Host Jim Nintzel sat down with U.S. Rep. Ron Barber for a one-on-one interview, followed by a conversation with state lawmakers Ethan Orr (R-Dist. 9) and Bruce Wheeler (D-Dist. 10):
Barber discussed his vote in a favor of a $1.1 trillion spending plan this week. He said he was happy that a budget had finally passed Congress, although he was critical of cuts to veteran benefits and unemployment insurance. He said he hoped that funding could restored to both of those programs.
Barber also defended votes he made in favor of Republican efforts to delay the penalty for individuals who have not purchased health insurance, saying that it was only fair to delay the penalty for one year, given that the Obama administration had delayed the mandate for businesses to provide health insurance to their employees. But he said the Affordable Care Act had many worthwhile provisions that a full repeal of the law would eliminate.
In the interview with the state lawmakers, both Orr and Wheeler said Gov. Jan Brewer’s decision to break Child Protective Services away from from the Department of Economic Security and create a new cabinet-level department for child welfare was a good first step, but it was important to provide more funding for prevention programs, daycare for single moms and other programs that help prevent child abuse and neglect before CPS gets involved.
Both Orr and Wheeler expressed concern that the governor’s proposed budget, released today, did not provide enough funding for K-12 education and the university system.