U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, said Congress should skip all or part of its August recess to stay in Washington and work on key issues, including health care reform and the nation’s next budget.
“You just look at the scope and the scale of challenges we face both at home and abroad,” Gallagher said on Sunday’s “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com. “I think it would be unwise for us to take a month off without having tackled those head on.”
The freshman congressman said constituents tell him they want both parties in Congress to work together to solve the nation’s problems.
“We should work as hard as possible, get some things done, and then let the results speak for themselves,” Gallagher said.
Gallagher also discussed Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, saying lawmakers are still not getting at the drivers of rising health care costs.
“This is biggest source of frustration for me as a new member of Congress,” he said. “We’re having this debate over health insurance reform, when really we need to turn to the drivers of health care costs in this country.”
Gallagher said greater transparency in health care pricing and tackling the rising costs of prescription drugs would help control costs. It also would be something Republicans and Democrats could work together on.
“We have to find a way to address the health care crisis in this country,” he said.
Also on the program, state Sen. Duey Stroebel said Gov. Scott Walker’s offer to lawmakers to cut bonding for transportation, while seeking more federal money for key highway projects, could help break the budget stalemate.
The transportation dispute is holding up completion of the state’s next two-year budget.
Stroebel, R-Saukville, said the Department of Transportation is already starting to see savings through changes and improved efficiency. He said that would remain his focus in the ongoing transportation budget discussions.
“We need to find ways to do more with less,” Stroebel said. “We’ve got to be more efficient and effective.”
1st CD candidate Randy Bryce, one of two Democrats hoping to challenge Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan in 2018, also appeared on the program.
Bryce said early reaction to his campaign has been a “big surprise.”
“The launch, it just blew up bigger than I could have imagined,” Bryce said.
Bryce, a union iron worker from Racine County, launched his campaign last month with a video that’s now been viewed more than a half million times online. The video also helped spark donations, and Bryce said he’s already raised more than $400,000 from thousands of donors contributing small amounts of money.
“It just shows that there’s a real hunger to be heard and that working people want one of their own to run for office,” Bryce said.
Bryce accused Ryan of losing touch with the 1st CD, and said the speaker has not held a public town hall meeting in the district in more than 600 days.
“You can’t say he doesn’t have time for us, because he’s traveling around the country, had over 50 fundraising events and not just small dollar fundraising events, you know, over $10,000 to have your picture taken with him,” Bryce said.
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