Thornberry Roundtable

Thornberry Roundtable

In a roundtable discussion Monday, U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry said, he thought it would be a good idea to get restaurant owners together to talk about the challenges they face and the issues they care about. Scott Plowman, owner of the pelican and former Texas Restaurant Association President said, he wants to take care of his employees, but there comes a breaking point.

"I actually offer insurance to my employees.  Right now out of 105 employees, I have three that take it," said Plowman.

He said rates have increased so much that it's almost impossible for him to offer insurance, and that the affordable healthcare act is confusing.  Rep. Thornberry agreed, saying it needs to be rewritten.

"I think you've got to toss the whole thing and come back and look at what really makes sense, so that you can help these young people that we're talking about have insurance," said Rep. Thornberry.

The law states business owners must offer healthcare to their employees or be penalized.  Rep. Thornberry said, the law is too big and too overwhelming for anyone to understand much less follow.

"I think in any legislation it's better to break it down into bite size chunks. That's what we're doing in the house on immigration by the way," said Rep. Thornberry.

The immigration reform bill passed in the senate and is now headed to the house.  The bill would grant 11-million undocumented immigrants legal status and a path to citizenship, while strengthening border security.

"As long as we can secure the border and do it the right way, I'm for helping to people to come to our country to work.  You know, there's always a need for better employees," said Plowman.

Representative Thornberry said, the current immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed, but lawmakers have to be smart about it.

"So we want people to work and contribute. We don't want people to come here and just receive benefits and live off the taxpayers," said Rep. Thornberry.

Rep Thornberry said, the house is currently working to tackle one portion of the immigration reform bill at a time, so they can be clear as to what they're doing.

Rep. Thornberry said, the house is not going to vote on the immigration bill and if they do he will vote no.

Plowman and Rep. Thornberry said the roundtable discussion was very helpful.

Jenyne Donaldson, Newschannel Six.