Guthrie to hold “Public Office Hours” Monday at WKU-O | Local News

U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie will take questions from the public in Owensboro next week when he holds a “Public Office Hours” event Monday at the Western Kentucky University-Owensboro campus, 4821 New Hartford Road.

The event is scheduled from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. But Guthrie said in a interview Monday he stays longer at the events if there are people waiting to speak with him.

“We’ve done 10 already” across the 2nd District, Guthrie said Monday.

While the general idea of “Public Office Hours” is to assist people needing help navigating a particular federal issue, the forums have drawn people with questions about what has been happening in Washington.

Guthrie said there is a possibility that he won’t be able to make Monday’s session if the Senate passes a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. According to the New York Times, a vote is anticipated Tuesday, July 25 in the Senate to begin debating a House bill to replace the ACA. The Times reported that it’s uncertain if Republican senators would have enough votes to begin debate.

“If the Senate does move forward on the bill, we will be in session,” Guthrie said.

People should check the House schedule Monday to make sure House members weren’t called back to Washington to work on the health care bill, he said.

People at Guthrie’s recent “Office Hours” events have had questions about the American Health Care Act, the House version of ACA “repeal and replace” that passed the House. The Senate attempted to write its own health care bill, but it never garnered enough Republican votes to pass.

“The House bill was a pretty thoughtful replacement,” Guthrie said. People who have come to the public sessions in favor of keeping the ACA intact have not necessarily been convinced by Guthrie’s arguments, but they’ve left with a better understanding of the House plan and its intent, Guthrie said.

“I’ve had a dozen emails and letters (saying) ‘At least I understand your bill better,'” Guthrie said. “They walk away thinking we’re not just trying to take away health insurance.”

If the Senate can’t move a bill this week, Guthrie said legislators “on both sides” of the political spectrum will have to work together on a bill. Thus far, the bills in the House and Senate were crafted without any support or input from Democrats.

Democrats “are being pushed by their base for ‘single payer'” health insurance, Guthrie said. If it comes to a negotiation, the question will be “will (Democrats) be able to stand up to their base,” he said.

“If we can’t do it … either we do nothing and people continue to suffer, or we find a way to work together,” Guthrie said.

Guthrie will be on hand to discuss more than just health care, he said.

“The House is still working” on other issues, he said. “We’re moving forward on things in the House.”