IN Focus: Messer on healthcare, border wall, first 100 days

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INDIANAPOLIS - After yet another health care vote was delayed in Congress last week, Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) says it's time for lawmakers to finally go on the record, no matter the outcome.

"I think it's time for a vote. My colleagues who said they would support repealing Obamacare need to decide whether they're going to keep their promise," said Messer in an interview for this week's edition of IN Focus. "We've said for weeks that we would vote when he have enough votes to pass it. I think we're as close to a compromise within our conference as we're ever going to get and I do believe we need to go on the record and tell the American people where we are on this legislation and my hope is that will happen next week."

The latest delay comes right as the President marks his 100th day in office, and  just weeks after Republicans were unable to gain enough support for the American Health Care Act.

“The time is now to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something better," said Messer in a written statement. "While Congress delays, Hoosiers continue to suffer with sky-high health care costs and worsening coverage. This legislation drives down costs, while giving states more flexibility and protecting people with pre-existing conditions. It’s past time to take a vote on the bill and keep our promise."

The latest health care talks come at a pivotal time, just as Congress works to avert a government shutdown, with controversy on several key sticking points including health care and funding for the President's border wall.

On Friday, lawmakers in the House and Senate passed a continuing resolution, essentially delaying their deadline one more week.

"We need to get a bill passed that keeps funding going through the course of the next year," said Messer. "I'm optimistic that will happen. There's no reason for partisan gridlock on this. But if Democrats are going to hold the line, we're going to have to find a way to bring enough Republican votes to keep the government open."

As for the border wall funding, Messer said the project should remain a priority, despite some estimates that put the cost for the border wall into the billions of dollars.

"President Trump has promised he will do that. I think that's what most Hoosiers want to see us get started on," said Messer.

Messer also asked for his thoughts on the President's first 100 days, and whether Congress or the President should be blamed for the lack of legislative accomplishments so far this year.

"There have been a lot of great achievements in the Trump administration over the first 100 days, most of them by executive order, frankly," said Messer. "Many of these bills take a while... We’re not there yet. I would give us an incomplete grade on this first 100 days but I’m optimistic we can get some big things done this summer and fall."

Messer has yet to decide on a potential run for Senate in 2018, but he was criticized last week by a former Senate candidate who felt Messer was embracing some of the President's more controversial proposals for political gain.

In a fundraising email regarding Messer's voter ID bill, Jason Kander (D-MO) said Messer was "looking for a leg up with the Trump crowd" ahead of the 2018 midterms, a charge that Messer described as "a charade."

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