by Amy Gerak –
Representative Charlie Dent (R) PA-15, met exclusively with a packed house of AMAC members at the Bethlehem Area Public Library in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on August 29. After welcoming members to the meeting and providing an update on AMAC’s activity in Washington, DC, Vice President of Government Relations Andy Mangione had the pleasure of introducing Congressman Dent to the local membership.
Congressman Dent made some opening comments and then spent the bulk of the 90 minute meeting answering questions from the audience. AMAC members asked questions on a variety of issues, including the conflicts in Egypt and Syria, the potential shutdown of the federal government over the funding of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), benefit cuts to Medicare, and the Farm Bill.
Congressman Dent answered them all and also shared some strategies he and his Congressional colleagues have regarding the forthcoming debt ceiling debate. Mr. Dent realizes that while Republicans do not have the votes for a full repeal of Obamacare, they can use the debt ceiling negotiation as a means to strip the more egregious parts, including the Independent Payment Advisory Board, the medical device tax, and the employer mandate, out of the ACA. Representative Dent has instructed House Speaker John Boehner to include these provisions in any discussions surrounding the debt ceiling. The Congressman also wants to include the construction of the Keystone pipeline (and the 20,000 new jobs the project would create) in the debt ceiling deliberations as well.
AMAC members also asked questions regarding their perception of a leadership void among Republicans and voiced their concern that the party was becoming splintered. Congressman Dent reassured the membership that Republicans are more united than they are being portrayed; however, there is a strong debate among them over which tactics to use to combat the President’s more controversial policies like the ACA.
Congressman Dent thanked AMAC members for taking the time to meet with him and requested that we hold future meetings both in Bethlehem, as well as other cities throughout his district. A special “thank you” to AMAC Delegate Prudie Potter for organizing and coordinating the meeting. Prudie made all the telephone calls and visits to Congressman Dent’s office to schedule the meeting and she even baked the shortbread snacks and lemon squares that were enjoyed by the attendees!
AMAC’s Delegate Program continues to grow and we now have Delegates in nearly 145 Congressional districts! If you’d like to serve as an AMAC Delegate, please contact Amy Gerak at 888 262 2006, ext. 1035, e-mail [email protected], or visit www.amac.us.