Deep into President Barack Obama’s hourlong visit with House Republicans on Wednesday, reports Chris Carroll, someone stated the obvious: “Nobody in this room voted for you.” The freshly re-elected chief executive paused and pondered the Capitol Hill hostility for a moment.
“Well,” he said, “I voted for myself.”
“Some other guys and I got a good chuckle out of that,” said U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, a Republican from Johnson City, Tenn. “At least he had one supporter there.”
A light moment to be sure, but the exchange illustrates the serious gap between all parties even after Obama’s separate goodwill sessions with Senate Democrats, House Republicans, Senate Republicans and House Democrats.
The result of Obama’s closed-door charm offensive? Plenty of dish, but no developments. And certainly no “grand bargain” over taxes and entitlement reform.
“Hopefully, we can come up with something,” said U.S Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn. “It doesn’t mean we’re going to. You never know.”
Dining on lobster Thursday at the Capitol, Senate Republicans applauded the president at least three times. But afterward, senators said the audible praise came only because Obama showed up. They denied any sign of a real breakthrough.
“We welcomed him and said this is the way presidents historically have dealt with members of the Senate,” said U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.. “They’ve gotten to know them in an informal way.”
Two congressmen have called for a federal investigation of the electronic database used by Tennessee and 23 other states to track drugstore sales of methamphetamine’s main ingredient, reports the News Sentinel. U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Johnson City, and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, wrote to the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday asking for an inquiry into whether the system skirts agreements with state governments, stonewalls police and violates federal law by mining the sales numbers for marketing data.
“We have new concerns about the legality, integrity and effectiveness of this tracking system and believe it may warrant greater federal scrutiny at this time,” the letter reads. The system “may not only be violating (federal law), but may also be impeding law enforcement’s anti-diversion efforts, intentionally or otherwise.”
The company that operates the database says it’s done nothing wrong.
Pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient in some popular cold and sinus medicines, also serves as the foundation for most recipes for meth, an addictive stimulant that mimics adrenaline. Meth cooks use household chemicals such as lantern fuel and drain cleaner to break down pseudoephedrine, producing toxic waste and sometimes fires and explosions in the process.
Included in a Robert Houk column questioning U.S. Rep. Phil Roe’s attack on new nutrition standards for school lunches – he calls them “overreaching” by the federal government – are several comments from letters to the Johnson City Press. He starts with this a poem from Joan Elliot of Unicoi. Healthy school lunches
Seem a no-brainer.
Reducing fat and sugar
Couldn’t be saner.
Phil, you epitomize
The politics of No!
Further commentary: …Most of the folks we heard from last week say Roe is the one overreaching in his opposition to all things Obama. In this case the Republican congressman is challenging benchmarks from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for school lunch menus.
…Roe believes limits on caloric intake are not something Uncle Sam should be doing. He writes that one school official even told him that restricting calories will force lunchroom servers to count the number of tater tots they place on a student’s tray. (What will the Stalinists in the Obama administration think of next?)
One reader has suggested that if a school system doesn’t wnt to abide by the federal guidelines, it should give up the federal funds it receives and serve students whatever junk food it likes.
The tater tot controversy is ridiculous given what is at stake – the health and nutritional of Tennessee children. Earlier this month a report from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that more than half the Americans in 39 states will be obese by 2030, with Tennessee predicted to be at the 63 percent obesity level.
…Left to their own devices, some school systems would serve nothing but the cheapest, prepackaged processed foods available. It’s not that these school systems don’t care about the health and well-being of their students. I think they do. They just don’t know how to do it on a limited budget.
Maybe Roe – the fierce anti-taxer – can enlighten these food systems on how they can stretch their dollars while Roe – the doctor – can tell how to serve healthier tater tots.
— Note: A previous post HERE. The newspaper also reprints a copy of Roe’s guest column on the subject written for The Hill.
KINGSPORT, Tenn. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Phil Roe has a bad taste in his mouth from the new federal standards for meals served in public schools.
The Kingsport Times News (http://bit.ly/RPA4p9 ) reported Monday the Tennessee Republican from the 1st District said in a conference call Thursday with reporters that the revamped school meals are just “more overreach of government.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture changed the standards for meals served to 32 million kids across the nation to offer more fruits and vegetables, increase whole-grain foods, limit calories based on the age of children and reduce saturated fat, trans fats and sodium.
Roe said one school director in his district said the standards are too restrictive, and he has signed on as a co-sponsor for a bill that would repeal the calorie limits.
Democrat Alan Woodruff of Gray is running against history in Northeast Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District, observes the Kingsport Times-News, since no Democrat has been elected to represent the district in either the 20th or the 21st century. Woodruff was quick to be lighthearted about politics when asked about his campaign plan.
“You need to understand I suffer from a serious case of (Vice President) Joe Biden disease,” Woodruff said with a smile. “If you ask a question, I’m likely to give you an answer. But, as an example of partisanship, I also adopt the (GOP presidential challenger) Mitt Romney philosophy that I may forget what I’ve said, but I’m sure I stand by it.”
Woodruff, a 69-year-old attorney, is going up against two-term GOP incumbent U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, plus two independent challengers and one Green Party candidate, in a long shot bid to win the district seat.
U.S. Rep. Phil Roe said the worst thing that could happen in a Supreme Court ruling on Barack Obama’s health care reform legislation would be if the judges say it’s partially constitutional.
In a Friday interview with the News Sentinel, and the court’s ruling expected soon, he said that if only parts of it are repealed, “it’s a disaster, the costs will skyrocket.”
He said that if the court only removes a requirement from the legislation that says all citizens must have health insurance, then insurers and other groups that pay for health care would not be able to handle how the risk is spread among groups. America’s Health Insurance Plans, which represents the health insurance industry, has also sounded that warning..
If the court upholds the reform legislation, then Republicans will work to repeal it themselves, the congressman from Johnson City said.
And if the entire reform law is repealed, that would be ideal with Republicans such as Roe.
A market-based exchange that lets consumers choose their own plans would be a suitable replacement, he said. But states led by Republicans aren’t ready to open such exchanges, The Associated Press reported this week.
“Spread the risks over a huge amount of people,” he said, another position shared by AHIP.
Roe was not ready to speculate on what the Supreme Court may say.
“I don’t have a clue,” he said.
News release from David Davis, former 1st District Congressman:
Johnson City, Tennessee – Former Congressman David Davis announced today that he is endorsing Rick Santorum for President. Davis stated, “Rick Santorum is a true conservative who has a proven record of protecting both our economic and social values.”
Santorum supports many of the same issues that Davis championed while in Washington. For instance, Santorum believes in a strong economy, low family and business taxes to increase American jobs, constitutionally protected second amendment rights, decreased dependence on foreign oil and increased usage of American energy, and the sanctity of every human life.
Davis further stated, “As a former Member of both the Tennessee State Legislature and the United States Congress, I know firsthand the importance of servant leadership. Therefore, I am very proud to endorse Rick Santorum because of his proven leadership abilities and because of his bold, conservative vision for the future.”
— Note: U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, who defeated Davis in a Republican primary, is backing Mitt Romney.
U.S. Rep. Phil, R-Tenn., is one of more than 120 House Republicans who voted against the 2009 economic recovery package and then sought stimulus funds, according to the Kingsport Times-News, citing a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) claim. Last week, Roe presented Takoma Regional Hospital officials in Greeneville with a $1.3 million stimulus check as partial reimbursement for the hospital’s investment in electronic health records. Afterward, the Tennessee Democratic Party fired off an e-mail to news media outlets calling the check award a “hypocritical handout.”
The TDP e-mail said: “Congressman Roe doesn’t want to spend taxpayer dollars but he’s happy to dole it out. This is exactly the kind of sham leadership that has Tennesseans so frustrated with the Republican Congress.”
When contacted for a response, Roe said in an e-mail: “You can’t spend over $816 billion dollars and not do some good things. But the real question is, was the stimulus legislation a waste of taxpayer dollars? ”
Until now, new charter schools in Tennessee got between $600,000 and $700,000 in federal grants to cover startup costs in their first three years, including big-ticket items such as building leases. But the money has dried up reports the Commercial Appeal.
“It’s a significant strain to say the least,” said Freedom Prep principal Roblin Webb. “That’s the money you use to find and lease facilities, pay your teachers. “We could not have started without the money. This is huge.”
Former Memphis mayor Willie Herenton expects he will have to delay opening of several of the seven charter schools he hoped to open in the fall of 2012 in Orleans Elementary, Manassas High and Booker T. Washington High in Memphis.
“In all candor, I was shocked to hear the new startups would not have necessary ingredients to launch new programs,” he said. He plans to seek funding from philanthropic and corporate sources.
For years, Tennessee charter operators got $225,000 to use the year before the school opened, followed by another $250,000 to cover operational costs before state per-pupil tax money began flowing to the schools, said Rich Haglund, director of charter schools at the state Department of Education.
“If a school opened with 100 students, they would get one-tenth of their (Basic Education Program tax funds) that August. That is not going to pay their operational costs,” he said.
U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. and U.S. Rep. Phil Roe have endorsed Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination, reports Michael Collins, but other Republicans in the state’s congressional delegation are staying out of the fray. “I’ve been very, very impressed with Gov. Romney as a person,” the Knoxville Republican (Duncan) said. “I’ve met with him personally three or four times, and each time I’ve been impressed. He seems to me to be a good man, a good family man, and just a really nice man.
“He has good business experience, and I think with the economy and jobs and so forth being among the top considerations in the election this year, I think it would be a good thing to have a successful businessman as our nominee.”
,,,(Roe) said he was drawn to the former governor because of his business background and his experience in dealing with an onerous legislature.
“I said from the very beginning that I wanted a governor to represent my party as the nominee,” Roe, R-Johnson City, said recently. “I wanted somebody who had dealt with a legislature that had been tough to deal with — a governor, and someone who can win the election.”
The Tennessee presidential primary is less than two months away, but Duncan and Roe are the only East Tennesseans in Congress who have publicly pledged their support for one of their party’s candidates.
“I learned a long time ago that people didn’t elect me to tell them how to vote, and we’re learning enough about the candidates that Tennesseans can make up their own minds,” said U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.
U.S. Rep. Phil Roe said Friday GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney pledged to repeal federal health care reform despite having signed a similar measure into law as Massachusetts governor, according to Hank Hayes. Last week, Roe endorsed Romney and mentioned the repeal pledge in a news release on Romney’s campaign Web site.
But Romney has been a political target for signing into law a state measure more than five years ago mandating Massachusetts residents to obtain a state-government-regulated minimum level of health care insurance coverage.
Roe, in a conference call with reporters, said he spoke with Romney about the health care reform law also known as the Affordable Care Act.
“He said if he is president he will give a waiver immediately to any state that wants it,” Roe, R-Tenn., said of the conversation with Romney. “He told me he would sign to repeal it. He told me that out of his own mouth.”
Roe voted to repeal the health care reform law — a measure that passed in the GOP-controlled House but not in the Democrat-led Senate. He has also sponsored legislation to repeal a provision in the law.
That provision would create an Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) to rein in Medicare spending.
Roe has more than 200 House co-sponsors to repeal the IPAB, and he pledged to seek Senate support next year.