UNION & BUFFALO — A little over a month after the people of Union County and the rest of the Fifth Congressional District sent him to Washington, DC to represent them in the US House of Representatives Rep. Ralph Norman returned to Union County to talk with voters about what’s going on in the nation’s capital and learn what he can do to help address their concerns.
Norman, a Rock Hill businessman and former member of the SC House of Representatives, was elected to the Fifth District seat in a special election held June 20. He is serving out the unexpired term of fellow Republican Mick Mulvaney who vacated the seat after being confirmed by the US Senate as Director of the Office of Budget and Management.
On Friday, Norman visited Union County with morning stops at Bojangles and Fairview Diner in Union to meet with the public before touring the Timken Company’s bearings plant. Norman then went to Midway BBQ where he met with local veterans at lunchtime and later that afternoon went to the Union County Courthouse Annex in Union, where he met with local officials.
During his visit, Norman spoke about what he’s seen in Washington since being elected, particularly as it relates to issues such as immigration, the national debt, the inability of Congress to repeal Obamacare, and the successes of the Trump administration.
President Donald Trump recently announced his support for an immigration reform plan which would require immigrants to be proficient in English, be highly educated and skilled, employed and able to support themselves once they arrive in the United States. It would also take into account whether an immigrant has a criminal record and/or is a national security risk. If implemented, the plan is projected to significantly reduce legal immigration into the United States.
Commenting on the reforms endorsed by Trump, Norman said “I agree with him one hundred percent.” Norman also praised Trump’s immigration policies and the successes he has achieved during his short time in office. He pointed out that in the few months Trump has been president he “has cut illegal immigration by 48 percent” adding that in the process of doing so, Trump has put enormous emphasis on getting criminals who are illegal immigrants deported.
During his presidential campaign, Trump promised to build a wall along the American border with Mexico. That hasn’t happened yet, something Norman blames on Congress who he said is preventing the wall from being built. He said he hopes Trump will nevertheless find a way to get the wall built and continue the successes he said the president has achieved regarding immigration.
“Immigration reform is one of the good things he’s done,” Norman said.
The ongoing failure of Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare was also addressed by Norman who placed the blame for it on the Senate.
“There’s something wrong when the vice president has to cast a deciding vote to even talk about health care reform,” Norman said.
While the House of Representatives has done its part, Norman said the Senate is paralyzed with hundreds of bills in limbo. For healthcare reform to succeed, Norman said it would take a “massive uprising of the public” to force the Senate to act and repeal and replace Obamacare.
The national debt currently stands at $20 trillion and is growing, something Norman said is not due to a lack of revenue to pay it off, but a lack of restraint when it comes to the out of control spending which he said is driving its growth.
While the House of Representatives has passed a budget that projects $200 billion in budget cuts over 10 years, Norman said this was not enough and more could and should be cut. In addition, Norman expressed opposition to plans to raise the debt ceiling.
“Raising the debt ceiling is a problem for me,” Norman said. “I didn’t run to increase the debt.”
As in the case of Obamacare repeal, Norman said it will take public pressure to force Congress to address the national debt, pressure that he believes will happen.
“The public is tired of politicians kicking the can down the road when it comes to fiscal matters,” Norman said.
Norman’s visit to Union County was part of a larger tour of the Fifth District that took Norman to a number of businesses and industries such as Timken who he said are the real creators of wealth.
“Government does not create wealth, private business does,” Norman said. “What I’m doing is asking what we can do to help, to make you more successful.”
Norman said that he’d heard at Timken and elsewhere that one of the biggest problems facing the private sector is excessive government regulation. He said that the private sector is finally starting to get some relief in this area due to Trump’s commitment to reduce government regulation. Norman pointed out that Trump has signed executive orders designed to do this by requiring the elimination of two old regulations for every new one enacted. He said he supports such efforts and believes that they will help reduce the burden on the private sector and let it focus more on creating wealth and jobs.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.