Palmer talks budget, Obamacare and EPA

U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Alabama, addressed constituents during a March 31 "Eggs and Issues" breakfast hosted by the Greater Shelby County, Calera, Hoover and Vestavia Hills chambers of commerce. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Alabama, addressed constituents during a March 31 “Eggs and Issues” breakfast hosted by the Greater Shelby County, Calera, Hoover and Vestavia Hills chambers of commerce. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

HOOVER—U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Alabama, noted a balanced budget, healthcare and Environmental Protection Agency-imposed standards as some of the largest issues he has grappled with during his first few months in U.S. Congress.

Palmer delivered an update from Washington to a group of constituents during a March 31 “Eggs and Issues” breakfast hosted by the Greater Shelby County, Calera, Hoover and Vestavia Hills chambers of commerce at the Birmingham Marriot Hotel.

Palmer serves on the House Committee on Budget, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the U.S. House Committee of Science, Space and Technology.

“Our objective was to get to a balanced budget,” Palmer said of the budget resolutions recently passed in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.

Palmer likened the country’s current spending to a “runaway train,” and noted the more than $18 trillion deficit.

The budget calls for an approximately $5.5 trillion cut in spending along with a more thorough collection of taxes, which Palmer said would balance the nation’s budget in 10 years.

“We have got to do a better job of handling the money that’s sent to us, but also do a better job of collecting the money that is owed to us,” Palmer said, noting the government only collects around 84 percent of taxes owed.

Palmer also addressed health care, calling for a repeal of Obamacare and suggesting a replacement of health insurance savings accounts that “will truly allow people to choose their own insurance company, choose their doctor and choose their hospital.”

Additionally, repealing Obamacare in full accounts for approximately $2 trillion of the $5.5 trillion spending cut, Palmer said.

Finally, Palmer expressed concern over standards imposed on all states by the EPA, noting high costs of compliance especially for western and southern states.

“If they put these standards in place, it will absolutely bring economic development to a halt,” Palmer said.

Palmer suggested returning environmental regulations to the state level, adding “the EPA has gone from protecting the environment to becoming an economic menace.”

Closing the meeting, Palmer said he plans to support the Constitution and restoring a balance between all three branches of government.

“We’re supposed to have three separate and equal branches of government. That’s not the case anymore… we’ve got to restore that balance because that’s what makes this system work,” Palmer said. “As long as I am a member of Congress, I will abide by this Constitution.”