Shimkus Addresses Health Care, Ag Bill in Meeting with Seniors
Congressman John Shimkus believes the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act resulted from a lack of debate in Congress.
The 19th District Republican from Collinsville said he was right on the individual mandate, and that the Commerce Clause can't be used to force a person to buy a good or service. But Shimkus said it was surprising that the high court used taxing authority to confirm the law was constitutional.
Speaking to Champaign County's Active Senior Republicans Monday, Shimkus said the bill wouldn't have passed in the first place if it were part of the legislative debate in Washington.
"And then I segue into the frustration that there was some deception by the legislative branch and the president," he said. "(President Obama) knew it was a tax, and was trying to portray it as not a tax to get to the final conclusion where they're at today, with a piece of legislation that is now the law of the land."
The Congressman says it's the duty of the GOP to educate the public on what the high court's ruling means for employers, who he believes will be paying more and offering less benefits.
Shimkus said businesses are already deciding against expansion as a result of the Supreme Court decision. The Republican said the high court's decision sets the table for a historic election this fall, and will only strengthen his party.
He is also hopeful the 2012 farm bill can include an insurance program for farmers struggling through an extended dry spell.
Shimkus said many crops, as well as pasture land for cattle in Southern Illinois cities like Carmi and Harrisburg, are simply 'gone' as a result.
"That tells you the importance of at least having some insurance product available," he said. "If the people don't want to take it, that's up to them. But you've got to have some type of safety net. An insurance product is buying by the producer, and sharing the risk across the board. So that's what's critical."
But Shimkus said it could be late July before insurance is negotiated into the legislation, which he says also needs spending reductions. He says the SNAP program, or LINK card makes up 80-percent of the bill, and is working to eliminate abuse within that system.
Meanwhile, Shimkus said it is been tough reaching all points of the re-drawn 15th Congressional District, where he's running for re-election. He is opposed by pro-life nurse and Democrat Angela Michael, who couldn't be reached for comment Monday.
And the Illinois State Board of Elections website shows a second opponent has surfaced. A member of the Constitution Party, Tim Pearcy of the Johnson County village of Belknap, filed nominating petitions last week.
Shimkus said a challenge to those petitions by Illinois' Republican Party is possible.
(Photo by Jeff Bossert/WILL)