Bright and early this morning I had the opportunity to speak with one of the most conservative members of Congress, Rep. Jeff Miller. Here’s what he had to say.
Congressman Miller, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me this morning.
I read last weeks press release regarding electronic medical records for veterans. Health care for those who serve our country has an issue that I know has been close to your heart and you’ve shown a really sincere concern for both the taxpayers and our veterans. How are you working toward making sure a solution is found for both parties?
I think the most important thing for the veterans is to be able to stop the circle that they go through trying to find their medical records, and that’s why I feel like an electronic record is the way to go. Unfortunately the Dept. of Defense and the VA software do not communicate with each other, so we have to find a way to integrate them to allow that individual that goes into the service to carry that medical record with them until the day they die. That way we will have more efficient benefits to offer them as they get into retirement age. It’s not going to be cheap, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be able to pursue it and find the right answer.
Absolutely, and that efficiency also benefits the taxpayer right?
Well it certainly does, because what happens now is you have a backlog of cases where people are just chasing paper all over the VA and if they had a single card – I mean, why can’t we do a system similar to an ATM where a veteran goes into any facility in the country, basically swipes their card, and all their medical records can be brought up. Not necessarily kept on that card, but kept in a central repository, if you will. Use that card and they can pull up their records, images, x-rays, medications that they’re taking anywhere in the country.
On another note, the president essentially seized control of the auto industry in a lot of ways. He all but fired their CEO and board of directors, and pledged to back all of GMs warranties. How did Republicans in Congress let this happen?
Well, number one, President Obama happens to be the President, and the Democrats control the Congress. The President unfortunately is taking a lot of power out of the Presidency in areas that we never expected the president to even try to wield some of that power. We knew the Democrats were going to exert power when it came to the budget, when it came to raising taxes, when it came to spending, but when you talk about getting involved in private industry and making decisions as to the leadership of those industries, not to mention going in and changing contracts after the fact and actually taxing people for contracts that were made prior to even this administration coming in to office. I’m not surprised at the overreach. We need to do what we can to soften that blow, and make sure that the American people know that this is not the direction that the United States needs to go.
Absolutely. So what’s priority number one there, for you personally?
Me personally, it’s working with the GOP and making sure that our alternative budget gets out to the American people, that they understand that no, not like the Democrats that tried to label the GOP as the party of no, we actually have an alternative budget that goes out and lays out a very clear blue print between the President and the Republicans. We think, certainly, that what the President and the Democrats are trying to do is spend too much, tax too much, and borrow too much, and too much of anything is a problem. We look at the graphs that show where the Democrats are going with spending in this country, it’s just unbelievable.
It is unbelievable. We spoke with Congresswoman Michele Bachmann back in January, and she expressed fear that Congress would immediately start pushing through the enormous spending bills and Big Labor agenda items, and obviously that’s exactly what we’ve seen. Is there any hope for a spending slow down, or do you think this pattern is just going to continue?
Unfortunately, it’s going to continue for a while, because I think the Democrats feels like this is the way that we need to go in order to get this country back on track. The problem is that we are hamstringing our children and our grandchildren in the future, and we’re setting ourselves up for a huge tax increase. This idea that the top one or two percent can carry this load as far as the tax burden is ridiculous, it is going to have to come down to the middle class. President Obama I don’t think is being very honest with the American people in saying that he is not going to raise taxes on them, because this is the only way that this is going to be paid for. This cap-and-trade issue that he’s got in his sham budget right now – what a lot of people don’t know is that he’s got really a place filler in his budget, we haven’t seen the actual document yet, but he does have a $650 billion hole for medical expenses for the American people in health care costs, and he’s trying to cover this with a new tax on energy, which of course taxes everybody.
Yes. That’s something that I’ve been writing about lately, and something that I think a lot of people are shortsighted on. In this time that we claim to be looking out for the American people, it seems silly that they’re so willing to cover health care and then charge twice as much for energy.
Well, and again, this is something they don’t understand. When they go flip the switch on at their house to turn on their lights, they’re going to find that they get an energy tax. When they turn on the heat in their house in the wintertime, they’re going to get hit with an energy tax. There is no way that the President and the Democrats can fund this budget that is coming forward without reaching down into the pockets of Middle America. These are the very people that bought into the idea of hope for the future, and unfortunately it’s a false hope.
Absolutely. It’s scary. So I have to ask, have you heard much about the Tea Party Movement happening?
Absolutely! I have heard of Tea Parties happening all over the country, of course the big day April 15th coming up. There are a lot of people that are using that particular date to make their voices heard. I think it is exciting. We had, on an airplane coming to Washington on Monday, I actually had an individual come up to me and tell me they had their tea bags ready to go. It is definitely being talked about, not only here in Washington and on Capitol Hill, but throughout the country.
Absolutely. We have hundreds of cities participating in this now – there’s been a huge response to it. So there is buzz about this in Congress?
There’s buzz about this on Capitol Hill, without question.
Are you going to be able to make it out to the one in Pensacola?
I would like to, we’ll see what my schedule says, right now I’ve got a full day that day, but if I can plug in even just a short visit I’m going to do it.
Awesome, we would love to have you out. Congressman, thanks again, so much for your time. Hopefully we’ll be able to touch base again to get an update on your efforts. Is there anything else you’d like to cover before I let you go?
No, that’s great, it was good to talk to you.
Thank you so much.