Monroe News: Monroe County’s New Congressman Shares His Views On A Range Of Topics
By: Charles Slat
U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, says the nation is in a fiscal fix because citizens have become too reliant upon government.
But the lawmaker says he's confident that in the weeks ahead progress will be made on framing a budget that includes a House proposal for surgical cuts that minimize the impact of sequester — massive automatic cuts in government spending across the board.
The lawmaker recently talked about the budget and government spending as part of a wide-ranging discussion with The Evening News, his first since redistricting left Monroe County in his 7th District, and no longer represented by veteran Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Dearborn.
Rep. Walberg said to spur passage of a budget, he voted for legislation that would tie passage of a budget to pay for Congress.
"In times gone by, I would have said that's just a gimmick," he said. "But when you have a Senate that hasn't made an effort to pass a budget bill in four years … maybe the time has come. We have no other tools or weapons or goads, other than to say if you don't do it, you don't get paid."
He also said he would continue pushing for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.
"It is another tool whose time has come," Rep. Walberg said. "You would have hoped we could live under the best intentions of what our founders and framers wanted us to do."
The lawmaker deflected concerns that major cuts in government spending might trigger another recession.
"I say we're flirting with another recession and depression nonetheless if we don't go through with right-sizing government," he said, adding that cuts in unnecessary spending and lowered debt is what bonding companies consider when evaluating credit-worthiness.
Rep. Walberg said the government can reduce spending and still meet critical needs.
"It's not to say cuts will not come without some pain or consequences, but it's either going to come now or later, and the longer we wait, the more difficult it is."
He said he has shared public frustration with gridlock in Washington.
"One thing that's changed is that we have grown the dependence on government little by little. We have not been willing to say no earlier on and the people have become accustomed to the government supplying things and their representatives saying ‘yes' to them as opposed to them saying, no, that's not the responsibility of the federal government.' "
He said the federal government is meant to provide states with limited support for needs they cannot meet themselves.
"We've gone way beyond that and citizens have become accustomed to big government at all levels and they've elected people who will do that. So I put the blame back on we, the citizens, too," he said.
"We have said, ‘Do this for us' and now we're bearing the brunt of spending too much to do that."
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