Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., emphasized the need for federal debt reduction during a town hall stop Friday in McPherson.
“We are going on four-straight years of more than trillion dollar debt,” he said. “It is going to be worse unless we make a change. We have a debt already that has us under a crushing burden of red ink.”
Both the House and Senate passed budgets this year for the first time in four years. The House budget balances the budget in 10 years. The Senate budget does not balance the budget at all. President Obama has yet to introduce his budget.
Huelskamp said he had concerns the Federal Reserve’s infusion of money into the economy may cause inflation. He also expressed concerns about the increases in the debt ceiling and the potential downgrade of the United State’s credit rating.
In order to address debt and prevent future economic crisis, the government needs to address entitlement reform, Huelskamp said.
The cost of providing health care through Medicare and Medicaid continues to increase, and Huelskamp said reforms need to address these increasing costs.
Several audience members, many of whom were senior citizens, expressed concerns about their Medicare and Social Security benefits.
“Medicare Part A and B are OK, but part D is a disaster. Is there anything you can pass to fix it?” one man said.
The man said he fell in the doughnut hole last year by August, and had switched plans numerous times without relief.
“I think it is going to be worse as we move forward,” Huelskamp said. “Medicare is facing insolvency and so are many hospitals in my district under president Obama’s health-care plan.”
Huelskamp said president Obama has taken $700 billion out of Medicare to fund the Affordable Care Act, a law Huelskamp said he opposes.
He said he would like to see the government open up more opportunities for competition among insurance companies.
Huelskamp said he supports the incremental increases in the retirement age to address the shortfalls in funding for both Medicare and Social Security system.
The retirement age was set at 65 because the life expectancy of most Americans was 65 years old or less at the time Social Security system was established, Huelskamp said. Today, many Americans are supported by Social Security and Medicare for 20 years or more.
Huelskamp said he saw humans as capital and not expenses. He said he wanted to promote citizens staying in the work force.
“I believe we grow the economy by increasing efficiency,” he said. “We have 90 million retired people who are not working, and our economy is flat lining. Enhancing our productivity is an asset.”
Page 2 of 2 - The United States also needs to pursue trade agreements and tax policies that will bring jobs and investment back to the United States, Huelskamp said.
The United States has the highest business taxes in the world and the highest regulation costs in the world, Huelskamp said. He said many U.S. companies do not bring investments back to the United States because they are taxed abroad and when they bring the funds back to the United States.
Huelskamp said he thought unnecessary federal regulation also is a burden on U.S. business and an impediment to economic growth.
The federal government issued $215 million in new regulation last week, he said.
Some of the unnecessary proposed regulations Huelskamp mentioned included regulation of farm dust, prohibiting youth from working on farms and a requirement to have a CDL license to drive a tractor.
Huelskamp also commented on proposed gun legislation.
He said he did not support any passage of additional guns laws. He said the current administration has had the lowest level of gun enforcement since the Clinton administration. He said he thinks the federal government needs to enforce the guns laws that are on the books now.