Congressman Mike Rogers, who represents Alabama’s 3rd Congressional District, spoke to the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday at their monthly ‘Eggs and Issues’ event.
“Congratulation on the F35 that is a big deal,” Rogers said of the Air Force’s newest fighter jet that will be replacing the F16s at Montgomery’s Donnelly Field. “We need to get the T-100 for Macon County. I am real optimistic that we can get that done. We will know in a month or so.”
Italian based Leonardo DRS has entered their T-100 into the Air Force’s T-X competition. The T-100 is the only T-X team to announce an entirely new manufacturing facility, to be built at the iconic Moton Field where the Tuskegee Airmen trained in Alabama. The Air Force is looking for an advanced jet trainer aircraft to replace its existing fleet of aging jet trainers.
Rep. Rogers said that when this Congress came into office they wanted to start getting rid of some of the regulations passed by the Obama Administration, so they started using the congressional review act which allows Congress to vote to overturn any administrative regulation passed in the last six months.
“We used it to get rid of 16 regulations that we thought the last President used erroneously,” Rep. Rogers said. “The new President also began working to roll back regulations.” As regulations were rolled back, the economy began coming back.
Rep. Rogers said that the House passed a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, and it would have also passed the Senate but Senator John McCain, R-Arizona, voted “No.”
Rogers said that healthcare affects everyone in the country so a major change like that “It ought to be hard,” but promised, “If we keep the House in the fall and pick up 2 or 3 seats in the Senate it (the repeal of Obamacare) will come back.”
Rogers praised the appointment and confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court. “We have a center right country, we should have a center right Supreme Court.”
“I did not think we could get the tax cuts package done,” Rogers said. “There is a reason that it has been 36 years.” When the bill passed, Republicans were trailing Democrats 17 points on a generic congressional ballot in polls, “All because of the negative press. A month later that was cut in half. People started getting bonuses and pay increases.” Two million workers got bonuses. “Companies like Wal-Mart raised their minimum wage. That is how it should be done.” Local companies like Protective Life and Regions Bank did the same. Russell Lands in Alexander City gave a $500 bonus. “The average worker in my district got $935 in tax relief. That is real money. More important is what it is doing to grow the economy. “Alabama Power is not paying as much in taxes so have come off on their rates. The average homeowner is getting $10 a month back.”
Rep. Rogers said that most businesses have reinvested their tax savings in their business. That is a new plant, a new location, or for a small business that could be a new truck. The regulations roll back and the tax cuts have led to a rising stock market. “$5 trillion in new wealth has been created in this economy. We had a press conference and the fake news would not cover it.”
“We passed the Farm Bill out of the House and the Senate,” Rogers said. “It is in conference committee now.” A lot of people don’t understand how important the farm bill is. It sets the rules of the game for agriculture for the next five years. 80 percent is food stamps 20 percent is the farm bill. We have to combine it with the food stamps to get it passed. We expect in six months that we will get it done before we leave in September.”
Justice Anthony Kennedy retired, and the President nominated Brett Kavanaugh. Rogers said, “We fully expect that nominee to get confirmed before the election.”
The House is out for its August recess; but the Senate is still in, Rogers said. A 1,000 people have not gotten confirmed. 93 judicial nominees are waiting to be confirmed. “Mitch McConnel said that this Congress will be remembered as the Congress that reshaped the federal judiciary.”
Congress authorized a major increase in defense spending. Rogers said that the military has been underfunded and that we have become dangerously vulnerable as a result. Since World War II, our policy has been that we could fight two serious wars at the same time and protect the homeland. That had dropped to the point that we could only fight one serious war and protect the homeland, and recently it had gotten so bad that even that has been in doubt.
“We have got equipment that you just can’t repair anymore,” Rogers said. “You have got to replace it. We passed the largest military pay increase in years and we increased the size of the force. It is going to take several years to build it back up. “We had to do an enormous amount of vote buying to get the defense bill passed.” I told some of my fiscal conservative friends, “It does not matter what the deficit is if you are dead.”
“The temperature has gone down some,” under President Trump Rogers said. “This president gave lethal aid to Ukraine where the last president wouldn’t.” Syria used chemical weapons and cruise missiles shot that down. “The world saw that this President was not all talk but is capable of action. Kim Young Un saw that and it had an effect.”
Rogers said that Congress has passed the NDAA (the National Defense Authorization Act).
“The NDAA is the rules of the game,” Rogers said. “When it comes to make sure that our men and women have what they need at least at some level. This was a more bipartisan bill. We got it done in July that is the earliest it has been done in 40 years. Because it is named after John McCain that was done on a bipartisan
“A research company has been hired to study how to implement a space force so that we could do that in next year’s NDAA,” Rogers said. “People don’t realize how dependent we have become on space.” Smartphones, television, communications, GPS, UAVs, are all dependent on satellites. “That is our eyes and ears up there.”
“China and Russia have realized how dependent that we have become on satellites,” Rogers said. “They have got offensive capability and that is all that I can say in this room. We need our own offensive capability so that if they mess with our satellite s they know we will takes their out.”