom isn’t a derivative of the federal government, but comes from God (walker4nc.com).” He clobbered his Democratic opponent by a 17.4% margin. In 2016, Walker coasted to re-election with an 18.4% win (N. Carolina State Board of Elections). Walker stands for the usual far right ideas. He is anti-minimum wage, for a regressive flat tax, and calls climate change science a “contested issue.” He is pro-life and believes that women who are victims of rape and incest should be forced to give birth. He is against Medicare (walker4nc., emilylist.org). He talked of impeaching Obama (Kos, Nir, D., 8/13/14). He told a Tea Party crowd in 6/2014 that “drug cartels (from Mexico) sneaking across the border were a national threat…” When then asked if he had any qualms about starting up a little war with Mexico, Walker replied, “Well we did it before. If we need to do it again, I don’t have a qualm about it (greensboro.com/news, Killian, 9/27/14).” Wow! Let’s restart the 1840’s Mexican War in the 21st Century. Walker later said that as a non-career politician he had been “carried away” by his Tea Party audience (See Killian).
During Campaign 2016, “religious” Walker condemned some of Donald’s lewd anti-women remarks, but still supported him over Hillary (Douglas, “News & Observer,” 6/09/16, Jarvis, “News & Observer, 10/08/16). Since Donald has taken office, Cong. Walker has voted with him 90.7% of the time, another Trump rubber stamper (fivethirtyeight.com). And get this. Even though Donald grudgingly proposed aid to hurricane-stricken Puerto-Rico, Walker voted against it (fivethirtyeight.com). Why be surprised? In 12/2016, Walker was one of only 33 GOP Congressman to vote against aid to victims of Hurricane Matthew (newsobserver.com, Douglas, 12/09/16). I guess, in Walker’s book, Trump’s soft paper towels thrown to a few Puerto Ricans constitutes sufficient disaster aid.
Despite all his far-right zany comments and record, or, more likely because of them, Walker ran for and won the chairmanship of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), becoming its youngest chair (Bade, politico.com, 11/17/16). The RSC is the most conservative and dominant force within the Republican caucus, consisting of nearly 160 members (CQ 14 Almanac, Kenny, cnn.com, 9/27/17). In a 9/26/2017 press conference, RSC Chairman Walker described the 16 female GOP members of this group as “eye candy.” He later had to apologize for this sexist and flippant remark (CNN, Kenny). Unlike the legitimately repudiated entertainment tycoons Harvey Weinstein, Roger Ailes, and Bill O’ Reilly, don’t expect Cong. Meadows to be evicted from his post or face any penalty. As with Donald, SIJF, “Sexism is Just Fine,” if you’re a GOP politician.
Of course, Cong. Walker has been against Obamacare from the get-go and is ecstatic about Donald’s executive orders to gut it. Walker led the Republican Study Committee’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He has called for “full repeal” of the legislation. Walker had criticized 2015 GOP legislation that would repeal only part of the act (CNN, Lee & Walsh, 1/04/17, The Hill, Bolton, 11/16/15).
Bipartisan rejection of Dictator Donald’s executive orders was swift and strong. The National Governors Association (NGA), representing governors from “Red,” “Blue,” and swing “Purple” states, put out a blistering statement. The NGA condemned Donald for abandoning his “fundamental responsibility” to ensure stability in the health care markets. The NGA added, “We are deeply concerned that the administration has declined to continue these payments, further increasing uncertainty for state marketplaces.” The NGA is headed by NV GOP Governor Brian Sandoval. Sandoval spoke out on his own to condemn the havoc this decision will bring about. Sandoval stated, “It’s going to hurt people. It’s going to hurt kids. It’s going to hurt families… It’s going to hurt everybody.” Retiring GOP FL Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen condemned Trump’s executive orders (shareblue.com, Martin, 10/14/17). On CNN’s 10/15/2017 “State of the Union” show, ME GOP Sen. Susan Collins, who voted against the last repeal Obamacare plans, declared, “What the President is doing is affecting the ability of vulnerable people to receive health care right now.” She denied Cong. Walker’s and Donald’s views that these subsidies were “insurance bailouts,” but rather “helped people get access to health care” by helping them pay their deductibles (CNN, 10/15/17). Fortunately, Collins decided not to run for Gov. of ME so she can keep speaking out against Donald in the Senate. She is one of the few courageous members of the GOP not bullied by Demagogue/Dictator Donald.
All of us must write, call, and email our Senators and Representatives to tell them to fix any subsidy problems in a bipartisan manner and to oppose Donald’s awful executive orders. On 10/13/2017, the attorney generals of 18 states, including CA, MA, and NY filed suit to prevent any interruption in these subsidy payments (NY Times, Kaplan & Pear, 10/13/17). We must support them. Democrats, under the leadership of Sen. Schumer and Cong. Pelosi, will likely demand funding of those subsidies in a spending package necessary to keep the government open after 12/08/2017 (CNN, 10/13/17, Liptak et al). This move must be strongly backed by all of us. Finally, in Campaign 2018, Democrats must come out in droves to take back the House, possibly the Senate, many state legislatures, and governorships. Such action is the only way to truly stop Donald, Cong. Walker, and their friends from winning their war against Obamacare. With Democratic state majorities, Medicaid under Obamacare can also be expanded.