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A Day on the Hill

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*Photo taken by Yates Floyd

*Photo taken by Yates Floyd

*Photo taken by Yates Floyd

Yates Floyd, Assistant Editor

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This story is set to run in the 5th issue of the Edge Newspaper. Be sure to read the entire paper on Thursday when we distribute the paper to the school and the community.


On Tuesday, March 21 I went to Washington DC for the first time. However, this was a special occasion for me: my aunt and I had been invited to the NRCC’s (National Republican Congressional Committee) March lunch and dinner. However, that wasn’t all that we were doing that day.

The day started with us heading to the Russell Senate Office Building for a tour; however, traffic was blocked off because the President was heading to the House to meet with congressmen in regards to the Affordable Health Care Act. When we finally made it, we went to visit Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton. While taking a tour of his office, we ran into Cotton who was meeting with businessmen from Arkansas.

We took a tour of the Capitol Building, seeing statues, paintings, and other famous historical works. After that, we went to the Senate Chamber to listen to the Senate Majority  Leader, Mitch McConnell, who was speaking in favor of approving President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. He said the Republicans were doing everything they could to prevent the Democrat’s plan of filibustering his nomination.

After sitting in on McConnell’s speech, we went to the luncheon where the Vice President, Mike Pence, spoke on several topics, including the Affordable Health Care Act. Pence said it would bring an end to nationalized health care, and instead get rid state lines to create free and competitive markets for health care insurance, which will bring the price of health care insurance down. Pence said he would like to see “Flo’s and Gecko’s selling health insurance.”

Pence said in his speech that another important aspect of the plan [before it was pulled] includes benefits for those that have health insurance. He explained that Americans would receive tax credits for having health insurance, so it encourages people to buy insurance. As you get older, because your premiums increase, your tax credits will also increase regardless of your income, Pence said.

Pence also spoke about President’s executive order for the largest increase in defense spending in American history. Their plan is to expand the military and fund new equipment for our soldiers. The additional funding means the United States will have a larger defense budget than the next seven highest spending nations in the world combined.

Pence ended the luncheon by shaking hands and taking pictures with donors. For the rest of the afternoon, we toured D.C. and got ready for the dinner that evening.

The event was at the National Building Museum, which is home to historic American architecture. Before the dinner started we met with Congressman John Ratcliffe of the 4th Congressional District of Texas (which includes Texarkana, Texas) and with Congressman Bruce Westerman of the 4th Congressional District of Arkansas (which includes Texarkana, Arkansas).

As the time for President Trump to arrive dwindled down, Westerman took me to see the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, who I interviewed last October. After a quick hello, we made our way back to the table while Speaker Ryan made his way to the stage. Ryan mentioned that this was an exciting moment for the Republican Party because it has control of the House, Senate, and the Presidency. To Ryan, this means there is opportunity to get floods of legislation passed to push the Republican agenda.

This is, according to Ryan, a critical moment for the party because their legacies rest on their performance in the next two years, which led Ryan on to say that the NRCC should shift its focus to the elections in 2018. Then Ryan went on to introducing President Trump.

After receiving a standing ovation, the president spoke. First, he congratulated the NRCC’s members on a successful dinner that raised $30.2 million to help in the 2018 elections.

Trump went on to talk about how he has helped the economy by keeping manufacturing in America with  companies like Exxon, Walmart, Ford, and more. He said that the reason why these companies are not leaving is because of a 35 percent border tax on imports that President Trump supports.

Mr. Trump also touched on his massive increase in the defense budget. He said that the Navy is at World War 1 levels, so the funding will rebuild the depleted ships and jets. This, according to the president, will give the United States the ability to take care of ISIS.

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A Day on the Hill