Connect to Congress: Rep. McHenry talks health care reform, tax returns & budgets

Rep. Patrick McHenry touched on a variety of topics during a Connect to Congress interview. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

During a Connect to Congress interview, Rep. Patrick McHenry addressed concerns over the GOP Health Care Reform proposal, town halls, President Donald Trump's allegations that the Obama administration wiretapped him during the presidential election and more.

In regards to health care reform, Rep. McHenry said that the goal was to make sure they were being as fair as possible with the tax credit.

"We want to make sure that states have the opportunity for the flexibility to reform and improve the delivery of services through medicaid and giving the states that flexibility to add work requirements or make adjustments along the way to further flexibility," McHenry said.

He also spoke about two phases in reducing health care costs.

"The biggest reduction in those participating in health insurance comes about as a repeal of the individual mandate," McHenry said. "The second phase of health care reform that we're focused on here is ensuring those plans within the exchange and in the market place are more affordable for the American people especially those who are just working to make ends meet."

When asked about why his office turned down an invitation to a health care reform town hall held in February at Highland Brewing Company, he said that he was unable to go because he had a previous engagement. He said that he has held town hall meetings in August since he was first elected, and plans to do so again this year. McHenry also told News 13 that he recently met with constituents.

Related article| Local 'health care for all' town hall meeting urges no repeal of ACA

"In fact just two weeks ago I was in Buncombe County I met with a cross section of citizens that are concerned about health care changes including the AARP and individual citizens that just wanted to raise their individual families' concerns and I'm listening to them and trying to incorporate that into good policy here in Washington," he said.

In regards to the release of President Trump's 2005 tax returns on Tuesday, he said that he is following "this in the news just like everyone else." McHenry did go so far as to say he did feel like changes should be made to such disclosure statements.

Related article| Trump calls tax document leak 'illegal,' calls reporter a 'weird dude'

"I do think that as a matter of wise public policy that we should improve these disclosure statements going forward for every president, for every member of the House, for every member of the Senate to ensure the American people are getting the understanding they need of the entanglements or perhaps entanglements of their elected officials at the highest and lowest level as well," he said.

News 13 also asked about President Trump's claim that the Obama administration wiretapped Trump during the presidential election. McHenry said he isn't privy to the information being collected by the House Intelligence Committee.

Related article| House intel leaders see no evidence on wiretap

"As somebody who's not a member of that committee, I don't think simply shooting off at the hip about this matter is actually helpful or constructive," McHenry said. "And so I am going to watch very closely what these committees do with their investigation and hear from not just the ranking member and chairman but the full committees on their final findings on this whole interaction."

President Trump is expected to send his first budget to Capitol Hill this week. Rep. McHenry spoke about wanting to make sure that the budget was both fiscally responsible while protecting national security. He also said the House GOP wants a budget that does two reforms: health care and tax policy.

Rep. McHenry also touched on the approaching April deadline to keep the government funded, saying threats of a government shutdown are unacceptable and that he does believe the funding will pass.

"I think that the two major pieces of reform this year, health care changes that can reduce the tax burden on the American population and reduce government spending which our health care package does as well as fundamental tax reform that makes us more competitive globally with international competition and the pressure's on our largest and smallest corporations when it comes to international competition because of our high tax rate here in the United States as well as individuals and families that are still suffering under high tax rates as well," McHenry said.

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