Congress got beyond the fiscal cliff last week, at least for now, said U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, but the nation still has a non-sustainable situation of borrowing, taxing and spending.
“State level and county level governments have balanced budgets,” he told Aiken residents at the Aiken County Council Building Monday. “The federal budget is $1 trillion out of budget, and we've got to balance the budget.”
Wilson is holding press conferences throughout the Second District. That district was realigned after the last census – restructured extensively when South Carolina added a seventh district. Wilson expressed his pride that his district now includes all of Aiken County.
Later in the day Monday, Wilson also addressed North Augusta officials and other spectators about the national, state and local issues facing the country.
Following his press conference in Aiken, the Congressman indicated he would welcome the completion of balanced budget as part of the new Congress.
“But it can't and it's really sad,” Wilson said. “I voted for the Paul Ryan budget, which would be 23 years to balance the budget. I also supported the cut, cap and balance, which could have been in seven years. The way it could be done so quickly would happen if we had a certainty of being fiscally responsible with economic growth. It would result in more revenue without tax increases.”
If businesses knew, if small businesses knew that the value of the dollar was secure, Wilson said, there would be a true effort to promote fiscal responsibility.
Not surprisingly, the Congressman would welcome the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Wilson prefers to describe it as “cash for clunkers.” At the very least, the legislation should be reformed, he said, because small businesses will have to cut back hours and reduce personnel.
Wilson remains supportive of the Savannah River Site. Although the Site's longterm future has been described as uncertain, Wilson remains confident about new programs emerging. He noted that U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, the state's only Democratic congressman, now has one percent of the Site in his 6th District. Clyburn has always been a strong advocate too, Wilson said.
He enjoys the chance to mention that his four sons are currently in military service. He's proud also that he had a role that Tricare – the health care program for active and retired military personnel – did not go up.
“It could have been a 365 percent increase, but we blocked it,” said Wilson. “Now there's actually a surplus in Tricare.”
Like Americans throughout the nation, the Congressman said his heart goes out to the people of Connecticut and the small town Newtown, which lost 20 children and six adults in the horrific shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“We need to be looking carefully to protect the Second Amendment,” Wilson said. “We should be compassionate to those who have mental health problems. In Connecticut, a mother's son needed help. It's not being hard-hearted. We must help those who need it.”
The Second District congressman believes that armed School Resource Officers are fine for schools. He was concerned, he admitted, the first time he saw a deputy in a school.
“But it's not really a police state issue,” Wilson said. “They're good with young people. It's not draconian but about them being role models. SRO's have a great function and are a strong component of schools.”