MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Rep. Mike Conaway was in the Permian Basin and he sat down with us and spoke about some of the latest happenings on Capitol Hill.
Securing American borders and repealing Obamacare. Both promises made during President Trump's campaign and he's already acted towards in his first 50 days in office.
"President Trump, I think, has had a pretty good first 50 days," said Rep. Conaway. "The feelings much different than when President Obama was in place, the least of which, from a legislative standpoint we know that we'll pass things that get through the House and Senate will go to his desk and he'll actually sign them."
Conaway said the revised travel ban, going into effect in just a few days, will make great progress towards securing American borders.
"Everything that we do in that regard should be in America's own best interest," said Conaway. "We shouldn't be mean and hateful and ugly or spiteful, we just have to be firm. This is in our best interest and we'll do it or this is not in our best interest, we won't do it. It is clearly in our best interest to know who is coming into our country."
As an Odessa native, Conaway knows the importance of the oil and gas industry.
"The standard Obama operating technique, coming in with bullying tactics, either a big fine or subpoena or threats like that," said Conaway. "They used a regulatory scheme to basically bankrupt all of the coal companies and put us out of the business or move in that direction, and then create standards that would be too expensive for companies to be able to comply with and they have to shut all of these wells in and take all the stuff apart and thereby unwind the reliance on fossil fuels. So there's President Obama's dream to get that done, he's now gone, I don't think President Trump has the same idea, the same attitude as dismantling our fossil fuels."
Representative Mike Conaway said the country is in need of a health care act that will actually work.
"Obamacare is failing. Companies are withdrawing from the market, premiums are skyrocketing, it's not doing what it said it was going to do and so we need to do something. I'm confident we'll get something done, we just absolutely must do it."
Republicans in the House seem to be split, some think the newly proposed plan doesn't go far enough.
"Everybody has good ideas, everybody's ideas are better than everybody else's ideas and so some of that is what's going on," said Conaway.
There's two steps before getting the newly proposed American Health Care Act into play. The first is the repeal, Conaway said that's the easy part.
Before moving forward there's a need for plan during the transition of the two healthcare acts.
"Without some sort of a transition to whatever we want to move to and then actually having something to move to," said Conaway. "You leave millions and millions of people in the lurch and there's a few on our team who think that's OK, most of us don't."
Conaway is already working on the next farm bill, the current one expires next year.
Conaway said it's been difficult to get the last three farm bills passed, it's a long process and that's why he's already working on it.
Congress looks at the bill every five years, part of the bill protects farmers with unexpected tragedies like the one farmers in the Texas Panhandle are currently going through.
"The mechanism of the safety net is to provide them with assistance during these times that we're going through right now," said Conaway. "2014, the last time the farm bill was done, times were great. There were three good years, prices were really good. People were asking, 'Why do you need a safety net for production agriculture?' Well, now the circumstances are such that the safety net is working, it's costing taxpayers less than we thought it would and so it's there to keep them in business when things are beyond their control."
Conaway said over the last four years farmers have suffered a 50 percent drop in disposable income, the largest since the depression.
Waste Control Specialists (WCS) in Andrews County recently applied for a license to store high-level, nuclear waste.
Conaway said companies like these have to invest millions of dollars to get through the permit process. There are currently between 75 to 100 sites, across the country, where a nuclear power plant once stood. But the waste is still there.
Conaway said the goal is to consolidate and house the waste.
"To have these individual sites all over the United States is not as safe as it needs to be," said Conaway. "This isn't the kind of stuff that you could use to make a nuclear weapon but it is the kind of stuff you could use to make a dirty bomb. In other words, if you had that and you blew it up some place then it would contaminate that local area for a long, long time."
Conaway said transportation of the waste is another road block. Congress must up a revenue stream, where companies like WCS will get paid, if the waste is moved.