By Kirk Brown
U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan spoke to local business leaders Tuesday about reforming federal tax policies, increasing domestic energy production and reducing the national debt.
Duncan's speech during a legislative luncheon hosted by the Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce at Tucker's Restaurant in Anderson came one day after the Laurens Republican announced that he is seeking a second term in Congress.
With gasoline prices rising, Duncan said, the time has come for the United States to focus on plans that will lead to energy independence.
"We have the resources," said Duncan, who represents South Carolina's Third Congressional District. "We can meet our energy needs."
Duncan called for lifting restrictions that prevent energy production on many federal-owned lands, as well as offshore areas.
"We want to see more of the outer-continental shelf opened up for exploration," he said.
Duncan said a number of energy initiatives approved by the GOP-controlled U.S. House of Representatives now are languishing in the U.S. Senate where Democrats are in the majority.
Congress also should take up "comprehensive tax reform," Duncan said. Such a move would provide the nation's business sector with more "predictability and certainty in regard to tax policy."
Duncan also decried the size of the federal government's debt, which he said now totals $15.5 trillion -- or about $50,000 for every American.
"We are spending money that we don't have," he said. "Forty-three cents out of every dollar spent is borrowed."
"We've got to get serious in this country and repay our national debt," said Duncan, adding that he will not support further efforts to raise the federal government's debt ceiling.