With more than three months serving the 3rd Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson said he’s optimistic about a vote on the new health care bill when Congress returns in session.
Action on the bill to change the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare was delayed after President Donald Trump realized he didn’t have the needed votes. Ferguson, who took office in January to fill the seat held by Lynn Westmoreland, was in Columbus on Wednesday to talk with more than 30 business leaders at the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce.
Ferguson, R-West Point, said he thinks there will be movement on the bill soon. “ I think it’s important we all recognize health care is so important to all Americans,” he said after a meeting in the Saunders Boardroom. “It creates an environment where we can lower premiums and remove some harmful regulations in the heath care industry.”
The dentist and former mayor of West Point said he supports some positive changes introduced before lawmakers went on recess. He said repealing the ACA would save one trillion dollars worth of taxes, reduce the deficit by $100 billion and remove mandates on requirements and antitrust exemptions that health insurance companies had. “I think we reached a point in Congress where we got a solid bill that’s actual going to lower premiums and give patients better access to care,” he said.
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After the health care bill, Ferguson said tax reform is a signature item the president supports. The nation needs to improve on a 1.5 percent growth rate. He said people not just at the chamber but around the district are saying the same thing when it comes to business. “They’ve got to have a regulatory environment that’s fair and right for business,” he said. “They can grow their business. They have to have the right tax environment.”
Education also is important for a 21st century environment. Whether it’s Columbus Technical College or Columbus State University, Ferguson said a pipeline of trained employees is important. “We have one of the best work forces in the nation, if not the world, in Columbus in the Third District of Georgia,” he said.
Ferguson said Trump supports rebuilding the military, and it’s reflected in his budget. He supports the men and women having the tools they need to get the job done.
Gary Jones, vice president of Governmental and Military Affairs for the chamber, said the Security Force Assistance Brigade at Fort Benning will add about 800 people in the region with an economic impact of about $23 million a year. “We are excited about that,” Jones said.
Jones said Fort Benning, the Maneuver Center of Excellence, is an important installation for training and development of techniques and procedures of warfighting.
“Fort Benning has a very important role in our projection of the ability to project 1st Battalion 28 Infantry, 75th Ranger Regiment and other elements both by rail, air and ground,” he said. “We see a very, very positive future for Fort Benning.”