Cape Cod Times: Keating Has Earned Another Two Years

William Keating may not be the most electrifying member of Congress, but when he sinks his teeth into an issue, he doesn't let go.

Just look at what he did following the Boston Marathon bombing. As a former prosecutor, he started asking questions no national security agency — from Homeland Security to the FBI — wanted to ask. How could this have happened and could it have been prevented?

When the FBI office in Boston stonewalled his request for information, he flew to Russia twice to gather information about the suspected bombers.

He learned that the Russians had, in fact, tried to warn the United States about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older of the two brothers suspected of carrying out the attack.

Keating was the only Democrat in Congress to push for and conduct a Congressional investigation into the Marathon bombings. The investigation produced a comprehensive report that forced federal entities to open lines of communication with local law enforcement agencies.

"To prevent future attacks at home we need to learn from the last ones," Keating said. "And that's why I will keep pushing the FBI for more answers."

Which is why we find it strange that Keating's oppoent, Chatham lawyer John Chapman, has criticized Keating on national security issues, including his vote against $700 million in funding for border security efforts.

Keating said the bill called for deploying National Guard troops to the border, even though they would not be armed or allowed to make arrests.

"It's a huge expenditure that doesn't improve our security. It weakens it," he said.

By far the biggest difference between Keating and Chapman involves health care delivery. Keating supports the Affordable Care Act. Chapman wants to repeal it, even though he served under former Gov. Mitt Romney, whose health care reforms in Massachusetts were later used as a model for the Affordable Care Act.

Chapman says states should craft their own health care systems. "I believe Obamacare wound up being too expensive," he said.

But Keating credits Obamacare for improving access and quality, while covering pre-existing conditions, making sure women are charged no more than men and allowing young people to stay on their parents' plan until age 26.

Without the act, he said, Massachusetts residents would not have saved an average of $667 on prescription medication. In addition, community health organizations such as Community Health Center of Cape Cod and Outer Cape Health Services would have gone without some funding.

On the opiate drug epidemic in Massachusetts, Keating has worked with U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., to keep generic OxyContin out of the marketplace and has taken steps to prevent the overprescription of painkillers.

Recognizing that the Cape and Islands rely on small businesses to drive the economy, Keating co-authored the Agree Act, a bipartisan jobs bill to reduce barriers to small business growth.

He also voted across party lines to repeal the medical device tax. The medical device industry accounts for 24,000 direct jobs in Massachusetts.

"Another key component of a healthy local economy is to protect our small businesses from burdensome government requirements that often do not take into account the historic and innovative sectors for which Massachusetts is known," Keating said in campaign literature.

Since the 9th Congressional District is home to the largest senior population in Massachusetts, Keating serves on the Congressional Seniors Task Force. He introduced legislation to eliminate fraud and abuse within the Medicare system.

For these and other reasons, Keating has earned another two years in Congress.