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This Week in Washington

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By Representative Kissell

In the next week or so, I expect Congress to take up and hopefully pass a Balanced Budget Amendment of which I am a cosponsor. The bill, authored by Virginia's Bob Goodlatte, my friend from across the aisle, is an important step in helping to reign in government spending and reduce our nation's debt. As a cosponsor of this bill, I am so pleased it is finally getting a clean up or down vote. I believe it will pass and it will help to bring some fiscal responsibility to Washington. I am hopeful this will not only mean less spending, but also wiser spending focused on eliminating waste and duplication.

As the government takes on some much-needed belt tightening, it only makes sense that competition for federal contracts will become ever more competitive. Frugality and competition are both good and necessary when it comes to government spending, and I want to make sure that small businesses in our area are prepared to compete for what will certainly be dwindling federal expenditures in the coming years.

To that end, Wednesday, I hosted the Third Annual 8th District Federal Contracting Symposium at the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center in Albemarle. We brought more than 700 local and regional small business owners and representatives together with government agencies to gain a better understanding of opportunities in contracting and procurement with the federal government. It is vital that we do all we can to provide small businesses in our region with the tools and opportunities they need to pursue government contracts as part of an overall successful business model. The event this year was the largest to date and I am pleased that so many businesses from our district took advantage of this opportunity. In these tough times, helping small businesses succeed is essential to creating jobs and getting our economy back on track.

As federal spending is brought under control through a balanced budget amendment, only those businesses that are most competitive and best versed in federal procurement procedures will get contracts. That is as it should be. Competition and competency will make for a leaner, more efficient purchasing process. I want as many of those businesses as possible to be located in the 8th District. That is why I brought in representatives from 14 federal government agencies, including the Department of Defense, USDA, Small Business Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Commerce to meet with our constituents last week.

Among the hundreds of people from across the 8th District who participated in the event were representatives from the engineering, manufacturing, renewable energy and information technology sectors. I know for a fact that some of the most skilled workers and innovative entrepreneurs in America live and work in our area. I meet and talk with them every week. Much like the international trade missions that I bring to our district, this is an effort to create markets abroad and foreign investment at home for our businesses. I wanted to make sure that federal agencies of our own government were made aware that, as their budgets shrink, the best and wisest use of their dollars can be found right here. Reduced spending means the need to find value in every purchase. I know workers in the 8th District can provide that value and bring the tax dollars we send to Washington back into our local economies. Nobody does Made in the USA better than our local folks.

I believe in American manufacturers, and I know from 27 years of working in textiles that our workers can produce world-class goods at competitive prices. The same is true of the talent and ability in our district across many sectors of our economy. I will continue my effort to seek investment into our district from other states, other nations, and yes, even the federal government. Because I know that whoever does business here will benefit from the experience and will get quality work and value for every dime they spend. Getting value for quality work must be part of our nation's efforts to restrain spending. We must go one step further and ensure that each tax dollar is spent wisely.


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