Representative Walter Jones (R-3) is not a liberal, progressive, or Democrat. He’s pretty solidly a dyed-in-the-wool conservative Republican. But several of his stances since Donald Trump took office have leaned center-right and offered a slim ray of light for those of us on the left.
Within Congress, Jones has stood out several times as a man of integrity amid a mass of writhing, sycophantic eels. At no point has this been more true than in his rejection of the House bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. On May 4, Jones posted the following letter on his Facebook page explaining his position regarding the American Health Care Act.
For over seven years, I have heard from the people of Eastern North Carolina about their trials and frustrations with Obamacare. It is clear that Obamacare is not working. That is why I voted against the bill that created it in 2010, and have continuously voted to repeal it. Now in 2017, for reasons I cannot understand, instead of moving a bill to repeal Obamacare and replace it with reforms that will fix our broken health care system, the Washington Republican leadership jammed a bill through the House that does neither. Furthermore, the rushed, behind-closed-doors process they’ve used is shameful. Over the past several weeks, they cut deal after deal to secure members’ support, and then pushed the bill to the floor without a CBO score. As a result, no one has any idea how much those deals will cost the American taxpayers, or how they might affect the cost, quality, and availability of health insurance coverage for American families. Seven years ago, Speaker Nancy Pelosi infamously said of the Obamacare bill: ‘You have to pass the bill so we can find out what’s in it.’ Sadly, the Washington Republican leadership is repeating the same mistakes.
Furthermore, there are many aspects of the bill that deeply trouble me because of their potential effects on Eastern North Carolina and rural America. For example, the bill discriminates against as many as 7 million American veterans by making them ineligible to receive tax credits provided in the bill. It would also result in low-to-middle income seniors paying dramatically higher premiums.
Over the past two months, thousands of Eastern North Carolinians of all political stripes have contacted my office about the AHCA. Well over 90 percent are opposed to the bill. I asked for this job to represent the people of Eastern North Carolina, and they have spoken clearly.
Another show of Jones’s character occurred in February, when he joined every member of the House Democratic Caucus in cosponsoring the Protecting Our Democracy Act. The bill called for a bipartisan citizens’ commission to investigate allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Nothing has come of the bill. But as congressional intelligence investigations continue to stall, we may do well to urge Jones to pick up the battle cry once more. More and more people are calling for an independent commission, as both the evidence of collusion and the unwillingness to investigate it rise.
Here’s how you can reach Jones:
2333 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515