Rep. Adam Putnam tells Newsmax that the recently passed healthcare reform bill “fundamentally realigns” the relationship between government and the people and imposes what is in essence a “tax on living.”
The Florida Republican also says it is “frightening” to consider the ultimate effects of the cap-and-trade policy Democrats appear intent on implementing.
And he observes that Republicans are poised for a repeat of the so-called “Republican Revolution” of 1994 that put the GOP back in control of Congress.
Putnam was the youngest member of Congress, at age 26, when he first took office in 2001, and he served as chairman of the House Republican Conference from 2006 to 2008.
He is stepping down from Congress at the end of his current term and running for Florida Commissioner of Agriculture.
In his exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Rep. Putnam explains why he voted against President Barack Obama and the Democrats’ healthcare bill.
“I think everyone would agree that there are things we can do in America to improve access to care, and most importantly lower healthcare costs — controlling the costs of defensive medicine, letting people buy insurance across state lines, letting small businesses pool together and purchase coverage and maximize the leverage that would come from that.
“But what the president and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi put forward fundamentally realigns the relationship between government and its people.”
Referring to the mandate requiring Americans to purchase health insurance, Putnam said: “For the first time it will force you to take on additional costs just for being, not for buying something, not for selling something, not for being in a particular occupation, but just for living. There will be a tax on that.
“They are fundamentally intervening with government in the relationship between a doctor and the patient, and I think we are seeing the resentment and the anxiety and anger grow by the day as people learn more and more about what was in that 2,400-page bill.”
Putnam says state attorneys general around the country who are challenging the constitutionality of the healthcare bill are basing their arguments on two key points.
The first is the mandate to purchase coverage (Putnam’s “tax on living”), which he thinks should go all the way to the Supreme Court.
The second is a 10th amendment issue, whether the bill usurps state’s rights with the mandate. The amendment provides that “powers not granted to the national government nor prohibited to the states by the constitution of the United States are reserved to the states or the people.”
Noting that Congress’ approval rating is now at an all-time low, Putnam tells Newsmax: “Who can blame the American people for seeing a Congress that is out of touch?
“The vast majority of Americans were opposed to Obama’s healthcare plan and yet it passed anyway. They’re opposed to the cap-and-trade scheme and yet [Democrats have] signaled that they intend to take that up. They’ve signaled that they intend to move with potentially an amnesty-based immigration bill. So who can fault the American people for being frustrated with an out-of-touch Congress?”
A recent poll showed that Congress’ approval ratings today are at the same level as they were in early November 1994, just before congressional Republicans were swept back into power in the elections later in the month.
“That’s a telling sign, that here in the spring of the election year, not in the fall, we’re seeing record low approval ratings and record participation among the electorate,” Putnam says.
Asked why he is leaving Congress to run for Agriculture Commissioner, Putnam responds:
“As I told a preacher the other day, I’ve got to get out of Washington while my soul is still intact.
“But as a conservative I believe that the states are the laboratories of democracy. If you are someone who is in public service to craft solutions, to solve problems that people are facing in this complicated world, the states are really where the solutions come from.
“When you think of Washington a lot of adjectives come to mind, but innovation, creativity, and solutions aren’t among them.
“States solved welfare reform first. State will solve the healthcare issues more creatively and more effectively because they’re closer to the people. States balance their budgets . . .
“So the opportunity to run statewide, to be one of four statewide elected officials in Florida and sit on Florida’s cabinet, as opposed to being one of 435, I believe gives me an opportunity to be more of an impact player for the state that I love.”
Putnam agrees that the administration is trying to politicize the EPA to ram through cap-and-trade legislation, which is stalled in the Senate.
“That should alarm every America,” Putnam declares.
“They’re attempting to regulate what they cannot legislate, and that is a tremendous arrogance of power that every American should be concerned about, when your elected representatives in Congress are being given an end run and having unelected bureaucrats transform the economy.”
Asked about the likely effects of cap-and-trade laws to force reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, Putnam says:
“Aside from the erosion of the Constitutional power of the legislative branch and the fact that there is this usurpation of power, the chief outcome will be that we continue the loss of good manufacturing jobs in America.
“We will export the very jobs that still build things, create things. And if this financial crisis has taught us anything, America has to remain an economy that still builds and creates and innovates.
“When you have the EPA adopting standards that cannot be attained and will result in further erosion of our manufacturing base, and jobs moving overseas, and costs going up for our consumers for their light bills, their fuel bills, heating their homes, cooling their homes, in a time when people are strapped for cash, is just frightening to consider.”
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