U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah, calls the federal Affordable Care Act a “train wreck waiting to happen.”
“Business, especially businesses with 50 to 200 employees, don’t know exactly what is expected of them and how to comply with it. They are very apprehensive,” he said. “Just when we need them to be taking risks and expanding and creating jobs, they have this enormous uncertainty that’s weighing them down.”
Prominent Democrats such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, of Nevada, and Sen. Max Baucus, of Montana, have also said the law could be a potential train wreck, though they have said if implemented properly it will not be. Reid has said the government needs to spend more money to make sure the law is a success. But Kingston says Congress has already approved money to implement the law.
“Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of Health and Human Services, wants another $500 million just to implement it on top of the $1.2 billion we already have,” he said. “There’s not enough votes to kill Obamacare. But if we can slow it down, make some changes and modifications, we need to. If the Democrats say ‘We want to back off certain parts of it,’ we would listen to them. But on the Republican side, we still do not support Obamacare.”
Kingston announced on Thursday that he will seek the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by fellow Republican Saxby Chambliss. He stopped in Dalton last week before that announcement.
U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, of Athens, and U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, of Marietta, have also announced they will run in the 2014 Republican primary for that seat.
“Although the state has 9.9 million people, you only have a million people vote in the primary. So it’s going to be a very focused campaign,” Kingston said.
He said the economy is still the top issue on the minds of voters. He said one way the federal government can help the economy grow is by cutting unnecessary regulation. He pointed to efforts to deepen the Port of Savannah as an example of how red tape can slow growth.
“Congress passed a bill in 1999 to deepen the Port of Savannah. It took 13 years for the federal government to agree to deepen the harbor, even though it has been deepened for over 100 years on a periodic basis. During that time, China created a new port, start to finish, that’s bigger than Savannah. This isn’t just a problem for Savannah. It’s a problem for all of Georgia,” he said, noting studies indicate that Georgia ports support some 350,000 jobs across the state.
Kingston said he believes the April 15 bombings at the Boston Marathon have put immigration reform on hold. Two immigrant brothers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, have been accused of the bombings.
“We have real questions as to who is coming in,” Kingston said.
Kingston currently serves as a member of the House Appropriations Committee, which directs federal spending. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in economics, and before his election to Congress he worked in the insurance industry and served in the state House of Representatives.