First District U.S. Congressman Jack Kingston passed through town on Monday as part of a southwest Georgia tour. The Republican U.S. Senate candidate is telling communities about what is going on in Washington and the part he is playing in it.
Kingston has introduced three House bills to curb the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Kingston believes President Obama’s signature program is a failure, saying that it hasn’t lowered the cost of health care for Americans.
His first bill is to designed to make it mandatory for the president of the United States to be placed under Obamacare. Obama isn’t part of the health care plan that bears his name and Kingston believes it is unfair for him to be exempt from it.
Kingston has also put forth a bill intended to help small businesses deal with Obamacare. It would exempt them from mandate that requires those with more than 50 employees to provide health care.
Kingston’s third anti-Obamacare bill would force advertising expenses to promote the law to be displayed for the public to view.
The Savannah congressman is also working to expand privacy protections and restrict domestic surveillance. He is seeking to restore the balance between national security and privacy rights. Kingston supports legislation that would end the government’s dragnet collection of phone records and increase oversight and accountability in domestic surveillance programs.
The USA FREEDOM Act has gained widespread, bipartisan support that includes endorsements from technology companies, industry groups and independent privacy advocates. Kingston says it needed to rein overreach at the National Security Agency.
“We cannot be Pollyannas when it comes to national security, but there must be limits to the government’s power,” said Kingston. “It is unacceptable for Uncle Sam to collect and store data on the off chance it could one day be used against you. This bill strikes the right balance between national security and privacy rights.”
He added, “This bill says the NSA would not be able to collect phone calls unless (there is suspicion) of a crime. In this day of electronic communication, we are vulnerable to the people listening in on phone calls and reading e-mails, etc.”
Kingston said he is about 50 percent sure a farm bill will be passed in the next month. He said the biggest detriment to it is food stamps.
According to Kingston, in 2000, 17 million people were collecting food stamps. That number now exceeds 47 million.
He said, “People are abusing food stamps. You can buy anything with them except for alcohol and tobacco. My feelings are if you are able bodied, then you should work before you are able to get food stamps.”
With food stamp reform, the passing of the food bill will become easier, Kingston said.
Since 1999, Kingston has been working to have the Savannah River deepened in an effort to enhance commerce. He said more than 352,000 Georgia jobs are related to the port in Savannah. A bill on the issue is in a conference committee and Kingston hopes to see progress on it before the first of the new year.
He commented, “It is one of my top priorities.”
Reporter Susanne Reynolds can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1826.