McMorris Rodgers Responds to Lewiston Tribune Editorial on the Farm Bill

Thank you for taking a few minutes to read my response to Jim Fisher’s column dated July 29, 2008.

Mr. Fisher is right:  this country is on a path toward unsustainable spending.  Congress does need to take immediate action to correct the budget deficits currently facing this country.  That’s why I have cosponsored the balanced budget amendment.

That’s why I also support earmark reform.  This year, I adopted a one year moratorium on earmarks.  Wasteful government spending, hidden in bills, amounts to billions of dollars a year.  Time and time again I’ve seen where the earmark process has been used and abused for personal and political gain.  Congress needs real earmark reform which will help reduce the budget deficit—and restore trust in Congress.

The Republicans and the Democrats have not done enough to stop runaway spending.  I am committed to bringing accountability back, ending pork-barrel spending and working to balance the budget.  In September, I plan on introducing a bill that will require Congress to spend as much money on deficit reduction as it does on earmarks. 

I also support making the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent to ensure businesses, individuals, families and seniors can keep more of their hard earned money.  Those tax cuts increased revenue to the federal government by 12 to 15 percent each year.  By letting people keep more of their own money, they are able to reinvest it into the economy which ultimately increases revenue in the federal treasury.  Thanks to those tax breaks, more than 35 companies in Eastern Washington have saved more than $6 million while expanding their operations.  One company in Spokane, Telect, told me that if it were not for the Bush tax cuts they would have gone out of business.

Mr. Fisher once again criticizes my vote for the farm bill.  A bill that size is never perfect.  But I’d remind Mr. Fisher about two-thirds of the bill is for nutrition programs.  The bill also includes provisions to expand markets and research for fruit and vegetable growers, encourage alternative energy efforts and support rural development including health information technology.  It’s also important we support our Eastern Washington farmers.  They are enjoying high grain prices right now.  But their biggest expenses—fuel and fertilizer—have increased more than 200% each since 2002.  Ensuring America’s farmers can profitably grow the food to feed the country is an important economic and national security issue.  Democrats in Congress haven’t allowed us to produce our own energy—and look at where gas prices are now.

Congress does need to get its fiscal house in order.  And I’m proud to be working on solutions to do just that.

–By Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers

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