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Tag Archive | "Washington"

Amash talks partisanship, Syria, healthcare


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N-Amash-pullquoteBy Judy Reed

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash told the crowd at Cedar Springs High School Monday night, April 10, that the partisanship in Washington is the worst he’s ever seen, and that the leadership doesn’t seem to be interested in breaking the gridlock.

“I’ve always said that we need to work with each other, have honest debate, and let things fall where they may. The only way you fix it is by choosing a speaker of the house who is non-partisan. It takes tremendous will, and I haven’t seen that with this or the previous speaker,” remarked Amash.

N-Amash2The town hall meeting was the first of several that Amash is holding throughout the district over the next week.

He explained that the only things that go to the floor for a vote are the things that the leadership wants, things that have no chance of passing, or things too mild to affect anything. “We either need a change in direction from this speaker, or we need a new one,” he said.

Amash is a firm believer in the principles of the Constitution. He is known for not only standing up for those principles, but also for not mincing words when it comes to politicians he feels are violating them, such as President Trump. That was the case with the President’s recent strikes on Syria.

“The process was not right,” said Amash. “He risked escalating the situation. The framers of the Constitution gave to Congress the power to declare war because we are the closest to the people. I’m here holding the town hall meeting, not Donald Trump. With war, I might be sending your son or daughter off to be killed. To think you can launch a missile strike with no consequence is naïve.”

Amash explained that the War Powers Resolution is often used to justify one-off strikes. Those cases are supposed to only happen when the U.S. itself has been attacked. It says: “The President’s powers as Commander in Chief are exercised only pursuant to a declaration of war, specific statutory authorization from Congress, or a national emergency created by an attack upon the United States” (50 USC Sec. 1541).

“It did not give the president the authority to do what he did,” noted Amash. “There are times we want him to act quickly. But it’s not for offensive acts against another government.”

Amash said the framers of the Constitution left it up to the people to decide whether they want war, and the president then conducts the war.

He did say he thought they should continue to go after ISIS, but that they should update the 2001 mission and goal, and have more debate about it in Congress. “I don’t think you can have perpetual war; it’s dangerous,” he said.

Amash also talked about why he didn’t support the failed Republican proposal on healthcare. “It didn’t repeal the ACA, just tweaked it,” he explained. “The ACA is not functioning the way we’d like it to function. Premiums are going up for a lot of people. It helps many, but also hurts many. We need to start over, in a bipartisan way. The Republican proposal just restructures it, and tweaks can make it worse. It left the sickest and most vulnerable at risk.”

He said that there is no reason to rush it. “We want to make sure we get it right. They just wanted to get it done quickly. It was just a political plan. I’m part of the Freedom Caucus, and I’m sure you heard that we caused it to fail. It’s not true. There were more Republicans going to vote against it than were part of the Freedom Caucus.” Amash said that 50-80 Republicans would have voted against the bill. “It would have been actually very embarrassing, and that’s why they pulled it,” Amash said.

After the failure of the bill, an aide to President Trump called Amash a liability over Twitter and urged Trump supporters to vote for a different Republican candidate in 2018.

But Amash isn’t letting that sway him. “We should’ve worked with the Democrats on it. It needs to be bipartisan. We need buy-in. I still believe the best system is to let states regulate health care. They have different people, different demographics. Allow them to try out a variety of ways. There would be more alternatives, more choices, and would cause the least amount of tension. If you didn’t like it, you could move to another state. I think it would be easier to move out of state than out of the country,” he said, which brought a chuckle from the crowd.

Amash touched on several other topics including immigration, Internet privacy, education, the presidential transparency act, and more, and answered questions for two hours. He also encouraged residents to let him know their feelings on possible war with Syria, and to reach out to his office if they have problems, such as veterans getting assistance, immigration issues, and other concerns.

You can contact the Grand Rapids office at (616) 451-8383 or send physical mail to 110 Michigan St NW, Suite 460, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. You can also email him through his website. Visit https://amash.house.gov/contact-me.

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The Post travels to state of Washington


 

From L to R: Erika Cardinal, Kelsey Kiander, Sarah Kiander, and Anna Behrenwald.

From L to R: Erika Cardinal, Kelsey Kiander, Sarah Kiander, and Anna Behrenwald.

Sisters Kelsey and Sarah Kiander, and their friend, Anna Behrenwald, took the Post and went to the state of Washington this summer to visit another Cedar Springs friend, Erika Cardinal, while she was working on Blakely Island. They visited Seattle, Whidbey Island, Anacortes, Friday Harbor, and Blakely Island.

“We enjoyed all of the tourist attractions in Seattle; we also were able to go whale watching,” said Kelsey. “This picture was taken in Oak Harbor, Washington, on Whidbey Island, with a great view of Mount Baker.”

Thanks so much for taking us with you on your trip!

Are you going on vacation? Take the Post with you and snap some photos. Then send them to us with some info to news@cedarspringspost.com or mail them to Post travels, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319. We will be looking for yours!

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The Post travels to Washington D.C.


Marckini shakes hands with Roberto Rodriguez, Deputy Assistant to the President for Education Policy.

Marckini shakes hands with Roberto Rodriguez, Deputy Assistant to the President for Education Policy.

School Board Trustee Joe Marckini recently traveled to The White House, in Washington D.C., to advocate for our Cedar Springs Public Schools.

Mr. Marckini met with Roberto Rodriguez, Deputy Assistant to the President for Education Policy.

Trustee Marckini is passionate about serving the students and citizens of Cedar Springs and is a champion for public education throughout our nation.

Thank you, Joe, for advocating for our school district, and for taking the Post with you!

Are you going on vacation? Take the Post with you and snap some photos. Then send them to us with some info to news@cedarspringspost.com or mail them to Post travels, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319. We will be looking for yours!

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Post travels to Washington


N-Post-travels-to-Washington-DavisThe Post traveled to Taholah, Washington, on an Amtrak train in July, with Dick and Hattie Davis, of Algoma Twp. They visited with Dick’s sister, Marian Davis Curley, who graduated from Cedar Springs High School in 1959, and after graduating from Trinity College in Chicago, in 1964, went on to teach elementary school in Taholah.

Taholah is the administrative village of the Quinault Indian Nation, where the Quinault River empties into the Pacific Ocean, in the Olympic Peninsula.

Dick and Hattie enjoyed visiting Marian, her husband of 48 years, and four generations of the Curley family.

Thanks, Dick and Hattie, for taking us with you!

Are you going on vacation? Take the Post with you and snap some photos. Then send them to us with some info to news@cedarspringspost.com or mail them to Post travels, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319. We will be looking for yours!

 

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Post goes to Washington


N-Post-goes-to-Washington-webJoan Maycroft and her daughter, Renee Sizemore, took the Post and went on a trip to visit Joan’s mother in Pasco, Washington, in January. Pasco is located in the southeast part of Washington, in what is known as the Tri-Cities area—it includes Pasco, Richland and Kennewick.

“They are located at the spot where the Snake River and the mighty Columbia Rivers converge, an area rich in agriculture and fishing,” explained Maycroft.

She said her daughter wanted to see the mountains, which they saw plenty of when they took a road trip along the Columbia River in Oregon, where they were able to see Mount Hood and Mount Baker.

Thanks for taking us with you, Joan!

Are you going on vacation? Take the Post with you and snap some photos. Then send them to us with some info to news@cedarspringspost.com or mail them to Post travels, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319. We will be looking for yours!

 

 

 

 

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Congress doesn’t like making hard choices


By Lee H. Hamilton

If you paid attention to the debt-ceiling negotiations in Washington, you may have noticed something interesting. For all the partisan division, there was bipartisan agreement throughout the debate on one point: It’s safest politically to defer hard choices to the last possible moment—and maybe avoid them altogether.
In the negotiations, Democrats and Republicans alike offered proposals that avoided the details of cutting budgets or increasing revenues. They suggested commissions and committees that would make the hard choices for them; they favored caps on spending, without saying how caps would be enforced; they floated the idea that the President could unilaterally raise the debt ceiling, allowing Congress to avoid the entire problem; they favored voting on a balanced-budget amendment, which is a way of telling voters you’re for a balanced budget without actually being held accountable for the spending and taxing choices that produce one.
There’s nothing new here, of course. Politicians love to find creative ways to avoid actually resolving difficult policy questions. Once you make a choice, you inevitably alienate one or more constituencies. Most politicians don’t like to alienate people. So it is not surprising that they love to give you a process answer to questions seeking hard, substantive choices. Process approaches make it look like a member of Congress is taking action when, in fact, he or she is skirting the key questions: Do you cut defense spending? Rein in Medicare spending? How much of the taxpayers’ dollars should the government spend on education, environmental regulation, social welfare?
I don’t suggest that debating procedure, opting for further study, or preserving flexibility are always ill-advised. There’s a place for them. But as a voter, you have both the right and the responsibility to not let political leaders off the hook when they’re avoiding making a choice. If they tell you they fought for a line-item veto or a balanced-budget amendment, ask them specifically what they would cut.
Lawmaking should be about making hard choices. Don’t let our lawmakers avoid them.
Lee Hamilton is Director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years.

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