tv [untitled] CSPAN June 4, 2009 10:30pm-11:00pm EDT
$11.9 billion for each day he was in office. that's a number that's very difficult to wrap our brains around in terms of the amount of money. that means more new debt will be created under this one budget than all the combined created by the previous 43 presidents, going all the way back to george washington. that's a lot of debt and debt that the american people don't deserve to have. i won't be in a position to pay back, my children, grandchildren i don't have yet. great-grandchildren. i don't know how many greats we have to go out in order to satisfy that debt that we've wracked up in just five months in congress. mrs. lummis: i have the privilege of serving on the house budget committee. and yesterday, dr. bernanke testified at our hearing and expressed his concerns over the need for congress to develop a
plan to come up with a way to deal with these debts and our deficit issues. they are part of a risk that is presented to our country long-term if we don't begin to address them now. and after passing a 700-plus billion stimulus package, $1.1 trillion if you consider the interest and $410 billion budget for the current fiscal year and then approving in the budget committee over the objection of all of the republicans, a nearly $3.6 trillion budget for the next fiscal year. i firmly agree with the gentleman from pennsylvania about the concerns that we all have as freshmen republicans for
the tremendous debt and the tremendous deficit that is being undertak. . i would like to ask a couple of other colleagues to join this conversation, blaine luetkemeyer of missouri, another member of the freshman republican class, who is the rarest of rare commodities in congress, in that he has operated and continues to operate a small business. he currently operates a 160-acre farm after serving as a leader in a number of other small businesses and if any entity within this congress does not get the attention it deserves, i would suggest that to is small business and i yield to my colleague, mr.
luetkemeyer, from missouri. mr. luetkemeyer: thank you to the gentlelady from wyoming, mrs. lummis. it's a great evening you put together for us here. we've been here a little over 100 days, about 120 days now. we've all got some first impressions of what this body is all about, what this work work is all about. it's been an eye-opening experience for me coming from the midwest. my district is full of small towns, it's where you know your neighbors and wave at them as you go by. we still have gun racks in the back of pickup trucks where i come from. but we also have some great people. that's the reason i was excited to be able to represent those folks. where i come from, people still believe in limited government, lower taxes, self-reliance for the individual, common sense, and balanced budgets, whether it's their own or whether it's
the local political entity's. it's kind of a -- kind of ironic, when you get here, things seem to change. in my mind, what a difference a few thousand miles make in the way governance takes place. having served in the house in missouri, it's completely different but the same type of process, though the outcomes seem to be completely different. here instead of limited government wembing seem to be content and intent on expanding government by leaps and bounds in every -- into every aspect of people's lives, into businesses. instead of lower taxes, we're about to consider the largest tax increase in the history of this country, which will put us, i think it will push us off an economic cliff. i have grave concerns about it as i go home and talk to my constituents about the carbon tax, the cap and trade bill coming up shortly. they're alarmed and very concerned. another one i mentioned was
self-reliance. it's interesting that today we passed another bill, which adds to the government payroll, the government dole out, the government people on our payroll. instead of allowing people to be able to take care of themselves. if you don't mind, i have stories to tell about some folks at home who are just like everybody else. we had a terrible tragedy through my district a few weeks ago we had a tornado that went through and killed three folks. very tragic. did thousands of dollars worth of damage. happened during the week when i was here in d.c., so i called up my folks at home and asked a couple of my guys to be sure to go out and talk with those folks, give them whatever help they needed, to be able to help them in whatever way we could. i went there the next day and met with local leaders, it was amazing the emergency folk the community leaders had everything under control.
it was amazing how ordered and orderly they were. there was no federal government telling them what to do. they were doing this themselves with their own plans. then i went ount out and talked to local folks who sustained the damage, endured this tragedy. while they were upset and distraught, certainly not in the best frame of mind, they were still very thankful because they had a community of folks around them giving them the support they needed to be able to withstand this ordeal and get through it. the strength of the community is the thing that really was impactful to me from the standpoint that the community came together and there was such an outpouring there was probably more help than needed for the cleanup and to give them the support they needed to get back on their feet. that's kind of people we need in this country, all over this country, people can be the self-reliant people that can bring this country back to what it is. with regardsed to the common sense i mentioned a while ago, it's one of the most often heard comments i hear when i go
back home, what in the world are you guys doing in d.c.? of course, my response is, well, common sense is something that's in short supply here in d.c. sometimes. it's kind of a foreign concept. mrs. lummis: will the gentleman yield? that's exactly what i hear when i go home. wyoming people want wyoming common sense. it's the same kind of common sense you discussed was evident among people that were experiencing a tragedy in your district and who got together and solved the problem. that's something that we as a class of freshman republicans hope to do as well. we represent 20 states. we span in age from 28 years old, our youngest member, to 64 years old. five are physicians, or work in health care. as mr. thompson mentioned, he works in health care, one of
our physicians is with us this evening, dr. phil roe and we will be visiting with him shortly. we have two college athletes, six with military backgrounds among our 22 freshman republicans. four former state treasurers. and 16 state legislators or statewide officers. i know mr. luetkemeyer was a state legislator, as was i. as is our next freshman, who is going to visit with us. a gentleman from minnesota, eric paulson. and i yield to the gentleman from minnesota who first i might mention still finds time to teach sunday school at his lute ral church, missouri synod, of which i'm also a member, and as state legislator helped eliminate minnesota's $4.5 billion state budget deficit without raising taxes
so this is someone that we desperately need working to pull off a similar success story here in washington. i yield to the gentleman from minnesota. mr. pull paulsen: i thank the gentlelady -- mr. paulsen: i thank the gentlelady for yielding. it's great to be here not only with republicans, but some democrats who have been trying to work on a bipartisan basis. it's a shame the leadership doesn't offer us a chance to give us the change the american people need. you mentioned small business earlier. i have to tell you, one of my observations here after being a freshman member, not only being aware from -- away from family, spending time away from family, but trillions of dollars of new spend, driving up the federal
budget deficit at an alarming rate, the federal deficit at an alarming -- federal debt at an alarming rate. think of it, seven to eight of every 10 new jobs come from this, that's the economic growth in this country. we wanted to focus on a stimulus package to help the economy, i think we missed an opportunity to help small businesses. i held some small business round tables in my district and some of the stories i heard from those folks were alarming. one gentleman in particular said he heard -- he basically felt that high taxes were the hindrance. high taxes were the hindrance to his continued economic growth. he's been forced indefinitely now to delay a multimillion dollar project. another gentleman that came to that small business round table he told me specifically that small businesses should be able to save more of their money for a rainy day. they're all going through a rainy day right now like a lot of the american public is going
through, unfortunately. but the tax code penalizes them for doing that we're not helping small business. there's one other gentleman who owns a company he basically was frustrated that the credit markets are hurting his ability to get additional capital. if he could just get a couple hundred thousand dollars more of credit from a bank of some sort, he could hire some people. he's been hiring brand new employees that have never been in the workforce. he's got some good success stories we want to keep that going. i've been frustrated because it seems all our discussion here in washington is about too big to fail. how do we help the big companies? but how are we going to help small businesss? that's what i think we have to focus our time and attention. if we're going to pull ourselves out of this economic recession, we have to help the small business owner down the right. that's the person who has put in all the risk, all the individual capital, the entrepreneurship, that spirit of america that founded this
country and that's where i think we need to have our effort going forward. you think of the problems we've seen with the government now buying the large auto companies and having a stake, 60% ownership and the taxpayers watching us tonight now own general motors. that's very troubling. very troubling. i've met and i think all of you, congresswoman lummis and others have met with small business people who seek our help as they walk the halls of congress say, here's what you could do to help us get some business tax relief. i met with small business people who were frustrated they received a letter of notice in the mail saying they had to close their operation because that was the will of the auto task force from the administration. i think the auto dealers who have put in so much time and effort, many of these are family businesses and they've unfortunately -- they've invested their time, capital, they own the land, they own the company, they employee people -- employ people and are forced
to lay off folks. i would like to see the government not picking the winners and losers here. i'm just encouraged we've got a good class of freshmen who want to help small business. congressman schock has an niche toiv to provide payroll tax relief for the employers and employees, which i think is critical for a real economic stimulus plan. i'm working on an economic plan for small business to separate business income from personal income because as we all know, many of these small businesses unfortunately pay their taxes at that individual rate. when they're paying at that individual rate, it's a higher rate, especially under the new tax plan passed by congress. so now they're going to be paying higher tax they can't hire somebody. if we can separate those streams of income, i think we have tremendous opportunity to help those small businesses. i want to continue working with you on that effort. mrs. lummis: will the gentleman yield? mr. luetkemeyer: i'd be happy to.
mrs. lummis: i read of senators and house members who are tremendously concerned about their local dealers, g.m., chrysler, having to give up profitable business because of this takeover and both sides of the aisle, on both sides of the capitol building, share in their tremendous frustration other the manner in which the bankruptcy of g.m. and chrysler are playing out. i want to give a moment to another member of our freshman class who has joined us, dr. phil roe, the gentleman from tennessee, served as a doctor for two years in the u.s. army medical corps and has delivered close to 5,000 babies. he also has been the mayor of his small town and was very successful in using their landfill as a soce of energy for that community and being a mayor of a town of people of
very modest means requires an amount of creativity that is unique in this country. welcome dr. roe, please join our discussion. mr. roe: thank you, it's great to be here tonight. i too echo congressman paulsen. we do have a fine, diverse freshman class and we add a lot ott debate and many of the speakers tonight sort of mention whide they ran for congress, i do have one distinct advantage. i delivered a lot of my own voters, that's a huge advantage when you're out on the trail and you deliver babies. . i have had a successful medical career in johnson city, tennessee. it's the only congressional district in america that has had two presidents, johnson and jackson and davey crockett served in this body as a congressman.
so it's a very historic seat in northeast tennessee. mrs. lummis: would the gentleman yield? i understand in the old senate chambers that still exist in this building that you can go see congressman crockett's desk, is that the case? mr. roe: that is correct. the reason that i was -- about 10 years ago, i never had service in the state or federal government and i wanted to take this time just to serve my country as i did my patients over the years. i was asked to be on the city commission and i was fortunate enough to run and then became mayor of johnson city. and i brought the philosophy, spend less than you take in. how do we deal with that philosophy? six years ago in our city of 60,000 people, we had $2 million in reserves. and when i came to congress, we
had $24 million in reserves, we had not raised taxes and our bond rating went up while everybody else's went off the cliff. the city has a great commission and they're going to balance this budget and every single budget we passed had a surplus. now the philosophy in washington, d.c. i found out is you borrow more than you take in and you spend what you take in also. that's what we have done this year. as you have mentioned, we started our fiscal year on 1 october and by the 26 of april of this year, we had spent all the money that the taxpayers had sent us for the year. everything we have is borrowed money. and if the folks back home ask you, what is your biggest frustration or surprise or whatever and a lot of them think it's the work load. it's not that. it's the partisanship and second is the spending.
i just can't get over the staggering amount of money that we spend up here. and to give you an example, in our local city, we put 120-plus million in water and sewer improvements and not raised taxes. we didn't have the federal government pay for it. mrs. lummis: how did you pay for it? mr. roe: we spent less than we took in and it wasn't complicated. in the city where we were, we have one of the lowest tax rates in the state of tennessee, so smaller government, less people working, fewer employees than we had eight years ago and lean government. and the taxpayers like that. and they reward you for that kind of work. we could see and all of you have dealt with this in state government, the ozone levels that the e.p.a. came out with, a lot of people don't understand
what it means. when you go into nonattainment and don't attain the standards, the e.p.a. has the right to freeze all building permits so you can't go your community. if you had the infrastructure, roads, water, sewer and schools, you could grow and businesses would want to come there. you would want an environment where business could flourish and we looked at the challenges of energy. and we looked at how can we manage this energy problem. did we raise taxes on power? we had a landfill and we looked at this as an opportunity. and we went into a public-private partnership with zero tax dollars and formed this partnership and went to our landfill. we drilled wells into it. sent a pipe four miles over to a v.a., named after a congressman who served here for 34 years, huge campus, heat and cool that
campus with the methane campus, which is the second largest greenhouse gas outside of carbon dioxide. the taxpayer gets a 15% discount on our bill. we the local taxpayer make royalties and the private company created jobs and made money. that's the way you do it. we cut our consumption from a million gallons of fuel a year to 850,000. and when gas was $4 a gallon, that is very significant. around the country, we did some simple things like change the lights, in a stop light from the 150-what the bulb to an l.e.d. bulb. in every intersection, could you save $800 per intersection and multiply that across the country, the carrot versus the stick we're seeing now. and you may have talked about
this before i got here, but we were faced within days of getting the stimulus package which arrived as a 455-page document and came back to conference with 1,071. i carried it around in my car, of which we had four or five hours to read it. we got it at 9:00 clock on friday morning and passed it that afternoon. and we passed the stimulus bill. only three had been passed. so what every local government, every business, every state in the union tightens their belt when their revenue is down. what do we do? we go up 8%. we passed an 8% increase and i felt like i was in the twilight zone and get the next budget, $1.8 trillion deficit and guess what? we raised that 8%, this year's
budget, $3.9 trillion. and people back home, i'm talking about democrats, republicans and independents and apolitical people, they don't understand that. it is not sustainable. and now we have two issues coming up, health care, which is where i'm glad to be in the middle that discussion and carbon tax. and i yield back. mrs. lummis: let me tell you about a couple of our other classmates who could not be here this evening. we anticipated that we would have votes tomorrow, but because of votes not being taken tomorrow, some people tried to get home tonight so they could visit with both their families and their constituents. among them is chris lee from new york, who has spent two decades as a business entrepreneur in new york. tom mcclintock was first elected
to the state legislature at the age of 26. pete olson, a navy yator and another, bill posey of florida is an splished stock car racer. we have all become pittsburgh steeler fans due to our good friend and fellow freshman, tom rooney of florida, who played college football and was a special assistant u.s. attorney at fort hood and taught military law. with that kind of diversity in our freshman class, it has been helpful to me, for example i can sit down next to representative rooney and ask him about things like enhanced interrogation techniques. look, he just walked into the
room. i'm pleased to see you. but it's that kind of expertise that makes our class such a close group and very helpful to each other as we are dealing with the many issues at hand. and so with the magical appearance of representative rooney, i'm delighted that you have chosen to join us this evening. mr. rooney: i thank the gentlelady from wyoming for giving us the opportunity to reflect on our first 100 days and really where we're going as a country, in the direction that we as freshman when we all ran for congress, what we thought we were going to do when we got here and how we were going to try to make a difference, not only in our individual communities, but in the country as a whole. and i think as i was watching on c-span earlier, the former
speakers talk about the spending and the size of government and i think that that's really the lighthouse that i use as the direction of who we want to be as americans and who we want to be as congressmen. we have a decision to make here as we move forward with all the things that we have to consider. and i got to be honest with you, it's very disheartening to see as the father of three, very young children, what we're leaving them as a legacy. imencouraged and the people i meet in central florida and the district i represent, the 16th district of florida, and what they remind me of why they sent me to washington and why they sent all of us to washington. and it's never going to fall on
deaf ears to me that the american people that i represent and the american people i talk to believe in a strong united states of america, one with a strong military, but one that lets the free market dictate who they're going to be without inhibitting where they're going to go and it breaks my heart to hear auto dealers that employ hundreds of people and contribute so much to my community that they're being closed. for what reason? they're not really sure, just because they were the ones picked, even though for decades they had been profitable companies and there are people that own certain automobiles and i won't go into what theyr may have to travel over an hour now to get their car serviced. but really, again, it's who we want to be as americans.
and i just want to thank the freshmen personally the reason that i really wanted to be here tonight was to thank you personally for signing up to a letter that i sent to the speaker of the house today asking her to not include a global bailout really of foreign countries on the backs of our american servicemen and women who are fighting. as a former army captain with my colleague, duncan hunter, we asked the speaker not to include something that has nothing to do with funding our troops, putting themselves in harm's way for our liberty and for our freedoms. and really taking a military funding bill hostage with this
i.m.f. funding bill that has nothing to do with military spending. to do that, for me, honestly, it's been the biggest disappointment in my shorten you're here in congress that i have to explain to those men and women that a lot of them are still active duty that my wife and i served with, that there is a problem with putting ammunition in their weapons or giving them the body armor they deserve or up-armoring vehicles they have to drive in because the majority has put into this bill something that has nothing to do with military spending. and to try to explain that and to try to justify to myself even that what we're doing is the right thing is very difficult. but as we move forward as freshmen, whatever we decide to do on a lot of these issues, we can never forget why we're here and who sent us here. and i thank you very much for
giving us the opportunity to reflect and also the hope to move forward on a lot of the things we're about to do here in congress. mrs. lummis: would the gentleman yield? thank you for your statement. and now we have six freshmen here of the republican class and a seventh member is a member of the majority party, a democrat and it would be really fascinating to have a special order some evening with our democrat colleagues who are freshmen as well, because i think many of us came to congress with a different perspective, a new perspective, regardless of party, about how we think america can move forward. and, we as freshmen republicans did support legislation that would stimulate economic growth. it would have cost $315 billion