Checking in with Congressman Crist after 100 days in Washington

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PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Congressman Charlie Crist represents the 13th Congressional District, much of it consisting of Pinellas County. But this weekend, News Channel 8 sat down with him to get his take on what’s happening in Washington.

We were there on election night in November when Crist won the seat held by Republican incumbent David Jolly. Many called it Crist’s political comeback and now, more than 100 days later, we wanted to know what Crist has done?

“Well I think fighting for the people,” Crist told News Channel 8 political reporter Paul Mueller. “Fighting for common sense. It’s been more than an interesting time in Washington as your viewers know. I don’t think we’ve seen a presidency like this. What people really want is people to work together in Washington rather than shouting at each other and over each other. We have tried to deliver that particularly in our freshman class by signing a commitment to civility saying that you know, Republican or Democrat, doesn’t matter we’re going to work together. We’re going to treat each other well, we’re going to have mutual respect not agree on everything mind you but we’re going to treat each other with kindness.”

It certainly is an interesting time when it comes to health care, as lawmakers seem unable to get their act together when it comes to repealing Obamacare and, if they do, how to replace it.

“It’s, unfortunately, a terrible plan, you know on several fronts in my point of view,” Congressman Crist said. “You know when it talks about women it guts planned parenthood completely so women’s issues are just stripped away. Number two, how it affects seniors. It says that seniors, young seniors, if you will, (ages) 50 to 64, can be charged five times as much as younger people under this new health care plan. That’s not five percent. That’s five times which is five hundred percent. To my way of thinking that’s unconscionable especially for a Floridian.”

The first version of the bill had 24 million people losing coverage within the next 10 years. The latest version, which passed the House, has about the same effect, plus around $800 million in cuts to Medicaid. We wanted to know why many Republicans seemed to be so focused on reducing the deficit compared to people, mostly the elderly, not being able to afford coverage.

“I don’t know,” Congress Crist said. “It’s really cruel. It’s pretty merciless, to be candid with you, and its about $850 billion in cuts to Medicaid I think is the worst part of it because Medicaid is a program obviously for the poor and the disabled. And when you take from the least among us as it says in the book of Matthew actually, what you do to the least of my brothers, and that is a quote of Christ, I just don’t know how people can look themselves in the mirror and say this is a great thing to do, treat the poor so horribly and seniors and the disabled in such a fashion, it’s unholy, I just can’t get over it. I really can’t.”

Then we turned to the series of events plaguing the President, including Russia, the firing of former FBI director James Comey, and now officials looking into the President’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and a possible connection with Russia.

“I don’t think there’s any question about it,” Crist said. “Let’s be honest it’s partisan to some degree. I understand that. But I also see what the latest numbers are I mean the president’s polling at about 37 percent approval. That’s in the tank.”

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