May 19, 2017
For Immediate Release | Contact: Catherine Costakos (202) 225-2823

Congressman Allen Holds
Telephone Town Hall
WASHINGTON - Congressman Rick W. Allen (R-GA-12) held a telephone town hall last night to answer questions from constituents of the 12th district of Georgia. Congressman Allen released the following statement today:

“Last night I was able to connect with thousands of constituents from across the 12th district of Georgia on a telephone town hall. It was a pleasure to be able to give them an update on my work in Washington and to hear their questions. I was also able to ask poll questions to get a pulse of the district, and a snapshot of how people in the 12th district feel about important issues facing the nation. The feedback I received is extremely helpful to me and my staff in order to better serve the people of Georgia-12. Thank you to everyone who participated!”

For those who were unable to participate in the call, here are some of the highlights:

Patrice from Augusta asked how Congress plans to simplify tax filing:

Congressman Allen: “We’re having hearings on tax reform right now; we have people coming in talking about what works, what doesn’t work. But as far as your personal tax return, you’ll have the gross income and you’ll deduct your mortgage interest and your charitable deductions so you’ll be left with your net income and hopefully a tax rate of around 20-25 percent. And it’s basically three lines and then you sign it and certify that the information is correct and all the other deductions will be eliminated. Again, what we want to do is simplify and then substantially reduce the percentage that you’re required to pay.”

David from Swainsboro asked about border security:

Congressman Allen: “You’ll be glad to know that we have beefed up our border patrol and that includes our ports. This President is serious about securing our borders including all of our ports and our shores; and in fact he has made tremendous strides. I think a day or so ago it was in the papers…All of these criminals that are running around our country that are walking across that border, he has increased arrest activity over 50 percent.”

Carl from Martinez asked how Congress plans to grow the economy and solve budgetary issues:

Congressman Allen: “Well, let me tell you, Carl; your concern is valid, you are exactly right. Every time Janet Yellen goes up one quarter percent on the interest rate, it adds $100 billion to mandatory spending and we have to find $100 billion to fill that gap. …Secretary Mattis said in his briefing, when he was asked what in his opinion was the biggest threat to our country, he said it is our national debt. Because if interests rates do go up, if in fact like you said if it’s a trillion dollars it will exceed our military budget and he said that will be the greatest threat to national security.”

“Now, if you look at federal spending and I’ll do this very quickly, two-thirds of every dollar this government spends is mandatory spending and a third of it is discretionary spending. Discretionary spending includes military spending and we need to plus that up to deal with some of the problems we have in our national security. The big area is mandatory spending. Mandatory spending is one trillion dollars above what it was just eight years ago….What that means is if these programs we are doing, such as reforming health care, tax reform, dealing with Dodd-Frank reform to get capital out there to market; what we’ve got to do in this country to solve our immediate problem is get 25 million people back to work. It’s just that simple. If we do that we will have a substantial surplus that will be a yearly surplus. But Carl, there are still unfunded mandates out there that we have to deal with…  But we have to get 25 million people back to work and that will fix the immediate problem. That is what I have been working on since I got to the United States Congress, so thank you for that question.”

Deborah from Twin City is the mother of a veteran and she asked what is being done regarding VA reform:

Congressman Allen: “Well, Deborah thank you for sharing that with us. We had a veterans town hall in the district a month or so ago, and we heard some of the same things that you shared with us here tonight. We’ve got to fix this problem; we’re constantly monitoring what’s going on with the VA here in Augusta and the Carl Vinson VA in Dublin….Last year I had the opportunity to visit the Charlie Norwood VA Center. On my visit, I could see firsthand what kind of care veterans were getting. I got to speak with several of our Nations’ bravest and I found the visit to give me some good information about exactly what they’re trying to do to fix these problems. We have caseworkers, here today, who can help you navigate through the federal agency red tape and what I would suggest, and this is what we do every year, is if you’re having specific problems with your VA, contact my office and let’s get you a case number so we can go directly to the VA and deal with this.”

“Now my good friend, Dr. Phil Roe is the new Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. He and I served on the Education and the Workforce Committee together and we speak quite often about what he’s trying to do to fix these problems. We have a new Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and he has promised-- and I’ll tell you the President is very serious about this-- he has promised that he is going to fix these problems. The other thing we did is pass some legislation. Let’s face it, some of the problems of the VA are employee-driven, so we passed some legislation. One of the most meaningful bills last Congress was the VA Accountability Act, H.R. 1994. I was a proud co-sponsor of this legislation and voted in support of it when it passed the House of Representatives. This bill ultimately failed to be signed into law but I’m proud to say I co-sponsored several pieces of legislation this congress, including H.R. 611, which is the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act. This will allow those in charge of the VA to deal directly with those folks who are not getting their job done and do it in a quick way so we can give our veterans the care they deserve. So that’s what we’re doing and I look forward to the day when all I hear is great reviews of how the VA is treating these brave men and women who have done so much for this country. Again, our President is on board with this; I believe we will get this done.”

If you would like to sign up for the next telephone town hall, please sign up here. If you would like to learn more about the work Congressman Allen is doing in Washington, please sign up for his weekly e-newsletter here.


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