U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (MO-08) issued the following remarks in response to President Obama's State of the Union address this evening.
"Federal spending is out of control, but you can't cut our national debt by paying lip service to it. A freeze on some spending is a step in the right direction, but that alone will not cut deficits and reduce the debt," Emerson said. "This administration has been on a big-government binge, and they have more than doubled the deficit to a record $1.35 trillion. Some programs have doubled in size in just one year, and freezing spending at all-time highs is not going to solve the problem."
As of the delivery of the State of the Union, the national debt stood at $12.3 trillion. Emerson noted she has voted against an $800 billion stimulus, and $800 billion cap-and-trade energy tax, a $1.2 trillion health care reform bill, a $500 billion spending package and five budget proposals in the space of the last year.
"The problem is spending, plain and simple. This is not penny-ante stuff -- these are high stakes spending decisions bureaucrats and congressional leaders are making with taxpayer dollars," Emerson said.
Emerson has pressed for a complete and immediate return of funds used in the Troubled Asset Relief Program to the federal Treasury, and she thinks a full stop should be placed on legislation to tax U.S. the energy used by U.S. businesses and families.
"Obviously, one answer is to cut up the credit card -- but it is just as important to make commonsense changes to government programs that could be far more efficient. There is at least $60 billion in waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid to root out, billions to collect from Americans who move their earnings overseas to avoid their share of taxes, and plenty of efficiencies to find in big government programs now, before tough decisions about cuts will have to be made a decade in the future," Emerson said.
One area where Emerson agrees with the president is on better tax treatments for small businesses.
"Especially in rural areas, small businesses are incredibly important to our economy. The rules on expensing and depreciation are crucial not only to growth, but also to simply staying in business," Emerson said. "I will very much look forward to any tax relief the president will support during this make-or-break time for small businesses and other employers in Southern Missouri," Emerson said.