Each month I receive thousands of e-mails, phone calls, letters, tweets, and Facebook messages on a variety of topics. I wanted to share a few questions that I've recently received.
Is Congress working to end the sequester?
President Obama has proposed more tax increases on hardworking Americans to end across-the-board spending cuts, known as sequestration. The federal government has a spending problem and the President must get serious about prioritizing how our taxpayer dollars are spent. Instead of threatening employees with furloughs or layoffs, government agencies should instead make more responsible, prioritized solutions to reduce their overhead costs. I believe we need to cut spending and I voted twice to replace the across-the-board cuts with targeted cuts that achieve greater savings. In response to recent flight delays, Congress passed a bill to give the FAA flexibility to better prioritize its spending, so that air traffic controllers no longer will be furloughed. This will help ensure air travel remains safe and flights won't be delayed.
Is Congress' budget being cut too?
You may be interested to learn that Members of Congress were not exempt from spending cuts. In fact, my own office's operating budget was cut by 8.2 percent this year, bringing the total reductions to my office budgets to 20 percent in the last three years. As Americans are doing more with less, so should Congress, and so should the Obama Administration.
What are you doing about the management of gray wolves and their impact on Central Washington communities?
The current wolf situation has created a confusing management and regulatory scheme that has left Washington and other states in the weird situation of having wolves listed as endangered on one side of a highway and de-listed on the other. Wolves can't read maps, and people and property deserve better than the federal government's current, perverse wolf management under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). I recently joined 68 Members of Congress in sending a bipartisan, bicameral letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe urging support for the de-listing of the gray wolf under the ESA throughout all lower 48 states. In my view, state governments are more qualified to effectively manage wolf populations and are better able to meet both the needs of local communities and wildlife populations than Washington, D.C. bureaucrats.
I appreciate that so many people I represent from Central Washington take the time to share their views with me. The easiest way to contact me is through my website at www.hastings.house.gov where you can e-mail me and sign up to receive e-newsletters. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter.