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McHenry slams ACA, touts GOP bill, catches flak
Tuesday, 04 July 2017 10:38
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Former Asheville City Councilman Chris Pelly vented his wrath in questioning the conservative agenda of 10th District U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-Lincoln, during the June 2 meeting of the Council of Independent Business Owners.

The early-morning breakfast meeting, which included a security detail of at least a half-dozen police officers, drew about 75 CIBO members and guests to UNC Asheville’s Sherrill Center.

Usually, little or no security is on hand for CIBO meetings. However, McHenry has been embroiled in controversy from those opposing his legislation. He is the chief deputy whip in the House, where he has served six terms. 

A few people demonstrated in favor of the Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as Obamacare) outside of the meeting, including Vijay Kapoor, a candidate from South Asheville vying for a seat on Asheville City Council. Kapoor told reporters that some of the problems with the ACA are the result of Republican efforts to sabotage it. 

McHenry was the sole speaker, addressing, as per CIBO’s billing, “An Update From Washington.” He spoke for about 13 minutes and then fielded questions for about 26 minutes.

During his address, McHenry defended the House Republicans’ plan to rewrite the Affordable Care Act, noting that, because the law is not working, it is Congress’ duty to act.

On a separate matter, McHenry predicted the passage of tax reform by the end of the year.

However, he spent most of his speech and the Q&A criticizing the ACA and defending the House Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace it.

To that end, McHenry asserted that many of those who the Congressional Budget Office says would lose insurance under the rewrite are buying it only because the ACA would impose a tax penalty on them if they failed to buy health care insurance.

During the Q&A that followed McHenry’s update, Pelly, an East Asheville resident, Realtor, Democrat and supporter of the ACA (also known as Obamacare), noted that, based on data on “the recently passed Health Care Reform” bill from the Congressional Budget Office, “about 78,000 people in your district will lose their health care. … If you do all of this (as described in his address) — take away health care (from the poor) and give tax reform to the richest people in the country, what’s your endgame? What’s your vision” for the future?

McHenry began his answer by noting that his stance on the issues is “not what you describe. You’re making assessments on a broad set of other people and putting it on me... I’m advocating public policy that is going to be good for our voters.”

Rescue group ends plans to resettle refugees in Asheville
Tuesday, 04 July 2017 10:35

From Staff Reports

The nonprofit International Rescue Committee revealed on June 8 that it has scrapped plans to resettle 150 refugees in Asheville.

An exploratory visit was made to the city last year, at which time the large humanitarian aid organization’s proposal received what the IRC termed as tremendous support.

It also met with words of caution, echoed by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-Buncombe, who said Americans must be compassionate while being wise to security risks. Another consideration was whether Asheville, for years in an affordable housing crisis with available wages inadequate for local rents, was a good place for so many people to make a fresh start.

Challenges mounted in January, as newly elected President Donald Trump initially banned travel from seven countries and specifically prohibited any more Syrian refugees from entering the United States. 

As masses were stranded mid-travel, lawyers sat on the floor of airports with their laptops, reaching out for relief. 

Court cases cited Trump’s campaign rhetoric calling for a “Muslim ban” as evidence the executive orders represented un-constitutional discrimination based on religion.



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