Florida Republican Jorge Bonilla says Congress should defund Obamacare and ultimately repeal it.
Campaigning to unseat one of the House's most liberal Democrats, Alan Grayson, next year in Florida's Ninth District, the Navy veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm said in an exclusive Newsmax interview that it is "unconscionable" for President Barack Obama to use "sequester politics" to curtail veterans' benefits.
One of two Republican candidates in the Central Florida district — which includes parts of Orlando, Kissimmee, and St. Cloud — he was asked about the possible government shutdown over Obamacare.
"We should continue to do everything we can, everything in our power, and not just at the legislative level but at the grassroots level, to defund Obamacare."
"Obamacare threatens to kill jobs, has already killed jobs, has forced people into part-time jobs, has forced dramatic changes in people's healthcare coverage whether they get taken off it or it increases in price. So we should continue to do everything in our power to defund Obamacare, to declaw it, and ultimately to repeal it."
Are there alternatives?
"We're still weighing them out," Bonilla said, "but I do like some of the measures in the Republican Study Committee plan, like, for example, some of the tax cuts, some of the exemptions that are available to working-class Americans.
"I'm hopeful that we can see a product that will ultimately replace Obamacare," he said.
Bonilla, whose parents came to the mainland United States from Puerto Rico, says that to aid the Hispanic community "the first thing we have to do is get the unemployed employed. There is a 16 percent unemployment rate in my district, which is something alarming and something that quite frankly hasn't been addressed so far by our current representation.
"Going forward we have to make the Hispanic community aware of the fact that even after all is said and done, if Obamacare were fully implemented per the Congressional Budget Office, there's still going to be 31 million people uninsured.
"The only way we're going to stimulate the economy, insure the uninsured, and do something about this unemployment situation is really through small-business job creation. Members of Congress and prospective members of Congress need to focus our efforts on small-business job creation. That's going to be the ultimate engine of recovery.
"Unfortunately, we're at a point in our nation's history where we're in serious danger of leaving behind a diminished country to future generations of Americans. That's why I'm running for Congress."
Turning to immigration reform, Bonilla tells Newsmax: "We have to consider that above all else immigration is a matter of national security. Border security is a matter of national security.
"It's wise that we address what goes on along the border, the fact that our border is porous, the fact that we have no accountability of who comes in and who leaves. And when we talk about border reform and border security, we're not just talking about some poor guy who wants to pick oranges and tomatoes and feed his family. We know that we have elements of al-Qaida that operate all along South America."
Eliminating the backlog at the Department of Veterans Affairs that forces some veterans to wait over a year to get medical treatment "should be at the top of the president's list," Bonilla maintains.
"If you have put yourself in harm's way for this country, if you have taken a round or suffered a brain injury as a result of your service to this country, you should be at the top of the priority list.
"And it is unconscionable for the president to use sequester politics to create a backlog or cut services to our brave men and women in uniform who have given of themselves to this country and now need us to look out for them.
"So I would urge the president to not play sequester politics with the VA and help our veterans. The president has discretion when it comes to how he allocates funds, even within the sequester. I would urge him to just stop playing politics."
Asked how he hopes to appeal to the independent voters he would need to win the House seat, Bonilla responds: "The party needs to focus on jobs, it needs to focus on the economy, and the failed efforts of this administration in turning around the economy.
"If we begin to do that and do that in an affirmative manner, we'll be able to reach out to some of those independents who voted for the president and who had hopes in the president and for the members of Congress that backed him.
"Unfortunately, these efforts have failed and it's time to hold these people accountable and bring other constructive efforts that maybe will stimulate the economy and spur job creation."
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