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Palmer addresses his future

Congressman Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) on Saturday spoke to the Shelby County Republican Women in Pelham.

U.S. Representative Palmer said, “I am running for a leadership position, head of the Policy Committee that would make me the number five person in the leadership (of the U.S. House of Representatives, if Republicans can hold on to their control of the House).”

“We have got a pretty tough row to hoe going forward,” Rep. Palmer said. “We are in position to both hold the House and grow our lead in the Senate. We have got really good candidates.”

Palmer said that we are already seeing great progress with the judges on the Senate side. If we can hold the House, we can bee transformative for a generation.

Palmer said that the leadership had recently asked him to raise $340,000 to help the Republicans hold the House this election, Palmer said that he is working on it because fundraising is part of it.

The subject of the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Senator Doug Jones (D) came up.

Palmer would not comment on whether he would run for the seat or not. Palmer said right now my focus is on my reelection. I am not running a 2020 campaign while I am running for office. After the first of the year, Ann and I will pray about it.

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Someone in the audience negatively mentioned Congressman Bradley Byrne as a candidate for Senate.

Palmer said, “A lot of people don’t like Bradley for some reason, but he has done a great job in the Congress.”

“Prior to this Congress, our economy has been growing at 1.9 percent, basically stagnant,” Palmer said. “There were 70,000 more businesses closing than opening up. The first thing we wanted to do in this congress was remove the most onerous regulations.” We used the Congressional review act to reverse stuff the Obama Administration put out in the last months of their administration. Under the Congressional Review Act they can’t filibuster that. “That is what got our economy growing.”

On Healthcare reform, Palmer said I think a lot of Congressmen made a mistake because they were not clear that we were not going to repeal the Affordable Care Act and not replace it with anything. “I am a firm believe that you do things incrementally.”

Palmer said that he did not like the first version of the House bill to replace Obamacare. The leadership had done the same thing as Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and released a thousand page bill with just 72 hours before a vote.

“I am a speed reader,” Palmer said. “But I don’t think anybody else in Congress is.” Most of that bill had been written by Committee staff “I knew it was not a good start on where we needed to go,” Palmer said. “I decided to oppose it.”

Palmer voted no in the budget committee. The White House called and asked what would it take for my support. Palmer told them that he wanted to allow Medicaid in block funding to the states and allow states to add a work requirement for Medicaid. The White House asked: “Do you want to come to the White House to go bowling?”

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Palmer said that when he opposed the bill on the House floor they called back to see what was wrong and Palmer told them, “I told you what I needed to have and you did not do it.”

The leadership pulled the bill because they still could not get enough votes

“I went turkey hunting,” Palmer said. A congressman from Colorado called and said that I was the only one who could bring all the sides back together again. Palmer said that Congressman McCarthy and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan both talked to him about redrafting a healthcare bill.

“Paul is a good guy,” Palmer said. “The whole crap you hear in the media is a misrepresentation. The claim that the media that the Speaker and the President don’t get along is crap. They speak every day.”
Paul said that the new healthcare bill had high risk pools. Maine does that. “Frankly we should have done that here 35 years ago.” The replacement healthcare bill had an insurance stabilization fund. High risk individuals pay a premium like everybody else, they don’t even know they are in it but ten percent of their premium stays with the insurance company and they are responsible for only the first $7500 of care, the rest is picked up by the pool.

“I told CNN I don’t do my negotiating through the media,” Rep. Palmer said. “Those guys that are on every week they aren’t effective. I am not on Fox News because I don’t want to be. I won’t do anything with ABC news because they cancelled that Last Man Standing show because it was too conservative.”

Eventually a bill passed out of the House, Palmer said. John McCain voted against the bill in the Senate after he told the President and Mitch McConnell that he would vote for it.

On tax reform, Palmer said our economy is a dynamic economy. We won’t wait until 2047 to do tax reform again.

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“I was for a higher rate,” Palmer said. “The president wanted 15 percent. Frankly that was not workable they were looking at 20 percent. I said 22 percent. You can always drop it, but you can’t raise it. Money is like water it will always head to the place of least resistance. Business is not against regulation they are against incomprehensible regulations.”

“The tax codes had to be simpler,” Palmer said. “I have gotten to be good friends with the comptroller general.” The tax gap is how much owed that is not collected. That has grown to $406 billion per year. We do everything in ten-year windows that is $4 trillion. Much of that is due to the complexity. We don’t collect a lot of that because we spend more than we collect T

Palmer said that next year, “They estimate that 27 million more Americans will take the standard deduction next year. that will cut errors.”

On defense, Palmer said that sequestration has been harmful to our military.

“China is ahead of us on hypersonics,” Palmer said. The Space Corps is not going to be guys in Star Trek uniforms but guys with glasses behind a computer screen.”

Palmer stressed the importance of protecting our space assets and predicted that, “We are going to catch up. The hypersonic weapons are going to be a whole new dimension of warfare.”

“The Russians have built a new generation of submarine that is problematic because of how quiet it is,” Palmer warned.
Palmer said that he supports limit the role of government in education and commerce.

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A member of the audience asked that if he supported a bill that would combine the Deparment of Education with the Department of Labor. She was worried about the federal government getting too much control over education.

Palmer said that he favored having more craft schools, learning how to do things like carpentry, electrical, and masonry. That is how I was educated. I did not think about going to college.

“We are not going to turn it (education) into a European Education program. I will look at the bill that you are talking about.
Palmer said that he is favor of merging the Department of Energy and Commerce. “We don’t need those two Departments; but there will be a fierce fight with the public employees unions because it will mean a lot of federal workers out of work.

Palmer said that the Congress is composed of, “Some of the most successful and accomplished people in the country. Some of the smartest people I have ever been around.”

“Every regulation should be submitted to a vote of Congress if it has an economic impact of $100 million or more,” Palmer said.

Palmer urged the members of the Shelby County Republican Women to get and work for their state House candidates, especially by going door to door. “90 percent of the American people have not been personally asked to vote by anybody.”

The Alabama Political Reporter asked Congressman Palmer:

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We heard from Doug Jones last week and he said that the Farm Bill that is in a conference committee now, if it comes out with work requirement for SNAP beneficiaries, like the House version had, that it will be dead in the Senate. If that Farm Bill comes out of conference committee without a work requirement, will it be dead in the House?

“We will have to wait see, but I think so,” Palmer said.

APR asked:

What happens then? Will it just be left over for the next Congress?

“The next four Congress is only four months away,” Palmer said. The work requirements do not apply to the elderly, children, the disabled, or if you are in job training. It is only twenty hours a week and can be at a job, for government or a non-profit like volunteering at your Church or a food bank. This is a proposal that the Senator should get behind.

Congressman Gary Palmer represents Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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