Washington Report

Updates from Capitol Hill

RNC Chairman Asks, ‘Where’s the Focus?’

rnc-logo-300x270Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele slammed President Obama in a conference call with reporters this week, saying that in the past several months the president has lurched from the stimulus to cap and trade to job creation to his Olympic pitch in Copenhagen.

“I think the president needs to, along with [members of Congress], tell the American people what their focus is going to be going into the fall and next year,” Steele said.  And while the Copenhagen trip was a “noble idea,” he added, “I just don’t think it’s necessary. I don’t know the judgment behind the president going. I just think it’s not a necessary trip right now when we are facing some pretty looming issues.”

On healthcare, Steele said Democratic plans to include an individual mandate to buy coverage will force “people with limited incomes to pay excessive fines,” if they don’t comply. “That to me is not a very smart economic strategy,” Steele added. However, all of the legislation making its way through Congress would provide subsidies to low-income people to purchase health insurance.

Steele also challenged the wisdom of imposing new taxes on the industry that manufactures wheelchairs and other medical devices. “This I find the most stunning, that we’re now looking at taxing wheelchairs and other devices that cost more than one hundred bucks. This to me is yet again not the way you stimulate an economy that is in recession,” said Steele.

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