Friday, August 19, 2011

Congressman Jeff Duncan's Legislative Update

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Aug 15, 2011
By Congressman Jeff Duncan

Commentary
By Kate Palmer

I wanted to give you an update on a serious situation in Washington that has been in the news for the past several weeks.
As you may know, Standard & Poor’s (S&P), one of the three major credit agencies, downgraded the United States credit rating from AAA to AA+ with a negative economic outlook.
Yes, Congressman, I knew that.
The main reason for the downgrade was that Washington failed to make large enough spending cuts when they raised the debt ceiling.
Not really: according to S & P, we were downgraded because too many legislators actually said--OUT LOUD--that they opposed raising the Debt Ceiling.
In addition, too many were unwilling to compromise on a sensible, balanced approach to Debt Reduction that included raising revenue by closing tax loopholes for millionaires and billionaires
One of the reasons I voted AGAINST the debt ceiling compromise was because I knew that paltry cuts and another commission wouldn’t be enough to save our credit rating and solve our debt crisis.
The main reason you voted against ANY compromise is that you signed a pledge written by Washington Insider Grover Norquist promising never to raise taxes.  This puts you in Norquist's pocket, and robs your constituents of what should be an independent, thoughtful voice in the US House of Representatives.
I wasn’t sent to Washington to make deals for the sake of making deals, you sent me to Washington to fix a broken political system and help get our country back on track.
No, Congressman, the people who voted for you sent you to Washington to represent and protect their interests--including Government Programs they depend on.  They did NOT send you there to let others do your thinking for you or to make sure that Norquist doesn't oppose you in the next primary.
You deserve to know the truth, and the truth is that there was (sic) plenty of solutions offered up that would have forced government to live within its means and protect the United States credit rating.
The first was the Republican budget that passed the House back in April. The budget passed the House with large support and would have immediately gone to work cutting spending and strengthening programs like Medicare for our seniors by ensuring the services remained financially stable.
Called "The Paul Ryan Budget," this GOP monstrosity would have ended Medicare as we know it for any one under 55 who hopes to live long enough to participate in one of the most popular government-run programs ever offered to our citizens.
The Republican controlled House passed a budget shortly after the 2010 midterm elections, yet it’s been over 850 days since the Democrat controlled Senate passed a budget. A country operating without a budget is like trying to drive a truck while blindfolded, nothing good can come from the experience.
Well…this is actually the truth.  Budget bills have to originate in the House, and the Senate wisely rejected both the Ryan Budget and the patronizing "Cut, Cap, and Balance plan.
(See below)
An even stronger plan passed the House with bipartisan support
a few weeks ago that would have permanently reformed the way Washington spent money, a plan called “Cut, Cap, & Balance.
Come on--5 Democrats voted for it.  That is NOT "bipartisan!"
This plan included immediate spending cuts, future caps on spending relative to GDP, and a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution.
Seriously misleading:
Even Republicans didn't pass a Balanced Budget Amendment when they controlled the Congress in the 1990's. 
It would, like the Norquist Pledge, make it easy for lawmakers to avoid tough everyday decisions, but would cripple any Federal Response to an unexpected event, such as a natural disaster or an attack.
Unfortunately, the Democrat controlled Senate tabled the bill without even allowing it to be debated.  The House Budget and Cut, Cap, & Balance were the only two plans submitted that cut over $4 trillion in spending over the next ten years, a requirement set by S&P to keep the United States credit rating intact.

Not true.  There were several "Grand Bargains" hammered out by congressional leaders, offered by the President, and presented by Speaker Boehner to the House.  Some of them offered as much as $4T in cuts.  BUT--All of South Carolina's Tea Party Republicans, after seeking advice from The Lord in prayer and from Sen. Jim DeMint, chose to listen to DeMint and became nationally famous for rejecting the best deal ever offered by a Democratic President.
 So where do we go from here?
I'm afraid to ask...
The two bills I referenced are still sitting over in the Senate where they could be voted on immediately. I strongly believe that Cut, Cap, & Balance is exactly the type of revolutionary spending reform that prevents our children and grandchildren from inheriting mountains of debt.  I will continue to push Congress to adopt that plan.
-SIGH-
Tax cuts do not create jobs. Not the kinds of middle-to-working-class jobs that allow people to earn enough to raise families, educate their children, and save for the future.
Eliminating loopholes for profit-heavy Corporations and the Mega-wealthy would provide enough revenue to begin putting people back to work and would begin to create more new taxpayers.
Another opportunity to cut spending will come up in the month of September when Congress faces a deadline to set spending levels for the next fiscal year.  This should be a good opportunity for conservatives to revive the Balanced Budget Amendment debate and push for short term spending cuts.
Finally, as I’ve said before, we’re not $14 trillion in debt because we tax Americans too little; we’re in debt because as a country we spend too much money.
Talking point Alert! 
You do know that just because it FEELS true to YOU doesn't make it true, right?
We're in debt because:
President George W. Bush took the surplus funds he inherited from President Clinton, and gave them away as tax cuts to rich people; then, when 9/11 happened, there was no surplus to tap; 
GWB then started two wars on borrowed money (no one ever seriously questioned it); created a huge new Department--"Homeland Security;" and rewarded his Drug Company friends with a huge drug plan that cost the Government (or, if you will, the taxpayers)--many bucks.
To make matters worse, in 2007 and 2008, the banking Industry started to crumble under its own leveraged buyout instrument computer algorithms that few understood—and started a terrifying slide that required a huge taxpayer bailout.
Since he was elected, President Obama has saved Chrysler, which paid its bailout money back; has implemented a Stimulus Plan which put people to work temporarily, but was too small; and has successfully passed the “ObamaCares” Health Reform program, which is only a start--and is already helping lift the burden of overpriced Health Care from the shoulders of people you don’t care about.
If President Obama wants more taxes to pay down the debt, we should create more taxpayers not raise taxes on American families.
Downright DIRTY Lie! (See “tax cuts do not create jobs, above), and please refer to the many statements by the President himself about exactly how he wants to raise revenue.  Stop telling working-class people from South Carolina that the President wants to “raise their taxes.”  It is a lie, and you should be ashamed of yourself for it.
I believe the United States can create more taxpayers by putting a stop to President Obama’s anti-small business, pro-union, and hyper-regulatory agenda that has made it harder for businesses to grow and create jobs.
Are you from Mars?  Seriously--even the President's BASE thinks he's too Conservative!
The 87 new freshmen Congressmen have changed the topic in Washington. Instead of how much to spend, we’re now voting on how much to cut.
And YOU think that's a GOOD thing--when children need to be educated, old folks need food, safety and care--when workers need to make a living wage, and the great Middle Class is disappearing?

Where is your Compassion?
The new freshmen have managed to change the conversation in Washington, but we still have a lot of work to do to really solve our problems. I appreciate all the encouragement I received during the debt ceiling debate.
Did you even read my posts on your Facebook page, or the emails I sent--did you hear the phone messages I left?  That was NOT support!
It meant a lot to hear so many people from back home encouraging me to stand firm and fight to get government spending under control.
Oh, Lord, help me...
I’m sorry I couldn’t convince more lawmakers to stand with the South Carolina delegation and fight for the types of spending reforms that our country needs and Americans deserve. I’m looking forward to spending the next few weeks in the district, listening to your concerns so I can better carry your voice to Washington.

You're going to LISTEN???
REALLY?

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