GROTON — Anticipating questions on heavy topics that included gun control, the tax bill and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, U.S. Congressman Joe Courtney began a business luncheon Monday with a little humor.
Courtney, who recently underwent hip replacement surgery, told the large group who gathered for the Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Groton Inn and Suites: “The government is open, and my hip is working.
“So, it’s good.”
In front of what he called “one of the highest performing chambers in the state,” the 2nd District Democrat gave a short congressional update — praising Electric Boat and offering his thoughts on everything from gun violence to budget stability.
“I think very highly of Joe and what he’s done,” Otis Library Director Robert Farwell said. “He’s staying on top of the issues that we care about here.”
Courtney told the crowd that the March 5 deadline that looms over the immigration debate isn’t as “hard as a deadline as we thought,” after reporting the Supreme Court’s decision to decline to hear an appeal from the Trump Administration on the status of DACA on Monday morning.
“This is not rocket science if you look at the public support in giving these kids legal status and a path to citizenship — it’s overwhelming,” he said. “This thing will get resolved through external pressure.”
On gun violence and control — brought to the forefront again after 17 were killed on Feb. 14 in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida — Courtney called Connecticut a national model following Sandy Hook.
“A whole host of bills have languished,” he said. “What’s happened in Florida, particularly with the young voices that have spoken out — it feels different. Hopefully there is an opportunity here to get some movement.”
Courtney also touched on the president’s transportation plan, which “inverses the traditional 80/20 split with local governments.” Federally funded highways are financed on the basis of an 80-20 federal-state split. Trump’s proposal requires states kick in more money.
“The majority will have to be funded through state, local and private resources,” he said. “If Connecticut had that much money to fund transportation, Connecticut would be doing a lot more with transportation. The plan is not even close to being feasible.”
But when it comes to compromising in Washington, Courtney said: “Once in a while, we do see signs of intelligent life.”
http://www.norwichbulletin.com/news/20180226/courtney-updates-chamber-on-state-of-congressFebruary 26th, 2018