By Jeff Brush
Congressman Jeff Duncan, who represents South Carolina's 3rd District, addressed job creation and the U.S. debt ceiling among other issues facing the nation Thursday afternoon at the Easley-Powdersville Chamber of Commerce joint luncheon at Tri-County Technical College in Easley.
"We went to Washington to shake things up but I'm afraid we're going to get blamed for the earthquake," Duncan jokingly said about being part of the 87 new Republican members of Congress this year.
Duncan emphasized his experience as a businessman and criticized members of Congress and others in government who lack that experience.
"Many of those people in Washington, and I just know the congressmen in Washington in general have never signed the front of a paycheck," Duncan said.
Duncan told the audience of business owners and civic leaders that based on President Obama's budget the nation's current debt level of $14.3 trillion will continue to grow.
"We're still going to continue to have deficit spending if we continue down this path."
Duncan voted against the congressional bill to raise the U.S. debt ceiling earlier this month along with South Carolina's other four Republican congressmen (Trey Gowdy, Tim Scott, Joe Wilson and Mick Mulvaney).
"The federal government is not operating with a budget, it's operating with a spending plan," he said.
Duncan also criticized the U.S. Senate for not acting on bills he said would create job growth.
"We sent them three energy bills that would put people back to work in the Gulf of Mexico," Duncan said. "Over and over and over the senate has failed to act."
Uncertainty in the nation's economy was another factor Duncan said was preventing businesses from doing what they need to expand and hire new employees. He said businesses are mostly uncertain about taxation.
"They're uncertain about taxation because every time the President opens his mouth about the current situation with spending and debt, he wants to raise taxes," he said.
Duncan said he agrees with President Obama that the nation has a revenue problem, but disagrees with the solution.
"He wants to raise taxes to meet our spending needs and increase revenue, I want to put Americans back to work."
Congressman Duncan is spending the next two weeks visiting several locations across the 3rd District delivering speeches and holding "listening sessions," where he hopes to hear questions and concerns from his constituency.