BY TROY MASTERS | President-elect Donald Trump has tapped yet another arch-conservative homophobe for his cabinet, this time as Secretary of Health and Human Services, an agency that has been critical in the fight against AIDS.
Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), Trump’s choice, is a leading critic of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and an ideological opponent of the very department he may now lead.
Candidate Trump promised to begin the process of ending Obamacare on his first day in the Oval Office and has chosen Price to begin that process.
Price, a 62-year-old Republican lawmaker, who currently represents wealthy suburban Atlanta, has played a leading role in the Republican opposition to Obamacare and has promoted ideas for replacing it. The GOP-led House has voted nearly 60 times to eliminate all or part of “Obamacare.”
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) mission is to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans. The agency aims to provide effective health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services. Some of the more important agencies under it’s auspices is the Food and Drug Administration and Center’s for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health, and offices that ensures people have equal access to health care and human services programs without unlawful discrimination.
During the campaign, Trump railed against the Affordable Care Act, vowing to “repeal and replace” it.
Price is a six-term member of the House and in 2015 became the Budget Committee’s chair.
His record on gay and civil rights is cause for alarm.
In 2011 he voted to ban federal health coverage that includes abortion and to prohibit federal funding for abortion. He voted to defund Planned Parenthood and to prohibit family planning assistance that includes abortion. He voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.
Price was a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage and in 2006 voted for Constitutionally defining marriage as one-man-one-woman.
He has opposed prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual-orientation and even voted in opposition to anti-gay hate crimes laws.
On transgender rights: “It is absurd that we need a “federal restroom policy” for our nation’s schools. This is yet another abuse and overreach of power by the #ObamaAdministration, and a clear invasion of privacy. Schools should not have to fear retaliation for failure to comply,” he wrote on Facebook this year.
Towleroad reports: “Price also supported fired Atlanta Police Chief Kelvin Cochran after Cochran was suspended for remarks he made about gay people in a book, calling homosexuality a “sexual perversion” and comparing homosexuality to sex with animals and pederasty. Price signed on to a letter to Mayor Reed, who fired Cochran, arguing that Cochran’s ‘religious freedom’ rights had been violated.”
In 2013, Price joined a conference call with Tea Party Unity to talk about gay rights and lethis thoughts be known, according to a report from Right Wing Watch:
“The caller was none other than Rabbi Noson Leiter, who blamed Hurricane Sandy on New York’s marriage equality law. Leiter warned about the “tremendous medical health impact and economic impact” of the “homosexual agenda” and asked Price whether Congress will consider studying the “fiscal impact” that “promoting such a lifestyle will result in.”
“Price hailed Leiter and said he was “absolutely right,” adding that “the consequences of activity that has been seen as outside the norm are real and must be explored completely and in their entirety prior to moving forward with any social legislation that would alter things.”
“He went on to say he was dismayed by “people who wake up one morning and think that they’ve got a grand new way of doing something” that ends up becoming “a huge cost-driver to state pensions” and have significant”
Price has no executive experience.
HHS is an enormous department with a $1 trillion budget and programs affecting the lives of most Americans. The department oversees Medicare for seniors and disabled Americans, Medicaid programs for low-income people and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (which he voted against expansion of).
HHS regulates the nation’s food and drugs, and it includes nearly every public health programs and initiative. The agency also oversees and manages funding for the National Institutes of Health.
With Price Trump adds to his nearly unbroken string of appointees who oppose the very agencies they are charged with overseeing.
Price, like nearly every cabinet level appointee so far, has a long history of opposition to LGBT and civil rights.
Reaction to come…