Congressman David N. Cicilline, D-RI, will focus on what he characterized as the Democrats “bold economic agenda,” a program with a goal of creating 10 million good paying jobs, at a “BetterDeal Town Hall” at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13, at the Pell Elementary School, 35 Dexter Street, Newport.

The Congressman emphasized that he views the Town Hall as not only an opportunity to introduce the Democrats’ economic initiative but to listen to constituents concerns and ideas.

In a recent interview on WADK’s Open Forum, the Congressman expressed concern about “the intentional undermining of many of the institutions of our government, whether it’s the courts, the media or the work of Congress.  We have an administration that is dismantling and undermining key priorities that have been prioritized in this country almost since its founding.”

He touched on many of those “priorities” and America’s leadership, or lack of leadership, in human rights and climate change around the Globe. Here are some excerpts of what Congressman Cicilline had to say about a variety of issues.

Economic Initiative

The Democrats “bold economic agenda” focuses on “better jobs, better wages that will produce a better future,” Cicilline said.

“People at the top have seen a huge increase to their wealth,” he said, while middle Americans have struggled.
He said Democrats hope to create 10 million good paying jobs by providing new tax credits to employers to train and hire new workers.
Democrats will seek to reduce costs, Cicilline said, focusing on the pharmaceutical industry, reducing the excessive cost of prescription drugs by allowing negotiation of drug prices for the Medicare program, which is currently prohibited.

Prescription drug costs in the United States are highest in industrialized nations, double that of many countries, according to a wide variety of reports, including an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

A full explanation of the Democrats’ economic program is online at https://abetterdeal.democraticleader.gov/raise-wages-and-create-jobs/.

Recently passed tax cuts

The tax program, a product of Republicans in the House, Senate, and White House, gives 82 percent of the tax cuts to the top 1 percent, while 87 million Americans will see a tax increase and 10 million will lose health benefits, the Congressman said.

He said conservatively, projections are the tax cuts will produce a trillion and a half dollar increase in the deficit, which Republicans will look to pay for with cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, “cuts in essential government programs.”

“Tax reform was written in the dark of night,” with “no hearings, no witnesses, no testimony, and without input of Democrats,” Cicilline said.

Human Rights

“America has always been a beacon to the world because of its value for human rights and self-government, a free press, and all the things that are not only important values but are the things that have made America the envy of the world,” Cicilline said.

“If we lose that position as the moral leader on questions of human rights, democracy, self-representation, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, we diminish ourselves in the world,” he said. “There’s no doubt that the world sees the United States retreating from its leadership, not only on human rights, but its global leadership on climate, economic leadership, and a number of areas.”

Climate Change

The recent cold spell, Cicilline said, has little to do with climate change, agreeing with many scientists. There is a “difference,” he said, “between weather and climate change,” noting the severity of recent hurricanes, widespread fires in California, the warming and rise of the Bay as the result of climate change, fed by carbon emissions.

“The real winner is China,” he said. “They’re happy to take the lead in the development of clean energy.”

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).