Notes from the Charlie Dent Meeting

Shirley Clark took these excellent notes during Dent’s talk yesterday and we are happy to share them with you:

Rep. Charlie Dent Meeting with Hershey Indivisibles

Hershey Public Library, July 10, 2017

Initial update:

Voted against health care bill in House. Doesn’t think Senate bill will be passed before end of July.

Wants bipartisan budget bill.

Wants simplified tax code. Look at loopholes and deductions.

Infrastructure (may want to tie to tax reform)

Concerned about foreign policy issues.


Health care ideal bill components

Does it incentivize utilization of care due to employer-based healthcare system? (After WW2)

Employers have tax credits and employees receive it as non-taxed benefit

repair individual health insurance market – how? Need to cover pre-existing illnesses. Dependent coverage.

Must make sure that there are revenues to pay for it. Taxes on costs should be removed (HSA, FSA, medical devices). Retain higher-income taxes.


Environment – EPA cut

Support for EPA and likelihood of passage of Trump budget?

Noted deep cuts to EPA, State, HHS, NIH, etc.

EPA – does not think it will be dramatically different than FY17. Said there will be drama between now and then.

Noted the importance of dying by disease versus dying by terrorist.

Budgeting process becomes aspirational document. 302A number – then the appropriations spreads it among the agencies. Has to provide for reconciliation instructions.


Planned Parenthood

Noted that organization provides much more than abortion. Position on funding for PP and including birth control and pregnancy coverage in health bill. Voted to continue funding for PP. Said that there is a lot of misunderstanding about PP. Problem with health bill was 1. Medicaid cuts. 2. Tax credits not sufficient for covering premiums. 3. PP shouldn’t be included in the health bill. It is not part of the discussion. They should not be defended.


Voted against CRA (Congressional review act) – states moving away from funding PP (not all). Trying to help get coverage for women in poor areas.



HR 3003 – Sanctuary Cities

Concern about how undocumented immigrants are less likely to participate in law enforcement needs

When person is arrested, immigration is checked. Some jurisdictions order police to not cooperate. Thinks it is not right that communities say they will not help them. Noted that some countries won’t take back their citizens and so criminals will be let loose here.



thoughts on bathroom law reversal and return to states? Did not support NC law and thought Obama overreached with federal law. Should let issue wind its way through the courts and then see if federal government has a role. Noted that school districts are already accommodating transgender students.



Noted cuts to Census Bureau. Commerce, Justice and Science bill has increase in Census funding. At least $30 million above last funding in house bill.



Noted loss of jobs due to automation. What is federal government doing or should be doing to prepare for lost jobs to automation? Dent not ready to push panic button on this yet. Dent currently concerned about lack of skilled labor currently. (Does not address unskilled workers, but does discuss training). Jobs will go to skilled labor.



Position on gun control? Position on semi-automatic weapons? Supports 2nd Amendment for most people. Does not support criminal or mental health purchases. Supports background checks. PA law (which Dent supported) added pistols to law and included private sales. Federal law only had long guns. Supported Toomey and Manchin law. All licensed dealer sales are background-checked currently. Only as good as data in the system. Note conflict with HIPPA laws. Noted that automatic weapons are almost non-existent in civilian hands.


Climate Change

Noted US military identification of climate change as a critical issue. Pushes cost-benefit analysis. Noted that Trump withdrew from non-binding accord. Doesn’t think China gave much. Does believe we were better in than out because we had a seat at the table. Our advantage is our innovation and technology. Noted renewables (hope he didn’t confuse renewables and natural gas). Still looking at Climate Solutions Caucus to see if they are doing something tangible. Notes that this district has many carbon-intensive industries. Wants to look at how to balance growth with environment. Noted that cement industries cannot meet current standards (all owned by European companies), and noted that cutting those industries would lead to imports from countries that are not as carbon conscious and the total carbon footprint would increase. Noted that environment is going to drive China and India to improve their situation. Military looking at changes to seaports, etc., and relocations of infrastructure.


Mass Incarceration

What should federal government to reduce incarceration rate and how does that relate to war on drugs? Noted much of this is a state function. Noted that much of this came from problems in big cities in the 60s and 70s. Noted that overall downward trend of crime, such as murder. Implied that incarceration helped by removing criminals off street. Noted that there are people in prison who are not a threat to society. Most of this is at the state level where incarceration occurs. Does think that marijuana possession in prison was a deal for more serious charges.


Dodd-Frank rollback

Voted for HR 10, rollback. Why voted for it? Noted that Wells Fargo was found by newspaper and not by CFPB. Says that Dodd-Frank resulted in fewer small banks being founded. Says that small bank could not afford compliance cost of Dodd-Frank. Noted that it codified too big to fail but may have codified too small to succeed. Said too many regulations on regional banks. Said that CFPB funding is not controlled by Congress but comes from Fed Reserve. Wants to reform $10B limit and rest of Dodd-Frank.


Inequality between communities (Income, drugs)

What should government be doing to alleviate inequality? Believes that economic growth is the way to increase economy. Create pro-growth economy. Tax reform debate. (See above) Noted discrepancy between statutory rate and effective rate.


Medicare Drug Prices

Audience member noted $1K tube of medicine. Dent called Medicare a Mandatory program or earned entitlement program. Audience member noted that her husband Paid $15K in costs for diabetic. Medicare needs to be allowed to negotiate drug prices under Medicare Part D. Dent Response: Two ways to set up drug costs, etc. 1. VA owns it all, but has limited formulary. 2. Medicare Part D – drug plans would negotiate with pharmaceutical companies regarding price. Question is which system is better?


Russian Sanctions

Co-sponsored Russian sanctions bill and thinks Trump has blind spot on Russians. Believes that Mueller is good person and needs to let chips fall where they may. Noted that Russia is interfering in European elections and wants to undermine NATO and EU. Noted that Russia wants ultra-nationalists. (Noted this was political people and not general population). Notes that he thinks that Putin wanted to harm HRC. Noted that US should have been involved in negotiations over Ukraine. Congress authorized president (Obama and Trump) defensive weapons (some say provocation and Dent says deterrent). Concerned about countries such as Russia and China filling void left by US pulling back.


Cybersecurity partnership with Russia

Dent against any partnership. Repeated Rubio comment. Definitely does not want to have Russia know what our capabilities are. Need to focus on cyber-deterrence.

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