U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, told the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce this morning that she believed federal spending cuts would lead to job creation.
“We’re not cutting spending in Washington just to cut spending,” Roby told a group of hundreds at the monthly Eggs and Issues breakfast at the RSA Activity Center. “We’re cutting spending so we can get money back into the hands of the private sector, get money back into your hands so you can do what you do best, and that’s create jobs.”
Roby, elected to Congress last November, spent most of her 30-minute speech criticizing President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada for not supporting Tea Party proposals for addressing the debt. Roby voted for the “Cut, Cap and Balance” proposal in the Republican-controlled House, which would, among other provisions, have cut $111 billion for fiscal year 2012 and gradually cap spending at 18 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.
“I supported this plan. I still support this plan,” Roby said. “I think Cut, Cap and Balance is the only way we’re going to get the country moving in the right direction.”
The legislation failed in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Congressional Budget Office director Doug Elmendorf wrote in a letter earlier this month that reducing spending by $100 billion would have an adverse affect on short-term economic demand and possibly decrease the Gross National Product.
Roby said she would work to defend military spending in any deficit reduction proposals, saying she voted no to create a joint committee to address deficit reduction – tied to a proposal to raise the national debt ceiling — because of mandates to reduce military spending should the committee reach an impasse on what programs to cut.
“I know you here in the 2nd District sent me up there to fight hard for our military, to fight hard for those who protect the liberty I’m talking about,” she said.
Fr. Manuel Williams, a Roman Catholic priest and chief executive officer of Resurrection Catholic Missions of South, a social service organization, asked Roby during a Q&A period if she supported a “balanced approach” to addressing debt. Williams said he “found it hard to believe that the answer to our problems is simply to cut,” suggesting the tax burden “needs to be more equitably shared” between the wealthy and the middle class. He cited the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower, where the country experienced robust, across-the-board economic growth despite a top marginal tax rate of 91 percent.
Roby said that if people wanted “small, limited government,” as she does, “then we do have a spending problem.”
“I agree there are good uses of tax dollars in this country,” Roby said. “But if we don’t tackle spending, it’s all for naught.”
Williams said afterward that there has to be a “minimal standard” for regulations to fund things like national security, education and environmental protection.
“We all agree you have to operate sensibly and economically,” Williams said. “But I think the more fundamental question she needs to respond to and all congresspeople need to respond to is what is the nature of government?”
– posted by Brian Lyman