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Madam Speaker, Congress will gladly welcome the President tomorrow night to speak to a joint session of Congress about health care. All of us here have been asked hundreds of questions by our constituents over the past month. The President is an innovator in communications. He tries new ideas and is a trend-setter when it comes to new ways to be in touch with the American people.

So as the President addresses Congress on his health care ideas tomorrow night, why doesn't he take some health care questions from Members of Congress, questions that have been asked by the people we represent? After all, we call this the People's House, so why not address questions the American people have?

The questions could be submitted before the President speaks and he can choose the ones he wants to address. This could be a congressional townhall hosted by the President.

Here are just some of the questions I have been asked by the people of Texas.

One: The health care bill seems to cost too much. How are we going to pay for it? This question brought much concern to the people in my district. The Congressional Budget Office says that the pending House bill will cost anywhere from billions to even $1 trillion to just implement.

Tax increases are in the current plan to pay for this bill, more spending of what we don't have. I made a pledge to my constituents not to vote for a bill that will raise taxes, and I haven't. So how do we pay for this without a force-fed tax increase on the American people?

Two: Why is this bill so confusing? It is written in a way that even the most reasonable people from even the same political party can honestly disagree on its meaning. The 1,017-page bill, if it passes, will then allow the bureaucrats to determine the meaning of the bill. Also, Texans don't want unelected bureaucrats in this city making their medical decisions on what services they get and don't get. Can we get a clearly written bill that everyone can understand?

Three: Why shouldn't Congress, the czars and members of the Cabinet be required to sign up for the public option? If it is going to be so good for the American people, shouldn't everyone supporting this plan be required to be under the public option, like government officials?

Four: People on Medicare are scared and afraid they are not going to receive any medical treatment. What is in the plan to make sure there is no rationing of medical care for the elderly?

Five: Why not eliminate the hundreds of billions of dollars of fraud and waste in our current Medicare system before we tackle anything else?

Six: All of the amendments offered in committee that would specifically require proof of citizenship to sign up for this new government-run health care were defeated. Americans and legal residents should not be required to pay for the health care of illegals. The bill is confusing on this issue since it doesn't require proof of citizenship.

Seven: Small business owners are afraid they will have to lay off people or shut their doors altogether if they are hit with more new taxes. What is the plan to protect small business from bearing the brunt of new taxes for this health care idea?

Madam Speaker, these are seven of the questions I have been asked by the people I represent, and I would hope the President could address some them and questions by other Members of Congress.

Madam Speaker, does anyone really believe that big government can do a better job of running health care? It is a glittering illusion to think our health care problems can be solved by more expensive, big-bureaucratic government. We do need reform, but a government takeover will only add to the problems we have now. We need to fix what is broken, not break what already works.

So, Madam Speaker, since our President is an innovator of new communication ideas, I respectfully submit that a townhall meeting between the President and Congress might just be the way to cut to the chase in this health care debate and allow the President time to answer the questions of the American people.

And that's just the way it is.

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