This was my first full week back in the 4thDistrict since Congress passed the deficit reduction bill that I believe did not go far enough -- and I have heard quite a bit from citizens offering their thoughts on the bill and my vote against passage.
I have met a lot of people, read quite a few emails and letters from others, and took numerous telephone calls from still others who offered their thanks for what many see as a principled stand on my part. These citizens are tired of out-of-control government spending and believe the agreement that was reached does not do enough to address our rising deficits. Like me, they view the agreement as a small step on the road to changing the Washington way of thinking -- but they want to see more done.
Part of my reason for voting "no" was my fear that this insufficient cut would lead to a downgrade of our credit rating. That is exactly what happened when Standard & Poor's made it clear the government's action did not meet S&P's demand for $4 trillion in cuts plus permanent reforms to change our budget trajectory. What's worse is that we could be downgraded further if substantial cuts are not realized in the future. There is no time to lose. We must begin this important task and begin soon.
As part of the legislation that passed, a bipartisan special committee made up of six Republicans and six Democrats -- equally divided between the House and the Senate -- will try to reach consensus on finding $1.5 trillion worth of deficit reduction to help America change course and to ensure our economic freedom by putting our country on the path to fiscal solvency. The pressure will be on to reach agreement when the panel meets this fall. Failure to reach consensus will result in triggered cuts that would include massive military reductions. I do not support draconian cuts to our military. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee and a strong supporter of national defense I do not want to see the military suffer ill-conceived cuts during a time of war. Our men and women in uniform must be given the training and equipment they need to adequately protect us. I pray that a proactive, fiscally-responsible agreement is reached to spare America unwise cuts to our national defense.
President Obama made another questionable call this week when he hinted that he still thinks tax increases are necessary to deal with our budget deficit. With unemployment at 9.1 percent it's hard to fathom how the President still thinks raising taxes on working families and small businesses will create jobs and result in economic growth. We must take a realistic approach to our nation's economic problems and that means saying, "Enough!" to calls for increases in our taxes. I have said many times and will say it again -- Washington is in debt because it has a spending problem, not a taxing problem. Washington has plenty of money to meet America's needs. It is time to cut spending, not raise taxes.
There is a solution to our debt problem that goes beyond cutting -- getting people back to work! The House has already passed legislation to make that solution a reality. Since January, the House has passed multiple bills to lower energy costs, roll back burdensome federal regulations that hurt job-creation efforts, and get a hold on our debt by controlling our spending. Sadly, the Senate adjourned for the summer without taking up and passing these common sense ideas. Senate leader Harry Reid has even refused to allow some of these real solutions to come to the floor for up or down votes. This is irresponsible. It's time for the Senate to stop catering to the demands of liberal special interests and to start listening to the people by taking up and passing these proposals. It's time to put people before politics and progress before partisanship.
On another note, the State Fair is underway in Sedalia and I will be attending the Governor's Ham Breakfast on Thursday. I hope to see you there. Agriculture is Missouri's leading industry and there is no better showcase for Missouri agriculture than the State Fair. I have enjoyed going to the State Fair since I was a child. My family and I used to pack up our car and head down the Fair to see my sister's and my 4-H projects, view the giant pumpkin, visit the livestock barns to see the well-groomed animals, and eat a corn dog. It is a special time and I hope everyone will come participate in this state treasure -- our State Fair! It is a fun time where memories are made that last a lifetime!
I also want to remind you that your views and thoughts are always welcome. If you're in Washington, please stop at our office at 1023 Longworth House Office Building. In the district, we would love to have you visit any of our offices in Jefferson City, Harrisonville, Lebanon, and Sedalia. You can also follow us by going to our website at www.hartzler.house.gov where you can link to our pages on Facebook and Twitter. I am honored to serve you.
Have a good week,