Guest Commentary

Local Congressman killed repeal

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On Friday, the Republican House of Representatives failed to fulfill its long held and oft repeated promise to repeal the flawed Affordable Care Act, widely known as ObamaCare.

In 2016, voters overwhelmingly supported that overthrow, as evidenced by their support of Republicans across the board and for Donald Trump, who made “repeal and replace” a centerpiece of his campaign. In Gregg County, Texas, where I live, Trump won in a landslide with over 70 percent of the vote. And that margin was typical of most of East Texas.

My congressman and my good friend, Louie Gohmert, led the opposition to the bill, effectively killing it and keeping ObamaCare as the law of the land.

I supported Congressman Gohmert from the first days of his first campaign for Congress. I closed my medical practice and drove him all over East Texas to meet community leaders, meet with newspapers and hold campaign events. We agree on most issues.

He is one of the hardest working members of Congress. His relationship with his constituency is great. His “midnight tours” of the Capitol are legendary. He probably knows more about the U.S. Capitol building, its history and its artwork and furnishings than anyone, possibly including the Capitol Architect.

He remains one of the poorest members of Congress – good evidence that he is not trying to profit from his position.

I have stood by him when he has made innumerable controversial statements that get him more “face time” on Fox News than Bill O’Reilly. I supported his excuse that being flamboyant and controversial was the only way a back bencher like him could effectively articulate his message and get it out to a wide audience.

He is a member of the Freedom Caucus — the farthest right group in the Republican Caucus in Washington. While I agree with most of the things they stand for, their intransigence and plain old “bull headedness” is keeping us from making progress away from the liberal socialism that ObamaCare represents. Their “my way or the highway” attitude condemns Republicans to fail.

There is a reason that congressmen like Louie Gohmert seldom gain leadership roles in Congress, roles that would enable them to achieve the lofty goals they so ardently cling to while their constituents are drowning in bureaucratic red tape and regulation.

Governing is about more than making speeches, appearing on talk shows and being against everything. Congress will never pass a bill that Louie Gohmert thinks is a perfect bill — one that fulfills his entire wish list. So he kills ObamaCare repeal and lets us keep paying the price for his purity.

Louie, do you work for us? Or have you developed the paternal attitude that voters are simple folk who do not understand such complex issues and you have decided what is best for us?

Been there too long?

[Editor's Note: This piece by Coppedge – a retired surgeon from Longview – originally published by TheHill.com]

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