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Rep. Keller addresses guns, immigration, voting in town hall hookup

U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, R-Kreamer, spoke to issues including gun laws, government spending, immigration, voting and energy policies during a telephone town hall meeting Tuesday.

The lawmaker addressed those and other topics prior to and while answering questions from callers during the hour-long event.

Keller denounced the $1.9 trillion stimulus package recently passed into law, telling listeners that just 9 percent of the money addresses COVID-19 issues as intended.

“This package of relief or spending was done through reconciliation. It bypasses support from the party in the minority,” he said. “When this was passed, the Speaker and President knew the rules. They knew it would have to be passed with cuts to existing programs for seniors, vets, and farmers.”

Keller told callers their children and grandchildren will now be faced with paying that debt.

Keller said he has always been fiscally responsible, both as a lawmaker and when he was running businesses.

In response to a caller’s question about why the U.S. sends so much money overseas, he said that was one reason he didn’t support the stimulus package.

“We need to make sure what we do is responsible,” he said.

Keller told another caller, a retiree and veteran, that he may not receive his stimulus check until the end of the year.

Keller fielded several questions about gun laws.

He told one caller it is the government’s responsibility to protect “your rights.”

“Owning a firearm is a constitutional right. When people who have demonstrated that they are not responsible, they need to be held accountable,” he said.

Keller said it is tragic when someone is killed by another person.

“Guns are not violent,” he said. “People can be violent.”

Addressing another caller’s concerns about timely mail service, Keller said the U.S. Postal Office needs a plan in place before it is granted requests for more funding.

Keller said the government cannot be raising taxes during a pandemic.

He called for kids to get back in their schools, noting they deserve an education.

He urged for the southern border of the U.S. to be secure.

“Our focus should be stopping the flow of illegal immigration,” he said. “The Biden Administration has yet to take any responsibility for the flow of immigration into our country. We need to make sure we know where the Administration stands.”

He said he plans to go to the border himself and assess the situation there.

Keller said he was also concerned about President Biden’s decision to cancel the Keystone Pipeline. A lawsuit filed by 21 states earlier this month seeks to overturn that decision.

“We need to realize that our nation needs the energy and needs an all-energy policy,” he said.

Keller noted his 12th Congressional District produces much of the nation’s natural gas needs.

“I believe in all energy, whether it’s solar, wind, natural gas, or oil,” he said.

Keller called for the expansion of broadband use.

Rural communities, he explained, are especially in need of the high-speed service that will help students, senior citizens and farmers who live in those communities.

Keller criticized the For the People Act, House-passed legislation that includes provisions for early voting, universal access to mail-in voting, and same-day registration for federal races.

“It’s really For the Politicians Act,” Keller said. “It centralizes power in Washington, D.C.”

The bill awaits action by the Senate.

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