A freshman congressman in the U.S. House admits he's still on the fence about the GOP leadership's plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare – and that he's not being pressured by party leaders to vote one way or the other.
Healthcare remains topic number one on Capitol Hill as Republicans hold a very public debate on their plan. Jim Banks was accustomed to making life-and-death decisions on the spot as a Navy Lieutenant in Afghanistan – but the choice before him as a Republican congressman from Indiana has him a bit flummoxed.
"The American Health Care Act does have a number of provisions that I'm very pleased with as it advances conservative principles," he shares with OneNewsNow.
The first-term congressman adds that Speaker Ryan's plan – which also has the backing of President Trump – would go a long way to paying down the national deficit, addressing almost a trillion dollars in tax cuts and taking on entitlement reform.
"Unfortunately the bill doesn't go far enough, in my opinion, in scaling back the regulatory framework and many of the regulations that were found in ObamaCare," he says.
The most important thing to Banks is that he keeps faith with the American people, who were promised a full repeal of ObamaCare and a market-driven replacement plan. What is clear to him is that nothing else will get done in Washington until this "elephant" is on the president's desk.
"We can't address tax reform, we can't address some of the significant national security issues that we face [and] other issues along the way until we address this fundamental issue of repealing ObamaCare through the reconciliation process," he argues.
As for the very public debate that Republicans are having over the bill, Banks assures it's an honest debate. He says he's received "no pressure at all" or "arm-twisting" from the leadership to make a decision one way or another. "In fact, it's been quite the opposite," he offers.
The American Health Care Act, by the narrowest of margins (19-17), was passed out of the House Budget Committee on Thursday morning. Three Republicans on that committee joined with Democrats in voting against it. Had a fourth Republican voted "no," the bill would have stalled. It now goes to the House Rules Committee.