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Press Release: Legal Lines with Locke Meredith

Guest: Congressman Bill Cassidy, Show #99


Attorney Locke Meredith interviews United States Congressman Dr. Bill Cassidy.  Congressman Cassidy is going to talk about the U.S. economy, the stimulus package, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other issues our nation is facing.

On his last interview with Congressman Cassidy, Meredith and he discussed healthcare.  Congressman Cassidy tells us that recently the House Republican party has submitted a bill which seeks to empower the patient, in healthcare, through a health savings account.  This account gives people freedom to choose where and how to finance their healthcare needs and decreases the administrative costs of health insurance.  Congressman Cassidy came into a U.S. Congress that has a Democratic majority, making Republican reform ideas, like healthcare, hard to turn into laws.

Congressman Cassidy serves on several committees.  He serves on the natural resources committee, involving oil and gas, as well as on the education, labor, and agriculture committees.  As far as healthcare reform goes, Congressman Cassidy explains that all the movement is coming from the “left of the left” super liberals.  Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, is supported by these people, he says.  Because of the political polarity of the House, healthcare reform decisions are far from bipartisan, he says.  Congressman Cassidy is hoping the town hall meetings and the public voicing of concern will result in some type of bipartisan patient-centered solution that is something other than a government bureaucracy.

Meredith brings up the stimulus package.  Congressman Cassidy says that he voted against the stimulus package that was chosen, but instead voted for a stimulus that gave eighty billion dollars to construction projects.  This number was cut to twenty-nine billion in the package that was passed.  Congressman Cassidy points out that the unbiased Congressional Budget Office has recently said that the stimulus package that passed will likely hurt our economy in ten years, because it borrows so much money, leaving no money to expand our economy.  The national deficit for the United States is estimated at 1.6 trillion dollars for this year alone.  Furthermore, Bush tax cuts are scheduled to end at the end of 2010.  Congressman Cassidy applauds the American people for dealing with constantly hearing that their taxes would not rise, with the truth being, they are going to rise.

Next the conversation turns to the thousands of earmarks in American budget.  Earmarks are legislative provisions that direct governmental funding for specific projects, or direct specific exemptions from taxes or mandated fees.  Congressman Cassidy says we have nine thousand earmarks currently.  The recent Senate appropriations bill contains earmarks, one of them being that Congress needs more planes to fly around in.  A recent provision in the legislative process is that the American people should have the opportunity to read bills before they are signed.  This provision’s legitimacy is negated however, Congressman Cassidy feels, when three hundred page amendments, like the one in the healthcare bill, are made just hours before the vote.

On the war in Afghanistan, Congressman Cassidy doesn’t state much of an opinion, except that he wants to see methods of measuring out progress, or lack thereof.  When asked about Iran, Congressman Cassidy is unsure of how trustworthy they are, even if they are agreeing to no preconditions nuclear talks with President Obama.  Iran, who has been threatening to build up its nuclear arsenal, is causing great unrest in the Middle East, especially to Israel.  Congressman Cassidy says that Saudi Arabia, a major gasoline supplier to Iran, may cut off their supply in reaction to this.  This could prevent the UN from needing to intervene.  Congressman Cassidy and Meredith discuss the magnitude of international access to cheap energy, especially in the form of oil, and how many countries outside of the Middle East depend on them for cheap oil.  Congressman Cassidy believes all this makes a strong case for Louisiana to drill as much as it can.

The conversation turns now briefly toward the national debt and the economy.  Congressman Cassidy says that one problem right now is that the American people are in fear that taxes will rise significantly in the future to help the U.S. pay back all of the one trillion dollars in stimulus money, and that their fears are legitimate.

Congressman Cassidy and Meredith then discuss recent changes in the United States cap and trade policy, specifically regarding fossil fuel emissions.  Congressman Cassidy says that a recent study by an organization called the Brooking Institute, a far left organization, estimates that the U.S. will lose forty percent of our petrochemical jobs due to new legislation and caps.  This will particularly affect Louisiana, where Exxon Mobil, a huge petrochemical plant, is the largest private employer in the district, says Congressman Cassidy.  Congressman Cassidy explains what is called carbon leakage.  Emissions regulations are causing some U.S. petrochemical plants to shut down and move overseas, meaning that they will still be emitting the same amount of CO2 into the environment, only now it is also costing us domestic jobs.  This is carbon leakage. Congressman Cassidy feels that as a nation, the U.S. needs to invest more into domestic energy production, fueling our own economy with jobs and domestic oil, and becoming less dependent on hostile foreign countries for oil.

Congressman Cassidy and Meredith then return to discuss the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Congressman Cassidy believes that the U.S. should honor the Iraqis requests for U.S. troops to leave, as they are a sovereign nation.  On the other hand, he believes the war in Afghanistan is a different kind of war, and that Washington should defer to the decisions to the generals on the ground there.

The last thing they discuss are the grants that Congressman Cassidy is bringing into the State of Louisiana.  Congressman Cassidy encourages people to contact Dale Marino in his office if they have a government entity or non-profit that needs funding.  The show comes to a close.


Louisiana Lawyers