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Duffy talks government shutdown, border wall


December 8, 2018

Larry Holcombe/Daily Globe

Congressman Sean Duffy, R-Wisconsin, standing at left, answers a question at a town hall meeting in Mercer Friday morning.


MERCER, Wis. – U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wausau, held a series of town halls in his Seventh Congressional District Friday, starting with a small gathering over morning coffee in the lobby of the Great Northern Hotel in Mercer.

He fielded questions from a dozen people on a wide variety of topics, including border security, climate change and health care.

Duffy said he is a supporter of securing the nation's borders and building a wall along the border with Mexico. When asked about a possible government shutdown - one that President Trump has recently welcomed as a part of negotiating stance to secure funding for a wall that was a campaign promise - Duffy said the negotiation over the budget in Congress will be a matter of give and take. He said they may get $4 billion for the wall, or $2.5 billion, but whatever they get, supporters should consider it a success.

In today's polarized world of politics, Duffy said it's important to listen to the other side and celebrate the successes.

"That's the way negotiations go," Duffy said. "You may get 60 percent of what you wanted and they get 60 percent of what they wanted (The middle 20 percent being what both sides want.)."

Duffy lamented the nature of the polarized landscape. "There are people on the far left that can't be happy with anything but what they want, and people on the far right that see it the same way from their end."

In a response to a question on climate change, Duffy said he believed in climate change, but was "unsure" if there is a human impact on climate.

He said he cares for the environment but was in full agreement with the President's 2017 decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement. He pointed to the recent rioting in Paris over fuel taxes that he said came about because of the agreement.

He said he favored the use of cleaner natural gas over coal, as well as the use of more renewable energy sources, but warned against rising utility bills. "We have to be careful we're not pricing people out of their ability to live in the home."

Related to the environment, Duffy said proper forest management is important, and he is hopeful his bill to remove the wolf from the endangered species list would become law.

On health care, he said he doesn't see a compromise in sight, calling the debate one between "100 percenters"on either side of the issue, single-payer on one side and a total free market on the other. He proposed letting states decide the issue. "We'll have 50 different plans - some single-payer, others free market. Then we'll see how things play out."

He said he was on the free market side, but would be willing to admit he was wrong if things worked out to show the single-payer idea worked better.

Duffy was recently elected to his fifth term in Congress.


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