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Roe promises a debate 'down the stream'

Hank Hayes • Jul 27, 2018 at 12:45 PM

U.S. Rep. Phil Roe on Thursday defended not being able to participate in a local forum with Democrat opponent Martin Olsen and Todd McKinley, his opponent in the August GOP Primary.

“I’ve got two options,” Roe, R-Tenn., said in a conference call with reporters. “I can be in Washington, D.C. doing my job or I could come home for that debate and get criticized for not doing my job back here in Washington, D.C. … I’m in a rock and a hard place. I have to be here to vote on the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) and other bills. … You can set these things up where you can’t get to them, and you can’t get to them. That’s what happens here. There will be, down the stream … there will be a debate. I think you in the media will probably get to see a debate if I’m fortunate enough to win the primary next Thursday.”

Roe insisted he’s been focused on getting things done as chair of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.

“We’ve passed over 70 bills out of our committee,” Roe noted. “There have been 26 signed into law by the president of the United States. Four of these are huge, transformative bills.”

Roe also answered these questions:

Do you think the $12 billion bailout for farmers to offset the trade war will help or hurt farmers?

“Trade wars, I don’t think, help anybody much. I’m not a big fan of that. … We have farmers whose commodities prices … are down about 50 percent. They are collateral damage in a trade war. … I hope this gets solved sooner rather than later. … I don’t think the farmers want a handout. They want a chance to compete.”

What else is going on now with veterans’ issues?

“We passed nine bipartisan veterans bills. … One of these bills is incredibly important. It’s a transition assistance program bill. … We know that when active duty military separate, they kind of wander when they get off. … We need to get a soldier thinking about what they are going to do when they get out of the military … so when they come out, they will have gainful employment. … We also passed a pilot program for veterans who otherwise would be in a nursing home to stay in a more homelike setting with someone approved by the VA. Not only will this save money. It will be far better for the veteran.”

What else is going on in legislation?

Roe has introduced H.R. 6544, the Employee Rights Act of 2018. The bill would create a union recertification process, guarantee secret ballot union elections, and ensure that employees will have their union dues used for political purposes only if they choose to do so.

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