Congressman Graves’ Town Hall Draws Crowd in Hannibal [Audio]
(Hannibal)--U.S. Congressman Sam Graves held his third Town Hall Meeting of the day before a packed house at the Hannibal Nutrition Center.
Before arriving in Hannibal Thursday afternoon, Graves held Town Halls in Kirksville and Canton. His district covers 36 counties in the northern third of Missouri. Graves plans to reach out to as many constituents as possible during summer recess before Congress reconvenes in September.
Graves holds out hope that the House and Senate can go to conference and hash out a Farm Bill by September 30th.
On the subject of immigration, Graves says the Senate is pushing an immigration bill with an amnesty plan, but he doubts the House will pass anything with an amnesty provision. He said the only immigration measure that might pass the House would be an extension of the Visa program.
2nd Amendment rights are being slowly watered down by the Administration, according to Graves. He says President Obama continues to bypass Congress and issue executive orders hampering gun rights. The most recent ones pertain to re-importation of certain firearms and increasing background checks when members of a corporation register firearms.
The subject of the budget--or lack thereof--and Sequestration, which is the automatic cuts that kick in when Congress fails to act, is a source of frustration for Graves. He says until Congress passed the "No Budget, No Pay" Act, the Senate had not passed a budget in 5 years. This year the Senate passed a version, but has never agreed to go to conference with the House. The House has passed their version of a budget every year.
Graves says not going to conference means there is no budget, and that is why the CR's (Continuing Resolutions) keep happening that just temporarily fund the government.
Graves is Chairman of the Small Business Committee in the House. He says they are working on legislation to relieve the burden of new regulations issued by bureaucratic agencies. The legislation would require that new rules proposed by an Administration would have to include an assessment of what impact they have on small business.
Much of the Town Hall was spent discussing Obamacare. The level of frustration was apparent by the questions from the audience, and the responses from Graves. The bottom line is there is a lot still unknown. Health and Human Services is lacking answers to many of the questions that have arisen. The cost has ballooned from 900 billion dollars to 2 trillion.
The uncertainty of Obamacare is taking a toll on the economy according to Graves, keeping unemployment around 8 percent and limiting opportunities for full-time employment.
Graves lays much of the blame for gridlock in Washington at the steps of the Senate. He told one constituent the solution is to elect more conservatives to that legislative body.