Geoff Dornan

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August 23, 2013
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Amodei says Obamacare should be put on hold, but immigration reform can get done this year

Obamacare should be put on hold, U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei said Thursday, adding that he thinks immigration reform can and will be done this year.

He said there are good things in the Affordable Care Act but that not even the Obama administration, which delayed implementation of some business requirements, is ready for the scheduled implementation Oct. 1.

“Sure, there are some things I like in there, but the overall work product, is it good? No. Even leaders in the labor movement are writing letters saying, hey, this isn’t what we thought,” the Carson City Republican said during a breakfast speech before Carson Chamber of Commerce members at Silver Oak Golf Course.

“We are not ready to roll this out,” he said, arguing the whole act should be put on hold until the numerous problems with it are fixed.

Amodei also said he doesn’t think congressional Republicans are going to shut the government down in he next 90 days.

“But when the president says he’s not going to talk about the debt limit, not going to talk about health care, the hard-headed guy in me wants to say, well, call me when you do,” he said.

Amodei was more hopeful about approving immigration reform.

“One thing we’ll deal with by the end of the year is immigration reform,” he said, calling the current law “a mess.”

Amodei said both parties and houses need to talk about reforms that attract high-tech and other professionals; how to provide access visas for needed “low-skilled” workers; and the path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, including the so-called “dreamers” who were brought to the U.S. as children.

“It’s not about compassion,” he said. “It’s about doing what’s best for this country. The present system, in my view, is not working. You have to create a system where people say it’s a better deal to get into the system.”

He said more than half the Republicans in the House will support reforms, but not 218, which is a majority.

“We’ll need Democrats. If we want to get to conference with the Senate, you’ve got to pass something.”

But Amodei cautioned that party politics could derail efforts to find compromise.

“Make no mistake, if everybody retreats to their partisan foxholes, we won’t get immigration reform,” he said.

That issue has become a top priority for many Republicans because in recent elections, Democrats have won as much as 80 percent of the Hispanic vote.

Amodei pointed out that as a congressman, “I’m affiliated with an organization that, on a good week, its approval rating is in the high single digits.”

Amodei and fellow members of Congress are on break. He took issue with Fox News commentator Greta Van Susteren for her comment, “Can you believe Congress is on vacation?”

“With all due respect, sweetheart, I’m not on vacation,” he said. “I needed to come back and hang out with the people who hired me,” he said, detailing an extensive series of business, constituent and town hall meetings over the past week.

He said he will be in Northern Nevada for another week, continuing to meet with the people who elected him.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Aug 23, 2013 12:55AM Published Aug 23, 2013 12:51PM Copyright 2013 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.