My Four Questions for President Obama
This past week I attended President Obama’s State of the Union Address. As always it was a night of pomp and circumstance - and not much different than his previous four Addresses. The President outlined his ideas for more government and more spending and higher taxes.
I left the House Chamber with four questions on my mind, including:
- Where are the jobs, President Obama? Nearly 23 million Americans are out of work, underemployed, or have given up looking for work altogether. That means millions of households where the American Dream is dying or is dead. For so many families across the nation, the prospect that the next generation will be better off than the last seems like a distant hope. Even if folks are employed, many face stagnant wages and higher costs of living; many are dipping into their retirement savings – or not even saving altogether. It's a recipe for sustained financial disaster.
- Why is your Administration waging a war against entrepreneurs? Only twice did you say 'small business,' despite the fact that it is the engine of economic growth. Our small businesses demand that Washington cut the red tape and cut taxes, yet your Administration's record is abysmal on those fronts. Freedom, growth, and opportunity will prevail when Washington gets out of the way.
- Where is the promised deficit reduction, President Obama? In 2009, you promised to cut the deficit in half by the end of your first term. Instead, you have a record of trillion-dollar deficits every single year of your presidency. Instead of paying down the deficits, let alone the debt, you have offered nothing but unbalanced and irresponsible budgets that ask the next generation to foot the bill for your lack of leadership. The 111th Congress tried your big-government stimulus; all that's left is another $1 trillion in debt.
- And, why are you doubling down on your health care plan when there is overwhelming evidence that it is not going to deliver what you promised? Millions of Americans will lose their employer-based coverage, despite the assurances that they could keep their plan if they like it. CBO predicts more than a trillion dollars of unanticipated costs. And, most egregiously, your Administration is willing to eliminate the most precious of our freedoms – religious liberty – in order to advance its own narrow agenda. Forcing people of faith to pay for abortion drugs is a tremendous affront to more than 200 years of freedom of religion.
I discussed my reaction to the President’s State of the Union on The Willis Report with Gerri Willis. Watch here:
The Challenges Facing America’s Entrepreneurs
The day after the State of the Union my House Small Business Committee held a hearing to assess the “State of the Small Business Economy.” We had a panel of witnesses that talked about the challenges facing America’s entrepreneurs. What a contrast! While President Obama outlined his agenda to grow the government, our entrepreneurs have a vision for growing the economy. Witnesses made it clear that burdensome regulations, uncertainty in taxes and federal spending, and policies that emphasize and enable more government are harmful to creating jobs. If you take a few minutes to watch the video of the hearing, you will see that when I asked Mr. Falk about the impact of rules on his business, he said that he is stalling on opening new franchises because of what is happening in Washington. That's 50 new jobs that have not been created – and it's simply wrong. Meanwhile, Ms. Coyne, who is vice president of a bank, explained that their 15,000-employee bank has had to double in the last 3-5 years the number of folks working in compliance and risk management. Certainly hiring people solely to manage the red tape is not the type of job creation Americans want to see!
I talked about the challenges facing our entrepreneurs in my weekly column. Here’s an excerpt:
When the Obama Administration admitted last week that the American economy actually shrank late last year, it was described on Wall Street as "unexpected."
Really? No one saw this coming?
The sources of an economic slowdown have been evident to even the most casual observer. As Main Street seeks to get back on its feet after the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression, it faces a trifecta of challenges from Washington: higher taxes, ObamaCare, and overregulation.
This trifecta was recently crystallized for me when Ed Marin, owner of Lampe Hardware in St. Francis, Kansas, and I had a one-on-one conversation after a town hall last week...Continue Reading Here…
Honoring Our Outstanding Universities
This week marks the 150th Anniversaries of both Kansas State and Emporia State Universities. I offered remarks on the House floor and introduced resolutions to commemorate these occasions. Watch here:
The resolution to honor K-State recognizes the school as the first land-grant nation in the nation as well as the 150 years of tremendous accomplishment from the University. Specifically, it highlights how K-State was the first university to offer printing classes, pioneered home economics programs, made tremendous advances in agriculture research to help feed the world, and led scientific discoveries in numerous other disciplines as well. The resolution to honor ESU focuses on its service in training educators and students in several disciplines and for providing intellectual and academic opportunities for the people of Kansas.
This week I will host nine town hall meetings – please stop by if I will be in or around your area:
Stevens County Town Hall
10:00am – 11:00am
4-H Building at the Stevens County Fairgrounds
1130 Trindle, Hugoton
Grant County Town Hall
12:00pm – 1:00pm
City Hall, City Council Room
115 West Grant Avenue, Ulysses
Haskell County Town Hall
4:00pm – 5:00pm
Haskell County Courthouse – Courtroom
300 S Inman St., Sublette
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Ellsworth County Town Hall
2:00pm – 3:00pm
City Hall, City Council Chambers
121 W First St., Ellsworth
Rice County Town Hall
4:00pm – 5:00pm
Lyons State Bank – Community Room
104 East Ave North, Lyons
Friday, February 22, 2013
Pawnee County Town Hall
8:30am – 9:30am
Larned Chamber of Commerce – Jordan Room
502 Broadway St., Larned
Hodgeman County Town Hall
1:00pm – 2:00pm
Hodgeman County Courthouse – First Floor Lounge
500 Main St., Jetmore
Ness County Town Hall
3:00pm – 4:00pm
Ness County Old Bank Building
102 West Main St., Ness City
Staff Office Hours
Upcoming office hours for staff across the First District include:
- Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 10:00 AM-11:00 AM: Seward County Community College (Student Union, 2nd Floor Conference Room)
- Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 1:00 PM-2:00 PM: Grant County Library (Conference Room)
- Wednesday, February 27, 2013, 10:00 AM-11:00 AM: Garden City Community College (Kinney Room in the Beth Tedrow Student Center)
- Thursday, February 28, 2013, 10:00 AM-11:00 AM: Colby Community College (Student Union, Fireside Lounge)
Staff will be available to assist constituents in the Manhattan office on the following dates and at the following times:
- Tuesday, February 19, 2013: 10:00AM-12:00 PM
- Thursday, February 21, 2013: 10:00AM-12:00 PM
- Tuesday, February 26, 2013: 10:00AM-12:00PM
- Thursday, February 28, 2013: 10:00AM-12:00PM
Guests in the Office
This week your D.C. staff and I had the privilege of meeting with representatives from the Kansas Grain and Feed Association, including Tom Tunnell (Topeka), Stan Stark (Haviland), Pete Goetzmann (Overland Park), Mike Shirley (Overland Park), and Kevin Brady (Benton); representatives of the Kansas Rural Water Association, including Dennis Schwartz (Tecumseh), Allan Soetaert (Gardner), and Elmer Ronnebaum (Seneca); Hutchinson Community College President Dr. Ed Berger and Board of Trustee President David Marshall; Col. Derek Rogers and Col. Chris Stratmann on behalf of the National Guard Association of Kansas; Stuart Lowry, CEO of Sunflower Electric Power Corporation; Sunee Mickle, Blue Cross and Blue Shield; John and Elvera Unruh; Desiree Frierson with the Wichita office of the U.S. Taxpayer Advocate Service; and representatives of the Distributed Wind Energy Association, the National Sorghum Producers, the Kansas Medical Society, the Tea Party Patriots, Families Together, Inc., the American Federation of Government Employees, and the American Burn Association. See pictures of guests here.
Do you know a college-aged adult interested in public policy and who is looking to gain real-life experience in a congressional office? If so, please invite him or her to visit http://huelskamp.house.gov/internships to learn more about the opportunities available in our D.C. and Kansas offices. The deadline to apply for summer internships is March 15, 2013.
Member of Congress