Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Brighton) is chair of the House Intelligence Committee. He answered questions Monday from News 10's Lorne Fultonberg on the Affordable Care Act, the looming government shutdown, gun control and food stamps.
On the Peaceful Resolution in Syria
"Getting rid of chemical weapons stockpiles on the ground is a good outcome. The problem is, the problem is bigger than that and you can't put four pieces of the puzzle together and call that a win. Until that puzzle is put together, you don't know what that picture looks like. So we know of these other very serious national security interests [like Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah].
"I believe [asking for military action] was the right call by the president and from there I think it got very muddied and very confusing in a hurry and that was again disappointing. I think it's important that the world understand the strength of the United States and I believe in peace through strength. Nobody wants a military strike, but by the Congress giving the president the ability to use a strike, it might have meant you didn't need to use a strike and you might have got a better deal in negotiations to not only get the chemical weapons, but the conventional weapons as well and that's what I was hoping for."
On the US's Reputation Abroad, Post-Syria Negotiation
"Perception of American strength is on the line here, 70 years of it, and we solve more problems by looking strong than you solve problems by looking weak and that's the tug of war we're facing right now. The world watches what we do sometimes more than us Americans do what we do when it comes to international politics, so they're wondering if we're a nation in decline with worldwide interest or if we're a nation that still believes in engagement around the world."
On the Looming Government Shutdown
"We [Republicans] have funded a resolution to fund the government. We have funded the government through a continuing resolution with the exception of implementing something we know is causing harm in the economy and to people's personal healthcare lives. They're going to have to make the decision, are we going to push forward and continue to push people off of healthcare and have a political fight? Or do they want to do what's responsible, fund the government, and slow down so that we can try to regroup on all the harm that this healthcare act has been causing to real people."
On the Affordable Care Act
"All of these are bad things: People aren't getting hired or are getting cut back to part time and their healthcare costs are going up and their access is going down. I can't think of a worse disaster in healthcare when you're worried about paying your bills already. Businesses around the country have overwhelmingly said the reason they're not hiring new people is because of the uncertainty of this healthcare law and how confusing it is and how full of mandates it is and they just don't know what their costs are going to be. "
On Gun Control, in Light of the Washington D.C. Navy Yard Shooing
"We have a mental health issue that we have not figured out how to get a handle on. That should be our focus. If you want to stop the next shooting, you can demagogue the gun issue all you want, it will not make a difference, but what you can't do is allow one more day to go by without this mental health issue and the problem this is causing in society.
"It's not just buying a gun, they're going to find a way to commit acts of violence. How do you get them under control, get them the care that they need so they're not just a time bomb waiting to happen. And that's the challenge that we're trying to determine now."
On Proposed Cuts to Food Stamps
"Anyone who needs food stamps and is eligible for food stamps will get food stamps. What this is saying is there is an excess and duplication in the system that allowed people to get food stamps that wouldn't normally be qualified. Our argument is let's make this qualified so that you protect the program for what it was intended to do and that's to take care of people that are trying to feed themselves at the end of the month. If you just heap on this thing, it gets so big that nobody gets taken care of. There is no compassion in that. We're saying let's feed the people who deserve it, who need it. The way that the food stamp bill was crafted, it does exactly that and it gets out all the fraud and waste and duplication that's costing us millions of dollars and not really feeding anybody."