East Texas lawmakers weigh in on budget showdown

Published on Tuesday, 15 October 2013 23:43 - Written by ADAM RUSSELL arussell@tylerpaper.com

Earlier in the day as Congress members looked forward to a possible vote Tuesday in the House, two local legislators remained steadfast that the White House needs to change the nation’s financial course.

U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, said GOP members are standing for fairness with regard to portions of the health care law that remain negotiable, including requiring elected officials to adhere to the law.

Gohmert said a default could have crippling effects and that the decision is in the presi-dent’s hands.

“If the president instructs the treasury to default rather than pay the interest owed, we’re getting close to a high crime and misdemeanor that would harm this country,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, said Senate Democrats and President Barrack Obama’s refusal to negotiate with Republicans hindered the process. Republicans in the House gave the president 95 percent of what Democrats wanted in the first budget bill they passed, which he vetoed, Hensarling said.

Hensarling’s district includes portions of Anderson, Cherokee, Henderson and Van Zandt counties.

Hensarling said he did not go to Washington, D.C., to increase his children’s debt. He said Democrats are ignoring the signs the nation is heading toward a financial cliff because of spending.

“You run up the credit card and then decide whether you want to pay the bills as opposed to deciding what limit your credit card should have,” he said. “The debt ceiling is like a smoke alarm, and Republicans want to fight the fire, and Democrats want to unplug the smoke alarm.”

Hensarling said there is room for compromise on the debt ceiling, including allowing a temporary extension of the deadline, but the fundamental differences between Democrats and Republicans are broad.

Hensarling said Republicans are working on the latest offer from the Senate but expects a continuing resolution to reopen non-mandatory government services. He said it is one thing to agree on small temporary steps to buy time for real negotiations.

“Ultimately what this is all about is House Republicans have essentially been asked to rubber-stamp the president’s spending plans and borrowing plans,” he said. “We’re not going to do that. We’ll negotiate in good faith, but America is on the road to bankruptcy.”