U.S. Rep. Fred Keller hosted a Telephone Town Hall on Monday, taking live questions and online submissions from constituents who expressed concerns about President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plans, unemployment supplements and security along the southern border with Mexico.
Moderated by Tim Andrews, the Telephone Town Hall was the Republican congressman’s ninth for constituents of the 12th Congressional District.
Keller began the hourlong event by touting his support for agriculture bills to ensure at least 2% milk is available in schools and that milk alternatives from products like almonds aren’t labeled milk at all.
He called on the Biden Administration to reinstate Trump-era policies along the southern border including agreements with three Central American countries he said were working to prevent mass illegal immigration.
Keller said he’s supportive of Legislative efforts to invest in natural gas infrastructure, allow a second jury to review sentencing in death penalty cases for inmates who murder corrections staff and push to control the investigative process via the World Health Organization into the theory that COVID-19 may have resulted from a laboratory leak in China.
“Whether it did or didn’t,” Keller said of the lab-leak theory, “all of us who lost family, friends, as well as survivors, we really deserve answers.”
A nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, if passed as-is, would invest in transportation, water systems and broadband internet — described as the largest infrastructure investment in a century.
Keller said the bill must intensely focus on the definition of infrastructure.
It must stick to items like roads and bridges, natural gas pipelines, water and sewer lines, he said, and must not include social programs.
He said that half of the $1 trillion sought by Democrats is focused on Green New Deal priorities, and that a pared down proposal from Republicans would cost $400 billion in comparison.
“If we do a good infrastructure bill, it will help our economy and help all of us do better,” Keller said.
Keller said that 25 states have discontinued an additional $300 in federal unemployment, saying the extension in the American Rescue Plan expires in September.
“The best stimulus is a job and we need to be sure we safely reopen our economy,” Keller said.
The congressman voiced opposition against teaching Critical Race Theory in public schools, saying education should focus on what brings Americans together than what separates them.
There are “flaws” in the country’s history, but the U.S. has “done more for humanity than any other nation on Earth.”
“If we weren’t such an exceptional nation we wouldn’t see what people are doing to get in here and be part of the American dream,” Keller said.