Congressman Scott Tipton opened his Delta town hall on Aug. 4 by recognizing all present who had served in the country's military, as well as the Cedaredge musicians who have been nominated to participate in the Washington, D.C., Memorial Day events next year.
He then spoke of pending legislation in the House of Representatives.
He introduced the Healthy Forest Management and Wildfire Prevention Act which will give more power and control to states, boards of county commissioners and tribal governments in managing our forests.
He also introduced the Water Rights Protection Act, which is particularly pertinent to Colorado and its residents.
He has reintroduced the nonpartisan Plan American Energy Act, which urges the use of scientific data to determine our future energy needs and ensure energy security during future growth. It addresses all sources of energy -- oil, gas, coal, renewable.
The Taylor Regulatory Bill was recently introduced by Tipton. Current banking legislation addresses mostly the big banks, he said, and impacts smaller banks negatively. Some small banks have had to shut down or merge with another small bank. The regulatory burden under the Taylor Regulatory Bill would address the needs of small banks as well as big banks.
Congressman Tipton is a co-sponsor of the Rains Act which has passed the House and is in the Senate awaiting action. Under this bill any appropriation of $100 million or more would undergo an automatic "look back" every five years to determine its economic significance.
A random drawing was held to determine who would ask questions of Tipton. Some people identified themselves, some did not.
A question was asked about the EPA and its impact on the closing of coal mines.
Tipton replied, "We have lost 500 jobs in Colorado and Wyoming and 250 jobs in Moffat County may be lost under a pending court decision.
"The EPA is an agency out of control," he said. "CO2 emissions have dropped but we are paying with jobs because China is opening more mines every week.
"We need to take care of American people. We are saddled with $2 trillion in regulatory costs, some of that from the EPA. I've taken money away from the EPA," he said.
Congressman Tipton was referring to budgets passed by the House and the Senate, which are now law.
Mark Eckhart said he is reviewing a government contract with language that relates directly to a product only he makes in the U.S. He said there is language in the contract which favors Poland and Germany.
Tipton replied this again relates to jobs. Different parts of the country have different unemployment rates but, averaged across the country, we have the lowest labor participation rate in many decades. He cited a rate of 10.6 percent because some people have stopped looking for a job, some are underemployed and some can find only part-time employment.
A young woman asked about the fight to defund Planned Parenthood, pointing out the organization provides many services beneficial to women's health such as birth control, finding a physician to provide prenatal care, STD testing, and finding medical care for a woman during developmental problems in a wanted pregnancy. She said Planned Parenthood is important for the future of women's health.
Tipton said he thought the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was supposed to cover all of women's problems. He added there is a lot of fight against the ACA.
Tipton thanked the young woman for bringing her concerns to the town hall, noting that when he was her age, he had asked a hard question in a town hall held by Democrat Senator Gary Hart.
Mike Mason asked about the congressman's reaction to Iran's statement, "Death to America."
Tipton said Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. Real inspections are needed. North Korea worked with Iran to get its nuclear power. "We have real threats coming with ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) members coming across our borders, multiple tiers of threats. Not one of us grew up with this level of threat but our children face so much threat," Tipton said.
Robert Peck (Uzi'el ben Yochanan) told the congressman Messianic Jews and Israeli Jews appreciate his position on the Iran agreement and believe that more sanctions need to be brought against Iran.
Bernie Heideman asked Tipton whether he thought man contributes to global warming.
Tipton replied, "We should all do the best we can to keep our earth clean and we need to take advantage of technology."
Sky Fairlamb, chair of the Republican Party for Delta County for many years, said he had no question but wanted to thank Congressman Tipton for bringing the town hall to Delta. "You are doing a good job," he said.
Dr. Marvin Cox, who spent 30 years in the military, expressed his concern about the proposed cuts in benefits to military personnel. "I do not support these cuts when military personnel are facing increases in costs for utilities, food, housing, but decreases in benefits."
Tipton replied, "U.S. military has suffered the most from the sequestration caused by the economic recession. We will be in conference about this issue when we get back to Washington."
Roberta Clough asked about leadership, saying government is not providing solutions.
She asked why Republicans don't use reconciliation.
Tipton replied that 382 bills have passed in the House and are being sat on in the Senate.
Clough asked, "Is that a game you guys play?"
Tipton smiled, then said, "We live in interesting times; we have divided government, and that is not always bad."
He stated the U.S. Constitution is not a smorgasbord from which government bodies can pick and choose.
The House passes its bills and sends them to the Senate. The Senate is handicapped by cloture, which requires 60 votes to continue debate on a bill.
He noted that under the Constitution it is the legal right of the president to veto an act.
Tipton said we have had divided government before. President Ronald Reagan and House speaker Tip O'Neal worked together. President Clinton and House speaker Newt Gingrich worked together. In both cases neither got all they wanted, but they worried about what was good for the people and progress was made.
Tipton said these circumstances don't exist with President Obama.
Two fatal accidents occurred in Delta County within a two-day span last week.
Casey Gillenwater, 25, of Delta was killed the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 13, in a single-vehicle rollover on Highway 133 outside of Hotchkiss.