U.S. Congressman Rick Allen, R-Ga.-12, spoke against Planned Parenthood practices and of problems with the Affordable Care Act, the Iran nuclear deal and excessive government regulations Monday as he addressed the Rotary Club of Statesboro.
Introduced by former Rep. Bob Lane, Allen faced a large crowd, some of whom asked questions after his speech during the civic club's weekly meeting at Forest Heights Country Club.
Allen opened his speech by announcing that he will be opening a Statesboro office in August, where he will be more accessible to Bulloch County area residents.
He said he enjoyed touring Statesboro businesses and visiting with people Monday.
"This is the part of my job I enjoy most," he said, referring to speaking at events and meeting citizens.
But the topic of his speech quickly turned to business as he began addressing issues he has faced during his first seven months in office.
He spoke of House Resolution 427, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny, or REINS, Act, "which provides regulatory relief to American families and job creators while restoring congressional accountability."
In 2014 alone, 3,554 new federal regulations were imposed on American businesses, costing an estimated $1.9 trillion, according to information from Allen's office. The REINS Act "would limit unnecessary major regulations from executive agencies by requiring new rules with an impact of $100 million or more to be submitted to Congress for approval."
Regulations "present many road blocks" for businesses, Allen said Monday.
"We know what it takes to get the economy going, and we have to work to make things happen," he said. "I knew (the government) was overreaching, but I didn't know how bad it was. We're working on that."
Over-regulation has had a "damning effect" on the health care industry, he said, adding that "Obamacare has proven time and time again that it is a broken law."
Jimmy Cason, pastor of Statesboro's First United Methodist Church, questioned Allen about Obamacare, asking why there isn't more of an effort to correct what is wrong about the Affordable Care Act and make it work better instead of the focus on repealing the law.
An original co-sponsor of House Resolution 1190, the Protecting Seniors' Access to Medicare Act, Allen supports legislation that repeals the Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB, established under Obamacare.
"The problem with the law is that it is a mandate," Allen told Cason. "And this law is substantially over budget."
He said dissatisfaction with Obamacare is one of the biggest topics of complaint he hears from voters.
"Everywhere I go, every business I go into, people say we must do something about Obamacare," he said. "Health care is 25 percent of our economy, and it is too big for our government to take over. The only way we're going to reduce health care (costs) is reduce the number of people at the trough feeding off health care."
The government needs more input from physicians and others in health care to create a better and more affordable and user friendly program, he said.
"I can assure you there is a solution. We can do better," Allen said. "We need physicians and folks who do this every day to come to us and say, 'This is what we need to be doing.' "
Allen also spoke against the practices of Planned Parenthood, an organization that is under national scrutiny regarding its collection and sale of fetal tissue for research. The issue, a topic of discussion since the early 1990s, has been met with renewed horror by many, including the Republican party, which opposes funding the organization mainly for this reason.
Allen is a cosponsor of House Resolution 3134, the Defund Planned Parenthood Act, a measure that pushes to withdraw all federal funding for the organization.
Videos released showing how the fetal tissue is collected "shocked and appalled" him, and federal funding should not support the organization, he said.
Allen also addressed current negotiations regarding Iran's nuclear program.
"During these negotiations, I have been very skeptical," he said, echoing statements he made to the House recently. "Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism. Even (Obama's) negotiating team says we can't trust them."
The current deal on the table would allow Iran a 24-day warning period before inspections, which Allen said would give the country plenty of time to "cover up" anything it may not want uncovered.
Allen plans to take a trip to Israel soon to meet with world leaders about the nuclear deal.
"I will be taking a close look at what they look at every day," he said. "There is too much at stake to accept such a deal."
Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.