BALLINGER - Congressman Mike Conaway discussed the effects of Hurricane Harvey and touched on upcoming issues in Congress including tax reform, the repeal and replace of Obamacare and the upcoming revisions on the Farm Bill during a town hall meeting held Friday in the council chambers at Ballinger City Hall.

BALLINGER - Congressman Mike Conaway discussed the effects of Hurricane Harvey and touched on upcoming issues in Congress including tax reform, the repeal and replace of Obamacare and the upcoming revisions on the Farm Bill during a town hall meeting held Friday in the council chambers at Ballinger City Hall.

During the meeting Conaway assured the crowd that federal assistance for the victims of Hurricane Harvey, that ravaged the Gulf Coast, would be swift.

“We will be discussing the Harvey response bill next week,” Conaway who represents the 11th District, told the crowd.

“We are not seeing the poor response like we saw in (Hurricane) Katrina,” Conaway added.

He pointed out that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Guard and other governmental agencies were on the ground assisting victims.

He added that funding for the Hurricane Harvey relief, will come from “not spending somewhere else.”

“We will do whatever we need to do to get after that,” Conaway said. “We need to keep a systematic prayer going for the victims.”

Conaway expressed regret over the non-passage of healthcare reform, pointing out that it came as a surprise that the bill failed in the senate by three votes, one cast by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) and two other senators.

“We expected the Senate to pass this,” Conaway said adding that he hopes that lawmakers will get another chance to repeal and replace the bill and that he hopes for more collaboration from both sides of the aisle.

He said the Republican plan included strengthening health savings accounts and allowed insurance companies to compete across state lines.

“Strengthening the individual market is key,” he said. “It is the individual market that has collapsed.”

Conaway said he was hopeful about tax reform and assured constituents that this would be helpful to all Americans if it passes. Included in the tax reform legislation will be the repeal of the death tax, lowering the corporate tax rate and the individual tax rates.

He said he wanted to be frugal on the infrastructure package because “we have already borrowed a lot of money from this generation.”

But is did say his focus will be to get broadband infrastructure out to rural communities like Ballinger to make sure smaller communities can compete for economic development.

“We want to do things that allow rural communities to help themselves,” Conaway stressed.

Conaway, who also heads up the Agriculture Committee, said after addressing the pressing items, he will get to work on revising the Farm Bill, which will expire in September of 2018.

“We’ve had five listening sessions, one recently in San Angelo,” Conaway said.

He said that the goal is to put cotton commodities under Title 1, and that the new bill will address dairy issues, foot and mouth disease related to livestock and agricultural risk coverage.

City Manager Bryan Grimes asked Conaway about the threat from North Korea.

Conaway assured the group that the Korean Kim Jong-un is not a threat.

“They are not a threat,” Conaway said. “Kim Jong-un has that self preservation gene. He has kept alive that America is just about to invade like in 1952. We’ve got to get China to move on him.”

Overall, Conaway told those in attendance that he “did not work for Mr. Trump, I work for you.”

“I’m listening to you and I’m trying to take your voice to D.C.,” he said.

He reminded those in attendance to maintain the “moral high ground” that this country was built upon.

“Pick up your efforts of defending this republic,” Conaway said. “We are today’s keepers.”